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!