Batman Movies, as Ranked by His Suits
There are certain things that Batman is known for. These are things that cannot, nor should not, ever be taken away from him. His parents should remain dead. He should always have a Batmobile. He should never (okay, rarely) kill. And he should always, always have a cool Bat Suit. It started when Bill Finger changed Bob Kane’s original design of a red bodysuit with a Zorro mask into the black, blue and gray (and purple, in those early days) suit that Batman wears to this day. There will always be updates, sure. You can add new gadgets, or longer ears or a more gothic cape, but the foundations remain the same.
Batman on film has worn a variety of suits and costumes over the years. Some of them have been good, some have been bad and some have been very, very ugly. They have all made an impression, however, and we want to highlight them in this article. For brevity and clarity, we’re combining the similar suits worn in the Dark Knight Trilogy, as well as Batman v Superman and Justice League. We are also excluding Knightmare attire from BVS and the Sonar getup from Justice League. We’re just talking about the main costumes here because there’s a lot to digest and the longer we talk about the suits, the less time we have to go put on one of our own while we keep watch over the city.
Just us? Hokay, moving on…
7) Batman & Robin-
Chances are, Batman and Robin is going to be at the bottom of any “Best-of Batman” list. It features a terrible script, poor acting and, perhaps, the worst Batman costume of all time. Designed solely to sell as many toys as possible, both suits in Batman and Robin take the worst aspects of previous suits and turn them up to 11. Yes, there are still nipples and weird crotch designs. You are correct- Batman looks like loses any sort of mystique-factor when he looks like he’s playing for the Oakland Raiders. No, we do not like this suit.
6) Dark Knight Trilogy
Don’t get us wrong- we love the Dark Knight Trilogy. Christopher Nolan’s films brought Batman back to the top of the superhero list, where he belongs. The Dark Knight Trilogy, for many, was the version of Batman that they had always been hoping for. They were all great films in their own right. There was just one problem.
The suit sucked.
Yes, we know that Nolan was going for a ‘realistic’ take on Batman. In most aspects, he passed with flying colors. But man, that costume. The mask made Christian Bale’s face look like a triangle. There is a distinct lack of color. It looks like a Halloween costume, quite frankly. There is a reason no other iteration of Batman has utilized this look…it’s real bad.
5) Batman ‘66
Keep in mind, we’re talking about the actual costume here- not the weight of the actor wearing the costume. While Adam West had a ‘dad bod’ before the internet made that acceptable, the costume itself was as comic accurate as it could have been in those days. It was gray, blue, yellow and black- the four colors most associated with The Batman. Yes, the cowl had eyebrows but they added a bit of an expression to what would have otherwise been a fairly plain mask. This Batman costume, perhaps more than any other on this list, looks the most like its comic book counterpoints.
4) Batman Forever
We are not referring to the “Sonar Batsuit” that appeared during the final moments of Batman Forever. That suit was as bad as the one in Batman and Robin and, as was the case with these films, it was designed simply to sell toys. No, the Batman Forever suit that we’re talking about is the one that appeared throughout the majority of Batman Forever. It was reminiscent of the Tim Burton/Michael Keaton Batsuits, but it added a bunch of rubber muscles, making Val Kilmer’s Batman look like a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine. Yes, it had nipples. That was the only negative aspect of this suit, however. It had the yellow oval, a cool belt, and the perfect cowl. It made Val Kilmer look like a superhero, for crying out loud. That’s good enough for us!
3) Batman Returns
The costume in Batman Returns looks almost like the one in Batman ’89, but with a few alterations. Instead of the “natural muscle” look of the original, the Batman Returns costume makes the Dark Knight’s suit look more like protective covering- something that could only be penetrable by a well-placed claw. It retains the cape/cowl combination from the original, which was perfect. It also retains the yellow belt that might not function as well as other utility belts, but it sure does look cool. When we think of Batman in the movies, this is the version that we imagine.
Tim Burton knew that, if he wanted to silence critics of his upcoming Batman film, all he needed to do was show off Michael Keaton in the suit. That’s exactly what he did and, since then, Michael Keaton has been hailed as one of the greatest Bat-Men of all time. Much of that is due to Keaton’s performance, but a lot of it has to do with how freakin’ cool the costume is! Abandoning the gray and blue of the television show and the comic books, this Batman was clad in all back, except for a yellow belt and a yellow oval surrounding a very interesting bat logo design. This was a full rubber suit, designed to make Batman look as intimidating as possible, and that’s just what it does. The cape and cowl combination are flawless. The logo is unmistakable. The costume as a whole makes Batman look dark, brooding and absolutely perfect.
1) Batman V Superman/Justice League
There is only one Batsuit better than the one in Tim Burton’s 1989 film. It’s just a shame that it exists in a world that has been…tumultuous…to say the least. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman in Batman v Superman was one of the biggest (only?) highlights. Much of this was due to how much Affleck just looked like Batman.
The costume looked like it came straight out of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. It abandoned the black rubber suit that had been prevalent in every preceding Batman film, instead opting for a gray and black version. The cowl had shorter ears than previous versions, as well, but it didn’t look as goofy as West’s version. Out of all the Batsuits on film, it is the Ben Affleck iteration that most looks like the comic book. We trust that Matt Reeves will make an extremely enjoyable Batman movie. But he’s got his hands full if he’s trying to make a better costume than the one seen in Batman v Superman or Justice League.