Most movies require a willing suspension of disbelief. It's part of the deal we make when watching a movie. We'll believe a man can fly if you can show it to us. Moviemaking is all smoke and mirrors and the whole thing is a fragile illusion.
A good movie will draw viewers in and any minor immersion-breaking things are mostly ignored because they're swept along for the ride. Bad movies usually fail to engage the audience on a basic level and it's at this point that you start to see behind the curtain, breaking the spell.
There are many, many things that can break immersion, from bad acting and plot holes to ill-fitting music and awful dialog, but how characters look is a big one, especially in superhero movies.
We want our heroes to look cool and our villains to look menacing. If they fail to look the part, it may affect the overall impact of the characters, which could be a serious problem.
While many movies have got this right, there are just as many who haven't had the same level of success.
Here are the 15 Jarring Costumes That Take You Out Of Superhero Movies.
15 Daredevil (2003) - Daredevil
The Daredevil movie marks a specific point in time where the post Spider-Man superhero gold rush first started, with seemingly every studio buying up comic book rights and attempting to win big at the box office. This meant that, 20th Century Fox, having already broken the mold with X-Men, gambled with Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck.
In the original comics, The Man Without Fear dons a form-fitting bodysuit and horned half-mask to fight crime. However, this was at a time when comic book accuracy wasn't a concern for filmmakers, so in an attempt to make it more “realistic,” the outfit was changed to a red leather number.
The mask, boots, gloves, and especially the collar looks more like adult fantasy gear than an effective supersuit. That's not to mention that restrictive leather doesn't seem to be the ideal choice of material for the notoriously acrobatic hero to bust out his ninja moves in.
The movie's costumes aren't great across the board, with Colin Farrell's Bullseye given a ludicrous overhaul and made into a bald dude with a silly target scar on his head and a leather trenchcoat.
14 Spider-Man (2002) - The Green Goblin
The task of translating one of Spider-Man's greatest villains from the comic to the big screen is not an easy one.
In the comics, Norman Osborn basically dons a Halloween costume complete with rubber goblin mask and flies around New York dropping pumpkin bombs on people. What's an iconic look on the page will look all kinds of goofy on the screen without careful design choices.
Sam Raimi avoided this hassle by making the Goblin suit more technology based. The outfit was now a prototype flying suit designed for use with Oscorp's experimental glider.
Instead of a mask, the Goblin now had a helmet, frozen in a permanent sneer. The overall effect is a bit Power Rangers, but the biggest problem is that the helmet hides a lot of Willem Dafoe's scenery-chewing performance.
Dafoe is capable of some seriously unhinged facial expressions but we're only given brief glimpses of his mouth or his eyes underneath the mask. It creates a disconnect between the actor and the physical performance, which is never a good thing.
13 Green Lantern (2011) - Green Lantern
It's widely agreed that pretty much nothing worked in 2011's Green Lantern. It's been dissected and ridiculed ever since its release, with Ryan Reynolds able to exorcise some personal demons with several gags at his own expense in Deadpool.
There's one scene in particular where Wade Wilson demands that his supersuit not be green or animated, a clear jab at his earlier work as Hal Jordan. Wade's right on the money, because the Green Lantern suit never looks right.
It's a CGI creation, meant to be glowing and pulsing with energy. The computer effects in the movie are pretty terrible and Hal's suit is arguably one of the worst examples, always looking out of place in brightly-lit scenes on Earth.
It makes sense that the Lantern Corps uniform would be more than just some green fabric, but this definitely wasn't the way to go.
12 Spider-Man 3 (2007) - Venom
You don't need us to tell you about the laundry list of problems with Spider-Man 3. Studio meddling claimed another victim and Sam Raimi was forced to include the fan-favorite character of Venom against his wishes.
This could be the reason why the movie's take on the symbiote is so underwhelming. In the comics, the Venom symbiote finds the already-jacked Eddie Brock and turns him into a towering mass of muscles, tendrils and teeth that dwarfs Peter.
Spider-Man 3's take on Venom is a palette-swapped Spidey with toothy alien head. Gone is the character's physicality and in its place is Topher Grace, who isn't exactly a bodybuilder.
