There's been a lot of hubbub lately about the future of superhero movie costumes. With close up looks at both Daredevil's new TV outfit and the costumes of Fox's rebooted <i>Fantastic Four</i> recently hitting the web, critics and fans alike are abuzz about the merits and flaws of each. <p>Of course, both Daredevil and the Fantastic Four should have more faithful adaptations of their traditional costumes in store by the time the dust clears, but that doesn't stop anyone from criticizing what's already been shown. <p>With that in mind, we're diving headfirst into the realm of superhero costumes that are just plain nobody's favorite. Some of these costumes are simply unfaithful, some do their best but are still just plain ugly. Either way, what follows are the ten worst live-action superhero costumes!
Nope, not Ben Affleck -- and not Charlie Cox either! Rex Smith's Daredevil get up from the 1989 TV movie <i>The Trial of the Incredible Hulk</i> commits possibly the worst design sin of all: it's absolutely, utterly boring. It eschews the few distinguishing touches of Daredevil's already incredibly simple look in favor of these Zorro-meets-ninja jammies. <p>The worst part is, it would actually have been a fairly decent costume, especially for TV, with just a few minor fixes. Changing the monotone black to a dark red, and adding Daredevil's tiny horns would have made all the difference. As it stands, absolutely nothing about this, except maybe the billy club, says "Daredevil." <p>Some people started shouting out "Rex Smith" when they saw the concept art for Daredevil's first look in his new Netflix show, but those people apparently never read "Man Without Fear."
Nicholas Hoult may have turned in a pretty good performance as Hank McCoy, but once his boyish good looks gave way to his furry, bestial alter-ego, he looked a lot more like he was ready to win his high school basketball championship or go surfing on top of a van through campus than fight some evil mutants. <p>It's hard to complain about a film that got so much right, visually, but <b>X-Men: First Class</b>’s Beast was a little too <I>Teen Wolf</I>, owing largely to his comically disproportionate head and Cookie Monster like hands. It's almost a blessing that the sequel <b>Days of Future Past</b> sees McCoy finding a way to switch between his human and bestial appearances.
Ang Lee's <b>Hulk</b> is maligned for a lot of reasons. Its dense plot, its tendency to favor brooding atmospherics over any kind of raging, bombastic theatrics, and its bizarre, campy framing choices have all been cited as some of the film's major problems. But the biggest issue by far was the inability of the CGI of the time to match Lee's vision, rendering a main protagonist that was a lot more like the incredible Shrek than the rampaging Hulk. <p>It doesn't help that Lee's script called for the Hulk to spend so little time in motion, as the CGI rendering looked its worst when standing still. Fortunately, the Hulk's onscreen visuals have improved markedly in his more recent appearances, culminating in his fan-favorite turn in the blockbuster<i> Avengers</i> movie, where his portrayal and appearance won people over in droves.
1997's <b>Spawn</b> was released right at the height of the character’s ever-waxing-and-waning popularity, and while some of the film's adaptations, like John Leguizamo's stunningly disgusting Clown were, for better or worse, ripped right from the page, Al Simmons himself suffered from obvious make-up, cheap looking rubber armor, and early CGI that only widened the gap between expectation and reality. <p>While the film wisely utilized CGI to create Spawn's massive, flowing, shredded cloak, the limitations of the digital effects of the day only served to highlight the shortcomings of the practical effects at work. It's like the designers actively worked against the suspension of disbelief, culminating in a Spawn that looked less like a big screen accomplishment, and more like a really impressive cosplay.
When it comes to Michael Chiklis's Ben Grimm, it seems like <b>Fantastic Four</b>’s design team were caught between a rock and a hard place (get it???). Either unwilling or unable to come up with a satisfactory CGI version of Marvel's beloved rock monster, they instead turned to practical make up to craft their look for the Thing. <p>This costume is terrible for all the same reasons that the similarly created <i>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles</i> costumes were great. By the time the first <b>Fantastic Four</b> movie came out in 2005, the technology existed to at least complement a practically driven Thing. Even though it was only two years after Hulk delivered an entirely unsatisfying CGI protagonist, Thing's relative lack of human features and earthy palette would have been a much better fit. Instead we got a walking chunk of dried chewing gum with a face that will haunt your deepest nightmares.
