Ben Affleck's Batman Suit Is a Stiff Throwback

Gwynne Watkins
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Ben Affleck will definitely look intimidating in his new Batman suit, but will he be able to move his head? The cowl and cape worn by Affleck in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice went on display at San Diego’s Comic-Con yesterday, revealing that the head piece — made of stiff, leather-like material — is attached directly to the cape. Unlike Christian Bale’s more flexible costume in the Dark Knight movies, this Batsuit seems like it may severely limit the actor’s range of motion. Fan reactions quickly zeroed in on that fact. Said one commenter on Batman News, “His whole body will have to turn? Since he can’t turn his head?” Another on Ain’t It Cool News agreed: “So he’s back to not being able to move his head. Brilliant.” Others hoped it was made with lighter, more mobile material, while still others seemed disappointed this suit was not a total reinvention. Said another Batman News commenter, “Wow, it looks so much different than ALL the other Batsuits. #sarcasm #thisisnews?”

It wouldn’t be the first time a Batman star had a stiff neck. Back when Tim Burton re-launched the franchise in 1989, star Michael Keaton wore a full-body rubber suit. (See a gallery of all the different movie Batsuits here.) As a result, if Keaton wanted to turn his head, he had to move his whole torso. That movement can be observed again and again in Batman and Batman Returns, as demonstrated by this fan supercut on YouTube:

Keaton has said that he tried to move his head normally the first time he shot a scene in costume, only to have the whole thing rip down the neck. That awkward moment made the actor realize that Batman should have his own, supernatural style of movement. “I go, ‘You know what, Tim [Burton]? He moves like this [like a statue]!’” Keaton recalled earlier this year.

Will Affleck also find inspiration in his Batsuit’s limitations? Could the cowl be more pliable than it seems? Those are just a couple of the lingering fan questions about the new costume. Here’s another one: What color will it be? The cowl and cape are clearly black, but the first official photo of Affleck in costume, released in May, was black-and-white — and the rest of the costume appeared to be a shade lighter. A trick of the light, perhaps, but it also means that Affleck’s bodysuit could be a different color, like gray or blue. Another question: will the new Batman have more than one costume

The Batman v Superman costume is much more traditional than it could have been. Another new Batman incarnation on display at Comic-Con is the design for a new variant action figure, created by Final Fantasy designer Tetsuya Nomura. The artist’s re-imagining of Batman has clawed wings, massive horns, a face-obscuring helmet, and futuristic metal armor. It just goes to show, after 75 years of comics and eight live-action films, the Caped Crusader still has infinite possibilities. 

UPDATE: Batman v Superman Zack Snyder tweeted out a new photo of Ben Affleck in costume Thursday. While he certainly looks cool in the cowl, the closeup (this time in color) doesn’t provide many more hard clues about the costume.

Photo credit: @Twitter