It's clear that Raimi wanted to make Eddie a reflection of Peter, but it ignores the fact that Venom is a physically intimidating presence. Venom should be a seriously scary customer, but the version we got is nowhere near big or menacing enough to work.
11 The Avengers (2012) - Captain America
While we'd already seen Steve Rogers undergo several wardrobe changes throughout Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers gave us Cap's first modern suit.
The outfit is designed by Cap fanboy Phil Coulson, who stuck to several classic elements from his old suits because he believes that people might need an old-fashioned symbol to help them through the tough times ahead.
The suit mostly looks great, but Coulson dropped the ball with the helmet. The molded headpiece covers Steve's ears and the cloth joining the helmet to the neck looks awkward and cheap.
Cap looks infinitely better in the outfit when he isn't wearing the dumb helmet and every subsequent version of his uniform has addressed these issues, although this particular suit did make a sneaky reappearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
10 Iron Man 2 (2010) - Whiplash
When it comes to weak MCU villains, Iron Man 2's Whiplash is never too far away from discussion. Mickey Rourke's take on Ivan Vanko was bizarre to say the least. Vanko wasn't nearly fleshed out enough to become a credible villain and he mostly takes a backseat to Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer.
Then there's his look. We have to concede that the whole point of Vanko's character is that he doesn't have the money and resources that Tony Stark has, so his stuff is bound to be less aesthetically pleasing.
However, was a prison pants/metal rig combo really the best he could do? You could make an argument for this look, but the metal Whiplash suit that appears at the climax of the movie is utterly generic.
Worse still, it looks like a pale imitation of the Iron Monger suit, which itself was basically just a bigger, meaner Iron Man suit and blander than a bread sandwich.
9 Fantastic Four (2015) - The Thing
The Fantastic Four's matching suits are an iconic part of their whole deal. They're a family, so they're a cohesive team and dress as such. Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, is the odd one out in a bunch of ways. He can't turn off his powers like the others can, so he just wears some blue pants/shorts with the 4 logo on them.
The suits in Josh Trank's Fantastic Four aren't anything to write home about. They're just dull blue tactical military-looking outfits. As uninspiring as these are, at least Reed and the Storm siblings had clothes, which is more than can be said for The Thing.
The gigantic rock monster isn't given pants and it poses questions about Ben Grimm's anatomy that we'd rather not know the answers to.
You could argue that it makes him more of a monster, but it's Ben's good heart underneath that makes the character interesting. Despite his rocky exterior, he's still a human-- a human who needs to wear pants.
8 The Punisher (1989) - The Punisher
Way before Jon Bernthal, Ray Stevenson, and Tom Jane had a crack at Frank Castle, there was Dolph Lundgren. The 1989 movie is probably best described as a loose adaptation of The Punisher comics.
Although the Lundgren Castle isn't the most faithful take on the character, he does share a similar tragic backstory and is supremely talented at laying waste to scores of mobsters.
One of the most disappointing things about this version of Frank is that he never rocks his hallmark skull logo. It'd be tough to imagine Superman without an S Shield, so quite why Frank never gets to wear the skull emblazoned on his chest is a mystery.
Many have reported that legal issues only granted use of the character's name, but this doesn't appear to be true. The company behind the movie, New World Entertainment, had actually bought Marvel Comics several years earlier, so getting the full rights wasn't a problem. It seems that the choice was a purely an aesthetic one, which is a shame.
7 X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - Juggernaut
We could talk about X-Men: The Last Stand's problems all day, but let's focus on the Juggernaut, played by Vinnie Jones. Thoughts on Jones' acting aside, Juggernaut manages to be one of the goofiest elements in a movie full of wrong-headed wacky decisions.
Marko's dome helmet has been made more “realistic” and significantly less interesting in the process. As for his suit, he has his midriff exposed for no discernible reason and the top is a random mesh of criss-crossing leather straps.
He looks more like cast member at Ceasars Palace casino than the unstoppable force he is in the comics. Literally translating Marko's comic book costume may have been a tough sell, but this version barely resembles the character at all and looks pretty silly to boot.
6 Catwoman (2004) - Catwoman
If we were being charitable and economic with our words, we could say that at least the Catwoman outfit in the 2004 movie makes takes some bold risks, but we're not convinced they were worth it.
