Having long subscribed to Batman’s own philosophy of “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me,” James Franco did what defines him by posting a photo of someone, likely himself, dressed as Batman with semen on his face. It was all part of a brief Instagram exhibit that Franco entitled “50 Shades of batman and robin”—a two-part, searingly astute satirical commentary on our inherent sexualization of comic-book characters, the psychological parallels between the binding rubber-and-leather outfits, the emotional damage, and the disregard for pain that characterize both superheroes and sadomasochists, and the societal schism that sees us worshipping one while hiding the other. It was also a nod to the fact that 50 Shades is about sex, and the taboo theory that maybe Batman and Robin also had sex, all making for a thematically rich, cultural tableau that only true artists like James Franco are bold enough to throw some cum on. Because sometimes, people deserve to have their faith in Franco rewarded.
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