Batsuit Comparison: The Dark Knight vs Batman Begins

Published 7 years ago by

There’s been a fair amount of discussion online regarding the newly redesigned batsuit from the Batman Begins sequel: The Dark Knight, so I thought I would put images of the two suits up side by side for comparison.

batsuit comparison Batsuit Comparison: The Dark Knight vs Batman Begins


There seem to be three schools of thought on this:

1. Folks who are displeased that the batsuit in the movies continues to stay away from the comics’ classic “grey tights” look.

2. People who don’t mind the armored look, but think the execution is too “busy.”

3. People who think the new suit looks great and reflects a real-world concept of a character like Batman.

Personally I fall into category #3, but I can understand the arguments of those in camps #1 and #2 and each one has valid points.

For the “classic” argument you have of course the fact that Batman should look like the Batman that inspired the movies. If it worked in the comics it should be good enough for the movies, and it’s sacrilege to make radical changes to such an iconic costume. There is also the argument that having a non-armored Batman adds to the fear/mystique quality of his reputation among criminals. On the other side one could argue that in the real world setting that Christopher Nolan has created for the film, that wearing nothing more than a thin garment just isn’t realistic or believable for a non-super-powered guy to go around fighting criminals with automatic weapons and psychopaths. The suit from Batman Begins, although rubbery looking, was probably the closest in overall look to the comics version than in any other Batman movie. If you want to talk “criminal intimidation factor”, I think the new suit has it in spades.

The second argument could be debated until the cows come home: Give the assignment with some vague parameters like “armored”, “ninja” or “modern samurai” to 10 costume/VFX designers and you’ll end up with 10 completely different looks for the costume. It just comes down to a subjective choice by the director of what he likes and how it fits into the universe he’s created. I think that while the costume in the first Nolan film was a departure from the previous movies, the design was still heavily influenced by what came before.

The third group says “hey, the costume looks great and realistic.” The chain-mail underneath the armor looks more breathable and flexible, and the more segmented the armored plates are across the costume, the more mobility Batman has when fighting, which to me is extremely important for a character whose main method of combat is hand to hand. This is why I’m also happy to see a cowl that finally allows him to turn his head from side to side. This new costume looks like the first real ground-up redesign of a Batman movie costume and with the exception that it would probably take 3 hours to put on, it’s probably the most realistic design for a guy who might do what Batman does in the real world.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above points!

TAGS: the dark knight

116 Comments

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  1. well.. i am part of camp 1. i don’t see any reason why the movie costume designers couldn’t come up with a suit that is most similar to the comics.. Batman is a great warrior in a suit, he is just that. A skilled martial artist / athlete and detective.. The MAN should be the one emphasized in the movies. The skills of the MAN should be the focus, he is after all the best human specimen in the DC universe. In this regard he is still a SUPER – MAN.

    I really like what this guy did here http://features.cgsociety.org/stories/2005_08/dark_knight/images/batman.jpg

    I still can compromise with a gray version of the 2nd batbale suit.

  2. and oh yeah… before i forget… i would sure like it if the succeeding movies show white eye protectors like they do in the COMICS… protectors, lens or shields.. or mini monitors… the WHITE EYE COVERINGS maybe all these.. i dont know.. but i want to see them in the succeeding movies.. they are part of BATMAN!

    If there is ever going to be a part 3 The director should be bold enough as to stay away from the current black rubber suit trend and just be as faithful to the comic as possible. The director will go down in history as the person who really gave life to BATMAN.

    HEAR THAT BURTON???!!!!!!! WE DON’T LIKE YOUR BLACK RUBBER SUIT!!!!

    • Yes, I would also like to see Batman in the classic comic book suit but Burton’s suit is incomparable to this crap. Burton’s a creative genius and his epic revival of the Dark Knight on the silver screen is original yet much more faithful to the comics than this. If Burton didn’t do what he did, we’d still have the Adam West Batman look on screen much like Superman. (Richard Donner shouldn’t have listened to Chris Reeve and instead should’ve given him the muscled suit)

  3. Doomsday, I don’t think we’ll see white eye coverings – they didn’t even do it for the Spider-Man movies.

    Vic

  4. Vic,
    In the Batman Begins movie they said that the kevlar body suit had reinforced joints which I can see with the Begins suit and I think that is really awesome and explains how he swings qwithou ripping out his arm. But in this new Dark Knioght suit it doesn’t look like it could be reinforced. And if you’ve seen any really close ups of his close thye look really bad especially the knuckles and the gloves have changed. Didn’t he use a special glove to activate the current in the cape. I don’t know about the new suit. So far it has alot to account for and if they explain the use and reason for it i will be all good but if they don’t I am going to be really disappointed won’t you? If you are of the opinion that it should be real world ready than you must agree.

