We all know the most important thing to consider when adapting a comic book movie for the big screen isn’t story or character, it’s a great costume! With the superhero trend in full effect, we’re seeing a huge number of comic book films streaming down the pipeline, some of which feature characters you wouldn’t even imagine possible to properly capture on the big screen. Ghost Rider, Silver Surfer, Galactus (from what I hear)…filmmakers are faced with the challenge of pleasing hardcore comic fans by staying true to the original designs, but at the same time making alterations based on the reality of shooting an actor in tights. Sometimes the results are a success, but in many cases things seem to fall flat. The following are some examples of costume design adaptations that failed for one of two reasons: they were way off mark from the original concept or they were too closely following a design that should only exist in paper and ink. Let’s have a look-see shall we? More images after the jump…
A few summers ago, me and some friends decided we’d make it our goal to attend the local drive-in theatre every Thursday night, no matter what the double bill was. What seemed like a David Blaine style feat of mental and physical strength (drive-in theatre poutine and pickles once a week can really destroy a person’s insides) actually ended up turning into a fun tradition. UNTIL…the Thursday in which the only double feature we hadn’t seen was A Cinderella Story and Catwoman. Let’s just say I got more out of the Hilary Duff movie. Halle Berry’s Catwoman is blessed with superpowers that make her drink milk out of a dish at an accelerated rate and play basketball with the prowess of one of the Fly Girls from In Living Colour. She can’t even shoot hoops without oozing sexuality. It’s too much. Too much sexuality. Her costume? IS…FUCKING…RIDICULOUS. Its over-the-top less-is-more leather is Harley Davidson meets America’s Next Top Model. The main problem is it’s not even sexy. Halle Berry’s rape scene in Monster’s Ball was more sexy than this. Tone it down.
Ummm…black? Okay, so it’s a different take on the villain that Marvel comic book fans have come to know and love. Maybe it’s just the casting choice that gets me. Michael Duncan Clarke is a physical force to be reckoned with, but to me he’s still just the loveably stupid yet supernaturally gifted John Coffey from The Green Mile. I can see it now: Kingpin grabs a hold of Daredevil by the balls and sparks start shooting from the lights, suddenly Ben Affleck realizes his blindness, and urinary tract infection, are cured! ‘I helped it. Didn’t I help it? I just took it back, is all. Awful tired now, boss. Dog tired.’ Luckily, Daredevil was such a piece of shit that I didn’t make it far enough through the film to find out.
There’s not much to say about Steel. To be honest, i’m not very familiar with the comic book, but from what I understand, Steel is a man made of STEEL, not a guy who wears armour. If you think that picture is bad, just imagine it moving with words coming out of Shaq’s mouth. Now THAT is bad. This is definitely a low point in the history of African-American superheroes on the big screen. Sure the standards were set pretty high with Blank Man, but Steel is probably one of the worst, right behind Robert Townsend’s Meteor Man. Director Kenneth Johnson also helmed Short Circuit 2, starring everyone’s favourite robot of the 80’s, Johnny 5. Now THAT is a true man of steel.
Now here’s an example where the filmmakers stuck too closely to the comic book. This just reminds me of some aspiring actors performing in a live stage show at Universal Studios. I’ll sum this picture up with one word: WIGS. Luckily, this Fantastic Four film never saw the light of day. But thanks to the inter-web, bootleg copies have been circulating and Roger Corman’s on-screen adaptation has managed to find a cult following. Actually, to be honest I think the Thing looks OK. A little ridiculous, but sort of reminds me of the good ol’ man in a latex suit days. A throwback to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. Actually, that’s what I liked about the new Fantastic Four film, it was just light, fun viewing.
Two words: no skull. What the fuck are you thinking??? You make a Punisher movie, you give him a skull on his shirt! That’s THE ONLY element of his design that remotely resembles a superhero. But I guess this film was riding the popularity of the big action films of the eighties. The comic book trend was still down the road, so maybe the idea of a revenge seeking ex-military man with a skull on his chest seemed a little silly? We all know the standards that were set by such straight shooting affairs as Commando and Cobra. And Dolph Lundgren with black hair?? He looks like Superman’s down syndrome younger brother. Thankfully, to the relief of fans around the world, the new Punisher movie brought back the skull, but it still wasn’t enough for me to waste my time on it.
Well the first thing you’ll notice about this picture is the lack of some of the most important members of the Justice League. Thankfully Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have been spared the made for tv overhaul that the rest of the team unfortunately underwent. It’s my understanding that this was a failed pilot that has now resurfaced thanks, yet again, to the internet. Well you gotta give them points for keeping it colourful. Otherwise, these outfits look like they were fitted two sizes too big. I also hate how pointy everyone looks. The Green Lantern just screams out 1990’s. He looks like he belongs on Wall Street. Maybe that’s where he’s getting his powers, from green money. He seems like the type of yuppie that you’d find having sex with hookers on video to the beat of Phil Collin’s Sussudio. Maybe he can hook up with Catwoman and re-enact some of that hot Monster’s Ball action. Throw a little Huey Lewis and the News into the mix and i’m totally there.
There’s no point in getting into how bad Batman and Robin was or whether or not George Clooney had anything to do with the nose dive this franchise took in the late nineties. But perhaps the most controversial thing to come out of Joel Schumacher’s attempt at mixing darkness with campiness was a little addition made to the bat suit. NIPPLES. He gave them nipples. First off, i’m not entirely sure why men even have nipples. I’m even MORE confused as to why a BAT man would have nipples. NON-FUNCTIONAL nipples no less. In fact, I can’t think of any article of clothing/apparel that has fake nipples for aesthetic purposes only. I thought the idea of the bat suit was to give criminals a sense of non-human dread as they’re being stalked by this bat-like figure? Nipples? The gayness of the dynamic duo increased by about 80% thanks to Schumacher and his high fashion costume design team.