Batsuits are an integral part of Batman’s character, and not merely for aesthetic purposes. Often, the threads he wears have their own story to tell. Just by looking at a batsuit, it is easy to discern from which era it belongs and what or who the Dark Knight of that era may have been battling. Thus, the significance of the vigilante’s attire is never lost on creative teams responsible for translating him and the suit to the big screen. Most live-action batsuits share little to no correlation with designs featured in comics, barring the cape, cowl, and bat-symbol, of course. Interestingly, since the Christopher Nolan era of Dark Knight films, the suits seem to be made with practicality in mind. Evidently, this is something not often considered for Batman’s adventures in the pages of comics. However, there are several batsuit designs worthy of live-action treatment on the big screen.
The following list takes those suits into account, while also acknowledging a few that would not translate quite as well. Yet, only batsuits not previously seen in live-action are under consideration. As such, Adam West’s batsuit, for instance, will not appear on this list as either a wanted or unwanted addition to the Dark Knight’s stable of big screen designs. That said, there remain plenty of other designs from which to pull, both in comics and other media. Here are 10 of Batman’s batsuits we hope one day hit the silver screen, as well as 10 we hope never make the trip to live-action.
20 WANT: FLASHPOINT
The design of Thomas Wayne’s batsuit in Flashpoint has become a fan-favorite. At face-value, it seems a standard suit for the Dark Knight. Yet, something about the color scheme and the way the suit fits this Batman feels unique, special in all the right ways. No doubt, if done properly, the Flashpoint batsuit would especially shine in live-action.
Of course, the desire to see this version of the vigilante hit the big screen ventures far beyond the suit itself. How well could Thomas Wayne’s Batman translate for mass audiences, most notably an audience who typically shuns an evil Dark Knight? Perhaps we’ll one day find out. If nothing else, at least he’d look good.
19 DON'T WANT: INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US
Injustice: Gods Among Us presents a harrowing narrative, in which the Batman from an Earth ruled by a tyrannical Superman seeks aid from another Earth’s Justice League. It's masterful storytelling that would seemingly translate well to film. Yet, if one thing shouldn’t be directly lifted from Injustice it’s Batman’s suit. The design itself is quite appealing, although some call it impractical, given the placement of a few layered armor pieces.
Batman’s cowl serves as the real trouble, though. The space cut out for his mouth can be described as nothing short of bizarre. Furthermore, the lines and shapes that adorn the cowl appear similarly out of place. How exactly would this look in live-action? Hopefully, we won’t have to find out.
18 WANT: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT
Something about Batman in a Victorian setting, taking on Jack the Ripper just feels right. In both comic book and animated film mediums, it looks good, too. Instead of his typical long black cape, Gotham By Gaslight’s Batman dons a duster coat. The overall suit design, while simple in many respects, has a steampunk-inspired air about it, as well.
Unlike other batsuits mentioned on this list, the Gotham By Gaslight design wouldn’t fit in just any Batman film. Consequently, this particular story, or another akin to it, would necessitate translation to the big screen. Honestly, risky as it is, Victorian Batman making his way to theaters sounds unbelievably promising.
17 DON'T WANT: FIRST APPEARANCE
Batman, that weird figure of the night, first appeared in May 1939. Weird he looked, indeed, especially by today’s standards. However, aesthetically, little has changed for the batsuit since the Golden Age. The primary differences between his Golden Age garb and the more modern appearance are the following modifications: the bat-symbol, color of his gloves, and placement of the ears on his cowl.
All of the above in mind, Batman’s first appearance suit would look right at home on the big screen, yes? Not unless it receives an incredibly brief cameo, à la Harley Quinn’s first suit in Suicide Squad. Maybe the purple gloves and cowl on the original batsuit deserve to return in some fashion, so long as it isn’t in theaters.
16 WANT: JIM LEE'S DESIGN
To many fans, few Batman designs can measure up to artist Jim Lee’s run on the character. If perfection is attainable, Lee’s work certainly qualifies. The suit design itself seems rather simple. In truth, it hardly deviates from the typical appearance of a batsuit. However, what stands out about Lee’s batsuit is his use of color. The vibrant, yet somehow simultaneously dull, hue of blue looks striking against Batman's otherwise gray suit.
Every piece of Lee’s batsuit seems perfectly proportioned, too. Batman’s belt looks to be just the right size; the same is worth noting of the bat-symbol. In short, if a more classic batsuit does eventually grace silver screens, few designs could serve as better inspiration than Jim Lee’s.
15 DON'T WANT: HAZ-BAT SUIT
Batman’s obsessive preparedness is the stuff of legend. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when he dons a hazmat batsuit while accompanying Superman during New 52’s “The Amazo Virus” Justice League arc. This suit does far more than protect Batman from hazardous toxins and viruses. It doubles as a portable medical lab. And, make no mistake, the Haz-Bat suit looks incredible.
