When Ben Affleck’s casting as the new Batman was announced last year, it was met with a mixed reaction at best. Although the actor has gone on to become one of today’s most critically acclaimed actor/directors for films like The Town and Argo, fans were quick to point to 2003’s disappointing Daredevil as definitive proof, for some reason, that Affleck would make an inferior Batman. Because he hasn’t done any awesome work in the intervening decade, right?
Well, maybe this picture will quiet some of them down. Affleck’s Batman, who will stand across from Henry Cavill’s Superman in May of 2016, has been revealed. Click for full resolution:
Released today on Twitter by Batman vs. Superman and Justice League director Zack Snyder, the picture gives us our first look at several things. Of course, we finally get to see what the new Batsuit looks like, along with a new perspective on the film’s Batmobile (which was teased the day before), but it also gives us an idea of how the new Batman, who lives in the same world as Superman on film for the very first time, will carry himself in the story. This Batman has been referred to as “tired and weary,” with Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns referred to more than once by the director and others as an informing work on the formation of the new cinematic Batman.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the new costume is its more limited design when compared to its predecessors. 1989’s Batman starring Michael Keaton set the tone for practically every other Batsuit that would follow by featuring molded black armor, which featured in the remainder of the Burton-Schumacher Batman films of the 1990s, as well as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy from 2005-2012. While recent images of Affleck have shown a considerable amount of muscle added to his form, the mass that the 41-year old actor has worked to build is exemplified by the costume rather than hidden by it. While the texture gives an idea of a kind of armored reinforcement to the suit, this costume resembles Batman’s modern comic book counterpart far more than any previous Batsuit design, which signals both a fundamental shift in the design philosophy, as well as perhaps being indicative of a new world that’s more comfortable with being inside an established DC Comics Universe than previous Batmen have been.
Specifically, the costume’s cowl looks very close to the one rendered by Jim Lee during his definitive artistic run on Batman: Hush, while the overall shape of the headpiece itself and the bat logo sprawling across Affleck’s chest closely resembles the Batman in the closing chapters of The Dark Knight Returns.
While, of course, we have yet to see any aspect of Affleck’s performance as the new Dark Knight, he fills out the new Batsuit extraordinarily well, of which the design itself makes Batman look dangerous and formidable. Costume design of many recent comic book films like The Avengers, Man of Steel, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 all seem to indicate a trend showing Hollywood seemingly becoming increasingly comfortable with more faithfully translating the looks of these iconic characters to film. For this Batman fan, the design emphasizes many of he aspects that make Batman such an enduring character, and I hope this early glimpse gets people excited about what the film will hold for us in May of 2016.
The wait for DC’s first crossover film just got more painful.
Oh, and there’s a lot to say about the car as well…but we’ll get into that later. Batman vs. Superman, which isn’t the final title as far as we know, will open in theaters on May 6, 2016.
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