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Off My Mind: Superhero Movie Costumes

Should Hollywood try to fully recreate the comic book costume?

There has been a lot of new images being released showing what the costumes of comic book characters will look like in their new movies. With so many characters being adapted for the big screen, the trick is making the transition to live action without the character looking completely goofy.  

Most comic book fans would insist that the costume should be a near-perfect match. Let's face it, comic book characters have iconic costumes. The costumes are often more well known that the character's actual origin. Doesn't it make sense that if the character is going to make the leap to the big screen, their costume should as well without being completely revamped? Should Hollywood try to make sure the live action costume match the comic book version?
 == TEASER == 
Unfortunately the brightly colored spandex outfits don't always make sense in the real world. Yet, we've seen some movies where there is a successful transition. 
 
 Inspired by the movies?
The Spider-Man movies show that Peter Parker can swing around in his red and blue tights without looking like a complete freak. 
 
When X-Men was released in 2000, Bryan Singer and Fox decided not to go with the mutants' flashy costumes. I've always said that Wolverine would look a bit silly running around in a yellow and blue spandex outfit. Instead, pretty much everyone received leather jackets with the X-symbol on them. Interestingly enough, the team then later switched to leather outfits in Grant Morrison's X-Men run
 
Christopher Nolan's Batman suits are more armor-like than the normal tight-fitting costumes Bruce Wayne always preferred to wear.  
 
With the upcoming comic book movies, I like the new Spider-Man design. Being a tight-fitting spandex-type costume, it still looks great. Captain America's suit looks a little weird. It doesn't exactly have a WWII feel to it. Where's the chain mail? Seeing it in action might be a different story but it looks too...molded. Thor's costume is convincing. The red cape might be a bit much but fits with the flamboyance of the Asgardians' wardrobe. I really want to like Hal Jordan's look but I'm not fully convinced at this point. Again, seeing it in action more might win me over.
Going back to my original question, should a comic book movie try to recreate the character's original costume? It can be done. In order to make it convincing, the filmmakers will have to ensure that the mood and tone of the movie will sell the costume to audiences. Even Superman can look credible wearing his underpants on top of his spandex.  
 
This isn't saying that all movies have to recreate the costume exactly. As cool as Hugh Jackman makes Wolverine look on the big screen, I really don't want to see him try to pull off wearing a yellow and blue suit. 
 
As a comic book reader, I would like to see the movie characters honor their comic book counterparts' choice of dress but we have to be willing to accept the necessary tweaks. When the The Avengers comes out in 2012, if all the actors were running around wearing spandex, it'd be a harder sell. 
 
Unfortunately for the cows, it appears that leather-type costumes work better than spandex in live action films. Tight fits and bright colors will work, but for most characters, they are better left in the pages of their comic books.
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Posted by tbpinkfloyd

Does anybody else want to see live-action versions of the upcoming Age of X costumes?

Posted by Theodore

I think films should try their best to capture the spirit of the comics they are recreating, it doesn't have to be exact but I like them to have the same feel. I like Cap's movie costume, it's kind of like the Ultimate Cap costume.

Posted by thiagofonseca

Well, movies are always adaptations. Something has got to adapt, and it's often the costumes. Spandex sure looks goofy on real life persons, and i guess that's why it fits well on spider-man, who's of a nerdy boy with superpowers (i like this new spider-man way better than tobey maguire's one, whichs webbing was too much reflexive and seemed white/silver instead of black).
But on a soldier, a spandex just doesn't make sense. They tried to save captain's america look, but i think they should have done it strictly as shown in the WWII era in ultimate avengers. it would be much more elegant.
Thor seems to have too much rubber. It could have more leather in the chest, i think. That would make it feel more nordic-viking.
As for Green Lantern, yes, it need to be seen in action.

Michel Gondry got mad at comic book fans who complainef of his Green Hornet. He said something like: comic book fans are like fascists. They love uniforms and are always ready to say you are wrong.

