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

Published 7 months 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.

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Page 2: Sometimes The Costume Isn’t the Problem

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TAGS: green lantern, man of steel, the amazing spider-man, transformers, x-men days of future past

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  1. Sometimes clothes do help to make the man. Maybe not completely, but they help. We identify with the costumes as an integral part of our heroes and villains and their makeup as a whole. The costumes for TV and movies for batman, Superman, Flash, Green lantern, Iron Man, Spiderman, and even Daredevil, for instance, help to set these characters aside as a bit more than merely human, something exclusive and stand-out-ish, whereas something you can buy anyplace like black leather and spandex or rumply soldier outfits just say you are another dude or just some other schmuck on the block. Characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, and even early Cap to some extent do not excite (at least their clothes don’t). Same with X-Men. How would you feel if Doctor Fate, for instance, or Superman appeared on the screen ready to fight baddies in just plain BearWhiz Beer T-Shirts and torn-up jeans? You’d say, “Why bother? I’ll just take the baddies on myself.” Yawn-yawn. Characters like Hawkeye, or even the upcoming Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, need to be in the comics costumes we have come to identify them with. It is not a step too far into comic-fantasy and too far away from reality to make them as they were originally created. Stepping away from that is distancing ones-self from the original creators’ whole of the character, and we separate universe in which these characters live.

    • As I said on another article where you brought up the whole “if I can buy the clothes in a store, what’s the point?” argument, wouldn’t it be easier to keep your identity secret and stop people targeting you or your family and friends by going to stores, buying clothes and piecing them together rather than making custom orders that would likely give away your identity?

      Say you use a site like Amazon and buy an outfit and wear it to fight crime and become infamous. Wouldn’t someone recognise it and give away your name and home address if a bounty was placed on you?

      Remember The Joker in TDK? All of his clothing was described as “custom made” so they didn’t have any clues as to who he really was based on what he was wearing and his real identity remained unknown.

  2. This movie takes place in the 70′s so they can probably get away with a silly looking Quicksilver. For me he just looks like the only cartoony character. Everyone else looks cool.

  3. I could see the Quicksilver costume to the left being used in a future setting. It’s true that the Quicksilver get-up everyone is hating on is from the crazy ’70s but they still could have designed it to be a little less insane.

  4. “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)”
    Perfect quote about those involved in the movie who are only in it to recreate an iconic character and make money.

  5. Since Im not really a comic book nerd I could give a rats ass what the look like as long as the movies good Im pretty satisfied obviously I would stop and think about what I could have done if I were wardrobe as that is fun to just playfully be like I would have done this and that , what is NOT fine is when you in a movie and a “fan” is sucking their teeth every 15 mins and growling about how the costume is wrong like boy bye ugh …

    • People aren’t that worked up about the costumes being different from the costumes, they’re more worked up about a costume that’s dumb.

  6. Is it just me who actually likes the Quicksilver costume? Maybe it’s just because I love Evan Peters, but I think it looks cool in a retro sort of way, and to me seems to suggest he’ll be a quirky, rebellious character. I’ll be the first person to say I wish the X-Men films incorporated the comics costumes, but if they’re not going to do that, this is a great way to nod to the character’s comic book style – and obviously his name – whilst not going down the spandex route. It’s just fun, t’is all I’m saying.

    • yea, I actually think you may be the only person on the planet that likes it.

    • I like the Quicksilver costume Jim. Then I again I just really like Evan Peters in general, so it may be a conflict of interest. He just looks like a goofy 70′s hipster guy. I mean the classic comic costume cannot work for every character. I bet that the Avengers will likely attempt a look for Quicksilver that is more comic fan acceptable.

    • I like it. Rebellious teens always dress outrageously, so I totally buy this for the 70′s.

  7. It’s his hair. Spike it ffs

    • His costume just lacks a sense of speed, it doesn’t look like the kind of gear you’d be running at super speed in; hopefully I’m proven wrong.

