How Movie Characters Should Look According To The Comics

It looks like 2016 is set to be the year that movies based on comic books really embrace costume accuracy. The amazingly accurate outfit featured in Deadpool set the standard, and both Black Panther and Spider-Man's duds in Captain America: Civil War look fantastic. But as excited as these comic-accurate looks have fans feeling, there are lots of page-to-screen adaptations that are just wrong. Sometimes ignoring characters' original designs is a pretty smart decision, while other times it's hard not to be bummed about the changes filmmakers make for the sake of "realism."


Back when Hugh Jackman first took the role of Wolverine in 2000's X-Men, it was impressive enough that he managed to accurately capture the essence of everyone's favorite clawed psychopath. It didn't much matter that, at 6'2", Jackman stands a full 11 inches taller than his diminutive comic book counterpart. But despite the fact that fans have loved the movie version of Wolverine for over a decade, he's still never appeared on-screen in his comic-accurate costume. C'mon, can't we even get the mask on his face? Just once?


Say what you will about Ben Affleck's disastrous turn as Daredevil in the 2003 movie of the same least they got the costume right. And while just about everything in the 2015 Daredevil Netflix series is ten pounds of awesome in a five pound bag, the eventual reveal of the hero's super-suit is actually a serious downer. Instead of going with the streamlined all-red design, Daredevil looks like a reject from a crappy biker gang.


We can't really blame the producers of the CW's The Flash for not going so comic book accurate with this one. For one thing, Cisco Ramon, aka Vibe, is still discovering his powers on the show, and hasn't gone out to fight crime as a full-on superhero. Moreover, until a recent redesign, Vibe's comic book suit was pretty embarrassing, with its red handkerchief and V-neck collar that goes all the way down. Still, if the show keeps looking to score points for comic book accuracy, we have to point out that it's missed this one—even when it makes the smart choice by actually avoiding said accuracy.


This is another instance where the filmmakers behind Hawkeye's big screen look made the right move—by moving away from the comics. Sure, Hawkeye's all-purple archery suit looks cool on the page, it'd be hard not to make it look ridiculous at the movie theater.


Lots of Superman haters have pointed to his costume as something in need of "fixing." With the yellow belt that holds nothing up, the red underpants on the outside, and the simple blue spandex, it's definitely a simple outfit, and one that hasn't changed much over the past century. But Christopher Reeve managed to make it look awesome in 1978's Superman, and all three of the sequels. That was proof enough that Superman's costume wasn't actually broken at all. Yet, for some reason, Zack Snyder insisted on making Superman's belt even weirder—and cover him in fish-scales?—for 2013's Man of Steel. Bring the underpants back, man.


In 2009, the world got X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And then the world wanted to give it back. But despite its lackluster reception by critics, the movie still provided some of the first big screen adaptations of fan favorite characters, including Gambit. And in his case, even though the character as played by Taylor Kitsch was pretty forgettable, the filmmakers definitely improved on his comic book outfit. That's because his classic comic book design is, to put it bluntly, nonsense. Hot-pink armor? And blue pipes? And some kind of head sock? Then, for some reason, a trench coat? Hard pass.


Much ink has been spilled about how badly X-Men Origins: Wolverine's producers screwed up Deadpool: they take him out of his iconic costume, sew his mouth shut, and give him all the mutant powers they could stuff into one person. The good news, of course, is that it paved the way for 2016's Deadpool, which has broken new ground for faithful comic book adaptations (and for creative use of a unicorn doll in an R-rated movie).


While it's not going to win any awards for being clever, the Punisher's costume is pretty memorable for exactly one reason: it has a gigantic white skull on it. So when the Dolph Lundgren-starring Punisher movie came out in 1989, what's the one thing the filmmakers decided to omit from the character's look? The gigantic white skull.


As we've discussed, the producers of 2000's X-Men made some important choices to ensure that their team of mutants would look realistic on film. That meant cutting brightly-colored superhero costumes in favor of black leather. Whether or not that was a more believable costume choice is debatable. But there's no question that director Bryan Singer's move to change the look of Mystique is one of the more baffling adaptations in superhero movie history. For some reason, Singer insisted that the villain be covered in lizard scales and walk around naked all day long, despite there being no such corresponding look in the comics. Stranger still, the scales have stuck around from movie to movie and actress to actress, even though it looks truly bizarre and has no real reason to still be, like, a thing.

Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn's original costume from Batman: The Animated Series, which later made its way to the funnybooks, is widely regarded as one of the best, most iconic outfits in DC Comics history. Modeled after the classic "harlequin," Harley's design is simple, classy, and fun. It's perfect! So, naturally, when the character was tapped to star in 2016's Suicide Squad, they made her look like some kind of crazy juggalo lady. Still, actress Margot Robbie explained in an interview that the original look was, in fact, considered:

"We tried on every variation of the costume. I cannot emphasize enough how many outfits, and how many variations of the Harley Quinn costume we tried. We tried the court jester costume, we tried the corset and skirt, we tried leather pants, we tried literally every type of costume possible for her. I really love where we ended up. And who knows, maybe in the sequels we'll go with the court jester one."

The Joker

While Margot Robbie makes it sound like a lot of thought went into Suicide Squad costume, it's a little harder to figure out who picked out Jared Leto's design for the Joker. It's especially jarring considering how simple and enduring the Joker's original design has been over the last 75 years or so. And yet, here we are, with a Joker covered in prison tattoos and with a shiny grill. What an age we live in.