10 Superhero Costumes That Were Better In Live Action Than The Comics


Translating the look of a superhero comic book to live action can be a difficult task. When adapting the colorful costumes of the Marvel and DC Comics universes, filmmakers are under pressure to make the outfits faithful to their source material but also believable on-screen. Over the years, the success rate for maintaining the integrity of comics’ costume aesthetics has been hit-or-miss.


RELATED: 10 DC Heroes Who Never Upgrade Their Costumes

On some occasions, though, the filmmakers have actually produced costumes superior to those seen on the printed page. Whether through the foresight of making the suits more visibly functional or simply improving on a flawed design, some live-action superhero costumes are actually better than their comic-book counterparts.

10/10 Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman Costume Is Refreshing

A split image of Tyler Hoechlin as Superman on Superman & Lois and Superman in DC Comics

Bringing Superman’s iconic red and blue costume to life can be a tricky business. The classic look that endured from 1938 until the launch of DC’s New 52 doesn’t stand up to scrutiny from modern audiences. Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal of the Man of Steel in Superman & Lois, however, manages to keep the costume traditional while also upgrading it to look better in live-action.

Zack Snyder’s DC Movies (Man of Steeland Batman v Superman) attempted to update Superman’s costume by making it more like Kryptonian battle armor, but Superman & Lois scales back that approach. Hoechlin’s Superman costume has clean lines and muscle definition, and it looks as durable as armor without the bulk. The suit’s higher neckline is also a nice touch.

9/10 Netflix’s Daredevil Suit Looks Like It Can Take Punishment

A split image of Charlie Cox as Netflix's Daredevil and Daredevil's red costume in Marvel Comics

Daredevil is Marvel’s man without fear, but he isn’t a man without bumps and bruises. The standard red tights from the comic books don’t look like they could withstand the nightly punishment endured by Matt Murdock very well. By contrast, the costume worn in Netflix’s Daredevil series looks much more durable.

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While Daredevil might have four super-heightened senses, he doesn’t possess super strength or invulnerability. Charlie Cox’s Daredevil takes nightly poundings in battles against the Hand or the Kingpin. These fights leave their marks even on the show’s armored suit. Imagine how many scars he’d sport without it.

8/10 Magneto’s Much Easier To Take Seriously On Film

A split image of Michael Fassbender's Magneto in the X-Men movies and Magneto in Marvel Comics

Magneto may be the master of magnetism and the arch-nemesis of the X-Men but his traditional garb in the comics makes it hard to take him seriously. While Magneto may have a knack for overcoming death, his costume isn’t as intimidating as he might have hoped.

Magneto’s best costume yet was worn by Michael Fassbender in the film X-Men: Days of Future Past. In that film, Magneto is clearly armored, indicating he’s ready for battle, but the costume also appears functional. Additionally, losing the traditional neckpiece that connects Magneto’s cape helps a lot to keep the outfit clean and flowing.

7/10 Robin’s Costume In Titans Looks Built For Action

A split image of Robin in HBO's Titans and Robin in DC Comics

The costume worn by Robin, the Boy Wonder and Batman’s faithful sidekick, has raised questions since the ’30s. How does he out of sight in bright red and green when he and Batman work primarily in the shadows? Can that suit possibly offer Robin any kind of protection? Those questions are referenced by Robin’s costume in the Titans live action series.

On Titans, Brenton Thwaites portrays Robin with a suit that looks like it was created by Batman himself. It covers him with kevlar from head to toe, offering the Boy Wonder much greater protection and than his comic book counterpart, but is apparently still light and flexible. Mainly, it makes Robin look the part of an action hero and not a sidekick in short pants.

6/10 Ben Affleck’s Batman Is Extremely Functional

A split image of Ben Affleck's Batman and Batman in DC Comics

From 1989’s Batman through 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, the approach to the Batsuit was to make it a monochromatic black. Filmmakers didn’t think the traditional gray and blue would translate well to the big screen. When Ben Affleck donned the cowl for 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justicethough, director Zack Snyder took a different approach.

