It’s certainly a tough job trying to please the always expanding and picky fans. It is especially difficult to try to accurately bring a comic book costume to the big screen in a live action setting, because sometimes things just don’t translate all that well. The problem lies in the fact that some comic book costumes are really ridiculous and could never look good on any actor. That doesn’t stop fans from complaining when they feel that a comic book costume isn’t accurate enough in the movies. Sometimes, they even complain because the costume is too accurate. Like we said, there’s just no pleasing some fans.
As a film director, costume designer and makeup artist, you can never win because you will always have a portion of the fandom that is working against you, spreading their dislike for the final product all over the world. It is a miracle when the fans are all able to agree that a particular costume is good. That is not the case with the costumes featured on this list. The costumes on this list are either really hideous, controversial or completely inaccurate. Let’s take a look at 15 awful big screen costumes that failed the comics.
Quicksilver has made an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the X-Men franchise and was played by two guys who co-starred in another comic book film series: Kick-Ass. These are two very distinct looks, but both are pretty bad. In the MCU, Aaron Taylor-Johnson wore a boring blue body suit and sported horrible roots in his silver hair.
In the X-Men series, Evan Peters has equally bad silver/blue hair and has a horrible wardrobe that consists of a blue/gray leather jacket that he must really love because he has owned it for at least a decade. Of the two, we prefer the Peters version, only because that version of the character was far more entertaining to watch. Or maybe it’s just the character of Quicksilver that’s the problem.
Catwoman has made an appearance in a few Batman films over the years and she even got her own solo movie, but we’re not particularly impressed with the results up to date. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in Batman Returns certainly had an original look, but it was clearly something out of Tim Burton’s dreams as she looked more like a stitched up zombie out of Corpse Bride.
Next, Halle Berry played the antiheroine in Catwoman and she amped up the steamy factor a little too much. She gave up the latex for a barely-there, impractical cat burglar bra and leather tights. Finally, Anne Hathaway looks like she came out of a Splinter Cell video game rather than a proper Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
13. ANG LEE’S HULK
In this case, it is not the costume that failed the comics. Instead, it was the CGI that didn’t live up to our expectations. In 2003, the visual effects technology was no where it needed to be to create a realistic-looking, believable Hulk. Instead of the green Goliath we all hoped for, we got a stiff looking green guy that bounced around the screen. In 2008, we got The Incredible Hulk, which improved on the CGI but the look still wasn’t perfect yet. That Hulk’s musculature was too sinewy and looked odd.
Luckily, special effects have improved dramatically since then and we have now been able to get the Hulk we deserve ever since The Avengers. It also appears as though that trend will continue in Thor: Ragnarok, where the Hulk will don his famous gladiator costume from the “Planet Hulk” miniseries.
In Zach Snyder’s Watchmen film, Ozymandias looks like horrible concept art for Robin in Joel Schumacher’s Batman films. He even has the nipples on his suit. The costume looks nothing like the one in the comics. It’s dark and sinister looking rather than colorful like in the mini-series. He looks completely ridiculous in the movie.
In the comics, the major twist at the end comes as a complete surprise because no one expects this hopeful, passionate and caring character could be behind such a destructive plot for world peace. In the movie, it isn’t such a big shock because he looks like a bad guy from the start. The only thing that would have made his intentions more obvious would have been if he curled his moustache between his fingers and laughed maniacally throughout the film.
Sabretooth had two opportunities to get a great costume on film in X-Men and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Both of the films wasted their potential and failed the character miserably when it comes to how the villain looks. In X-Men, the decisions they made in the hair department were horrendous. His long, wispy wig in no way shape or form represented the character. Aside from that, his look was pretty decent. The thick fur coats and beard fit the character perfectly.
In Origins, if no one actually called him Victor Creed, you wouldn’t even know it was supposed to be Sabretooth. Aside from the fangs and claws, it just looked like Liev Schreiber. They could have definitely done a lot more to make him look more like Sabretooth.
10. MARV IN SIN CITY 2
This is a particularly strange entry on the list because Mickey Rourke looked exactly like Marv in the first Sin City film. His excessive wrinkles and scarring as well as his iconic flat nose were perfectly executed by the makeup department. We’re not exactly sure what happened when the sequel, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, came around but the makeup team really messed up. His prosthetics looked puffy and made his face look very bloated. As a result he no longer looked like his comic book counterpart.
Oddly enough, the sequel had a budget that was $25 million more than its predecessor yet the makeup and special effects look very cheap at times. We’re not sure where the money went but it certainly wasn’t used on Marv.
This abominable film starring Shaquille O’Neal as John Henry Irons aka Steel had a horrible costume department. It is no wonder than the film was a huge box office bomb because the titular hero looked lousy. Who would want to see a movie where the hero looks lame? Steel suffers from the fact that O’Neal looks nothing like the character in the film.
Steel was first created after Doomsday killed Superman and John Henry Irons took up the mantle of the Man of Steel by creating a super-powered suit and following in Superman’s footsteps. The suit in the movie certainly doesn’t look super by any means. It looks really cheap and ridiculous. He also looks more like Robocop that he does the Superman character, which makes it even more confusing.
