Don't Judge A Movie Superhero Costume By Its Picture

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.


Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth & Tom Hiddleston in Thor

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).

Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern costume in EW

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
Captain America first avenger movie

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 vs Loki concept art

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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