Audiences have seen Batman don a number of brilliant Batsuits over the years in live action and animated movies. With the wide variety of bad guys in his rogues’ gallery, obviously the Caped Crusader needs an outfit for every occasion. The perks of being a genius billionaire means he gets all the best toys, but it’s fascinating to see the different styles in Bat-Fashion with each iteration. Before we get started, an honorable mention has to go to Robert Pattinson’s Batsuit in the upcoming Matt Reeves film. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s a truly unique take on the costume and we can’t wait to see it on the big screen. But since we haven’t seen its full potential, it didn’t quite make the list. Let’s take a look at our favorite Batsuits in animation and live action.
10. ‘Justice League Dark: Apokolips War’
First up is a relatively new addition to the cinematic Batsuit collection, as Justice League Dark: Apokolips War delivered a cosmic take on the Dark Knight after he was forced to join Darkseid. The shocking reveal came later on in the film, when it showed Batman sitting in the Mobius Chair wearing a black and red set of New Gods-style armor. Readers of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s The Darkseid War will definitely recognize that imagery. The new costume says goodbye to the cape and says hello to a striking red Bat symbol on his chest. There’s also plenty of red detailing in the armor, which makes it stand out even more in Darkseid’s throne room. While it’s crushing for the Justice League to see a broken Batman like this, his new look is undeniably incredible. We won’t spoil why, but it’s a shame we won’t see that suit again in the animated movies, at least it was fun while it lasted.
9. ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’
We’re sticking with the red and black color scheme as we look at Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Is this just an excuse to talk about Terry McGinnis? Absolutely. The Batman of the Future’s slick new look was an instant hit with fans as Bruce Wayne developed it to keep fighting as he got older. But once Terry donned the suit, Neo-Gotham had a Dark Knight once again. Return of the Joker is an animated masterpiece and Terry’s Batman suit has never looked better than when he’s fighting the revived Clown Prince of Crime in the factory towards the end. The simplistic black and red look is stunning. Also, how cool are his wings? They’re the perfect futuristic replacement for the cape. The suit also fires batarangs from Terry’s wrists, enhances his strength and he can even blend into the Neo-Gotham skyline thanks to its camouflage setting. If you haven’t seen Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, we highly recommend it.
8. Val Kilmer
Our first live-action Batsuit on the list has to go to Val Kilmer’s caped crusader from Batman Forever. Sure the Joel Schumacher films feel a little dated at times, but they’re also a fun take on the Caped Crusader compared to the darker modern versions we’re used to. Val Kilmer’s Batman dons a couple of suits here, the first evolves Michael Keaton’s costume into a slick black armor with a bulkier yellow logo – and it’s perfect. It blends right in with this camp, hyper-stylized version of Gotham. Then there’s the Sonar suit, which comes with a whole set of new toys like rocket boots and a sonic batarang that Batman controls using the Sonar lenses in his cowl. Sure, including two different Batsuits in the film was a great way of selling toys, but it also helped show off Batman’s evolution from the Michael Keaton era.
7. ‘Batman: Gotham By Gaslight’
We’re going back in time for the next Batsuit, with the stunning adaptation of Gotham By Gaslight. This Victorian-era Batman donned a steam-punk style look as he hunts for Jack the Ripper throughout the city. His costume features a gray undercoat with a chunky black bat painted on the chest. While the gothic cape has a large collar surrounding his cowl, which also has a pair of goggles built into it. Don’t worry, just because this is a Victorian vision of Gotham City doesn’t mean the Dark Knight is without his gadgets. He’s still got a grappling gun to help him swing through the murky alleyways. It definitely comes in handy during his fight with the Ripper onboard an airship. He’s even got a steam-punk Bat-bike that gets delivered to him by three orphans called Dickie, Jason and Timmy. After all, every Batman needs his Robin, even in the Victorian-era. Sure, it’s a slightly bizarre look for the Caped Crusader, but it works brilliantly for this Elseworlds story.
6. ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’
Batman: Under the Red Hood brings The Death in the Family storyline to life before focusing on its consequences in a pitch-perfect way, and it also delivers some classic depictions of the Batsuit. As Bruce faces the realization that Jason Todd might have returned from the dead, we see a flashback of the duo’s war on crime. It shows off the gray costume bearing the yellow bat symbol, with the iconic black cape and cowl. In the modern storyline Bruce has updated his wardrobe a little, ditching the yellow symbol for a simple black one as well as donning a dark blue cape and cowl. An honorable shout out goes to the design of Jason Todd throughout the movie too, his Robin costumes and his Red Hood look are all incredible. Sometimes, simplicity works best – and it works a treat throughout Under the Red Hood.
5. Michael Keaton
When we’re talking about Batsuits, we obviously need to talk about Michael Keaton’s brilliant suit from Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989. From the very first moment he surprised the criminals of Gotham with his cape held high, it was a brilliant translation of the Dark Knight from the page to the screen. As well as perfectly matching the gothic tone of Burton’s Gotham City, the hero’s yellow belt and chest symbol contrasted perfectly against the suit. The all-black body armor was the first truly modern version of the costume in live-action and it truly set the bar for every future take on the Batsuit. We can’t wait to see how it gets updated if Keaton does reprise his role as an older Bruce Wayne in Ezra Miller’s The Flash.
4. Knightmare Suit
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a fairly divisive movie among fans. But one thing most people agree on is how insane Ben Affleck’s suit in the future Knightmare timeline looked. The post-apocalyptic take on the Caped Crusader was a stunning alternate Batsuit. Affleck’s Bruce swaps the cape for a long duster and adds in a pair of combat pants as well as a scarf to cover his nose and mouth from the wasteland of Darkseid’s Earth. Also, how cool do the flight-goggles look over the top of his cowl? Okay, sure, carrying a gun breaks Batman’s all-important one rule – but this is a world corrupted by Darkseid, filled with Parademons and ruled by an evil Superman. Let’s be real, the gun’s pretty necessary in that timeline. Who else is hoping to see more from Batman v Superman’s Knightmare future in Zack Snyder’s Justice League next year? We’re definitely intrigued.
3. ‘The Dark Knight Returns’
DC saw the chance to adapt some of their most iconic graphic novels, and one of the most iconic tales from Frank Miller saw an aging, grizzled Batman go up against a new mob of villains as well as facing down Superman himself. Sure, his main costume is a stunning adaptation from the graphic novel, but it’s the armor he uses later on that we love. To ensure he could go head-to-head with the Man of Steel, Bruce used a power armor that could withstand Superman’s strength as well as enhancing his own fighting skills. The solid costume ultimately gave him the edge over the Kryptonian and gave Bruce the time he needed to fake his death.
2. Christian Bale
Our penultimate pick for our Batsuit list might be a little obvious, but when it comes to showing how Bruce evolves his suit to meet his combat needs, Christopher Nolan managed it perfectly. From his first proto-costume we saw him infiltrate the GCPD with during Batman Begins, to the upgraded cowl armor which lets Bruce finally turn his head in a fight. The armored plating that he adds during The Dark Knight gives the Caped Crusader a tactical look. Of course a billionaire vigilante would use experimental military Kevlar suits in his war on crime. Obviously Christian Bale’s Bruce has plenty of gadgets at his disposal, but with his batsuit – his projectile gauntlets are an excellent addition. Especially when he uses them on Heath Ledger’s Joker. Bale’s Batman brought a semi-realistic version of the character to life and undoubtedly had an incredible impact on the superhero genre.
And finally, we come to Batfleck. When he first arrived in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the star delivered audiences an incredible veteran version of the Caped Crusader. His suit brought the gray costume and black cape to life, complete with the huge Bat symbol on his chest inspired by The Dark Knight Returns. The first time we see Affleck’s Batman is haunting as he’s propped up in the corner of a room – hiding from the police. From that moment on, fans were given a truly brilliant Batman who’s occasionally dismissed thanks to the Martha of it all. But the warehouse fight in the finale is easily the best live-action Batman fight of all time. The fluidity of his movements alongside his brutal fighting style is second to none. Then of course, there is the live action version of The Dark Knight Returns suit. The metallic suit looked incredible on the big-screen and Bruce’s fight with Superman was a sight to behold. It’s a shame it didn’t last long, but it easily proved that an old bat can learn new tricks.
While we wait for Bruce Wayne’s return in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, tell us in the comments which cinematic Batsuit is your favorite! Make sure you keep an eye on Heroic Hollywood for all the latest entertainment news, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more video content in the future!