Given all the punches, throws, and general punishment Marvel’s heroes take in their films, privilege isn’t one of the first things you’d think of. But the male actors who play these roles have been vocal in their complaints about how uncomfortable their superhero get-ups are, and in doing so, according to Evangeline Lilly (The Wasp in Ant-Man and The Wasp), they’re revealing how easy they’ve had it compared to non-fictional women out in the everyday world.
Paul Bettany—for years the off-screen voice of Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S. and now playing Vision in the Avengers series since the Avengers: Age of Ultron—told USA Today, “I do everything I can not to get into that suit. It takes 3 1/2 hours to put it all on. And it takes me about .30 seconds to take it off. I just rip it.”
Paul Bettany as Vision (Credit: Marvel)
Bettany adds, “It’s pretty painful, it’s uncomfortable. You’re working in it for 10 hours and not really being able to hear well. There’s only this much of your face open to the air. The first day is not the problem. The second day is not the problem. The third day gets a bit tough. By the fourth and fifth day of the week, you are really having to meditate on the line of actors, thousands of them, who would love to be in your position.”
Lilly asks BackstageOL, “Do I have the most comfortable suit in the MCU or have men not had the life experience of being uncomfortable for the sake of looking good?”
Lilly presents her theory. (Credit: BackstageOL)
Another actor suffering for his art is Chadwick Boseman in his costume as Black Panther. “It’s hot. It’s blazing hot. Listen, it’s so hot. I’ve never been that hot before in my life, seriously,” Boseman told Business Insider. His Avengers co-star Jeremy Renner backs him up: “Terrible, sweating—if it takes you 30 minutes to go to the bathroom, that’s a problem.”
Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther (Credit: Marvel)
Lilly gets the bathroom part: “The idea that it took, like three people to get me in and out of the suit, and to go to the bathroom I needed to ask for help. I felt like I was three years old again.”
The actors in the MCU do also talk about how grateful they are for their jobs. Still, there’s a lot of, let’s just say “oversharing.” And it’s not as if the costumes of female characters have been much more comfortable, but there’s definitely been less grousing from them.
Lilly’ recalls, “I have been hearing Marvel male superheroes complain about their suits for years. And I got into my suit and I was wearing it, working in it, doing my thing, and I was like, ‘It’s just not that bad.” In fact, Lilly says, “I love my suit. I think my suit is killer. I think my suit is so cool. I think it’s powerful, it’s modern, it’s strong, sexy, and it made me feel like a superhero.”
Henry Cavill as Superman (Credit: DC)
Not that the complaints about such costumes are restricted to the MCU—it’s a DC thing, too. Henry Cavill has said of his Superman suit, ”I’d make mine a bit more flexible. Mine’s basically a onesie, so it’s tough to sit down.” Christian Bale complained of terrible headaches from his first Batman suit, so, as Cinema Blend notes, “it wasn’t until The Dark Knight that a live-action cinematic Bruce Wayne was able to turn his head while dressed as Batman.”
The Wasp knows why: “They’re just like, ‘What is this? This sucks. Why are we… why? Why do I have to go through this?” But it’s nothing new to women. “Whereas a woman’s like, ‘I don’t know. This is like normal,” Lilly says. “I wear heels to work. I’m uncomfortable all day. You get used to it. You tune it out.’”