We currently live in the golden age of superheroes on film, but the cinematic comic book bliss we are currently experiencing did not happen in a vacuum; there were a lot of growing pains to reach this point. One such growing pain was making comic book costumes work on screen. For some, there is still a ways to go and they won’t be happy until the cinematic depictions of these characters match their comic book counterparts. You can count Falcon actor, Anthony Mackie, among that group. He wants his Falcon to get the character’s traditional red and white, form-fitting costume. Anthony Mackie has made his desires known too, as he explained:
Keep fighting the good fight, Anthony. Championing Falcon’s red and white spandex outfit tells us two things about Anthony Mackie: he knows and respects the roots of this character and he is very confident in his physique. The MCU Falcon does have red and white cues on his wings and body armor, but they bears little overall resemblance to the spandex clad look he sported in the comics. Anthony Mackie’s comments at ACE Comic Con (via Fanfest) are funny to hear and keep hope alive for all those Falcon purists out there (anyone?). But despite his best efforts, I don’t think we are quite to the point where a red and white Falcon will pass muster on-screen. But who knows, maybe he’ll get his bird Redwing as a consolation rather than have it just be a drone. And with Phase 4 right around the corner and potentially drastic changes to the MCU and the Avengers lineup, how better to demarcate the transition than with some fresh new threads.
It has taken some time, but superhero films are becoming increasingly comic-booky and more visually congruent with the source material, especially the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Back when this golden age was in its infancy, the original X-Men films eschewed the brightly colored spandex costumes of the comics and instead clad the mutant heroes in black leather. Spandex may look great on the page worn by carved from granite characters, but it doesn’t translate easily to the big screen. To this day we’ve still never seen Wolverine in his iconic yellow and blue, but perhaps that will change soon. Adopting a militaristic, tactical look that has practical application was the go-to strategy for costumes for some time. But now even though costumes may have a functional look to them, they still maintain the spirit and hallmarks of the comic book depictions.
It is fascinating to think about the evolution of superhero costumes on screen. Audiences were given something more palatable around 2000 with X-Men and they were slowly introduced to comic book characters, stories and concepts. As time went on, their sense of disbelief allowed for greater forays into comic-bookyness until we reached the point where we are at today. Now no one bats an eye at Deadpool’s suit or Groot or Hela’s ostentatious headdress. As long as we continue on this trend, there is always the possibility of the comics being expressed more fully on screen. Maybe we’ll get an actual giant dude Galactus next time instead of a cloud. Maybe the next Wolverine will wear that bright blue and yellow. And maybe Falcon will get to wear red and white spandex. I wouldn’t count on that last one though.
You can next see Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson taking on Thanos’ Black Order in Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters on May 4. For all the latest in brightly colored spandex advocacy, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.