Whether in the MCU or DCU, one of the best things about comic book movies is seeing iconic superheroes brought to life. This includes the many heroes who wear armor and how their suits get translated into the medium of live-action. While not every superhero movie armor is stellar, some hit the mark quite well, including those that end up exceeding expectations as some of the greatest superhero armors of all time.
During this current Hollywood age of ongoing superhero cinema, there are plenty of examples of armored superheroes coming to the big screen. One of the first and most prominent examples is of course Iron Man with the dawn of the MCU in 2008. However, the most recent example would be in DC’s Blue Beetle currently in theaters. Keeping that in mind, here are 15 of the best superhero armors ranked.
15 Iron Monger
Debuting alongside Tony Stark’s very first Iron Man armor in the MCU, Iron Man’s primary villain Obadiah Stane had the Iron Monger mech-suit built from the remains of the Mark 1 armor Stark used to escape his imprisonment in the Middle East. As a result, the Iron Monger was the perfect mirror to Iron Man, an intimidating example of what could be done with his technology if put in the wrong hands.
14 Kang The Conqueror’s Armor
Featured in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Kang the Conqueror’s armor is a solid translation of his style in the original Marvel Comics. Incorporating his blue face into the mechanics of his suit as an added layer of protection, the armor definitely made Kang an imposing villain, providing him with all sorts of weapons and defenses while fighting Ant-Man’s family and the resistance they’d formed in the Quantum Realm, an exciting tease for Kang’s future in the MCU such as with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty with his countless variants in the multiverse.
13 War Machine
Tony Stark’s best friend, Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes received his own suit after forcibly taking the Mark II from a drunk and irresponsible Stark in Iron Man 2. Outfitted with a massive arsenal thanks to the United States Air Force and weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer, the Mark II was the first of a few different iterations of the War Machine armor, the latest version featured in Avengers: Endgame being much bulkier with heavier armor. As such, it will be interesting to see what kind of War Machine armor Rhodey will don in his upcoming movie Armor Wars.
12 Pepper Potts’ RESCUE Armor
Forged for his wife during the five-year Blip, the RESCUE armor made by Tony Stark was worn by Pepper Potts during Endgame’s Battle for Earth against Thanos and his forces. Fighting side by side with Iron Man, seeing Pepper in action as an Avenger was a key highlight of the final battle, as well as the fact that her armor remained very faithful to the RESCUE armor seen in the original comics.
11 Aquaman Armor
Found by Arthur Curry along with the Trident of Atlan in 2018’s Aquaman, the armor of King Atlan became Curry’s official armor as the new King of Atlantis. It’s also a strong recreation of Aquaman’s costume in the original DC Comics, and its look as more of a heavier armor allows the orange and green aesthetic to be taken more seriously (especially when worn by Aquaman actor Jason Momoa).
Loosely based on the team of the same name from Marvel Comics, Big Hero 6 stars young Hiro Hamada and his robot Baymax. Although Baymax was designed by his older brother Tadashi to be a healthcare provider, Hiro forged armor for Baymax as well as himself, turning the both of them into a superhero duo allied with the rest of their friends. As such, the armor’s flight capabilities and rocket fists are rather impressive, hilariously turning such a lovable and squishy robot into a very capable hero in the city of San Fransokyo.
9 Thor’s Sakaaran Battle Armor
As seen in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, the Son of Odin was captured and turned into a gladiator for the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions on the world of Sakaar. Wearing leather padding as well as various pieces of armor, Thor’s Sakaaran style was one of his best with his shorter hair and half-cape. The helmet he wore while facing the Hulk also resembles a more futuristic version of his classic helmet seen in the original comics.
Featured in 2017’s Justice League while given the screen time he deserved in Zack Snyder’s Justice League release on HBO Max in 2021, Vic Stone’s Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and the armor he received from his father’s Mother Box experimentation is quite impressive. Although he initially saw his new cyborg body as a curse, the powers Victor Stone received allowed him to help save the world alongside his fellow heroes. Likewise, the overall design of the robotic components is visually stunning with the armor’s ability to transform, providing Stone with various defenses and weapons depending upon his need.
7 Spider-Man’s Iron Spider
Worn in the MCU by Spider-Man as the second suit made for Peter Parker by Tony Stark, Spider-Man wore the Iron Spider armor after joining Iron Man in Avengers: Infinity War as they headed to space to confront Thanos, hoping to prevent the Mad Titan’s quest to collect all the Infinity Stones. Likewise, the Iron Spider armor and its multiple arms were largely inspired by the suit of the same name in the comics, making subsequent appearances in Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, it seems the Iron Spider suit is no more after its components were used to make Peter’s Integrated Suit in No Way Home.
6 Blue Beetle
Having recently made its live-action debut in 2023’s Blue Beetle, the sentient alien armor which bonded to Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) is very cool. With the full suit largely being practical (including the insectoid legs on the back), Blue Beetle’s armor feels incredibly tangible and real compared to recent superhero suits, even as the Scarab Khaji Da creates all kinds of weapons for Reyes to use in the new movie via CGI. It’s also a very impressive adaption of the suit seen on the page.
5 Batman’s Anti-Superman Armor
As seen in 2015’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne’s Batman was determined to kill Superman, as he initially could only see the threat Kal-El’s power posed to the rest of the world. Forging an array of Kryptonite weapons, Batman also made his own heavy armor complete with a dynamic helmet resembling his cowl with glowing white eyes, a callback to the cowl typically seen in the comics. It’s certainly become one of Batman’s most intimidating, memorable, and unique live-actions styles.
Although he was only featured at the end of both versions of Justice League, the armor worn by Slade Wilson’s Deathstroke is absolutely iconic. Featuring all kinds of weapons and tactical gear, this classic DC assassin brought to life by actor Joe Manganiello was not someone to be trifled with. However, it seems as though this version of Deathstroke and his future wasn’t meant to be with a new DCU being envisioned by DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran. Regardless, Deathstroke never looked better.
3 Black Panther
While his future suits were impressive with their nanotechnology and use of vibranium defenses, it’s hard to beat Black Panther’s original armor seen in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Even though King T’Challa’s sister Shuri made fun of her brother’s original armor in 2018’s Black Panther and the need to take his helmet on and off, the interwoven armor and silver detailing provided a near-perfect debut for the MCU’s Black Panther all the same, making it one of the best superhero armors of all time.
Featured in both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War, the Hulkbuster armor in live-action will always be a triumph for superhero armor. A massive mech-suit that allowed Tony Stark to take on Bruce Banner’s Hulk, their massive brawl in Johannesburg is still one of the MCU’s greatest hits, especially after the Hulkbuster armor emerged victorious by successfully knocking out the Jade Giant (even if it did require bringing down an entire building on top of Banner). Likewise, Banner using the Hulkbuster in Infinity War when the Hulk refused to help was a truly epic flipping of the script.
1 Iron Man’s Best Armor (Mark LXXXV)
Tony Stark made close to 100 different suits of armor in the MCU, but his final armor was his best. The Mark 85 was the armor Tony died in, giving his life in Endgame to save the world from Thanos using the Infinity Stones’ power. Likewise, the armor is largely inspired by Iron Man in the comics as he was drawn by artist Steve Ditko with the added gold on the arms. The suit’s use of nanotechnology allowed Iron Man to wield the Stones and save the MCU, making the armor one of the best (if not the best) armor in the superhero movie genre, be it MCU or DCU overall.