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Five Live-Action Heroes Who Need a Mask


Masks are a staple of the superhero tradition on the printed page, but their inclusion on the big screen has been noticeably less guaranteed. That was bound to happen just as soon as big name actors started filling out the spandex, with film studios anxious to make sure movie going audiences are aware of the superstar playing the superhero. This has led to many superheroes going mask and helmet-less on their movie posters -– most notably Iron Man’s impractical appearance on the Marvel’s The Avengers poster -– if they even wear masks at all.

With the reveal that the titular hero on the CW’s Arrow will finally wear a mask following a season and a half of mask-less vigilante antics, we’ve pegged the five other heroes that need to follow Oliver Queen’s lead.

Falcon-160Anthony Mackie’s gone on record as saying that he wanted to rock Sam Wilson’s full-on spandex getup in next spring’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but early photos and trailers have shown that the high-flying hero will be sporting rather generic looking S.H.I.E.L.D. combat gear. That makes sense considering the character’s affiliation with the organization, but if he isn’t wearing something more in-line with his mentor Captain America’s colorful duds by the end of the film -– including Falcon’s mask -– then we’ll be very disappointed.

Iceman-160Bobby Drake’s mask may not be like most other superheroes’, but his iced-up visage has become the character’s most defining trait since his debut 50 years ago. Instead of depicting Iceman in his normal head-to-toe ice garb, actor Shawn Ashmore has appeared in three films wearing the black leather X-Men uniform, with his iconic ice look getting one cameo appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand. Next summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past could be our last chance to see Iceman on the big screen, and we want him to finally go full ice.

Thor-160Whether it’s a mask or a helmet, Thor’s always equipped with some serious headgear in the comics. His winged helmet has become his signature item, second only to Mjolnir, and as Eric Masterson the Asgardian hero even added a metal mask to his look. Thor’s helmet is readily available for purchase in every toy aisle across America, but kids who just saw Thor: The Dark World probably won’t recognize it. Chris Hemsworth’s hair is so notable that pretty much every filmmaker in charge of it decides to let it flow free, keeping the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s mightiest Avenger separated from his most awesome accessory. Here’s hoping Thor will suit up for real in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Hawkeye-160The Marvel Cinematic Universe tends to keep one foot in the classic Marvel Comics universe and another in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe. The exception is Hawkeye, the lone Avenger that feels purely of the Ultimate Universe thanks to his standard S.H.I.E.L.D. costume and lack of a mask. Hawkeye’s mask has become one of the most instantly recognizable in comics, and it’s one that I bet Jeremy Renner’s interpretation of the character wouldn’t mind having. Unlike his teammates, who are either out to the public, wear a mask or aren’t from this Earth, Hawkeye has a secret identity he might want to keep control of.

Wolverine-160As we recently learned, James Mangold included Logan’s costume in a deleted scene from this past summer’s The Wolverine. Why are you messing with us, Mangold? Wolverine has one of the most instantly recognizable masks in all of comics, and he has not worn it once in any of his six feature film appearances. Yes his mask is a little goofy, and yes, the one in the deleted scene kind of looked like a high-end kids toy, but we won’t be able to judge the mask’s actual onscreen potential until it’s on Hugh Jackman’s face as he rips up ninjas. Remember how everyone thought Wolverine’s haircut would be impossible to translate onto film, and then remember how they somehow made it work? The same can be done for his mask. Make it happen.


  • Scott

    Mangold’s been quoted on SHH that they ditched the costume scene because some peope in the test udiencedidn’t realise what it was and also to avoid making anyne making another X-flick beholen to like 5 seconds of screentime.

  • martymcfly160

    all im sayin is the mask of wolverine can work in a live action movie. . . in just saying
    and as seen here

  • Ivan Krolo

    Wolverine really doesn’t need his mask or costume. He looks the most badass in civies, its not like hes a super hero and needs to protect his identity so a costume is a necessity.

  • Ivan Krolo

    Not a necessity is what I meant.

  • Katja

    I loved Hawkeye’s old costumes, but that mask would just look ridiculous.

  • Sanchez Martin

    His old mask, yes his mask just before his crappy costume revamp of marvel now, no. His heroic age costume was by far the best designed so far.

  • kalorama

    Why would movie Hawkeye need a mask? He’s a SHIELD agent, not a vigilante. Really, none of those characters needs a mask, in the movies or in the comics. Falcon’s ID hasn’t been an actual secret for years in the comics. This entire thing is just one long “It’s not just like the comics! It should be just like the comics! Why isn’t it just like the comics?!” screed.

  • andrew11

    Ad execs, directors, stars, studio heads… no one wants to cover up the star’s face for half the film. Especially the star himself.

    It can sometimes take away from the drama – particularly in Spider-man, when moments of heightened drama were just two static images of masked men. Why do you think heroes always end up with their masks torn/off during the big emotional climax?

  • Spiderpope

    Mangold. Every time i see the director of ‘The Wolverine’ mentioned i have to pause a while and say his surname a few times.



    Carry on.

  • Poochy

    He looks absolutely ridiculous in those movies. Particularly the unwieldy latex mask.

    Yellow in the jungle? Really?

  • dantes342

    Most of these masks would look absolutely ridiculous onscreen. It’s ludicrous.

  • demoncat_4

    maybe days of future past will finaly include wolverine finaly in a mask and ice man full iced for one has to remember that some things in a comic when translated to film does not work. including proably a mask on hawkeye and the falcons orginal look

  • Thawed

    Those are typically horrible Hollywood thought processes.

  • dregj

    every single one of those characters would look awful in a mask

  • RY33

    Since Wolverine kind of has a distinctive face and hairdo and leaves a body count where ever he goes, yeah! He needs a mask.

