Disney/Marvel pulled a smart move by bringing all of our favorite superheroes together under one glorious shared universe. We've seen the likes of Captain America, The Mighty Thor, and Iron-Man come to life and leap straight from the panel and page to the silver screen. These characters have always been larger than life, so it makes sense to design them in a way that captures their distinct essence and personality. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has a look all its own. It's obviously inspired by the comics, but at the same time, it is a completely different animal. The designs are more tangible, sleek, and, most importantly, iconic. Like Cap's shield and Thor's hammer, many of these designs have become synonymous with the respected characters.
That all being said, there are a few design choices that simply missed their mark. Whether it be a dull or unappealing direction, making the costume too bulky or to slim, or just flat-out misrepresenting the character, even Marvel is not immune to some foul-ups. There are many fantastic design choices in Marvel's repertoire, but there are always a few sour grapes on the bunch. Most of these designs are simply missteps in an otherwise shimmering gallery of greats, but there are a certain few that should have been sent back to the drawing board. Today, we're going to put some MCU members up on the catwalk and rate their designs. Which ones are marvelous and which are mistakes? Find out as we look at the best and worst of the MCU's designs.
20 MISTAKE: RONAN THE ACCUSER
To be fair, Ronan's design isn't bad, it's just not as great as it could have been. His original design in the Guardians of the Galaxy comics was colorful, but at the same time powerful. It was a design inspired by the era, but it still commanded respect.
The MCU's design simply took the basic elements of the comic book inspiration, painted everything black, and called it Ronan. This gothed-out Kree, while intimidating, was a bit underwhelming in terms of design. Even the modern Guardians comics didn't take much from the movie design. Thankfully, Lee Pace's rage-fueled performance kept this servant of Thanos from being swept under the rug.
19 MARVELOUS: ULYSSES KLAUE
The original comic book version of everyone's favorite maniacal weapon's merchant is not exactly the most intimidating. With the red bodysuit, purple shorts, and the laser hand, the original Klaue looks more like a Saturday morning cartoon villain than a murderous smuggler. Thankfully, the MCU went an entirely different direction.
Though the version we saw in Age of Ultron and Black Panther was a bit more realistic and intimidating, the inclusion of a cybernetic arm and an amazing performance by Andy Serkis truly sold us on the character. Just looking at this guy tells us all we need to know. He's bad, he's armed, and he's going to enjoy causing mayhem.
18 MISTAKE: ABOMINATION
In the comics, Abomination is one of the Hulk's most fearsome and most dangerous adversaries. He's a muscle-bound monstrosity with claws, armored flesh, reptilian spines, and frilled ears, a nightmare on any street. He's the true face of a gamma-ray disaster.
The movie version, on the other hand, tries to be a bit too realistic, going a sort of body-horror route and focusing more on muscles and sinew in the overall design. Though the design is frightening, it's not the monster Abomination should be. The filmmakers could have and should have taken a more creative approach. Unfortunately, we're left with this muscly mess.
17 MARVELOUS: SCARLET WITCH
There was nothing wrong with Scarlet Witch's comic book design but we have to admit, that pointy, red headpiece might have been a bit too much for a battle with Ultron. A magical character in a comic book movie certainly needs a mystical piece of costumery to identify themselves with, and there's nothing wrong with that. But perhaps less is more in the case of our lady in red.
The MCU version tones her appearance down but still gives us a witchy woman. The red layered outfit still has an enchanted and inspired design. It's simple, but we can still identify her as Scarlet Witch. Though she might be one large hat away from being Carmen Sandiego, we love the red leather look on her.
16 MISTAKE: HAWKEYE
Hawkeye's original outfit was a bit dated and maybe a little silly. Come on, that big pointy eyemask wasn't doing anyone any favors. But the MCU design cut just a little too much off when designing this master marksman.
Though we can respect a comic book movie for trying to be a little more realistic with some of its creative choices, there is such a thing as too much. Hawkeye's armor looks a tad too generic. How many other combat suits have we seen that resemble the black and purple gear? We do enjoy the shades and sleeveless look, but nothing about his SHEILD issued attire makes him stand out. It makes us even miss that mask.
15 MARVELOUS: VISION
Vision is one of those comic book entities that needed a modern makeover. Though the early red and yellow version will still be iconic to most fans of the character, we can certainly admire this mesh of man and machine. The MCU's version of the AI brought to live is a marvelous modern interpretation that still remembers its roots.
