This post is bound to offend some, so do yourself a favor if it already upsets you and don’t read further. It is also lengthy, so get off now if you’re not down for it. Keep in mind that this is my opinion and I’m not saying this should be accepted as an OFFICIAL reading.

Batman Forever is the gayest Batman ever.

And as a gay man, myself, I think I’m qualified to say so. Joel Schumacher clearly wasn’t interested in hiding it underneath a layer of secrecy. He probably felt that in the mid-1990s he shouldn’t have to, and the cast seemed to be fully in on his vision. Though, he certainly was both ahead of his time and late in a sense, because this came after the AIDS scare of the 1980s. Before the crisis it was becoming fashionable for rock stars to flaunt gayness and a sort of cross-dressing, gender fluidity, to an extent. Yet, the crisis placed the gay community in the position of outcasts in its aftermath, far from the emerging level of acceptance today, making Schumacher’s film a somewhat perilous venture in its given climate. The studio may have mandated an official straight reading of the material by having the screen writers include the prerequisite physical contact between male and female from time to time (Batman kisses Chase or the scene where Dick kisses the girl he rescued – window dressing really) but allowed flexibility for alternative interpretations.

The gay elements could be considered subtext at best to some heterosexual viewers, however it rests shockingly on the surface with barely any disguise for most gay audiences. Then again, maybe the lack of modesty was exactly what drew such ire from the straight fans who were so perpetually embarrassed by the overt gay potential in Batman’s premise. The nipple adornments on the chest of the bat suit announced the director’s full intentions as well as desires. All allusions and misdirecting excuses toward Roman centurion armor aside, one hardly imagines that the straight men of the modern world were calling for a revival of hard nipples on the pectorals of their combat attire – gay men, however?

So, what was straight-America’s response? The Hollywood critics’ establishment mainly analyzed the film from a technical standpoint, ignoring the gay elements and dismissing the piece as shallow action fluff that was all style over substance. Fair enough. Who could argue? While the average movie-goer and comic fans were probably largely oblivious to the gay features – they were confused about why a butt-shot was included when Batman suited up. The scene drew laughter in the theaters and inspired the mortification of children who took the material all too seriously.

If it went over the heads of straight people who didn’t know what to look for or couldn’t put their fingers on it, this time, Schumacher’s ambition was undeniable when subtlety went out the window in Batman & Robin. Ironically, that story had less gay subtext in the writing of the character’s relationships. It was its glaring drag show aesthetic that gave it away, versus Batman Forever’s leather and s&m bondage niche that fit more readily adjacent to Tim Burton’s approach. But in spite of Batman & Robin being the film to whip up a homophobic backlash and outrage among the earliest internet message boards (those were the days before sites instituted censorship of what came to be considered inflammatory comments, though the commenters would have argued that it was the film itself that was inflammatory, which was widely agreed upon in the fan community at the time), I would argue that it’s Batman Forever that is still the gayest Batman.

The opening scene of him gearing up in his fetish rubber, choosing his sharpest weapons, and getting ready for a night on the town was but a taste of what was to come. The ominous score and trek to the platform of the Batmobile reached a fever pitch when the camera zoomed in on his dramatic figure and Alfred interrupted with an inquiry as to whether or not he could persuade his master to take a sandwich with him. “I’ll get drive-thru,” came the response. Right away the film announced, tongue-in-cheek that it wasn’t going to take itself too seriously, restoring the camp that had fallen out of fashion in straight circles, but not in gay ones. Already achieved was a departure from the disturbing tone of Danny DeVito foaming sewage at the mouth.

Look no further than the scene on the roof top of police headquarters. Dr. Chase Meridian stands next to the bat signal, pulling out all the stops in her open trench coat and revealing, low-cut top, just waiting to psycho-analyze the Dark Knight. Her every alluring come-on and attempt to seduce him is rejected. He practically runs from her as she aggressively pursues him across the building’s surface, before eventually, literally jumping off the roof to escape. He’s so rattled by her forwardness that he forgets to do his disappearing trick while Commissioner Gordon distracts her with his entrance. When Chase turns around and Batman is still standing there, he’s like, oh ■■■■, then hurriedly jumps from the roof as she gawks after him with infatuated amazement. Clearly her gaydar is broken. When he lands in the Batmobile, the vigilante sits there for a moment, shaken, before muttering, “Women.” Each subsequent meeting between the Doctor and Bruce Wayne could be read as him trying to come out to her with the “psychiatrist” completely missing it, much like the audience.

