Homophobia in criticism of BF and B&R

Discussion in 'Batman World' started by juarez, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. juarez Registered

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    Let me preface this by disclaiming that I in no way believe Batman Forever and Batman & Robin to be good films or that they in any way reflect the "true" character of the Baman mythology. Undoubtedly they are ass. However I have become increasingly frustrated by the homophobia inherent in many people's criticism of Shumacher and his films and believe that such comments indicate a juvenile bigotry towards the director's sexuality.

    I have read many suspect posts on this forum, mostly the perceived notion that the films' shortcomings are due to them being directed by a gay man, as if a gay director equals a gay batman! I believe that Shumacher's sexuality is conveniently scapegoated as a reason people dislike his approach to Batman, and that the O.T.T theatrical production design of the movies is associated with him being gay by fans.

    I contest that there is anything gay about BF and B&R at all and I'll argue the points made by many fans time and again:

    1. There is a homosexual subtext to the films - Where? Do Batman and Robin get it on any point in the films? Is Bruce Wayne presented as anything other than heterosexual in his interactions with the films' female characters? One could argue that the approach is camp, but camp does not equate gayness, it equates intended or ironic silliness, certainly not a homoerotic subtext.

    2. Gratuitous male ass shots - Curious, nobody mentions the gratuitous female boob and ass shots of the films, of which there are several. Seemingly nobody can handle equal opportunity gratuitous nudity/sexuality. It's symptomatic of the straight male gaze that rules our culture. It's ok for women to be sexualised for male consumption, yet men cannot be sexualised in the same manner without it being unwholesome or gay! You don't see women mock throwing up in their mouths at the sight of batgirl's bat-boobs do you?

    3. Bat-Nipples! - If there's anything as overused and cliche as a criticism against the Shumacher films, it's this. Get over it you big babies! Seriously what's the trauma here, don't you have any nipples yourselves?! Are you really that scared by the sight of the human male form? Does Batman rub them at any point in the films?! The only way the bat-nipples connote homoeroticism would be if Chris O'Donnell had started licking on them. Shumacher obviously intended the batsuit to be more representational of the human form, to appear more naturalistic and organic than the previous batsuits, and guess what, that means nipples. Personally I don't think much of the batsuits myself, but whatever the rights and wrongs of it Shumacher wanted them to appear more statuesque. Again that does not equal homoeroticism.

    Discuss.
     
  2. StylishHokie21 Registered

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    Nipples? Of course we all have nipples, but was it really necessary to put them on Batman and Robin's suit?
     
  3. SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    Much of the hate for Forever and B&R is because they are simply bad movies that over-campify Batman (which is made even more jarring with them following Burton's darker Bat-films).
     
  4. Mr.E.Nygma Registered

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    Male butt shots were more offered because Batgirl only appeared in the last act of B&R. Other than that, it's just easy to bash those two weak batfilms for the gayness inside...worse than that is blame the gayness of the director, some did this and IMO it's 10 TIMES WORSE to insult a person about his sexual orientation than treat a film for its tendancies.
     
  5. Two-Face Harvey Dent

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    I agree with that, it's a costume.:cmad:
     
  6. RobC Registered

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    I actually only found out that Schumacher was gay today, no jokes, I seriously did not know. I agree with the original post though, it's ridiculous to say that Schumacher made Batman campy because he himself is gay.

    From the SE commentaries I think it is clear that Schumacher intended to take Batman back to the camper, more comical (and kid-friendly) days on the 50's and 60's. That had nothing to do with his sexuality, and anyone who believes so obviously doesn't know much about the production of the films.

    Finally, to insult a directors ability because of his sexuality is ridiculous. Sadly there's always going to be these people, but if enough of us disregard and discourage this behaviour then we will slowly fade it out.

    Oh, and I loved BF, B+R had potential but was lost under a sea of neon, kitschness and bad one liners.
     
  7. SHADOWBAT69 outlaw

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    Well, Ive never bashed either of the Schumacher films. I have said several times they were not my personal preference of the bat films and I didnt care for the style in which they were done, but I have never bashed. I will try to give my point of views on your comments as best I can without seeming as a "basher".

