Time for another confession: I love superheros. Yeah, in all shapes and sizes, skills and abilities, traumatized pasts or billionaire playboys, doesn’t matter: I love them. I’m a sucker for a guy or gal in a spandex suit, wearing their undies on the outside and doling out good ol’ vigilante style justice.
So, naturally, I tinkle a little whenever I hear about a new superhero movie or television show coming out. Whether you realize it or not we’re sort of living through a second golden age of the superhero. DC and Marvel have both outlined their intent to release huge blockbusters on a yearly basis for like the next century. If you’re a fan, like me, then this is great. Unless it’s not.
Wait, what? Really, Anthony? What are you going to hate on today?
Good question. I’m gonna pick on one of the most important decisions a movie maker can make when it comes to creating a kick ass superhero movie: the costume. Now, you haven’t kicked my dog, or put a hex on my family tree, so I won’t torture you by going all Cosmo on you, but seriously, what your main character is wearing on screen will make or break a movie.
With that said, let’s go through some of the worst superhero costume designs of all time and see what useful nuggets we can gleam from this heaping pile of turd-a-geddon.
First, let’s all give Edna Mole a second to explain some basic costume functionality.
Still not convinced? Well, fine. Let’s ask Madonna’s opinion.
Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about the next no-no.
This is something I never, ever say, but… NO NIPPLES!
Ugh, Batman and Robin will go down in history as one of the all-time worst reincarnations of Batman.
First, check out those nipples on Robin. Batman was sporting some nips as well, but thankfully you can’t see them in this picture. Seriously costume-designer guy? How did you even think this was a good idea?
Second, chrome Batman? No. I like creative new takes on old costumes, but you strayed too far on this one.
Despite all the negatives there is one thing I’ll give kudos and a fist bump for–Alicia Silverstone is showing practically zero skin.
Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right. I don’t like seeing skin on my superheros. Boys or girls, doesn’t matter. When you’re rolling in the dirt with bad-guys exposed skin is a very bad idea. Unfortunately, where superheroines are concerned, this is a common problem. Let’s take a gander at some of the more egregious examples.
Halle Berry is beautiful, no doubt, but this is the least functional outfit I’ve ever seen. And that’s something that needs to be considered when drawing up designs for a superhero outfit. For the most part, movie makers and the like do a good job of this where male characters are concerned, but those poor, poor ladies are gonna have some wicked road rash after one good tumble to the pavement.
Here’s a good example of how male superheros are treated differently than the females. Same movie, different theories on functional outfits.
I had my problems with Daredevil the movie, but I will say that his costume was pretty cool. Not only did it look badass, it was cut entirely from leather so that dude could do high-speed somersaults down the street all day long and still have all his skin to show for it. But Elektra? Oh, god… that outfit couldn’t even stop a stiff breeze.
This is where the comic purists will say, “Yeah, but atleast her costume is staying true to the comic book.” Which is true, I concede that point. But let’s take a look at the costume in question shall we?
Ugh…Seriously, sometimes it’s okay–nay, required!–to stray from the source material. This would be one of those times!
With that said, there are some exceptions to the scantily clad rule.
Or you can turn into a diamond…
And that’s it. If you’re not a larger than life engagement ring, or Wonder Woman, you need to be showing a bit less leg.
Oh, I hear your cries of outrage. You say, “But what about if I were a Warrior Princess? Could I skimp on the trousers and body armor then?”
What, a warrior princess sort of like this?
Alright, fine… do what you want. See what I care. But don’t come crawling back asking for bandaids and neosporin when you get all cut up fighting The Porcupine!
Wow, I bet you didn’t think The Porcupine was a real character, did you? Well, guess what? I didn’t either. Thank you google.
Now that we know to steer clear of capes, nipples, and cleavage, let’s tackle a problem we’re only going to see more of in the near future: CGI costumes. Technology is capable of some real neatorific things these days. And I get it, the temptation to do a costume entirely by means of CGI wizardry is damn near irresistible, but please, please, please… before you walk down that Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day reference here is timely only because of the word green. You don’t understand why, yet, but give it until the end of this sentence and you will!) take a note from the blockbuster dud, Green Lantern. (See! Told you that reference would make sense. Sort of.)
Ryan Reynolds played the Green Lantern in what could have been a fantastic movie. Instead, they screwed up two fundamental things and the whole kit and kaboodle started hydroplaning out of control.
First: the plot was pretty loosey-goosey. You can sacrifice a lot, but not story. Never story.
Second: the costume was entirely CGI which, could’ve been cool, but instead looked cheezy and made Ryan Reynolds look anemic. A bad look for a superhero. Don’t believe me? Take a look.
Actually, you know what, I’m a big Ryan Reynolds fan and I could’ve found it in my heart to forgive the costume, but that mask. Oh god, that mask is atrocious.
For comparison purposes, here’s Mr. Reynolds rocking an awesome Deadpool costume.
Granted, you can’t see his face, but that’s the point. Superhero’s need to do a better job concealing their concealables. If there’s a lesson to gleam from this post thus far it’s this: full leather suits ala Deadpool and Daredevil = awesome.
I love leather. Don’t tell Peta. Or Katniss. (<– Oof.. that’s… that’s not a coherent joke.)
Full body suits are great, they offer a lot of protection which I think should never be underestimated whilst fighting crime. But there are some big no-no’s one should be aware.
One: full body spandex or leotards are questionable even under the best of circumstances.
Notice how your eyes are immediately drawn to the crotch-al regions. But hey, it could be worse.
Is Sue Storm wearing a superhero turtleneck? To my knowledge, only one person has ever pulled off the tactical turtleneck.
Don’t know who this is? Watch Archer. Now.
Anyways, the one piece leotard is hard to pull off, but it can be done.
Ignore the high heeled boots for two seconds and realize that this outfit is actually incredibly functional for a cat burglar. Much better than that Halle Barry nonsense earlier.
But you got to tread cautiously ’cause one misstep and you end up looking like this guy.
Is that Barney riding a horse through the jungle? No, but it might as well be. Oi, I don’t even know where to start with this one.
Ack, well… this is as good a time as any to call it quits. End on a high note so to speak. Now, forget everything I just said and get down to the comments and tell me what you think. What are some of your favorite superhero costumes? What are your least favorite? Did any of them make my list? I’m dying to know, don’t leave me hanging!