Over the past two decades, fans of the superhero genre have been treated to countless films and television shows which brought some of our absolute favorite comic book characters to life. We've enjoyed live-action versions of the X-Men, the Justice League, the Avengers, the Defenders and even the Guardians of the Galaxy, and seen more actors portray heroes like Batman and Spider-Man than we can even keep track of.
Studios have spared no expense providing their superhero properties with great actors, experienced writers and hefty special effects budgets. Unfortunately, they don't spend nearly enough time or effort outfitting their characters in comic-accurate attire! While most comic book characters like dressing up in spandex and donning colorful capes and costumes when they're off saving the world, they typically (and sadly) abandon their eccentric sense of style in favor of more practical (and boring) attire upon making the jump from the pages of the comics onto our television or movie screens.
Casual fans don't typically notice that anything is wrong when these drastic costume changes take place, but for diehard superhero lovers, these alterations are completely unforgivable. Here are 20 Superhero Costumes That Were Worse Than What We Got In The Comics.
Fox's X-Men movies truly kick-started the superhero genre and were mostly enjoyable enough to watch, but for dedicated fans of Charles Xavier's team of mutants, they were filled with glaring issues that simply couldn't be ignored. X-Men 3 took way too many creative liberties with the iconic "Dark Phoenix" storyline, the franchise had countless continuity errors, and they misused or underutilized several fan-favorite characters.
The franchise's treatment of Bobby Drake was definitely pretty peculiar, as the original X-Men member was reduced to a mere love interest for Rogue and wasn't nearly as powerful as he has proven to be in the comics. It was also a huge bummer that instead of letting him rock his shirtless, icy look, Fox simply threw him in a generic X-Men uniform which made him blend in with everyone else.
19 POWER RANGERS
People who grew up in the 90's are known for being exceptionally nostalgic, so when Saban revealed plans to make a new Power Rangers movie, millennials lost their minds with excitement. Until, of course, promotional images of the iconic teenagers with attitude were released online and revealed the bizarre Power Ranger costumes.
Instead of sticking with the classic look for the Rangers, Saban chose to give Kimberly, Jason and company all-new uniforms that looked more like Iron Man's than the costumes we've seen them wear in the comics or the 90's television series.
Smallville was always meant to be a Superman origin story, so most fans knew that they wouldn't get to see Tom Welling don the classic cape and tights until the series' finale. But that doesn't mean it wasn't disappointing to see him wear such boring attire during his early days as "the Red-Blue Blur."
Clark's initial foray into heroism in Metropolis saw him wearing a bland red leather jacket with his family's crest on it and a plain blue undershirt. It was too subtle a nod to his later choice of costume, and it was a shame that Welling wore this boring outfit far longer than he wore the Man of Steel's.
Even though the Marvel Cinematic Universe is filled with people and extraterrestrial beings with extraordinary powers and abilities, Marvel Studios has tried making their films as realistic as possible. Characters like Iron Man and Captain America have been allowed to wear their comic book uniforms because they could feasibly make sense in the real world, but several Marvel heroes had to adopt completely new looks to fit in better.
One obvious style casualty has been Hawkeye. For decades in the comics, he wore an eccentric blue and purple uniform which featured a bizarre mask and slightly ridiculous boots. It's not a look most people would want to throw on in a battle in real life, but it's not particularly realistic for someone to bring a bow and some arrows into fights against aliens or robots, either.
16 IRON SPIDER
It's really hard to complain too much about the MCU's Spider-Man, because Tom Holland has done such a phenomenal job so far bringing the beloved web-slinger to life. There's very little we'd change about his portrayal, but it would have been nice if Marvel stayed truer to the comics with his Iron Spider uniform.
The comic version of this fan-favorite Spidey suit is all red and gold, making it perfectly match the superhero uniform of its creator, Tony Stark. While the film version still included the mechanical spider-arms from the comics, the rest of the design was quite different in both style and color.
Most NBA fans had doubts when Shaquille O'Neal started trying his massive hand at acting, but after the success of 1996's Kazaam, DC felt confident enough in the basketball superstar to cast him as the lead in their Superman spin-off film Steel the following year. Shaq's subpar acting and the film's weak writing are the two biggest contributors which caused the film to be a massive flop, but Steel's bland costume didn't help matters either.