    I do feel that Joel Schumacher may have let more of his personal lifestyle choice creep into the Batman projects than in any of his other films. (Until Phantom of the Opera):oldrazz: There is a flamboyance in these films that is very representative of Schumacher himself. I feel that this flamboyance is a direct trait of his lifestyle choice, as I think many others do as well. Thus the very broad label of just calling these films "gay".

    1. The homosexual subtext, to my knowledge, as never been applied to Batman and Robin themselves, but rather to Riddlers obsession with Bruce Wayne. What they did went beyond some psychotic form of obsession, but rather touched on some rather erotic obsession points. Subtle things, but they may be interpreted as such. Examples: refusing to let go of Bruces hand. Many, many photos of the man hanging everywhere around him, transforming himself into a "clone" of Bruce. Even down to the mole mark on his face. Never taking his eyes off of him when in his presence. His remarks about Bruce supposed to understand him. These are debatable, I will admit, but can be seen in that "gay" way.

    2. The male ass shots. Well, youre correct, why no *****ing about the female shots. That only happened at the end of his second film.:whatever: The core fan base for Batman is male. Why put these images in a film that is meant for a mostly male audience, especially when a large part will be younger unless you yourself dont see anything wrong with it? This may have to do with your lifestyle. This can also be argued that it was put in the films for the female audience it was trying to attract. Remember, WB wanted to broaden the target audience with Forever. Personally, I didnt want to see these shots. It was extremely unnecessary. It did feel "gay" to me. This is my opinion.

    3. The nipples. This, believe it or not, didnt really bother me much. I wasnt concentrating on those little points on the costume. Seriously. I do remember when they were doing the film the reasoning for doing such a thing as adding all the fine details in these suits. Making them more Roman like in their anatomy. Making them god like. This was further discussed on the recent SE's. I saw where they were coming from as far as an artists perspective when designing and sculpting the suits. However, again, i personally didnt feel it was necessary to do this in a Batman movie. This was just another example of how Schumachers lifestyle may have had a bit more of an influence in his decision making.

    I dont think that people are being unfair in blaming aspects of the Schumacher films on his life choice. Its obviously there. However to solely blame things on this one factor is rediculous. There will be people who will do this, theres nothing you can do about it. On the other hand, as Ive said, to not think that there are points that are a factor of this, is to be just as blind.
     
  8. Joker Registered

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    If you dont think Shumacher puts incredible, over the top homosexual subtext into not only these, but several of this other movies (beefcake posters in Corey Haims room in Lost Boys jumps immediatly to mind) then you're deluding yourself. I'm fine with gay people, as far as I'm concerned, anything two consenting adults do is none of my buisness. But when you make Riddler gay for Bruce Wayne, have tight shots of Batman's ass every time he suits up (which dont even make sense, where the f**k is the cape?), and have everyone acting gay in almost every scene (Two Face and Riddlers constantly groping each other, Riddler...well...just about everything Riddler did), then it's pretty obvious that the guy is doing nothing but putting his own fantasies on film here, with characters that have no buisness being involved in that.
     
  9. RobC Registered

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    Interesting words there, and despite my previous posts I have to say I agree with some of them. But the films didn't suck, or bomb, because of these points only, remember that a lot of the obsession and 'gayness' came from the script, that Schumacher didn't have a lot of influence upon, if I am correct most of the script was presented to him as finite and he chose to edit some.

    Honestly though, does it matter? Why not embrace the campiness and see it for what it is, a fun take on the characters bringing back memories of the 50's and 60's.
     
  10. hulkamania85 Registered

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    Yeah, there is definitely some homo erotic undertones here and there in the Lost Boys. But whatever, it's still a fun flick.

    I didn't really see the Wayne/Riddler thing as gay. Maybe it's because I'm reading the BF novelization now, but it just seemed like typical crazy person being obsessed with a famous figure, not anything sexual.

    The thing about the ass shots is that it's a blatant close up. Nothing subtle about it at all. It just kind of always comes of as "was that really necessarily?".
     
