Cover A retro Scarlet Witch moment (Photo: Marvel Studios)

With so many characters and costumes to choose from in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it might be a challenge to narrow it down to a few, but these are our ten picks of the year

It’s quite incredible what Marvel has been able to achieve over the past few years with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)—not only having brought a whole host of characters alive, but also weaving them into each other’s stories for future purpose and possibilities of crossovers. Good for them, and great for fans.

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As viewers, we’ve been given a variety of characters to follow, and half of that is admiring their cool costumes and accessories they’re decked out in to do some world saving (or destroying). Yes, there are many moments to choose from, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top ten picks in no particular order:

Spiderman

The Spider-Man suit is a classic—the red, blue and black webbing are so essential to the suit that it’s never needed a serious upgrade because that would seriously detract from the character that we know and love. Since acquiring the Spider-Man franchise in 2015, Marvel have been careful to just add subtle tech details to signify this is their version of Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland).

Scarlet Witch

WandaVision was our personal favourite Marvel project this year, and it’s probably to do with the fact that we got so much fantastic decade dressing. For us it was a tie between Wanda Maximoff’s (played by Elizabeth Olsen) Halloween costume of her own classic Scarlet Witch outfit as inspired by the comics, and her modern take on the look when she’s realised the full extent of her power.

Black Panther

Honestly speaking, Black Panther has hands down the best dressed cast of characters. From the casual clothes they wear to the traditional African-inspired armour they don for war, the details are meticulous and don’t stop coming. The Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) suit is a seriously cool take on a big cat, especially with the necklace being the source of the suit, but can we also just appreciate this slick business look from him and his inner circle? The modern cuts blended with African jewellery is giving us everything.

Nebula

Nebula (played by Karen Gillian) is one of the most tragic characters in the MCU. Pitted against her sister Gamora by their father Thanos to battle for their worth, the punishment is so extreme that they have a limb replaced with metal when they lose, and Nebula is seen as a disappointment because she is almost entirely a cyborg. But that means she’s also one of the most interesting characters to look at. Her strength and rage against her sister (and honestly, everyone around her) is emphasised by her bald metal head and cold piercing eyes, and her blue tinged skin adds variety to the host characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Hulk

Okay, technically Hulk doesn’t wear anything, save for shorts, but when Bruce Banner (played by Mark Ruffalo) is in permanent Hulk mode, we love that he still wears smart casual at Avengers HQ. Look at this cardigan for example—we know they obviously have a lot of money and tech to make whatever they want, but it’s this extra-large cardigan we can’t get over. Did he get it fitted? It is cashmere? Does he have multiple in different colours? We have so many questions.

Hela

Yes, Thor and Loki have style and grace and plenty of character written into their costumes, but their sister Hela (played by Cate Blanchett) is astonishing. An evil demoness with the power of being a Firstborn to the throne of Asgard, Hela obviously needs to look the part, and she seriously delivers—her thorny crown incites fear alone, but her high neck suit with cut-out shoulders and (optional) sweeping cape make it known that she is someone to fear.

Shang-Chi

The Asian representation is giving us all sorts of tingles, and we’re so happy to finally have a Chinese character proud to share his heritage. Shang-Chi (played by Simu Liu) wears a red suit with a ¾ length sleeve, obviously a practicality to show off the ten rings where he draws his power from, but we love the Chinese knot embroidered on his chest too. Symbolically, knots ward off evil spirits, and this is a core aspect of the story, so the detail doesn’t go unmissed. Special shoutout to his sister Xialing (played by Meng’er Zhang) and her sharp bob haircut.

Dr Strange

Edna Mode from The Incredibles would disagree, but we love capes! Dr Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) totally deserves a cape, especially with all the temporal and dimensional travelling he does, so swishing past the light of his spells requires an accessory that will appropriately flourish. The high collar on the cape emphasises his curled quiff, and we love that this man is further accessorising by wearing a massive (and powerful) amulet, also known as the Eye of Agamotto.

Black Widow

 Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson) is one of the few characters that doesn’t rely on cosmic powers or custom weapons. She’s a certified badass who can fight and maim with her hands and strategy, and we certainly wouldn’t want to be on her bad side. The latest Black Widow film finally tells us the backstory of how Natasha Romanoff came to be, and we’re really into all the skin-tight suits she’s rocking. This white one offsets her signature red hair perfectly, and we love the Russian winter energy we’re getting from the overall look.

Kingo

Hooray for more representation! If there’s something that Marvel has been more aware of in recent years, it’s the demand for characters reflecting the myriad of people who are watching their films. Kingo (played by Kumail Nanjiani) is the first South Asian superhero in Eternals, and this celestial being disguised as a Bollywood actor is proudly wearing rich purple sherwani-inspired armour in style. The gold detailing makes him look elegant, and we love the mixed metal going on with the silver plating too. A superhero that's super on trend.

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