Batman’s cape has several built-in features, but Ben Affleck’s iteration of the Dark Knight doesn’t use them very often in his DCEU appearances.
Ben Affleck’s iteration of Batman is one of the most comic-accurate adaptations yet, but he rarely used his cape’s built-in features in the DCEU. Debuting in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck’s Batman has been battling crime in Gotham for years, having adopted Dick Grayson and trained him as Robin years prior (and having lost his son to his nemesis, The Joker). Affleck’s Batman is not only authentic to the comics in terms of characterization, but also his incredible fighting skills and a vast arsenal of gadgetry. Batman’s gadget-laden cape, notably, is rarely used throughout the films.
Batman, like most Golden Age superheroes, wears a costume based on a circus performer, who was the primary visual indicator of strength and athleticism in the 30s and 40s. Batman’s co-creators, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, added his signature bat-like cowl and gave his cape a scalloped appearance, based on Leonardo DaVinci’s flying machine concepts, giving Batman a unique and iconic appearance. Over the years Batman has incorporated various gadgets into his suit, such as bullet-resistant and fireproof armor and advanced computer systems in his mask that scan his environment.
Batman’s cape also became part of his arsenal over time. In addition to protecting against projectiles and fire (allowing Batman to shield himself and others with it), the cape could become rigid and conform to various shapes. The most common uses of the feature are allowing Batman to land slowly and gracefully on his feet after jumping from great heights, using the cape as a parachute, or turning it into a hang glider, allowing Batman to travel by air silently. Batman using his cape’s gliding feature has become more common in modern comics and adaptations. While Ben Affleck does use the feature in the DCEU, he likely employs it so rarely for the sake of differentiating the DCEU’s iteration.
The first cinematic instance of Batman cape gliding was in Batman Returns, where the Dark Knight escapes a perilous situation by gliding off a rooftop. Batman’s gliding cape was explained in detail in Batman Begins and the feature was shown numerous times throughout the Dark Knight trilogy. Cape gliding is also a core gameplay feature in all four of the popular Batman: Arkham video games, being used in combination with Batman’s signature grapple gun to travel across great distances.
Ben Affleck’s few uses of his cape’s features are rarely emphasized. When jumping off of the Batwing to rescue Martha Kent in Dawn of Justice, Batman glides a short distance to gather speed and crash through a window. He uses the gliding feature in Suicide Squad to ambush Deadshot and to land gracefully on top of the “Knightcrawler” vehicle. Batman also uses the cape to shield Martha Kent from an exploding flamethrower fuel tank in Dawn of Justice, prompting a joke about the cape’s similarity to Superman’s.
The DCEU’s Batman needed to stand apart from its predecessors, which it did successfully while standing alongside them in terms of quality. Burton’s Batman emphasized the quirky style and tortured psyche of Bruce and Batman, and Nolan’s trilogy focused on the Dark Knight’s characterization and potential for realism. The Adam West version of Batman from the ’60s was a faithful recreation of DC Silver Age Batman comics, while the DCEU’s Dark Knight follows the more modern comics. Batman‘s various cape gadgets are seldom used in the comics that Ben Affleck’s version is based on, making the DCEU’s iteration both unique and comic-accurate.
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Why Ben Affleck’s Batman Doesn’t Use His Cape Much In The DCEU