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Old 03-02-2010, 11:36 PM   #60
Paste Pot Pete
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Default Re: Has Batman hurt the genre where costumes are concerned?

I'm not going to reiterate all the examples of comic accurate costumes used since Batman, as the other posters have pretty much covered all of them.

The point is, it's all a case by case basis.

And I don't think you can tie any of them directly to Batman.

Armored or not, Batman had a definite "costume". So did his villains. The Burton/Schumacher movies are the last place to look for realism/anti-costume sentiment, heh.

In almost every instance, "costumes" were revoked because, for whatever reason, the particular filmmaker deemed it unnecessary or illogical for the character.

Case in point: Sam Raimi. Obviously, he's not anti-costume. Spider-Man has a nearly flawlessly comic-accurate costume. Why does he have a costume? Because he's a young man looking to make an impact on New York's criminals and citizens, to strike a vivid image. The Goblin, on the other hand, does not have a "costume" in the traditional, or comic-accurate sense. Why? Because it's not natural to the story at hand. Or at least, Raimi didn't believe it was (let's not get into whether or not we agree with this decision here; for now I'm talking intent, not quality). Repeat Ock. Repeat New Goblin. None of these characters, unlike Spider-Man, had the intent of making a statement. They're utilitarian.

Same with Elektra. Same with Bullseye. Not with Daredevil though, who again, has a specifically designed "costume" for a purpose. To look like a devil.

Same with the X-Men. Singer's rational had nothing to do with Batman. It was all about the internal logic of the world he created. The X-Men are a covert group made of outcasts; there is literally no logical reason for them to wear colorful spandex, except to specifically placate fans. There was no reason for Wolverine to wear a mask, because, as Singer says, he's not hiding his identity from anyone. The only reason to include would be because of the comics precedent, and the fact that it looks cool. (Again, we can argue with whether or not we think this was a good decision, but that's the reason WHY the decision was made).

And why didn't Magneto wear it? Because Ian McKellan is really old, haha. Simple as that. He couldn't wear a muscle suit, it'd look ridiculous. And for what it was, his suit turned out to be very respectably accurate, despite this.

Next, the FF. You said it yourself, the FF themselves have their straight-up spandex suits. Because it's explained within the internal logic of the film, and it makes sense. Why does Doom look like crap? Because the movie is crap, and they screwed up Doom from the ground up. The costume is the least of his problems.

Finally, the new Batman movies. COULD Bruce wear a suit that was a more Spider-Man-like material and yet still be explained by Lucius as some sort of space age material? Sure. And by all accounts (from Begins pre-production reports), they dabbled in that. But for whatever reason (we can't say for sure, we've never seen the tests), Nolan decided the armored look looked better. And ultimately, it's his call to make, know, the director. Scarecrow? Didn't make sense for him to wear a straw-filled costume. He's a doctor, doing illegal experiments on the sneak. He has a mask because its easy to hide in his briefcase. Two-Face? He's a deranged man on a revenge run, who doesn't have time to go to a tailor to have a two-tone suit made, and probably wouldn't be interested in making such a fashion statement anyway. Joker? He's a loud, outrageous personality, so he does get a "costume". That's my point. It's not a blanket decision. The characters for whom it makes sense get a costume. Those that it doesn't, don't.

And the whole black thing? That predates Batman. Watch Trial of the Incredible Hulk and you'll find a black-clad Daredevil. Not saying that it goes back specifically to Daredevil, just that it's a trope. A standard black is just considered more dramatic and less silly than the colors of a comic book costume. Is that right? Is it fair? That's for you to decide.

It's also all about iconography. Don't screw up the basics, and I think we've seen that most of these filmmakers, even the most inept ones, realize this. Audiences embraced a black-clad Batman, because they recognized that Batman is a dark character. Even though he's always been seen in gray and black/blue, the black just worked. That, coupled with the Bat-necessities (ears, gauntlets, cape) formed a recognizably iconic Batman. Had Superman been in black, audiences would've likely rejected it, recognizing that it's betraying his essential iconography. And that's why you see that the biggest change was for the X-Men, who had, arguably, the least familiar iconography. Audiences accepted the leather costumes because their comic costumes were not as ingrained as Superman's or Spider-Man's. The most iconic elements ( Wolverine's claws, Cyke's visor, Prof's bald head) remained.

Really, when you get down to it, most of these movies have been remarkably faithful, all things considered. I think we've been relatively lucky (I hope I'm not sounding like a dog picking up scraps, heh).

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