Joel Schumacher Finally Apologizes for ‘Batman & Robin’ (and the Bat Nipples)

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 - 11:29AM
Comic Book Movies
DC Comics
Batman
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Wednesday, 14 June 2017 - 11:29AM
Joel Schumacher Finally Apologizes for ‘Batman & Robin’ (and the Bat Nipples)
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Image credit: Warner Bros.
It's probably safe to say that Batman and Robin is the most hated superhero movie of all time. Sure, more recent films might have created fresher wounds in our hearts, but the birth of the Bat Credit Card, as well as all those awful ice puns, will live in infamy long after people have forgotten all about the whole "Martha" deal.

That said, while director Joel Schumacher has generally received the blame for the atrocity that is Batman and Robin, it's kind of hard to hate him for it now—especially when he gives fans such an earnest, heartfelt apology. Speaking with Vice, Schumacher expressed his deep regret at how much he hurt comic book fans around the world with his poorly received, glorified toy commercial.

Said Schumacher:

Opening quote
"I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that... A lot of it was my choice. No one is responsible for my mistakes but me...You know, I just knew not to do a sequel. If you get lucky, walk away. But everybody at Warner Brothers just expected me to do one. Maybe it was some hubris on my part. I had a batting average of 1,000...And then after Batman & Robin, I was scum. It was like I had murdered a baby.
Closing quote


Schumacher also explains how he wasn't really in touch with the comic book scene of the time, and he realizes now that he wasn't fully prepared to make a movie that reflected such an iconic character. He recalls a specific moment when he knew things had gotten out of hand:

Opening quote
So I'm in Rio, cutting the ribbon to yet another toy store with Warner Bros. merchandise and I just thought… what the fuck is going on? So I went on a vacation to Mexico, called my bosses. and told them that I couldn't do another Batman. You would think they wouldn't want me to make another. But the licensing, the toys, the pajamas, they've produced astronomical numbers in sales. I just needed to get out of carrying the summer movie thing, for my own sanity.
Closing quote


He also explained the logic behind those atrocious Bat Nipples:

Opening quote
"If you look at when Michael Keaton appears in the first suit, you'll notice how large it is. It was brilliant but the best they could do at the time. By the time Batman Forever came around, rubber molding had become so much more advanced. So I said, let's make it anatomical and gave photos of those Greek status and those incredible anatomical drawings you see in medical books. He did the nipples and when I looked at them, I thought, that's cool."
Closing quote


What's really interesting, though, is some of the context that Schumacher notes. The director took over from Tim Burton, who, with Batman Returns, had created possibly the most gruesome, disgusting, horrific incarnation of Batman and his villains that we'll ever get on screen. As a result, Warner Bros was eager to go in a far more child-friendly direction that wouldn't cause a riot among parents. Does it make Batman and Robin any better? No. Does it help us make sense of it? Yes.

Will the next Batman movie be a disaster? Maybe.
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