Mr. Freeze kidnaps Barbara Gordon with plans to kill her and use her organs to save his dying wife, who happens to share her rare blood type.
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998)
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Written by Randy Rogel and Boyd Kirkland
Starring Kevin Conroy, Michael Ansara, Mary Kay Bergman,
Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., George Dzundza,
Bob Hastings, Robert Costanzo
Spin-Off of the 1992-1995 TV series Batman: The Animated Series
Based on characters from DC Comics
When I was a kid, I owned two animated Batman movies on VHS. One was Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. The other was Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. I've enjoyed this film for as long as I can remember, and to me, it remains the definitive cinematic Mr. Freeze story. Regrettably, it came out a year after that Schumacher disaster that completely warped the public's perception of Mr. Freeze. In truth, he's a painfully tragic villain who deserves the full live-action treatment, properly this time. Until then, this epic but short adventure is what we've got, and that ain't bad.
An Arctic accident leaves Nora Fries in a bad state, and her devoted husband Mr. Freeze (Ansara) has little time to save her. She's in desperate need of an organ transplant, but her blood type is rare and there aren't any deceased donors. So, Freeze bribes a crooked doctor (Dzundza) to use a live donor, who turns out to be none other than Batgirl herself, Barbara Gordon (Bergman). So Freeze kidnaps her, and Batman (Conroy) & Robin (Lester) have to find her. It's a tense flick, and the clock is ticking the entire time. Perhaps most brilliantly, you find yourself sympathizing with Freeze more than you'd think. All he wants is to save his wife. That is literally all he cares about. Plus, he's got two trained polar bears as his muscle. That's pretty badass.
This was the follow-up to Mask of the Phantasm, and it's pretty damn good in its own right. It's sandwiched between Phantasm and Return of the Joker, so it's often missed when fans are discussing the best Batman movies. But I'll go to bat for this one, no pun intended. It's an excellent, quick-paced, Mr. Freeze story that will get the taste of Batman & Robin out of your mouth.