RELATED: Batman’s 10 Best Costumes Of All Time

Snyder adapted DC’s traditional Batman color palette but in darker shades to let the Caped Crusader operate in the shadows. Additionally, the suit’s texture makes it look functional while making its wearer look powerful and intimidating. Last, the Dark Knight’s utility belt actually looks like it could hold more than a few strands of rope, selling the idea behind his life-saving gimmick.

5/10 The MCU’s Ant-Man Actually Looks Cool

A split image of Ant-Man in the MCU and Ant-Man falling into the Microverse in Marvel Comics

To be fair, it’s hard for Paul Rudd not to look cool. Nevertheless, the makers of 2015’s Ant Man for the MCU updated the diminutive superhero’s look immediately. The first step was to reimagine the awkward helmet that Ant-Man uses to communicate with his insect comrades, as the filmmakers opted for a more practical, streamlined look.

As for the suit proper, the colors are just the right combination of vibrant and restrained. This Ant-Man’s motorcycle-jacket-inspired look breathes an air of cool into a concept that’s rather silly on its surface. This look has remained consistent throughout Ant-Man’s MCU appearances, including 2023’s highly anticipated Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

4/10 Grant Gustin’s Flash Looks Comfortable

A split image of The Flash in the Arrowverse and Wally West in DC Comics

Grant Gustin has donned multiple iterations of the Scarlet Speedster’s costume during his time as the star of The Flash. All of them have been basically comic-accurate but the CW’s Barry Allen has a big advantage over his comic book counterpart: He looks comfortable.

Comfort leads to being able to move with ease. The Flash’s superpower is the ability to run faster than light, so moving with ease is critical. The comic book version of the Flash’s costume looks tight and constricting, exactly what he wouldn’t want considering moving at super speed generates off-the-charts friction.

3/10 Captain America In The MCU Looks Believable

A split image of Captain America in the MCU and Cap in Marvel Comics

Captain America’s costume is as American as baseball and apple pie. But translating the Star-Spangled Avenger to the big screen proved difficult in the years before the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger Onward, though, Chris Evans was decked out in a brilliant and believable interpretation of the classic suit.

In the MCU, Cap’s suit looks built for combat, offering enough protection for Cap to get down and dirty when necessary. The suit provides him mobility, and its colors keep the red, white and blue vibrant without being overpowered. It’s a conservative approach, fitting Steve Rogers’s more reserved nature, with armored leather beating out the comics’ odd chainmail.

2/10 Shazam’s Big-Screen Suit Is Childlike Imagination

A split image of Shazam!  in the DCEU and Captain Marvel in DC Comics

The key to making a character like Shazam work is to evoke childlike wonder. With the first Shazam! movie and the upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Godsthe filmmakers captured the look a child like Billy Batson would create for themselves as a superhero.

RELATED: 10 Ways Shazam Comics Have Aged Poorly

The big-screen iteration of Shazam’s costume makes the shorter cape work, and the more functional clasps connecting the cape to the suit are less ostentatious and more relatable than the traditional golden rope. Shazam’s lightning bolt insignia is simpler than in the comics and the deep red is classy but exuberant enough to fuel imaginations.

1/10 Spider-Man Is Battle-Ready In The MCU

A split image of the MCU's Spider-Man and Peter Parker's Spider-Man in Marvel Comics

Few superhero costumes are more classic or more iconic than Spider-Man’s. Marvel’s favorite web-slinger’s traditional red-and-blue one-piece is one of the coolest costumes ever created. However, transplanted into the real world, it doesn’t seem functional. His web-fluid replacements are under his shirt, his web shooters are under his gloves and the overall tight look feels binding.

Spidey’s suit supplied by Tony Stark for Captain America: Civil Waralso worn during Spider Man: Homecoming, is the perfect iteration of the Spider-Man costume. His weapons are housed easily at the ready, and the auto-fit function makes being mobile a breeze. The end of Spider Man: No Way Home teased Spidey returning to his comics-accurate cloth outfit, but his early MCU get-up is considerably more battle-ready and looks truly amazing on-screen.

NEXT: Spider-Man’s 10 Most Impressive Costumes

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