Few things in this world are more popular than Batman, and few things are more synonymous with Batman than his iconic costume. They say that the clothes make the man, and in Bruce Wayne’s case, that is definitely the case. Being a superhero who has no powers comes with its own set of challenges such as protecting his back from being broken in half or having something that’s able to come up with as many different tricks as the man himself. Grappling hooks, batarangs and sonar are all parts of the arsenal included in a multi-million dollar bat suit.
Whether blue and gray, armored or classic black and yellow, the bat suit is used to strike fear into the hearts of the superstitious and cowardly lot of criminals that wander the streets of Gotham City at all times. Some of the suits have extra armor, others have none at all. Some even have nipples! But no matter what the suit or who is in the cape and cowl, everybody loves Batman. But which suit do we love the most? Read on and find out!
15 BATMAN AND ROBIN
Alright people, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way; Bat-nipples were not that bad. Were they the greatest decision in the world? No. Joel Shumacher apologized, George Clooney apologized, it’s time to move on and stop giving them such a hard time about it. Nipples aside, the costumes in Batman and Robin were a cool addition to the franchise's growing number of bat suits.
With a menacing glare built into the mask, and a complete full body sculpt to show the bad guys how ripped Batman is supposed to be, the costumes were not the worst thing about this movie in any way shape or form. To go along with the normal bat suit in Batman and Robin, there was also sets later on with an almost chrome finish, as well as the fact that we had matching suits for Robin and Batgirl.
14 JUSTICE LEAGUE TACTICAL
This bat suit has gotten quite a bit of flack since it was first shown to the public. While looking an amalgam of Nightowl from Watchmen and the armored suit from Batman: Arkham Knight, this is one of the most odd-looking bat suits on our list. Because the movie has not been released, we can really only speculate at this moment what this “tactical” suit will be used for, but odds are it will have been made for some extremely specific reason. Because Batman.
To speak more specifically, as mentioned before, the suit looks to be more easily maneuverable with the separated plates of armor shown on the abs and arms. This makes us think that it will be used for some form of stealth mission where the goggles will probably be used as kind of night or thermal vision and the suit be used to crawl around. Either way, it might be divisive, but its function may yet prove the value of its form.
The original bat suit of Ben Affleck from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has one glaring flaw that needs to be pointed out. Once again, the movies have taken away the character's ability to effectively turn his head. After The Dark Knight trilogy, it would have been nice to never have to see another full-on cowl that is attached down to the actor's shoulders. But hey, we can’t always have what we want, especially when there is a reason for it.
This suit was very heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns version. It was made to be a larger, more imposing force to be used in tandem with Batman’s arsenal for intimidation purposes. It takes an obviously not huge Ben Affleck and makes him look like a tank with a batarang.
12 LEAGUE OF SHADOWS
One of the first suits we see from Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins is Bruce Wayne’s League of Shadows training garb. While mostly built for ease of movement and warmth, the uniform also includes the armor bracers and triangle blades which are present in most bat suits, which is why we count it as a prototype of sorts. This was a great suit because we got to see that Bruce was obviously taught how to use minimal weapons and tricks, but could if need be.
This was the best shown version of a predecessor to the legitimate bat suit, as other versions simply showed a fully trained Bruce in street clothes using his skills to disguise himself. In the main scene featuring the suit, we see Bruce fight his teacher Ducard and he uses a sword, the surrounding area and the bracers to high effect, although he does lose the training exercise.
11 BEFORE BATMAN
More of a personal pick, the suit used before Batman was simply black clothing so that Bruce could blend into his surroundings, some fancy looking gloves, a ski mask and a stapler. In the scene, we see James Gordon get held up by someone from behind and he was told not to move and felt something against the back of his neck.
While looking for information, Bruce used the stapler to act like a gun to scare Gordon and before leaving tells him to look for his sign to know when he’d be around. Although only used in one scene, it took an otherwise forwardly dramatic movie and gave us a slight sense of levity to imagine batman with a stapler. Later on, the look became an evolutionary tale of the suit itself, showcasing elements that would stick around while also showing how much would later be adapted for both form and function.
10 BVS ARMOR
A much better-looking suit than the normal BVS version, this suit also draws heavily, if not completely, from The Dark Knight Returns. This is a suit that, in context, was created for Batman to use against Superman. After the destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel, Bruce held Superman personally responsible for everything. He figured that with all of his power, Superman should have been able to stop everything and had nowhere near as much collateral damage as there was.
This suit, in tandem with kryptonite, was not only able to make Bruce a match for Superman, but helped him win the fight. As a matter of fact, if Superman hadn’t said his mother’s real name conveniently, Batman would have straight up murdered him with a kryptonite spear.
9 BATMAN BEYOND
A product from the future of the DC animated universe, Batman Beyond took everything we all loved about Batman: The Animated Series and put a new spin on it. Here we were able to see an old Bruce Wayne who had to give up being Batman once he realized his age was becoming a factor. We soon meet a character by the name of Terry McGinnis who would come to don the flashy new cape and cowl.
The suit itself is completely skin tight and black, only having some color in the form of the crimson insignia, white in the eyes and another blast of red whenever he extends the wings for flight and glide capabilities. The new suit also came complete with larger red and black batarangs, stealth capabilities and a remote linkup back to the Batcave and Bruce, who came to be the Alfred to Terry’s Batman.
