‘Batman & Robin’ Paradox: The Appeal of Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy Revisited
For the uninitiated, Poison Ivy is just another plant that gives you rashes, but for those who have intently followed the fantastical world of superheroes, Poison Ivy is the wrath of mother nature herself.
Although she might give off some eco-terrorist vibes, she has won hearts all over the world, and there is one person who deserves a special shout-out for that—Uma Thurman.
Poison Ivy: A Parody that Backfired
This particular iteration of Poison Ivy originated in Batman & Robin in 1997. Still, she was the first to put it to page in the '60s as a parody of the women's liberation movement.
Regardless, she was a character who was well ahead of her time in more ways than one. She was a female character who straight up rejected the prevailing patriarchal stride of her time.
Since her intentions were driven to the extreme for the sake of the plot, she might appear to be a villainous force that needed to be stopped. But, if given a moment of thought, her intentions might even be passed off as noble.
Nobility Vs. Zealotry
She was a zealot for the environment, holding humanity accountable for how they had treated the environment. She wants to save plant life on Earth, sees humanity as a danger, and really hates men.
While that last bit might sound a tad bit far-fetched, men have given women quite a few reasons to deserve such hatred throughout human civilization.
And to top it all off, her seductive means, which she used as a weapon against men before killing them off with a poison kiss, is a punch in the gut to toxic masculinity.
Poison Ivy: As Beautiful As Ivy, As Deadly As Poison
Of course, the character's fictional origin concurs with the overall theme of Poison Ivy. Before her transformation into a villain, she was known as Dr. Pamela Isley, a good-hearted and accomplished botanist.
That was until Dr. Jason Woodrue, her boss, attempted to murder her because she uncovered secrets he felt she shouldn't know. Needless to say, that was a monumental failure on his part. The murder attempt instead transformed her into a crafty and seductive eco-terrorist who was half-woman and half-plant.
With full knowledge of redundancy, the character was truly ahead of its time. A fact reflected in the box office earnings and the audience's perception of the movie she originally appeared in.
Batman & Robin was considered an all-around failure in its day. So much, so that many argue it almost killed the superhero film genre as a whole. However, the movie supposedly broke the stride of the three Batman movies released before this one.
The character truly comes full circle with a female employee being tossed by her "superior men," a common fear amongst women as per CBR, only to use her allure and appearance as a weapon against those same men.