Batman wouldn’t be Batman without an elaborate superhero suit in which he can dispense justice. In the comics, Bruce Wayne is inspired to (Bat)-suit-up upon seeing a random bat flutter around in his office. Within the context of the character’s many feature films and TV Shows, the Batsuit’s origin varies. And yet, in the same way, its origin varies, so does the Batsuit’s design.
Here, we rank all of Batman’s live-action batsuits from worst to best. Ultimately, we rank them in terms of how cool they look. In addition, we consider how effective these suits are in furthering Bruce Wayne’s quest to clean up Gotham. And thus, without further ado, let’s rank the best Batman movie suits in TV and film…
Robert Lowery’s Suit (Batman & Robin, 1949)
The simplicity of Lowery’s suit reminds one of the modern-day fancy dress costumes. It looks undeniably silly in every respect, from the laughable ears to the awkward placement of the eye holes. At the end of the day, this is a late 40’s kids’ serial, so one can’t really expect nor demand much from the suit. However, the reality concerning its silliness earns it the lowest place on this list.
Lewis Wilson’s Suit (’40s Serial)
The one thing Lewis Wilson’s suit has going for it is that it faithfully emulates the Batman of its time. The suit comprises a pitch-black cowl and cape, the belt, and the grey look. Thankfully, there’s not a pair of purple gloves in sight. That said, Wilson’s suit is very much the epitome of a child’s playsuit. Nowadays, you could probably buy fancy dress costumes of similar quality. So, compared to the others on this list, it doesn’t hold up.
Adam West’s Suit (’60s TV Series)
It feels controversial to place West’s suit so low on the list. However, one can’t help but think his suit is often placed higher on these lists because his TV Series is so iconic. However, when we’re honest – really honest – West’s playsuit, while good for its time, just hasn’t aged all that well. The drawn-on-eyebrows, the purplish-blue…for the single-camera family comedy it wanted to be, perhaps it worked. However, when you juxtapose West’s suit next to the Batman incarnations that followed him, it doesn’t really measure up.
George Clooney’s Second Costume (Batman & Robin, 1997)
One thing that Clooney’s second suit has going for it is this – the bat-shaped insignia is pretty cool. The big problem is that it’s too overly elaborate and bright to be a proper Batsuit. The icey pattern that wraps itself around the signature black is haphazard and tasteless. And then there’s the odd choice of having a big white ‘groin section’ in the suit’s pants that just comes off as incredibly strange. It’s the kind of suit you want to forget.
George Clooney’s suit (Batman & Robin, 1997)
Much is criticized about Batman & Robin. And, in all fairness, much of it is justified. But you know, when all’s said and done, Clooney’s Batsuit is still awesome. Stylistically, it isn’t much different from Val Kilmer’s suit from Forever, and the bat-symbol is awkwardly stylized, ranking it lower than Kilmer on this list. And that’s not even getting into the suit’s nipples! Although, in all honesty, enough has been said about that topic.
David Mazouz – Gotham (2019)
Watching Gotham in its first season, you’d have never expected to see Bruce Wayne don his famous outfit. And yet, he does. Ignoring the fact that actor David Mazouz appears way too young to play a convincingly intimidating Batman, the suit is admittedly pretty cool. It’s as black as night, and the ears are just the right size for the cowl. They could have done a lot worse for a TV Show of its time.
Affleck’s ‘Knightmare’ Duds (Zack Snyder Movies, 2015-2021)
In the distant future ‘Knightmare’ scenario, Bruce Wayne keeps his iconic cowl but trades his cape for a long, brown coat. He also dons a pair of goggles, which is perhaps wise given he spends the Knightmare scenes in a desert environment where harsh winds could irritate his eyes. It’s not a bad suit by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks the intimidating polish of his regular duds.
Val Kilmer’s Costume (Batman Forever, 1995)
Joel Schumacher’s first foray into the Batman mythology is either stupid fun or just plain stupid, depending on who you ask. That said, when we focus on the Batsuit itself, it’s actually kind of cool. Unlike previous costumes, Kilmer’s suit has a pure metallic silver finish. Unlike Keaton’s suit, it looks more stylish than intimidating, even going so far as to give the ‘ears’ a pattern. It’s not by no means the best Batman movie suit, but it still looks the part.
Robert Pattinson’s Batsuit (The Batman, 2022)
You have to hand it to Batman movie costume designers. After the progress made in making the suits since Tim Burton’s 1989 classic, trying to design something familiar yet new for a new cinematic universe is a tough gig. And when you look at Rob Pattinson’s movie Batsuit in The Batman, you can see they’ve done their best. Here, the suit returns to a metallic, armored look, not unlike the suits of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. However, it bears some new features in the cowl, exposing more of Bruce’s cheeks and having a cloaked feel at the top of the cape. Now, if only the suit bore the gliding capabilities of its predecessors. Then again, this is a relatively inexperienced Batman, so maybe it fits the story.
Michael Keaton’s Suit (Tim Burton Movies, 1989-1992)
Gen Z viewers might balk at Michael Keaton’s ‘stiff-necked’ Batsuit, but you really need to understand the context in which the suit was designed. At this stage in Batman’s Hollywood history, the most well-known live-action Batman was the Adam West-led TV Series and movie. The Batsuit in Tim Burton’s duology of Bat-movies was the first to truly make the Caped Crusader look intimidating, thanks to its inescapable blackness and large pointed ‘ears.’ Keaton truly looked like a monster of the night, ironically helped by the suit’s lack of flexibility in the cowl’s neck. Best Batman movie suit
Christian Bale Batsuit 1 (Batman Begins, 2005)
Christian Bale’s first ‘proper’ Batsuit still retains the restrictive neck of his predecessors. Yet, the suit’s modernized design and darker colors lend it an ominous feel that previous costumes couldn’t. What’s perhaps most significant is that Batman’s cowl is actually black, like in many of the comics. The suit’s lowered ‘eyebrows’ also amplify the menacing look of the cowl. The Caped Crusader could have done much, much worse for a franchise reboot.
Christian Bale’s Second Costume (The Dark Knight, TDKR 2008, 2012)
Christian Bale’s second Batsuit is revolutionary in a small but significant way. The Dark Knight can move his neck in the cowl for the first time in Batman’s feature film history. Until this point, Batman actors walk like animated stone statues because of the restrictions neck-wise. By giving Bale this newfound freedom, Bats feels far more natural in the way he moves. And, by extension, the suit, while similar to BB design-wise, comes across as more intimidating because of the newfound autonomy.
Ben Affleck’s Main Batsuit (Zack Snyder Movies 2015-2021)
Not only is Affleck the best actor to play Batman, but he also dons the best movie suit. It’s obvious the suit takes inspiration from the comic books in terms of its grays and shorter Bat-ears (specifically, The Dark Knight Returns). And, although it’s still armor, the suit bears a very spandexy-feel and comes across as less metallic than its predecessors. Most importantly, Affleck looks intimidating in the suit, and it’s easy to see why Gotham fears Batman after taking one look at it.
What do you think is the best Batman movie/TV Batsuit? Do you agree or disagree with our list?