Superhero films are memorable not only in their action, special effects or their story but also the incredible and iconic costumes that define the hero, or villain. When we see this costume we instantly know who it is portraying and by extension what that character should be like.
We not only understand the ideas of the character, so Batman for example being moody and dark, but the costume helps us understand even more about them. The detail of the Dark Knight costume is very different to the famous Adam West costume. This shows us not only a more modern Batman but a more technological one.
The costumes also act as an icon for the relevant era of cinema the film is from. The old Superman costume had the famous underwear over the costume, where the more modern one doesn’t. The Batman costumes have been very simple, very weird, George Clooney’s for instance, and more rugged and modern, such as the ones in the Dark Knight trilogy.
Now Batman V Superman costume designer Michael Wilkinson explained the differences of the costumes of arguably comics’ three most iconic heroes: “We tweaked the Superman suit only slightly from our suit from Man of Steel… The batsuit is a complete 180 degree turn from the previous film incarnations — our Batman’s power comes from his incredible physical strength and fighting skills, not from armour. The director Zack Snyder wanted him to look as much like the comic book version as possible… As for the Wonder Woman suit… there was nothing to compare it to… Zack wanted our character to be a fierce and intimidating warrior — gritty, battle-scarred and immortal.”
When the images first leaked there was some debate as to whether they work or not, especially with Wonder Woman’s costume: ”[Wonder woman] basically has just as long a publication history as the other two, so even without a feature film, there are years upon years of comic book designs for Wilkinson to pull from.”
However, given the images seen of the Batman V Superman costume I think it looks so much better than the TV series and original comic versions.
We have also not seen a rugged and simple Batman costume for some time. Just like Wilkinson said, the clear bulk of Affleck is complimented heavily by the costume instead of the costume being the main bulk and armour, such as in The Dark Knight. Could this lead to a darker and more fearsome Batman?
Wilkinson also mentioned a few small details added to the costumes that give a significant clue to the history, brutality and/or origin of the characters: “Zack had a great idea to have some kryptonian script subliminally included in the details of the suit, so we made that happen. There is ancient Greek script on Wonder Woman’s weapons too. My favourite details of the batsuit are the brass knuckles on the gloves.”
These small details offer us a small hint in the characters we will see.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is released on 25th March 2016