It has been a particularly mixed-bag year for DC movies. Capitalizing on the success of Wonder Woman, Warner Bros. then felt something of a hit with Justice League. However, with the DCEU being kickstarted in 2008 with Man of Steel, at least (most) of the costumes have been consistent throughout the Snyderverse and beyond. Looking back at the rest of the comic book studio’s eclectic back catalog, there have been some truly memorable wardrobe choices — but not for the right reasons. As with most comic book movies, it is always going to be hard to please fans across the board when bringing their favorite characters to life
The world of DC comics already has some strange outfit choices, but while flying hawks, giant sharks, and eraser-headed villains have largely stayed out of live-action portrayals, other awful costume designs have plagued them. Even the might of the MCU can’t escape criticism against its costume choices. However, while most people can forgive a poorly-dressed Juggernaut, DC’s movies have offered some arguably even bigger fashion disasters. Whether it be skimpy Amazonians in their sexually suggestive leathers, Harvey Dent dressed like the sofa in a brothel, or simply some anatomically-correct Batsuits, here are the 15 Most Tasteless DC Costumes.
15. THE AMAZONIANS – JUSTICE LEAGUE
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman did “wonders” for the fairer sex in superhero movies. With Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince leading the female-first movie, it showed that women in comic books can hold up their own solo adventure among the likes of Batman and Captain America. Jenkins got almost everything right. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same when Zack Snyder returned to Thymescira in Justice League.
The warrior women of Jenkins’ outing were shown as fearless fighters confined to their hidden island. While Snyder’s Amazonians were much of the same, there was a slight tweak to their look. Causing offense to fans, the conservative outfits of Queen Hippolyta and co. were gone, only to be replaced by some more revealing clothing and exposed midriffs. To make things worse, the scantily clad Amazonians were pictured sprawled over the Batmobile — more like the cover of Playboy than an advert for a family-friendly superhero movie. Who knows, though, maybe they were changing out of their winter warmers.
14. BATGIRL – BATMAN & ROBIN
In a movie plagued with reasons to love and loathe it in equal measure, 1997’s Batman & Robin was also a disaster in the wardrobe department. Uma and Arnie seemed to get all the good costumes, because the dynamic duo and new addition Batgirl were given what was left. Enter Alicia Silverstone’s “Buttgirl.” Now, this was not a knock against the actress herself. No, she gained the nickname Buttgirl thanks to the many (many) shots of her derriere that were littered through the movie.
Schumacher tried to make Silverstone the eye candy of the piece, but the PVC Batgirl costume looked like some sort of low-rent fetish idea. Annoyingly, you could even argue that Schumacher didn’t take Batgirl’s costume far enough. In a world he stocked with flamboyant villains and neon backdrops, there wasn’t an ounce of comic book Babs in Silverstone. Admittedly, she wasn’t THAT Barbara, but it could’ve worked a little better.
13. CYBORG – SMALLVILLE
TV shows may lack the Hollywood budget of their cinematic counterparts, but CW’s Smallville failed to get any of the Justice League right. Basically dressing the likes of Arrow, Flash and Cyborg in hoodies, Superman’s show was a bit too down with the kids in the clothing department. However, out of all the costume calamities, Cyborg is easily the most tasteless. Fans may have been spoiled by the brilliant design of Ray Fisher’s Cyborg in Justice League, but that is no excuse to forgive Victor Stone’s frankly hideous costume from the teen prequel .
While Victor Stone from the comics has a tragic arc of being brought back to life with cybernetic enhancements as a certified freak of nature, Smallville shoehorned his backstory into a single episode. Sure, he has the powers, but the show failed to even attempt to give him the look of an actual robot apart from a silver jumper. To say the costume looked like budget cosplay would be an understatement, even wrapping actor Lee Thompson Young in tin foil would’ve probably looked better than this.
12. SUPERMAN – SUPERMAN LIVES
There was a time that Nicolas Cage was one of the biggest names in Hollywood, so his out-there casting as Clark Kent was a popular choice back in the ’90s — it’s just a shame his haircut wasn’t. In 2009, blurry test footage from the canned Superman Lives surfaced online. Fans got a glimpse of more Cage than they ever thought they would, sporting a skin-tight costume and that infamous mullet flowing in the breeze.