8 BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT
In this unique straight to DVD animated movie, we get to see a flurry of different art styles at different points throughout. In the opening of the movie, we see a group of kids who had all seen different points of the same fight between Batman and an assailant and they all had different ideas of how he looked and what he was.
One of the kids thought he was some kind of flying demon, another saw a robot while yet another saw some kind of shadow creature. When the animation changes, so too did the bat suit being worn. During one such change the style becomes anime and Batman wears an extremely sleek state-of-the-art bat suit which he has a bullet deflector built into it.
7 DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
Because Bruce Wayne is retired at the beginning of The Dark Knight Returns, we don’t get to see the suit right away. Instead we get to listen to a conversation between Bruce and a soon to be retired Commissioner James Gordon. When Bruce opens his mouth, we hear the gravely baritone voice of an old Robocop, which works perfectly with the character. Once he decides that he has had enough of the crime on the streets and suits up again, we see that just because Bruce got old, doesn’t mean he let himself go.
Simply a version of a normal bat suit with a much larger bat logo on the chest, the suit he wears his shows Bruce’s immense size. This is only accentuated later on when we see him in the armored bat suit which he built to take down Superman; and he didn’t disappoint.
6 BATMAN RETURNS
While very similar to the original version shown in Batman, the Batman Returns bat suit shows us an updated version which shows obvious armor on the chest and full torso area. This suit was used against characters like Danny DeVito’s Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman during a storyline where Penguin was running to become the mayor of Gotham City and Selena Kyle was a lowly secretary who was just trying to do right by her boss… up until he murders her and she gets cat powers.
Though not much had changed in regard to terms of costume between films, the difference of the slightly more sleek symbol and the armor makes us think that Batman has decided that he needs to up his game, both in terms of fashion and fighting, and keep up with the kind of criminals that Gotham seems to be producing at an increasingly alarming rate.
5 THE ANIMATED SERIES
Batman: The Animated Series and the DC animated universe not only made the childhoods of a generation so much cooler, they also gave birth to the voices in a lot of our heads. When people of this generation think of the caped crusader, they see an image in their minds of a black cape and cowl, grey shirt and a yellow and black Bat-symbol across the chest. They hear the words in that oh-so-familiar voice “I am vengeance, I am the night…I AM BATMAN!” and then they usually pass out.
The thing that makes this suit so amazing isn’t the fact that it is anything insanely special to look at, it’s that immediate sense of the iconic, as well as one of nostalgia; a heady combo that calls forth a remembrance of cartoons on Saturday morning and the urge to tear up your parent’s sheets to go protect Gotham.
4 BATMAN ’66
While Kevin Conroy is the voice of a newer generation of Bat-fans, Adam West is the quintessential Batman of the generation a time slot or two beforehand. The originator of the classic blue and gray fabric costume with a hard face mask, this suit didn’t use any rubber padding, foam armor or tricks of the camera to make people think Batman was a built guy. On the contrary, underneath that suit was one hundred percent grade-A West. Now, Adam West wasn’t a very large man, but he didn’t have to be as he carried the gravity of Batman with suitably campy aplomb.
In his series, Batman was made to be much more of a detective than the bruiser he could and would later be portrayed as. We’re not saying that this version couldn’t get into a fist fight -- he often would, with sound effects to match -- we’re saying he didn’t always have to throw down, let alone look like he always had to. And that is just fine by us. After all, the late Adam West became a cultural icon in this suit for very good reason.
3 BATMAN FOREVER W/ SONAR
Aside from Jim Carrey stealing the spotlight from everyone else in the movie (sorry, not sorry -- he was the true star), we had some fantastic acting, story and costuming coming out of tthe oft-maligned yet still super-fun Batman Forever. Batman’s suit in this movie was much more streamlined than the previous versions worn by Michael Keaton. This costume, while still reading rubber at times, made the old bat suits look like kid stuff in comparison, even if t was the first one to feature the dreaded bat nipples.
The coolest version in this film, however, came at its end, with the experimental "sonar suit." The coolest part about this suit is the fact that in one fell swoop, Batman not only beat Riddler at his own game, he activated some killer sonar tech which allowed him to pinpoint the exact spot he would need to throw his batarang to thwart Nygma’s mind reading world domination plan. It also just looked so sleek and menacing.
2 BATMAN '89
The original suit worn by Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s Batman was exactly what one would expect from the time period. Taking the darkness of Tim Burton’s mind, mixing it with Batman and then throwing in Jack Nicholson as the Joker sold the entire set-up. Michael Keaton wore the suit better than just about anyone else who has donned the cape and cowl, becoming the perfect mix of Bruce Wayne and Batman.
The costume here was a full rubber suit, complete with no room to move, but it (perhaps ironically) brought life to Batman in a whole new way that hadn’t been seen. Before this, his past appearances were limited to old time movie serials and Adam West’s blue-heavy, campy version on television and the big screen.
1 DARK KNIGHT
After the success of Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan introduced the world to his quintessential version of Batman in The Dark Knight. Here we initially see the same suit worn in Begins, but then after being mauled by a couple of dogs, Bruce decides he needs a bit more protection and movement. Lucius Fox then introduces him to a new type of armor he’d been working on that had separated plates which gave him greater mobility.
This also gave him the first bat suit which wasn’t hindered by the cowl being directly attached to the shoulders and could therefore move his head. Among other new improvements like being able to launch his triangle forearm blades, this version was a force to be reckoned with. Above all else, this is the perfect, most fully functional bat suit that there has been to date.
What was your favorite bat suit? Let us know in the comments!