I think he's got a point. If we want it to be perfectly like the comics, we should stick to the comics. After all, it's a great media. It's perfect in itself. It doesn't lack movie adaptations. Comics don't need movies. But, if those happen, well, something will have to get adapted.
Posted by queenfrost_

I actually want the Avengers to wear their individual costumes, to reprsent solo heroes coming together. I just hope they don't all have matching leather

Edited by MrCipher

I think it's all about palette versus background. In the real world, colors are rarely as bright and varied as they are in comics (with the possible exception of Mesoamerica and South America where people have a tendency to paint their houses in technicolor). Either of Wolverine's iconic costumes (for example) would be sore thumbs in the New York backdrop of dingy grays, reds and browns. I noticed that Spider-Man's costume worked well (in most cases) because of when and how it was shot. He was framed around brighter regions of the city so the contrast wasn't too much to bear and even his costume was a few shades deeper than the original color scheme to begin with. Still I saw scenes where he looked out of place within the 3 movies.
Even so, every form-fitting costume is either going to have to be made from a molded material or have CGI assistance. Spandex kills definition unless you look like Arnold in the 70's and then it would be impossible to get a proper range of motion since everyone knows that bodybuilders can't scratch their own butts.
Fantastic Four looked kind of cheesy (for example) but Superman came off alright in this last incarnation. But costume designers darkened Supes' palette considerably.
That all being said, relying on black leather and plain clothes (cough, cough *X-MEN* cough, cough) is completely unacceptable, and I see moves like that more an issue of budget than anything else. When the bean-counters start harping about how much visual affects are going to cost, they seem to want to throw the costume budget out first in favor of the obligatory explosions and super-powered light shows.
I never understood Thor's costume in the first place, so it always looked funky to me, I think not having tiny wings on Cap's head is a good move although the rest of the costume is "ugghhh" to my sensibilities and the CGI Lantern costume is almost pornographic as far as I'm concerned.
Producers and costume designers have a tough challenge set out for them when it comes to 4-color costumes.

Posted by moffattbooks

Perhaps not so much an adaptation as a look of a realistic outfit that that superhero put together. Probably why Batman Begin's costume worked is because a rich person would assemble one out of the best money can buy.  Other heroes would work with what they have and they think would work and evolve from there.  

Posted by formated4tv

The new Green Lantern one concerns me, only because it kind of looks like he's just made of green muscle tissue, and not so much that there's an actual suit to him. In the screen cap in the article, if you look at where the abs/pecs meet the lantern logo, it just looks like when they show a human skeleton with muscles on it.

Posted by MikeDanger1

Out of all the movies that have not used their counterpart comic costumes, Wanted was definetly the one that im thinking about when I see this topic. I was pretty dissapointed with that movie and how they actually didn't use anything from the comic. Second place goes to.... X-Men, Where's Wolverine's classic look?  
 
But some actually do a pretty nice job, like The Dark Knight and Kick-Ass.
 
Soo I think it's not really about the costume as long as it looks iconic enough as much as a good plot in the story that follows.
Posted by Jake Fury

The only thing I don't like about Cap's movie costume is the exposed neck.
Posted by dondasch

ZOMG !  That Green Lantern shot just scared the hell out of me !

Edited by Darthtravis

The more iconic the super hero, the harder it is to change the costume.  Try to put Supes in a leather outfit and there would be a mutiny among fanboys.  Same with Spidey.  Batman gets away with the armor because the audience knows that he is human and understands the pragmatic value of armor.    
 
In the comics, the X-Men typically ran around and used their powers sans uniforms; further, they changed their costumes several times in the years preceding the first movie.  This made costume changes relatively easy.   