  5. Random Observation …

    Has anyone seen “Batman: Gotham Knight” ? It is a direct to DVD cartoon / anime that has been highly advertised this summer, along w/ The Dark Knight.

    “Batman: Gotham Knight” is a collection of interlocking stories that takes place during the time frame after the end of Batman Begins, & before the begining of The Dark Knight. I don’t want to give anything away from “Batman: Gotham Knight,” but something happens to Batman in the last story that is told. Could this be the reason that the new bat suit we see looks like it’s armor plated? Just thought I’d throw that out there & see if anyone had any views or opinions.

    By the way, traditionalists (or purists) will never appreciate, understand, or be happy with change. I am not saying that I love the new bat-suit; nor, am i saying i wish that we should see the “traditional” black & gray. I’m just saying that everything in life evolves & changes. People should be aware of this. Besides, we should all be super happy & jumping for joy because we don’t see Batman’s nipples, nor does his crotch seem overly stuffed (i.e. Batman Forever and Batman & Robin). Furthermore, thank goodness Batman can finally turn his neck without having to turn his entire body. That was the one thing that drove me nutts since the first Batman movie.

    By the way, when i think about Batman, this is what i see …

    http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/5455/jimleebatscolorscz0.jpg

    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a15/DrunkenHobo666/Comics/Batman-JimLee.jpg

    but real life version of that would look like this …
    (which would be wierd & a turn off for the masses)

    http://lnx.eklettica.com/coppermine/albums/artworks/batman/side.jpg

    Random Thought …

    Just wanted to say this is the coolest forum i have been to, EVER. The majority of the people here actually do their research when they post. Not only that, almost everyone “argues” in a real respectable manner. Good stuff. Makes me smile.

    • I think it would be fine if he just bulks up or uses drugs to become like Hulk or Bane.

  6. from wikipedia …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Knight_(film)

    “… Batman himself arrives and subdues all the criminals … Due to injuries he receives here, Batman decides to create a new, more functional suit of armor than his heavy and less mobile one.”

    “Designers improved on the design of the Batsuit from Batman Begins, adding wide elastic banding to help bind the costume to Bale, and suggest more sophisticated technology. It was constructed from 200 individual pieces of rubber, fiberglass, metallic mesh, and nylon. The new cowl was modeled after a motorcycle helmet and separated from the neck piece, allowing Bale to turn his head left and right and nod up and down. The cowl is equipped to show white lenses over the eyes when the character turns on his sonar detection. The gauntlets have retractable razors which are able to be fired. The gloves also possess hydraulics for Batman to crush objects. The original suit will also be worn during part of the film. Though the new costume is eight pounds heavier, Bale found it more comfortable and less hot to wear.”

    hope i didn’t give to much away

    MOVIE COMES OUT TONIGHT @ MIDNIGHT !!!

  7. I’ve been reading the whole post, and pondered the whole batsuit thing, and my personal solution would be to keep the mask, boots, gloves and cape, give the guy the armor plated suit (for bullet and hit protection) but anyway put a grey fabric suit on top of it, with a black bat symbol. That would keep the “realistic” approach to the suit, it wouldn’t look like pajamas (or need for fake muscles), and would allow the black & grey look. I like the “mask as helmet” approach, since it`s pretty logical I think.

  8. I am on the fence. Where as I like the fact the new suit allows the more articulation. I like the first one more because of the way it looked and cascaded in the first bank scene. The second one didn’t have that awe inspired look to it.

  9. In case anyone hasn’t seen the suit up close, check out this picture: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2398/2102055996_4374e03a3e.jpg.
    It isn’t as “busy” as believed and makes sense once you really look at it, AND it IS black and gray! Who would have guessed.