Vision maintains his red exterior and yellow undertones, but the silver of his suit reflects his silicon soul splendidly. You can compare the versions side by side and see notes of the original design, but also the improvements made to bring the character from the page to the screen. It's one of those designs that pulls all the right punches and wins our definite yes.
14 MISTAKE: NOVA CORPS
On one hand, this is the Nova Corps and not Nova the superhero. Of course, they won't look like the blue and gold versions we're used to, but would that have really been that hard to do? The current version seems a bit too space-marine than we'd like, but there's still time for improvement.
The design seen in Guardians of the Galaxy seems like a mish-mash of spacesuit and Call of Duty skin. The corps has a design that's more than a bit dull and drab compared to the comic book counterpart, but perhaps we'll see a return to classic form in Guardians 3. We can only hope.
13 MARVELOUS: WINTER SOLDIER
If you were to look at Bucky Barnes's original design and compare it to his modern MCU adaptation, you would never believe that they were the same character. Who could have thought the masked man in black could have inspired one of the MCU's most popular characters? Though lacking the luscious locks, certain of the original remain in our modern, mech-armed marvel.
The ballistic mask, the heavy artillery, and leather attire come together to bring us one magnificent mercenary. This agent of HYDRA is one tough customer, and he's dressed to kill. A magnificent masterpiece from the MCU, this is an updated design that puts the heroic in antihero.
12 MISTAKES: GHOST
When it was announced Ghost would have a big part to play in Ant-Man and the Wasp, fans of the character were beyond stoked. A phase-shifting technology thief who's impossible to catch? What a concept! Though the effects and performance by Hanna John-Kamen were both on point, we can't help but think the design was a little lacking.
With a name like Ghost, one would expect the design to be more phantasmic or ghastly, right? The comic book version had some chilling designs, but what we got looked more like a futuristic Assassin's Creed character. It's not a bad design, but we were slightly disappointed at the unfulfilled potential.
11 MARVELOUS: CROSSBONES
Crossbones went from blatant Bane clone to tricked-out criminal when he showed his ugly skull in Captain America: Winter Soldier. With his mask and muscle-bound exterior, he certainly resembled a certain member of Batman's rogue's gallery. Thankfully, the MCU gave him a redesign for a look all his own.
He traded in his muscle shirt, utility belt, and luchador-esque mask for some ballistic armor and a selection of weapons big enough to make him a one-man army. From Winter Soldier to Civil War, this big, bad, bonehead has dished out acts of terror and violence on a supervillainous scale. But above all, he looks great while doing it.
10 MISTAKE: SHOCKER
All joking aside, this one hurt a little bit. The Shocker is not the biggest threat in the Spidey-verse, but he deserves a better MCU appearance than what he got. The original Shocker had a full body costume with gold and red attire, mask included. The version seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming didn't even give him the courtesy of a yellow ski mask, let alone a distinct costume.
A Shocker-colored jacket and a set of electrode-pulsing gauntlets do not a supervillain make. It's almost insulting to how little of the villain we actually got to see. Maybe we'll get to see him again in Spider-Man: Far From Home, but we pray it's more than this poor attempt at an easter-egg.
9 MARVELOUS: ROCKET RACCOON
As if the machine-gun-toting, one-liner-spitting rodent couldn't have gotten any better, he, along with the other Guardians of the Galaxy, joined the ranks of the MCU in 2014. The Guardians lost their purple military-inspired uniforms in favor of outfits that best reflected their personalities, and Rocket was no exception. As much as we like his purple garb, and even enjoy his bright green '70s attire, we gotta give props to his current design from the MCU.
His orange, later blue, jumpsuit is the best he's looked in years. It's a perfect fit for the heat of bullet-hell combat or just lazing around the Milano. One thing can certainly be said about this magnificent mercenary get-up, no one wears it better than our favorite raccoon.
8 MISTAKE: MAY PARKER
The only civilian character on our list has us all asking this question: why did they try to make Aunt May beautiful? No offense to Marisa Tomei whatsoever, but traditionally Aunt May is the sweet elderly lady that Peter works so hard to make happy and protect. We're still scratching our heads over this decision.