Posted by Hadez

I'm saying that they should get as close as possible. I loved both Spider-man costumes the Toby run yes looked a little off with the stand off plastic stuff and was on it and the new suit looks awesome, The villains for the most part weren't that bad. Sandman was the only one that looked like himself and Doc Oct's new design had me sold but Greeny sold have looked like he did in the comic that was a hey look I'm crazy costume, Venom was built like a brick crap house in the comic not a tiny skinny guy which was stupid, and the Neo-Goblin was hella dumb(character and costume). Thors looks B.A. and Cap's WWII costume looks pretty legit I can understand why he's rocking the old football helmet look and it works for WWII I'm worried about the redskull. The X-Men movies everything had to be black and that was a dumb choice and mad me dislike them to a point and the way they dressed Mystique down right pissed me off dont get me wrong I'll be the first in line to see Rebecca Romijn naked but Mystique wore clothes and just had Blue skin. As far as Wolvie yes he'd look goofy as all could be in  Yellow and blue tights but that he's costume they could have made it leather not spandex or he could have used one of his many other costumes like his Weapon X stuff. The new GL costume not bad but not a big fan that it looks the muscle tissue. I dont mind the Batman costumes cuz well and thing is better then the can't move in rubber and bat nipples and they do look closer to what you think they'd actually look like in real life. The Punishers Costumes pretty much looked spot on given the different looks he's had in the different series of his run plus bullet proof vest looks way more menencing then black spandex, white gloves, and rediculas skull tooth belt that would actually be a hinderince. The Fantastic 4 were spot on and watchen for the most part was minus Night Owl 2 but Night Owl 2 looked hella dorky in the comic and a little more B.A. in the movie and Ozymandias he looked alright but him being as flamboyant as he was should have looked like he did in the comic. Now in Kickass I think that they just did a 50/50 split Kickass and Hit-Girl looked like they did and that was well Kickass while Big Daddy and Red Mist not so much I would have like if they made Big Daddy look like he did in the comic but Red Mist looked like a bigger douche than he really is. I know I'll prob get crucified for saying this but I liked the way Ben Affleck looked as Daredevil he was a little more menacing looking as well yes its is true spandex tights would have made a better man without fear statement but they need give Elektra her real costume and get a Spanish actress to play her next time that decide to bring her into the fold of movie land and Bullseye's costume if you can call it that was less cool looking then the comic because his outfit makes him look like a lunatic the trench coat and branding I'm sorry Colin but it doesn't do it for me.

Posted by hitechlolife

What I hate more than anything is when they resort to rubber. It just looks bad. I understand the desire to add texture but surely there's a better way than the re-purposed basketball look seen in Spidey and Superman returns.

Posted by Billy Batson

G-Man made a typo. Batman's amor-like suit? But keep up the good work, G-Man!

Posted by Danial79

I remember when Hawkeye was announced in the Avengers film, they specifically stated that he would not be wearing the purple outfit... but isn't that what Hawkeye's known for? I understand if they change it a little from the Robinhood-esque boots and whatnot, but I still think it should stay purple, even if it's just a darker shade.

Posted by Darthtravis

The problem I have always had with the Spider-Man costumes is the fact that he made the costume himself.  Where did he get all that fancy material?

Posted by Danial79

For what it's worth, I happen to think Cap's movie costume is pretty cool... besides the helmet :P

Edited by DEGRAAF

i think they should stick to the comic version as much as possible but X-men would have looked dumb in blue and yellow unless they could find a meaning to put behind it to justify why they should wear those colors. 
 
Spidermans costume has come across great on the big screen in all three movies and the reboot being made. 
 
Supermans costume actually comes across well IMO or at least not any worse then it does in the comics. Superman returns costume was off to me. I wasnt a huge fan of the smaller 3D symbol on his chest and all the little watermark symbols covering the suit. 
 
Batmans armor costume looks great and to me seems like it portrays the comic one well. We know in the comics, Bruce uses a heavy kevlar in his suit and some armor in all black, i think that that was something needed to be shown in the movies rather then just giving him a rubber suit.  
  
I even liked The Phantom's costume in his movie and all he wore was purple spandex. 
 
I really like the Thor version. I think it adapted well to the movies. I dont think it would have gotten much better. 
 
I actually dont like Captain America's. It just doesnt look like something an american hero would wear in to battle. It looks more like a ad compaign to join the American military or something. 
 
Elektra didnt look great but i think it was an ok adaptation. I think they could have gone with something closer to the comic version and made her oriental or something. 
 
Daredevil wsnt bad in my opinion but the movie wasnt great. I actually like the guy that played Kingpin even though he looked nothing like the comic obviously. 
 
