Say what you wanna say about cosplayers. But some fans take their hero-costume game to the next level. It wasn't really all that long ago when all a fan needed to do to feel connected to the silver screens was buy a ticket to see a premiere. Wouldn't anyone stammer just a little if 'the man with no name' came into your coffee shop and ordered a double shot mocha 'punk' in a gravelly, smoke-ridden voice.
Then there came the era of the collector. People have always been avid collectors for as long as we can remember, whether it is books, ancient Egyptian artifacts, or movie prop memorabilia. Now with the hype of games and film, the over-commercialization of content and museums that celebrate merchandise halls of fame, fan love took a pop culturalist's delight and turned it into a passion. Even our acclaimed celebrities are hooked and they have their own tastes. Whether you love art like Brad Pitt, or vintage toys like Leonardo Di Caprio — there is clearly a need to feel more connected to our influences.
The next level of fandom is cosplay. It comes from that fire to feel connected to our favourite characters. Sir Ian McKellen once said that playing Gandalf as a fully interactive character, was the 'next best thing' to starring in the film itself. But some out there believe that to dress up as the scruffy-lookin' Han Solo, or rig a suit bringing your prop-mold making game to the armor of Destiny 2, makes you a different class of fan altogether.
20 Gen Con Cosplay With Teeth
Even if you're not a cosplayer, it's images like this that make you want to be. There is something awesome about seeing fan devotion being artistically realized. These hardcore Warhammer fans won 'best in show' at Gen Con's cosplay competition. It's not hard to see why. Weapon props just pop, and the armor looks like it was snatched out of a medieval king's treasure hoard.
Most of all, it's the edge that really catches in this piece. All the face tattoos, unruly hair and the dark, effects-shaded breastplates and shoulder guards make it hard to think its all make believe. Cap it off with a few wolf skins and stand in front of some old architecture and it's like these gents braved a blizzard just to get there!
19 Aiming For The Horizon
Thousands of years after the mysterious fall of mankind, the world is overrun with malicious herds of wild robots. In Horizon: Zero Dawn, Clan warriors and hunters hide in the grass to avoid detection. From the eerie gaze of a Sabre cat-like Sawtooth to the aggressive firepower of the dreaded Snapjaw, nowhere is safe.
One character is a shining beacon to others. This is the outcast Nora warrior, Aloy, who becomes a seeker who fellow warriors begin to rally behind. Along with impressive visuals of the game, such as the weather and lighting systems, Aloy is the centrepiece players can't take their eyes off. She's dynamic, resourceful, and owns that bow like a boss.
18 Got A Visual On The Enemy, Sir
Titanfall has it all. Cool combat gear, modded weapons, and exploration of the solar systems of 'The Frontier.' The thing that really makes this cosplay that much better is not just the attention to detail — it's the weathering. Carefully placed dust effects, worn in-field battle wear, and carbon scoring breathe life into the reality of an IMC pilot stranded in the rocky wastes of an unknown planet.
As the quality of games improves, fictional realities become more convincingly realistic. Gameplay mechanics and immersive, story-driven stories surrounding three-dimensional characters are now highly capable of landing us in an authentic experience. This is true of many titles that have that classic edge such as Last of Us and Battlefield 1.
17 Overlook Overwatch At Your Peril
When costumes are on point and there is no sign of out of place designs, magic happens. To be precise: it is this Overwatch cosplay, in particular, that begs the question if game development companies will release official wearable gear as part of their loot crates and exclusive content. Many games offer pre-order add-ons, but when they'll equip physical items and promote your game, it seems like a sure bet we'll see some official duds in the near future. That being said, there's no way anything will look quite as authentic as this incredible Overwatch cosplay does.
16 The God Of Death...And Comic Con?
Hela, the Asgardian God of Death, is the new villain shaking things up in Thor: Ragnarok. As if it wasn't already awesome enough that Jeff Golblum, Chris Hemsworth, and gladiatorial battle are featured in the dazzling retro trailers, Cate Blanchette is cast as the goddess with dominion over the dead. It is a move that first stunned people. Then, after rewatching all the promo teasers it makes sense. The Australian actress has not only made a name for herself with such films as Charlotte Grey and her acclaimed role as Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator, she was one of the elves of Lothlorien in Lord of the Rings. That scene where Frodo offers her the one ring and she transforms into a terrible dark queen gave the hobbit a look into the manipulative power of Sauron's weapon. If that is any precursor to what we might expect from Cate Blanchette in the third Thor film, then it could possibly be another hit for Marvel.
15 Suit Me Up Alfred
The Batman Arkham series created by Rocksteady Studios was a surprise hit. Fans of the caped crusader are always tentative when it comes to another adaptation and rightly so. Years on, and we still can't forget the legend of Batman and Robin that became a cult classic for all the wrong reasons. Namely how chaotically terrible it was. The video game tie-ins released by it and the predecessor, starring Val Kilmer, where over the excess cringe line.