The movie then becomes a battle between a gay supervillain couple and an in denial, confused one. Two-Face has his two side housewives (as was expected of gay men for cover back then), but he has no qualms about openly sharing his “deviant” lifestyle with his soulmate, the Riddler, in the comfort of their polyamorous home. Meanwhile, Bruce low-key seduces Dick in his own way by showing him his bikes and the two bond over bro stuff. It’s up to the gay old Butler to keep the new ward from discovering the s&m dungeon in the basement to avoid all sorts of awkwardness, but Dick is determined to uncover the secret he knows Bruce is hiding. Once he does, Bruce rejects him, afraid to blow his cover with Chase. Dick’s task becomes coaxing Batman out of his cave.

Early on at Wayne Enterprises, Eddie tries to throw signals at the stoic billionaire, who coolly sidesteps his needy advances. Bruce finally shuts the maniac down like a true alpha male, being the model closeted '90s man that he is, while Eddie is a grandiose queen with hidden, Jeffery Dahmer-like tendencies. At the climax of the film, the Riddler challenges Batman’s masculinity by forcing him to choose between saving Dr. Meridian or Robin, in his hot gladiator suit, updated as a ripped Burt Ward for the Calvin Klein underwear model age. Bruce succeeds at rescuing them both like a boss in a stunning upset for the drama obsessed villains. He then tells Eddie that he’s “both Bruce Wayne AND Batman, not because [he has] to be. But because [he] chooses to be.” This signals that he is bisexual, that his sex life is none of Edward’s business, and that he needs to keep his spycam Riddler-tech out of his bedroom. Needless to say, it was all too much for Eddie and he went apeshit in the Asylum. In the end, Chase learned that, like the audience, she could share her Batman with Robin because he was too hot to tie down in a relationship.

One final note that is sure to offend and horrify. You have been warned…

So, the bat suit has a conveniently placed zipper – a zipper that rests between two firm yet soft cheeks that fill out the costume quite nicely. I wonder what that’s for?.. Anyway, I think I’ve proven my point. Finally, something for us after so many salacious Power Girl covers. Lee Bermejo is a hero to me, by the way.

Grant Morrison’s Supergods discusses some of the same topics in his analysis of Schumacher’s Batman films and Glen Weldon’s The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture covers Batman and homosexuality, among many other aspects of the character. It’s not solely about possible gay interpretations, but his entire history as a character and how it has shaped fan culture. Both books were an inspiration in how I came to view Batman Forever.

I welcome all hate mail and negative comments, however I don’t hate-**** trolls, so don’t bother trying. I’m used to being in a minority-me-against-the-world opinion. Hopefully my reading doesn’t ruin the film forever for any straight people, because it shouldn’t. If it seems like “alternate” lifestyles are being shoved down your throat, think of how gay people have felt for centuries having to look at all of you suck face and all the other stuff. No harm in not sharing other’s attractions but remember that it’s a two-way street and we have been more than tolerant of viewing heterosexual love lives without treating straight people like nauseating beasts. We think you’re gross too, but we love you all the same. We’re all adults. Peace and love. And with that, I’m out. Literally​:smirk:


Dang duder well said. Haven’t seen it since it came out in Jr. High. As a completely oblivious heterosexual male teenager I of course didn’t catch any of that. Definitely want to give a rewatch and see if that stands out to me. Anyway I loved the last thing you said about the gay community having to sit through our or should I say straight people’s stuff ( I say we are all people first and foremost whatever else later). Yeah I like seeing a bussomy lady, why not throw some greased up beefcakes on there for other people to enjoy. People need to spend more time figuring out what turns them on and less time hating what others get turned on by and we’d all be way better off. Stay sexxxy everyone!!!

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Thx RobertDeBeero. I’m glad you liked it and were able to appreciate something that didn’t naturally register with your perspective. I agree that no one should be shamed for what they are attracted to, including straight men. Everyone has their right to fantasize and it’s perfectly healthy.

A very interesting & well-written read!

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I can’t read it

What is it you’re unable to read, @Meekeey? If it’s the board itself, and you happen to be able to somehow eventually see this post, please let us know if there’s a difference in your being able to see this based on the device being used, etc. You can send us a Customer Service ticket here: Submit a request – DC Universe Help Center

Also moving this thread over from Fan Creations to TV, Film & Games, as it’d be better suited there.

