Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Mera's Costume From The Snyder Cut Makes No Sense

Among the many changes Zack Snyder made to the director's cut of Justice League, he gave a larger role to Amber Heard, who plays the Atlantian princess Mera. Her character gets a bit more developed in the four-hour film, with a battle against Steppenwolf and a role in the Knightmare ending that implies Aquaman is no longer among the living. She's not a pivotal character in his version of the film, but she gets additional screen time, and she was one of the few actors to be called in to do reshoots when the Snyder cut was in production.

After completing those shoots, Heard told ComicBook.com, "I'm super excited about it. We just wrapped on reshoots and I just love nerds. I f***ing love nerds, excuse my language." She explained that nerds are often connected to great projects and that "nerd passion" drives people to want to be part of something. However, following the release of the movie on HBO Max, she revealed something else — that cool Atlantean costume she wore basically makes no sense.

In an amusing Instagram video uploaded on March 31, Heard appears to be in her trailer, wearing her full-body costume complete with headpiece. Rather than imbuing her with any special powers, though, the costume appears to be hampering her movement instead. 

Heard's Mera costume is a case of style over substance

Not only does it appear that Heard can't sit down in her costume; she can't seem to do much else either. As she tries to hoist herself to a standing position in the video, Heard knocks over a cup that appears to have matcha green tea in it, which spills on a green pool on the floor. Although she gamely tries to grab it off the floor, she can't bend over far enough to reach it. Generally, it seems that the bodysuit in question has very little give to it, making it impossible for her to use her knees and also making it difficult for her to bend at the waist. She tries some twists, but nothing seems to work particularly well. "She's beauty and she's grace," Heard sardonically captioned the image. 

Fortunately, none of this really shows up in the movie, although it's a good thing she's just standing still in some of her dialogue scenes with Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). The movie creates an illusion that this outfit is pliant and supple enough for her to fight alien invaders — even underwater — and comfortable enough for a long trek in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. However, in reality, the costume is clearly more about making Mera look cool than letting her be functional in any way.

Criticism over women's superhero costumes

There has been a long history of criticism against women's superhero costumes. As activist Holly Jacobs pointed out in the Twitter thread that followed Heard's post on that social media platform, "Practicality is never a priority in outfitting women in the media industry." With most costumes, though — and the criticism applies to Justice League — the problem is less about movement issues and more about skimpiness and the presence of the male gaze. One oft-shared Twitter post from the time of the original film's release in 2017 juxtaposed the Amazon costumes designed by Lindy Hemming for the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman — complete with breastplate armor — and the leathery, midriff-baring ones from 2017's Justice League, as designed by Michael Wilkinson.

Heard's Justice League costume overall is better than many. Her outfit, while formfitting, is a full-on regal ensemble befitting her station and her role in the Atlantean culture, complete with a crown, shoulder pad armor, gauntlets, leg and knee armor, and carvings that suggest accents. Of course, you could still argue that the armor focuses on her cleavage in unnecessary ways, but with her hair over it, it's not quite so obvious as it has been with some other female superhero characters. 

Furthermore, Heard's comparative modesty comes in contrast to Jason Momoa's general look in the film, which basically seems to involve jeans, throwaway shirts, and the showing of a lot of tattooed upper-body skin, although he also gets a costume upgrade that resembles Mera's. In that way, then, this costume deftly avoids some of the usual criticism while, as observed by CBR, it stays true to the version she wears to war in the comic books. So, if only she could move in it, too, she'd be a superhero to be reckoned with.