The top half of Ben Affleck’s new Batsuit has been revealed, as created by costume designer Michael Wilkinson for the barely in production Batman vs. Superman. At first this black and white Bats looks kind of pettable, thanks to those smaller, kittenish bat ears. However getting in closer the suit is far more visceral than Lindy Hemming’s version for director Christopher Nolan. It actually resembles a (very buff) human body stripped of its skin.
Nolan is where most comparisons will be drawn; his Batman is still the benchmark in cinema, and while director Zach Snyder is less obsessed with plausibility the new suit is obviously intended to be functional as well as iconic. We can go back to the comics, Burton movies, Schumacher movies, art deco inspired animated series, even the sixties TV show, but Wilkinson’s take on the costume seems to most resemble that seen in the recent Rocksteady video games, minus those pointy ears and lighter colouring.
This Batsuit is muscular and chunky, more sculptured to a well developed human body than we’ve seen before, i.e. close to the initial suit seen in Batman: Arkham Asylum. The tiny, maybe Millerish ears will be controversial, but then something needed to be. It’s likely they will appear more relevant to the overall design of the suit in motion than stationary anyway. Bat-gloves and Bat-belt are present and correct, although it’s probable these won’t be the finished article, not at this very early stage.
Dig out a magnifying glass and the Wilkinson suit is veined and sinewy; a second skin over popping pecs and abs. There’s what appears to be scarring across the Batman logo and over the arms, suggesting this is a tired and well-worn version of the character. Bats looks to be bigger than Henry Cavill’s Superman, too. Maybe that’s the point? Batman has to be a larger presence than because he’s a human being and Superman is an alien with superhuman powers. The ‘vs’ in this film’s title won’t mean much if Batman is only brawny enough to carry’s Superman’s luggage.
A predictably good start then for Michael Wilkinson; the grey matt colour is preferable to always problematic glossy black, the cape neatly fits the breadth of Affleck’s pumped up shoulders, and the Bat symbol is an embossed motif rather than brazen signifier. Cannot wait to see what he has lined up for Wonder Woman.
Batman vs. Superman is due for release on 26th April 2016.
© 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.