Tomei is warm and likable, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with her performance. But there's just something weird about seeing a much younger version of a character as familiar to Spidey-fans as Aunt May. Yes, we know you could make the argument that they significantly de-aged Peter too, but we're still trying to figure out why this was even needed in the first place.
7 MARVELOUS: CAPTAIN AMERICA
Before the arrival of Captian America: The First Avenger, the only cinematic version we had was the 1990 film. Though it tried to emulate the classic captain look, it ended up coming off as silly with his big, bulky, rubber suit. Good thing we had the MCU to give us a captain truly worthy of the Avengers.
Taking equal parts from the comics and WWII realism, we had a superior super soldier to be proud of when Chris Evans picked up the shield in 2011. With his rubber suit replaced by some SHIELD-made battle armor, he was a star-spangled sensation. A vast improvement from the over-the-top version preceding it, this Captain America marched forward into battle and into the hearts of superhero fans everywhere.
6 MISTAKE: MANTIS
In all honesty, we were more than a bit on the fence on this one. That being said, we can certainly agree that the MCU's interpretation of Mantis is far, far away from her original comic book design. Originally, mantis was more Amazonian and far more aggressive than her sweet, soft-spoken self that was seen in Guardians Vol. 2.
Compared to her original form, the MCU took several creative liberties with the character in terms of behavior and design. She still has her empathic abilities, antenna, and green complexion, but she is far from what she was in her original run. Though we can be forgiving of this adaptation, it's not what her creator originally imagined.
5 MARVELOUS: YONDU
While we're in the Guardians' universe, let's have a look at everyone's favorite blue Ravager, Yondu. This original Guardian was definitely a product of his time. Sporting a bright red mohawk and a spandex costume that showed a lot of blue skin, Yondu certainly toned himself down when introduced in the MCU.
A great deal of the character comes from the performance from actor Michale Rooker, but we can't deny a certain charm with the redneck space-bounty-hunter persona. The blue skin and mohawk/fin are still present, but it's the rugged leather exterior that pulls it all together. He's a larger than life character with a larger than life look, and we couldn't be happier.
4 MISTAKE: QUICKSILVER
Unlike the younger version that was seen in Fox's X-Men series, this version of the silver speedster is quite similar to the comic book version. However, instead of the skin-tight lightning bolt suit we've seen in the past, the MCU crew took the base design and color scheme and turned it into some sort of strange athletic wear. We're definitely not sure if that was a good call.
What we have is the basic design for the character being watered down by trying to be too modernized. In theory, a more athletically and aerodynamically designed costume for Quicksilver is a no-brainer. But that sporting-goods style shirt just doesn't do it for us.
3 MARVELOUS: LOKI
Many fans of the god of thunder heaved a sigh of relief when they saw the design of his most famous adversary. The yellow and green attire of the original was more laughable and more at home in a 1960s Batman episode than in the MCU. Thankfully, we were lucky enough to have Tom Hiddleston is his horns and leather to make things smoother.
Loki is a guy with a flair for dramatics, there's something very Shakespearian about his character. He's a slippery snake, but he's professional about it. He's going to be dressed for success, not like he's going to attack the New York Comic Con. It's a moderately new look, but definitely, a style that fits the god of mischief.
2 MISTAKE: RED SKULL
Red Skull is one of the scariest and most intimidating villains in the Marvel canon. A horribly disfigured commander from World War II with plans for world domination should be enough to terrify any comic reader or viewer. Bringing this guy to the big screen was no easy feat, but the MCU made one fatal mistake we can't overlook.
It takes a special skill to mess up a character's most defining feature, but the designers behind the Red Skull's makeup found a way to do it. The look is great, at least everything from the neck down is, but the makeup is obviously heavy prosthetics. Props to Hugo Weaving for an infectious performance, but this is a face only a mother could love.
1 MARVELOUS: VULTURE
Perhaps the most welcomed addition to the MCU was the much-needed update of the Vulture. No longer an angry old geezer with a wing-suit, Adrian Tooms swooped onto the screen with a triumphant flair. More aviator than avian, this new Vulture was certainly a force to be reckoned with by our favorite wall-crawler.
With his bomber jacket, aviator helmet, and an impressive wingspan, the Vulture rocks his new interpretation proud as a peacock. Not only is his design the most impressive, but his reimagined backstory is one of the most realistic and sympathetic we've seen in a very long time. It was an update that was a long time coming, and we're glad to see the character truly spread his wings.