Fans never know what they’re going to get with superhero costumes in movies. When artists are drawing comics, they don’t take real life into consideration. So many heroes and villains wear impossible outfits that just can’t exist in the real world. On the page, Wolverine’s mask looks amazing. It’s iconic. In real life, however, it looks completely silly. To be honest, the hardest part of making a superhero movie has to be the costume. Not only are they incredibly hard to bring to life, fans are incredibly passionate about them. If the end result isn’t perfect, the filmmakers are going to hear about it.
Costumes like Captain America’s from The First Avenger (2011) are universally loved. Others, like Halle Berry’s Catwoman (2004) outfit spark an endlessly burning rage in the hearts of fans. Sometimes, however, a hated costume can actually win fans over. Sometimes, filmmakers have to make weird decisions. If they can’t just take what’s on the page and bring it directly to the screen, they have to figure out a way to get the same idea across. Of course, this means making changes to the outfit, which fans hate. If the changes actually make sense, however, the audience eventually comes around, like with these 15 examples.
15. THE X-MEN
A big part of the reason that the X-Men are so popular is because they look so cool. From Wolverine’s striped outfit to Gambit’s trench coat, they’re the best dressed team of heroes. The problem is that almost none of the outfits translate to real life. Aside from the copious buckles and pouches, many of the characters wear clothes that just don’t exist. So, when Fox finally put a live action movie into production, producers made a drastic change to the team’s look.
X-Men (2000) featured the mutants wearing matching all-black leather outfits. While practical, the new look just wasn’t as cool as the comics. The initial backlash was vocal and very angry. Once the movie came out, however, and fans realized the changes made, for the theme the film was going for, were good, it was easier to accept the realistic uniforms, which briefly appeared in the comics.
14. THE HOMEMADE SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING SUIT
Marvel has a great track record with costumes. From Captain America to Thor, the studio has a proven ability of turning corny outfits into real life uniforms. When it was announced that Spider-Man would be appearing in Captain America: Civil War (2016), no one was really worried about the design. Spider-Man had been appearing in film for over a decade, and his costume always looked great.
Then, the first images of his homemade suit appeared online. Fans couldn’t believe it. Was Marvel really going to put Spider-Man in sweatpants and a hoodie? Of course, he only wore this outfit briefly during Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and once fans had time to think about it, they relented. It didn’t hurt that Tony Stark built Peter a much more comic book accurate costume either.
Despite first appearing in X-Men #4 (1964) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Quicksilver didn’t make any film appearances until X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Played by Evan Peters, he’s a sarcastic young man who has the power to move lightning quick. Bored with regular life, he’s convinced to help Logan and Xavier free Magneto from prison.
Technically, this version of Quicksilver doesn’t wear a costume. He’s not a superhero, just a bored teenager wearing his regular clothes. Still, fans hated the design. Between the goggles, silver jacket and grey hair, they didn’t see anything of the comic book version. Of course, Quicksilver ended up being one of the most popular parts of the film. It turns out, he looks a lot better in motion.
As previously stated, not every comic book costume works in real life. Fans understand this, and are always braced for films to make changes. That being said, there was no reason for Bullseye to look the way he did in Daredevil (2003). The villain has a fairly simple costume, which easily could’ve been translated onto film.
Instead, Colin Farrell showed up wearing a bizarre leather coat, no mask and a bullseye carved into his forehead. Despite the initial hate, and general disdain for the final movie, audiences seemed to warm to Farrell’s portrayal. In fact, the bullseye head scar eventually made its way into the comics. It turns out, any awful design can be saved by a devilishly charming Irish actor. Thankfully, this film’s biker outfit for Daredevil never made its way past Ben Affleck.
11. NOVA CORPS
While the MCU might have a great track record when it comes to costumes, its not perfect. In fact, when it misses, it misses big. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) was a huge risk when it came out. Audiences knew nothing about the relatively minor property, which had never been a huge comic book hit. Surprisingly, the relatively faithful adaptation was a huge hit. That is probably the only reason why fans got over the film’s biggest departure from the comics.
The Nova Corps in the movie appear to be nothing more than armored space cops. Worst of all, the armor isn’t as cool as the outfit in the comics. Instead of yellow Roman helmets, they’re a dull grey. The costume is essentially tactical gear, and the only resemblance to the comics is the three circle logo. Still, perhaps because the film was overall so well-received, and because it fit with the reimagining of the Corps, fans accepted the look of the group… at least for now.
10. THE FLASH
In terms of heroes, the Flash has a pretty straightforward costume. He wears red spandex with some lightning effects splashed on top. In 2017, that should’ve been a relatively simple design to bring to the screen. Instead, when the DCEU version of the character was revealed, his outfit had been upgraded to plated armor.
The simple yet iconic design had been turned into something way too busy. This was one of those designs, however, where once it was explained, it made perfect sense. When Bruce Wayne finds Barry’s suit, he describes it as “silica-based quartz and fabric, abrasion resistant, heat resistant.” Clearly, Barry is running so fast that it would destroy regular clothes. Out of all the issues Justice League (2017) had, the Flash’s new and high tech costume wasn’t one of them. Although it would have been cooler if the costume popped out of a tiny ring Barry wore on his finger.
9. THE DARK KNIGHT BATSUIT
It might be hard to imagine, but there was a time when fans weren’t sure what to think of The Dark Knight (2008). Batman Begins (2005) was well-received, but it wasn’t beloved. Not everyone loved the overly realistic tone, and the Bat-Tank redesign of the Batmobile wasn’t popular.
