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Yesterday, Newsarama looked at the worst of the worst when it comes to live action superhero costumes. And boy, there were some real duds in there. But what about the other side of the coin?
With recent weeks bringing new looks at the cast of many upcoming superhero movies including Suicide Squad and Deadpool, the internet is abuzz with talk of the new looks for many of the characters.
So with that in mind, it’s time we took a look at the ten best live-action superhero movie costumes of all time!
Hellboy2 of 12Instead of being put-off by the oddity of Mike Mignola's paranormal detective, Guillermo del Toro leaned into Hellboy's weirdness, smartly casting Ron Perlman for a rough and tumble take on the hero's personality, and playing up Hellboy's bulk.
By playing up Hellboy's jarring appearance instead of trying to work around it, del Toro crafted a vision of Hellboy that holds up to Mignola's stylized and hugely popular art, while still creating a visual identity belonging solely to the film.
The Red Skull3 of 12Some people found Hugo Weaving's sneering Red Skull to be off-putting, owing to his less than realistic looking skull, but honestly, Weaving's Johann Schmidt looked right at home in Joe Johnston's pulpy, colorful adaptation of Captain America.
Weaving's Red Skull looked like someone peeled one of Jack Kirby's drawings straight off the page, and it didn't hurt that Weaving injected him with a sense of arrogance and menace that suited the role to a T.
The Dark Knight4 of 12The Dark Knight was arguably the most defining Batman film yet released. It may not have been completely faithful to its source material, but it captured a gravitas and an atmosphere unlike any of Batman's previous film appearances.
Not coincidentally, it also featured the best bat-suit yet on film. It may not have looked quite as definitive in close ups as Michael Keaton's outfit, but it moved more fluidly, owing largely to the suit's increased mobility, and especially coupled with its flowing, shadowy cape, cut the best silhouette of any of Batman's onscreen looks -- sorry, Batfleck.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles5 of 12The tech that brought Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael to life in 1990 may be outdated at this point, but at the time, the palpable, textured look of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was downright groundbreaking. It says a lot that even almost 25 years later, the visuals of that film still hold up, and that four mutant turtles could look even sort of natural juxtaposed with the grimy, gritty set-pieces of New York's sewers and colorful, highly fictional criminal circuses.
Much of the success of the film's visuals owes to the physical performances of the actors in the suits, but even more of it is thanks to the atmosphere and carefully crafted darkness of the film's entire look. Of course, as more live-action Turtles films debuted, their visual language began to skew ever closer to the hugely popular films, cutting their effectiveness. The Turtles received updated looks in the recent Michael Bay produced reboot to wildly mixed reactions.
The Crow6 of 12It's debatable whether Brandon Lee's portrayal of James O'Barr's tragic anti-hero would have gone down in history as quite so legendary if the young actor hadn't lost his life during filming, but The Crow's visual influence can never be denied. Translating O'Barr's striking make-up pattern and leather-clad intensity almost directly off the page, The Crow's look was simply so effective as to be almost shocking.
Call it the face that launched a thousand goth kids, imitators, and creepy Halloween costumes (not to mention a pro wrestler taking the look), but the grimy, almost commedia dell'arte inspired make up of the Crow is one of the most visually effective signature looks in film. Years of rehashes, reboots, attempts to redefine the look, and adoption by pro-wrestlers have made the Crow a bit played out, but when it comes down to it, that original look still flies.
Batman '66 (All of 'em!)7 of 12Silly as it may seem, the 1960's Batman TV show had a lot going for it in the costume department. While Adam West's Batman was less a dark knight than a kind of schlubby guy in tights, Burt Ward's Robin was almost a direct translation of the Boy Wonder's classic look, pixie boots and all. Additionally, Yvonne Craig's flashy, sexy Batgirl defined the character's look in a way that is still felt in modern takes on the costume, where it's common place to inject some purple into Batgirl's palette.
