Horror fans will always have mad love for Joel Schumacher as the man who directed The Lost Boys, Flatliners, Falling Down, 8 MM, The Number 23, and Blood Creek. He’s also helmed some incredible films from other genres like A Time to Kill, The Client, and Dying Young. Unfortunately, no matter how sterling the majority of his filmography is, or how bright his future endeavors may shine, Schumacher will forever be bound to Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, the films he directed in 1996 & 1997.
The films aren’t just terrible, trading Tim Burton’s dark/gothic aesthetic for a neon/Vegas sheen; obvious cash-grabs designed to sell toys more than fill theater seats—they’ll forever be infamous for putting nipples on the Bat-Suits. It’s something Schumacher may never live down; 20+ years later, he’s still apologizing in an interview he gave with Vice.
“Obviously [the studio] had very high expectations after Batman Forever. But perhaps it was the more innocent world in comparison, I don’t know. I just know that I’ll always go down over the nipples on Batman starting with Batman Forever.”
As for why:
“Well, [the Bat-Suits were] made by Jose Fernandez, who was our brilliant lead sculpture. If you look at Batman and Batman Returns, it was the genius, Bob Ringwood that created those suits, so by the time we got to Batman Forever, the rubber and techniques had gotten so sophisticated. 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.”
“Look, I apologize. I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.”
Official Synopsis: Batman (Val Kilmer) faces off against two foes: the schizophrenic, horribly scarred former District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), and the Riddler (Jim Carrey), a disgruntled ex-Wayne Enterprises inventor seeking revenge against his former employer by unleashing his brain-sucking weapon on Gotham City’s residents. As the caped crusader also deals with tortured memories of his parents’ murder, he has a new romance, with psychologist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman).
Official Synopsis: This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O’Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes of a deranged set of new villains, most notably the melancholy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who wants to make Gotham into an arctic region, and the sultry Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a plant-loving femme fatale. As the Dynamic Duo contends with these bad guys, a third hero, Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), joins the ranks of the city’s crime-fighters.