Michael Keaton's Batsuit Was Actually A Bargain

by S. Atkinson

OK, so, technically speaking, $41,250, which is the exact amount paid for the Batsuit from Batman Returns in an auction, isn't exactly spare change. But I still believe, and could claim this out loud with a straight face, that Michael Keaton's Batsuit was a bargain. At least, when placed in context anyway.

For a start, you're getting a lot of Batsuit for your buck. Entertainment Weekly reported that the six-foot suit consisted of "cape, cowl, leather gloves, utility belt, boots, and additional armaments," and I'm not sure I even need to know what the additional armaments are to be on board with whoever bought the suit on Thursday, Jan. 26 through Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles. Respect.

Secondly, let's place this in context for a reality check. How much did Christian Bale's Batsuit from Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins sell for at auction? $250,000. So, almost six times as much as poor Michael Keaton's Batsuit. Which doesn't entirely add up. While Christopher Nolan's Batman reworking was critically adored, when you compare the two films on Rotten Tomatoes, they receive a similar rating (84 percent fresh for Batman Begins, 80 percent fresh for Batman Returns). Clearly, it's not about which Batman film did better with critics.

But things get a little clearer when you look at the audience ratings. Audiences adored Batman Begins (94 percent fresh), but weren't so besotted with Tim Burton's vision of Batman as the critics were (73 percent fresh).

So, sure, while you might expect a costume that's over 20 years old to be seen as an essential piece of film history and priced higher than a more modern costume, apparently auctions don't work like that. On reflection, that seems fair. Since auctions are just a bunch of folks who are passionate enough about a film to shell out megabucks for a souvenir from it, then it makes all the sense in the world that Bale's suit sold for a quarter of a million dollars and Keaton's was a complete bargain.