  11. Mr. Socko Registered

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    The Riddler was so gay, just look at that hair and that sparkly silver leotard he wore. It was so obvious he wanted to sex the Batman(who wouldn't!?!).

    All in good cheer, all in good cheer. Many of the gay jokes directed towards the films are more self-aware so I don't have a problem with them, although I do hate when they just become homophobic jokes and people get too carried away(as they sometimes do in the TDK board). I completely see your point about the ass-shots, there were both male and female butt shots, it wasn't just exclusive to Batman and his hotness(strike that).

    As you said the bat-nipples were not homoerotic, Joel Schumacher has even given a reason for why the rubber suits have nipples. I didn't like them but in all honestly, never had a big problem with them either. I think both the Kilmer and Clooney suits contained far worse designs than just teh nips.

    I can't say I found the Riddler's actions to be 'gay' either. The clothes, the flamboyant style, etc was all completely in character with the 60s counterpart. I don't think the writers of the 60s had any kind of secret hidden agenda in mind, they just made the characters flashy and showy, which is all to often confused with being gay.

    The movies took a campy, silly, and outlandish approach and I'm sure we would have gotten the near the same conclusion if Sam Raimi was hired in '93 and told to make the films bright and bold. And as I've said many times before, I enjoy the Schumacher films for what they were and I thought they were updated but accurate to the era they were suppose to represent. For me, Batman Forever was a very fun film, there's really only a handful of things I can say I hate about it. B&R, took things to an even higher level, it's not nearly as good as Forever but there are many things I like about it.

    I joke about the Schumacher films myself(first line in post), but I'm hardly serious people, usually it's just when a crazy thread starts and I just feel like joining in and chucking logs into the fire. But I'll always be here to defend them in a real time of need. Oh and TJ, I'll give you Lost Boys. I've even said it myself, y'know, I have more to say on that part but maybe in my next post.


    But yeah, these movies are seriously gay to the highest degree*insert ice pun,* next time I go to my bf's house I will definitely put on Batman & Robin!
     
  12. RobC Registered

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    Me and my boyfriend always watch B+R to get us in the mood.

    I joke, I kid...

    It's not gay, it's campy.
     
  13. Thot Registered

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    Though BF is my second favorite Bat-film (next to BB), I understand many of the criticisms leveled at it. I've always had a hard time understanding the "homo-erotic subtext" allegations. To me, it was indeed a bit campy at points, but camp doesn't equal "gay". For me, Batman Forever was very fun, comic-bookish, and adventurous (in a way Begins/BR and '89 weren't) and was a lot of fun. I would like to see a BF edit (like Donner did for Superman II) that omits some of the sillier stuff. Could be cool. After Nolan is done with his trilogy, I would like to see a return to a lighter, more humorous and adventurous Batman. Maybe a bit more like Raimi's Spiderman series.
     
  14. Joined:
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    Batman forever and batman and robin, are, gay, as, a flaming homosexual duck.
    I think he was jerking off behind that camera and probably rewinds the batman butt shot over and over.
     
  15. Kevin Roegele Do you mind if I don't?

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    I find it hard to believe anyone over the age of 16 can't see the blatant homosexual overtones. I could start listing some of them, but there is no point as you only need watch a few minutes of footage.

    Having said that, a lot of fpeople in the film industry are gay and you'd be surprised how many (major) films have a gay subtext.
     
  16. swifty Registered

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    LOL!!!! :D
     
  17. cryptic name No Limits

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    to me, this just says you don't understand what SUB-text is.

    the funny thing about this is when i was a kid and the movies first came out, i had no idea schumacher was gay, but i did get a very gay vibe from the movies themselves.
     
  18. juarez Registered

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    Urgh! Homosexuality is NOT a lifestyle preference or choice, it's a sexual orientation, and it certainly does not insidiously creep into a gay artist's work like you seem to be suggesting. I bet you're one of those people who like to rail against the "evil gay agenda". Gay men are varied and diverse, they are not all flamboyant, most are as "straight" acting as anyone else. Flamboyance is in no way a gay personality trait, and many straight men can be considered camp.