  • PietroMaximoff

    IMHO Hawkeye does not need a mask.
    if u really need a reference to the comics so badly, just make him wear the glasses all the time. or even that full purple mask from Ultimates 3.

    i really hope they would find a way to make wolverine’s mask work. Heck! all the x-men costumes should resemble more the comics. they made it work in First Class!! :)

  • Poochy

    Need we remind you how f@cking ridiculous Fassbender looked at the end of the film when he was wearing his helmet and purple outfit!

    The First Class uniforms were OK – but again, no one wore a mask.

  • Drew Greene

    Since no one had brought it up (or is willing to admit to having seen it) Iceman did go full ice in his battle against Pyro in X-Men: The Last Stand.

  • Eno Har

    This article actually reminds me how old fashioned and silly some of the masks look.I agree with Ice man. And maybe Thor can wear the helmet for a final battle scene. Otherwise I’d just leave things the way they are.

  •!/ David R. Schmitt

    The article mentions it. “With his iconic ice look getting one cameo appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand.”

  • Tophman

    I don’t mind Wolverine not wearing a mask. The trademark hair & permanent scowl on is face is enough for me.

    I agree that Falcon should really sport the red & white color scheme at some point in “Winter Soldier”… it’s just wrong to have him look like another SHIELD grunt. At least they gave him some stylized goggles… you figure if he’s flying that fast, streamlined eyewear is mandatory.

    Hawkeye … that is iconic, yes… but it’s also ridiculous as masks go. Just have him stick with his shades. I wouldn’t mind seeing more purple (little hints of it would be nice) in his movie costume though.

    Hmmm, now that I think about I can’t really picture Hemsworth’s helmet from memory… hahah… guess he really didn’t wear it all that much for it to sink in.

    I for one would rather NOT have Chris Evans wear is awful Cap ‘mask-lmet’. I always thought he looked disproportionate (probably due to his small head & big bulked up torso –like a Rob Liefeld drawing) so I’m happy to see him without it most of the time (besides, everyone knows Steve is Cap so there’s really no point to the mask). Happy to see Cap in the “Super Soldier” costume in “Winter Soldier” (he sported it in the comics while Bucky was the ‘new Cap’ & he was the director of SHIELD).

  • Drew Greene

    I’ll be damned, it is there. Somehow I missed that in my initial reading.

  • dekko

    The only one here I agree with is Thor. Mostly because it’s a helmet which protects his head and also because he’s already been seen wearing it. It’s a shame they only used it the one time.

    Cockrum did the best thing for Wolverine by giving him such a distinctive look that he doesn’t need a mask to be recognized.

    Falcon is a regular guy who flies around. He needs a helmet/headgear at the very least. If there are laws where you have to wear one while riding a bicyle, Sam should have some kind of headgear.

    Hawkeye should have some kind of modified eyewear which makes sense. Even something to cover his features as a covert agent makes sense. The comic book mask does not make sense.

    Regarding Iceman, never mind the iceform. I want to see ice-slides!

  • sowat

    FIRST, I know comics aren’t real… but there’s usually some level of realism. It’s why Batman’s in armor in the movies, not just because spandex would look silly, it’s just impractical that anybody doing things this dangerous would have nothing less than some kind of armor. It’s even being reflected in current comics, everyone from Batman and the JLA to many X-Men, a bunch of armor.

    For the same reasoning, I’m not sure why more characters, comic or movie, don’t have masks or helmets, not just for style, but protection. If all of this were real, suspend your belief for a second, there’s no way I’d go out and risk getting shot at, falling from tall heights, being exposed to fire, getting hit at and caught in explosions without something on my head to protect it. Not all characters need something, Wolverine wouldn’t have as much use beyond style, but non powered people like Hawkeye and Falcon, if I were a villain, I’d always aim for their head, no question. No, comics aren’t real, but on some level masks and helmets just make practical sense, for the same reason headgear is work while riding motorcycles and doing other things.

  • Acroyear

    With that giant “H” on his forehead I’ve always viewed Hawkeye’s cowl as a one-off of Captain America’s. If they have to constantly fudge and fiddle with Cap’s mask in the movies how could they make Hawkeye’s old mask work?

  • Alex W

    Wouldn’t the mask be just as distinctive as his face? If anything he’ll just stick out more.

  • QueerJock2

    I disagree with several of these. I don’t feel Hawkeye needs a costume. If anything, his SHIELD status quo in the movies makes the mask even less necessary.

    As for Falcon, I’m pretty sure the big farkin’ wings jetting off his back are “Costumey” enough. The movies have all been huge hits with the general public so I’d also argue the assertion that they “need” to be wearing comic-accurate costumes is pretty subjective in itself. They’ve clearly been doing fine without them.

  • Cap Roberts

    Actors don’t want to cover their face with a mask. Goes back to days of Zorro with Tyrone Power. Movie producers are simply afraid of negative reaction if they get too “comicky”.

  • Po

    The biggest problem for me with Wolverine putting on his iqoniq costume now would be, why? After six movies and all that time (time in there universe) why all of a sudden would he randomly put on a costume and mask.
    -Hey I´m Wolverine and I´m gonna start wearing this yellow spandex for no reason, deal with it!

  • Max Steel

    Wolverine’s mask: i don’t care,he looks fine
    Iceman’s iced-up: it happened in the movie
    Falcon’s mask: he didn’t need it,looks great
    Thor’s helmet: oh god yes!,he look sooooo dump and ridiculous without the helmet on.
    Hawkeye’s mask: like the haters said “without a mask,we still hate him”,i with them for now.