Don’t Judge A Movie Superhero Costume By Its Picture

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:30 pm,

With the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con looming, there has been a string of releases of photos and images of concept art related to some upcoming and highly anticipated films. There will always be some percentage of fans who don’t like the direction chosen for a movie version of the costume of their favorite comic book superhero, but lately there’s been some higher than average backlash.

Recently released set and promotional pictures for Thor have generated seemingly higher percentages of negative than positive comments. Among the response have been those that say the outfits look “cheesy,” much hatred for the leather pants, mocking of Anthony Hopkins “golden eyepatch,” suits looking to much like plastic, etc.


thor odin loki hemsworth hopkins hiddleston Dont Judge A Movie Superhero Costume By Its Picture

Then we had the image of Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern that appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly… On that one we had plenty of knee-jerk reactions (admittedly, at first, even from yours truly). My first thought was that he looked like he came from the “Bodies” exhibit that’s traveling the country. There were also references to Gray’s Anatomy and (not sure where this one came from) that he looks like a giant green penis (folks have some, uh, vivid imaginations I guess).

green lantern movie costume hi res 2 Dont Judge A Movie Superhero Costume By Its Picture

Here’s the thing – you can’t judge how a costume will come a across in a film based on promotional still images. Promotional pictures are lit and shot for presentation that is very different from that for film. Promo pics are usually brightly lit, clean, and crisp. Sometimes they’re shot in a photo studio and not on set, and even for those shot on set, the lighting and visual effects aren’t as they will be in the final film, nor do we have the benefit of any context for the images we’re looking at.

Now that’s not to say that there haven’t been instances of costumes that look terrible in the final product, but to jump the gun and state that a movie will be terrible because costumes don’t look great in a promo pic is a bit silly.

When the concept art for both Thor and Captain America surfaced, there were immediate complaints about both (albeit far fewer for Cap’s movie costume). Some people thought that Cap’s costume looked too “bright” for the battlefield.

Yesterday some concept art banners were released for both films, which you can see here:

Thor Comic Con Poster Dont Judge A Movie Superhero Costume By Its Picture

Captain American Comic Con Poster Dont Judge A Movie Superhero Costume By Its Picture

Here’s a close up of that Captain America costume (granted this isn’t a scene from the movie, but it’s a much more movie-like representation of it in action):

So does that still look like it’s not a fit for the battlefield? Again, here’s a comparison of the “squeaky clean” concept art and a look at it more as it will appear in the film:

Here’s a closer look at Loki and Thor fighting it out from the recent banner concept art:

thor loki costumes Dont Judge A Movie Superhero Costume By Its Picture

Does a good (or bad) pre-movie look at a costume = a good (or bad) movie? I don’t think you can make a definitive correlation – but I would certainly wait until at least seeing your favorite superhero’s costume being worn by the actor playing him in action (at least in a trailer) before making any judgments.

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  1. Here’s the problem with super hero movies. Most directors and producers don’t know jack about the comics. All they look at is the basic idea and then go off and do whatever they want to.

    I don’t mind changes that make sense such as something looking cool in comic form but looking silly in live action. But I don’t want the directors “vision” that came to him in a dream or some producers cut this cut that to save a few bucks version. Or some hack Hollywood screenwriters version.I want someone who knows and loves the comic to do it right.

    • That’s more like it.

      • That’s what I’m talking about right there…Thanks Vancitykid!! :)

    • Excellant. They came up with great designs for all of them. I was afraid Thors and Lokis would look kinda goofy but they got them looking pretty believable and cool.

  2. It’s always hard to tell until the actual product.

    Unfortunately, now I’m worried about that gun Cap’s toting….

    • There’s no need to worry! The M1911A1 .45 is an extremely reliable weapon.

      • And a gun, thus something Cap should not be using in the film.

        • Cap used a gun in the comics. He’s fighting a war, he’s allowed a gun.

          • Amen to that.

      • hahahahahahaha

  3. The Green Lantern costume is absolutely horrid. How WB and DC comics could actually approve it is absolutely mind-boggling.

    Does anyone there even HAVE eyes?

    • I agree with you on the Green Latern outfit! Its looks like a completely rubbish! when I see it I don’t think Hal Jordon, I think…Is this some sort of Dune Still suit cross over?! its pathetic and to top things off its going to be Hal Jordan’s birth as a Green Latern…again?, Green latern: First Flight [was pretty good] has already been done animated hahaha, and when I watched that I thought this is good a film script isn’t it? why not just use that? ah well I’ll be happy to save £6 not seing it in the cinema.

  4. I think the Cap costume looks pretty good but we won’t know until an actual trailer comes out, but Thor an Lantern are a little worrisome, this is why the Hulkonly wears purple pants

  5. I’m cool with the Cap’ costume, especially as it’s the WW2 variation, see how I feel about the guns in context (he may throw them away in favour of the shield and so on) But the Thor concept piece (battling Loki)Loki, no problem (he’s never had a fixed look) but Thor still looks like a biker who drove through a washing line. It just doesn’t say Thor. Not to me and I will be seeing it anyway so yeah job done and all that but…just can’t get worked up over that costume.

    • “Like a biker who drove through a washing line.” Right or wrong, that’s a good one!

    • Cap costume isn’t too bad I agree but it has a bit lerderhosen feel to it don’t you think hehe? but hey its essenially cap and that’s good enough for me, but your comment: Thor still looks like a biker who drove through a washing line, haha well nice and true!, where is 185cm, blond, norwiegen [or swedish] Hulk fighting,beer swigging,bar brawlling,Juggernaut fighting, major muscle bound Norse god of thunder?…’cause I ain’t seeing it.

  6. I realize some of the images are early and may be subject to change I will say, Cap with a gun doesn’t bother me, take it in context the scene is in WW2 and yes even Captain America used a gun in WW2. The Cap costume is fine. The early images from Thor look good so far. I agree with previous posters that the Green Lantern outfit shown doesn’t exactly blow me away. This is one of those cases where they are trying to do too much to make it special and may end up screwing it up. I really do not want to see a whole movie of this muscle tone crap when Hal Jordan has a fairly well established costume in the comics. A variation on a theme is expected in an adaptation of a comic but what they have shown so far looks bad.

  7. Green Lantern costume reminds me of the characters from the Crysis video game.

  8. I reserve final judgment until I see the finished vrersions of both costumes on screen.

  9. The green lantern costume looks really eerie and spooky to me in a weird kind of way. I like it!

  10. stop pissing n moaning about costumes and be happy that the films are gettin released.

  11. Both films will tank. Decisively.

  12. Cap and Thor look nice, but Green Lantern looks like jLo’s cell costume dyed green.