12 Iconic Movie Character Costumes

3. Darth Vader

While you may see more Stormtroopers at Comic-Con than Darth Vaders, there are plenty of Vaders roaming the streets of San Diego each summer. Similar to Spider-Man's costume, Darth Vader's all-black attire is a part of him. Although, this time it is more literal - Anakin Skywalker becomes a cyborg in a robotic suit to survive after his devastating battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Although the famed costume may have limited Vader's ability to move freely, it gave him the basic functions necessary to carry out his day to day activities. Ultimately, the suit is an external expression of Vader's inner demons.

Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet in Spaceballs

The black colors counter against the bright whites of The Death Star's interiors, forcing Vader to stand out even more. There is also the obvious reference to evil. In contrast to the purity of white colors (see: Luke Skywalker), black stands for something sinister.

Countless films have turned the costume into a parody, most efficiently in Spaceballs, where Rick Moranis played Dark Helmet. It is simply a testament to the staying power of Darth Vader's outfit and Emperor Palpatine's great taste in apprentice wardrobe.

2. Batman

Batman batsuits

The beauty of the Batsuit is not in the design, but its functionality and psychological resonance. It is more than an amalgamation of materials designed to protect a human being. The Batsuit is designed specifically to strike fear into Batman's enemies and conceal Bruce Wayne's identity.

Of course, the early depictions of Batman's suit were less intimidating than contemporary visions, but they still function on a level that represents the era in which they function. Although the suit has gone through a number of revisions, it has remained iconic and faithful to its initial purpose.

For the sake of focus, let's simply stick to the modern interpretations of the Batsuit. Christopher Nolan's Batman movies have added an extra level of toughness to the suit by implementing state-of-the-art and creative solutions to make it feasible in the real world. The memory cloth wings and bulletproof armor are a true step up from original Batman comics.

The Dark Knight batsuit

The Batsuit has always been special for its ability to contain a number of weapons. Without a gun, Batman needs plenty of places for his gadgets. Without the utility belt, the Batsuit is kind of an awkward thing to look at. The Batman logo on the chest plate is the other aspect that creates the legendary look, although it has changed in appearance frequently.

The Batsuit is a fully-functional set of armor that not only protects Bruce Wayne's identity, but his safety as well. It is a weapon, a protective suit and a disguise all in one bat-shaped costume.

1. Superman

Superman rights split between DC Comics and creators Siegel and Shuster

The most iconic costume in entertainment history is a simple and basic design. It doesn't test the creativity of its artists and leaves the magic to the man inside. Arguably the most marketable symbol in the world, the Superman logo has stayed firm to the man of steel's chestplate since the beginning.

Co-creator Jerry Siegel once claimed he wanted to "give him a big S on his chest, and a cape, make him as colorful as we can and as distinctive as we can." The red and blue colors have been just as iconic as the 'S' and sure outdo Spider-Man's blue and red.

Clark Kent's everyman attire may not be Superman's costume, but it sure is Kal-El's disguise. Part of the beauty of Superman is that Clark Kent is his true costume. Those wonderful moments when Kent rips open his plain suit and unveils the 'S' have captured the hearts of audiences for decades.

Superman logo S

The look of Superman is arguably the basis for all superhero costumes after it. Although few costumes look like Superman's, there is something inherent in them that draws back to Superman's iconic suit. It stands the test of time and found a way to transcend underwear jokes and still be as cool as anything we've seen to this day.

Superheroes don't need costumes to be great. For many, their powers have nothing to do with the outfits they wear. But these costumes are more than just practical designs. Each one represents the character inside and sometimes lets that character out.


The costumes we have seen in cinema have transformed characters into icons. They have found a way to go beyond just entertainment and become a part of the international culture.

This Halloween is your chance to dress up like your favorite character without the ridicule of being the ultimate fanboy. Between major conventions and Halloween, there are few chances each year to wear the outfits made famous on the big screen.

If we left out your favorite movie costume, share yours in the comments section below.

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