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The 10 Most Horrible Superhero Costumes Ever

26 March 2013 | Features, Film Lists, Guest Posts | by David Zou

Some people say the outfit makes the person… Probably it also makes the superhero!

Here’s the 10 most ridiculous costumes that completely ruined our beloved superheros.


10. The Phantom 1996 – Billy Zane

The Phantom

Based on Lee Falk’s stories The Singh Brotherhood and The Sky Band, The Phantom debuted in 1996 was initially not that much of a success. Was it because of the super-purple costume’s look?! Although it had been revisited and modernized, let’s just say that a purple outfit is just not the most flattering and brave-looking color for a superhero! The Spandex purple outfit did not donate justice to Billy Zane at all, it gave him rather quite a silly look and no charm whatsoever. 


9. Green Lantern 2011 – Ryan Reynolds

Green Lantern

Firstly created by Bill Finger in 1940, we wonder what he would have thought in seeing how his ring-provided superhero ended up on the screen in 2011.

We can definitely state that Ryan Reynolds did not look at his best in this movie, the costume totally ruined his appearance and skin tone – making him look pale and skinny.

Although the first box office registered quite a big money flow, the movie was reasonably received with unfavorable reviews.

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  • jhoffman

    Interesting article, but difficult to take seriously with all of the grammatical and spelling errors. I can’t imagine it’s THAT hard to proof read before publishing.

  • Jimmy

    I disagree with the Phantom critique. Zane looked perfect as the Phantom, and did not require a muscled suit at all – it was pure Zane. He was also very charismatic. The film stands as one of the best and most faithful comicbook adaptations made.
    Thomas Jane’s Punisher was taken from the Garth Ennis Punisher comic so your critique is a little ignorant.mwould you have preferred white boots and gloves?
    And recently they displayed a black and white photo of Cage’s Superman costume which IMO looked pretty good. I’m not even sure your example is real – I’ve always thought that was a fan made picture based on a photo of one of the suit prototypes. Cage’s head does not look right.
    Some of your critiques spot on, some severely flawed.

  • Razvigor

    WRONG on the first entry!
    I’m not really happy that I must defend The Phantom, but Billy Zane’s costume DIDN’T have any fake muscles. Or better said, the costume initially DID have muscle-padding, but Zane trained extensively for the role, and when the shooting started, he was so muscled that the filmmakers realised the costume padding was unnecessary.
    So, yes – that Billy Zane from the first picture? Real muscles, no costume tricks.

  • Rolf Hawkins

    Hate to break it to you, but the Phantom costume Billy Zane is wearing doesn’t have any fake muscles. That’s Billy Zane you’re looking at. Not sure why you thought there were fake muscles. Looks like an ordinarily fit man.

  • Joe Fiore

    disagree with most of these! Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern costume
    looked great! Aside from the stupid nipples, I’ve always said that
    Batman & Robin (while a horrible film) had the best looking Batman
    COSTUME of any of the 7 live action movies. The Tick looked just fine,
    and the 2011 Wonder Woman costume from the pilot was terrific. I’m sure
    the SCRIPT was awful, but I saw nothing wrong with the costume. It
    looked like (GASP) Wonder Woman !! The same thing for Tom Jane’s
    Punisher. Bad movie, yes….but what was wrong with the costume? Most of
    these picks don’t make sense.

  • steve c.

    Do you proof read your work? Hopefully nobody paid you for this. People used to get fired for less. Just sloppy. If you’re going to write an article about terrible costumes for god’s sake spell the word “costume” correctly. You kept saying “custom” instead more then once. I’m sure you know the difference.

  • Brian Sleider

    Guy guns on The Tick, go Fuck yourself. AND TOM JANES PUNISHER. Any one can make shitty lists these days, Just wish they would title them “My least favorite ______”

  • DoigtDuPeuple

    Ok personally you should’ve restricted your choices to the top 5.. Because I do agree that the nipples on Batman were just plain wrong, the rest was of his outfit was good.. Steel was horrible, but then again the whole concept of this hero is just one of the ridiculous spin-off from Superman’s Fake-Death… Catwoman is another character which for me I could never understand why it was even good to start with? She doesn’t do much, she’s not even a clever concept (sorry but really.. I just don’t like characters with no substance). But those movies were disasters to start off so the costumes weren’t the biggest problems..

