Analyzing the Batmobile: The new look for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the legacy of The Dark Knight’s iconic ride in live action media

Looks like the cat is out of the bag… Or in this case, a bat out of the garage, as new photos from the set of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have been making the rounds online and giving fans their first REAL GLIMPSE at the new Batmobile designed for the movie!

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However, Snyder did better and RELEASED via his Twitter the first official photo of THE BATMOBILE that actor and “Argo” director Ben Affleck will drive during his tenure as the new Batman for the big superhero team up film!

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The look at The Dark Knight’s new ride raises more anticipation for Batman v Superman, which acts as the direct sequel to the 2013 Superman film reboot “Man Of Steel“, also directed by Snyder and is intended to be the first movie in a new line of superhero films Warner Bros. wants to connect together to form a shared “DC Cinematic Universe“. Filming is still going on for BvS, but it’ll be a historic film for many reasons – the primary one being it will be the first time Superman and Batman appear together in one movie for the big screen! With Henry Cavill set to reprise his role as Superman/ Clark Kent, he’ll be butting heads with Ben Affleck’s Batman/ Bruce Wayne, who’s interpretation of The Caped Crusader is said to take inspiration from Frank Miller’s seminal futuristic Batman story – Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

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As seen in various set photos featured in Newsarama, the new Batmobile looks more like a “buff sleek” style of ride and comparable in design to an F1 Race Car. Following the success and popularity of the sexy looking 1989 Batmobile featured in Tim Burton’s Batman and the intimidating tank-like structure of The Tumbler in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, this new set of wheels truly has a tough legacy to live up to. Zack Snyder’s beast seems like a cross between to two, and doesn’t shy away from incorporating plenty of weaponry. In fact, the design of this very Batmobile looks awfully similar to the one that will be appearing in Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, DC Entertainment, and Rocksteady Studios’ upcoming new entry into their Batman Arkham franchise in “Batman: Arkham Knight“!

Judge for yourselves and see the look of the ride below.

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In many ways, both the Batman v Superman and Arkham Knight designs look pretty similar, and they both incorporate a “Battle Mode” that gives Batman an edge to during the tide of battle. Both look like souped-up race cars with heavy duty armor and style, and that’s probably not a coincidence either. It may be a way for Warner Bros. and DC to incorporate a consistent design and make it more familiar for a new generation of fans, or streamline the Batmobile’s chasis to make it just as powerful but easier on the eyes to appreciate and respect at the same time.

A HISTORY OF LIVE ACTION BATMOBILES

Arguably just as legendary and iconic as its infamous crime-fighting owner is, the Batmobile first appeared in the pages of Detective Comics #27 in 1939, the same issue that Batman made his debut to worldwide acclaim. However, that iteration of the vehicle was a Red Sedan, which didn’t carry the name or the dark color scheme of the character at all. Eventually some years later, a streamlined version of the vehicle was introduced in the pages of Batman #5 in 1941, and since then it was called the “Batmobile”, a term that was playfully coined by Dick Grayson, the original Robin who would later grow up and become Nightwing.

However while many have appeared in the pages of comics and other forms of media, this list will look back at the different rides that Batmen have ridden in a live action setting, which remain just as important and memorable during the past 75 years of The Dark Knight’s run in popculture history.

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The first well known live-action Batmobile would be the one seen in the Adam West and Burt Ward starring Batman TV Series in the 1960’s, which was built using the body of a Ford Lincoln Futura. This vehicle would be just as memorable as its stars, and proved as the main mode of transport for the Dynamic Duo which would be highlighted by West (as Batman) shouting to Ward’s Robin “To The Batmobile!” whenever they had to dash off to pursue a criminal or solve a case.

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The second, and probably the most iconic Batmobile in live action to date is the one seen in Tim Burton’s Batman films. Driven by Michael Keaton in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), this vehicle is just as described earlier – “Sexy” and “Stylish” and just overall defining of who Batman is. It has the ability to shield itself, two machine guns hidden in the fender, a grappling hook, and the ability to turn into a sleek secondary mode called “The Batmissle“.

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Then the Joel Schumacher era Batmobiles came into the picture, beginning with 1995’s Batman Forever.  As Val Kilmer’s ride during his tenure as Batman, this one still retained sleek, but had a larhe fin in the middle next to the canopy, becoming more stylish and had neon colors to boot.

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And then 1997’s Batman and Robin, which looked more like a downgrade than an upgrade. Plus, it was a one seater and had an open canopy. As George Clooney’s Batman says in the opening scene of the movie: “This is why Superman works alone…”, and indeed, it just looked more sillier than usual.

 

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Then finally, we come to one of the most realistic portrayals of a Batmobile yet with “The Tumbler”. Appearing in Christopher Nolan’s first Batman film in “Batman Begins”, this vehicle was meant to look like a cross between a Tank and a Lamborghini. It looked intimidating, and was originally camouflage color before Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale, asked for Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) to color it black. The vehicle would be mounted with weapons and an afterburner function like its predecessor. Unfortunately it was destroyed in The Dark Knight by a RPG fired by The Joker. Fortunately, the vehicle would see a second life to it in the form of its emergency escape mode, dubbed as “The BatPod“.

So now we come full circle, and a new version of The Batmobile will enter the picture for Batman v Superman come 2016. However you like it and whichever version suits your taste, there’s always something about Batman’s ride that makes it impressive as it is imposing. It’s Batman’s 75th Anniversary this year after all, and all forms are just as timeless as they are historic. Like The Caped Crusader says in Batman Forever: “It’s The Car Right? Chicks Dig The Car“.

Author: Tim Villasor

Editor-at-Large of Ungeek PH. Regularly cosplays as Batman (founding member of Justice PH) for events. Writer for GMA Sci-Tech and former contributor to Playground Magazine. Pop culture Crusader.

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