10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Costumes That Did The Comic Books Justice (And Actually Improved On Them)

10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Costumes That Did The Comic Books Justice (And Actually Improved On Them)

Marvel Studios has delivered plenty of comic-accurate costumes, but some of them definitely stand above the rest as being loyal to the source material and perhaps even better than what we've seen on the page!

Feature Opinion
By JoshWilding - May 18, 2023 12:05 PM EST
Filed Under: Marvel Studios

For a long time, Hollywood shied away from putting superheroes in costumes. While Spider-Man got to swing into action wearing the familiar red and blues, the X-Men were forced into black leather. In the mid-2000s, the Fantastic Four got to wear their colourful suits, but the 2015 reboot ditched those. Even last year's Morbius failed to adhere to the source material in any way, shape, or form. 

Marvel Studios and its Marvel Cinematic Universe, on the other hand, has paid homage to the source material from the start. Embracing the comics in ways some studios, even today, won't consider, that's resulted in movies and TV shows where our favourite heroes and villains finally get to look the way we'd like!

There's a chance we're heading into controversial territory here, but an argument could be made that there are some costumes the MCU has actually improved upon when compared to what we've seen in the comics. Heck, we're just going to say it: there are many that look way better on screen than they do on the page, and it's those we've rounded up for this feature (we're definitely curious to see if you agree...).

To check out these costumes, all you need to do is click on the "Next" button below. 

10. Black Panther


Marvel Studios didn't quite nail T'Challa's costume the first time around, though Captain America: Civil War certainly tried to do something a little more exciting with the hero's appearance. After all, it's only ever really looked like a simple black cloth costume during his many comic book adventures. 

In Black Panther, Wakanda's King got a well-deserved upgrade and looked nothing short of perfect. The addition of that purple kinetic energy made a massive difference, and ensured T'Challa really jumped off the screen. We know this is divisive, but take your pick as both costumes improved on the source material.

9. Classic Loki


While Classic Loki's costume is quite clearly heavily inspired by the villain's early comic book appearances, there are enough subtle changes to mean Loki's take on the outfit improves on what we've seen in the past. Replacing armour with material was a smart move, as was ditching the ponytail. 

We also have to credit Marvel Studios with making the yellow parts of the costume look less like a weird bra/vest hybrid and pair of underpants. Ultimately, the comic books deserve a lot of the credit here, but without the MCU's concept artists and costume designers, this would have never worked.

8. Iron Man


Had Adi Granov's Invincible Iron Man not come along, we dread to think how Tony Stark might have appeared in the MCU. The hero certainly never looked too terrible during his prior solo adventures or team-ups with The Avengers, but that series helped establish a modern, exciting new look. 

From there, Marvel Studios continued to improve on it, adding new elements and ideas that helped establish Iron Man as one of the biggest merchandise sellers in the entire MCU (hence the insane number of Hot Toys). The Hulkbuster, in particular, looks way better in live-action than in the comics. 

7. Spider-Man


Spider-Man's costume is classic and irreplaceable, and Marvel Studios initially made the mistake of making it too busy. The Homecoming suit was a perfect example, while the Iron Spider...well, it's not as good as the comic book version. However, everything changed in 2019's Far From Home.

The red and black suit is utter perfection, combining Steve Ditko's artwork with a modern sensibility that ensures Peter Parker is swinging around in a suitably amazing costume. However, it's that red and blue effort from No Way Home's epilogue that we think is truly spectacular on every single level. 

6. Star-Lord


Star-Lord has definitely looked pretty cool in the comic books over the years, but it's not hard to see why the hero's costume was overhauled for the MCU. Simply put, it's too goofy to work in live-action, and by going back to the drawing board, James Gunn delivered a Peter Quill with real character. 

The helmet (quite rightly) remained loyal to the source material, and while that was absent in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, seeing Star-Lord in his classic uniform more than made up for it. The movie made a design work on screen that we never thought would translate as well as it does in the threequel.

5. The Vulture


Look, we'd have definitely been curious to see Marvel Studios put Michael Keaton in bright green spandex for Spider-Man: Homecoming, but the decision to completely redesign this villain - while staying true to the source material - resulted in a big bad who felt like a threat, not a punchline. 

With a helmet that looked suitably vulture-like and a jacket that ensured Adrian Toomes retained his fur collar, we really can't find fault with this fresh take on one of the web-slinger's earliest foes. The Vulture's classic look no longer works, and it's about time the comics prioritise a similar redesign. 

4. Captain America


If Captain America: The First Avenger's USO suit proved anything, it's that Cap's classic uniform was never going to work in live-action. Too simplistic for even a comic book movie's take on World War II, even one with a little more substance would have ultimately just come across as looking daft.

Heck, that's a problem Marvel Studios actually faced in the 2011 movie and The Avengers. It wasn't until Age of Ultron that we saw some significant improvements, though we'd argue that Captain America: Civil War and Endgame delivered a truly definitive take on this star-spangled superhero.

3. Moon Knight


Moon Knight wasn't quite the masterpiece we'd all hoped for, and the VFX were often questionable. Still, there's simply no way we can deny that this costume is anything other than badass. Marvel Studios could have just given Moon Knight a Batman-style tactical suit, but this is better on so many levels.

