Popular superheroes usually wear costumes to set them apart from police or other law enforcement while also making a splash on the page. Since the creation of Superman in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, most superheroes wear some form of skin-tight outfit. Unfortunately, when it comes to making movies about superheroes, tight costumes don't really translate to the real world. It's easy to draw a hero wearing essentially nothing and then pencil in lines to suggest gloves, boots, and briefs. When the time comes to put a human being in the same outfit, a lot of those memorable costumes don't hold up to the harsh light of day. In fact, it's become a tradition for costumes to make huge changes between the page and the silver screen.
Yet some of the changes made to superhero costumes for the movies have shocked and outraged fans. Some movie costumes have made only slight changes while others have made the costumes unrecognizable. Others are actually a pretty good compromise between the comic book version and reality, but still disappointed fans. Get ready to enter a world where spandex need not apply when CBR counts down the worst superhero costume adaptations in movies.
Deadpool was a popular but relatively obscure character when he made his first live-action appearance in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and his movie costume almost made sure we never saw him again. In the comics, Deadpool wears red tights with a lot of pouches on his belt, swords and guns, and a mask with only eyeholes.
In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool is almost unrecognizable as he became a bare-chested tattooed mutant with his mouth sewn shut. His eyes getting dark patches around them when he fired beams seemed like the only nod to his original costume. Reynolds (who played Deadpool) almost refused to play the role because he became so upset about the changes, but was talked into it. Fortunately, Fox allowed Deadpool to make a new movie with a more accurate costume.
There aren't many characters in comics with a costume as iconic as Wolverine that has also changed so much. In his first appearance in 1974, Wolverine had a yellow suit with blue accents and stripes, and a mask with wings over the eyes. Over the years, the yellow suit got replaced with a brown and tan version, but the winged mask remained.
In 2000, X-Men finally brought the mutant superheroes to the big screen, and spandex became the first casualty. Instead, the team wore black leather uniforms. Wolverine had some orange-hued stripes on his black suit, but no mask. The movie even made a joke out of the lack of yellow spandex. With 2016's Logan, Hugh Jackman finally retired from the role without ever putting on the comic book suit.
In the comics, Mystique is a mutant whose power to look like anyone makes her one of the deadliest enemies of the X-Men. In her true form, she has blue skin with completely yellow eyes. As a costume, she wore a white dress with the skirt slit open at the legs, white gloves and boots, and a belt made of tiny human skulls. Definitely not subtle.
In the 2000's X-Men movie, Mystique looked completely different, starting with the fact that she didn't wear clothes. The explanation is that she stayed nude so she could take on the shape of clothes, but casting a supermodel in the role didn't hurt. To keep the movie PG-13, Mystique had reptilian scales over her breasts and other parts of her body. It's completely inaccurate, but also fun for us to watch.
12 GREEN LANTERN
In 2011, DC's Green Lantern made his movie debut, and the world saw a very different costume. In the comics, Green Lantern has worn a green bodysuit with white gloves and black arms and legs, and a domino mask over the eyes. That costume hasn't changed much, except for maybe the gloves going green with the rest of it. On the contrary, all the Green Lanterns throughout the universe have worn variations of the same costume.
The movie version kept the look of the costume but made a radical change in the way it was designed. The costume is entirely computer-animated in the movie with glowing green lines like muscle fibers and the three-dimensional emblem embedded within the chest. Years later, Ryan Reynolds (who played Green Lantern) made fun of the costume in Deadpool when he begged not to be given a green or animated costume.
11 CAPTAIN AMERICA
Captain America has a whole patriotic theme going with his costume, and has since his creation in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The costume is based on blue tights with red gloves and boots, red, white and blue striping around the waist and a star on the chest. He wears a mask with wings, cut-out ears and an "A" on the forehead. Over time, his tights became chainmail.
In 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, the general outline of that costume appeared but with huge differences. For one thing, the costume is based more on armor than chainmail or tights. There are suspenders and belts all around the suit that never existed in the comic version. The mask became a helmet with no slots for the ears. In later movies, the belts have disappeared, but it's still not the same.
The Punisher is one of the few superheroes who doesn't have a fancy costume. In fact, in many versions, he doesn't wear a costume at all. In his first appearance in 1974, he wore a black set of tights with white gloves and boots, along with a skull symbol on the chest. Over time, the full costume became less used as he became more of a realistic vigilante. Most of the time, he would wear simple black pants and a jacket with only a T-shirt that had his skull insignia on it.
Despite this simple costume, the first Punisher movie in 1989 still managed to get it wrong, because the Punisher just wore a regular pair of pants, shirt and jacket. He didn't wear a skull on his shirt at all. The Punisher had one job and dropped the ball.
Rogue is considered one of the sexiest female heroes in comics, and a lot of that has to do with her costume. She is usually shown with a ton of long brown hair with a white streak in the middle, and her costume has changed from simple tights to tights with a long cape, but she usually wears a costume with green and yellow accents. However she's drawn, it's usually with a lot of curves.
The big change with Rogue's costume started with the character itself. In X-Men, Rogue isn't a Southern woman but a teenage girl. Since the audience didn't need to see a sexualized teenager, Rogue's costume became a bland black leather suit. She didn't even have the white streak in her hair until the very end.
