Making the Grades
If you're going batty trying to figure out which Batman is which, you're not alone. Subzero is an animated Batman based on the same characters as the recent Batman & Robin starring George Clooney. With a more likeable Mr. Freeze, a handsome Robin that gives Freeze heated competition in the cool department, and a more human Batman than the vacu-formed Clooney, this animated version was more interesting than its high profile live-action cousin.
In the film Mr. Freeze is living out his days in the arctic with his wife Nora stored in a cryogenic chamber as he waits to find a cure for her mysterious illness. Everything comes crashing down around him when a wayward submarine breaks through their living room floor, sending Nora's capsule tumbling. Without the cryogenic protection, Nora only has two weeks to live unless Freeze can complete an organ transplant that will allow her to recover. Freeze turns to a former colleague, Dr. Belson, who is in hawk up to his stethoscope and desperate to earn some extra cash. Nora's rare blood type leaves Belson with few choices for donors -- and they're all still alive. Unfortunately, Belson selects Barbara Gordon, who happens to be the police chief's daughter and Robin's best girl. Ooops!
If you have children desperate to see Batman, this film is certainly a better choice than the last couple of live-action versions, though it still contains a great deal of animated violence. Freeze's single minded quest to save his wife results in injury and damage to many other people, giving young audiences a selfish perspective. However, his motivations are far more honorable than most bad guys. This creates a complex character that reflects the desperate personal circumstances that often cause real people to turn to crime.
In summary, my two beefs with this Bat are: first, that Freeze could have resolved the conflict without violence; and second, the inclusion of scenes that depict social drinking. Children need to know that good conversations (and good movies) are not dependent on alcohol, and violence doesn't resolve problems.