A spoiler-free discussion.
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in 1997’s Batman and Robin
It is quite certain that we can all agree beyond a reasonable doubt that the portrayal of Mr. Freeze by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1997 film Batman and Robin was quite the laughable characterization that audiences never intended to witness. Of course, the fault does not rest on Schwarzenegger's shoulders alone, but on the part of the director Joel Schumacher who chose to include the villain in such a poorly written manner and feature aesthetics that was neither cool nor tolerable (pardon the pun).
That being said, with the recent release of Matt Reeves’s The Batman, there now exists an opportune moment for the studio to redeem possibly one of the best characters in The Dark Knight’s Rogues Gallery by giving him a more grounded and realistic portrayal in the inevitable sequel to The Batman. We believe this can be achieved because, like another character that Joel Schumacher destroyed, The Riddler, Reeves’s film managed to rejuvenate the character in such a way that we can now forget the laughable misery of the Jim Carrey portrayal in Batman Forever.
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To put things into a clearer perspective, Mr. Freeze was done dirty and deserves a chance to be done right. The villain could pose the right amount of threat for a secondary offering of The Batman, and pitting the Pattinson Caped Crusader against the cold-hearted criminal could be the necessary battle audiences would be more willing to see as opposed to yet another Joker story arc in the sequel.
Much like The Riddler, Mr. Freeze is also regarded as a highly intellectual character with a sympathetic backstory. This would allow the film to showcase the conflict in Batman as he tries to thwart the villain whose sole purpose for existing is to save the one that he loves. It would, therefore, be quite the intriguing theme to be explored within a Batman film, as the villain’s motives could overlap and reflect on The Caped Crusader’s own affection towards the one he loves: Catwoman.
This could create a story arc that eventually snowballs (pardon the pun) into a never before seen moment whereby both Mr. Freeze and The Batman would have to work together to save the ones they love from another hidden villain that plagues Gotham City. It would be a team-up between villain and hero, albeit momentarily, that fans would certainly enjoy watching unfold on the big screen and therefore provide The Batman sequel with new ground to break.
Whether or not we, as fans, will have the privilege of seeing Mr. Freeze on the silver screen again remains to be seen, but what is undeniable is that it would certainly help revitalize the character and showcase him in a new light, thereby shedding any connection to his terrible performance in the Schumacher film.