I am a comic book fan and a film buff for more decades than most people around Y!A have been alive. I have read, traded and sold more comic books than most, and I've seen every superhero interpretation that I possibly could, as far back as the DC movie serials.
I say that there are far, far worse films than "Batman & Robin", which I'm watching right now. Where is the hate factor focused? This is a solid story with excellent progression and various plotlines that are interwoven and dealt with satisfactorily. If the hatred if from those who don't want any of the light touch and even campiness of the TV series, remember that DC treated "Batman" lightly for a very long time, just as they did with "Superman". So, this film merely reflects some of that. Also, every film in the series, except for "Batman Begins", has tended to have that light touch when it comes to villains.
Besides, dark, brooding Batman, as with Christian Bales, isn't all that attractive to many people. I prefer "Batman & Robin" over the gloomy "Batman Begins" which I heard so much praise for.
Why the complaint about characters? If you know the comics, you know the characters, no matter how many are added. I don't understand the problem there because most of the people attending the movie know about these other people of that universe; no one is a surprise to the audience. "X-Men" fans were battling to have their favorites introduced, so I didn't see a problem with coming up with many additions to any of the superhero films.
Right now, I'm watching Poison Ivy at the charity event. Does anyone get the reference to Marlene Dietrich's entrance in a gorilla costume in "Blonde Venus"? After disrobing from the suit, she performs "Hot Voodoo". Thus, this makes a bow to a scene many filmlovers are familiar with. I think there are wonderful moments throughout this film from everyone, particularly Uma Thurman bringing Ivy to life and Arnold Schwarzenegger perfect as Mr. Freeze, reminding me of Otto Preminger in the series, which is quite a compliment to me.
The sets are as spectacular as in the other films, and the chases and battles are remarkable. There's no question where the money went. Gotham is captured on film once again. Once more, the monolithic structures are awe-inspiring, matching waht went before.
So, did people like the Michael Keaton films? Let's say that people don't think the Riddler, the Joker, and Two Face are overboard, yet they object to Ivy and Freeze. Michelle Pfeiffer gave us a terrific portrayal of Catwoman, and I think Poison Ivy is equivalent. Danny DeVito is just as overboard as all of the other male villains. The rule all along has been over-the-top, and there's no denying that.
So, I don't understand the attacks. I don't understand the rather snooty attitude. I think people have been so spoiled by these dazzling films that they can toss some to the side thoughtlessly, probably judging them by one or two viewings.
I consider myself extremely knowledgeable about films and filmmaking, and I approve of this film. I like George Clooney's portrayal of Bruce Wayne AND Batman. He's the first one I've truly approved of. I'm not a Chris O'Donnell fan, but he does a good job, too. I'm disappointed that Barbara underwent a family change and is no longer a redhead (which I am), but I admire Alicia Silverstone and think she does a wonderful job.
Not to be a "yes person", but I do agree about Bane, who reminds me too much of the warriors in "Beastmaster". Remember them? I do think he's a weakness, but that's not bad for the whole film.
Wow! How could someone not think that the chase out onto the gargantuan arm and hand isn't amazing?! I am terrified of heights, so that scene with Robin's motorcycle slide gives me shudders, as does the later crash in which Dick saves Barbara.
Finally, Michael Gough as Alfred was focused on in this film, and that's wonderful! I've admired this actor since I first started noticing him in the Sixties, when I started matching names with faces. In this film, he's not just in the background. That's one plotline I won't complain about.
So, I guess you have at least one person on your side. Why, this might be a cult film~one of the biggest-budgeted cult films ever!