Can You Judge a Comic Book Movie By Its Superhero Costumes?

Published 1 year ago by

Quicksilver X Men Days of Future Past Costume Can You Judge a Comic Book Movie By Its Superhero Costumes?

As geek-friendly properties become increasingly mainstream, Hollywood has made it a point of adapting one beloved cartoon series, comic book, and video game, after another – with everything from a Godzilla reboot to a Batman vs. Superman team-up in the pipeline. Yet, even the most buzzed-about projects have faced stern criticism from longtime franchise faithfuls.

Recently, 20th Century Fox unveiled 25 character images for the superheroes and villains that will square off in the time-traveling X-Men: Days of Future Past movie – debuting first looks at high profile players as well as two versions of the Sentinel robots. Readers familiar with the characters were quick to praise certain designs (such as newcomer Bishop as well as future and past iterations of fan-favorite Wolverine); however, not every image was a hit – as Evan Peters’ Quicksilver and a “Future” Sentinel (Mark X) variation were both the cause of widespread ridicule and complaining.

Of course, this isn’t even the first time (this week) that passionate fans have taken to Internet comment boards to decry Hollywood’s treatment of choice characters. One recent mock-up image (or photoshop hoax) of a spandex children’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume caused many to conclude that the upcoming film reboot was, once again, set to ruin all of our childhoods (until actual images of the designs appeared and changed a lot of minds).

First Look At Future Sentinel X Men Days of Future Past 570x294 Can You Judge a Comic Book Movie By Its Superhero Costumes?

Understandably, we fans have reason to be increasingly vocal – now that everyone (including feature filmmakers) are clamoring to join-in on the superhero bandwagon that many dedicated followers have been championing for decades (even at the risk of ridicule from peers). That said, as fervent fans have expanded their reach through social networking and internet comment boards, some have also become increasingly irrational – decrying, and preparing to boycott, upcoming films as a result of concept artwork, prototype toys, set images, and isolated (albeit official) production photos, that they deem as an affront to their version of certain pop culture characters.

In an effort to set the stage for a larger discussion about whether or not we can truly determine the quality of an upcoming feature film via children’s merchandise and static images, we ask: Can You Pre-Judge a Comic Book Movie By Its Superhero Costumes?

Reasonable Fan Outrage

No doubt, a lot of the frustration behind pre-release sneak peeks stems from the numerous times that fans have been burned in the past, as studios and filmmakers (who knew nothing about the source material) attempted to piece together a profitable movie adaptation by throwing out key aspects of a beloved character (or their physical appearance). Previously, we identified 6 terrible costume designs  that resulted in equally bad movies, but in order to help less superhero-obsessed readers understand what all the fuss is about, we’re going to revisit a few of the worst page-to-screen attempts here.

George Clooney Bashes Batman Robin Can You Judge a Comic Book Movie By Its Superhero Costumes?

Easily one of the most obvious examples of a head-scratching costume reveal that, even at the time, had many people (rightly) concerned about the final superhero film product was Joel Schumacher’s Batsuit(s) in Batman & Robin – which famously added external nipples to the dynamic duo’s crime fighting attire (along with a pointy bra for Batgirl). The film also included laughable outfits for Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Bane but Bat-nipples are the most notorious example of just how nonsensical Schumacher’s take on Batman had become.

A slightly more recent example, the Catwoman solo film (starring Halle Berry) included one of the least functional and downright bizarre costumes in superhero movie history – drawing understandable fury from comic readers. In a film where Catwoman goes toe-to-toe with one brutish thug after another, the slashed leather pants and cumbersome headgear, paired with bare midriff and empty utility belts, made it clear that director Pitof thought sexualizing the character was more important than providing her with basic protection from physical injury.

Catwoman Halle Berry Costume Can You Judge a Comic Book Movie By Its Superhero Costumes?

Early glimpses at concept artwork and leaked merchandise images offer our first look at a filmmaker’s prospective vision and, as we all know, you only get one chance to make a first impression. To that end, plenty of other superhero movies have featured head-scratching costume designs, so it’s easy to understand why certain longtime fans have been cynical about Hollywood’s attempt to bring beloved characters to the big screen.

Dishonorable Mentions: Wonder Woman (NBC TV Show) & Steel

Yet, sometimes costume controversies were ultimately the least of our problems.


Page 2: Sometimes The Costume Isn’t the Problem


« 1 2 3»

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Yes

  2. Im still waiting on Wolverine to suit up in his Yellow/blue or Orange/brown costume…WITH the mask.

  3. Quicksilver looks ridiculous. They need to change his hair & make it more like the comic book, which is kinda wolverine-ish. Get rid of that ugly silver jacket, goggles and headphones and give him a new suit.

  4. Umm, I may be crazy, and possibly the only one, but I’ve always loved the bad guy outfits in Batman and Robin. Yes, the Batsuits were horrid, but at the time, being a kid watching the cartoons every Saturday morning, seeing THAT Bane, Ivy and Freeze made me giddy (same goes for Riddler/Two-face), haha. They obviously wouldn’t work today, seeing as comic/cartoon inspired movies try to be more serious and “realistic”, but I loved them back in the day. It’s why I love the Kick Ass movies, the keep the fun and fantastical elements that comes with superhero flicks, and still stay “real”(ish).