Green Lanterns i like. I cant wait to see it in action. 
 
We all know Wonder Woman's outfit wouldnt transition well to the big screen and most people ive talked to seem to agree the new version of her outfit (with out the jacket) would make a great movie adaptation. 

I know it sounds sexest probably but i think women could pull off the spandex on the big screen better then men.
 
Posted by G-Man
@Billy Batson: Well you know amor is love and Batman always gets the chicks. It's the way they make the costume form fit to show off his bat-buttocks.
Posted by TDK_1997

I think that the heroes in the movies have to be with their comic costumes.

Posted by CRTrobinson

I think that if the director / powers that be are creating a project in the first place their original intention is to honor a character.  When you choose to adapt a comic to a film I think you have to take the good with the bad.  yes the suits really do look silly but so does the idea of a teenager being bit by a spider and climbing walls.  Also that same teenager has the access to a plethora of suits that no common person could even come close to duplicating.  The fact is that once you try to explain every little fantasy aspect of the source material you drown the nuance of character and spend to much time forcing belief down the audiences throat.  Why not just stick as close as possible to the origins and have faith that the audience will figure it out or be content with a well told story.  

Posted by Billy Batson
@G-Man: well played
Posted by buttersdaman000

Green Lantern has the worst live action costume. EVER.

Posted by HometownHero

Let's face facts- If they'd given Hal his iconic costume, he'd have looked like a space ballerina. Don't get me wrong, I friggin HATE the movie suit (It just looks fake, and the mask doesn't seem to be properly fitted to his face). The Flash? We've seen an attempt at a live-action version of his suit before, and I'm pretty sure thousands of babies cried in unison. Batman? In real life, what's so scary about a black and grey unitard? We have to be realistic, people. If a super hero was to come onto the scene in today's world wearing brightly colored spandex, it doesn't matter if he could bench-press a planet! Not a single person would take him seriously (unless they lived in San Francisco). Sure, you want to try and pay homage to the classics, but you need to learn to bring it into the 21st century!

Posted by elayem98

 "Most comic book fans would insist that the costume should be a near-perfect match" 
 
I'm probably the small percentage that wouldnt insist that. I am a huge comic book fan, and all i want is for batman in the comics to look like batman in the dark knight or something similar. And the same for other characters too. I dont at all mind that they are keeping the tights, and i dont see that anytime in the near future they will lose the tights, but i would prefer to lose the tights. And i love all comic book movie costumes because they look less campy and silly. No offense to thor fans, but i think thor looks so stupid in his outfit, but movie thor looks like such a B.A.

Posted by brc2000

I agree with Theodore. It's fine if they change small details (like Batman's appearing more "armor-like" or some insignificant changes to the color scheme), but if they're going to completely change the design, they might as well not bother. Sure some costumes might look silly to non-superhero comic fans (I even know people who can't take Batman seriously), but I'm pretty sure it's not really going to affect how well the film does or anything. Like with Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man, most people already know what Captain America looks like, so I don't see why it should be changed.

Posted by Icemizer

I believe that the costumes should strive to be as close to the comic versions as possible. They dont need to be as bright as their comic counterparts but they should be close. 
The Captain America uniform is just horrid. To busy, to many colors, a strap crossing over the star in front, not enough red, I mean he is supposed to be a visible symbol of the USA not just another soldier. 
The current Thor looks very good. Close to the classic look with the armor sleeves and legs which just makes more sense. 
Green Lantern also works for me. His outfit is contructed of light and should be just as shiney and glossy as it is. 
Wonder Woman could get by on her classic costume as well but it would take the casting of the perfect woman to carry it off.
Posted by Trodorne

never liked wolverines yellow blue outfit. i prefered his brown and gold outfit better.

Posted by SC

Leather was so fail when it came to X-Men movie. It can work ironically in the comics, with Quitely's art. X-Men live would work with more casual gear, so don't have to try and replicate what's in comics, just get the colors right (even if only as a highlight), and have the look match the personality of the character with some little touches that include more of the iconic nature of their comic counterpart. 

