When superhero/supervillain costumes succeed on the big screen, it's a miracle. But it's also rare. The movie superhero outfits are a multiverse of fail, and here are 40-odd examples of total costume catastrophe. Brace yourself, this won't be pretty.
As terrible and shabby as these examples are, I have a feeling we've only scratched the surface here. Feel free to post your own suggestions in the comments. And if you hate gallery format and want to view this in non-gallery mode, click here. (I have a feeling it'll be easier to look at as a gallery though.)
Update: I cut it down to about 40 examples with about 70 pics, because 100 pics really was too many. Sorry if it seemed too repetitive before — I spent forever searching online for screencaps and making my own in some cases.
Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Circuit-board-skin disaster. Plus weird goth fetish face disaster. We'll come back to Wade again in a moment.
The Joker, from the overrated first Tim Burton Batman film. Hat disaster!
Bane, from Batman And Robin. Bane was actually kind of awesome in the comics. How did this happen??
Robin, from Batman Forever. Fake pec disaster. Shiny armpit disaster.
The Ironettes, from Iron Man 2. Although to be fair, they're meant to be trashy showgirls dressed like Iron Man.
Robin from Batman Forever again. Weird codpiece disaster!
Batman and Robin, from Batman And Robin. Notice how they managed to make Robin's costume actually look worse than the previous one. Also, nipples.
Elektra missed her tryout to be in Apollonia 6 because her shoes were on too tight. Morris Day will not be happy.
Venom, in Spider-Man 3. CG rather than a physical costume, but still extraordinarily silly.
Daredevil costume, featuring too much of Ben Affleck's chin. And shiny pec disaster. I feel like the leather suit is too thick and immobilizing.
I've never liked the Raimi Spider-suit. It's too rubbery and fake looking. It doesn't look like Peter Parker made this, nor does it look that cool.
The gloves, also with the raised lines.
Uma in Batman And Robin. We'll be seeing a lot more of this film in this gallery, so fair warning. It's just so full of disaster.
Arguably not a superhero movie, but ugh. Helmet disaster, from Judge Dredd.
Random freak from Batman And Robin. Who is this guy? Kiss makeup disaster!
Sequin disaster! More of the Jim Carrey Riddler in a sec.
We're going to have to deconstruct all the ways Halle Berry's Catwoman costume is disturbing. Let's start with the shredded pants, which are about to tear open at the crotch. Did she shred them herself with her cat claws? Why did she shred her own pants?
Superhero Movie is a spoof, yeah — but this is actually a pretty good example of superhero costume fail, including headpiece disaster, tight crotch disaster and belt disaster.
Again from Superhero Movie. A random supervillain with a clunky armor suit that includes non-representational musculature.
Tim Burton's Batman again. "I can't raise my arms above my head!" Disaster.
"I also can't turn my head more than 30 degrees in either direction!" How does he fight crime when he can't move?
Two-Face and the Riddler look just as campy as anything in Batman And Robin. Including Riddler's weird orange hair, and Two-Face's both-sides-crazy jacket, which is just a little too loud for what's meant to be a conflicted character.
So not only are Catwoman's pants shredded, but so are her shoes. Good job, Catwoman. Then there's the boobs-falling-out disaster.
Jim Carrey's Riddler again, this time without the sequins, but with with the silly pajamas.
Arnie as Mr. Freeze, sporting a really weird headpiece, including a clear plastic cover. More of him soon. Gnarrrr.
I think you know everything you need to about Michael Keaton's batarang after looking at this picture. Also, lego pecs.
You know, that wrap really doesn't suit you.
Back to Catwoman. The headgear is also scary. She looks like Mousewoman.
The Meteor Man. Just had to include that, it sums up so much of what's wrong wtih movie superhero costumes with its immobilizing chunky armor and excessive lines.
More of head-wrap Uma. Vegas glittery bustier disaster!
The back of Burton's Batman's cowl is very silly and neck-brace-like. Also, Penguin pimp coat and string tie disaster.
Serrated pants disaster. What are those shoes?
Foam-rubber pecs disaster. This picture really needs a silly dialog caption.
Xenomorph head disaster.
Apparently this was an early test for Deadpool. They really should have gone back to the drawing board. I mean, I would go to see this band. But he's not Wade.
Seriously. Wade! WTF?
Nuclear Man, from Superman IV. Insignia disaster.
Nuclearman's codpiece. Plus shiny gold tights disaster!
More Penguin disaster, including the weird tie and the fur coat. His comics costumes would have been hard to translate to the big screen, but maybe they should have thought laterally.
Emma Frost should look cooler than this. That is all.
Lex Luthor inexplicably dressed as a riverboat gambler.
Ozymandias from Watchmen. This was meant to be a bit spoofy, but they went too far with the rubber abs.
Padded arm muscles disaster!
Random mutants from X-3. Spit-curl disaster. Seriously, what is that outfit? She should be in that band with Deadpool.
Goblin pecs disaster! Also, the slinky arms are a bit weird.
Don't cry, Samuel L. Jackson. Nobody will remember The Spirit soon enough.
Watchmen yellow fetishwear disaster. I really hate Nite Owl's costume in this movie, too — it feels a bit too campy, and trying too hard to be Batman-like.
I think they were trying to mute the colorfulness of Superman's costume, which is a mistake.
Too much texture. I hate the little "S" shapes on the big S. And the little bumps on the fabric. It bugs me, for some reason.
Uma's trashy red outfit. It just gets more and more disastrous.
The Dark Knight's Batsuit is an improvement, except for what it does to Bruce's mouth. Especially when he gets shouty.
Seriously, Bale's mouth looks freakishly big. That mouthpiece is a weird shape.
Juggernaut is like the precursor of Whiplash, only with more chest hair. He looks like he wants to give you a sweaty hug. He's such a cool character in the comics, he looks unstoppable. But here, he just looks sort of surly.
Without the helmet.
I'm worried when they kiss, he's going to poke a hole in her face with his pointy nose.
It's A Disaster!
There's just never been a great Batsuit. It's always too chunky and stylized. You can't do martial arts in this thing.
Doctor Doom is snarky rather than scary, and part of the problem is the mask, which doesn't convey enough menace.
Kryptonian pajamas. With plushy boots.
Zod wrestling disaster!
Kelsey Grammar, the original Na'Vi.
It's not a toomah! There are the bulbous blue pecs, the crotchguard and the shiny headpiece, among other things.
Prison jumpsuit striptease disaster!
Bondage harness disaster!
Clunky basketball star armor disaster. (From Steel.)
Seriously embarrassing. At least instead of a codpiece, there are metal Y-fronts.
Mr. Freeze as the Hamburglar.
The Bat-Family in Batman And Robin. Note the nipples, as well as Batgirl's pneumatic chest.
Hancock, at the end of the film when he puts on his "serious superhero" costume. He was better off in a hoodie and shorts.