This suit looks great on the page, that is, where practicality and budgetary issues are of minimal concern. Sure, intricately designed, secondary garb such as the Tactical Batsuit worked well in Justice League. Yet, the Haz-Bat suit, with its tanks and tubing, seems less likely to function as well on-screen.
14 WANT: BATMAN BEYOND
It’s puzzling that Terry McGinnis’ Batman from Batman Beyond has yet to get the live-action, big screen treatment. Whatever the hold up is remains to be seen, but fans want this version of the Bat in theaters. Arguably, many want it now more than ever, as uncertainty looms over the current state of DC films.
The best part of the Batman Beyond suit rests in its utter simplicity. Still, an all black suit with the incorporation of red for the bat-symbol and underside of the wings could not be more striking. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too much longer to see it appear in live-action.
13 DON'T WANT: AZRAEL'S BATSUIT
Amongst fans, there exists somewhat of a divide as to whether Azrael makes for a good, competent Batman. Nonetheless, many agree his batsuit design isn’t particularly favorable. Considering the suit’s post-"Knightfall" debut in the '90s, the wild color scheme and exaggerated armor don’t feel too out of place.
Meant to combine Azrael’s regular garb with Batman’s attire, Azrael’s batsuit is a mechanical behemoth. Since this version of the Dark Knight fundamentally differs from Bruce Wayne, perhaps the stark contrast in appearance works wonders that only merit praise from a symbolic perspective. Either way, should Jean-Paul Valley’s Azrael ever don a batsuit on film, hopefully filmmakers employ a different approach to its design.
12 WANT: KINGDOM COME
Courtesy of Batman v Superman, there exists a loose translation of the armored batsuit from The Dark Knight Returns in live-action. Therefore, surely something similar is on the horizon for Batman’s Kingdom Come attire. In Kingdom Come, an aged Batman requires aid from a special exosuit to return to vigilantism. Suffice it to say, Alex Ross’ design of the suit is nothing short of spectacular.
Of course, the key concern would be in whether such a suit, and the premise surrounding it, could work in live-action. If both exosuits meant to structurally support the wearer and batsuits have worked on film, why can’t the two exist as one and the same space?
11 DON'T WANT: JIM GORDON'S ROBOT BATSUIT
This entry isn't intended to mock Jim Gordon’s brief tenure as Batman. In fact, most would agree he's competent in the role. Gordon rises to the occasion when Gotham has no one left to lean on. His Batman could not possibly be anymore of an admirable figure. Yet, his stint as the Dark Knight seems like a story arc better left to the pages of comics.
Unable to take up the mantle without physical support of some fashion, Gordon dons a stylized mech suit. This batsuit looks good -- its mecha-style structure truly pops on the page. Still, doubt weighs heavy on whether it would translate just as well on the big screen, especially in live-action.
10 WANT: BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
Everything in Rocksteady’s Arkhamverse series seems ripe for the picking as far as live-action Batman adaptations are concerned. From the incredible musical score to the overarching narrative and character arcs, Arkham feels like a cinematic worthy experience. What also deserves to make its way to film is the batsuit, specifically the one featured in Batman: Arkham City.
Barring the underpants worn on the outside, Arkham City’s suit looks near perfect. In many respects, it harkens back to Jim Lee’s design, with its finely tuned proportions and Batman’s beefier build. The truly exceptional part of the Arkham City batsuit is its cowl. Batman appears meaner, fiercer, primarily based on the cowl’s construction around his eyes. In live-action, it would be an unprecedented look for the vigilante.
9 DON'T WANT: '70s BATMAN
The '70s were a superb time for Batman. This era in the vigilante’s mythology serves as the provenance for characters like Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, Lucius Fox, and more. While some heroes, such as Nightwing, may have had it rough during this period with costumes, Batman wasn’t phased.
In truth, the light blue and gray color scheme remains a favorite. Is it something worth replicating for mass audiences on the big screen, though? Probably not. However, this has nothing do with whether it looks bad. Rather, Batman as a character has evolved beyond his '70s appearance -- he’s far more hardened now. Thus, the modern interpretation of the character doesn’t exactly align with his garb from over 40 years ago.
8 WANT: BATMAN INC
The yellow background for the bat-symbol first appears in comics from the '60s. Thanks to its use in the Michael Keaton-starring 1989 film, the symbol became globally recognizable. According to writer Grant Morrison, this contributed to the design of Batman’s suit in the Batman Incorporated series. In it, Bruce Wayne turns Batman into a franchise of sorts, recruiting vigilantes to join his crusade the world over. It’s an intriguing premise, which the batsuit design helps sell.
Something about the design of it ensures Batman Inc’s batsuit stands out on the page, and in Arkham City -- it’s only cross-media appearance. Perhaps the suit's lines, meshed with its dark gray color and compact belt are what makes it appealing. Regardless, we hope to someday see it depicted on film.
