Top 10 Comic Book Movie Costumes

A column article, Top Ten by: Justin Carmona

Summer 2011 is the summer of the comic book movie. With Green Lantern opening this past weekend and the Captain America live action film hitting the big screen next month, it is no doubt that comic book films have come a long way with the movie-going mainstream. With major movie studios taking the superhero source material more seriously, amping up the special effects and putting big name directors and actors at the helm of these films, Hollywood has finally come around to realize what us comic book fans have always known, comic books rock! Not only do they rock, but they can make for some amazing film adaptations. But what really adds icing to the cake is when studios get the most important thing in a superhero movie right, the costumes. For every dreadful Halle Berry Catwoman outfit, there is an amazing Tobey Maguire Spider-Man costume. With that in mind, I'm counting down the...


10. Storm

When director Bryan Singer made the right decision to do away with the X-Men's colorful comic book garb and go with a more Matrix inspired black leather for the live-action mutant film, some fans cried foul. But honestly, did anyone really want to see Wolverine running around in yellow spandex on the big screen? This change in costume worked especially well for the weather wielding mutant known as Storm, who looked most like her comic book counterpart. It was black, it was leather, it was tight and Halle Berry was wearing it. Need I say more?

9. Black Widow

We all know Black Widow is one of the sexiest women in comics, but when director Jon Favreau brought her to life with actress Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 our collective fanboy hearts practically burst out of our chests. The silky red hair, the black form-fitting jumpsuit and the Widow's signature wrist cartridges were all there. And boy did we love every screen filled minute of her in action.

8. Loki

When I first heard that Loki was going to be appearing in the live-action Thor movie, the first thing I thought of was, "It would be awesome if they gave Loki his signature long-horned helmet, but there is no way in the world that would work in a on the big screen." Really, something like that would just come off as silly. But you know what? Not only did it work, it was probably one of the better looking costume pieces in the film. Bad ass indeed.

7. Green Lantern

One of my pet peeves with Green Lantern's costume in the comic book was that if the ring, which can create green light constructs, also creates Hal Jordan's costume, why does his outfit look more like actual fabric as opposed to being made of light? Well, it seems the filmmakers of the Green Lantern movie thought the same thing. I'll admit even though I hated the costume at first sight, seeing it on the big screen in motion makes one helluva difference. It's a very sleek outfit which pulsates with green light energy, which is what a Green Lantern costume should always be. And yes, the fact that we can see Ryan Reynolds's toe outlines in the costume doesn't make one bit of difference in the film. You don't even notice those little piggies are there.

6. Captain America

One to the best things to come out of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's comic book masterpiece, The Ultimates (a real-world take on the Avengers) was that they took Captain America and put the soldier back in Super Soldier. This was none more apparent than in Cap's costume design which took elements of US military combat attire and fused it together with Captain America's traditional superhero outfit. What's even better is that this is pretty much the exact same kick ass costume design that Marvel Studios is putting Steve Rogers in for its upcoming big budget Captain America movie. Just looking at that costume makes me proud to be an American. *tear*

5. Batman

Without director Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film which brought out the dark in the Dark Knight, who knows where big screen superhero costumes would be today? What makes this costume so great is that for starters, they didn't go with the traditional Batman grey and blue outfit from the comics, nor from the 1960s Adam West television show. Instead they made the costume totally black, which works a helluva lot better if we are to believe that half of what makes Batman so terrifying to criminals is his horrifying nocturnal appearance. Not only did they go all black with the costume, but they also made the suit just slightly bulky enough to where it looked like Keaton actually had some muscle underneath without making him look goofy. But the best part was the cape. It was thin yet leathery, much like an actual bat's wings are. This brilliant costume design pretty much set the standard for every other silver-screened superhero outfit to come out since.

4. Superman

Verisimilitude. The one word director Richard Donner took as gospel when bringing the Man of Steel to movie theatres everywhere back in '78. The truth and realism Donner demanded for the first ever major superhero motion picture was none more apparent than in Superman's costume. While every other superhero costume in the history of film has been altered or tweaked to some point, Donner when with a totally 100% faithful costume adaptation for the Man of Steel. Every inch of Superman's costume is exactly like it has appeared for decades in the comics, the red cape and boots, the yellow belt... hell, Donner didn't even shy away form having old Supes wear his signature red tighties on the outside. Now that's verisimilitude if I ever saw it.

3. Thor

When the Thor comic book was relaunched a few years ago not only did the Norse God of Thunder get a new lease on life, but he got a sleek new costume design by artist Oliver Coipel. Never has the Thunder God looked better. When a live action Thor film was first announced, fans wondered what direction filmmakers would take with Thor's battle-ready duds. Were they gonna go with the classic Jack Kirby design or the new all armored one? And if they did go with the fully armored version how would it translate to film? Well, obviously they went with the modern design and hot damn if it didn't work. Just take a look at it. Thor looks majestic, regal and ready to kick your ass.

2. Spider-Man

When designing Spider-Man's costume for the 2002 Hollywood blockbuster, director Sam Raimi struggled with having actor Tobey Maguire's face fully covered fearing it would be hard for audiences to connect with the wall crawling hero. At one point he intended to have the eyes in Spidey's mask cut out so that we could see Maguire's eyes react to danger. Fortunately, it was suggested to him by one of his costume designers to instead give the hero's eyes a reflective lens much like we would see on a pair of Oakleys, which would make up for the fact that although we couldn't see Peter Parker's eyes, we could at least get a glimpse of what kind of dangers he was facing through mirror images. It was an inspired move. The icing on the cake was that nothing was drastically altered from the Marvel Comics version of the costume and the raised webbing design covering Spider-Man's entire body worked brilliantly to bring the wall crawler to life. Excelsior!

1. Iron Man

You can call it lazy writing on my part if you want, but I think Iron Man's armor speaks for itself. It's beautiful, it's sleek and it simply kicks major ass. 'Nuff said. 

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