Hmm…now I know why that’s my favorite Batmobile…that giant fin is totally phallic and it all makes sense! Totally crushed on Chris O’Donnell back then as well…and today. :heart_eyes:


Hmmmm… very interesting. However, I’m reminded of another Schumacher film, The Number 23. It has alot to do with obsession and fixation. If you need a gay Batman it’s easy to find one in BF if you squint, but you have to write additional scenes in your head.
There are more rational reasons for alot of these observations. Like the butt zipper, maybe its for butt sex, maybe it’s just to make using the bathroom easier (it was probably so the performer could defecate without stagehands) The close-ups of rubbery body parts might be there for homosexual men…but they could also be there for hetero women in the audience. The Batmobile may have been designed phallic to signal to LGBTQ men “psst, Batman’s gay” but it might have more to do with the original Batmobile design. If that car is intentionally gay then so is every automobile manufactured the 40s.
I blows my mind how many authors have made a buck off of projecting homosexuality on the dynamic duo. It’s all so surface level. He has a boy side kick named Dick!" It’s very much in line with “Tinkie-winky is the gay teletubbie”…the show was for infants ffs. The quote I always found hilarious was from Grant Morrison, I’m paraphrasing “Batman is gay. Hes written as straight, but his lifestyle is that of a homosexual man”. Hes written as straight…but hes not. Hes portrayed as hetero, but hes not…k. doesnt really make sense unless you want it to, y’know. Dressing like a flying rodent, fighting crime, smashing out scantily clad femme fatales with names that symbolize femininity (flowers,kittys) on rooftops…was I having gay fantasies my whole life?!
Again, batman’s not real. If someone sees him as gay or just wants or needs a gay batman, that just fine. You can find it in BF if you want to, but I’m sure theres plenty of slash fiction and adult films that can…uh…fill that need better. Also, I know you arent trying to address the entire mythos and history of Batman, just this one movie. I guess all I’m saying is that it’s in the eye of the beholder.
Hope this doesnt come off as completely dismissive, OP was a very interesting and well written read. I’ve just always found the concept a bit contrived. The multiple wards and adoptions are a bad look too, why so young? Why always boys? Why not adult “partners”? Is it because they’re harder to condition? If gay men can see their lifestyle in Batman, what does a child predator see?
I’m not saying gay men are pedos or predators, but as I learned when I was 7, some are. Cheers

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To qoute Max Shrek to Bruce Wayne at the masked ball: “Yawn.”

Sorry my contribution wasnt exciting enough for you, @Robin620, but yawning is pretty damn dismissive and disrespectful

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Hey @87benlewis - I really enjoyed your take on BF. While some of your observations I myself had noticed, there were several new ones that make me want to watch it again right now! Also, your line “Clearly her gaydar is broken.” had me in tears as I had thought the same thing! I laughed so loud that the people around my desk were thinking I had gone crazy…well, crazier. Thanks for such an awesome and well-rounded post!

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@Zomebedy I don’t think you really have to invent scenes for BF, which is not what I did, you just need to subtract a few and it wouldn’t require the slightest amount of squinting to see what I was talking about.

I’m not sure it’s particularly lucrative to make a buck off of projecting Batman as gay since homosexuality has been despised by most of the country and world for much of history. If it was profitable, then DC would have for sure been more blatant in exploiting it for every penny. On the contrary, Schumacher’s films put Batman in limbo for 7 years. Never said they were good or bad gay films, necessarily.

Have you seen any interviews with Joel Schumacher? Does he strike you as a straight man? Lol. I’m not sure I would call the gay elements subtext so much as overtures :joy:. I did state, however, that I don’t intend that heterosexual fans should be forced to see the film in this way. Neither did the studio. As I mentioned, there are moments of interaction between male and female that provide comfort to straight people who want to see it as totally not gay. I would say that that didn’t work out, seeing as how the very first internet message boards enshrined forever the hatred of everything gay about the 2 films and its director, calling for his death, threatening murder, hoping he died of AIDS, etc. Some of those posts were reprinted in Glen Weldon’s book.

