The visual designs behind The Dark Knight Rises

Take a stroll through the latest designs from Christopher Nolan, as Rob Power of SFX magazine explains how the basic visual elements of Batman have been redesigned from the ground up.

The Dark Knight Rises: Batman's new look

Since he sprang from the pages of DC Comics onto the big screen, Batman has been put through the extreme makeover mill more than any other superhero. From his cartoony 1960s version, via Tim Burton’s brooding 1989 effort and Joel Schumacher’s high-camp Caped Crusader, he’s always looked striking, but rarely cool. Until Christopher Nolan came along, that is.

The Dark Knight Rise: previous Batman movies

The evolution of the movie Batman, from 1960s scamp to modern day man of action

With Batman Begins in 2005, Nolan revolutionised the look and feel of Batman’s universe, redesigning everything about the world’s greatest detective from the ground up. Here’s how he did it…

Logo and teasers

Dark Knight Rises: Batman logos

Nolan has used the Batarang throughout the trilogy, from its conception to its shattering

‘Eagerly anticipated’ might be the understatement of the year when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises, but that doesn’t mean Christopher Nolan didn’t indulge in a bit of viral marketing just to make us even more impatient. When the teaser trailer hit – over a year ago, believe it or not – it did two things: get us all very, very excited, and introduce the new logo.

If the fresh start of Batman Begins was reflected in the sharp corners of a newly-forged Batarang, and The Dark Knight a back-lit spectacle as Gotham’s finest stepped into the limelight, the new logo indicated something altogether more menacing: a broken bat.

As teaser images began to filter through, the full scope of Nolan’s vision for the final instalment of the trilogy began to form. Ignition Creative’s designs are dark and delicious, beautiful pieces that are linked by a single thread – the image of a shattered Batman and the destruction of Gotham. We’ve got chills…

Dark Knight Rises: teaser poster

None of this looks particularly positive for Batman, does it?

Bat-Suit

Dark Knight Rises: the Batman suit

Adam West never had this sort of gravitas

For comic fans, there are few more desirable items of clothing than the Bat-Suit. Part canny camouflage, part high-tech suit of armour, it’s a thing of beauty.

Since Batman Begins, costume designer Lindy Hemming has kept the Bat-Suit grounded in reality, in line with Christopher Nolan’s real-world spin on the Dark Knight.

Dark Knight Rises: the Batman Begins suit

The Batman Begins suit in all its (slightly clunky) glory

The slash-resistant body armour and headpiece from Batman Begins quickly gave way to a heavier duty version in The Dark Knight, where the stakes were higher and the bad guys more dangerous. Kevlar plates and the ability to move the headpiece gave Batman more of a fighting chance against the Joker, and boy did he need it.

Dark Knight Rises: Nolan's second Bat-suit

Batman ponders the Joker in his second suit

The suit, which makes a reappearance in The Dark Knight Rises, is a far cry from the blue and yellow design of the 60s TV show. In reality, the 14kg costume is made from semi-flexible Urethane-molded pieces, suspended on a polyester mesh called 3D spacer mesh, which is sold to the military as a neoprene replacement.

Dark Knight Rises: the latest Bat-suit

The Bat-Suit looks lean and mean in The Dark Knight Rises