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Posted by wokattack

I like the changes made in most comic costumes when the heroes are translated onto the big screen.

Posted by jkenley28

That Green Lantern costume's texture is just like human muscles that colored green!

Posted by Gambit1024

It all depends on the hero (or villain for that matter) 
 
Spider-Man has been shown to pull it off and I actually like the new look they got (the lack of belt makes the suit look a bit more feminine though, but that's just me) 
 
Captain America's looks great. The only problem I have is that it looks too advanced for WWII... Also, it looks a little bulky. Hopefully they sleek it for the Avengers. 
 
Thor's is perfect. I have no complaints.  
 
Superman's needs to be his original. His look is TOO iconic for anyone to change. If they must tweak, do what they did in Superman: Earth One. 

Posted by CyrixSG

The Green Lantern costume doesn't sit well with me.  It looks like he's missing his skin and all the muscle is green.  Could just be the picture provided.  I've been avoiding too many pictures and spoilers as such.  Also, in the above photo, he looks like Don Flamingo getting punched by Little Mac.

Posted by Emerald Dragonfly

In my opinion, "The Dark Knight" Batman's suit is great and I like it more than comicbook variant (but I have to admit that "Batman Inc." Bruce Wayne's suit is great too and it would work in movies too). Cap's and Thor's suit promise to be amazing, too, but I'm certainly not sure in Green Reynolds and Spider-Garfield.

Posted by BoOMbOoMpOw

I would love to see an X-force movie ! the black/silver costumes wouldn`t look goofy in that one .

Posted by Bruce Vain

I'm glad to hear that you also don't know how you feel towards the Cap suit. It just looks too bulky to me and like there's too much going on with it. I also thought it would've been alot more tighter looking like in the concept artwork. 
 
And I want to like the GL suit. But I'm still having mix feelings towards it. Like it looks good in these children's books i've been seeing for the movie, but when I watch it in action from the trailer. I'm kind of like ehh. 
 

 


 
Posted by Outside_85

Movie makers shouldn't fear to change what they thinks needs changing when making superhero movies, because what works on print in fictional worlds rarely holds true in the real world. Cap is a good example, yes it looks great to have a guy in a costume based on the flag trump Nazi's on paper, but Cap is going to be the target of every enemy gunner when he charges across the field and they are not all doomed to his his shield. 
Also, it wouldnt hurt if they had Weta Workshops attention to detail when making costumes, because Thor's gear looks like its made of plastic. 
 
Note: GL in that shot looks like he just crapped himself :D

Posted by mrmisanthrope

Where does this repetitive droning of spandex come from? Why does everyone assume it's spandex instead of rubber or latex or more likely, unstable molecules?
 
Muscles don't stick out through spandex like they do on comic book characters. For comparison, the male actors from say the Power Rangers series tended to be relatively buff, but in their costumes you would never have known. Same deal with many gymnastic athletes.
 
As for the examples given, the X-Men costume change was ridiculous purely from a story standpoint. The purpose of the X-Men was to give mutants a positive public image. Is full body black leather really the best choice for that purpose? What was why they wore the bright colors, they wanted the public to receive them as super heroes. In the film they end up looking like a squad of assassins and spies.
 
Spider-Man's new suit looks like the version you would expect from a porn parody of the film. There was nothing wrong with the costume they were already using, so why the switch? That movie has far bigger problems than the costume.
 
As for Captain America... No. Just, no. All they've kept was the blue. For some reason, nearly all the red was removed from the costume. Why couldn't they have kept his boots and gloves red? And if they were going to go with a helmet, painting wings on the side just looks silly. He has two red straps over his stomach, not nearly the same amount of red lines he's supposed to. The entire plasticy armor makes him look like SuperPro. Almost EXACTLY like SuperPro. Seriously, look him up. This version of Cap is NFL SuperPro.
 
As for Green Lantern... I had high hopes... but the cgi outfit is terrible. His head doesn't look like it fits on his body. Still, I guess it's better than the previous draft where Jack Black was going to play the part.
 
Honestly, if you think a character looks ridiculous, you don't understand it and don't have any business making a movie about it. When adapting someone else's story, your vision is irrelevant.

