Nothing causes a storm of online controversy like the first big reveal of an updated superhero costume — particularly when said costume is on a glamorous Hollywood starlet.
Case in point: the paparazzi photo snapped on the Los Angeles set of “The Dark Knight Rises” that features a catsuit-clad Anne Hathaway in between scenes. The firestorm around the photo, as well as the detailed analysis that followed, reminded us of some other costumes that received the same obsessive treatment.
MTV News reached out to Caleb Goellner, senior editor at Comics Alliance, for his thoughts on past lightning-rod getups.
Halle Berry’s Catwoman
All things considered, Hathaway’s costume has nothing on Halle Berry’s barely there, frequently mocked ensemble from 2004’s much-maligned “Catwoman,” which went on to win four Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay.
“If somebody would’ve asked me, ’Hey, you think it’d be feasible to fight crime wearing nothing but a few handfuls of random belts from a TJ Maxx after-Thanksgiving sale bargain bin circa 1984?’ In, like, 2003, I might’ve said, ’Maybe,’ ” Goellner admitted. “I confess to not being open-minded enough for that response in a post-’Catwoman’ world, though.”
Adrianne Palicki’s Wonder Woman
There is a decent argument to be made that the violent reactions to the costume worn briefly by Adrianne Palicki were a large part of the reason David E. Kelley’s TV series failed to get picked up. Also, from what we know about the pilot, it was not good.
“Palicki’s costume seems like it was scrutinized more for its choice of materials than its cut,” Goellner said. “Nobody really agrees on what Wonder Woman is/should be, but fans seemed united in their cries for a TV costume with a less vinyl-y sheen.”
George Clooney and Val Kilmer’s Batmen
When Warner Bros. hired Joel Schumacher to direct “Batman Forever” and then “Batman & Robin,” they wanted him to make the films less Tim Burton-style dark and more family-friendly. The result? Nipples were inexplicably added to the Batsuits worn by Val Kilmer and George Clooney.
“In a world where rubber costumes often feature fake abs, adding nipples to a crime fighting suit is pretty logical,” Goellner said, tongue firmly in cheek. “The problem fans had with this outfit stemmed purely from the fact that, in the comics, Bruce Wayne has trained his nipples to go into sleep mode while fighting crime, diverting calories to other parts of his body as needed. This continuity error, however minor, really distracted from Joel Schumacher’s otherwise completely authentic filmmaking choices.”
Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern
The debate about CGI is ongoing: How much is too much? How much is too little? Shouldn’t we expect all superhero-themed movies to be computer-generated spectacles? When the first photo of Ryan Reynolds as a green-suited Hal Jordan appeared, there were accusations of ruin and overuse of Photoshop.
Said Goellner: “Green Lantern’s organic look had some feeling like he was more of a Slim Goodbody stand-in than a proper space cop. Others, who accepted the rationality of the costume as a manifestation of alien technology, were still bummed by its lack of depth and overall painted-on look. Everyone else was too busy hoping for a cosmic ’Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place’ reunion to notice.”
X-Men Suit Up in Black Leather
For those who grew up with their crime-fighting mutants sporting the classic blue-and-yellow suits as seen on the pages of the Marvel comic, as well as the animated cartoon, the all-black ensembles worn by the cast in Bryan Singer’s 2000 hit ruffled many a fanboy’s feathers back in the day — so much so that Singer added an homage to the fans via Cyclops’ cheeky line: “What would you prefer, yellow spandex?”
“Given the X-Men’s history of trying out new uniforms in the comics, fans weren’t supremely bothered by X-Men’s low-key combat suits,” Goellner said. “Then again, the state of the superhero film was so abysmal in 2000 that fans were open to anything that was more ’Blade’ than ’Batman & Robin.’ It also probably would’ve been a bad idea to put Hugh Jackman in a mask, when everyone knows the real star of the ’X’ franchise has been his dreamy peepers.”
Bonus: Barbara Eden’s Jeannie
Back in 1965, nothing caused more controversy on network television than Barbara Eden’s scandalous costume on “I Dream of Jeannie” — so scandalous that network execs made the costume designers add extra inches to the waistline so Eden’s belly button wouldn’t be exposed.
Goellner’s final word: “Her costume is a delight, but everybody knows that real genies are blue, have goatees and kind of talk like that guy who starred in ’Hook.’ ”
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Dark Knight Rises.”