8. JOKER IN SUICIDE SQUAD
This is the worst-looking Joker ever put on screen. There is no explanation as to why he has so many ridiculous, on-the-nose tattoos, and frankly we don’t even care as to why he has them. Everything about his look screams “Everyone look at me! Look at how crazy I look!” We understand that without experimentation, things would be really boring. When you experiment, you could end up with a stroke of genius but you could also end up with a huge failure. And they failed big time with this one.
Luckily, it appears that they will be going in another direction with The Joker in the planned origin story film which will feature another actor. Hopefully he will be sporting a completely different look than the one we got from Jared Leto in Suicide Squad.
7. NEW GOBLIN IN SPIDER-MAN 3
The New Goblin in Spider-Man 3, which is Sam Raimi’s equivalent of the Hobgoblin in the comic books, is a really lame looking villain. First of all, he doesn’t even look like a goblin! Instead, he looks like a flying snowboarder. How does that even make sense? A huge part of the character’s arc is that he is supposed to follow in his father’s footsteps, and that including his choice of costume.
The build-up of Harry Osborn’s anger towards Spider-Man throughout the trilogy got people really excited for the Hobgoblin’s big screen debut, but the reveal was extremely underwhelming and did not ring true to the character. The costume department made a big mistake here and we were very disappointed that such a cool comic book character came out so lame on screen.
There was huge backlash when the first images were posted online of Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse. People were quick to compare him to Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers series. In the image, Apocalypse looks purple rather than blue. As it turns out, he was blue in the film, but he still didn’t live up to the character’s comic book look anyways.
As much as we love Oscar Isaac, we think they should have made him look a little more physically imposing. The 5’8 actor could have used some CGI enhancements to make him look bigger, kind of like what they did with Josh Brolin as Thanos. On top of that, we found that the character in the film’s look had a little too much Egyptian influence to his look. In the comics, this was not the case at all.
5. THE THING
The Thing, played by Michael Chiklis in the 2005 version of Fantastic Four and its sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, looked pretty terrible. As much as people hated the 2015 Fantastic Four film, at least the CGI on their Thing looked decent (although he didn’t wear any pants for some reason).
The 2015 version actually looked like a man made of rock. Chiklis’s Thing looks like a giant plastic action figure. If you didn’t know the origin of the character or if none of the characters explicitly told the audience that Ben Grimm turned into a man completely made of rock, you would never know it based on how he looks. At least the 2005 film got the other characters’ costumes right.
We’re not very big fans of Beast’s look in the X-Men film series. Be it his look in the original trilogy or the prequels, Beast doesn’t have enough of an animalistic look. The practical effects look kind of goofy rather than intimidating.
Another major issue with the character is that he doesn’t look as physically imposing as he should. In the comics, he’s a big muscular monster, but in the films he looks like a regular guy that happens to be painted blue, is very hairy and has a horrible wig (actually Nicholas Hoult’s Beast looks more like a werewolf than man, but that still doesn’t do Beast justice). He’s just not big enough. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to combine practical effects and CGI.
3. JOEL SCHUMACHER’S BATMAN
Joel Schumacher’s two Batman films, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, are not only the worst movies in the series, they also have the worst costumes. Admittedly, the 1943 Batman serial had a pretty horrible costume, but we’ll let that one go because it was over 70 years ago. We’ll also forgive Adam West’s Bat-suit because it was intentionally campy.
The aesthetic choices for the Batman suits in Schumacher’s two films had one goal in mind: to sell action figures. They’re shiny, flashy and infantile. However, the one thing that probably didn’t help action figure sales is the Bat-nipples. We can’t imagine a focus group approving of such an idea, but somehow nipples were placed on a Bat-suit and no one stopped it from happening.
2. GREEN GOBLIN IN AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
The Green Goblin in Mark Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 had some potential. We loved the idea that his goblin-like looks are due to some kind of genetic disorder called Retroviral Hypodysplasia which eats away at the body from the inside. We also thought it was clever that his exo-suit heals his body. It was a great idea on paper, but in practice it failed horribly and it did not look anything like what we have been known to see in the source material.
Rather than looking cool, Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin was really hideous. They definitely put a lot of effort in the makeup department and we’re not knocking the amount of work put into it, but the Green Goblin was never supposed to look that gross.
Fans of the comics and the ’90s X-Men animated series always hoped they would see Wolverine don his yellow/blue or yellow/brown costume on film. They were teased with one at the end of The Wolverine, but it never came to pass. Throughout the film series, Wolverine has, for the most part, sported a black leather suit while fighting with the X-Men.
When he is out on his own, he would wear civil clothes. These aren’t necessarily bad choices, but we always hoped we’d get to see the comic book suit come to life. Don’t get us wrong, we understand exactly why they went this route. They knew that if they did the colorful suit badly, they would never hear the end of the backlash. But at the end of the day, what we’ve seen just doesn’t live up to the comic book look of the character.
Which of these costumes was the worst for you? Let us know in the comment section!
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