The Evolution of the Batman Costume


Someone going by the name of Cronus has put together this sweet little collage of the many different bat-suits worn by the Dark Knight over the years, and since it’s Joel Schumacher’s birthday, I thought today would be a perfect time to post it.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about the costume. Those first four versions across the top are just terrible. Batman always seems to be sporting a bit of a paunch, and his trademark “horns” are either sticking out at wonky angles or are way too short. And who thought it would be a good idea to draw little pencil-thin eyebrows on his cowl? And why is his logo sliding down onto his belly? Ridiculous, just ridiculous.

The second row is where things start to look a little better. Tim Burton had the bright idea to make Batman’s costume into armour since, y’know, he usually faces criminals armed with guns. The chiselled muscles of the armour also add to the intimidation factor, and I can honestly say that I’d be pretty terrified if I had to face Tim Burton’s Batman alone in a dark alley. Though this version of the costume also has a bit of a weakness – one which would stick with ol’Bats for many years: he can’t turn his head. The awesome rubber cowl is just a little too think and as a result it isn’t at all flexible. Still, he’s a force to be reckoned with here, and he makes Adam West’s Batman look like a total joke.

Schumacher’s insistance on the inclusion of bat-nipples aside, the next three costumes from Batman Forever and Batman and Robin are pretty solid. The elimination of the yellow logo and belt actually make Batman much more menacing, but turning his forearm spikes into fins (as in the photo from the second row on the far right) just doesn’t quite work. I guess if they were blades, though, you wouldn’t have much time to complain about them before you got slashed.

The final row features both the high point and low point of the Batman costume. Joel Schumacher’s tacky blue-and-silver costume from the end of Batman and Robin is absurd. It’s just so gawdy, and it looks like an action figure more than the caped crusader we known and love. But then Christopher Nolan stepped in and BAM! Batman was back to being awesome again. The costume from Batman Begins was great, and it had this real-world feel to it that somehow make the ludicrous idea of a millionaire playboy becoming a superhero seem realistic. Then, in The Dark Knight, the bat-suit was finally perfected, because thanks to some fancy armour plating around the neck, Batman could turn his neck again!

At this point, it seems as though Batman has gone through costume hell and come out victorious once again thanks to Christopher Nolan’s brilliance. I predict that it will be quite some time before we see any bat-nipples again.

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