For the past seventy-five years, Batman and his supporting characters have sported some of the coolest costumes, gadgets and cars throughout the pages of the comics. And for the last twenty-five years, audiences have gotten to see these iconic costumes, gadgets and cars be brought to life on the big screen with seven Batman movies, where not only have some of them become iconic just for Batman fans, but have become some of the most iconic costumes and vehicles in film history.
To celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary, Warner Bros. is bringing “The Batman Exhibit” to their VIP Studio Tour, where fans can get the chance to see these amazing costumes, props and vehicles in person. I was fortunate enough to get an advance sneak peak at “The Batman Exhibit” on June 11, and as a die-hard Batman fan who’s loved the character and most of his movies throughout my entire life, I can safely say this is one of the coolest things a Batman fan can experience!
The tour kicks off with a trip to the Warner Bros. back lot in a very cool Batman themed tram made just for this tour! The lot I got to see was where a few scenes from the Batman movies were filmed. One of them being the scene from “Batman Forever” where Dick Grayson is driving the Batmobile and fights the neon-light gang. Also on this lot was the building that was used for the Gotham Hall of Records in “Batman Returns,” where in the movie we see Batman drive up to the building in the Batmobile, and sees Penguin inside going over the lists of Gotham’s first born children. While these might not be the most memorable scenes from the Batman movies, it was still cool to see the locations of where certain scenes from the Batman films were shot.
After we made our way through the lot, we entered one of the tour’s main attractions. The displays of costumes and props from all the Batman movies since 1989’s “Batman”! Right when I walked in, I was in awe of all the amazing displays. The first being an awesome case of all the different Batman cowls used for the movies right in the center of the room. Some were in better shape than others, as the first one from “Batman” had some cracks in it and the top of the ears were cut off a bit, but it was just really cool to see all the cowls be put together in one big display! Even the cowl used for “Batman and Robin” looked cool in this display!
Right behind the cowls was probably my favorite display on this part of the tour. The Batsuit from “The Dark Knight Rises” with all the gadgets. I had to pick my mouth off the floor when I first saw this display, as it was really amazing to see this awesome Batman costume up close and personal for the very first time. The display for this suit was set up almost exactly like it was in the movie. It really felt like I was in the Batcave looking at the Batman costume. The only thing missing was the waterfalls in the background!
Next was the “Batman Begins” section of displays on the right side of the room. The first part of this section featured several different costumes from Bruce’s training with the League of Shadows, where I got to see the costumes for Ra’s al Ghul, and two of Bruce’s training tunics. Also in the section were several props from “Batman Begins.” Those included Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace, the Joker card from the ending, Thomas Wayne’s wallet and credit cards, a Gotham City license plate, and a League of Shadows sword.
The second “Batman Begins” display had the cool stuff from the movie! This section had the first Batsuit from the “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” Scarecorw’s outfit with the mask and straitjacket, and the costumes for Rachel Dawes and Lucius Fox. I got to say, I loved seeing the Scarecrow display here. He’s always been one of my favorite Batman villains, and I loved how he looked in “Batman Begins.” So seeing his awesome mask first hand was really cool for me. And I’m also glad they went with the straitjacket costume to display, as it makes Scarecrow look that much creepier!
Now it’s time for “The Dark Knight” section. This display was right in the center of the room, and featured all the costumes and props you would expect to see. There’s was Two-Face’s suit, Rachel’s dress, Batman’s second suit, the clown masks used from the iconic bank robbery scene, and my favorite part of this display, two of Joker’s costumes from the movie. His classic purple suit, which really made me feel like I was looking at movie history, and the awesome nurse outfit, with of course, had the Harvey Dent sticker attached to it! The props in this section included a variety of Joker cards, Batman’s grapple gun, Two-Face’s coin, and even Rachel’s letter to Bruce. “The Dark Knight” section wasn’t the biggest display on the tour, but it’s definitely the one that I see having the most crowds by it, as their so much iconic movie history there from this monumental film.
“The Dark Knight Rises” displays were straight across from “Batman Begins” on the left side of the room, and featured two sections as well. The first “Dark Knight Rises” section features the costume for Alfred, Selina Kyle’s maid outfit, and her Catwoman suit. A miniature model of Bane’s lair in the sewer was also on display in this section.
The second section devoted to “The Dark Knight Rises” showcased the costumes for John Blake, Miranda Tate, and of course Bane. When Bane’s look was first revealed for “The Dark Knight Rises,” I immediately loved the new look of his mask, so seeing it on display here was just another one of many highlights for me on this tour. The big prop on display in this section was the nuclear bomb, which was another impressive site to see.
Next up was the movie that started it all. “Batman.” This display was at the far end on the right side of the room, and while they’re weren’t too many items on display here, it doesn’t get much better than seeing Michael Keaton’s first Batman suit, and Jack Nicholson’s classic Joker costume! I’ve been watching the first “Batman” movie for over 20 years now, so seeing classic costumes from a film I’ve grown up watching was quite a thrill for me, and they looked great! This first Batman suit still holds up as one of my all-time favorites. But what was different about this display and the rest of 90’s Batman movie displays, was that almost all the Batman and villain costumes were on manikins, some resembling the likenesses of the actors. Some were better than others, but the ones on display for “Batman” looked pretty good. In particular Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Vicki Vale’s green dress was also on display, but the one really cool prop item that I just loved, was the newspaper of the Gotham Globe about the Wayne Murders. Even though this is a fictional story, seeing this newspaper really made me feel like I was looking at a real tragic story that happened long ago. It was very authentic.
