Isn't it time to let Joel Schumacher out of Bat jail? I mean, we have had two iterations of the Dark Knight since Schumacher attempted a neon Day-Glo interpretation of Gotham City. And yet, the poor guy is still apologizing for the visual tweaks and flairs he made to the classic DC Comics icon. Hasn't enough time passed? Must this man still make penance for his Bat decisions? The nipples on the Bat suit are top of mind for Schumacher once again, as he explains in a recent interview WHY he added them to Bruce Wayne's crimefighting costume. Schumacher says:
Well, it was 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 toBatman 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.'
Fans disagreed. The Bat Nipples have become the go-to argument of what NOT to do in a Batman movie, even though Joel Schumacher explains to Vice exactly why they made sense (in his mind, at the time). Forget the incessant Bat puns that dominated Batman & Robin, or the comical exaggeration that became the supervillains of Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face and Bane. Dear Lord, this is what passed for a Batman villain in the Schumacher movies, and we complained about nipples on the Bat suit?
The nipples, eventually, set the Batman franchise free. In a direct response to the over-the-top grandeur of the Joel Schumacher Batman movies, Christopher Nolan went the opposite direction with Batman Begins. He broke Gotham's protector down to his most basic elements, and grounded every aspect of Batman's crimefighting repertoire. He explained the Batmobile. He dissected the costume. He filled in backstory on the Bat cave, and the hero's weapons. He created the on-screen hero we still love to this day.