Posted by albanmanson

bahhh i hate captains america costume ...

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

as long as Superhero costumes look a little like their comic original look,then i'm all for it... 
better if it were their Ultimate Costumes, they look more "realistic".

Posted by FireFlare153

Every movie either modernizes or upgrades the outfit. it looks good

Posted by ion2001

at least most are getting better 
at 1st i did not like green lanterns costum being cgi  
then re reading the current books the suit is a construct 
so its growing on me
Edited by Nova`Prime`

I think you really need to add a sense of reality to the costume for a movie adaptation. Much like the XMen movies introduced the leather outfits, I think it also showed that they are a team and in the comics most of the time all they have is a little X symbol to show who they are with.
 
Thor's translated very well, I would have preferred a more Viking feel to it, but it sticks close to the comic so that's alright with me.
 
Spiderman I think is the only one that really needs the spandex outfit, because just about any other material would be alittle to restrictive for him, also one of the ongoing gags in Spidey comics is the fact his costume is always being ripped some way or another.
 
I am not that big a fan of the Cap look, I love the character and I love the idea, but I think it should have been totally Ultimate style, with the red, white, and blue fatigues. This looks to modern for a WW2 piece
 
To be perfectly honest I think the Batman's look was perfectly done.
 
Oh I also hate the look of the Green Lantern costume, it looks to organic and pretty much looks like they painted Reynolds black and green. I don't need to see his stomach and abs moving when he's laughing.

Posted by DMC
@G-Man:   I could be wrong but who actually wore chain mail in WWII? 
Posted by obscurefan

Sometimes things that work on paper don't work in real life. For example, Wolverine's costume would not work on the big screen because on paper yellow and blue look bad ass, in real life yellow and blue look rather tacky together.

Posted by DeadKittens001

Sorry to the fan boys out there, but in my opinion the movie makers should try and do whatever it takes to make non comic book fans want to see the movie.  A lot of people out there don't read comics because they can't get past the outfits and the impression that they are kids stuff.  Most of these hero's, if presented in true replicas of their costumes, would turn the general viewing public off.  The movies would then flop and we would miss an opportunity to drag people into our world.  =)
 
Maybe this is the creator in me, but there still aren't enough of "us" to make doing comics a great career path, which means less people are able to quit the day jobs and make the comics we love to read.  
 
I think the shift towards more traditional interpretations of the costumes is a good sign though.  It means that the costumed super hero is becoming legitimized amongst the general public.  I believe X-men was a necessary step in that process.  It introduced people to the characters with minimal susspension of disbelief required.  Now we have a general public who look forward to comic movies even though they had never before picked up a comic book, and that audience is even excepting the costumes more easily.  That translates to movie adaptions of comics like Thor and Green Lantern.  Really think about ten - fifteen years ago.  These movies probably would have flopped, and not just because of special effects.  Now they do well.  You'll probably even be sitting in a theater where comic fans are outnumbered 5-1.  In a time where most comic companies are posting losses it's quite possible that these movies are floating the industry through a tough time and creating new readers for the future.  This means more potential money for comic creators, and more comics for us.  

Posted by Nyogtha

Alot of the costumes would look lame in real life. Batman's updates looked great in the new movies, the old ones, eh, not so much. Try and imagine Jackman snikting' around with that mask on. I like it when the design team adapts the costume for the real world. 

Posted by Darkmount1

Okay, I know this has been done to death, but personally, to quote a certain movie with Ben Stiller and Janine Garofalo: REALITY BITES.
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Posted by superjordy

I think that the movie comic characters should have the same outfits as the comics but sometimes it's nice to have a spin on it.

Posted by speedlgt

as long as the dont make all heroes wear BLACK! than i am cool with it. Black is the worst color for superheros. there is nothing super about it. its the color fat people wear to look skinny.....does that scream save the day to you? 
 
only 2 guys should wear black #1 is batman and even then I dont like the whole black suit he really needs the gray to make it look right.  
 
the other is spidermans black suit?venom. every one else needs true colors not muted down colors like superman returns burgandy cape!
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