- "Nice outfit."
- ―Jack Napier[src]
The Batsuit was the costume that Batman wore to instill fear into criminals that he would otherwise be unable to do as Bruce Wayne. While it doubled as body armor, that Batsuit had many gadgets and weapons that were hidden within it.
The original Batsuit often protected Bruce from the gunfire of common street thugs in the early days. As demonstrated, the suit could easily defend its wearer from multiple point-blank gunshots, although the force of the impact still knocked the wearer off their feet. It was also apparently able to not only protect Batman from physical attacks, but also injured the person who attempted to physically attacked him in the process, as evidenced when Joker attempted to punch Batman after he spit his fake gag teeth out, only for him to react as though he significantly injured his hand afterwards with a distinct snapping sound upon impact. Other armored points were the gauntlets, which could be used to deflect bullets away from the wearer or to protect the wearer from severe melee strikes and the shin guards seemed to posses similar capabilities. The cape, that was textured to resemble bat wings, could also be unfurled to give the silhouette of a giant bat that completed the "Batman" effect.
The Batsuit was worn by Batman as he battled at Axis Chemicals against the Napier Hoods and used throughout his encounters with the Joker and the Joker Goons, which resulted in various types of toro armor damage and replacements. Bullet holes were visible when they took point blank shots. When not in use, the Batsuit was stored inside a large vault in the Batcave across from Bruce's work station. The entire suit was heavily damaged after Batman crash-landed the Batwing into the steps of the Old Gotham Cathedral.
The Utility Belt was built to carry a majority of Batman's crime fighting equipment during missions. Containing Batarangs, grappling hooks, smoke capsules, ninja wheels, a blowgun, a tracker, and various other gadgets, the Utility Belt had a small motor that was used for shifting equipment from the rear of the belt to the front. That was where some of the larger items were sometimes stored.
The "spring-action reel and line" was a multipurpose gadget that had integral functionally with the Utility Belt. The compact pieces side formed from the back and were assembled by Batman. It had various attachments:
- Grappling Hook Launcher for vertical ascents and larger hook in order to catch Batman in a fall.
- A single-shot speargun that could be used on targets to tug them towards Batman or ensnare them on a line. It's only known use was on a Napier Hood at Axis Chemicals.
- The Bola Launcher fired a pair of bolas at a target in order to capture them. Batman used that to ensnare the Joker to a gargoyle while he tried to escape, which then ultimately lead to Joker's plunge to death.
- Tranquilizer Dart
There was also a separate large horizontal zip-line (known as "The Gauntlet") that fired two lines that formed a path across a distance. Batman later took to using a smaller version of that item. The original device was so big that there was no way that it could be stored on Batman's person.
A bat-shaped throwing weapon that was uniquely used by Batman as a modified boomerang, Batman used a collapsible Batarang with a line that was attached to snag and drag Nick across one of Gotham City's rooftops.
- A remote that was primarily used to control the Batmobile. It issued certain voice commands ("Shields", "Stop", "Shields Open") that directed the Batmobile to perform certain actions.
- The Extendable Gauntlet extended metal with a fast force, which was similar to extendable nightstick.
Behind the Scenes
Director Tim Burton's Batman films featured an all-black Batsuit with the yellow chest emblem, brass Utility Belt, heavy armor that was placed on the chest, forearms, and boots, and the chest armor that incorporated the bat-emblem. That became the basic template on which all subsequent live-action Batsuits were based.
Illustratively designed and overseen by Bob Ringwood, the costume was essentially inspired by the basic Neal Adams look in terms of silhouette. That Batsuit was notable for its introduction of black eye makeup that was worn under the mask, which was used in every live-action Batman film since, and for the construction of the cowl, which had its scalloped seams glued and bolted down over the cape. That made it nearly impossible for Michael Keaton to turn his head without damaging it. That occurred during the first days of filming in costume. That costume lacked trunks on the outside of the slacks, which was new at the time. The Batsuit also featured metal plated gauntlets and shin guards which later became common place on standard Batsuits.
- With Tim Burton opting not to use the spandex-look as seen in the comics (due to feeling that the look did not feel intimidating in the live-action film), Bob Ringwood used over 200 comic book issues for inspiration; with 28 foam latex Batsuit designs created, 25 different cape looks, and 6 different cowls, before he settled on the final design that was seen in the film.
- Keaton was not permitted to gain too much weight for the role due to concerns about the costume.
- Due to the restrictions of the suit, Keaton had to move his entire body to look, which resulted in a turn that was later dubbed as "The Bat-Turn" or “The Hero Turn".
- The costume was constructed using sculpted foam rubber pieces over a neoprene bodysuit. The costume in Batman Returns was made out of a thinner, slightly more flexible foam rubber than the previous costume although the difficulties associated with the suit still persisted.
- Jon Peters wanted to use Nike product placement on the Batsuit. Batman's Boots in the film ended up being made by using Nike shoes as a base. The boots they shipped to them were an all-black version of Air Trainer IIIs with the Nike "check" logo in bright yellow, which the production team then painted over in black. In the sequel, they were Air Jordan VIs.
- The Grapple Gun that was introduced in the film, was later common place in Batman comic book mythos as the primary tool that Batman used to ascend buildings. The gun was not present in Sam Hamm's Script, which had Batman throwing a grappling hook and attaching the line to a reel in his belt. It was likely conceived sometime after the writer's strike during pre-production. There were a few primitive predecessors to that device that were used in a handful of stories like the Batpoon, first seen in World's Finest #9 or the suction-cup rope guns in Batman #183. None featured the same level of functionality. A full fledged grapple gun wouldn't be used until New Titans #61 in December of 1989. Ironically, DC's Sandman used his Wirepoon gun (likely the first rope gun in popular fiction) since 1941.
- Keaton was reported as feeling a bit claustrophobic in the suit, however, he used the feeling to put himself in a "Batman-like mood". That sentiment was repeated by Christian Bale when he donned his Nomex Batsuit in Batman Begins.
Legacy and Cameo-Appearances
- The paraglider-cape in Batman Returns was quite similar in concept to Christopher Nolan's "Memory Cloth" Cape in Batman Begins.
- Catwoman made reference to the weak spot her movie-version found in Batman Returns in the Cry of the Huntress comic book miniseries and shared the information with Huntress (Helena Bertinelli).
- In the Troika comic book storyline, Bruce donned a Batsuit that had comparisons with the Batman and Batman Returns Batsuits.
- Bruce’s updated 2010 Batsuit, that was first shown in the Batman Incorporated Storyline, was conceptualized by Artist David Finch as an amalgam from the Batsuits in Tim Burton's and Christopher Nolan's Batman Films.
- The visual depiction of the Batsuit in some comic book artistic renditions were sometimes based on the Burton-Batsuit, most notably the cowl.
- The chest was made more traditional in Batman Returns, due to fan complaints. Burton wanted to "toughen it up a little" according to his commentary track for the DVD.
- The concept of the Batsuit being a technological suit of armor, which most notably protected Batman from bullets, continued into future films.
- The Gauntlet/Zip-Line, that was first seen at the Flugelheim Museum, returned as an obtainable equipment piece in Batman: Arkham Asylum.