Those following Batman vs. Superman may have thought that today would bring a simple reveal of the brand new Batmobile as teased by Zack Snyder are in for a surprise, as the director has revealed the very first look at Batman's new set of wheels - as well as the very first official image of Ben Affleck's costume as an older, gruffer, and bulkier Bats. And in case anyone was wondering how large a role "The Dark Knight Returns" might play, the suit gives an even stronger hint of a Frank Miller influence.
The image comes courtesy of a rather anticlimactic Tweet from Snyder, who after months of relative inactivity seems to have jumped on the hype train, releasing some images to get fans discussing something more than what lies beyond Batman vs Superman in DC's movie universe.
— ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) May 13, 2014
We've included a brighter look at the photo, which allows the level of detail in the actual suit to stand out a bit clearer (and show how much the design draws from a few suits we predicted). Take a look and click to enlarge:
It's easy to see what comic book buff (and Affleck's close friend) writer/director Kevin Smith meant when he claimed that the new suit would be unlike any previously seen on film. It's entirely possible it was this image Smith was speaking to, and the decision to emphasize the actual muscle of Bruce Wayne's body is a serious departure from past costumes in itself. Add in the choice to portray Affleck's Batman as a broad, bulky, and slightly hunched brawler (as opposed to the slim, sleek Batman of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy) and the overall message is clear: Nolan may be producing the film, but this is Snyder's vision.
The first thought that will jump into every comic fan's mind is the similarity between the suit pictured here and the larger, more barrel-chested version typically associated with Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" costume. Since Snyder hinted that the comic series - featuring a more grizzled and world-weary Batman going toe-to-toe with Superman - would be an influence on Batman vs. Superman, that revelation isn't all that shocking. Add in the practical style of the recent "Batman Incorporated" comic line, and you've got a finished product that's a mix of old and new.
Even so, the simple choice of a close-fitting bodysuit over armor promises a more comic book appearance for Batman than ever before. Snyder is also placing his Dark Knight explicitly alongside the visual style and 'realism' sought after with Man of Steel; the similarities between Superman's new duds and this suit are clear (from a material standpoint), even if the detail and pattern of the suit aren't quite as elegant as those of Kryptonian elite.
That's clearly part of the overall plan, with Snyder and David S. Goyer consistently speaking about developing a "cohesive" movie universe for DC's heroes, now that the director has officially been tasked with bringing the Justice League to theaters after BvS. So those who feel Warner Bros. may be straying too far from comic book costumes elsewhere can rest easy with Snyder in charge of the films.
But before movie fans get too excited that this may be a sign of an extensive marketing campaign already gearing up, it's worth pointing out that this image - and that of the tarp-ed Batmobile earlier teased - appear to be taken during the same photo shoot. It's entirely possible that these may have been from early in the production process, but Snyder has at least hinted that a costumed Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman have all suited up in one place already.
The suit will surely turn off some comic book fans (as nearly every costume reveal inevitably does to begin with), but we again warn that costumes shouldn't be dismissed until they're seen on set, in context. In this case, comic book artist Jim Lee's style is obvious: the shortened 'ears' of the cowl, the tone of the suit (which appears more grey than black) and the sheer size of the silhouette. These could all bring something genuinely new to Batman on the big screen, but if that isn't enough to keep fans optimistic, remember: Affleck may be wearing more than one.
What do you think of the suit and the Batmobile? Are you thrilled to see this new direction taken for The Dark Knight, or had you hoped to see a different adaptation? Share your thoughts in the comments.
For our part, we're always fans of something different. Although we'd warn Kal-El that he might have competition with the women in his life from here on out...
Batman vs. Superman is scheduled for May 6, 2016.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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