In the comics, Steel's uniform features the same Kryptonian crest that is on Superman's costume, but it was missing from the Steel film. Also absent were the hero's red cape and the shininess of his metal suit. Shaq's version was very plain and boring, and looked like something anyone with a few scraps of metal could have made.
14 ELONGATED MAN
The first few seasons of popular DC television series Arrow and The Flash primarily focused on the growth and heroics of their titular characters, but as the years went on, the future Justice League members expanded their teams to include a larger roster of vigilantes. One unexpected addition to Team Flash was Ralph Dibny, better known to some comic fans as the Elongated Man.
Like Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, Ralph can stretch his body to ridiculous lengths and has flesh that is as elastic and nearly-impenetrable as rubber. He's a completely bizarre and silly character, but The Flash has tried making him more realistic by forcing him into a boring, incredibly plain uniform instead of his more fun and classic red and black spandex one.
13 THE ATOM
Another Arrowverse character whose costume was completely altered in an attempt to give him a more modernized, "real world" look was The Atom. Ray Palmer was a technological genius who, like Ant-Man, figured out a way to shrink his molecules and become significantly smaller. Apparently in order to do that, however, he has to dress up like a poor man's Iron Man.
Instead of wearing his classic spandex suit and mask, DC TV's Atom wears an armored metal costume and a helmet with a clear face-mask.
12 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
It's really difficult to mess up costume designs for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because they're basically just gigantic turtles with bandanna masks, belts and some weapons. The 90's Ninja Turtles films managed to get their live-action looks right back before fancy CGI was even possible, but when Paramount rebooted the franchise in 2014, they made some completely unnecessary changes to Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael's classic looks.
The new film decked the turtles out in a bunch of added accessories like stick armor (as if their shells and tough skin didn't provide enough protection), goggles, shell necklaces and pants. These changes were meant to provide them with more personality and flair, but fans longed for a more comic-accurate look. If Paramount wanted to tap into our nostalgia, they should have just made the Ninja Turtles look exactly as we remembered.
Christopher Nolan's popular and successful take on the Dark Knight was known for being very dark and gritty, but there are plenty of Batman fans who still prefer Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher's campy films about DC's iconic Caped Crusader. Their Gotham was as silly and over-the-top as it can be in the comics, and the costumes in their Batman films matched this whimsical and eccentric style.
Fans mostly enjoyed that series' comic-accurate costumes for characters like Poison Ivy, Mister Freeze, the Penguin and the Riddler, but everyone agreed that the costume Schumacher gave George Clooney's Batman was a complete joke. It provided far too many chest details, tried being too flashy and colorful, and definitely didn't look like something Bruce Wayne would ever design or wear.
10 CAPTAIN AMERICA
There really isn't anything to complain about when it comes to Chris Evans' portrayal of Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He looked like Steve Rogers, he had Cap's unwavering moral code and sense of loyalty and honor down, he had great chemistry with his co-stars and he wore each of his character's classic costumes from the comics.
The same can't quite be said of Reb Brown's attempt at bringing the classic Marvel hero to life in 1979's Captain America, though! His version of Cap wore a skin-tight racing costume that only Evel Knievel would consider stylish, a motorcycle helmet and goggles. It looks like the costume designer never even bothered to open a comic book.
When it comes to Halle Berry's Catwoman film, the list of complaints fans and critics alike have about the film is probably longer than its script.
Instead of focusing on dynamic cat burgler Selina Kyle, the Catwoman of DC Comics, Catwoman centered on Patience Phillips, a boring and meek graphic designer with a serious cat obsession. Berry's acting was horrible, the film's writing was weak, its villain was ridiculous, and the Catwoman "costume" was basically just lingerie and torn leather.
Sure, Berry looked phenomenal in it, but fans who were expecting to see the beloved Batman vigilante left theaters completely disappointed.
Even though Hugh Jackman is an entire foot taller than Logan is in the comics, it's hard to imagine anyone else bringing Wolverine to life on the big screen. He looked great with the character's classic mutton chops, shared the savage mutant's musculature and had his attitude down pat. One of our biggest regrets about his portrayal of Logan, though, is that we never got to see him wear Wolverine's comic book uniform.
