With every new Batman film there is a new costume, and the upcoming Batman movie, The Dark Knight, scheduled for release in 2008 is no different. Despite concerns of shooting in the summer heat of Chicago, actor Christian Bale has some advantages thanks to costume designer Lindy Hemming. For one, the new cowl gives Bale movement in the head and neck that no actor or stuntman has had before. Modeled after a motorcycle helmet, the head piece is separate from the neck so Batman does not have to turn his entire body in order to look up and down or from side to side. The suit is made of 200 pieces of rubber, fiberglass, nylon, and metallic mesh. His gloves tuck into the sleeves of the suit, and the blades on his arms are retractable and can even shoot at people. Stretchy rubber lines help bind the costume to Bale’s new body, and it, like the previous costume, is much more lighter than any of the other costumes worn in the Batman movies.

To prove how far costume designers have come, designer Bob Ringwood’s design for Michael Keaton’s bat suit in the 1989 film Batman, the rubber suit weighed 70 pounds and was fitted to make the man inside the costume look muscular, no matter who was wearing it. Ringwood teamed up with American designer Mary Vogt to modify the suit for Batman Returns. They created a softer yet sharper muscular design for the front of the suit to make it look more like armor. They also strengthened the eyebrows and nose and changed the shape of the eyes and chin. The rubber used to make the suit was finer and fit closer to Keaton’s body with digitized measurements taken of the actor. The 30 suits made for the film cost about $100,000.

Though the directors changed for Batman Forever, Ringwood stayed on to construct a new suit for the third film in the franchise. The suit used throughout much of the film is much like the suits from the previous two films. However, for the final fight, Batman wears a high-tech, futuristic silver sonar suit. This suit was designed to look more anatomical, flexible, and even closer to the body. By then, they were also able to get the weight of the suit down to 40 or 50 pounds.

The costumes designed by Ingrid Ferrin for Batman and Robin are much like the sonar- suit worn at the end of the third Batman movie. It’s even more distinct anatomically correct style both amused and outraged many fans. They too were lightly colored to fit in with the style of the rest of the film.

In the end, everyone is a critic when it comes to costume designs. With a diverse set of suits worn in the Batman films, everyone has their favorite. While this new suit is definitely distinct from the one worn in Batman Begins, it has not taken the dramatic leap in transformation that previous bat suits have.

For related articles visit

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20042739,00.html?cnn=yes, http://www.angelfire.com/film/batman/movies/forever/design/costumes.html, http://www.angelfire.com/film/batman/movies/returns/design/costumes.htm, and www.imdb.com.

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