In the comics, Catwoman has changed her costume many times over the years. She started out wearing a skirt and purple cape but eventually came down to a purple or black suit with boots and clawed gloves. Every now and then, she mixed it up with a belt or a whip wrapped around her waist, but the only constant is her cat's ear mask.
The movies haven't been kind to Catwoman's costumes. Her first movie appearance was in 1992's Batman Returns, where Catwoman wore patches of black leather stitched together into a clingy suit. In 2004, the Catwoman solo movie changed her to black leather again, this time with just a bra for a top and huge cuts on the leggings. In 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, Catwoman fell back to a black bodysuit again, and this time she had binoculars instead of ears.
7 THE FANTASTIC FOUR
The Fantastic Four has one of the most recognized sets of costumes in all of comics. All four team members wear matching blue suits with white gloves and boots. No masks, no capes. Simple and easy to recognize. The only real difference is the Thing, who usually wears just blue shorts or blue pants with white boots.
In 2015, the costumes of the Fantastic Four were completely up-ended. Instead of blue and white suits, all of them wore suits in shades of gray and black. The costumes weren't used for fashion or decoration but were made to control their powers. Most of them had weird panels and armor, and Mr. Fantastic's suit had straps holding on the extending sleeves. The Thing didn't wear any costume at all over his rocky body, going completely nude.
In his first appearance in 1969, Falcon had a unique costume that's stayed with him. It started out as mostly red with a white shirt broken by feather-like stripes. He also wore a white mask with the top cut out. The shirt was open all the way down the chest to the stomach, but later versions closed up the shirt while everything else remained the same. The biggest feature is the huge red wings on his back, attached to the arms.
With 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Falcon was brought to the screen with a very different costume. It became a military uniform with gray camouflage pants and an armored vest. The mask is gone, replaced by goggles. His wings became a pair of mechanical wings powered by jets. Still cool, but not the same.
It's hard to mess up Batman's costume. It's always been a black bodysuit with the Bat-symbol on the chest, a scalloped cape and pointy ears on a full-face mask. Yet somehow, the movies have managed to screw it up. 1989's Batman started the trend by having Batman wearing muscular body armor instead of a cloth or kevlar suit, and threw in a generous codpiece to boot. The trend hit its low with Batman and Robin in 1997, which infamously featured visible nipples.
Batman Begins got rid of the nipples but was an even bigger step away from the comics with armor plating instead of tights. By the time Batman v Superman came along in 2016, it was almost shocking to see a costume that copied Batman's outfit from the comics faithfully.
In 1986's graphic novel Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons introduced a dysfunctional team of superheroes who tried to unravel a murder mystery and global conspiracy. One of the superheroes was the so-called "smartest man in the world," Adrian Veidt. With his wealth and genius, he fashioned himself after Alexander the Great and called himself Ozymandias, after the Greek name for the Pharaoh Ramses II. His costume consisted of a purple tunic over a skin-tight suit with gold metallic sleeves and pants.
In the 2009 movie adaptation, Ozymandias' costume was radically different. The robe didn't make an appearance, replaced by contoured body armor that had more shades of gray than purple or gold. Behind the scenes, the costume was supposed to make fun of the muscles-and-nipples Batsuit in Batman and Robin.
3 SCARLET WITCH
The Scarlet Witch was first created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1964's X-Men #4. In the beginning, she was a villain who changed sides to work with the X-Men using her "hex" powers. Traditionally, the Scarlet Witch has worn a consistent costume in the comics that's all red with a red swimsuit over tights with long gloves and boots. She also had a bustier, long red cape and wore a shaped headpiece called a "wimple."
In 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch is introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played by Elizabeth Olsen. In the movies, Scarlet Witch hasn't gone anywhere near her comic book costume. Instead, she wears a long red coat over a red vest with black pants. No gloves or capes. Not even a wimple.
In 1992, the "Death of Superman" story arc led to four new heroes taking the Man of Steel's place, one of which became a literal "man of steel." John Henry Irons is a weapons engineer who discovered his weapons being used by criminals and brutal soldiers, so he took a nod from Superman and made himself a battlesuit as the hero known as "Steel." The sleek battlesuit completely covered him from head-to-toe with a metallic armor, had a long cape, and he carried a powered sledgehammer.
In a bizarre twist, Steel became the star of a movie adaptation starring Shaquille O'Neal. In the 1997 movie, Steel created his suit from scrap metal, giving it a look more like iron plates welded together than the almost liquid look in the comics. Of all the movie's sins, the costume might be the worst.
In the comics, the blind superhero Daredevil uses his super-senses to fight crime in Hell's Kitchen. At first, he wore a yellow leotard with red highlights but eventually changed to a total bodysuit in the same shade of red, along with a mask with horns attached.
In the 2003 movie, Daredevil's costume looked the same at first glance. In reality, it was assembled from separate pieces of clothing all worn together instead of a single leotard. Thanks to the "realistic" style of the time, Daredevil's costume is made of leather instead of Spandex. It has leather pants, a leather jacket, and leather gloves and boots. The top of the mask is the only really accurate part with the horns and red lenses. At least it's all one shade of red.