There have been some really BAD super villain movie costumes over the years, but not every bad guy costume has been a dud. Some costumes have been both spectacular and memorable, blending the actor and character into one seamless, cohesive unit.
To be considered for this list we’ve judged the costumes based on the following criteria:
1. How faithful is the costume to the source material? – The costume is allowed to deviate from the original design, IF the original concept is still present (i.e., no hooker Catwoman in ripped pants).
2. How does it come across onscreen? – The costume should be visually appealing and look realistic (i.e., no Riddler in a spandex onesie).
3. How well does it hold up over time? – The costume needs to be worthy of staying on this list for years to come – and not be subject to passing fads (i.e., no Lex Luthor from 1978).
4. Is it cool? Because it HAS to be cool. – Nothing will make a super villain less scary than a goofy costume (i.e., no Hector Hammond from Green Lantern).
Let’s take a look at the 25 Best Super Villain Movie Costumes…
25. Lady Deathstryke – X2
Lady Deathstryke is a beautiful and deadly cyborg and enemy to the X-Men. She has the same adamantium-laced bones as Wolverine, but instead of six blades in her arms, she has long, razor-sharp “claws” that extend from her fingertips.
Her backstory was changed considerably for the film (to the point of almost being non-existent), as was her actual costume – but her deadly fingertip “talons” remained and they looked cool enough to at least get her on the bottom of the top 25…but not any further.
24. Plaster of Paris – The Spirit
The Spirit has many women trying to kill him, and the sexy French belly dancer known as Plaster of Paris is no different. The Spirit’s deadliest foe, The Octopus (who didn’t make our list), hires the midsection-shaking assassin to use her feminine…ehem…”attributes” as well as her three-pronged throwing daggers and sword to kill the hero.
Plaster of Paris isn’t in the film very long, but as you can see, her outfit is a direct copy of the comic version – sans the white hair. Regardless of that minor change, her costume makes her easy enough on the eyes to dance her way onto this list.
23. Jigsaw – Punisher: Warzone
Billy “The Beaut” Russo was a charming and handsome guy until he tangled with the Punisher and was thrown through a plate-glass window. The encounter left his face horribly disfigured, earning him the nickname “Jigsaw.” He has no special powers, but can go toe-to-toe with the Punisher in a fist fight. Jigsaw is one of those characters that could have turned out really, REALLY goofy on film – but didn’t.
It’s easy to draw random lines on his face in the comics, but onscreen, the makeup job had to be spot on or audiences just weren’t going to take him seriously. Fortunately, they were able to pull off the look and make him an interesting (looking) villain – one who actually looked like he’d been through a meat grinder.
22. Venom – Spider-Man 3
Venom is technically an alien symbiote who bonds with a particular host (Peter Parker, Eddie Brock, Ms. Marvel, Flash Thompson) to give them superhuman abilities. It also gives the host an uncontrollable urge to assert their power and has a VERY bad attitude. This choice will be slightly controversial in the fanboy universe, as most Spider-Man fans didn’t like the inclusion of Venom in the film and therefore hate his look as well.
Truth be told, though, Venom only needed to be in an all black outfit (check), have large white “eyes” (check), a mouth full of sharp teeth (check), sharp, claw-like fingers (check) and the ability to “spin” webs like Spider-Man (check). For those reasons alone, we consider this costume to be a success. The only drawback is when his mask pulls back to show Eddie Brock’s (or rather, Topher Grace’s) face while he is speaking – that just looks dumb.
21. The Lizard – The Amazing Spider-Man
Dr. Curt Connors caught a tough break losing his arm during wartime, but he thought maybe luck was going his way when he discovered a way to splice reptilian DNA with his own, giving him the ability to grow back his lost appendage. However, a side effect of this “cure” was a violent temper, superhuman strength, speed, and oh yeah…he turns into a giant lizard! A film version of The Lizard could really only be pulled off with the help of CG and motion-capture technology, as a man in a suit would probably look too Godzilla-esque.
Fortunately, the filmmakers were able to successfully achieve an old-school comic book look for The Lizard, and it pays off onscreen. Even though he’s missing the purple pants (another famous Marvel character already wears those), The Lizard looked and moved as we always pictured he would.
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