But in the Batman: Arkham series, someone just mixed all the right ingredients. Rich, text wrapped characters, a beefed up superhero Batsuit and an addictive, button-smashing, combo fighting style won people over. Add to that the master acting talents, Kevin Conroy, who voiced the Dark Knight, and legend Mark Hamil as the Joker, and you've got a winning combination.
14 The Witcher Steps Out Of The Wilds
What does Geralt of Rivia, 'The White Wolf', do when he's had enough of monster hunting? Brush his gauntlets off and head indoors at the Boston Convention Centre, of course! For the uninitiated, the Witcher series was adapted from Andrzej Sapkowski's series by CD Projekt Red into one of the best selling, fantasy RPGs this side of the shire.
TV show presenter, Stephanie Bendixsen, who goes by the gamer alias, 'Hex,' called Witcher 3: Wild Hunt her favourite game of all time. It's not hard to see why. All gameplay and cutscenes aside (which are award-worthy), it is the picture of the lone wolf, the scarred 'Butcher of Blavikin' that's the crowning glory of that game. With all the voice actor's nuances and the famed Witcher's lethal fighting skill yet curious inability to express emotion, it makes for some interesting character development.
13 No One Expects The Dragon Age Inquisition!
Each piece here looks like it belongs in a museum. The shoulder guards and the chest and crown inquisitor medallions especially stand out. Then there's the gloves, that metallic-ungraded claw, and the fancy pommel fitted snugly to the belt. The colours jump and the materials look attractive.
Dragon Age: Inquisition introduced inquisitors as a playable class in the series' third installment. The inquisitor is charged with saving the world as it descends into chaos and factional warring. It is not just the blade and the strong arm that will save the lands of Thedas. It will take a strategic mind. The decisions gamers make ultimately change the way the story unravels.
12 It's Not Just About Puppies And Things You Love Goin' Boom
You know how people tell you not to stare because it's rude? Well, ignore that here. With a silver etched, crimson breastplate and boots that would make an Imperial Guard envious, this Destiny Warlock cosplay just sizzles. The design of the vestments and the red-painted gun show off the attention to detail even more. Like the Titanfall list entry that appeared earlier, the background adds some great rough edge in contrast to the spectacular appearance of this cosmic, interplanetary warrior.
In short, the Warlocks are a subclass of warrior that can wield powerful magic which they combine with their modern weapons. With styles and cosmic-mystic influences that have drawn on the peacekeeping, noble Jedi Knights, as well as a champion of Zion, the great Morpheus — the finished product speaks for itself.
11 Over There...In The Trees
What's more frightening than a race of grotesque-looking aliens that hunt humans for sport? Probably that alien queen ready for a close up with you and her retractable, fanged maw. While these guys wouldn't blend in at a cocktail party, the sci-fi horror genre will forever remember Predator hiding in the trees with its shadow-chameleon tech and running around spaceships from a dreaded, acid-blood alien.
The former did introduce us to the merc, 'Dutch,' and his classic catchphrases. At one point, nonother than the Mussels from Brussels, Jean Claude Van Damme, was supposed to wear the Predator suit. But that never happened for several reasons owing to things like terrible alien production designs and creative differences. It would have been cool to see Van Damme show off his moves. But then, at the end of the day, it was the invisible hunter that created most of the mystic of the 1987 classic, not an extraterrestrial kickboxer.
10 It's Morphin' Time!
Shiny metallic jumpsuits may be seen as tacky garb for martial arts experts, but if you can suspend disbelief and practicality for a moment, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers became a cult classic that drew fans from the world over. The diamond-patterned boots and gloves, brings 90s kids back into the primetime hits of the past. The effect mastered in this shot, however, is getting the whole team to stand in an iconic, battle-ready pose. It's like Zordon himself new of the battles youngsters of today would have to face and beamed the MMPR right out of a Haim Saban rerun.
9 Disperse Immediately, Citizens!
When Stallone stepped into the shoes of Mega City One's most feared judge, critics worldwide held hands and wept. Well, they didn't, but it was one of those failed comic book adaptions that tanked famously. Talk of rebooting Judge Dredd went on for several years after that film. But like in the case of no one wanting to touch a broken franchise after Joel Schumaker killed Batman, no one stepped up. That is, until the 2012 film, Dredd. Starring Karl Urban, it delivered the kind of tight-lipped, lethal enforcer audiences were dying to see. The critical reception was so good, in fact, that there's talk that it might be relaunched as a tv series with Urban at the helm. Who is the law? Dredd is the law.
8 Just A Supreme Being With A Multi-Pass!
It's been 20 years since Luc Besson brought us into the future world of The Fifth Element. Fans just can't get enough. Along with memorable characters like the square-jawed taxi driver, Korben Dallas, the metro Ruby Rhod, and the riveting operating performance of one blue-skinned alien Diva, the one that fan artists and cosplayers always return to is Leeloo. In a performance that matches up with the Jean Paul Gaultier's iconic costume style, Milla Jovovich embodies the powerful yet innocent supreme being: the fifth element that is meant to protect Earth from destruction. There's nothing else like it.
