Comic books often give us superheroes clad in brightly colored spandex costumes with capes and masks. However, those costumes don't always get translated well when those superheroes jump off the pages and make their debuts on television or film.
Sometimes, TV and movie superheroes' costumes get modernized so much that they're unrecognizable and end up seeming more like regular street clothes. But other costumes end up going way over the top, adding details that really don't make a lot of sense.
Here's a look at superhero costumes from modern Marvel and DC television and film appearances to help you judge just how believable and stylish those costumes really are. Please note that this has nothing to do with accuracy to comic book costumes, but more points definitely go to those who take a cue from comic books for inspiration.
Marvel's Best Costumes
Iron Man: One of the best-dressed men on the planet is Tony Stark, and that's not just when he's playing genius playboy millionaire, but also when he dons his Iron Man suit to go save the world. And fans are mostly in agreement here: the Iron Man suits worn by Tony in the movies are awesome. Not only do they take a lot of inspiration from the Iron Man comics, but everything about the robotic suit of armor makes for a formidable-looking superhero: someone you wouldn't want to come up against in a battle.
Spider-Man: However, Tony Stark has some competition now. Marvel recently unveiled new footage from Captain America: Winter Soldier, including the latest Avenger to join the team, Spider-Man. Although some fans complained about the suit, for comic book fans, it's perfect. It's also very much like how Alex Ross draws the character.
Agent Peggy Carter: Some might argue that Peggy Carter isn't actually a superhero, but most fans of her TV series disagree. From the first moment that Peggy appeared on our screens in that blue jacket and skirt with the red hat, she became not only a fashion icon, but the squeal-worthy subject of cosplayers all over the world. And Peggy's clothes continued not to disappoint, right down to those wonderful wide-legged pant suits she wore in season two. That's all part of the fun of a series set in the 1950s.
Marvel's Worst Costumes
Scarlet Witch: It's true that the comic book version of Scarlet Witch's costume leaves little to the imagination and that's probably why Marvel decided to go a different route with the live-action version of the character. But instead of coming up with something new and interesting, someone decided that her movie costume is basically just a red coat. That's it. She's a superhero with some crazy powers, but Marvel only marks that with a red coat. Even the updated version of her costume for Civil War is boring: a red corset with a longer red coat.
Elektra: Elektra's comic book persona has a very cool costume. It's this cool, flowing swimsuit meets skimpy dress that makes her look like the butt-kicking martial artist that she really is. That costume is Elektra's signature, but when she makes her appearance on the second season of Daredevil, she'll be in something much more understated. And the costume looks so much like street clothes that it's not really a costume at all, but just an outfit she pulled out of her closet. Yes, Marvel wants to keep its Netflix superheroes more down to Earth, but if Daredevil gets a cool suit, why can't Elektra have one, too?
Quake: After Daisy embraced her powers on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and then took the lead on the team that's tracking down the Inhumans, she got her Quake costume. However, it wasn't more than a black suit with her special power gloves that help her control her abilities. The TV show didn't even cut her hair short, as she appears in the comic books, although the production team made a big deal of giving actress Chloe Bennet shoulder-length hair, as if that were somehow revolutionary. This is definitely one character that looks a lot cooler in the comic books,
DC's Best Costumes
Harley Quinn: For the first time ever (well, except for that teaser on Arrow), DC Comics is putting Harley Quinn front and center in a live-action movie, Suicide Squad. But getting Harley's iconic look down was something the costume department played around with. However, the final look is not only indicative of Harley's current comic book incarnation, but it throws in little elements that are so in tune with the character that, although it's different, it's still all Harley, right down to the shiny jacket she wears that's a throwback to her comic book roller derby days.
Batman: Christopher Nolan's Batman costumes were good, but Zack Snyder's Batman costume is even better. It's a suit worn by a more serious and older Batman, one who has seen dark things, one who has done dark things. It's a nod to the comics, but it's a real-world suit of armor worn by a guy who's taken it upon himself to become a vigilante and fight crime. Batman may not have superpowers, but this suit makes him a formidable foe against Superman.
Wonder Woman: Even more credit goes to Zach Snyder's version of Wonder Woman. This is one of her best costumes, although it takes a lot of inspiration from her various outfits throughout the years. Wonder Woman's movie costume makes her look like a warrior, the fierce Amazonian woman we always knew she was.
DC's Worst Costumes
Enchantress: It's still really confusing why DC decided to make Enchantress look so weird in the Suicide Squad movie. Yes, it decided to go crazy with Joker's look, but at least his new style takes some inspiration from the character as seen in the comic books. Enchantress' costume, though, is just this weird black skimpy number that looks nothing like the green outfits she wears in the comic books. Yes, she looks mystical, but she also looks like she desperately needs a bath and a change of clothes. And what is up with that oversized half-moon shape on her forehead? Is she trying to channel Sailor Moon?
John Diggle: Technically, John Diggle is a sidekick to the Green Arrow, but he got a new costume this year and it's awful. It's also kind of weird that Thea, Laurel and Oliver get really cool costumes with masks and armor and all Diggle gets is a leather jacket and a mask that makes him look like he's a Magneto fanboy. What does the costume department have against him?
Rip Hunter: In DC Comics, the time-traveling Rip Hunter didn't wear regular clothes: he had a bright red military/space suit that set him apart from his traveling companions. But on DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Rip has one signature article of clothing: a long coat that seems stolen right out of the 10th Doctor's closet (and that's ironic, because the actor who portrays Rip is known best for his role as a companion on Doctor Who). He gets lost when he's surrounded by others, particularly The Atom and Hawkgirl.