With 20 movies under the belt, Marvel Studios has become a master of the superhero genre. Superhero movies should not be taken lightly, since there’s a lot that goes into making a good comic book movie, let alone a great one that works as so much more than a run-of-the-mill superhero flick with costumed heroes, fancy visuals and lots of action. There are some basic elements a comic book movie, or TV series for that matter, must get right to be considered a good adaptation of the source material. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is adapting characters and storylines from Marvel Comics for the big and small screen. These heroes and villains have been around for decades. Living on the pages of comic books they have become pop culture icons, adored by fans from around the world. And when these characters make the transition to live-action, us fans want them to look their best.
Luckily, Marvel is collaborating with incredibly talented concept artists and costume designers who are doing their best to create costumes that look good on actual human beings, which cannot be an easy task. Just because a costume looks great on paper does not mean that it would look equally awesome on the screen. Comic book accuracy, while mostly appreciated, is not the be-all and end-all of successful costume design. With that in mind, we have gone through countless MCU costumes of both heroes and villains and ranked the 25 most iconic, memorable, best-looking costumes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
25. VULTURE (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING)
Spider-Man: Homecoming rebooted the wall-crawler in the best possible way. By casting the young and talented Tom Holland, setting the story in Peter’s high school years, and making the villain of the movie the father of Peter’s crush, Marvel made the perfect friendly neighborhood Spider-Man film that’s both a superhero movie and an ’80s-inspired teen comedy.
Vulture was not only a sympathetic, interesting villain, he was also one of the best-looking villains in the MCU. Vulture’s Exo-Suit was built using salvaged Chitauri technology and it looks impressive, though a far cry from the character’s comic book costume.
24. WINTER SOLDIER (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier brought back Steve’s best friend Bucky Barnes, albeit with one important change. Captured by HYDRA, Bucky was brainwashed and turned into a weapon known as the Winter Soldier.
Aside from brainwashing, HYDRA also gave Bucky an awesome upgrade — the glossy cybernetic arm. Dressed in black tactical gear, equipped with a practical face mask, smudged with dark eye shadow and a enhanced with a classy metal arm Winter Soldier looked as if he’d walked out of a comic book. Bucky’s new arm from Infinity War looks equally amazing.
23. GAMORA (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2)
In the comics, Gamora has had a number of different costumes, neither of which look anything like the costume worn by Zoe Saldana in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is in no way meant as criticism, since both MCU costumes are much better than anything the character’s ever worn on the page.
Gamora’s second costume, introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is our favorite Gamora look. The corset from the first movie is replaced with a more assassin-like attire, complete with a long coat. The most dangerous woman in the galaxy looks dangerous and gorgeous.
22. IRON MAN HULKBUSTER ARMOR (AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON)
Iron Man MK XLIV, aka the Hulkbuster, is Tony Stark’s largest armor that debuted in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Designed by Stark and Banner with its singular purpose being to stop the Hulk if he ever went off the rails, the Hulkbuster looks powerful and stylish.
It’s bulky, it’s loaded with fun gadgets and packs quite the punch. It’s amazing that this mammoth made its way to the big screen and it’s even more amazing that it’s one of the best-looking suits in the MCU. Tony in the Hulkbuster fighting his science bro was one of the best moments of the movie.
21. CAPTAIN AMERICA (AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON)
Cap’s had a number of different costumes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and everyone’s got their favorites. The costume Chris Evans sported in the first Avengers movie is almost universally disliked, but the upgraded version from Avengers: Age of Ultron was much better received.
The suit uses the traditional Captain America colors of blue, red and white in a bit darker shade, and it’s made out of much finer material than the one from The Avengers. Basically, it’s a combination of the Avengers suit and the Stealth suit.
20. THE WASP (ANT-MAN AND THE WASP)
Finally, we got to see Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp in Marvel’s latest film Ant-Man and the Wasp. Hope van Dyne suited up in a new outfit equipped with wings and blasters, as Scott Lang and Dr. Hank Pym pointed out. The suit was, naturally, designed by Dr. Pym who made sure his daughter has the best Pym particle-based technology has to offer.
Hope’s costume looks sleek, the wings are stylish, and the helmet is cool. Our only gripe with the Wasp’s suit is that there isn’t enough yellow. Hopefully, this will change in time for her next appearance.