“Batman Returns” was the last display on the right side of the room, and it included Michael Keaton’s second Batsuit, Penguin’s costume, a giant Penguin, and straight across from it in the center, a very cool display of Catwoman’s costume in a glass case with her whip. To be honest, this was one of the weaker displays in my opinion. This is where the manikin likenesses of both Batman and Penguin didn’t look quite right. But while Penguin’s costume looked great, I was a little disappointed with the “Batman Returns” Batsuit. I’ve always liked that Batsuit, and the one on display here just didn’t have the same feel of the suit I saw in the movie. It looked darker than what I remember it being in the film, and the armor wasn’t in the best shape. The props on display for “Batman Returns” mostly consisted of Mayor Cobblepot stickers and buttons, as well as another newspaper from the Gotham Globe, and Penguin’s birth certificate.
Next I entered the Joel Shumacher sections, which were at the end of the left side of the room. First up was “Batman Forever.” This display had the costumes of Two-Face, Riddler, the second suit worn by Val Kilmer in the film, and finally Robin. Now I’ve never been a big fan of the costumes in “Batman Forever,” but the ones that I thought looked really cool on display here were the Riddler and Robin costumes. Thankfully they chose to display the Riddler costume that most resembled the character from the comic, and it looked great. Now I’ll go ahead and say that the Robin costume for “Batman Forever” is very cool. There’s just one thing holding it back. The nipples! Despite the nipples, the design for the suit is a great representation of Tim Drake’s original costume from the 90’s, and this was made apparent to me even more by looking at it in person. But again, while I was looking at it, I couldn’t help but shake my head in disappointment because of the awful nipples. The props on display for “Batman Forever” were a cool miniature of the Batwing, some of Batman’s weapons, one of Riddler’s puzzles, and his mind box.
The last display section I visited was of course for “Batman and Robin.” Most fans would agree that the costumes in this movie are pretty bad, but I will say that I would’ve been disappointed if “Batman and Robin” was left out of the tour. This is exhibit is about celebrating Batman’s history, and as bad as it may be, “Batman and Robin” is a part of that history, so it was still neat to see the costumes and props from the movie. I actually found the costumes for the villains to be best part of this display. Now I know some fans like this Mr. Freeze costume, but I’ve never been a big fan of it, and seeing it in person didn’t really change my mind. But the costume on display for Poison Ivy was the one that was most comic accurate in the movie, so it felt like I was looking at another great costume from Batman’s rogue gallery. And I actually thought the mask for Bane didn’t look too bad when it was all by itself! Now it’s not near Tom Hardy’s Bane mask, but it felt like I was looking at a Bane mask from the comic. Now for Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, the less I say about those costumes the better. Seeing them in person didn’t do anything to help those costumes look any better. For the props, I got to see the photograph of Poison Ivy and Bane from the airport (Where the Bane mask doesn’t look as good under a hat and trench coat) more of Batman’s gadgets, and a pretty neat looking plant monster.
That was it for all the costume and prop displays, but also in this room was a very cool 75 Years of Batman banner with some of Batman’s most iconic covers, and some concept art from each movie. There was some I’ve never seen before, and the ones that caught my attention the most were the ones for Robin and Batgirl from “Batman and Robin.” They were really going for the Nightwing look for Robin in that concept art, and it looks a lot like The New 52 suit. And the one of Batgirl caught my eye because it looked so much better than what was in the movie!
Next up was what I’m sure is going to be the highlight of the tour. The garage of all the vehicles! There’s so many words I can use to describe this room. Awesome. Amazing. Incredible. I’ve never had the chance to see any of the Batmobiles in person before, so this was sort of a surreal experience for me. All the movie Batmobiles were present (Except for the one from “Batman and Robin”) along with the Batpod, and the two cycles and Bathammer from “Batman and Robin.” We were also told that all of them are fully operational, making the desire to take one out for a spin even stronger!
The garage was set up perfectly. It was dark lit, with a Bat-signal from The Dark Knight trilogy shining on the ceiling, creating the perfect atmosphere like you were in the Batcave! All the vehicles were set up in a circle encompassing the awesome Batman statue from “The Dark Knight Rises.” It was so cool! Seeing all the different vehicles was great, but for me there were two stand outs. The two Tumblers, which looked huge in person, and of course, the greatest Batmobile ever created, and one of the coolest car designs, the 1989 Batmobile! I can’t tell you how awesome it was for me to see this car up close. You even get to take a peek into the interior. To me it doesn’t get much more iconic than this Batmobile, so I was extremely happy to be able to finally see it in person. It was as awesome as I hoped it would be.
Another cool thing about this section of the tour is that they have a neat souvenir option, where you stand in front of a green screen while they take your photo, and they then put you in an image where the Tumbler is flying out towards you from behind in the Batcave! It’s definitely a cool and fun way to remember your experience, and a great way to end the tour.
Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tours did an outstanding job with “The Batman Exhibit.” It’s simply awesome, and is something all Batman fans should experience if they get the chance. I had a big smile on my face as I was looking at all the amazing props, costumes and vehicles. It’s just so cool seeing the designs and costumes of the characters I’ve loved for most of my life in person.
“The Batman Exhibit” officially kicks off on June 26th and lasts through the summer. And if it proves successful (Which I can’t imagine it not being) it may last longer, and may even include some new items. We were told that the producers of “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” would like to share some items from the upcoming movie in the future, so seeing Ben Affleck’s Batsuit on display here somewhere down the line is a possibility.
The whole tour experience was just fantastic, I had a great tour guide, and I can’t say enough how cool and awe inspiring it was to see 25 years of iconic Batman costumes, props and vehicles from the movies. “The Batman Exhibit” is highly recommended, and is the perfect way to celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary.
Posted by Tim Geraci