The Different Batman Movie Costumes

The upcoming release of Batman: The Dark Knight gives the fans the seventh theatrical release of Gotham's superhero. Christian Bale, in the starring role, is also the fifth actor to don the Batman cape and mask.

Since the very first Batman movie was released in 1966, fans noted the variances of Batman's costume which began as a tight-fitting cloth mimicking the comic book Batman to the modernized body armor first seen in the 1989 Batman movie. Even the modern versions of the Batman costume have noticeable variants. The different versions of these Batman costumes make it fun for wanna-be's during Halloween and convention gathering.

Adam West as Batman
Adam West as Batman


The very first Batman movie costume was worn by Adam West. Perhaps, his version is the most recognized as it was also worn throughout the TV series in the 1960s.

The bodysuit was made out of bluish-gray cloth. The Batman mask and cape were leather of black-bluish hue.

The yellow and black bat emblem centered squarely on the chest. Batman also wore his yellow utility belt to retrieve gadgets as needed.

The Adam West suit has the distinction of being the original Batman costume.  And many collectible Batman classic figures resemble this style.

Michael Keaton as Batman
Michael Keaton as Batman


When we next saw the caped crusader, it was 23 years later in 1989 with Michael Keaton. The new Batman costume was noticeably more of a body armor all in black with the exception of the yellow and black bat emblem and the yellow utility belt. The body armor took on a ripled muscular abdominal mid-section giving this movie Batman some resemblance to the image of a superbly muscular comic book Batman.

A notorious trait of this Batman costume was the restrictive movement. Batman's fluid moves were not readily achievable unlike in the comic books. Somersaulting and acrobatic moves were out of the question because of the suit's rigidity. In fact, Keaton was barely able to turn his head to look around.

George Clooney as Batman
George Clooney as Batman

BATMAN AND ROBIN COSTUME (a.k.a. George Clooney's Batman)

Batman's costume stayed pretty much the same in Batman Returns (1992) and Batman Forever (1995). The next major variant came in 1997 when George Clooney starred in Batman & Robin. The movie was ridiculed by fans and critics often citing Arnold Schwarzenegger's butchering of his lines as Mr. Freeze and the disconnected storylines and acting. Many observed that it was more loyal to the campy 1960s Batman which still had plenty of followers.

The bat suit took on a more prominent armored look with noticeable shoulder pads and breast plate. Additionally, the bat emblem on the chest eliminated the color yellow and took on a dark, black-on-black patch. Lastly, to further mock the movie, this Batman suit displayed nipples. Nipples! This version is often described as nefariously fetish of all the Batman costumes.

Christian Bale as Batman
Christian Bale as Batman


In 2005, eight years after Batman & Robin, another Batman movie was released. By this time, fans were so disappointed with the 1997 movie that they were ready for a "reboot", now an accepted term for a do-over of a badly made movie. It's not a sequel.

This time, Christian Bale was the new star and the bat suit evolved some more. The Dark Knight costume did away with any resemblance of a human torso and became a true armor. The bat emblem remained from the last version as black-on-black. In fact, the entire armor was in black with the exception Batman's utility belt. However, it too changed to a more metallic dull gold finish. The new armor design, though recognizable as Batman, signalled a move away from the campy 1960s Batman to that of the darker persona first depicted in Michael Keaton's 1989 movie. That movie revived the interest in Batman.

In the end, the move to the Dark Knight could very well be the right direction for DC Comics since they're falling behind in the tally of blockbuster superhero movies.

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Comments 10 comments

Michael 8 years ago

The 1989 Batman Suit would Work for a New Batman Movie with a Muscual Actor, with less Restrictive Movement, More Action!

roger 7 years ago

Actually the first movie Batman was in the '40's(can't remember the actor's name) way before Adam West. Oh yeah you also forgot to mention Val Kilmer's Batman

reagu profile image

reagu 7 years ago from Los Angeles Author

At the time I wrote this hub, I couldn't find pictures of Val Kilmer's Batman. I'll have to update.

Zakmoonbeam profile image

Zakmoonbeam 6 years ago from Parts Unknown

Enjoyable read, loved all the costumes, but tbh, I am a bit of a fanboy :)

reagu profile image

reagu 6 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Zak, do you have a fav Batman costume? Mine is Michael Keaton Batman.

Zakmoonbeam profile image

Zakmoonbeam 6 years ago from Parts Unknown

I am so with you on the Keaton one, its a bit ropey up close, but the concept is perfect, even if the execution wasn't ! I remember waiting in line at Taunton cinema in south west England for 4 hours, waiting for the cinema to open and see the Batman film with 8 friends :)

vallygoon 5 years ago

i wish you woulda put the pictures of the batman costume from the 97 move when he changes into the one with the big grey sign on his chest..i want to buy one a real one!

Major Chutzpah 5 years ago

Actually, there 2 b/w Batman serials in which

Lewis Wilson and Douglas Croft played in 2 different suits

both were the black and grey comic color scheme

mts1098 profile image

mts1098 4 years ago from InsideTheManCave

good job here...It is good to compare the costumes in one place...cheers

Pual 4 years ago

El hablo es en espanol.

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