      • Exactly. You would think that he would go for something tighter that doesn’t slow him down, more like in the spirit of the bobsled or track and field suits…

  8. I agree 100% with this article. Costumes are important, but they don’t make or break the hero or the movie. I’m not too upset over Quicksilver’s look. Does he look a bit silly? Sure, but Evan Peters is a pretty decent actor and I can’t pass judgement until I see the final product.
    What I am still confused about, however, is why he is in the past in the movie. When I first heard he would be in the film, I assumed he would be in the future, since he is Magneto’s son. How can he be in the 70′s era when he and his father are (relatively) the same age at that time?

  9. Great Article…The problem is fanboys take it too far. Some of the comments that I saw were people saying that DoFP would be “the worst comic book movie since Batman and Robin.” Like really??? All because of a character’s costume, who will be in the movie for like 2 minutes smh. Criticism has its purposes but when it gets out of hand you lose me.

    • Yea, but you don’t have to be a fanboy to know that DoFP’s Quicksilver looks incredibly stupid on that cover.

  10. I know it has been said before for other lower tier comic characters that get to be in a movie, but here we go.

    I get a kick out of the fact that all of a sudden the “die hard” Quicksilver fans come out of the wood work to complain about the costume.

    In my personal opinion I could care less about he costume. The thing that has always been lacking in all the X-Men movies is the lack of time/effort/money put into the powers. And unfortunately the best they did was in Origins Wolverine.

    It is going to take a lot for this movie to impress me. The X-Men were my childhood hero’s and the movies have done nothing but kill them for me (again personal opinion, I’m not trashing anyone).

    • +1

  11. Id say yes. For someone like Superman, stick to the basics, Schumacher & Nolan’s Bat suits had their problems. There’s the X-Men. Catwoman, do people remember that movie? Green Goblin costume in Raimi’s first Spider-Man was better than what they had in mind imo. Venom & “New Goblin” if you will should’ve been in the 3rd film because they both needed work.

    Dr. Doom looked better in F4 sequel than in first film imo.

    • How did Nolan’s Batsuit have problems?

      They made a realistic, militaristic version of the classic suit then addressed the cowl restricting head movements in the sequel by changing it to something more practical.

      I fail to see how the suit in that trilogy was somehow wrong or crappy in any way.

      • @ Dazz

        That was the problem. It’s design made it look like a transformer w/so many parts. You couldn’t clearly see the Bat emblem. The costume in Batman Begins was perfect except for it’s cowl which made Bale have a big head.

        • Like a knight with his armor pieces, hence … the Dark Knight.

  12. some people take it too serious i think, i can joke about it or point out my opinion but life is it short to ban or petition something that is another artists interpretation…i’m pretty sure your favorite character has gone through changes in the 60 years it has been created

  13. Quicksilver looks like a Japanese pop star

    • Damn, I’ve been trying to figure out all day why I’m not a fan of his costume but I think you just hit it. Lol.

      That said I’m still looking forward to see how it’ll look in action, I’m pretty sure they designed the costume with his sequences in mind (especially since they said they’re including Quicksilver for specific scenes, so I assume they want it to be cool).

  14. I really enjoyed Green Lantern’s costume and I’m hoping that if they make a justice league movie that they will utilize it cause it looks freakin awesome

    • @ Tonto

      I hated what they did with his eyes though, looked like a cartoon that way.

  15. Evan Peter’s Quicksilver looks as if he wasn’t raised by Magneto. Are they even a father/son duo in the movie? What respectable villain, like Magneto, let his teenage son dress like that?

    • Perhaps he dresses himself.

    • In what version of anything did Magneto actually raise his children?
      Also, even if he did, we’re talking about the guy who dresses up in a purple cape to go terrorize the world.

  16. I thought we liked Spawn. To me, that’s a perfect example of doing camp right.

  17. Great article. I’d also have mentioned the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie. Horrible costume, great performance by Willem Dafoe, great movie.

  18. This costume looks absolutely ridiculous. I hope this movie doesn’t let me down.

  19. I was really excited about one of my favourite mutants, Quicksilver, was going to appear in two separate movies and I was so excited to see the costumes. But how the hell could they screw up his costume. Why didn’t they just put him in a bob-sleigh uniform with a lighting. It might look a bit stupid on screen but it would have been much better then this piece of crap we have now.

