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Film Studies 101
Feature
How Christopher Nolan Rebuilt Batman
The five aspects that shaped the Dark Knight's world

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How Christopher Nolan Rebuilt Batman | 2. The Suit
2. The Suit

The Bale Batsuit had reached such a level of perfection on The Dark Knight that it hasn’t in fact changed at all for The Dark Knight Rises. For Batman Begins, though, it was something of a problem. “Just look at the poster,” says costume FX supervisor Graham Churchyard. “He has a wonderful silhouette, but at the same time there’s still this foam-Latex bull neck. We were very aware of the so-called ‘Bat-turn’ (whereby Batman has to swivel at the waist) and pursued improvements to that.”

Lighter, foam-mixture materials were developed to allow a greater physical freedom than had previously been allowed for actors Keaton through Clooney, and the cape came in for particular attention. “Chris wasn’t keen on CGI,” says costume designer Lindy Hemming, “so we made it open by having air tubes through the fabric. It actually does go from drapey to stiff, in reality.” Black velvet made Batman “look like a Hallowe’en Dracula” according to Churchyard, so the winning material was the world’s thinnest parachute nylon.

Hemming redesigned the cowl to look more “animalistic” and came up with a practical reason for the ‘scallops’ on the gloves — which became blades. “You work with the story, and Chris embellishes that as you’re developing. The idea of the gauntlets in the fight in the monastery then informed backwards into what he would wear.”

Improvements for The Dark Knight included abandoning the hot Neoprene under-suit, and redesigning the neck to allow Batman to move his head. “All the bulk’s gone,” says Hemming.She still doesn’t like the boots, though. “I never, ever felt that I got them right,” she admits. “I’m allowed to say that!”

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