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Which Batmobile is best? This documentary looks at all Batman’s rides
Which Batmobile is best? This documentary looks at all Batman’s rides

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Warner Bros)

There can’t be many vehicles in popular culture as well-known as Batman’s Batmobile. The car is as much a character as the Caped Crusader himself, and it’s the topic of a documentary simply titled The Batmobile that Warner Bros. put online recently. I must confess, I’m a couple of weeks late to the party, for I only learned about the video—which I think was originally one of the extras on 2012’s Blu-ray of The Dark Knight Rises—in our virtual office this morning. And I was originally going to write this piece as an argument for the one true Batmobile, but actually, that would be wrong. Instead, the documentary convinced me that each iteration of Batman’s ride is equally valid in its own right.

OK, maybe not the unmodified Cadillac that he used in a 1943 production, but definitely the rest of them. As the character developed in print, the Batmobile went through a series of changes, usually at the whim of whomever was drawing it at the time. But for many, the name Batmobile probably conjures up images of the 1960s TV version. Designed by legendary customizer George Barris and driven by Adam West, I’m currently struck by just how well-labeled every batgadget happens to be.

In the 1980s, director Tim Burton brought the darkness back to live-action Batman, influenced by comics like Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Brian Bolland and Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Did you know that the Burton Batmobile’s jet-like canopy came about because the film’s art director forgot to leave room for more conventional doors? Other neat facts I have learned today are that the taillights are borrowed from a Ferrari, and the fuel filler comes from one of London’s Routemaster buses.

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