Matt Reeves’ The Batman is set to feature a radically different version of the Caped Crusader, and one element that sets him apart is the Batsuit. Fans are waiting with bated breath for more information about Robert Pattinson’s take on Batman, and so far, the only bits of information known about Reeves’ approach to the character is that this won’t be a traditional origin story, but instead, a “Year Two” style story in which Batman is still adjusting to his war on crime.
With Pattinson starring as the titular vigilante, fans are certainly in store for an unorthodox approach to the character. He’s teased that his version of the character will be just as “unhinged” as previous characters that he has played, as well as pointing to the character’s moral grayness as a defining factor behind his decision to play him. The Batman that Matt Reeves is cultivating in this version of Gotham already promises to be unique, and this is reflected in the few glimpses that fans have been able to get of the Batsuit.
First revealed back in February, courtesy of a camera test posted by Reeves on Twitter, the new Batsuit is the culmination of several different imgs of inspiration, bound together by a distinctly original vision. This separates it from every other live-action Batsuit seen before and specifically from the one worn by Christian Bale in The Dark Knight.
The Batsuit worn in The Dark Knight was particularly revolutionary because of the mobility it provided to Bale while wearing it. With the Batman Begins costume and every Batman costume in the films before it, the cowl is a connected piece running from the neck to the head, which gives it a streamlined look going into the cape, but heavily restricts the actors’ movements. Bale famously had this problem in Batman Begins, which is why in the sequel Wayne receives a suit upgrade that swaps out the joint head/neck cowl for one that functions similar to a motorcycle helmet, with two distinct parts. The cape of the Batsuit in The Dark Knight also served a practical purpose, designed out of memory cloth that hardens when passed with an electrical current. This allowed Batman to glide through the city similar to his traversal method in the Arkham games.
Pattinson’s cowl seems to move away from the “motorcycle helmet” format utilized in Nolan’s later two films, instead opting for a collared design. The cowl plunges below the rest of the suit’s armor plating, while the cape is formed by a distinct collar that rises up around the wearer’s neck and extends back into the cape. The cape itself hasn’t been seen in any of the practical set photos leaked during production, but in Reeves’ camera test, it seems to be made of some sort of leathery material, resembling the texture of Affleck’s cape in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
One similarity shared by the Batsuits in both The Dark Knight and The Batman is the armor plating that makes up the main part of the costume. At the beginning of Nolan’s sophomore Batman outing, Wayne asks Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) for a suit that would increase his mobility and agility instead of the bulky design of the Batman Begins costume. The response is a bodysuit made up of titanium-dipped fiber with hardened kevlar plates, allowing for quicker speed and reactions but at the cost of weak spots where the armor segments. Pattinson’s Batsuit follows a similar motif, with huge plates of armor making up the exterior of the suit.
While both suits share an armored plate design, the difference between the size and stature of the two is night and day. In The Dark Knight, Bale’s suit was designed for practical mobility and speed, at the cost of close-range protection. However, the big difference here is that Pattinson’s suit is clearly designed to be massive, as intimidating as possible. The armor plating here is much more bulky and heavy duty, implying that Pattinson’s Batman will more than likely be facing off against much more physically demanding threats than what Bale was up against in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
While the Bat-symbol in Batman Begins was a prominent emblem emblazoned across the chest of the suit, the filmmakers opted for subtlety with the logo in the sequel, making it much smaller than before. This makes it even harder to see, as Bale’s suit was completely black, including the symbol, which was ultimately swallowed up amidst the armor plating segments and lack of colorization. On the contrary, Pattinson’s suit makes the Bat-symbol prominent across the chest, drawing attention to the unorthodox design, which may very well be the gun that Joe Chill used to murder Bruce Wayne’s parents. This is an intentional callback to the origins of the Bat-symbol, which is used as a purposeful target to draw the aim of criminals to the reinforced bulletproof plating underneath.
The prominence of the Bat-symbol also highlights the color differences between the two suits. While Bale’s costume was stark black, making it hard to see the symbol, Pattinson’s costume appears to be gunmetal gray in color, showing off more of the logo. With the pronounced differences in the two Batsuit designs, it’s clear that Matt Reeves’ The Batman is shaping up to be a depiction of the character never before seen by audiences.