Since his inception in 1939, Batman has greatly transcended being just a comic book character and has become a veritable cultural icon. That “culture” of course includes several movie appearances, so it was very fitting that earlier in this week Batman co-creator Bob Kane was posthumously honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Director Zack Snyder, who will be bringing us the latest (and arguably most true to the comic books) movie incarnation of the Dark Knight in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was at the ceremony to talk about Kane’s legacy, and had this to say (via Variety and CBR):
“I just wanted to first say that it’s an honour to be able to speak here at the dedication of [Bob Kane’s] star as it’s an amazing achievement and it’s great that we’re all recognising him because he’s given us an amazing gift wth Batman.”
“Batman, unlike Superman or Wonder Woman or Flash, is a guy without powers. He’s a man. He’s all of us. I think that’s it. We all carry around a hero inside of ourselves every day. It’s that guy. It’s Batman. I thank Bob for that. We all owe him a debt of gratitude. In that hero that we carry around, we realize that the hero is us, because he’s just the man. In truth, we are all the Batman.”
Snyder went on to talk about his own Batman, Ben Affleck, and what it was like to see the actor suited up for the first time.
“Recently, I got to make this film Batman v Superman, and in the process, I had to design a Batman character. I had to do a suit. I don’t know if you know anything about the process, but what you do is over months of meticulous designing and editing, you come to an aesthetic you believe will be the Batman you want to see. Along with my costume designer Michael Wilkinson, we did just that and we came to the point where we were going to test the suit on Ben [Affleck].
So, we had built a set of an alley, graffiti, barrels with fire, steamy stuff, and it was this very kind of noir-ish setting to film our Batman for the first time. Ben put the suit on and we put him in front of the camera and I was just having him turn and look around looking Batman-ish, and it was amazing because I felt in that moment that I had achieved this goal that I had set out for myself. When I looked at Ben, he was the perfect personification of the Batman I had in my mind.”
“The truth is, he wasn’t really the Batman I had imagined. Bob really had put him there in my mind, through years of TV shows, comic books, movies. I realized that we all – every single one of us – has a Batman, an imaginary Batman, in our minds. lurking in the shadows. That’s Bob’s legacy.”
Of course the exact personification of Batman that Snyder had in mind is different in many ways to anything we’ve seen from Hollywood previously. Most obviously is that the 43-year old Affleck is no spring chicken any more.
“I definitely wanted an older Batman. I wanted a war-weary Batman. That’s why, in a lot of ways, Ben was really perfect for me — we kind of aged him a little bit. It worked really great. I’m really excited about the Batman we created.”
Besides for just the man in the batsuit, Snyder also had a very distinct vision of how he wanted that batsuit to end up:
“I had a really strong idea about what I wanted to do — I really wanted to do sort of a fabric-based Batman; not what’s become the more normal, armored Batman. That’s how we evolved it.”
With that fabric approach, and with many other details such as the stubbier ears on the cowl and the larger bat symbol on the chest, it’s clear that Snyder drew a lot on Frank Miller’s seminal classic “The Dark Knight Returns” for his vision of Batman. Miller’s influence didn’t stop there either as Batman v Superman also features Miller’s Bat-armor as well of course the fact that Batman and Superman come to blows much like in Miller’s comic. But just because those details are there, you shouldn’t go into BvS expecting it to be “The Dark Knight Rises: The Movie“.
“There are so many great artists who have drawn Batman. So many great comics that have been created — it’s countless. I was talking to Frank about it: ‘Dark Knight Returns’ was such a big influence on me, that I wanted to to honor him through imagery in the movie. You could still make ‘Dark Knight Returns’ into a movie, if you want. That’s what I’m saying, as far as how much we used and how much we didn’t use. The visual elements, there are some that I homage, but I don’t think the movie [is an adaptation].”
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theatres on March 25, 2016. You can watch the entire ceremony honouring Bob Kane in the video below.
Last Updated: October 23, 2015