There is perhaps no more thrilling and important moment in our modern culture than the sudden revelation of a refreshed superhero costume, which calls us together in the virtual town square, nail-studded cudgels and Molotov cocktails in hand, deciding collectively if it’s time to gape in satisfied awe or burn the whole place down because of any perceived slights against our childhoods and/or our designers. Just moments ago, Still Untitled Batman vs. Superman Movie director Zack Snyder debuted the new Batman costume via Twitter, beaming the Affleck-signal into the quickly darkening skies of the Internet, knowing that after endless updates about shifting release dates and casting rumors and script problems it was finally time to give fans something to get excited about. Or enraged about. Something to make them feel again in their codpiece-places. And so here it is, and oh, right, there’s 65 percent of the new Batmobile! Let’s dive in and see what we can discern from this shadowy glimpse of the Dark Knight’s new power-jammies and mega-whip.
Every modern cinematic iteration of the Caped Crusader’s bat-ears — from Keaton to Kilmer to Clooney to Bale — has tended to the long-and-pointy end of the spectrum, previously rendered as sharp, dangerous, phallic. Ears you could injure yourself with, ears you don’t want to see easing out of the darkness of a damp alley for fear of imminent eye trauma. Ben Affleck’s cowl is topped with a blunter, stubbier version, perhaps a throwback to the days of Adam West, of ’60s Batman-kitsch. (Fine, maybe they’re Frank Miller ears, but we’re going to continue thinking of them as West-nubbins.) And so Snyder has already found a way to distinguish himself from his predecessors. “The fucking ears will not be pointy on my watch,” he may have screamed at a harried costume designer, tearing up page upon page of freehand illustrations of dozens of cowls. “Cut those fuckers down, I’m not giving Christopher Nolan the satisfaction. I will see my own ear-vision realized.” And here we are, ear-wise. They’re cute. No eyes will be accidentally gouged out on those puppies.
The Secretly Crucial Chest Area (BatnippleWatch ’14)
Let’s just skip right to the most important question: Are there bat-nipples on this thing? While we’re still awaiting the results of a more thorough photo-forensic investigation of the issue, it appears that there are not. So: Breathe a deep sigh of relief. Snyder did not Schumacher the chest-plate up with extraneous rubber bat-buttons. Our greatest fear has been averted. (Our second-greatest fear: That the first look at the armor would feature a shirtless Affleck showing us the injection mold of his abs used to model it, because there is definitely a universe where that could happen, you never know what an agent will slip into a contract so that his client can show off how super-shredded he got for a high-profile role.) This costume, at worst, shall not be considered the historical laughingstock of Bat-clothes. That is something to celebrate. Batman will not always seem chilly.
However: Maybe this is just a trick of light and texture, but is the chest crisscrossed with ropey veins? If so: Yikes. But in the interest of not inciting a riot on the basis of inconclusive evidence (haha, that would never happen!), let’s move on. Veins, though. Veins. Maybe there are veins.
Clearly gone is the Nolanesque vision of a more utilitarian Batmobile, developed in secret by defense contractors for inevitably nefarious military use and repurposed as the brutalist vigilante-tank of the night’s angriest enforcer. It’s still heavily armored. It’s not a Sunday car-parade roadster. We need to see more of it. It looks kind of cool. We will go that far.
When you stare too long at a single image in an obsessive hunt for clues, you start to see things lurking in the shadows, things slowly taking shape in the overheated imagination. Ghosts.
Robo-Bane in a witch’s hat. As far as we know, that’s not even a villain from the Batman canon.
It’s probably time to stop before we start theorizing about what Robo-Bane’s mecha-nipples might look like. It’s been that kind of week.
We’ll let you know what the lab turns up on the veins.