It sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but the costume in a superhero movie can, pretty much, make or break a film.
If the costume looks too over the top and campy, movie goers will have a tough time cutting the story any sort of slack and, often, will flat-out reject the film. Also, a costume that strays too far from the original comic book costume will draw the ire of comic book loyalist and thereby alienate the movie’s loyal commercial base.
Recent major superhero films have recognized the importance of a proper costume and have treated the issue with the importance it deserves. The end result has been a run of really good costume efforts and, only slightly coincidental, the commercial explosion of the superhero film sub-genre.
However, here are five examples of movie producers and film makers completely missing the mark and dooming their cinematic efforts in the process:
Batman (Batman Forever)
Regarded by many as the costume design that nearly killed a franchise, the Caped Crusader’s cod piece-profiling, nipple-showing, shiny rubber suit in Batman Forever made the scowling vigilante look like a reject from a Las Vegas Batman musical. As a matter of fact, the overall gaudy costuming of the cast and poorly-constructed script made Batman Forever a universally-panned flop.
Captain America (1979 TV Movie)
Yes, it was the ’70s and it was a TV movie, but some fashion sins can never be forgiven under any circumstances. This awful mess of a movie was made even worse by a helmet-wearing “Cap” dressed in an outfit that looked to be a cross between an Evel Knievel jumpsuit and the costume of a trial Village People member. Throw in a partially-invisible “indestructible” shield that looked to be about as strong as a Tupperware lid, and we get the full picture of this movie’s costuming awfulness.
Halle Berry is one of the most beautiful women in the world and can make just about any outfit work for her. However, when you’re a nimble, butt-kicking female superhero, it’s hard to justify a film costume that consists of a bra top highlighting a sexy kitten Halloween costume.
Green Lantern (Green Lantern)
There were a lot of problems with the Green Lantern movie, not the least of which was a shiny, horrible Green Lantern costume that made Ryan Reynolds look like a reject from the original TRON movie.
In the comics, Steel is the ultimate butt-kicker and nearly as powerful as his super inspiration, Superman. In the movie, Steel comes off as a dollar store Robocop knockoff dressed in an ill-fitting makeshift Halloween costume. It didn’t help matters any to have basketball star Shaquille O’Neal in the title role, but the awful costume design actually trumps O’Neal’s awful acting.