One of the year’s most eagerly awaited films is ready to roll out and what would a Batman movie be without a Batmobile? Luckily for us, the creative folks backing up director Matt Reeves and actor Robert Pattinson are showing off a wicked new set of wheels.
Maybe you were expecting something like the classic, nuclear-powered streamliner from the ’60s-era TV show, or the military-grade Tumbler from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Well, as each new generation takes on a different approach to the Caped Crusader, so goes the Batmobile, as well.
The new ride has a retro look and feel – and sound – to it, though we’re already hearing people arguing whether it looks more like a ’70s muscle car or a European exotic.
What we can tell from the latest Batman film trailer, along with earlier teasers released by director Reeves, the 2020 Batmobile stuffs what looks to be a classic V-8, or perhaps a V-10, midship, with a couple turbos kicking in to give it a deliciously menacing note that should send villains scattering.
“Wait’ll you hear it,” actor Jeffrey Wright, the latest Commissioner Gordon, hinted a few months back. Now you can find out for yourself.
While the Batman is normally portrayed sneaking up on the bad guys without a warning, they’ll be able hear the Batmobile’s approach clear across town.
What the new car started out as, well, we’ll have to keep digging for details, but it appears to have borrowed heavily from a number of different vehicles while adding plenty of customization which seems to include a tubular rollbar.
So, how does it compare with Batmobiles of the past? Shockingly, the masked detective didn’t always get a custom ride, at least on celluloid. Back in the 1940s, he had a Cadillac, perhaps an appropriate choice considering his alter ego was the wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne. In the 1950s, the cinematic Batman switched to an only slightly upgraded ’56 Oldsmobile 88.
On the pages of the comic book, however, Batman always drove something distinctive, one of the first Batmobiles looking a lot like a locomotive, but with a giant bat’s head, rather than a cowcatcher.
The first time Tinseltown figured it out was in the 1960s when Adam West was cast to play up a pure camp take on the Caped Crusader, with the appropriately over-the-top Batmobile crafted by the legendary George Barris – who also did such projects as the Munstersmobile, another automotive icon of the era.
The double-bubble original Barris Batmobile recently sold for $4.2 million – not including an additional $420,000 in auction fees.
Things started getting dark when the Batman returned in the late 1980s, first played by Michael Keaton, though the trilogy starring Christian Bale and then the less well-received films featuring Ben Affleck. Each Batmobile grew more ominous, matching the tone of those films.
Of course, every Batmobile not only had to look and sound menacing, but also had to feature plenty of gadgets, whether a nuclear powerplant, like the one Barris designed, or the wicked motorcycle that popped out of Batman/Bale’s Tumbler when it was wrecked by archvillain The Joker.
If you’re interested in learning more about eight decades of Batmobiles you might go look for “The Batmobile Documentary” produced by Warner Brothers.
As for the latest Batmobile, hang tight. The film has already been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though movie theaters are beginning to reopen around the U.S., the current scheduling calls for a theatrical debut on June 25, 2021. We’ll hope to learn – and see – more about it before then.