Everybody should subject themselves to Batman & Robin at least once. No matter how bad you’ve been told it is, I assure you that the reality is worse. It’s a neon-soaked nightmare full of terrible acting, embarrassing costumes, horrible CGI, one of the all-time worst scripts (by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman) and, despite all that, it’s also crushingly boring. But it should be watched, if only to impress on audiences how truly bad a Batman film can be. For all intents and purposes, it killed Joel Schumacher’s career as a major Hollywood director and he’s even gone on record to apologize to fans.
Now, in an interview with Vulture, Schumacher has touched on Batman & Robin and the common reading of it as a homoerotic movie. His response is quite simple: “If I wasn’t gay, they would never say those things.” The interviewer went on to press him on the issue, pointing out that Bruce Wayne says he’s not the “marrying type” and that the new Batmobile design could be read as phallic, to which Joel said:
“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. … 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.”
Well, I’ll take him at his word about the actual characters not being gay. However, whether intentional or not, Batman & Robin is crammed full of intensely homoerotic imagery.
Let’s leave aside the low-hanging fruit of the sensual rubber musculature of the Batman and Robin suits, complete with butt shots, chrome codpieces and yes, the nipples. Instead, why not focus on the fact that Gotham City is filled with gigantic building-sized statues of naked men, on which at one point the characters sinuously drive across their bulging muscles?
I mean, c’mon Joel. Whether you consciously intended it or not, Batman & Robin is hella gay.