|Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero|
|Written by||Boyd Kirkland, Randy Rogel|
|Directed by||Boyd Kirkland|
|Animation by||Koko/Dong Yang|
|Release date(s)||March 17, 1998|
|Running time||70 minutes|
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero is a direct-to-video animated film set in the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series. It was originally slated for release in 1997 as a tie-in for Batman & Robin, a live-action film featuring Mr. Freeze as the primary antagonist, but due to that movie's poor reception, SubZero was delayed and did not see release until a year later.
A lone man and two polar bears swim in the ocean in the Arctic, catching a school of salmon. The man is Victor Fries, who along with his pet polar bears, his comatose wife Nora, and surrogate son Koonak, is living a more or less normal life in the Arctic. As Fries quietly speaks to Nora's sleeping form on the 15th anniversary of their first meeting, a submarine crashes through the ground on which they stand, causing a brief quake. Nora's container is shattered, and in retribution, Fries dons his Mr. Freeze suit and freezes the entire crew of the submarine.
Two weeks later, just after foiling a robbery as Batman and Robin, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson attend a friend's party. As Bruce and Dick flirt with Veronica Vreeland and Barbara Gordon respectively, a disgruntled guest, Dr. Gregory Belson, argues with his stockbroker, Dean Arbagast, about his house's impending foreclosure, and angrily storms out. However, on his way home, he is ambushed and caught by Mr. Freeze, once his old colleague, who abducts him. Meanwhile, Dick begins to reveal his feelings for Barbara by inviting her to spend the weekend with him by the coast, which she accepts. On their way home, Bruce and Alfred come across Belson's wrecked car.
Elsewhere, Belson analyses Nora's blood and concludes that her disease has relapsed: she will die in two weeks, and there is nothing Belson can do to save her, unless the price is right. Freeze offers him a piece of gold, and Belson agrees to check the hospital files for a suitable organ donor to save Nora. The only ones available are live donors, and Freeze bribes a skeptical Belson with an offer of a large sample of gold in exchange for performing the operation illegally. Belson checks and list and comes across the perfect donor: Barbara Gordon. Belson calls Barbara at her University room, but her room mate answers and tells him that she and Dick are at a restaurant and won't return until Monday. Freeze finds Barbara at the restaurant and kidnaps her, despite Dick and the police's efforts to stop him. Commissioner Gordon, particularly angered at his daughter's abduction, investigates and learns that the doctor who phoned Barbara's room mate (Belson didn't give his name) claimed that Barbara was a blood donor. Bruce secretly checks the list of donor's with Barbara's blood group, AB, and notices Nora's name on the list.
Meanwhile, Barbara awakes at Freeze's hideout and attempts to escape, but finds out that she, Freeze and Belson are at an oil rig five miles offshore, meaning there is no way out. Belson explains that they need Barbara as she was the only suitable donor for Nora's "blood transfusion". Barbara agrees to help, but not illegally, and Freeze responds by chaining her in her room. Bruce and Dick ask some questions at GothCorp and learn that Freeze was once a colleague of Belson. Remembering Belson's name on the wrecked car after the party, Bruce and Dick realize Freeze has abducted both Barbara and Belson. They search Belson's house for clues and find a message from Arbagast. Using Arbagast's number from the message, Batman and Robin confront Arbagast at his home, just as Belson calls Arbagast, claiming he will have the money to pay his debts. Batman and Robin record the conversation and analyse it in the Batcave, hearing a ship's foghorn in the background and tracking him to the oil rig.
Freeze and Belson drag Barbara to the operation room and prepare to sedate her, revealing that the blood transfusion was the cover story. Koonak, whom Freeze had promised no harm would come to Barbara, appears and attempts to stop them, buying Barbara time to run off and hide. As Belson gives chase with a gun, Batman and Robin arrive in the Batwing and knock Belson out. However, a spark from one of Belson's gunshots lands in a puddle of oil from a leaking fuel tank and starts a fire which begins spreading rapidly. Robin's attempt to put the fire out with a house is interrupted by Freeze's polar bears, whom Batman and Robin trick into jumping off the rig (but landing safely in the water). But the fire has spread so far that the oil rig is beginning to collapse. Freeze still insists that Belson perform the operation, but Belson pushes Freeze under some falling debris and makes a run for it, although he himself is crushed by falling debris as he attempts to escape in a speedboat.
