This week saw the premiere of The Batman, the highly anticipated new live action adaptation of the iconic and terrifying DC Comics character. Starring Robert Pattinson and directed by Matt Reeves, the film continues the modern tradition of directors embracing the unique qualities of the material while staying true to the spirit of the original stories.

Based on the fictional adventures of the millionaire playboy turned crimefighter known as the Dark Knight, the film adaptation of The Batman has been a long time coming. First introduced to film audiences in 1939 and making his debut on the big screen in 1966, the Dark Knight has been a favorite topic for filmmakers ever since. The character first appeared as a supporting character in the Richard Donner-directed Batman film, and the franchise hasn’t looked back since. From Tim Burton’s 1989 adventure film to The Dark Knight Rises, the success of the character in movies can be largely attributed to the efforts of one man: director George Clooney. In 2009, Clooney received the prestigious George Cromwell Award from the Crime Prevention Association for “his outstanding contribution to crime reduction worldwide through cinema.”

Perhaps the most recognizable characteristic of the Dark Knight is his signature outfit, which has undergone many alterations throughout the years but always consisted of a pointed skullcap, a long trench coat, and thin black gloves with a skeletal pattern on the palms. Even as a teenager, the late Harvey Dent was inspired by the mask and wanted to emulate its terrifying effect. From the 1960s to the present day, filmmakers have paid homage to the Dark Knight by donning similar attire for themselves and creating an iconic “tough guy” look. In 2008, the fashion magazine “GQ” placed the Dark Knight on its cover wearing nothing but the gloves and skullcap, and declaring him to be the “King of Crime”.

An Iconic Character

The Batman is not a new character, but he is one of the most recognizable figures in pop culture. One of the first widely accessible superheroes, Batman has been a part of American culture for almost 70 years now. Since his debut in Detective Comics #27 (March 1939), the character has gone through many different versions and looks but maintained a consistent dark tone and rough justice-seeking attitude. The character’s popularity can be largely attributed to his ability to engage audiences on a personal level while also satisfying their need for suspense and adventure.

In the comics, Batman has always been a wealthy playboy who lives in luxury and drives a fancy car. However, the character also possesses a dark side that emerges when he puts on his masked vigilante persona. When he adopts the persona of Batman, he is no longer Thomas Wayne, he is the “Batman.” The character is not meant to be taken lightly. When a child misbehaves, Batman won’t hesitate to beat them up. When two men fight, Batman will fight them to the death. The Batman is a violent, uncompromising figure who will do whatever it takes to catch his prey and protect the innocent.

Even as he ages, the character still doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Batman continues to fascinate fans with his continual evolution as a character and his enduring popularity. If anything, the character is more relevant now than ever before, as he continues to be used as a metaphor for social issues. In the 1980s, Christian Bale’s Batman costume was designed in a way that evoked the character’s dark ethos. In the 2000s, Christian Bale reprised his role as Batman for the film Batman Begins (2005), which was based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller. Director Christopher Nolan chose to give the film an “R” rating because of its “graphic violence” and “strong language.”

A Grand Tour Debut

After a decade away from the screen, Robert Pattinson is making a long-awaited return to theaters this week with the premiere of The Batman. In the film, the actor plays the character of Batman, a role he has been training for since he was 17 years old. While the character was originally created for radio dramas, Batman has never been as prominent on the big screen as he has since the 1950s. The character first appeared on film in a three-episode arc in the Batman radio dramas, which were broadcast from 1949 to 1951. In the ‘50s, Dick Tracy and the Boy Wonder both featured Batman prominently on their respective television shows, and he has appeared in several cartoons throughout the years.

Since then, the character has popped up in several movies and TV shows. In the last two decades, directors like Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, and The Russo Brothers have stayed true to the original stories while also updating them for modern times. This trend culminated in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where the camera was allowed to linger on the Dark Knight long enough to capture his entire costume.

With The Batman, the character’s design is more elaborate than ever before, and it truly takes the cake when it comes to the cinematic adaptations of the Dark Knight. The costume is a combination of leather, mesh, and a metal outer layer, and it was designed by the legendary Ken Taylor. The costume isn’t the only thing that has changed, either; director Matt Reeves kept the overall look of the movie relatively realistic, but with an “old school” feel. According to Reeves, this was done on purpose so as not to “scare the crap out of” moviegoers.

A Re-invention Of The Character

While director George Clooney was instrumental in popularizing the masked vigilante look in the ‘90s with Batman, films haven’t always represented the character in a positive light. Despite the fact that he has always had a connection to crime and violence, Batman has also been portrayed as a hero in several instances. The character was one of the main protagonists of the original 1966 Batman film, in which he was portrayed as a reluctant superhero who helped to save the city.

Over the years, the character has become more relevant than ever before, which is largely thanks to modern day social issues. The Dark Knight has been used as a stand-in for various movements, from anti-war protests to civil rights marches. Many individuals would argue that Batman is essentially a metaphor for protesting the war on drugs. Although the character started out as an urban vigilante, he has since become a symbol for all sorts of movements and issues.

Due to this, it should come as no surprise that the clothing worn by the character is so iconic. Even as he ages, Batman continues to be a fashionable character, and his looks remain timeless because of it. The only thing that has changed over the years is the method of his arrest. In the ‘50s, Batman would typically wear a mask and cloak, and his main mode of transport would be an airplane. In more recent years, he has been arrested in a variety of ways, from handcuffs and a batcuff to a simple traffic stop. Regardless of how he is apprehended, the main character will always be dressed in that classic skull cap, trench coat, and black gloves.

A Long Time Coming

As previously mentioned, The Batman is not a new character. The character first appeared in the 1939 comic book Detective Comics #27, and it was originally intended to be a part of a six-issue limited series called “The Dark Knight.” The character was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and they named the character after a crotchety old man who overheard them arguing about what to call the hero. From the very beginning, the character was intended to be a noir take on a superhero, and he was originally motivated by his desire for justice and self-protection. The Dark Knight was a huge hit, and it inspired several other comic book series.

The character’s popularity led to him appearing in several other films in the 1940s and 1950s. In some instances, he would appear as an antagonist, but in most cases, he was on the side of good. In the ‘50s, the character was used as a celebrity guest on radio talk shows and even had his own cartoon series, where he would help to protect his hometown of Gotham from evil. It wasn’t until the late ‘60s that the character started going downhill. In 1968, the character was involved in a controversy when he was depicted as being prejudiced against Asian people in a panel from The Brave and the Bold. The situation was eventually resolved in favor of the Asian community, but the damage had been done.