Of all the zany imagery in Joel Schumacher's Batman movies, fans tend to remember a particular design feature. Or rather, two features. The suits sported by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995) and George Clooney in Batman & Robin (1997) are infamous for being anatomically correct, right down to their perfectly sculpted nipples. Three decades after the sophomore film in the original Batman movie franchise hit theaters, the Dark Knight's most provocative costume is back in the conversation, Nerdist reports.
The topic of the nipple suit came up in an interview with Tim Burton for the 30th anniversary of Batman Returns (1992). The director of the first two Batman films told Empire that he was booted from the series when his sequel took the story in an odder, darker direction. He pointed out the hypocrisy of that decision in light of his successor Joel Schumacher's directing choices.
"You complain about me, I’m too weird, I’m too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go f--- yourself.’ Seriously," he told the magazine. "So yeah, I think that’s why I didn’t end up [doing a third film]..."
Schumacher takes the brunt of the blame for Batman's risqué outfit, but the suit was originally conceived by Batman Forever costume designer Jose Fernandez. He told MEL Magazine that the skintight effect was inspired by classic Roman armor and the painted-on look of the costumes in superhero comics. Schumacher isn't totally innocent, however. For Batman & Robin, he asked Fernandez to make the nipples more well-defined in the costumes of both of the title characters.
Though Tim Burton wasn't responsible for introducing bat-nipples to the franchise, his original suit wasn't well-received by everyone. The stiff neck of the costume made it impossible for Michael Keaton to turn his head, which end up shaping much of his performance. Instead of complaining, the Batman actor made his stilted movements part of Bruce Wayne's strange, antisocial personality.