Despite undergoing some subtle changes to make it look at least a little less boring than the monotone green body-sheath that appeared in the first look at Ryan Reynolds's <b>Green Lantern</b>, the completely digital suit from the poorly received 2011 film was still a mess. <p>While the all-digital treatment was a good idea to mimic the more recent concept of Hal Jordan's space cop uniform being composed purely of energy, Ryan Reynolds wound up looking like the unwanted child of Slim Goodbody and the Jolly Green Giant. Worst of all was the painted on mask, which did little to hide any of Reynolds's features - a fact played out in one of the film's few interesting scenes - and highlighted the poor choices at work in the costume.
The '70's saw a lot of Marvel TV projects hit the air for the first time, including Nicholas Hammond's utterly boring CBS show <i>The Amazing Spider-Man</i>, and Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno's charming take on the Banner/Hulk relationship on the same network, both in 1978. Debuting only a year later in 1979 was Reb Brown's dismal take on a motorcycle-obsessed <b>Captain America</b> that was more Evel Knievel than star-spangled Avenger. <p>Featuring a motorcycle helmet emblazoned with the character's trademark "A" emblem and a pair of wing decals - a helmet the character almost never removed - a jumpsuit that looked like it belonged on a more modest Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and a plastic shield with stripes that were clear instead of white, this absolute nightmare of a design appeared only in the first of Cap's two TV movies. The second, dramatically titled "Death Too Soon" featured a more accurate rendition of his traditional costume, though it kept the ridiculous helmet.
Halle Berry's failed star turn in 2004's much-maligned <b>Catwoman</b> was responsible for many cinematic crimes, not the least of which was possibly setting back female-led superhero films for years to come. The tone-deaf plot, campy acting, and nightmarishly bad visuals all culminated in one of the most reviled superhero films of all time - and one of the absolute worst costumes, to boot. <p>Halle Berry's Patience Phillips was almost wholly removed from the Catwoman of comics, both in terms of story, and her costume. Gone was the sleek bodysuit of Catwoman's best looks, and in its place a shredded leather number that wouldn't have looked out of place at a Motley Crue concert. Somehow, it manages to be both drab and glam, resulting in a look that is less expert cat-burglar, and more Kiss groupie.
Believe it or not, this unlovable little rascal was created and engineered by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. With that in mind, it's easy to see why George Lucas legitimately thought his ill-fated adaptation of Steve Gerber's counterculture comic icon was destined to be a modern classic, and a triumph of visual artistry. <p>Woe betide the poor person forced to try and inject any kind of humanity, or even acceptable personality into this sub-mascot level costume. It's rumored that much of Howard's terrible, uncanny appearance stemmed from the puppeteer's insistence on using classical puppetry instead of more modern techniques. It's also rumored that Lucas told concerned associates that, despite the obvious flaws in his production, <b>Howard the Duck</b> would one day be seen as a modern classic. Wrong again, George. <p>Unless, of course, you count the fact that he's now in the Marvel Cinematic Universe...
It is unsurprisingly difficult to pick out the worst costume from the film Roger Ebert hailed for "killing" the Batman franchise. From the much-maligned bat-nipples, to Uma Thurman's bizarre wardrobe changes, to Mr. Freeze's “Power Rangers” villain aesthetic, there are just no winners here. <p>But somehow, the designers managed to double down on their bat-crapulence, delivering a new set of costumes for Batman, Robin, and Batgirl in the final act that would have looked awkward on a fifth-wave Batman variant action figure, and looked even worse on the big screen. At least they didn't have nipples?