The translation of superhero costumes from comic books to the big screen is always going to be a major point of contention. The suits that appear in comics are perfectly form-fitting, and the masks don't cut off circulation or make it hard to breathe. The same can’t be said for the suits that characters have to wear in movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Justice League. Actors in these films don’t just have to put on uncomfortable superhero costumes – some of their garb even puts them in danger in the pursuit of a cool visual.
Some actors who hated their costumes complained because they felt like they looked goofy in their suits, while other had nervous breakdowns. Many of these performers were forced to train for months just to get their bodies in shape for a form-fitting leather outfit. It’s not easy being a superhero, regardless of whether you’re fighting for Marvel or DC.
Michelle Pfeiffer's turn as Catwoman in Tim Burton's Batman Returns is one of the most perfectly unhinged performances in superhero film history. The suit, which was basically just stitched together latex, really helped Pfeiffer's extreme characterization. According to Pfeiffer, getting into the suit was a Herculean effort:
It was the most uncomfortable costume I've ever been in. They had to powder me down, help me inside and then vacuum-pack the suit. They'd paint it with a silicon-based finish to give it its trademark shine. I had those claws, and I was always catching them in things. The face mask was smashing my face and choking me... we had a lot of bugs to work out.
Chadwick Boseman, who portrays Black Panther, is frank about how uncomfortable it is to get suited up for work. After appearing in Captain America: Civil War, he said that the suit is "hot. It's blazing hot. Listen, it's so hot. I've never been that hot before in my life, seriously." He also said that getting into the suit is "not cute."
The Black Panther suit is apparently so uncomfortable that his co-stars developed sympathy pains for him. Elizabeth Olsen told /Film, "[Boseman] has the worst costume." Jeremy Renner agreed, saying, "Cap would complain about his cowl and it's like dude, [Boseman's] got three on!... If it takes you 30 minutes to go to the bathroom, that's a problem."
Out of all the superhero suits, it seems the costumes that appear in the Batman films are the hardest to wear. In Christian Bale's three appearances as the Dark Knight, he never once had a comfortable outfit. He explained:
When it gets cold the cowl is extremely tight, and it gets better the warmer I get it; it becomes more flexible. But after a couple of takes I was trying to breathe properly in my nose. I was starting to see stars and I said "I have to take this off." And thank God on [The Dark Knight Rises] I can – on Batman Begins I couldn’t – so I had to get inside because I couldn’t let anybody see me without the cowl. It never looks how it feels. It’s so weird.
When it comes to complicated superhero costumes, the Winter Soldier doesn't immediately come to mind – it's just a big plastic suit with a face mask. But that mask is apparently hell for anyone who's mildly claustrophobic. Sebastian Stan discussed his hate for the mask at length:
The mask was really tough at times because, when we were fighting out in the June or July sun and we were just doing those sequences, I would just have to literally rip it off my face and just breathe. And that was a little bit tough.
But the whole process of putting that thing on was about 30 to 40 minutes. Taking it off is 30 to 40 minutes. So in the process of putting it on, there was always that thing of like, "All right, well, here we go," you know. And then, of course, there were moments where it was like, "Oh my God, please get me out of this. I think I’m going to fall over. I know I’m going to pass out today."