The Man of Steel may have sported a mullet from 1993-1996, but whoever had the bright idea to transfer this to the big screen should’ve been fired on the spot. The only proof that the mullet was coming is courtesy of the documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, which charts Cage’s journey as Kal-El toward Tim Burton’s never-finished project. Burton would’ve probably made something great akin to Batman and Batman Returns, but a mullet? Let’s see how well that one could stand the test of time in 2017.
11. TWO-FACE – BATMAN FOREVER
It’s not that Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of Two-Face was bad, it’s just that it was more funny than fearful. Heading to Batman Forever, Joel Schumacher managed to take one of the most gruesome and terrifying comic book villains and turn him into a walking blackberry. You can get where the director was coming from with the whole purple-skin vibe, but did Two-Face’s suit really have to match?
The pairing of an OTT Jim Carrey with the pink Two-Face wouldn’t have helped, while Jones was a million miles away from the grizzly Aaron Eckhart days. Schumacher took the whole theme even further, emphasizing Harv’s split personality to make Two-Face’s lair possibly the campiest thing out of the entire Batverse. Even the ’60s show had more taste than this. Dent may have been a stuffy DA, but you have to give him some credit that he wouldn’t have opted for that pink zebra print.
10. SUPERMAN – SMALLVILLE
Admittedly, Smallville was never really about Superman — it was all about Clark — but who else was a little bummed at the final reveal of the iconic costume? After waiting some 10 seasons to see Tom Welling’s transformation into the Metropolis Marvel, the show gave us a peek of a t-shirt under a shirt. With the show’s finale failing to give us the full suit, Smallville‘s swan song left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
It’s highly likely that you could probably get that very same outfit at any market trader peddling DC merchandise or t-shirt shop where you can print your own. Like with those disastrous Justice League outfits, it looked like CW just couldn’t really be bothered to come up with a new idea for an outfit and put in minimal effort. Give us some credit guys, it didn’t even have an embossed S.
9. SLIPKNOT – SUICIDE SQUAD
“Hey everyone, this guy’s name has the word knot it in, so let’s cover him with knots.” More equipped for spelunking than taking on Enchantress and her monsters, Suicide Squad’s Slipknot was literally wasted in every way. With a Wonder Woman backstory and a Saulteaux Tribe origin, there was so much more Ayer could’ve done with the character. Not that they should have stuck Slipknot in some equally tasteless tribal attire, but comic book fans could’ve expected something more.
Sadly, Christopher Weiss looked like an outdoor sports enthusiast who was there to make up the numbers. It is understandable that Suicide Squad was always going to have some casualties, but the movie would’ve probably been better without Adam Beach’s lame addition. Thankfully, after being tricked by Captain Boomerang and having his head blown off, Slipknot wasn’t around long enough for anyone to really give a hoot.
8. BRAINIAC – SMALLVILLE
As one of Superman’s best-known enemies, you would’ve thought that Smallville would find something interesting to do with the character. However, in a strange twist for the show, it didn’t go down the classic comic book route. While fans might have expected some green-skinned alien looking like a Farscape knock-off, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar went in an arguably worse direction.
James Marsters swapped his days of Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to play the villainous Brainiac —albeit and incredibly mundane version. He may have assumed the identity of Dr. Milton Fine and retained his alien backstory, but instead of being the emerald enemy we wanted, Brainiac was just some white guy in a pink shirt. Even Buffy’s SFX budget could’ve come up with something better than this.
7. HAL JORDAN – GREEN LANTERN
There was a lot to moan about in 2011’s Green Lantern — what is it with Ryan Reynolds at first-attempt failures at comic book character? The character had moved with the times from his introduction in 1940, so you can sort of see where Martin Campbell was going with the look that Hal’s suit was composed of energy. However, taking Jordan away from the bland costume that Reynold’s was first shown in, the fully CGI version wasn’t actually much better.
With that godawful painted-on mask and looking like the cousin of the Jolly Green Giant, it was dire on pretty much every level. Putting the tight in skin-tight, fans could quite literally see what Ryan had eaten for breakfast. Even the actor himself hated the costume, citing as one of the movie’s biggest failures — good luck DCEU.
6. JOHN HENRY IRONS – STEEL
Okay, to be honest, there wasn’t much that Steel got right in 1997, so Shaquille O’Neal’s costume was probably the least of director Kenneth Johnson’s worries. It was controversial enough that Johnson cast the basketball player as the movie’s lead role, but you would’ve thought that somewhere down the line, someone realized that the live-action John Henry Irons looked nothing like he did in the comics.
