The Batsuit is the costume Batman wears to inflict fear into criminals that he would otherwise be unable to do as Bruce Wayne. Doubling as body armor, many gadgets and weapons are hidden within it.
The original suit often protected Bruce Wayne the gunfire of common street thugs in the early days. As demonstrated, the suit can easily defend its wearer from multiple point-blank gunshots, although the force of the impact still knocks the wearer off their feet. It is also apparently able to not only protect Batman from physical attacks, but also injure the person who attempted to physically attacked him in the process, as evidenced when the Joker attempted to punch Batman after spitting his teeth out, only for him to react as though he significantly injured his hand afterwards with a distinct snapping sound upon impact. Other armored points are the gauntlets, which can be used to deflect bullets away from the wearer or to protect the wearer from severe melee strikes, the shin guards seem to posses similar capabilities. The cape, textured to resemble bat wings, can also be unfurled to give the silhouette of a giant bat to complete the "Batman" effect.
The suit is worn by Batman to do battle at Axis Chemicals against Grissom's men and used throughout his encounters with the Joker and his men resulting various types of toro armor damage and replacements. Bullet holes would be visible when taking point blank shots. When not in use, the suit was stored inside a large vault in the Batcave across from Bruce's work station.The entire suit was heavily damaged after crashing the Batwing at the steps of Gotham Cathedral.
At some point after the 200th Anniversary Parade, the suit is updated to a more angular armor plated version, with more industrialized seam lines being shown rather than being hidden at joints or at the back like the previous sculpted muscle look. Most notably down the center of the thighs. This new version has shown to possess weak points in the armor, particularly in the pectoral seam or his lower sides, as demonstrated by Catwoman when she rammed her "claws" into such a spot..
However, the suit still retains its defense against bullets, although, again, the impact of the bullets knocks the wearer off their feet. It does not appear to leave bullet marks as easily the original torso after taking hits. A notable improvement allows the cape to transform into a glider. The second armor is more mass-produced than its predecessor, as Bruce now has a walk-in vault to select and assemble from multiple suit-pieces now present.
The utility belt is built to carry a majority of Batman's crime fighting equipment during missions. Containing batarangs, grappling hooks, smoke capsules, ninja wheels, blowgun, tracker and various other gadgets, the belt has a small motor used for shifting equipment from the rear of the belt to the front. This is where some of the larger items are sometimes stored.
The "spring-action reel and line" is a multipurpose gadget that has integral functionally with the utility belt. The compact pieces side form from the back to be assembled by Batman. It has various attachments:
- Grappling hook launcher for vertical ascents and larger hook to catch himself in a fall. Batman once pulled out concrete from a wall the grappling hook was linked on to knock out a Red Triangle clown.
- A single-shot speargun that can be used on targets to tug them towards him or ensnare them on a line. It's only known use was on a Grissom thug in Axis Chemicals.
- Bola launcher fires a pair of bolas at a target to capture a them. Batman uses this to ensnare the Joker to a gargoyle while he was escaping, ultimately leading to the Joker's death plunge.
- Tranquilizer dart
There is also a separate large horizontal zip-line (known as "The Gauntlet") that fires two lines to form a path across a distance. Batman later took to using a small version of this item. The original device is so big there is no way it could be stored on Batman's person.
A bat-shaped throwing weapon uniquely used by Batman as a modified boomerang, Batman uses a collapsible batarang with a line attached to snag and drag the thug known as Nick across the Gotham rooftops. He later used a computerized, self-guided "super-batarang" to take down several thugs at once.
- A remote primarily used to control the Batmobile. Issuing certain voice commands ("Shields", "Stop", "Shields Open") will direct the vehicle to perform certain actions.
- Breakable glass capsules that contain a variety of liquids like napalm.
- Extendable gauntlet piece that extends metal with a fast force, similar to extendable nightstick.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Director Tim Burton's Batman films feature a all-black Batsuit with the yellow chest emblem, brass utility belt, heavy armour placed on the chest, forearms, and boots, with the chest armour incorporating the bat-emblem. This became the basic template on which all subsequent live-action Batsuits were based.
