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What is the Reason Behind the Prevalence of CGI Costumes in Marvel & DC Superhero Movies?

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Superhero suits in films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and DC Universe (DCU) are often CGI-altered, even in non-combat scenes. This choice is made to provide a seamless and visually stunning appearance. Practical superhero suits can be uncomfortable and impractical for actors, leading them to prefer CGI alternatives. CGI suits can also save time and allow for flexibility in design changes during post-production.

In both the MCU and DCU, CGI is used to create the fantastical elements required for superhero films. This includes the hero suits worn by the actors. While behind-the-scenes footage often shows actors wearing practical suits, the final version seen in the film is usually CGI-altered. This is true even for non-combat scenes. Although it may seem impractical to make digital changes in post-production, there are several reasons why both Marvel and DC choose this route.

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Practical superhero suits can be incredibly uncomfortable for actors. They are often skin-tight and made from heavy, hot materials. For example, Robert Downey Jr, who portrays Iron Man, explained that the original Iron Man helmet completely blinded him. By the time of “Infinity War” and “Endgame,” he requested a CGI replacement. Christian Bale, who played Batman, also experienced discomfort in his Batsuit, citing difficulty breathing and headaches caused by the helmet. Hence, many long-term actors in the MCU and DCU opt for CGI suits that provide comfort.

Design changes to superhero suits may occur after filming. Directors and studios decide which elements of a hero’s suit to include, and they may change their minds during or after production. Creating a whole new practical suit and filming reshoots is not feasible. Moreover, both Marvel and DC have extensive histories and comic variations, offering endless possibilities for superhero suits. CGI allows for easy design changes without the need for reshoots. For example, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel suit in “Avengers: Endgame” was swapped out using CGI to better fit the character’s arc.

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Time constraints in large-scale productions also contribute to the choice of CGI suits. Marvel and DC movies operate on tight timelines, and each department must meet their deadlines. Approval for every little detail beforehand is challenging. Choosing CGI suits from the start saves time, as certain parts of production can be done later in the timeline when all scenes are filmed. It is also more efficient, considering the frequent changes in studio design choices. However, overworked CGI artists remain a concern in the industry.

Even if practical superhero suits were used in every scene, creases and folds would appear when actors move. This can be particularly problematic for franchises with heavy action sequences. While some argue that creases add realism, both Marvel and DC prefer form-fitting and perfected looks. Digital suits or touch-ups on practical suits help achieve this appearance.

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In conclusion, the use of CGI superhero suits in the MCU and DCU films is primarily driven by the comfort of the actors, the need for design changes, time constraints, and the desire for a polished, form-fitting appearance. While some fans criticize the use of CGI, it is a necessary choice for these studios to bring their superhero visions to life on the big screen.

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