19. IRON MAN MK XLVI (CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR)
Tony Stark has worn so many different Iron Man armors over the years and it was a true challenge picking only the best ones for this list. Iron Man MK XLVI, which we saw in Captain America: Civil War, earned its spot by being the first armor to include the collapsible helmet and by looking sleek but still retaining that traditional armor look.
18. VALKYRIE (THOR: RAGNAROK)
Right off the bat, you’re gonna be seeing a lot of Thor: Ragnarok on this list. Honestly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, since all of the costumes in this movie are impressive. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie alone had two awesome outfits.
Consisting of the sleek leather armor, the teal half cape and awesome face paint, the Scrapper 142 costume combines Asgardian elegance with Sakaar’s sci-fi design for a truly remarkable look. This stunning Valkyrie costume even made it to comic book pages.
17. YELLOWJACKET (ANT-MAN)
The first opponent Scott Lang had to face as Ant-Man was Hank Pym’s former protege Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket. Cross became obsessed with Pym’s technology which he wanted to use for his own gain. And so, he created a suit that allowed him to alter his size, fly, sting, and look like a wasp.
In fact, the Yellowjacket suit was named after the Yellowjacket wasp. The design of the suit was inspired by Eric O’Grady’s Ant-Man suit from the comics. Yellowjacket was a worthy antagonist and stands as one of MCU’s best-dressed villains.
16. ANT-MAN (ANT-MAN AND THE WASP)
Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and the Wasp is certified fresh, as is Ant-Man’s latest costume. Scott Lang’s third Ant-Man suit may have encountered some performance hiccups, but damn if it doesn’t look cool. The new design improves upon the previous two suits by taking what works form each, mashing it together and giving it a new spin.
15. THOR (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR)
After his time on Sakaar, the God of Thunder shed his gladiator clothes and donned on more elegant garments. Thor’s new black costume is briefly shown at the end of Thor: Ragnarok but returns in all of its awesomeness in Avengers: Infinity War.
Thor’s Infinity War look brought back the long sleeves and the long red cape but combined it with the new, simple, black upper armor. Plus, he’s got a new artificial eye and a new hammer/axe to complete the look.
14. VISION (AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON)
Vision made his MCU debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Bringing a character like the Vision to the big screen couldn’t have been an easy task. Before the first images of Paul Bettany in full get-up popped up the fans were rightfully worried about how the Vision’s look would translate to live-action.
Luckily, the changes that were made to the android’s appearance were subtle, albeit necessary, and Vision became one of MCU’s best-looking characters. The muted colors make the look more movie-friendly without sacrificing accuracy.
13. KILLMONGER (BLACK PANTHER)
Marvel kicked off 2018 with the incredible Black Panther movie directed by Ryan Coogler. Though, Black Panther is a superhero movie, it is first and foremost a movie about what it means to be black in today’s society — a topic that Coogler excels at.
Every aspect of the movie was praised by critics and fans alike, including the stunning costumes designed by Ruth E. Carter. The villain Erik Killmonger had a few different outfits — the rebellious museum look, the Killmonger vest, and the gold striped Panther Habit suit — all of which were amazing.
12. IRON SPIDER (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR)
At the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming Stark extends an invitation to join the Avengers to young Peter Parker and offers him a new suit just for good measure. However, being the responsible high school student that he is, Peter turns down the offer.
Well, until Avengers: Infinity War, when he becomes an Avenger and dons on the new suit because circumstances arise. The suit is, of course, based on Spider-Man’s Iron Spider suit from the comics, which was also designed by Tony. Peter’s awesome suit comes with extendable limbs that came in handy while fighting Ebony Maw and Thanos.
11. PUNISHER (DAREDEVIL)
While you could argue that the main action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe happens on the big screen, the street-level heroes and vigilantes operating on Netflix, Hulu, ABC and now Freeform are not to be discarded. And neither are their costumes.
In season two of Daredevil, the Punisher made his return to live-action and immediately won our hearts. Played by Jon Bernthal, Punisher dons on a spot-on costume and goes on a rampage across Hell’s Kitchen, the likes of which you don’t see in MCU movies.
10. BLACK WIDOW (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER)
Black Widow made her first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance in Iron Man 2. In a world populated by aliens, gods and men in super-suits making a character like Black Widow stand out couldn’t have been easy. Yet the concept artists and costume designers managed to create costumes for Black Widow that are both comic-accurate and look awesome on the screen.
The suit Scarlet Johansson wore in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was faithful to the character’s look from the comics, it was practical and it looked very sleek and stealthy. The perfect spy look.