Catwoman has always been a temptress and her body-hugging outfits are part of her alluring persona. However, the costume that Halle Berry was saddled with takes that idea and runs with it – straight into a brick wall.
Halle Berry isn't given much material to cover up, having only a bra and some straps on her torso. For some reason, she also has awful-looking ripped pants that look less appealing and more like they were fished out of a filthy dumpster.
The whole costume comes off as a cynical attempt to sell tickets based on the promise of flesh, but even that low tactic didn't work, with the movie becoming a notorious critical and commercial bomb.
5 X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) - Apocalypse
After the decent reviews earned by First Class and Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse had the weight of expectation on its shoulders. Going by the often harsh reviews, many people feel that it didn't live up to the hype. Fan reaction was definitely more mixed, but many agreed that the movie's big bad, Apocalypse, left a lot to be desired.
Alarm bells started ringing when set photos showed the supposedly awesome Apocalypse looking more like Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers movie.
This was tweaked in post-production, but the final look isn't great. Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse doesn't look nearly as threatening as his comic counterpart and it hampers his performance considerably.
The makeup job on his face in particular ends up making him look rather cartoonish, which is obviously a problem when he should be coming across as a serious world-ending threat.
4 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) - The Green Goblin
Next time a Spider-Man movie tackles the Green Goblin, they'll at least have plenty of examples of how not to do it to choose from.
The Goblin helmet was an obstacle in the first Raimi movie, so for the second iteration of Gobby (third if you count Spider-Man 3's New Goblin, which you definitely shouldn't) a drastic change was made.
Harry Osborn turns into the Goblin late into The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and do we need to explain what went wrong here? Just look at him.
The make up/ prosthetics job is just baffling. It's the wrong side of corny movie monster makeup and poor old Dane DeHaan is stuck looking like a reject from Labyrinth. We get that liberties must be taken when trying to adapt a skinny goblin man wearing a purple tunic and that they tried to make him threatening, but this is a hard swing and a miss.
3 Steel (1997) - Steel
Following the famous "Death of Superman" arc, an engineer named John Henry Irons, who was once saved by Superman, pays tribute to his hero by fighting injustice with the aid of a powerful metal suit and massive hammer.
This was adapted into legendarily bad movie starring Shaq as Steel. If you haven't seen it, it's exactly as terrible as its reputation would have you believe.
You'd think that since your character is named Steel because of his metal armor, it'd be a pretty crucial thing to get right. Well, this turned out to not be the case and Steel's costume is all kinds of bad.
For starters, Shaq has to act underneath an awkward face-obscuring mask that looks like it's several sizes too big. Practically all of the character's cool design details like the S Shield, the flowing red cape, and the shiny polished chrome highlights are ditched in favor of a dull looking, knock-off Robocop suit.
2 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) - Deadpool
While the Deadpool story has a happy ending and a much-anticipated sequel on the horizon, there was a dark time when an awful appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the only big screen appearance that the Merc With a Mouth had made.
Apparently, the infamous laser-eyed and mouthless Deadpool was intended to be the first iteration of the character with a more traditional take planned for later sequels, but that doesn't excuse what we ended up getting.
This version of Deadpool has more in common with Mortal Kombat's Baraka than he does with Wade Wilson. The fact that his mouth is sewed up is a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes the character work and it's hard to understand why the filmmakers would want to introduce a Deadpool that bears no resemblance to the comic character just to eventually pay it off in later movies.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the sequel plans were scrapped.
1 Batman & Robin (1997) - Batman
What can we say about Batman & Robin that hasn't been said already? The movie is notorious for almost killing the entire Batman franchise and is considered not just the bottom of the barrel for Batman, but a low point for the entire superhero genre in general.
We probably don't have to mention anything more than his chest bumps, but there's more to discuss. Yes, putting sculpted rubber bumps on a body suit is all kinds of ridiculous and distracting.
Joel Schumacher was apparently inspired by ancient Greek armor, but has admitted that incorporating them into Batman's symbolic suit was maybe not the best idea.
It's also hard to see the late movie change into different suits with metallic highlights as anything other than a cynical attempt to sell two action figures instead of one, but as we all know, that's probably one of the least offensive things it did to Batman's legacy.
Can you think of any other jarring costumes that take us out of superhero movies? Let us know in the comments!