I don’t think Batman HAS to be gay. And I don’t think Grant Morrison was saying that. He can be either/or. He can be enjoyed as straight by heterosexual and gay people, and he can be enjoyed as gay by heterosexual and gay people. Personally I’m not particularly interested in his sex life, as that’s the least interesting thing about him and I don’t see him as an inherently sexual character, the way that Catwoman IS. I prefer the monk-like version that Denny O’Neil aspired to, who was obsessed with his mission to the exclusion of everything else. Who would want to be in a relationship with Batman? That said, for me, it stood out like a sore thumb in BF. I wasn’t looking for it. It was smacking me in the face because as a gay man I recognized it.

You’re correct. I was not addressing the entire history of the character, just Batman Forever. In the film, Dick Grayson is not a child, but a man, so there is nothing potentially predatory about their relationship. As for when Robin was a boy in the comics, you’d have to ask the artists and writers, themselves, of the stories featuring highly suggestive moments between the two, but I leave those stories for other people to judge, seeing as I have no interest in sexualizing material meant for children like Dr. Wertham did. Regardless of the intention of the writers, people with dirty minds will always like to read into the Michael Jackson-esque nature of the scenario and make jokes at the characters’ expense. You can’t stop would-be comedians.

Like you stated, being gay doesn’t make a person a pedophile and I don’t see the appeal of projecting that onto the character. Again – being gay has nothing to do with being a predator no more than being heterosexual does. If a young gay Robin was attracted to an older Batman, so what. But it would be deeply inappropriate for Batman to do anything with a child and I don’t appreciate the implication myself, either. I am sorry to hear about what you went through at 7 years old. Gay children can be abused as well as children who aren’t, too. Both the homosexual and heterosexual community have those that would prey on children, like you noted, whether its a heterosexual adult going after a hetero child, a hetero adult going after a gay child, a gay adult going after a hetero child, or a gay adult going after a gay child. Sadly, it is most often a family member or someone close in an authoritative position who should be protecting them. Batman would never do that.

If a writer wanted to create the great gay Batman story between him and an adult Robin, it would have my full support. Again, I’m not even sure what that would be, because the character is at his best fighting crime, not being romantic, though it does occasionally humanize him to include elements of lust, desire, and loss.

If you find it contrived, fair enough. I respect your opinion and don’t have an agenda to force everyone to see it as I did. And I think I laid out my points well enough. At the end of the day I’m merely writing about what I saw. We all have our own tastes. I think you’re right that dressing up in a costume and hanging out with chicks in leather shouldn’t be considered inherently gay behavior that straight men can’t or wouldn’t enjoy. That’s just comes from the stereotype that all gay men like to create and wear elaborate costumes – but so do hetero guys, just look at Comic-Con. Personally, I haven’t dressed up since I was 10 years old and that was for Halloween. And yet, I feel like the rubber and leather fetish gear with the kinky nipples on it WAS pretty gay, but that’s just me. Thank you for taking the time to read what I had to say and I really do appreciate you offering your response. I hope you see where I stand and I know that you were stating your views honestly, however you may feel about my take on it.

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I agree about Dick Grayson, robin620. While Dick’s ninja laundry scene is nothing if not ridiculous, it was really hot watching him wring out that towel. Here’s a hilarious video of Alfred refusing to be upstaged in showing wet clothes who’s boss:

Thanks, Pretty.Poison.Bombshell! I’m glad you liked it. If you thought that was hilarious, you should read Grant Morrison’s take on it in his book Supergods. It had me in tears too, as did his take on various things in DC history that had nothing to do with whether the characters were gay. Also, I forgot to note that perhaps the gayest thing in the movie was the security guard that Two-Face took fun in tormenting. Who made his whiny ass in charge of security lol?

@87benlewis, I can agree to all of that. What I mean about writers making a buck off projecting homosexuality on the dynamic duo probably has more to do with Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent and such than any writer or director who has actually worked on Batman. People looking to exploit the fears and hate people have to rally against comics and their creators.

I dont know what Grant was trying to say, lol. I know I like alot of his books though. If you’re saying that Schumacher may be gay and that influences some of his filmaking sensibilities, and that maybe as a straight man it may just pass unnoticed to me, again I can agree. Schumacher does have some traits that could be percieved as “telling”, I try not to stereotype but then again, the Lost Boys amirite. Schumacher makes good films when there is no toy franchise to push.

I do know a few people who project their sexuality on literally everything. But it very well could be that unless a film is as blatant as Nightmare on Elm Street 2, I just dont notice gay subtext. Shrugs. Again, good reading

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Joel Schumacher isn’t really a good role model for the LGBT community, IMO, because of one simple fact: he allowed both George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell to intentionally and blatantly make a homophobic mockery of the characters of Batman and Robin in the film of the same name.