  20. Yes you can, X-Men Film Haters, here you go.

    http://i.imgur.com/pC8DVJE.jpg

    • What the heck?

    • In whose favor is this photo for? It certainly redeemed nothing. It quit possibly helped the “Haters” arguement.

      And if thats Wanda she’s the wrong age…

  21. Everyone is so Costume Crazy these days, sure the costume is nice but really it’s not the end all be all. This is Quicksilver in his early days and yes his early days costumes were rather bad in the comics. You can’t expect him or the time frame that the movie is in to have access to such immense technology to make the suit that is in the picture above for some time. I am looking at the acting of the actor playing the part if I feel his portrayal of Quicksilver that’s all I’ll need, the costume is secondary and just eye candy. Plus we have yet to see a bit of footage of him doing the acting part, we’ve just seen stills and this magazine cover. And the Production Still he was nearly bathed in light making the jacket stand out far more than it should. Just chill out people and wait to see how this all plays out, I’ve got good feelings about this movie.

    • I think that’s the thing, if you liked the sound of the movie already, you might like the costume or not care about it but if you have a negative idea of the movie based on previous entries in the series then it’s just another thing to roll your eyes over.

  22. Typical overreaction. Yeah, that quicksilver design isn’t good, but it’s not terrible either. It’s no worse in my mind than say, the Catwoman costume in TDKR or the Captain America costume in Avengers.

    • Quicksilvers costume is better then Captain Americas? hahahaha…..drugs. I’m going to blame drugs. Its far wosrt and lazy.

      • Cap’s costume in Avengers was pretty bad, especially compared to The First Avenger and Winter Soldier costumes. But this quicksilver is beyond bad. It’s just laugh out loud, wtf were they thinking kind of horrible. So bad that you can’t help but wonder who looked at this design and said “YES, I want THAT in my movie!” You have to feel a little bad for Evan Peters, he deserves better.

  23. Singer’s X-Men flicks were far from great. In fact, they were extremely watered down on the core social themes that make X-Men important. Sad because they started off on such a high note with the opening scene (which they reused for First Class) and went way downhill from there. Also the suits were obviously a sorry attempt to ride on the wave of The Matrix’s success.

    • I agree but not because of the “social themes being watered down” thing because honestly, until a few years ago, the only X-Men items I’d been aware of were a Wolverine novel in the early 90s with his origin explored, the 90s cartoon and Singer’s movies.

      I think his X-Men movies were far from great because I just never really found them enjoyable and they were actually quite dull.

  24. I wish I could give credit to the person who originally said it on here (but I can’t remember) but the statement remains true; Quiksilver is nowhere near the main character of the upcoming X-men movie. So to focus on the character itself is ridiculous. Therefore targetting the attire he sports as reason to believe the entire movie is going to be lacking is like saying that shiny-new-showroom-clean corvette is s*** cuz the manual located in the glove box has a bent corner.

    • Bryan Singer only put Quicksilver in because Joss Whedons announcement. If they went through all that trouble to hype him then they shouldnt go about it half-@$$’d.

      • Ugh this statement is ignorant as hell , do you even know how production works? Its not like they were in the middle of shooting and said OH my God you guys that meanie Jossy Po is using Quicksilver I want to use QUICKSILVER no that is not how production of any kinds works -_- ugh people these days

        • Actually, Gene, that is exactly what happened. Singer never admitted that it was because of Whedon’s announcement, but they were in the middle of production when Singer decided to add Quicksilver to the cast. Coincidentally, right around the same time Whedon made his announcement.

