Article by Tyler Shae Harris
Over the years since its release, much has been said about Batman & Robin. As someone who was born a child of the 90’s, this was one of the four films I grew up watching, but it wasn’t until much later in my life that I learnt of all the controversy surrounding it, but a sequel needed to be made. Batman Forever had performed incredibly well two years prior on a small (for our current superhero-movie-standard) budget, so the cast and crew (sans Kilmer) came back for more.
In a recent interview with Vulture, director Joel Schumacher opened up about the film, but more specifically, the perceived homosexual undertones. A lot of this has come down to the fact that Schumacher himself is openly gay, and when asked point-blanc whether or not the film used campy one-liners to “make the franchise gayer,” Schumacher stated:
If I wasn’t gay, they would never say those things.
Continuing on, interviewer Andrew Goldman asked the director about his choices on how to portray Bruce Wayne in these films, as well as whether or not he made the Batmobile more phallic.
Goldman: Some said that you portrayed Bruce Wayne as a closeted gay man, citing his line about not being the marrying type. They also said you redesigned the Batmobile to be phallic.
Schumacher: This all started way before me. Long before I came along, someone wrote a whole thing about what the real message of fairy tales and children’s stories are. Snow White was all about having bad stepmothers. And Batman and Robin are two homosexual men living in a cave, living together. There’s always been this thing about Batman and Robin being gay.
The publication Schumacher is referring to is a 1954 book published by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham – Seduction of the Innocent – wherein he stated that comic books corrupt young readers, and that Batman and Robin offer “a wish dream of two homosexuals living together.” But is this the basis that Schumacher took and ran with for his film?
Schumacher: No. Nor do I ever think Batman and Robin are gay. There were a lot of people who I would say, in one particular community, wanted George Clooney to be gay so badly.
A lot of the criticisms levelled at Schumacher stem from the costume changes and gratuitous amount of Bat-Nipple, however these have been refuted before as being changes made to compare the characters to ancient statues.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this interview is the discussion about the fact that there were homosexual undertones in the franchise – not so much the history of the characters as a whole, though – before Schumacher even got on the scene.
What do you think? Love the Bat-Nipples? Love this film regardless of all the criticism? Or do you agree with Schumacher that there shouldn’t have been sequels? Regardless of where you stand, sound off in the comments below and let us know!
If you would like to read the full interview, click here.