  10. I don’t get it. Why don’t they just color the background parts of the suit Dark Grey? The rest can still be black, still be armory, and the comic fans can still get a black/grey suit.
    Oh, and I’ve also read comments about yellow eclipse behind the Bat symbol being there because it was meant to be a target for his enemies.
    The reason this suit doesn’t use the yellow eclipse could be because unlike other versions, this Batman has ninja-like training. His strategy is disappearing with the shadows. So why would he need a target for his enemies to shoot at, when he is supposed to appear out of nowhere, kick bad guy’s ass, and disappear to nowhere in a span of 5 seconds?

  11. Batman needs the dark-grey and black suit with shoulder to shoulder cape and yellow emblem.

    I mean, how hard is that? The shoulder to shoulder cape lets him be completely hidden when he needs to be. The emblem is a target so distract gunshots from his face to his chest.

    What irks me the most though, is the ears on the cowl.

    In the four flicks with Keaten, Kilmer and Clooney, the top of his head was like |\_/|

    In the new movies its /|_|\

    Reminds me of the tiny bat ears from the Adam West show. This cowl even has super pronounced eyebrows!

    • I don’t think the shape of ears is a problem, yes, it’s the cape as you said. The one thing I have missed in all of Batman’s film adaptations is his using the cape as a shield to protect himself from bullets.

  12. Bane, in Batman Begins/TDK, Batman actually solifies the cape and uses it to glide. If the cape was shoulder-to-shoulder, then he might have a little problem with it. MIGHT.

    I agree to the cowl thing; though.

  13. Love your illustrations of the ears, Bane. lol! :D

  14. I like the new suit but why would there be gaps in his legs? Having gaps in your armor on your legs does not make you faster. Its not like your thigh is a joint, you don’t need more flexibility there.

  15. Takeaway the mask and belt and it looks like the GiJoe battle suits…

    LOL

  16. The new batsuits can stay nice and flexible but must be made to look exactly the same as the older batsuits that were worn by Michael Keaton Val Kilmer and George Clooney. The older deeper and bluer batcave the older batmobile batplane and batboat should be used in the newer Batman films along with the older Robin and Batgirl costumes from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Christian Bale could do with the smaller bat-symbol with the yellow ellipse around it on the centre of the chest of his batsuit as well as hard nipples. They should add The Penguin The Riddler Catwoman Poison Ivy Man-Bat and Mr Freeze on the list of villains of upcoming Batman films. The old Batman symbol should also go onto the bat-signal.

    • Peter, the batsuits used in the older 4 movies were actually not the same suit. It was redesigned every time the actor changed. And with there being a new actor and crew for this one, it makes complete sense that the suit was redesigned again. The same goes for the rest of his gadgets, as the batmobile was also redesigned for each film. I think that Christopher Nolan wanted to go with a more realistic approach to Batman, and show how he would operate in a real-world scenario. They want the tech to be advanced, but not so much that it doesn’t feel like it couldn’t be developed in the next decade or two. Also, to be perfectly honest, some of the elements of the older suits, such as the overlarge codpieces and the nipples, were, in my personal opinion, cheesy.

    • The new movies reflect the batman comic book series legends of the dark knight where batman has kept the classic look of a grey shirt, yellow belt, grey pants and black cowl, cape and boots. So if there is some sort of way that the costume designers can morph the new and old look it would be much better. However the fact that he would wear lighter colors would expose him in his attempt for stealth, as well as the yellow eclipse behind the batsymbol.

  17. this costume makes sense. See, if you have no powers (and refuse to use guns), you’re not going to risk your life on a daily basis in spandex. When Bob Kane decided on the spandex, he thought that having Batman shrug off bullets would make him too powerful cough, superman. Yet in the Burton and Shcumacher movies the rubber suits were depicted as actual metal armor. Batman would not go out in this because it would make him practically imobile. This new suit is not armor, so a bullet will knock him down, but it wont kill him. I like the helmet, wish the bat emblem was bigger, and also agree that the ears should be straighter.

  18. hmm… ever seen batman dead end? http://www.horroretc.com/Horroretc.com%20images/dead_end03%5B1%5D.jpg

  19. The Dark Knight suit is so terrible. There’s nothing about it that screams “Batman”. Isn’t it time to move on from the black rubber? Too bad The Avengers came out much later than The Dark Knight because Captain America’s suit is perfect for a realistic, yet comic-accurate look.

    It becomes a problem when the Batman emblem isn’t noticeable on the damn torso.

    • Too much realism kills the Bat.

    • The Dark Knight Batsuit doesn’t look like rubber at all

  20. so cool

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