Monday, March 02, 2009

Black Body Armor In Comic/Cartoon Movies

Overheard on Twitter:

"GI Joe movie: Black body armor suits are the fanny packs of comic book/cartoon movies. They look ridiculous and are not fun."

What do you think?

Related Posts:
"G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra - Conspiracy Meta-Theory Rosetta Stone"
"Black Leather Sci-Fi Chicks"
"Snake Eyes From The GI Joe Movie Pics"


  1. The leather and slim black stuff is fine. I think when you start adding foam "armor plates" to the suit is when things start looking dumb. That goes for GI Joe and Batman. But looking at the trailer at least the Joes get to jump around a little.

  2. I think babes look even baber in them.

  3. Anonymous11:54 AM

    I think the visual similarities and functional similarities to tactical body armor/cover military outfits is what it's supposed to invoke. I mean, honestly, some actual comic costumes, no matter how cool they look on paper, look stupid in real life.

    Also, everyone knows leather is badass, so obviously wearing leather ALL OVER is even more badass!

  4. It works for the Dark Knight.

    X-Men... black leather is better than the traditional yellow-and-black outfits worn by the students, and individual outfits would look hokey.

    The first picture... that's unflattering. Looks overdesigned. Start with motorcycle armor and work from that, or use police/military armor as your inspiration. Hollywood must contend with visual shorthand... the viewer must read the outfit as armor... while also contending with the actors' and director's needs.

    Fabric outfits work okay, especially if the body beneath is toned and muscular. Vinyl is nice, but difficult to film in.

  5. Works for Batman, especially in the context of Begins and the Dark Knight, works for the X-Men. Does not work for G.I. Joe at all. Except for the Baroness and maybe Snake Eyes. The idea of the different costumes in Hama's G.I. Joe was geared towards each unique character wearing the attire based on their branch/division of the military with a few liberties.

  6. I hate this crap. I'm just tired of it. Hollywood's costume designers collectively have not had a new idea since the first Batman movie and I hated that suit too. I really don't get the GI Joe thing. Most of the characters from the toys/comics/cartoons wore military fatigues that were not all that far out. How could you screw up the simple classic design of Duke's costume? It's like putting Indiana Jones in a Batman suit.

  7. I think you can blame the Matrix for this trend.

  8. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Yeah, Baroness and Snake Eyes are the only ones it looks appropriate on. I get the idea of trying to make things a little more uniform, in the sense that an elite strike team wouldn't wear different, colorful outfits in a real military setting, but the comment about Duke is could you screw that up? worked fine, but the new Wolverine movie looks to have gone in the opposite direction (no uniforms for the Weapon X project) and it looks kinda silly in a Teen Beat kinda way.

  9. What was even more ridiculous and not fun were the costumes in movies like the 70's TV movie of Cap and the 80's Cap (which was worse than the 70's).

    But, sure... The padded leather seems repetitive even if it makes sense for Batman (imagine, actually bothering to explain the costume as they did in Batman Begins...).

    Of late, we've seen some nifty adapatation of costumes for film that weren't just black leather. I'd point to Superman Returns or the fantastic work with the Spidey-suit and Iron Man. Even the FF suits were pretty good. Makes one wonder why GI Joe went so far afield from the original ideas...

    If Green Lantern does go, it'll be fun to see how they interpret the GL uniforms.

  10. Given all those pictures, they work for me. While the GI Joe outfits deviate a lot from the traditional look, they look at least semi-plausible.

    And isn't that enough? After all, before Tim Burton's Barman and it's use of a body armor suit, Batman wore tights the the underwear on the outside. Reinforced perhaps but still tights.

  11. To Troy...

    If you're gonna lay blame, I think you have to go back to Blade.

  12. Well first off, I am biased. That young lady there seems very pretty to me in her leather catsuit & I'd say probably anything to justify her wearing it.

    Okay, honestly? Trying to make the superheroic not look stupid during the translation from print to life is tough. I mean-- Christopher Reeves was HUGE but he looks super skinny in Superman tights, right? So I get what they are trying to do. Personally-- side note-- I've always though Captain Marvel's costume would lok awesome in life-- you could totally make this some sweet looking jacket, etc. ANYHOW.

    I don't universally like it. It is weird how totally accepted it is. Then again, I like seeing people try to do "future clothes."

  13. I'm of two minds about this (as usual).

    I think it works for certain heroes. Superman, Iron Man and Captain America HAVE to be in their brightly colored garb. There's no way around it. I do think the whole body armor concept for heroes is a good one...I just think making them more colorful would add a little more to the movies. I mean, I really hope the Green Lantern uniforms are actually green. You can't keep screaming for "realism" when you have people running around shooting laser beams out of their eyes and walking through walls.

    Well, you can, but you're gonna look silly.

  14. I think it's rapidly becoming a visual cliche, and as such, its time is well over. They need to discover a new aesthetic.

  15. Black armored bodysuits may not be fun, but they are realistic and practical. If superheroes really existed, I seriously doubt they'd be caught bead wearing primary colored spandex. Personally, I'd want to be as stealthy and heavily armored as I could reasonably be.

  16. Black bodysuits are much better then yellow spandex.

    Is it overused? Yes
    Do I roll my eyes when I see the matrix look now? Yes
    Could you make joke after joke about the outfits? Yes
    Will it always be kinda awesome? Yes.

  17. The Mantra seems to be, superhero costume won't look good in real life, yet movies like the Reeve's Superman, Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four have no problem making it work. The Leather look is obviously inspired by The Matrix, never mind that in the Matrix, only the Women wore Leather.

  18. I still remember seeing the first press still of Michael Keaton as Batman and asking, "Is that the action figure?" I didn't have a problem with a black suit, but the hard plastic muscles just looked like they belonged on a toy.

  19. My big problem with the black leather armor stuffs in the GI Joe flick is that both sides are wearing it. How can you tell them apart now?

    Oh, colored lasers. Right.

  20. Depends on the Movie, and then the characters in said movie:

    Matrix - for better or worse, they started the trend. Funny that by the last movie their look went from cutting edge to yawnsville (just like the film itself).

    X-Men - Looks great and appropriate on Storm. Otherwise the costuming was pretty hard on the eyes. (That includes the non leather wearing people like partially fuzzy Sabertooth, but Prof X looked fine, and I ended up a fan of the Magneto quasi-military look)

    GIJoe - as mentioned earlier, totally aprop for Snake Eyes and Baroness, but otherwise, I mean come on, would Green Military gear really look wrong/not cool?

    Daredevil - Costuming CLUSTERFUCK. Daredevil's red leather outfit was harsh, Elekra could have looked sleek and sexy in her comic silks, but instead was in awkward leather chunks, and Bulleye probably had the biggest "Im a tool" costume in the history of cinema. Kingpin was dressed ok though.

    I do think that too much black leather = not much fun

  21. I think black body armor looks cool. Especially the suits that Batman and the X-Men wear.

  22. Isn't it funny that for all the cracks about "yellow spandex", Magneto - the only guy who kept his color scheme for the movie - was the only one who actually looked, you know, cool?

    But what I really wanted to say is that the Joes' black leather bodysuit thing wouldn't be nearly so bad if they didn't insist on building platform heels into the outfit. Kind of undermines the argument for functionality, there.

  23. Anonymous10:28 AM

    I'm with sklabah and Jason R, that only the black leather that works for me concerning G.I.loe is on Baroness (insert tongue-roll purr), and Snake Eyes. Duke in his get-up...well you could easiy put a red visor on him and call him Cyclops.

    I kind of dig Sienna Miller's almost steam-punk leather look.