Illustratively designed and overseen by Bob Ringwood, the costume was essentially inspired by the basic Neal Adams look in terms of silhouette. This suit was notable for its introduction of black eye makeup worn under the mask, which has been used in every live-action Batman film since, and for the construction of the cowl, which had its scalloped seams glued and bolted down over the cape. This made it nearly impossible for actor Michael Keaton to turn his head without damaging it. This occurred during the first days of filming in costume. This costume lacks trunks on the outside of the slacks, which was new at the time. The suit also featured metal plated gauntlets and shin guards which would later become common place on standard batsuits.
- With Tim Burton opting not to use the spandex-look as seen in the comics (due to feeling that the look did not feel intimidating in live-action film), Bob Ringwood used over 200 comic book issues for inspiration; with 28 foam latex Batsuit designs created, 25 different cape looks and 6 different cowls, before settling on the final design seen in the first movie.
- Keaton was not permitted to gain too much weight for the role due to concerns about the costume.
- Due to the restrictions of the suit, Keaton had to move his entire body to look, resulting in a turn that was later dubbed as "the bat-turn" or “the Hero Turn".
- The costume was constructed using sculpted foam rubber pieces over a neoprene bodysuit. The costume in Batman Returns was made out of a thinner, slightly more flexible foam rubber than the previous costume although the difficulties associated with the suit still persisted.
- Jon Peters wanted to use Nike product placement on the Batsuit, Batman's boots in the movie ended up being made using Nike shoes as a base. The boots they shipped to them were an all-black version of Air Trainer IIIs with the Nike "check" logo in bright yellow, which the production team painted over in black. In the sequel they were Air Jordan VIs.
- The grappling hook pistol introduced in the movie, would later be common place in Batman comic book mythos as the primary tool he uses to ascend buildings. The gun was not present in Sam Hamm's script, which had Batman throwing a grappling hook and attaching the line to a reel in his belt. It was likely conceived sometime after the writer's strike during pre-production. There were a few primitive predecessors to this device used in a handful of stories like the Batpoon, first seen in World's Finest #9 or the suction-cup rope guns in Batman #183. None featured the same level of functionality. A full fledged grapple gun wouldn't be used until New Titans #61 in December of 1989. Ironically, DC's Sandman had been using his Wirepoon gun (likely the first rope gun in popular fiction) since 1941.
- Michael Keaton was reported as feeling a bit claustrophobic in the suit, however, he used the feeling to put himself in a "Batman-like mood", this sentiment would be repeated by Christian Bale when he donned his Batsuit.
Legacy and Cameo-appearancesEdit
- The paraglider-cape in Batman Returns is quite similar in concept to Christopher Nolan's "Memory Cloth" cape in Batman Begins.
- Catwoman (Selina Kyle) makes reference to the weak spot her movie-version found in Batman Returns in the Cry of the Huntress comic book miniseries, sharing the information with Huntress (Helena Bertinelli).
- In the Troika comic book storyline, Bruce Wayne dons a Batsuit that has comparisons with Batman and Batman Returns Batsuits.
- Bruce Wayne’s updated 2010 Batsuit, first shown in the Batman Incorporated storyline, was conceptualized by artist David Finch as an amalgam from the Batsuits in Tim Burton's and Christopher Nolan's Batman films.
- The visual depiction of the batsuit in some comic book artistic renditions are sometimes based on the Burton-batsuit. Most notably the cowl.
- The chest was made more traditional in the sequel, due to fan complaints. Burton wanted to "toughen it up a little" according to his commentary track for the dvd.
- The concept of the Batsuit being a technological suit of armour, most notably protecting him from bullets, would continue into future films.
- The gauntlet/zip-line, first seen in museum sequence, would return as an obtainable equipment piece in Batman: Arkham Asylum videogame series.
- See: Batsuit (Burton Films)/Gallery for additional images.