‘Batman’ director Tim Burton unloaded on several of the films made after he was forced out of the franchise, taking particular aim at the later iterations of the Batsuit that included oversized nipples.
Burton spoke with Empire about the newest film — Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” — which is expected to plumb depths of darkness that have not yet been seen in any of the Batman movies. He noted the irony that the Caped Crusader was returning to much darker themes after his own attempts to take the franchise in that direction had resulted in him being ousted altogether.
“It is funny to see this now, because all these memories come back of, ‘It’s too dark,'” Burton reflected on complaints about his second outing with the Dark Knight, “Batman Returns.” “So, it makes me laugh a little bit,” he said.
“[Back then] they went the other way,” Burton said of the third and fourth films. “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin,” both directed by Joel Schumacher, veered more toward cartoonish, campy, and over the top. “That’s the funny thing about it. But then I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Okay. Hold on a second here. You complain about me, I’m too weird, I’m too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go f**k yourself.’ Seriously. So yeah, I think that’s why I didn’t end up [doing a third film] …” Burton added.
Burton was far from the only critic of the pronounced nipples on the Batsuit, however. Lead sculptor Jose Fernandez, who created the oft-ridiculed suit, explained that he had taken the idea from Roman armor — but that the costume had quickly taken on a life of its own.
“It wasn’t fetish to me, it was more informed by Roman armor — like Centurions. And, in the comic books, the characters always looked like they were naked with spray paint on them — it was all about anatomy, and I like to push anatomy,” he said. “I don’t know exactly where my head was at back in the day, but that’s what I remember. And so, I added the nipples. I had no idea there was going to end up being all this buzz about it.”
According to Fernandez, Schumacher actually liked the addition — and asked that it be highlighted more in “Batman & Robin.”
“He’s the boss, so we sharpened them, circled them and it all became kind of ridiculous,” Fernandez added. “I didn’t really care or think much about it. Whenever I had a chance, I’d explain where the concept came from — from Roman armor — but after a while, it got its own life and I just let it be. I couldn’t think of it much more after that.”