    As for the Riddler's obsession with Bruce Wayne, one could make a case that there is an attraction there, but the film also presents Riddler coveting Nicole Kidman and flirting with the Drew Barrymore character. As presented in the film it's more of a professional infatuation than anything else.

    What the hell do you mean by my "lifestyle" making me think there's nothing wrong with younger guys seeing male ass shots?!! Please explain, because that comes across as really offensive. My point was that nobody complains about the sexualisation of Catwoman, Chase Meridian, Poison Ivy and Batgirl, but a couple of male ass shots make you hurl in your mouth. Hypocrisy much? Fine, you're straight, but women and gay men have to sit through the sexualisation of females in almost every film and they don't complain so get over it.

    The gay "lifestyle" does not influence people subconsciously to include nipples on superhero costumes. It was a conscious decision to make the suits look more like the human form/statuesque, there was no gay intent! Just because you think that anything to do with the human male form is gay, well, that says more about your personal hang-ups than Shumachers.
     
  19. juarez Registered

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    Well your point fails until you actually decide to list these homosexual overtones.

    So you think that because gay people work in Hollywood, they're sneaking in a radical gay agenda/subtext in their work? ZOMG!!!11!1! :whatever:
     
  20. SHADOWBAT69 outlaw

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    well. I can see that you are not going to take what others have to say as an equal opinion. So Im not going to elaborate any further on anything. I have better things to do than to get into an argument over the gay tones of Schumachers films with someone who doesnt see anytihng wrong with it or even acknowledges it being there. By your last 2 posts directed to me and Kevin, its obvious you only started this topic to argue your gay stance. Take it somewhere else.
     
  21. Darkseid1 Registered

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    wow. I dont think Ive ever seen shadow get aggressive in a topic before. :p


    There are obvious gay tone in these 2 films. are you blind? they are there because the director was gay and he put these things in there because thats the way he sees things. this is what directors do. bring things to life in "their" vision. gay isnt a life choice? thats a debate for another forum entirely. i agree with what was said. take your soapbox somehwre else.
     
  22. juarez Registered

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    So if someone doesn't agree with your particular stance on a film it automatically means he's on a soapbox? I take issue with your suggestion that because Shumacher is gay it automatically equates to a "gay vision". It's not parallel to what someone like Bryan Singer does in the Xmen films, theres an obvious intended gay subtext to those films, and it's appropriate for an adaptation of that particular comic. But again, I question there being any sort of homoeroticism/homosexual subtext to the Shumacher films, because nipples and neon does not equate gayness! And no gay isn't a life choice.
     
  23. juarez Registered

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    See that just reads to me as "I'd rather just label you as a gay agenda trouble-maker than actually refute your points or reply to the questions you asked me".
     
  24. Kevin Roegele Do you mind if I don't?

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    No it doesn't. Because whatever I would list, you would find someway to argue against. I don't know why you are arguing this, everybody knows about the gay overtones of Shumacher's Batman films. Michael Gough and George Clooney have spoken about it, often in Clooney's case.
     
  25. juarez Registered

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    I'd argue the reason that everybody seems to think there is a gay subtext/overtone to the films is due to the culture we live in today, where everyone labels every other thing gay as a pejorative term. The gay insinuations are just an extention of that mentality, anything remotely associated with the stereotypes of homosexuality (garish colours, camp, the male form) is seen as emblematic of a "gay vision". The whole "Shumacher films are gay" thing is something that has snowballed in fan-culture and has become thought of as fact, which is what I want to challenge. People want to label something as gay without actually posing an argument as to why they think that. George Clooney has said that he played Batman gay,- something he said many years after the film bombed in response to an interviewer asserting that the film had a gay tone. The gay thing is something started in fan-circles and has become directly associated with the films. This does not mean that the films were ever intended as homoerotic/gay, or that they possess any gay overtones. You saying that "everyone knows" of the gay subtext just proves how the common perception is now considered fact.
     

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