    As for the question, No, you can’t judge a movie on a few bad costumes, to be perfectly honest, I don’t particularly like the uniforms in the X-men series. But again, the bad guys are all designed almost perfect. But that doesn’t take away from them being great adaptations and overall good movies. Hell, I’ll come out and say it, I thought Last Stand was a great movie (many, MANY continuity errors) but as an ending to the Trilogy and opening the door for an expanded universe, it did it’s job. Hey, if Last Stand DIDN’T make so many errors, we may have never gotten Days of Future Past this soon, or at all.

    • Man…I was beginning to feel like John on the isle of Patmos with the X-Men: Last Stand thing!! Thank you, doc. And the one became two.

    • Me too! Loved Mr. Freeze, and except for the way they used him, Bane looked pretty spot-on. Maybe could have used more muscle tone but whatever.

      I’m also one of the very few who seems to like Green Lantern’s outfit. I love the fact that the CGI is literally light, just like the comics. Just need to have a more physical mask and give him actual contacts.

  5. Quicksilver’s costume looks lazy and stupid.

  6. With all the funny comments ripping on Quicksilver, I just wanted to put in a positive word about some of the “future” costumes. I especially like Magneto’s and Wolverine’s costumes. And Rogue’s absolutely.

  7. Spawn film bad costume? mind your manners!

    • Spawn’s costume was B.A.

  8. Is it too much to ask for the X-Men to look like… I don’t know… the X-Men??

  9. Side track: Great article. This is what I like most about SR. It’s not just reporting on quotes, rumors, and official announcements but also the opinions of the writer or its team of writers. It’s opinions and insights that makes an article interesting, never mind whether you agree to it or not.

  10. Quicksilver’s outfit may not be canon and it does look kinda silly; however, it may work within the context of the film. The late 60s and the entirety of the 70s was filled with clothing that looks absurd by the standard of today.

    • I think they went with an Andy Warhol look for Quicksilver. I won’t be shocked if he turns out to be involved with the Pop art and club scene in NY.

  11. The whole costume thing is a tricky proposition when converting a two-dimensional comic book character to a live action format. While certain characters like Spider-Man, Batman and to an an extent Superman are connected to their costumes as part of their origin, odds are they will also have some variation on the same theme. Spider-Man and Superman still get away with the tight costume because it was established in live action mediums decades ago, and the way both were depicted as wearing their costume under their clothes played into the whole “spandex” motif to fit under their clothes. That became the excepted norm in print form, but now that they are moving to motion pictures (where more of the money is realistically) they have to design something that looks better on a giant screen as opposed to a comic page. Whether or not they always hit on something good is another matter.

  12. Lots of times these magazine promo covers really make the costumes look worse then they are. Too crisp, clean, static, and out of context. I’d say that the worst part about this quicksilver photo isn’t the costume, but the actor’s dopey and bored expression on his face.

  13. I would have to say no. It’s the script above all else. Now, having said that, I still believe it was wrong not to include Yukio giving Logan the Wolverine outfit. The setting, Japan, the storyline, samurais, all perfect in my opinion. To film it, not use it and then make it a bluray bonus feature was rubbing it in fans faces, intentional or not, and was the height of stupidity.

  14. The costume itself isn’t the problem, but it is a good indicator of the way the studio is treating the property.

    Let me put it this way: Name one superhero movie that had terrible costumes, but the movie was amazing.

    • Batman: The Movie. It is terribly amazing or amazingly terrible, hmm.

      Seriously though, I’d say the first two X-Men movies are good examples as the article mentioned. Those costumes were not the X-Men I grew up with, but the movies were good and even had some great moments. Third one was garbage, but two outta three aint bad.

      • The X-Men costumes were a bit off, yes, but they weren’t actually that bad. I’m not opposed to a little re-invention. Besides, I cut them a little slack for trying something new. Superhero movies were not big back then, so they were trying a different angle.

        But by now, they know better. Or, they should anyway.

      • Batman the Movie WAS terrible. And Batman’s rubber suit made him look like a big black gummi bear.

  15. Okay, so… I do think some times the design of a costume can make a difference in a film or a show. Not always, but sometimes. In this case… the costume pictured on the magazine cover doesn’t bother me. I say that for multiple reasons.

    1. I’m going to put it out there immediately that I know next to nothing about quicksilver, so for me, I’m not bothered by the costume. I do, however, completely understand the rage by fans who do know the character as how he looks from the comics, and how changing said look can be potentially awful.
    2. Perhaps this is an origin story of some sort for Quicksilver, and this is the costume he is portrayed in until he becomes the Quicksilver of the comics?
    3. Is a costume change “really” so bad? We have yet to witness Wolverine in yellow spandex (or have we? my mind can be fuzzy sometimes), and I for one, am grateful for that. It’s classic wolverine, yes, I’m aware. But I hate it.

  16. I can’t believe you liked “Man of Steel”! As silly as Superman’s trunks may have been, all Zack Snyder had to do was take them away and reveal that uncomfortable-looking bulge to make us all miss the trunks terribly. Oh, and the rest of the movie was also terrible.

  17. Good ole Ben… always championing the cause of fanboy self-restraint. Keep fighting the good fight Ben:)