For the sequel, Nolan decided to redesign the batsuit. The new design featured armored plates, allowing Batman more range of motion. Many felt it was too busy, and some fans even recolored it to look like Iron Man’s armor. This suit was just too high-tech for Batman. Once again, seeing it in motion helped win fans over. Also, the new design allowed Christian Bale to actually turn his head. Apparently, fans were really excited about this new ability.
Another odd (and seemingly unnecessary) redesign was Bane from The Dark Knight Rises (2012). The hulking villain typically wears a simple sleeveless shirt and a red-eyed mask. Surely, this look could have been brought to life. That’s why it was so confusing when the first images of Bane surfaced, and he was a bald man wearing a bizarre breathing apparatus. Supposedly, this mask somehow regulated the constant pain Bane suffered from.
This design looked nothing like the comics, and it seemed to be a change just for the sake of change. Luckily, Tom Hardy’s strange accent and over-the-top performance brought the whole thing together. This look may not be Bane, but fans still found a way to accept it. This strange mask went on to be iconic and is often referenced in pop culture.
7. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Most entries on this list are based on costumes that deviated too far from the comics. This time, however, remaining faithful seemed like a problem. With X-Men: First Class (2011), Fox hoped to reboot the franchise after several missteps. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) both made money, but neither was embraced by audiences.
The new film was meant to tell the origins of the X-Men, and the filmmakers decided to base the costume designs on the original costumes from the comics. The problem was, these costumes looked both cheap and cheesy. Fans worried that this signaled another lame X-film. Fortunately, the costumes fit the tone of the movie, which was set during the ’60s. While it wasn’t a major hit, First Class still helped successfully relaunch the franchise.
Chris Hemsworth is great as Thor. He’s done such a good job with the role that it’s easy to forget that he was relatively unknown before picking up the hammer. When Thor (2011) first went into production, fans weren’t sure what to expect. It was definitely the weirdest concept Marvel was attempting at the time. Could an unknown actor pull off a Norse god superhero?
That tension is probably why fans reacted so negatively to the first photos of Chris Hemsworth in costume. While the look was fairly comic book accurate, it didn’t look quite right. The arms looked puffy and it seemed generally cheap looking. Many fans felt like it looked like a Halloween costume. Luckily, once it went through a full post production pass, it looked much better.
Beast is one of those characters that will never look perfect in live action. Hank McCoy, who first appeared in X-Men #1 (1963) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, is a mutant who not only has giant arms, hands and feet, but is also covered in blue fur. In the comics, he’s one of the most popular and recognizable members of the team. It would’ve been impossible to leave him out of the films completely.
Unfortunately, it’s also impossible to bring him to life without it looking kind of silly. Kelsey Grammer played him in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), and the film didn’t skimp on the blue fur. Of course fans hated the look when they first saw it, because Grammer covered in blue paint isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. They eventually calmed down, and accepted that Beast was always going to look silly. That’s what makes him great.
Sometimes, a costume can be comic book accurate, but not accurate from the right comic. Karen Gillan played Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). This version of the character was one of Thanos’ adopted daughters, and served as one of the main antagonists, helping Ronan in his quest to use an infinity stone to destroy Xandar.
Nebula played a major role in The Infinity Gauntlet (1991) by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim, so it made sense to introduce her to the MCU. Nebula’s film design, however, was based on her more recent (and much less impactful) appearances during the 2006 Annihilation storyline. The costume was a huge departure from her original look, and fans had trouble embracing it until they saw Gillan’s fantastic performance in the film.
3. THE GREEN GOBLIN
For Spider-Man’s film debut, he had to face off against his worst enemy. The Green Goblin first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (1964) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. He didn’t become Spidey’s greatest villain until years later when he killed Gwen Stacy, the hero’s girlfriend. Obviously, fans expected him to terrorize New York City in Spider-Man (2002).
The only problem was his costume. In the comic, he dresses like a goblin, wearing a mask with an impossibly moving mouth that perfectly matches Norman’s. The filmmakers attempted to make a realistic, armored version, but it never made it to final production. The robo-goblin may not be beloved, but after the disastrous goblin design in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), fans have come to appreciate this cheesy costume.
The problem with Hawkeye’s cinematic costume is that it isn’t really a costume. In the comics, Hawkeye’s purple outfit is a favorite among Marvel diehards. He’s had several looks over the decades, but he always returns to the same general archer’s outfit. Well, at least until recently. Hawkeye first appeared as a cameo in Thor (2011), where he wore a generic S.H.I.E.L.D. outfit. He returned in The Avengers (2012), although the costume was lacking.
Basically, the MCU version of Hawkeye wears purple sunglasses and no sleeves. Also, he rarely wears the sunglasses. Compared to the other Avengers, he might as well be wearing a suit and tie. Still, the simplicity of the outfit eventually won fans over. Now, the comic version wears a similar outfit, although he still prefers the color purple.
1. MAN OF STEEL
A tiny detail can make a big difference. For example, everyone makes fun of Superman for wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants. When Zack Snyder took those red trunks away, however, there was almost a revolt. Ok, that might an exaggeration, but they weren’t thrilled. The first images from Man of Steel (2013) showed Superman wearing his iconic outfit, minus that one detail.
The costume is too iconic to mess with too much. Aside from the subdued colors, everything was there: the “S” shield, the flowing red cape, everything minus the red trunks. It turns out, the underwear is incredibly important, design wise. It breaks up the blue, and makes the outfit look less bland. Once they got over the change, however, fans quickly accepted that Superman is wearing his underwear under his pants, like a normal person.
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