General Information
Official name: Batsuit
Appearances: Batman
Batman Returns
Designed by: Bob Ringwood
Type: Body Armour
Used by: Batman (Michael Keaton)
"Nice outfit."
Jack Napier[src]

Director Tim Burton's Batman films feature a black Batsuit with the yellow ellipse emblem, yellow 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.

The basic design of the suit, designed by Bob Ringwood, was based essentially on the then current Neal Adams comic book version. This suit was notable for its introduction of the grapple gun, which was later adopted by the comics, for the 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 made it impossible for actor Michael Keaton to turn his head while wearing it.



Commissioner Gordon[src]

Batman (1989) Batsuit.

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 armour, the suit is first seen onscreen as Bruce Wayne extends its wings to frighten two thugs who had just performed a mugging on a family attempting to get home from the theatres. 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 armoured points are the gauntlets, which can be used to deflect bullets away from the wearer or to protect the wearer from sword strikes, the boots 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 Bat-Emblem used on the suit has 3 "feet/points" on the wings as the licence for WB to use the standard 2 feet/point emblem had not been granted at the time of shooting. This was remedied for the sequel Batman Returns.

Giving the impression that Bruce had been using this suit for some time, the suit is worn by Batman to do battle at Axis Chemicals against Jack Napier's men and used throughout his encounters with the Joker and his men, resulting in it being heavily damaged during the climatic skirmish at the Gotham Cathedral near the film's end.

When not in use, the suit was shown to be stored inside a large vault in the Batcave across from Bruce's work station. The impression is given that this was the only suit he currently had for use.

Batman ReturnsEdit

"You're just jealous, because I'm a genuine freak and you have to wear a mask."
The Penguin[src]

Batman Returns batsuit.

At some point after the events of Batman (1989), the suit is updated to a more angular version, with industrialised lines overrunning its previously organic curves. This new version has shown to possess weak points in the armour, particularly around the sides of the torso and a little below the pectoral plates, as demonstrated by Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). However, the suit still retains its defence against subjects such as bullets, although, again, the impact of the bullets knocks the wearer off their feet.

The suit's bat emblem is redesigned (looking more similar to the DC Comics emblem than the previous suit's).

The introduction of an industrialised design has probably enabled the suit to be more easily mass-produced than its predecessor, as shown in a scene where Bruce enters the suit's vault to select and assemble from multiple suit-pieces now present.


Utility BeltEdit


Batman (1989) Batarang.

Resembling Neal Adams' comic book "capsule belt" design, the utility belt is built to carry Batman's crime fighting equipment during missions. Possessing batarangs, grappel guns, smoke capsules and various other gadgets, the belt contains a small motor used for shifting equipment from the rear of the belt to the front.



Batman Returns Batarang.

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. In Batman Returns he later uses an advanced, self-guided version to take down several thugs at once. The batarang changed design again in Batman Forever, where it is larger and chromed in appearance.

Grapple GunEdit


Grapple Speargun.

Originally introduced in Batman (1989), the grapple gun would later be incorporated into the Batman comic book mythos as the primary tool he uses to ascend Gotham buildings. In Batman (1989) various versions of the tool are featured; a single-shot spear gun with an attached cord and spear that can be attached to the belt and can pull/carry a set amount of vertical weight, and a multi-directional grapple gun (known as "The Gauntlet") that fires two lines to form a horizontal path across a distance. Both variants return in Batman Returns, however, the multi-directional grapple has been decreased in physical size since its debut appearance in Batman (1989).

Bolo LauncherEdit

A small gun that fires a pair of bolo-balls at a target to ensnare them. Batman uses this tool in Batman (1989) to ensnare the Joker to a gargoyle while he was escaping, ultimately leading to the Joker's death plunge.



Extendable gauntlet.

  • 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 liquid that creates smoke when in contact with air as well as capsules with other liquids.
  • Extendable gauntlet piece that extends Batman's maximum reach.



  • One scene in Batman (1989) called for Michael Keaton to turn and look up towards the Joker (Jack Nicholson), who was shouting down at him from a helicopter. Due to being unable to turn his head, Keaton had to move his entire body to look, resulting in a turn that was later dubbed as “the Hero Turn".
  • The costume in Batman (1989) was constructed using foam rubber, built to resemble a muscled bodysuit to compensate Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton)'s average figure. 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 with the cowl being unable to turn with the wearer’s head.
  • 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.
  • Wanting to use a Nike product placement on the Batsuit, Batman's boots in Batman (1989) ended up being made using Nike shoes as a base.
  • 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 latex Batsuit designs created, 25 different cape looks and 6 different cowls, before settling on the final design seen in Batman (1989).

Legacy and Cameo-appearancesEdit


Batman/Ra's Al Ghul: Year One #2

  • 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 (1989) and Batman Returns Batsuits.
  • Bruce Wayne’s updated 2010 Batsuit, first shown in the Batman Incorporated storyline, was concepted 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 concept of the Batsuit being a technological suit of armour, most notably protecting him from bullets, would continue into future films.
  • The Line Launcher, first seen in Batman Returns, would return as an obtainable equipment piece in Batman: Arkham Asylum videogame series.

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