Like most of the mutant heroes in Fox's X-Men franchise, Jackman's Wolverine was forced to wear a very bland, generic leather uniform. His iconic yellow spandex suit with blue accents and black stripes would have looked a bit off next to everyone else in their boring uniforms, but fans wouldn't have cared. Just for one scene in Jackman's nine appearances as Wolverine, he should have worn the costume.
While we'll never stop singing Hugh Jackman's praises for his flawless portrayal of Wolverine, it's hard to deny that his first solo film as the character was an absolute trainwreck. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had a disjointed plot, its continuity didn't fit with other films in the franchise, and it butchered the origin of fan-favorite Marvel mercenary Deadpool.
Fans learned years later in Deadpool that Ryan Reynolds was the perfect pick for the Merc with a Mouth, but it was hard to recognize that at first because Origins provided him with weak dialogue and threw him in a cheap and uninspired costume that didn't look anything like Deadpool's in the comics. But hey, at least the sleeveless red shirt look was better than Wade Wilson's outfit at the end of the film, where he was shirtless, covered in tattoos and had his mouth glued shut.
6 GREEN LANTERN
Even though 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a complete disappointment, DC recognized that its failure wasn't Ryan Reynolds' fault and gave him a second shot at being a major superhero in 2011. Reynolds again did his best to stay comic book-accurate with his portrayal of Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, but fans just couldn't get over the film's lousy writing and excessive use of CGI.
It's understandable why the alien members of the Green Lantern Corps were all generated by computers, but it made no sense to make the Justice League member's costume CGI as well. Both Hal's suit and his mask had lifelike properties to them, and while this was cool in theory, it was too obvious that Reynolds was just wearing a motion capture suit the entire film. Keep it simple, DC!
5 THE FLASH
Speaking of DC doing way too much with their live-action heroes' costumes, it's time to take about the monstrosity that was The Flash's uniform in Justice League. Barry Allen's classic comic suit is incredibly simple, but a guy who just runs around faster than anyone else on Earth really doesn't need to be decked out in any sort of fancy attire. He just needs to be able to move quickly!
Fans were outraged when concept art for Ezra Miller's Flash debuted online and revealed he'd be wearing some sort of armored costume that made him look a bit like a Power Ranger. Sure, armor is nice in combat, but it's not really needed when The Flash can just run away from incoming punches or bullets.
4 IRON FIST
Iron Fist was definitely the least popular entry into Netflix's Defenders series, for a variety of different reasons. Fans didn't like Finn Jones' take on Danny Rand, viewers disliked the excessive family drama which the show focused on, and comic book lovers didn't respond well to Marvel's apparent refusal to have the immortal martial artist wear his classic costume.
Danny just spent both seasons of the show running around shirtless or wearing a green jacket that was far too subtle of a nod to his typical uniform. Daredevil got to wear a full-on superhero costume, so why couldn't Iron Fist?
3 POWER MAN
Luke Cage similarly refused to dress up in a superhero costume in his Netflix solo series, but there's at least comic basis for that. Harlem's hero often fights crime in just a yellow shirt and jeans, so it made sense for Luke to dress that casually in the show.
That doesn't mean fans wouldn't have preferred him to dress as the original Power Man, though! Back when he first showed up in Marvel Comics, Luke's superhero alter-ego wore a stylish retro costume which featured an open shirt which showed off his muscles, a chain belt and a cool metal headpiece and wristbands.
2 SCARLET WITCH
Marvel might just not like their live-action heroes to wear headpieces, because the MCU's Scarlet Witch hasn't gotten to wear hers from the comics, either. The reality-warping mutant is typically known for her horned head garment and scarlet cape, but on the big screen, she just wears a basic red leather coat and matching undershirt.
The Incredibles showed viewers why superheroes probably shouldn't ever wear capes, but fans don't care about logic. We want to see our favorite characters in the costumes we've always known them to wear!
We could complain about every single one of the X-Men who wore generic leather uniforms in Fox's X-Men franchise, but Cyclops' costume might actually be the most disappointing. Scott Summers is supposed to stand out as the leader of Xavier's group of superpowered mutants, but the live-action version of the character just blended in with the rest of his teammates.
It's not like Cyclops' look in the comics would be too ridiculous or unrealistic to replicate on the big screen, either. Just throw him in a primarily blue uniform, and accent it with some yellow straps, gloves and utility belts! Hopefully Marvel stays more true to the source material when they add the X-Men to the MCU, and gives the optic-blasting hero the costume he deserves.