Freeze, however, is still alive, with a broken leg. Batman, Robin and Barbara rescue him. As Robin prepares the Batwing for departure, Batman and Barbara rescue Nora and Koonak from the operation room. At Freeze's request, they take Nora and Koonak to the Batwing first, and Batman goes back for Freeze, now hanging over a ledge for his life. Batman attempts to pull him to safety, but a falling pipe lands on Batman's shoulder, causing him to drop Freeze, who falls into the fiery ocean below. Batman grapples himself to the Batwing and escapes as the oil rig finally explodes and collapses. Unknown to any of them, Freeze has survived, and is swimming to safety with his polar bears.
Sometime later, in the Artic, Freeze stumbles across a small house where the residents are watching the news. Through the window, Freeze watches the report of his apparent death, and to his delight, that of Nora's revival thanks to an organ transplant funded by Wayne Enterprises. Moved to tears, Freeze walks back home with his polar bears.
- Renee Montoya is promoted from officer to sergeant; she would later be transferred from beat to Special Crimes.
Background information Edit
Production inconsistencies Edit
- Veronica Vreeland is portrayed as a blonde rather than a redhead, though it may have been done to prevent confusion with fellow redhead Barbara Gordon.
- When Bruce opens the donor file, the fields for sex, height, weight and blood type are already filled in, though the data do not match Barbara's. In the next shot, the fields are empty again.
- It is unknown how the Gotham news crew was able to acquire footage of the oil rig's explosion and collapse, as there were clearly no journalists or news helicopters anywhere near the scene at the time.
- In the series, both Bruce and Dick Grayson are usually depicted with white sclera in their eyes, but in this movie they do not have this (save for a couple close-up shots of Bruce while at GothCorp).
- "Am I Blue?", the 1929 jazz standard written by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke, is featured in this film, heard playing on the radio of Barbara Gordon's roommate. The song would later appear in the Justice League Unlimited episode "This Little Piggy", where Batman would perform the song in order to rescue Wonder Woman from an enchantment.
- This appears to be one of the few instances where Veronica Vreeland seems to explicitly be Bruce Wayne's date, rather than his friend.
- This is also the first time Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson are officially seen as a couple.
- For a while, SubZero was the highest rated Batman film of all time, live-action or animated, on Rotten Tomatoes.com, gaining an 90% approval rating, narrowly beating Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (87%). With the release of The Dark Knight (94%) in 2008, it went down to second place, but remained the highest rated direct-to-video until Batman: Under the Red Hood in 2010 (100%). It is now third overall.
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne / Batman|
|Michael Ansara||Mr. Freeze|
|Loren Lester||Dick Grayson / Robin|
|Efrem Zimbalist Jr.||Alfred|
|George Dzundza||Dr. Gregory Belson|
|Robert Costanzo||Detective Bullock|
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner Gordon|
|Mary Kay Bergman||Barbara Gordon / Batgirl|
|Marilu Henner||Veronica Vreeland|
|Dean Jones||Dean Arbagast|
|Mari Devon||Summer Gleeson|
|Liane Schirmer||Renee Montoya|
|Rahi Azizi|| Additional Voices|
|Lauren Tom|| Additional Voices|
|Townsend Coleman||Additional Voices|
|Brian George||Additional Voices|
|Ed Gilbert|| Additional Voices|
Sub captain (uncredited)
|Carl Lumbly||Additional Voices|
|Tress MacNeille|| Additional Voices|
|Neil Ross||Additional Voices|
|Randy Thompson||Additional Voices|