Could you rank the live action Batsuits?
Honorable Mention: Batman: Dead End
Not quite counting this since it was a fan film, but otherwise it would have a very serious shot at the #1 spot. It’s Batman’s costume!
Dishonorable Mention: Gotham
Unfair, I know, since I didn’t mention either of the Blur suits from Smallville for the Superman costume rankings, but this is recent and boo, sirs. Boo on you for thinking dime-store Midnighter was acceptable.
12. Batman and Robin (1949)
I’m reasonably certain this is some kind of vaguely Batman-themed serial killer. That Robin, on the other hand, is definitely a serial killer. Look at it, it has no eyes! It takes the shape of a man, but it lies! It lies!
11. Batman (1943)
Not exactly ideal itself, but at least the ears and logo are basically where they should be; I’m probably being overly generous given this is almost certainly the most flattering possible photograph of this one, but if it were the 1950s and I hired someone to entertain at my kid’s birthday party, I would be satisfied if they showed up wearing this.
10. Batman and Robin (Freeze Suit)
Hey kids, can you spell “Happy Meal Tie-In”?
9. Batman Forever
Much as i enjoy Batman Forever and think Schmacher’s aesthetic for that world was delightful, there’s no real argument to be made that this didn’t butcher the iconic design that Burton’s movies had settled on.
8. Batman Begins
I wrestled with whether this belonged above or below its immediate successor, but ultimately this is a real neither-fish-nor-fowl kinda look: it’s too weird and rubbery to quite fit with what Nolan was going for with the rest of the movie, but it’s hardly in the vein of the classic suits either.
7. The Dark Knight/The Dark Knight Rises
I really appreciate what Nolan and company were going for with this one, and I’d maybe even rank it higher if not for those damn segmented plates breaking up the bat-logo (the one area where Begins’ suit holds the obvious advantage). But at the end of the day this looks more like a movies’ idea of tactical urban commando Halloween armor rather than an actual suit that someone would ever wear, and with the aspirations towards realism it holds that’s a crushing blow against it.
6. Batman and Robin
The nipples are admittedly a bit much, but all-in-all I think this is a perfectly fine, streamlined getup that fits with the rest of the movie and the (delightful) tone it was going for.
5. Batman Forever (Sonar Suit)
Hey, no nipples! Not that it isn’t overdesigned as hell, but you get what you pay for and in this case I’d say it works out just fine. It’s definitely exists at the best intersection of Schmacher’s sensibilities with what you expect a Batman costume to look like, and in my opinion in turned out looking pretty cool in its screwball context.
4. DCEU (The Dark Knight Returns Armor)
Not much to say about this one: I didn’t rank it higher because it’s still an offshoot getup rather than the real deal, regardless of its comics pedigree, but it looks damn good and I appreciate that it brought the proper white bat-eyes to the screen, however briefly (so did The Dark Knight, but that was…not so great a visualization, even if I got a kick out of it at the time).
(As far as offshoots go, I’m not counting his ‘Knightmare’ suit on this list, since it’s just his main suit with a coat and goggles, and that’s not even a final-boss variant costume so much as its own weird one-scene wonder thingey.)
3. Batman ‘66
Cheap? Obviously, but it’s not exactly as if Bruce Wayne was rocking body armor back in the comics then either, and aside from the eyebrows - which themselves were a charming touch that indicated his goofy straight-laced seriousness while also adding that little extra slice of color - it’s about as 1:1 a translation of the comics as we’ve ever seen with him.
2. Batman/Batman Returns
I know they were two different suits, but the tweaking was minor enough that I’m counting them together, and this worked out fantastically. Embracing that their movies weren’t taking place in anything like the Earth as we know it, it Burton and the rest nailed it down to the minimal, essential elements and bolted them together with his own weird sense of style, giving us a Batman who’d never make sense in our world, but couldn’t have looked more at home in that one.
I can’t - I can’t - be the only one who took one look at this and wondered what the hell took WB so long, can I? It’s the Batman suit. No frills, no fuss, no muss. Just enough texture to fit Hollywood’s standards and seem vaguely armor-ey, but this is basically what Batman wears when he goes out to fight the Joker. I remain surprised it took them 8 feature films to figure that out. So of course they’re adding weird aviator glasses and a white bat-symbol or somesuch nonsense in Justice League (not that the competition is immune to fixing what ain’t broke - amazing as Black Panther looks, really not a fan of the new mask they swapped out the one from Civil War with), but hopefully this is what we’ll see in The Batman and what’ll endure as the standard going forward.