In praise of the Batsuit

In response to Photo: Ben Affleck as Batman:

That’s a pretty good photo, nicely timed to generate a bit of social media excitement.  It’s funny how the big blockbuster productions work to keep anticipation simmering for years, especially when they’re working with any sort of established fan base.  A little dose of main-character imagery can keep people talking for weeks.

Batman’s one of the more interesting characters for designers to work with, every since the amazing design from the first Tim Burton “Batman” gave the green light for endless re-invention of his costume.  Nothing has ever quite matched the surprise of seeing the first production still of Michael Keaton in costume and saying, “Holy crap, that’s Batman?”  I’m as fond of the dear old Adam West TV show as anyone, but that single image spoke thousands of words about how this interpretation would be dramatically different, especially for people who weren’t regular comics readers.

I liked the way Christopher Nolan reinvented the suit to seem plausible and functional – one of the better things about “Batman Begins” was watching every bit of Bruce Wayne’s history and psychology fall into place in his suit, complete with the bladed gauntlets he inherited from his erstwhile ninja allies.  

The Bat-suit design from the videogame “Arkham Asylum” remains one of my favorites – he really looks like somebody that rolls onto the street every night for hand-to-hand combat with heavily armed thugs.  

As you say, the acid test will not be what Ben Affleck looks like, but how he acts.  It’s a role that has brought out the best in some actors who didn’t initially seem right for the job (and then there was George Clooney…) so fingers crossed.  


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