And that's saying nothing of the show's villains. Even with Cesar Romero's ubiquitous mustache, you'd be harder pressed to find a more colorful cadre of costumed crooks that so gleefully and shamelessly embodied the campy, all-for-fun spirit of their medium. the 1966 Batman was, in many ways, like a comic ouroboros, with Batman's printed adventures and his television capers influencing each other in equal measure. All of this came full circle when DC Digital launched Batman '66, putting the show's highly stylized aesthetic under the pen of artists like Mike Allred and Ted Naifeh, and proving its enduring value in the process.
And if you haven't seen these looks for yourselves, you're now finally able to get the whole series on blu-ray after decades of absence from home video.
The Avengers8 of 12Thor, Captain America, and even Hulk and Iron Man all got new looks for Marvel's groundbreaking blockbuster, and while the characters all looked great in their own films, they never looked better than when they finally came together under and unified aesthetic. From Cap's streamlined look, to Hawkeye's subtly comic-influenced S.H.I.E.L.D. garb, the Avengers were most visually powerful as a unit, where their comic book essence was captured nearly flawlessly by pitch-perfect visual cues.
Also, Loki. What else needs to be said? At this point, many would consider Tom Hiddelston's brash, playful take on the God of mischief as essential to the Avengers' onscreen presence as his counterpart Chris Hemsworth's muscles or RDJ's snark, and the character was perfectly embodied by regal looking Asgardian robes and even smart, keenly designed suits as called for by the scene. Not only that, but it's hard to argue with the absolute best take on the Hulk in film yet, or the perfection of Samuel L. Jackson's embodiment of the Ultimate Nick Fury, who actually borrowed Jackson's countenance years before the character even appeared on film.
Wolverine9 of 12While the X-Men's film uniforms may largely be a snooze, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is about as dead on as Logan could appear on film. Sure, he donned the same plain black leather as everyone else, but before that, Jackman captured Wolverine's logic defying hair, his old-man sideburns, and even his sneer in a way that comic fans could only dream about.
Even Wolverine's lumberjack-meets-cowboy wardrobe has perfectly embodied the character's personality, and while his flannel and distinctive leather jackets might just look like clothes on anyone else, when the elements come together, they scream that this guy is the best there is at what he does. While the recent Days of Future Past film went mostly back to more of the same tactical leather, a deleted scene from last year's The Wolverine finally gave fans a glimpse of what Wolverine's classic duds might have looked like on film, even if, at this point, it amounts to little more than an easter egg.
Superman10 of 12"You'll believe a man can fly." That's the tagline Richard Donner's Superman entreated fans with, and believe we did. While the film can be surprisingly divisive, it is also incredibly beloved, owing largely to Christopher Reeve's endearing and enduring take on a Superman who looked like he was picked right up off the page and dropped in the film.
It didn't innovate, and it didn't try to, but the original film's Superman costume faithfully and lovingly recreated the colorful, larger than life look that every kid - and most adults - love about Superman, from his shameless trunks, to his flowing, flying red cape, to his perfect spit curl, this was Superman given life, and it paved the way for every superhero film since. Recently, Man of Steel saw a much more stylized take on DC's Krytptonian hero, and while that look had its merits, Reeve's original look is still the definitive take on Superman on film.
Iron Man11 of 12You won't find a more perfectly adapted, visually definitive adaptation of a superhero on film than with Marvel's Iron Man. While Robert Downey, Jr.'s snarky, nuanced Tony Stark practically rewrote the character's entire comic persona, his armor was equally influential on its source material, proving that fans were willing to accept and embrace a hot-rod inspired, nuts'n'bolts'n'circuitboards take on the iron Avenger.
While Jon Favreau's first Iron Man film explored the evolution of Iron Man's armor from his first spot-welded, cave-cobbled bulky behemoth to the more streamlined look that would become the standard platform moving forward, and his sequel, Iron Man 2 brought in the gun-laden War Machine and a subtle take on the fan-favorite Silver Centurion armor, Iron Man 3 truly opened the floodgates, showcasing page-accurate renditions of everything from Iron Man's stealth armor, to a more faithful adaptation of the aforementioned Silver Centurion armor, and even Rhodey taking the helm of the star-spangled Iron Patriot armor.
Avengers: Age of Ultron showing a new evolution of the red and gold armor that has become the definitive take on Tony Stark and his marvelous alter ego.
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