Details of The Batman movie Grapple Launcher replica are now available from Sideshow Collectibles, giving collectors a chance to own a unique version of what must surely be Batman’s most indispensable accessory.
It’s strange to think that, as Batman went into the 1980’s, he was still throwing a rope with either a grappling hook or a Batarang attached to the end of it. In Justice League of America #196 (1981), written by Gerry Conway, illustrator George Perez drew a panel of Batman firing a small device that fired a rope with the Batarang at one end. Nothing was seen of it again (with legend having it that DC editors were concerned about the famously anti-gun Bruce Wayne owning something that resembled a fire-arm) until Tim Burton’s Batman ’89.
Superhero comics don’t always have to get too caught up in logic (it’s a slippery slope, after all), and a multitude of practicality concerns can be swept into the gaps between the panels. Moviemaking, however, doesn’t have the luxury of cutting between still images, and when Tim Burton’s classic went into pre-production, the designers realised that they needed a quicker, visually impressive way to get the Dark Knight to higher ground. So, the grapnel was (re?)created. The device was a huge hit, particularly as it proved to have multiple uses in fight situations, and later the same year a grapple launcher device made an appearance in Batman #441 (1989).
Again, due to the differing mediums, the grapple launcher has proved to play a more frequent role in the movies than the comics. While the different versions of the device have mostly taken the appearance of a handgun, the main logistical issue has been how Batman can carry the launcher when he’s not using it.
This was evidently even more vital in Matt Reeves’ movie The Batman (2022) which not only presented a grounded, more naturalistic version of the Dark Knight than, say, Zack Snyder’s universe, but also focused on the shadowy mystery of the character. The brilliant opening shows how Bruce Wayne was creating a mythology to the Batman persona that thrived on fear of the unknown. “Fear is a tool,” he says in voiceover. “They think I’m hiding in the shadows. I am the shadows.”
To make Batman the nightmare to criminals, as he intended, he needed to appear to have powers, which meant small, easily concealed gadgets. The result was The Batman grapple launcher which slid out from his gauntlet and resembles the small, so-called sleeve pistols. Unlike Burton’s Batman, this grapple launcher didn’t need to do anything fancy other than shoot a wire and retract it, so its small size seems more feasible.
For this replica, Factory Entertainment have done an amazing job at making it feel as if they’re offering you the actual prop used in the movie. That’s partly due to the fact that they were working off the original digital assets for the physical item used in the film. This allowed them to get the sizing, as well as the detail, accurate. It’s non-firing of course (I know, I know – you got carried away there for a second!), but it does have a working rotating wheel of nylon rope and a two-position activation switch for that satisfying click of a button – press it, and let it fire your imagination.
It’s capped off with a natural-looking, weathered feel and a truly impressive presentation box; with a satin black finish, and acrylic window, which includes a metal plaque and a numbered certificate of authenticity.
It’s not enough for Batman to jump and swing from building to building. To take full advantage of the visual impact of his persona, he needs to fly. If he’s going to maintain his aversion to guns, he needs something close to hand to even the odds when he’s up against those who do wield them. The Batman movie grapple launcher is the answer to both those conundrums, and this version just got extra handy.
The new replica, by Factory Entertainment is available to pre-order from Sideshow Collectibles.
The Batman movie Grapple Launcher – Product details:
Product SizeHeight: 4″ (10.2 cm)
Width: 8.25″ (21 cm)
Depth: 2″ (5.1 cm) *
Box SizeHeight: 8.00″ (20.3 cm)
Width: 11.00″ (27.9 cm)
Depth: 15.00″ (38.1 cm) *
Shipping Weight5.00 lbs (2.3 kg) *
* Size and weight are approx. values
Images and Press Release Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles