March 24, 2016 5:33 PM EDT

When comparing one Batman movie to another, the focus tends to remain on the man inside the suit. And as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters this weekend, all eyes are on Ben Affleck‘s newly-minted Dark Knight. But over the course of more than seven decades, the suit itself has cycled through as many changes as the casting of the actors who have worn it. There have been minor alterations—pointier ears here, sturdier boots there—but the biggest difference is its metamorphosis from cloth to armor, clothing to combat gear. The only way to give Batman a fighting chance against the Man of Steel, it seems, is to shroud the man in steel himself.

 

Write to Eliza Berman at eliza.berman@time.com.

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