*click to enlarge collage images
1. Wonder Woman
BEST: GAL GADOT, Batman v Superman (2016), Wonder Woman (2017)
Even the sad skinny-shamers who feared Gal Gadot would not fulfill the buxom legacy of Lynda Carter given her lithe and lanky frame were blown away by her ferociously sensuous poses in her full WW armor. Diana/Wonder Woman’s specific brand of sexy is defined not by cup size, but by her statuesque frame (√) , angelic facial features befitting those of a princess (√), and jet-black mane of perfectly tussled loose curls (√). Oh, and her supernatural combat skills (√√√). The naysayers shut themselves up once they saw Gadot in action sequences like these:
WORST: ADRIANNE PALICKI, Wonder Woman (2011)
Thank ZEUS this unholy mix of latex and primary colors never made it past a pilot episode. True, it almost exactly resembles recent DC Comics’ artwork of Wonder Woman, but:
A) an armored breastplate and a sword/shield combo slung over WW’s shoulder is better-suited than cheap-looking rubber for a warrior princess (yes, Gadot’s WW costume looks very similar to that Xena’s. So what? They are both female warriors with stories tied deeply to ancient Greek mythology.)
and B) … does Superman run around in red underwear anymore? Answer: not since Dean Cain in 1993. Does Batman’s suit have nipples? Answer: Not since…let’s never bring it up again. How are we supposed to take Wonder Woman, one of the mightiest protagonists in the comics, seriously when her lasso looks like it’s made of tinsel and her corset seems to be a leftover top from someone’s “Slutty Nurse” Halloween costume? And, oh, her boots… They look like ones you would find at Payless upon which someone spray-painted a tarty layer of firetruck red.
“Thank ZEUS this unholy mix of latex and primary colors never made it past a pilot episode.”
Shame on you, the fashion-school dropouts behind Adrianne Palicki’s costume… The character and the actress both deserved better.
BEST: ANNE HATHAWAY, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
By the final film of Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy, we as moviegoers have learned to trust his creative judgment when it came to the DC-verse. That trust was reinforced stronger than ever by Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman costume. Catwoman’s costume has always been inherently seductive, with the all-black palette and requisitely skintight silhouette. We have seen many iterations of this facet in the comics and on the big and small screens, but Hathaway’s was the first in live-action to not only be sexy but extremely utile.
Her cat ears? They’re actually CONVERTIBLE GOGGLES! Protective glasses for when she’s racing that SICK ride of hers, along with a sensibly windproof leather jumper, utility belt and moto boots:
The Next-Gen bike for Catwoman is also not a random accessory tossed in to accentuate how high this film’s budget sat ($230 million, to be exact). Her new thrill ride enabled Selina Kyle the added bonus of luxuriating in a feline-on-all-fours stance often and very prominently. Hathaway (and her stunt double)’s backside and long legs were thus filmed to subtly play upon the character’s innate catlike qualities… without her having to make hissing noises every five minutes:
Honorable Mentions go to the 3 Catwomen of Batman, the 1960s Adam West small-screen vehicle:
For the time’s limitations, these three looks nailed the sex appeal of Catwoman without committing overkill:
For my Cat-and-Dog ensemble costume this Halloween with my poodle, I was instantly inspired by Julie Newmar (far left). Her ears. Her jumpsuit’s cowl neck. All it took for me to feel like her Catwoman was a pair of black leggings, a sleek Max Azria turtleneck and a homemade cat-ear headband:
WORST: HALLE BERRY, Catwoman (2008)
The photos speak for themselves. Halle Berry’s standalone venture displayed a complete lack of regard for its source material and a general lack of respect for direction as a motion picture. This main flaw was evident down to the catsuit. According to the film’s Oscar-winning costume designer, Catwoman’s wardrobe was intentionally cut down to dramatic shreds to juxtapose the protagonist’s “demure and repressed” past life with her sexually awakened “warrior goddess” existence after her supernatural encounter.
Okay… It doesn’t take a movie connoisseur to realize cinematic symbolism requires more than taking scissors to a character’s shirt and pants. Also, none of what Halle wears in “Catwoman mode” was even foreshadowed beforehand in the movie. Nor does any of it make sense. Sure, it kinda does if you suddenly had the urge to look like a human cat.
Why the shreds on her pants? Why open-toed heels? Why the weird X-belt contraption across her naked belly??? We appreciate artistic license and all, but a superhero’s costume is integral to the origin story and, therefore, must follow some set of logic.
Yes, she gets a random whip to accessorize.
“We appreciate artistic license, but a superhero’s costume is integral to the origin story and, therefore, must follow some set of logic.”
BEST: ALEXANDRA SHIPP, X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
It is too often the sad truth that we naturally do better on the second try. It is also a sad coincidence that we are bashing poor Halle Berry’s clothes for the second time in a row. Shipp’s Storm costume and hairdo simply embraced the fieriness and regality of the Ororo Munroe character much better than her predecessor’s did.
The X-Men movies, including Apocalypse, never did the Storm character justice, but out of the two live-action adaptations, Shipp’s came closest. Lest we forget, Storm was the daughter of a Kenyan tribal princess. As a member of the X-Men, she was depicting wearing a tiara and a costume with a ruby and lightning bolt motif.
Shipp’s side-swept Mohawk mimics the tiara effect and the silver streaks down the front of her corset resemble lightning bolts. She also rocks the same gauntlets along her bare arms the way Storm did on comic book pages.
WORST: HALLE BERRY, all the other X-Men movies (starting in 2000)
Was Halle Berry auditioning to be the fourth (fifth?) member of Destiny’s Child in these movies? (Remember, it was the early 00’s). With an orange spray-tan and an unflatteringly silvery-white wig with lowlights to (un)match throughout the movies, she seemed less dressed to imitate a potent, regal mutant and more to rejuvenate Berry’s appearance in front of the Britney-crazed teeny-bopper moviegoers running rampant at the time.
“Was Halle Berry auditioning to be the fourth (fifth?) member of Destiny’s Child in the X-Men movies?”