For starters, it's a take on the costume that actually pays homage to the unhinged hero's earliest adventures. However, with a Mummy-like makeover that harkens back to Moon Knight's Egyptian roots, it actually feels like more than just a costume and has a sense of gravitas and purpose behind it. 

2. Scarlet Witch


We know many comic book fans would like nothing more than to see Elizabeth Olsen don the Scarlet Witch's skimpy costume from the source material, but WandaVision's Halloween episode delivered on that front. For her real costume, though, Marvel Studios definitely made the right decision. 

Forgoing what is basically lingerie on the page, Wanda Maximoff was given a costume that makes her look powerful, isn't demeaning or overly sexualised, and feels rich in history. Throw in a phenomenal take on that iconic crown, and both WandaVision and the Doctor Strange sequel were bang on the money.

1. Shang-Chi


Marvel Studios had to do a lot to move past the offensive stereotypes often prevalent in the comic books with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, including changing his costume. While it paid homage to what we've seen on the page, it also embraced Chinese culture and mythology.

That was crucial, and helped Shang-Chi move away from the sort of imagery that seems innocent enough on the surface, but is usually based on what a non-Asian person believes a character like this one should look like. Also important, of course, was the fact that Shang-Chi looked like a total badass. 

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JonC - 5/18/2023, 12:12 PM
Gotta say the BP costume in CW was far better than any we have seen since.
Blergh - 5/18/2023, 1:05 PM
@JonC - agreed, the CW costume was the perfect blend of realism and comic-accuracy. A shame they ditched that suit in BP1
TyrantBossMedia - 5/18/2023, 1:49 PM
@JonC - 100%. The Civili War BP costume was perfect. The ornamental Purple energy costume was yet another example of them doing too much with CGI because they can.

The original Iron Man was comic accurate and solid.
The original Thor was solid.
I liked the WWII version of Caps costume. That was period accurate, and I like the Endgame costume. The Avengers costume missed the mark.

The original Black Widow in IM2 was fire. I didn't care for the revisions. The long red hair nailed it.

Hawkeye was pretty neutral and not really impressive.

The comics that are more comic book accurate are almost always the best.
HulkisHoly - 5/18/2023, 12:37 PM
“ Marvel Studios had to do a lot to move past the offensive stereotypes often prevalent in the comic books with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, including changing his costume. ”

TyrantBossMedia - 5/18/2023, 1:50 PM
@HulkisHoly - Yet another injected opinion from Josh.

He's so pompous.
RolandD - 5/18/2023, 12:43 PM
Didn’t we just have almost exactly this same article in the past couple of weeks, with almost entirely if not entirely examples?
MrDandy - 5/18/2023, 12:46 PM
I agree with all these picks. All great costumes. I would have added Mysterio as well. Such a loyal adaption of his comic costume that looked fantastic
Spike101 - 5/18/2023, 12:57 PM
Really didn’t like the Vulture redesign in the slightest, it’s awful. Shang Chi likewise, he ended with just a generic MCU skin tight costume rather than his original martial arts gear. Like other have said Mysterio was a better candidate for your top 10, I’d also have picked Doc Ock maybe.
marvel72 - 5/18/2023, 2:17 PM
The Vulture costume was OK, better than his comic book costume, maybe but the design could have been better.

Scarlet Witch costume should show more cleevage.

It's alright for Evans and Hemsworth to take their shirts off for the ladies, so give us Men some cleevage.
Saga - 5/18/2023, 2:32 PM
The first Avenger struggled with the Cap suit? Tf You even talking about? The ww2 suit was absolute perfection, outstanding work. I Will admit his post Avengers looks were pretty awesome, My favorite after '11 is the Civil war suit
marvel72 - 5/18/2023, 2:41 PM
@Saga - Captain America suit in The Avengers was terrible, it was that goddamn helmet.
GeneralChaos - 5/18/2023, 4:30 PM
How do Thor and Dr. Strange not make the list but Shang-Chi does.

Most people can't even remember it from that one film.
Steel86 - 5/18/2023, 4:47 PM
Instantly knew the list was going to be lame as soon as I read this "Marvel Studios didn't quite nail T'Challa's costume the first time around, though Captain America: Civil." They did nail it and is literally his best suit.
dragon316 - 5/18/2023, 5:23 PM
Let’s say scarlet witch wear slutty skimpy costume from comics so this way little 6-14 girls who like character can dress slutty for Halloween.,

Reason captain America costume didn’t work in movies wasn’t simplistic looking it wasn’t realistic looking enough enough Kevlar or leather looking have been saying for while marvel movies are cross between to ultimate and 616 universe same with venom movie venom have personality of lethal protector but powers and look of ultimate venom that’s exactly what marvel movie characters have is ultimate costume look from comics some little different
GeneralZod - 5/18/2023, 5:38 PM
The Vulture was horrible. Moon Knight also. Looked nothing like the comics.

knomad - 5/18/2023, 6:57 PM
IMO Cap's First Avenger costume was the best. It was obviously a superhero costume but it was obviously military-based. Not a typical spandex thing. Too bad they departed from that afterward.
bcom - 5/19/2023, 12:34 AM
The MCU has also been responsible for one of the worst live action superhero costumes as well. Cap's costume in The Avengers was terrible. It was far too bright compared to everyone else and the cowl/helmet combo looked awkward. I'm so glad they went back to the more military style costume in future movies.
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