ALTER EGO: The Style History of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent

With Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice hitting theaters this weekend, we are looking back on the Bruce Waynes and Clark Kents of movies past to see how their street style has evolved over the years.

The battle we’ve all been waiting for is finally here.

One’s a billionaire playboy with a closet full of designer suitstricked-out cars and high-tech gadgets.

The other is a…staff writer at a failing newspaper.  Who changes clothes in a phone booth.

Check out the style history of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent now.

Bruce Wayne / Batman

The Adam West Era (1966 – 1968)

Adam West Batman

The Show: ABC’s Batman – The Series (1966 – 1968)
Bruce Wayne Style: Adam West’s Bruce Wayne is a 60’s swinger through and through, donning paisley print ascots and brightly colored blazers.
The Bat Suit: It was a more campy time in comic book adaptations, so we’ll give Batman a pass on his spandex get up.  But…we will never forgive those tacky drawn-on eyebrows.

The Michael Keaton Era (1989 – 1992)

Michael Keaton Batman

The Movies: Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992)
Bruce Wayne Style: Taking a cue from Tim Burton’s Gothic atmosphere, Keaton’s Bruce Wayne ditches Wests’s kid-friendly morality and goes full on dark and brooding, defaulting to turtleneck sweaters during his time out of the batsuit.  As a bonus, they tossed some clear framed glasses on Wayne for an intellectual vibe.
The Bat Suit: Thick and imposing, this bulletproof batsuit is a big improvement over the 60’s version when it comes to safety, but the bright yellow bat logo remains a nice nod to the character’s comic-book origins.

The Val Kilmer Era (1995)

Val Kilmer Batman

The Movie: Batman Forever (1995)
Bruce Wayne Style: Kilmer’s Bruce Wayne keeps the glasses, but elevates the playboy aspect of the character.  Because you don’t get to escort Nicole Kidman to a party unless you look good in a tux.
The Bat Suit: Ditching the rubber in favor of a glossy finish, this batsuit combines the battle functionality of the previous outing with the campiness of the 60’s TV show.  It also comes standard with a sprightly and equally glossy sidekick.

The George Clooney Era (1997)

George Clooney Batman

The Movie: Batman & Robin (1997)
Bruce Wayne Style: When you’ve got George Clooney’s face, you don’t cover them up with glasses.  In fact, you don’t even really need the tux.  This Bruce Wayne is still refined and sophisticated, but in a way that feels more effortless.
The Bat Suit: In a questionable choice, this batsuit decided to go in a more…anatomical direction. Yes, they added nipples to the batsuit.  In a movie where Batman fights Mr. Freeze.  Clooney was never even given a fair chance with this franchise.

The Christian Bale Era (2005 – 2012)

Christian Bale Batman

The Movies: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Bruce Wayne Style: With an entire wardrobe designed by Giorgio Armani, Bale’s take on Bruce Wayne is all about keeping up with the latest fashion trends.
The Bat Suit: The Dark Knight trilogy wisely ditched the nipples and re-engineered the suit from the ground-up so that it looked less like a costume and more like a piece of tactical armor.

The Ben Affleck Era (2016)

Ben Affleck Batman

The Movies: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Bruce Wayne Style: The oldest version of the billionaire vigilante yet, this Bruce Wayne comes with mature grey stripes in his hair – but he still dresses like he belongs in a GQ catalogue.
The Bat Suit: The newest Batman comes decked out with two suits: one for classic crime fighting, and one for battling Superman. Both showoff a more pared-down, brawler type of fighter than previous installments.  Both also come equipped with smaller ears than earlier Batman suits (not that size matters).

 

Clark Kent / Superman

The Christopher Reeve Era (1978 – 1987)

Christopher Reeve Superman

The Movies: Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).
Disguise Level: Convincing. The earliest Superman movies clearly took the most care in actually making Clark Kent look different from Superman.  He wears hats, large glasses, changes his hair, and even alters his body language to seem more weak and unmemorable.

The Brandon Routh Era (2006)

Brandon Routh Superman

The Movie: Superman Returns (2006)
Disguise Level: Skeptical.  Following in Reeve’s footsteps, Routh changes up his hair (keeping the little curl of hair on the forehead when Superman), and even acts a little bookish.  You might not jump up and yell “It’s Superman!” if you saw him on the street, but if you worked in the same office with him all day…you’d probably put it together.

The Henry Caville Era (2013 – 2016)

Henry Caville Superman

The Movies: Man of Steel (2013), Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Disguise Level: Implausible.  Caville’s turn as Clark Kent adopts more casual work attire and some handsome glasses…but he is still clearly Superman.  He walks around like a broad-shouldered alien with super strength, and his hair isn’t even slightly altered when he assumes his alter ego.  You’d be able to spot that chin from a mile away.

 

 

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