        • Ooops, it was announced when the movie was in production. In this day and age studios don’t have to move mountains for last minute additions… mid-credit scene in THOR: The Dark World and Captain America TWS and many others. And yes I have been involved in as well as understand production. My brother is a director; my uncle does national stage productions; a buddy had her movie made and one of my good friends does producer work which hes worked with some big named actors (Its weird to see him on IMDB.) Oh….And I work on screenplays and scripts from time to time. PLUS any idiot can find the ins and outs of movie making on the web if you not surrounded by a brunch of artist people. :{) heehee other people’s children, sheesh…see my smiley has a ‘stache

        • Ooops, He announced when the production had already started AFTER Whedon. In this day and age a studio doesn’t have to move mountains for last minute additions. THOR: The Dark World, Captain America: TWS and many more. In some instances YES, yes that is how production works. Guillermo del Doro is known for doing it! I have been involved in, as well as understand, production. My brother is a director; my Uncle does national stage productions; a buddy just had her movie made; and one of my good friends does producer work. He’s worked with some big stars in good Ol’ Hollywood (It’s weird to see him on IMDB). Oh, and I work on screenplays and scripts from time to time. PLUS any idiot with the internet can find out what goes into filmmaking if they’re not surrounded by a brunch of artist people! :{) heehee, Other people’s children…
          Oh, that’s a ‘stache on my smiley; seeing its education time.

        • Ooops, He announced when the production had already started AFTER Whedon. In this day and age a studio doesn’t have to move mountains for last minute additions. THOR: The Dark World, Captain America: TWS and many more. In some instances YES, yes that is how production works. Guillermo del Doro is known for doing it! I have been involved in, as well as understand, production. My brother is a director; my Uncle does national stage productions; a buddy just had her movie made; and one of my good friends does producer work. He’s worked with some big stars in good Ol’ Hollywood (It’s weird to see him on IMDB). Oh, and I work on screenplays and scripts from time to time. PLUS any genius with the internet can find out what goes into filmmaking if they’re not surrounded by a brunch of artist people! :{) heehee, Other people’s children…
          Oh, that’s a ‘stache on my smiley; seeing its education time

  25. Ugh, how can anyone like the movie Tranformers designs? Flames were the least of their problems, incomprehensible metal atrocities that have 200k moving parts that do nothing is worse. The cartoons may have been stiff, but at least they weren’t needlessly overwrought. Its like they Bay took one look at the original Ratchet/Ironhide toys and say, lets do em all that THAT.

    • I dunno, I feel like the Transformers designs were one of three things I enjoyed about the movies (the other two things being Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving). The thousands of small parts made it seem like they were actual vehicles that transformed and needed those necessary parts to be able to change form.

      • THANK YOU !

  26. Now, while fans should be a bit reasonably on character design; gross alterations reflect on the film in many ways. It displays if the filmmakers and respective studio can go outside the norm to create a marriage of faithful and fuctional. It projects a sense of courage in staff, script and the source. Plus it shows a respect to the fans as well as to say to general moviers, “we believe you’re smart enough to get this.”

  27. Fans are not wrong, they just want something so hard just to see something they see in their heads. Unfortunately there’s a gazillion of fans, which means gazillion of heads all different to one another, and that’s a problem.
    It’s how/the way they expect something… and the way they behave about it that is wrong, cause most of the time they can’t think flexibly about what can and can not or should and should not be implemented or even worked from comics. Expecting too much, triggers big disappointments, and disappointments fuels (annoying) negative comments every now and then.
    In the end, movies are just products of human minds so none of them will ever be perfect, but we ‘fans’ also need to learn to stop bitching when we don’t like one and also stop over-worshiping when we enjoy another. Both will not change nor contribute anything that has been done anyway. That’s my point of view of a proper ‘Level Head’ :D
    Awesome article!

  28. Costumes do make it easier to connect with the characters. I mean look at thor….chainmail and a flowing cape…are his look…do I miss the winged helm yes id like to see it, but he looks like thor. Superman in man of steel…..do I care if he to off his undies? Nope he looks like superman.

    People are too quick to judge a movie cuz so and so is blahblah. I agree with what people say….story has heart and makes me wanna watch ill watch otherwise it’ll bomb.

  29. Quicksilver looks like garbage. I don’t care if it’s the 70s he’s in…they could’ve done way better than that crap.

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