7 Warrior Takes The Road Less Traveled
Costumes work best when they speak to us. You can't just expect anyone to don the Assassin's Creed cowl or Mass Effect armour and expect to always pull it off. Sometimes it needs to look a little lived in. In the behind scenes extras of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the costume department talked about the stress techniques they put on Strider's Dunedin ranger garb to make it look more authentic. The same can be said of this Lara Croft cosplay. The shirt's a little torn, the cuffs are pulled back and there are marks on her hands. The Tomb Raider looks like she's ready to get her hands dirty.
6 Warcraft Knocks Out The Competition
You may not be a Warcraft fan, but looking at this fantasy armor might change your mind. Forget about Blizzard, the painted figures, board and video games and books for a moment. All of that is such a dizzying vault of content. Sometimes what we need is something visual. Something that is so aesthetically appealing that droves can't but help click the like button for the sheer beauty of this jaw-dropping, incredulous, eye-popping wearable art.
Back in 2004 when WoW first hit shelves, no one could anticipate exactly how popular it would become. Generations of teens and uni students shuttered themselves and starved themselves of the basic necessities of life for just a few more hours. Seemed like a decent trade. Legions of fans are what the next big thing, ambitious high-aimers hope for when they develop video games and movies. It's partly owing to that that has made other fantasy titles like Diablo, LOTR, and Dark Souls to endure.
5 'The' DemiGod Metal Fans Sauron And The Witch King
Who can forget that killer opening sequence of LOTR that packed pages of mythology, characters, and magic into a spellbinding opener? Sauron was a demigod that desired more power and influence over Middle Earth. In Tolkien style, many heroes and villans can have several names. Some of these include Gollum, who used to be the hobbit, Smeagol, and the great powerful Istari wizard, Gandalf, who goes by Gandalf the Grey, Gandalf Stormcrow, The White Rider, and Mithrandir. Sauron, on the other hand, was yet known by another name: 'The Necromancer.' One of his servants is shown here. He was one of the famed 9 mortal men who were doomed to die as they succumbed to the power of their rings. He was the leader of the Black Riders. But his proper, infamous name for which he turns cold the hearts of men is 'The Witch King of Angmar.'
4 Suiting Up Skyrim Style
If you've never heard of or delved into the worlds of Elder Scrolls, a good place to start is Skyrim. It does what the Final Fantasy series did to captivate us with FFVIII and FFX which threw us into a graphic-rich world to get lost in. In Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, you could easily get lost for hours doing quests and slowing down your steed's canter to a trot just to take in the beauty around you.
With a character customization level that outdoes Warcraft, players can move about the sandbox world at leisure. As you march over snowy mountains or through a forest next to babbling brooks, axe in hand, there's a real feel of the heroes adventure. When you're done defeating formidable foes and fire-breathing dragons, you can get more awesome content. In the DLC 'Heathfire,' for example, you can build your own home complete with an armory, stable and a garden. Everything an errant warrior needs!
3 Don't Cross The Streams!
One of the best lines of Ghostbusters is owned by natural talent, Bill Murray. When the team has reassembled after almost being blasted off a rooftop by Gozer the Destructor, they deploy their proton packs' particle throwers as Dr. Venkman yells: 'This chick is toast!'
What makes the difference between some mere Halloween 'dress up' and a damn good costume is the energy cosplayers put into their creations. They have got everything, right down to the black gloves, monogrammed jumpsuits and the alleged catheter tube the Ghostbusters were in case they wet themselves. These guys have proton packs that light up, vape steam and have some cool sound effects. But what makes it the coolest is the visual gag, movie reference that throws back to Egon Spengler's caution about crossing the streams of unlicensed, nuclear accelerators: 'Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.'
2 Have You Seen My Brother? Alphonse Goes Solo
Another acclaimed Manga series that got the anime treatment by the heroes at Bones Studio is Full Metal Alchemist. The story follows two state alchemists who travel the land performing duties for the high ranking flame alchemist, Roy Mustang. They also seek to find the elusive philosopher's stone that will hopefully someday return Ed's arm and leg and return Alphonse's armor-bonded spirit back to a corporeal body.
Although younger than his brother, Alphonse stands at an impressive height and bulk due to the design of the gunmetal grey, steel plates he wears. Tragically, the boy lost his physical form due to a Human Transmutation spell gone wrong where he and his brother sought to bring their dead mother back to life. But they failed to comprehend the arcane magic, as Alphonse explains the premise in the opening credits of the show: 'Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
1 Hulkbuster, Ironman And The First Avenger Oh My!
2008 is a year many Tony Stark fans are not likely to forget. Ironman has long been an animated and comic heavyweight among Marvel's great hero lineups. But it was when it was transformed to live action, pitting the wealthy Howard Hughes-styled entrepreneur against enemies in the east with his own personal power suit, effectively 'privatizing world peace' that he gained an even larger following. Next time he's up against a mighty foe, he should just lay the Smackdown on them with 'The Hulkbuster.' And he did that in Avengers: Age of Ultron where he, uh, bust up the Hulk. Or tried to.