In the era before the MCU, it should’ve been so easy to craft DC’s very own Iron Man without fear that Disney fanboys would rip it apart for copyright.We’re all for reinventing a tired comic book look, but when you turn your main character into an early Jason X lookalike, there’s going to be some backlash. Alongside it being a box office bomb, Steel is largely remembered for having one of the worst comic book movie costumes out there — wear it like a badge of pride.
5. JOKER – SUICIDE SQUAD
A controversial addition to the list, the updated look of Mr. J in Suicide Squad was a love it or hate it affair. It may have been bold and in your face — a bit like the Clown Prince of Crime himself — but tasteful was definitely off the menu when it came to Ayer’s imagining of Joker.
Effectively playing some topless hoodrat, Joker’s mismatched patchwork of tattoos, garish metal grillz and greasy hair made for a rather confusing characterization. The whole premise of Joker is that he is mad, but the costume and Leto’s performance failed to win some already pretty harsh critics. This leads to the DCEU’s problem with Joker on the whole. With various spin-off movies and a possible origin movie, will Leto’s version of the pale psycho be around for much longer?
4. SELINA KYLE – CATWOMAN
Not exactly a case of the cat that got the cream, Catwoman rightly deserves all the flack that it gets. Even 13 years later, Halle Berry suiting up as Selina Kyle is still universally panned as possibly the worst superhero movie ever. Alongside some atrocious acting — even Sharon Stone fared badly in this one — a complete disregard to the character’s origin and a paper-thin script, the whole production came under fire for Berry’s costume (or lack of it).
With what looks like cat scratches on her trousers, and little more than a bra on the top half, Catwoman grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons. The character has always been a sultry seductress, but that doesn’t mean she has to cartwheel over Gotham in little more than lingerie. Less of a feminist icon and more of something for audiences to ogle, Ms. Kyle lost all her street cred.
3. ENCHANTRESS – SUICIDE SQUAD
The girl you probably wouldn’t want to take home to your mother, that wicked Enchantress became the de facto villain of Suicide Squad. When Task Force X wasn’t battling Leto’s silver-toothed Joker, they were trying to escape Cara Delevingne and her wavy arms.
The costume was pretty low down on the list of things wrong with Enchantress, but a truly awful wardrobe design meant that she spent the entire film looking like she was sending smoke signals. In her Dr. June Moon form, Delevigne had nothing more than sexy secretary attire. However, when possessed by the demon in a bottle, Enchantress was another stripped down female villain just for the sake of it. Sex certainly sells, but a bikini-clad Delevingne with a ludicrous hat on her head just looked plain stupid.
2. SLADE WILSON – SMALLVILLE
The last Smallville entry (we promise), the show that focussed on younger characters strangely gave us our oldest Deathstroke yet. Michael Hogan played a generic army guy gone bad, with General Slade Wilson losing his eye in his own base’s self-destruct. He then basically became an old guy with an eyepatch. Some cruel fans even dubbed him Near Deathstroke.Wilson came across more like Charles Widmore from Lost.
Given how great Joe Manganiello looked in that all-too-brief Justice League cameo, it makes no sense that Smallville wouldn’t at least try and tie their Wilson to his comic book version. Instead, we got a grouchy grandpa who spent most of his time banished to the Phantom Zone. If the Arrowverse and DCEU could get it right, what was Smallville‘s excuse?
1. BATMAN & ROBIN – BATMAN & ROBIN
After briefly touching on Buttgirl, let’s discuss the elephant in the room. With more crotch shots than your average porno, Batman & Robin went and poked a rubber nipple in the eyes of its audiences. He had already given us some slightly erotic costumes for the Dynamic Duo in Batman Forever, but given free-reign of his sequel, he turned the dial to 10.
In terms of all the Batman suits from the Caped Crusader’s live-action outings, Batman & Robin is easily the lamest. Schumacher even tried to craft his own version of the Nightwing suit, which was equally underwhelming. However, with the director himself criticizing Warner Bros. for wanting to aim his movie more at kids, it’s a little bit creepy that rubber nipples can factor into that. Safe to say, superhero movies have tended to avoid anatomically-correct suits since.
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