We have a Batsuit. Matt Reeves, director of The Batman, has revealed Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight’s look in a 55-second screen test bathed in red lighting, obscuring much of the smaller details we will surely get a better look at come the first trailer. Still, there’s enough here to give us something to talk about.
The official reveal of any Batman costume destined for the big screen is always its own mini-event. You can feel the internet wake up, ready for some rapid fire Twittering on all the things the suit is and isn’t, what it looks like (already some evoke the presence of Netflix’s Daredevil in relation to the cowl), and if the overall design spells death by critics or box office poison. So the question is, what does the suit tell us about Pattinson’s Batman? What is it saying?
Right off the bat (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), we see the bat symbol looking like a detachable weapon that keeps to the shape of a bat but without the iconic bat head and ears in its outline. The red lighting makes it feel somewhat like the Batman Beyond symbol, futuristic in tone (although, Beyond’s symbol featured the whole bat, head and ears included). It’s less gothic, more tech armor and practical in feel. We can still make out it’s a bat symbol. The bat wings were kept in the design and it still stretches over the suit’s chest area, but it’s different.
From the chest, we move up to see part of the cape with an intriguing design choice on its collar area. This Batman has a short length Dracula-like collar base. It gives the cape a sense of weight and it somewhat echoes the batsuit from the Batman by Gaslight comic (although the collar in that suit is much higher and it covered a larger part of the cowl if seen from the side). This detail adds a bit of gothic to the overall feel of what we’ve seen of the suit thus far.
Despite the tech armor look, the collar seems to be a clever wink at the core ideas behind the character’s horror elements. Remember, Batman is supposed to inspire fear in his enemies, something I felt Christopher Nolan’s Batman didn’t really evoke in the Dark Knight trilogy. I think the collar in Pattison’s suit is a nice touch.
And then comes the cowl, albeit with one very important part left completely out: the bat ears. Based on what we see in the screen test video, it doesn’t look like the cowl is going through any radical changes. The lower face opening accentuates Pattinson’s jaw and looks flexible enough to allow a bit more wiggle room for facial expressions.
The eyes are covered in shadows, so we can’t entirely confirm if they’re going with the ‘naked eyes’ look from every live-action Batman movie made up to this point or if some cowl feature will allow him to make his eyes go white as in the comics. We get a bit of this in The Dark Knight, when Batman is looking for the Joker and his goons in the building at the end of the movie. But we’re really just treated to a short action sequence with it and what we see can barely be considered fan service. Just a taste. Batman v Superman also dipped its feet into the white eyes but only for the Bat Armor used in the Superman fight. The official suit featured regular eyes.
The ears remain a mystery. What will transpire now is a guessing game as to whether we’ll get the short but mean Frank Miller bat ears from The Dark Knight Returns, the ridiculously long but infinitely cool Kelley Jones ones, or if they’ll end up being regular medium-sized bat ears. Based on the silhouette, Pattinson’s body frame, and the polished tech armor look it seems to be going for, I wouldn’t expect short or exaggeratedly long ears. Expect something mid-sized in length, perhaps sleek and light. Sharp even.
We’ll definitely get a better idea of what the batsuit will end up becoming once trailers and action figure leaks land on social media (as they’re wont to do). The ears are important, though, and they can either balance out the entire look or become more of a distraction. Regardless, there’s enough here to get excited about, or at least Tweet about.
The Batman is set for release on June 21, 2021.
(Special thanks to Greg Silber for making some key observations on bat ears and bat eyes that made it into this article.)