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Did you see the news? A b-list DC comics character is coming to CBS’ totally-not-a-cash-in show Supergirl! It’s Red Tornado! You know, the robot that controls wind? Yeah, the one from Young Justice. Well, now he’s going to be a villain for Superman’s cousin and you know what? He looks terrible.
I know it’s hard to believe. How could the network that brought us Two Broke Girls and Caroline in the City be unable to deftly adapt a comic book character for the screen? As hard as it is to believe, it’s true. It’s the world we live in.
Weirdly enough, this comes from a long line of horrible on-screen costumes. I’ve collected four here that spring to mind, just in case you don’t believe me. OH! Also, in case you somehow survived his debut, here is Supergirl’s intimidating new villain Red Tornado:
In what I would go on later in the sentence to call “the most 90s costume ever constructed”, Hamill’s Trickster suit from the 90s Flash series doesn’t make any freaking sense. Nothing about that costume says “trickster”, “pranks”, or even “hey, jokes” to me. It looks like the opening credits to Saved by the Bell exploded all over him. Maybe this is what unimaginative people think of when they hear the word “zany”.
To be honest, I’ve never seen the episode he guest stars in, all I know is that he brainwashes Flash into committing high speed japes, so maybe my questions are answered in the show. Why the pads? Is it supposed to be armor? Because, guys, it’s not. It’s 1991 hockey/skating equipment painted with four different patterns and you know it. WHAT IS HIS PURPOSE? Is this some roundabout way to make me crazy? Is this secretly genius?
Also, why the black outerpants?
Before CGI became cheap and versatile, I can understand how hard it must have been to properly do a Red Skull. It’s a simple matter to add stuff with prosthetics, but an entirely other matter to take things away.
This, though. This is hard to understand. He doesn’t look intimidating, he barely looks like a monster. He looks like your wacky friend who decided to go as Marinara Hitler for Halloween. It’s like the elder-approved Devil costume for a bible camp play about the dangers of feeling happy. I mean, he looks more like an old cherry flavored Tootsie pop than a transfigured skull-Nazi.
When something bad happens in the life of a Batman fan they curse Joel Schumacher’s name. Ancient fan lore casts him as a mischievous imp who sneaks into the rooms of misbehaving children and leaves them copies of Batman Forever. He made a couple of bad Batman movies, is what I’m saying. To the point where he almost ended a huge billion-dollar franchise.
There are a lot of reasons for this and in some ways the costumes pale in comparison. Still, we won’t let them off the hook that easy. Look at them. They’re in borderline fetish gear. Supposedly, Joel wanted to model their look after Greek statues, but I really can’t remember the last Greek statue I’ve seen with bulging codpieces and nipple studs.
Both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin excel at horrible costumes, each one more impractical and weirdly erotic than the last. Most bad costumes steal the dignity of the person wearing them. These costumes steal your dignity. They punish you for looking at them. Ugh, look at you, they say, this is how you’re spending your time? How dare you.
No one remembers Steel. Not really. They remember that it happened, but they remember it like people remember New Coke. They can’t recall the experience of consuming it, but they know it was just… wrong. There are a lot of problems with this movie, but the most egregious is the suit.
Let’s break it down. It’s supposed to be this amazing technological marvel, like the suit from Iron Man, with all these gadgets and hidden functions. So what do they do (remember, its’ not just a suit of armor, it’s supposed to be a full-blown robot suit)? They anchor bits of foam and plastic to loose fitting chain-mail. They don’t even close the bottom half of his face! Or the bottoms of his hands! The movie plays the suit off like a walking tank, but it barely covers the easily hurtable parts of the face.
We can’t forget that this suit 100% does not look like steel. Or metal. It’s like a dull plastic painted a light gray. Sometimes in post, costumes will be corrected to look like this material or that, but this is a screen grab. This is what they thought looked good. This is a travesty.
So hopefully you now feel better about Red Tornado. More likely you feel bad about the rest of comic book adaptions. Look on the bright side. Supergirl might be a hit amongst CBS’ elderly viewers, earning them the same crack team that made Charlie Sheen look like a normal person instead of a cocaine fueled human-lizard hybrid.