Mr. Freeze: Who is the Cryogenic Criminal – Movie Rewind Backstory

Tonight’s Forecast: A Freeze is Coming

Mr. Freeze:This is how I’ll always remember you. Surrounded by Winter. Forever young, forever beautiful. Rest well, my love. The monster that took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a dish… best served cold.

Batman: the Animated Series “Heart of Ice” (Season 1, Episode 14)

Three cops approach a warehouse. They’ve gotten an anonymous tip that a villain is hiding there. They infiltrate the building and discover an armored figure busy in a laboratory. In the back of the lab is a chamber with a frozen woman inside. They rush into the lab, startling the villain. He grabs an oversized gun and shoots at the ground in front of the cops. Ice forms on the ground. Two of the cops slip on the ice and are knocked out when they slam into a table.

The last cop fires his gun, the bullet missing the target and almost hitting the chamber. The villain turns to the cop, fury etched on his face. A blast from his gun freezes the cop solid. The villain shatters the frozen statue and rushes to the chamber to inspect it for damage. There is none. Mr. Freeze sighs in relief and rests his hand on the chamber’s window, separated by inches from his wife’s frozen cheek.

Mr. Freeze is one of DC’s most sympathetic villains. He started as a run-of-the-mill ice villain, but became an Emmy-winning member of Batman’s rogues gallery. So who is he? How did he get his powers? Why is he a villain? Stay frosty, it’s time to find out.

The Iceman Cometh: Mr. Freeze’s Backstory

[Batman has seen a video detailing Mr. Freeze’s origin story]
Batman:My God.
Mr. Freeze: [appears in a doorway] “Yes. It would move me to tears if I still had tears to shed.” 

Batman: the Animated Series “Heart of Ice” (Season 1, Episode 14)

Mr. Freeze debuted in Batman #121 in 1959. He was created by Bob Kane, Dave Wood, and Sheldon Moldoff. Another version of the character was introduced in Batman: the Animated Series and proved popular enough to replace the original. This version was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm.

Doctor Victor Fries (pronounced like freeze) was a scientist who studied cryogenics. His wife, Nora, contracted a rare, terminal disease. Dr. Fries created a cryogenic chamber and placed Nora in suspended animation to buy time to find a cure.

Ferris Boyle, Fries’ greedy boss, learned about the cryogenic chamber and ordered it shut down because it was costing him too much. When Fries refused, Boyle pushed him into a chemistry station. 

The chemicals altered Fries’ body so he couldn’t survive outside of a sub-zero environment. He crafted an air conditioned suit to keep himself alive and a freeze ray. Doctor Fries swore to save his wife and avenge them both, renaming himself Mr. Freeze.

Cold, Cold Heart: Dr. Victor Fries History

Mr. Freeze:Tonight, I mean to take revenge on the one who ruined my life. Our lives.”
Batman:Even if you have to kill everyone in the building to do it?
Mr. Freeze: [nods] “Think of it, Batman. To never again walk on a summer’s day with a hot wind in your face and a warm hand to hold. Oh, yes… I’d kill for that.

Batman: the Animated Series “Heart of Ice” (Season 1, Episode 14)

Mr. Freeze hunted Boyle, who was protected by Batman. The Dark Knight struggled with his first superpowered enemy and devised several gadgets to survive the frigid onslaught. Batman felt bad for Fries and found evidence of Boyle’s crimes, leading to his arrest.

Now that his boss was in jail, Mr. Freeze refocused on finding a cure for his wife. He began robbing banks and laboratories to fund his experiments. He wouldn’t murder, but didn’t care if anyone was harmed during his crimes.

Mr. Freeze finally caught a break when Lex Luthor discovered a cure for Nora’s disease. He saved her by transforming her body to be like Victor’s. Unfortunately, the process drove Nora insane and she became a villain called Mrs. Freeze. She abandoned her husband for being too soft, leaving him alone once more.

Hell Frozen Over: Mr. Freeze’s Powers and Personality

[Mr. Freeze is wounded and about to be crushed by a collapsing ceiling]
Mr. Freeze: “Stay where you are.
Batman: “You’ve got to get out of here, Freeze! The whole place is going to go!
Mr. Freeze: [blocks his path with an ice wall] “Believe me… you’re the only one who cares.”

Batman Beyond “Meltdown” (Season 1, Episode 5)

Mr. Freeze was dealt a bad hand, but still has some advantages. He is immune to cold temperatures, poisons, disease, and his aging has been slowed to make him virtually immortal. His suit also provides heightened durability and super strength.

The Freeze Gun is his signature weapon. This wintery weapon can freeze a target solid, create ice patches, or drastically lower the temperatures. The gun sometimes coats enemies in ice instead of freezing them solid, making it much less lethal. Batman occasionally uses a stolen one against superpowered opponents.

Mr. Freeze is a tragic figure whose sole desire is to save his wife. He is better described as an anti-villain than a supervillain. He is ambivalent about those caught in the crossfire, but rarely goes out of his way to kill people. He has even worked with Batman on multiple occasions, spurred on by what Nora would think of his actions.

The Actors Who Play Mr. Freeze

George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach – Batman (1966)
Ted Knight – The Batman/Superman Hour
Lennie Weinrib – The New Adventures of Batman
Michael Ansara – Batman: the Animated Series, Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, Batman Beyond
Clancy Brown – The Batman
John DiMaggio – Batman: the Brave and the Bold
Keith Szarabajka – Young Justice
Peter Stormare – Justice League Action
Alfred Molina – Harley Quinn
Oded Fehr – Batman Unlimited: Mechs and Mutants
Nathan Darrow – Gotham
David Burrows – The Lego Batman Movie
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Batman and Robin

Didya Get All That?

Batman’s most screwed over enemy.

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