9. DOCTOR STRANGE (DOCTOR STRANGE)
Stephen Strange — also known as the wizard and the other boy who lived, but only by Tony Stark — made his MCU debut in 2016. With Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role, Doctor Strange was the perfect introduction to the lore of the Sorcerer Supreme.
It sure didn’t hurt that Cumberbatch has one of the most comic book-accurate, and best-looking costumes in the MCU. The concept artist behind Doctor Strange’s awesome costume is Karla Ortiz and the costume was brought to life by designer Alexandra Byrne.
8. LOKI (THOR: RAGNAROK)
And we finally come to everyone’s favorite character, Loki. The God of Mischief is almost universally loved, as well as the amazing Tom Hiddleston who plays him. Loki made his debut in Thor and, presumably, said his goodbye in Avengers: Infinity War.
Loki’s costume has been consistently great throughout his appearances. The green, the gold, the black, the horned helmet all made for an incredibly accurate and stunning costume. While we loved all of his outfits, we can’t resist the Kirby influences on his Ragnarok suit.
7. STAR-LORD (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy started out as a bunch of nobodies and after only one movie they became rock stars. Appropriately, their leader Star-Lord is not only obsessed with ’80s rock music, but also looks like he belongs on the stage with his heroes.
Chris Pratt’s red leather trench coat combined with the cool red-eyed helmet and stylish blasters make for an awesome outlaw look. Star-Lord’s costume may not look like the comics, but we dare say it looks even better. We’re especially fond of Quill’s costume from the first Guardians film.
6. IRON MAN MK V (IRON MAN 2)
The Iron Man MK V armor, also known as the Suitcase Suit and the Football, made its first appearance in Iron Man 2. The Suitcase Suit is the first Iron Man armor designed with portability and ease of access in mind.
When Whiplash attacked Tony during the Circuit de Monaco, Happy and Pepper hit Tony with the Football and what followed is one of the coolest suit-up scenes ever. The suitcase itself transforms into an armor, the red is very pronounced against the silver and after all these years the MK V is still the coolest Iron Man suit.
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the Russo Brothers’ first MCU movie and, interestingly enough, it was also the movie that raised the bar for Marvel. The Russo Brothers wanted to make a movie that deals with current socio-political issues and for that they needed the characters to have a more realistic look.
4. HELA (THOR: RAGNAROK)
Thor: Ragnarok is without a doubt one of Marvel’s best movies. Director Taika Waititi managed to create something truly unique that stands out from every other MCU movie. The movie’s overall look and costumes are just one part of what makes it amazing. Every costume in Ragnarok was absolutely captivating, including Hela’s.
Costume designer Mayes Rubeo said that she designed Hela’s costume to be faithful to the character’s ’60s costume. Although, Rubeo designed the headpiece for Cate Blanchett to try on, the one we saw in the movie was created by the visual effects department.
3. THOR (THOR: RAGNAROK)
The God of Thunder got a brand-new look in Taika Waititi’s mold-breaking Thor: Ragnarok. After ending up on Sakaar Thor was forced to become a gladiator, a job that came with an awesome new suit and stylish haircut.
Stepping away from the typical royalty-like attire we’re used to see the God of Thunder in, Thor jumped into a sleeveless armor adorned with a half cape and single teal shoulder plate. Thor’s new look and all the costumes in Ragnarok were inspired by the work of Jack Kirby, per Waititi’s request.
2. BLACK PANTHER (BLACK PANTHER)
Black Panther made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War. Chadwick Boseman delivered a scene-stealing performance dressed in an awesome black costume unlike anything we’ve seen vefore. Yet, in Black Panther, T’Challa got an even cooler costume, courtesy of his sister Shuri.
The new Black Panther suit has an even more fitted design, comes with all kinds of nifty upgrades and looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The suit was created by concept artist Ryan Meinerding and costume designer Ruth E. Carter, who was inspired by the Superman costume from Man of Steel.
1. SPIDER-MAN (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING)
Last but certainly not least, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man costume from Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter’s Tech suit was designed by Stark Industries and it comes with all kinds of cool gizmos like those cool eye-lenses, a utility belt and Karen. Certainly, a vast improvement on his homemade suit.
Holland’s costume is comic book-accurate, practical and looks unbelievably good — the perfect combination. The new Spidey suit was a CGI creation in Civil War, but for Spider-Man: Homecoming it was brought to life in all of its glory by Louise Frogley.
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