7 DON'T WANT: SINESTRO CORPS
Batman briefly comes in contact with a Yellow Lantern Ring prior to “Sinestro Corps War” crossover event. During Forever Evil, he actually wields the Power Ring. This, of course, culminates in his donning a Sinestro Corps suit for a short period of time. The yellow and black garb looks good on him, too.
However, we’re left to wonder if the same would be said of Batman’s wearing a Sinestro uniform on the big screen. This version of the batsuit isn’t so appealing that it warrants classification as a must-see ordeal. Plus, if a live-action Batman ever dons a suit that’s not his own, we hope it’ll be something a little more green in color.
6 WANT: GREEN LANTERN BATSUIT
Technically, there exists more than one version of a Green Lantern Ring-donning Batman. The more recent iteration debuts in Dark Nights: Metal, wherein the Green Lantern of Earth-32 is a murderous Batman capable of corrupting the Power Ring. But Batman’s first adventure with a power ring takes place during an Elseworlds one-shot, Batman: In Darkest Knight.
During the one-shot, Bruce Wayne is led to Abin Sur’s crashed ship. Upon meeting the alien Green Lantern, Bruce takes up the mantle, then begins crimefighting. The suit he dons looks the perfect blend of a batsuit and Green Lantern garb. Unfortunately, this version of the character appears exclusively in the one-shot. Were he to return in a film, fans would likely welcome him with open arms.
5 DON'T WANT: DC REBIRTH
Batman's DC Rebirth attire arguably serves as one of the more visually stunning batsuits in recent memory. Specifically appealing is the incorporation of yellow around the bat-symbol. As opposed to a return of the yellow oval, which isn’t present during New 52, a thick yellow line outlines the bat.
It stands out beautifully on paper. We can only imagine how well it would stand out in animation. But how would it work in live-action? Yellow stitching around the bat-symbol? A large yellow bat-symbol with a smaller black one placed atop it? The design itself could absolutely work. Yet, if there’s to be hassle in designing the finer points of a batsuit, there are other suits more worthy of the extra attention.
4 WANT: NEW 52
With regards to Batman, simplicity often wins out. Nothing beats the plain, yet appealing, quality of the black and gray color scheme, then. Such is the case with the Dark Knight’s New 52 batsuit, where simplicity reigns supreme from top to bottom. The suit’s sole point of vibrancy rests in the bright yellow belt, which seems striking because the colors around it are neutral.
Thus far, Ben Affleck’s batsuit in Batman v Superman and Justice League is the only live-action one that seems emblematic of simplicity. To some degree, it appears reminiscent of Batman’s garb in The Dark Knight Returns. If another cinematic batsuit is to clearly be inspired by a specific design, the New 52 isn’t a bad place to start.
3 DON'T WANT: BATMAN: NOËL
Lee Bermejo’s fantastic artwork in his Batman: Noël graphic novel helps this batsuit’s overall appeal. The lines and the way in which certain armor pieces fit together all work to ensure the Noël suit pops on the page. However, if anything lands it on the “don’t want” list it’s the bat-symbol.
Again, on paper, the whole suit seems near perfect. Yet, since the Noël design’s been replicated in Batman: Arkham Knight and in various statues, we’ve seen how it fares in other mediums. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t fare too well. In both video game and statue forms, this suit’s bat-symbol appears as a bulky attachment obstructing the rest of the suit’s brilliance. Would a live-action version make it any better? We’re doubtful.
2 WANT: EARTH ONE
Like a few others on this list, Earth One Batman’s batsuit keeps things grounded. That is, it doesn’t deviate too far from the Dark Knight’s typical modern look. At first glance, the Earth One garb may be easily confused with that of Batman Inc. There does exist one key difference, though: the bat-symbol’s configuration.
This suit, similar to countless others before it, bears a yellow background behind the bat-symbol. In contrast, however, this yellow background isn’t in the shape of an oval. Its shape is instead that of a hexagon. A small touch indeed, but one that seems worthy of the spotlight on film.
1 DON'T WANT: BATMAN ONE MILLION
The Batman of DC One Million is a different breed of Batman. Literally. He’s a vigilante from Pluto with special abilities. In the year 85,300, criminals held on the prison planet of Pluto rebel, murder the guards, and force the loved ones of said guards to watch. Out of this horrific ordeal is born a Batman, inspired by the Batmen that preceded him. While he adopts some of the usual batsuit design choices, in some respects, he goes overboard.
To begin, his mask appears lifted from Marvel's Black Panther. Furthermore, the bat-symbol adorning Batman One Million’s torso seems wildly eccentric, even for a futuristic Dark Knight. To an extent, the batsuit's visually appealing; however, there’s now way it can be functional in stealth or combat situations.