Your theories are interesting. I always noticed the more surface subtexts like the penismobile and drastic amounts of nipple and butt shots but never really picked up on the deeper elements like the characters relationships and reactions to other characters…but can we all agree that George Clooney is way gayer than Val Kilmer?

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Lol. Other than the costume I personally don’t see it much with Clooney. It’s really more in the camp and art direction than in the writing or premise of Batman & Robin imo. George seemed like a guy who was confused about why he was in costume, unsure of what to do with himself in the role, and ill at ease with what his asinine surroundings demanded. I don’t see anything homophobic about it, just out of his element. He went for a somewhat self serious approach mostly in line with Adam West. For Batman Forever, though, it is firmly embedded and layered throughout, I feel. Kilmer’s performance took a tact that was wholely unique to his Batman and the world of the film. That’s why I labeled my post with emphasis that BATMAN FOREVER was the gayest Batman ever. Maybe some people have a difficult time seeing that film as MORE homoerotic because it’s slightly darker and stands alone in tone compared to B&R. It also is masculine for the most part in its depiction of the man and that wasn’t the common expectation at the time. The stereotype was that for a man to be gay he would be feminine as well. The average straight person had no idea how multifaceted the gay community was so they wouldn’t suspect a rugged male lacking any trace of a flamboyant give-away might be attracted to another dude. They didn’t have to look far for flamboyance, however, because the villains were living embodiments of it, not to be left out.

I would be interested to hear anyone who can tell me why specifically they think Clooney is gayer. I don’t get the car looking like a penis like other people, either.

@87benlewis: Clooney flat-out admitted that he played the Batman character as being an OTT (over-the-top) and stereotypically flamboyant homosexual and convinced Chris O’Donnell to do likewise with the character of Robin, and Joel Schumacher let them do so without any objections.

I’ve seen multilple interviews of Clooney saying he played the character gay, but I always took it as him joking because of the subsequent reaction to the movie. Because of the film being labeled gay he may have just been retroactively staking out a position that agreed with the audience. Of course it is unfortunate that people zeroed in on it being gay as being what was wrong with it, when it was primarily just a terrible script and bloated vision of what a toy selling blockbuster should be. Oh yeah and the nipples.

To me, he was just a straight guy trapped in a gay costume – which could be a good description overall for the movie lol. There aren’t any instances within the film that I could point to of him behaving in an even remotely flamboyant way. In fact he and Robin were fighting over the girl (Poison Ivy) most of the movie. I couldn’t ‘project’ a gay reading on the relationships between the characters if I tried, as opposed to Batman Forever which requires little to no projection, stretching, or back bending of any kind to recognize the unspoken agreement playing out.

If Clooney or Kilmer HAD acted in an explicitly flamboyant way it probably would’ve looked more like this:

To amend what I said about Clooney’s portrayal being “self-serious”, I’m not sure if that’s exactly how to describe his manner. I’m struggling to think of the proper way to put it into words within the context of similarities to Adam West. It’s the deadpan reading of ludicrous writing in his delivery of the lines. He pretends to take the situations seriously even though they’re a joke. I guess not everyone in the audience was laughing along with him. Oh well. If the film wasn’t steeped in camp it would be fascinating to have seen an alternative vision of Batman that utilized Clooney’s talents to give the world a less dark Batman that might have worked, even though I prefer a gritty version. There was an interview with George talking about Joel’s directing style and the tone on set. He said Schumacher was holding a bullhorn, giving him inspiration for the character, yelling, “Ok, George. Your parents are dead, you’re miserable, and you’re Batman. ACTION!”
Wow. That was disrespectful lmao. Its clear that Schumacher was burnt out and no one involved cared about the integrity of the character. The film as it exists remains a gulity pleasure anyway for its scope and relentless entertainment, not to mention mind-blowing in its commitment to ridiculousness. It takes me back, that’s for sure. My childhood gives it a 10 out of 10.:+1: Mission accomplished there, Joel.

Here’s the documentary from the Bluray release of Batman & Robin where Joel Schumacher explains in his own words why he thought the costumes of comicbook superheroes were inherently erotic and what went wrong with the movie’s production in his opinion:

Interesting watch for anyone curious about the making of the movie.

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