    Then you mention Burton/Cage’s Superman costume.. Ok, yes the designs are bad, but they never made it to the big screen, and that was because of the damn horrible story Burton was going to do…

    And Wonder-Woman… So you criticize the costume.. which .. basically looks like the costume.. But with pants.. So .. “A character that was totally denaturalized in its soul and costume” .. euh… It’s the same damn outfit, so are you against the costume in the now dead series or the actual comic book costume?? Because for some little changes it’s the same damn outfit, with longer pants.. And that bustier quote, well he should look at the comic ’cause those muffin tops become watermelons in the comics. So you,re judging the costume right from the comics to the tv-series right?

    For the costumes think were good concepts for the tv or movie that were done:

    1. Aquaman – It was a tv-series with good budget but would you really have preferred orange fish scales on the guy? I mean the costume kept the character’s original colors which I have to give it up to them because those orange and dark green colors are hard to imagine on an actual person, and to make it look ok on film is a hard thing to do. So for me it actually worked for the series.

    2. Green Lantern – you’d prefer a leather or latex costume on Reynolds? I think going with that costume actually made the Lantern characters look like they had that power instead of just a latex costume. It actually worked.

    3. Punisher – Don,t know how that didn’t work.. I mean the guy can’t actually wear spandex with white skull, belt and boots and put fear into the dark underworld of mafia guys. Another costume that worked perfectly for the movie.. While script was weak, and Punisher Warzone showed us a true Punisher, I think the costume was not the problem with the movie.

    4. Phantom – While not the most manly of costume, it is the most true to the comics next to Raimi’s Spiderman. Just shows you how weird it would be to see these guys actually fight crime and put fear into the souls of men if they actually wore what the comics show us.. So don,t hate the movie costume hate the whole thing..

    5. Tick – Well this one too is the most true to the comics there is. So the face is not fully covered, I think that was done in order to let the Patrick Warburton’s face be able to breathe in between takes and all. Ps. the cartoon is a spoof about heroes, the series was good in that respect.

    So there, I hope that you were criticizing the costumes as a whole and not just the tv or movie as they need to try to reflect what is done in the comics but try to make it believable, and in some instances (Punisher, Green Lantern, Aquaman) the “reality based” costumes work better than the comic verison.

  • onslaught94

    I’d rather see the Nicolas Cage costume in a movie than that atrocity that’s gonna be used in the upcoming Man Of Steel movie. And despite the long pants and the screwed-up bustier, I think fans of Wonder Woman can agree that the actress that was supposed to play her in the now-defunct TV series is still pretty hot.

  • Linden Flynn

    My kid got one of those Green Lantern costumes from the Ryan Reynolds movie from Mr. Costumes, and he’s been in love with it since. Can’t have the heart to tell him how terrible the movie really is.

  • drdvdplayerhandbook

    This list is only half correct and half ridiculous nitpicking. Did you even watch The Tick? Why do I ask, you clearly didn’t. Also, that is NOT how Nic Cage’s Superman costume was. Pictures have surfaced with Cage in the suit and the suit actually looked quite good. It was Cage’s head that didn’t match it.

  • Andrew Arnold

    Maybe the author of this could have taken a grammar class or 12…

  • Cadwallader

    The Phantom wasn’t that bad

  • Djolus

    Half of them are not SUPER heroes, just heroes

  • WoWed

    the Tick was exactly how it was supposed to be: Absurd. moving on…

  • Millard Fillmore

    C’mon. The Tick was a comedy. The hero was supposed to look ridiculous. BTW Patrick Warburton once said that they had to slather K-Y all over him to get him into it.

  • Queef Police

    It partly feels like this article was written by my grandmother. Or at least someone with as limited actual vested interest in the films or characters.