One of the most unusual coincidences in fantasy storytelling are the amount of times female characters seem to misplace their clothes. Or that nothing better prepares a young woman for battle than flashing some cleavage.

Not that male characters are any less victims of crimes of fashion: see George Clooney's rubber nipples for more on that.

But as Justice League sparks controversy for its scantily-clad Amazonian ensembles, we've taken a look back at some of film's most ludicrously sexualised costumes.

Justice League (2017)

In the days before the release of Justice League, DC's super-powered team-up movie, fans noticed that the Amazonian warrior women depicted in the film had undergone a bit of a wardrobe change since their last appearance in a DC film.


In comparison to the battle-ready wardrobe worn by the same characters in Wonder Woman, the Justice League warriors appear to have walked out of a sexy deodorant commercial.

Rather than sporting protective headgear and abdominal armor, these warriors are all about belly-flashing and bustiers.

It's also worth noting that the Wonder Woman costumes were designed by a woman, Lindy Hemming, while costume designer Michael Wilkinson was responsible for the Justice League ensembles. Makes you think...

Sean Connery in Zardoz (1974)

Sean Connery, fresh from James Bond, thought the best way to demonstrate his range was to dress up in a red nappy and black knee-length leather boots and with nothing but two belts strapped across his nipples.

Zardoz, as John Boorman's post-apocalyptic thriller was titled, was a critical and commercial disaster, but it did bless us with one of the most eye-wateringly bizarre costumes in cinema history.

Oddly, Connery didn't appear to have any worries about the costume while on the set. As Boorman told Vulture in 2014: "I said: 'This is what you've got. This is what you're going to wear.' So he'd put it on and say, 'Okay.' There was never any argument."

Halle Berry in Catwoman (2004)

Unexpectedly, Halle Berry's horrendously shredded costume is one of the least heinous things in her doomed Catwoman vehicle, which also sees her crawling around on all fours eating cat food and battling the CEO responsible for an evil face cream.

But that costume is still indefensible. An ensemble that proves the old adage "less is more" is unrelenting hooey, Berry prowls the streets in a torn, backless leather outfit comprising of camouflage slashes along the thighs and rear, a leather push-up bra and barely-there belts strapped across her abs.

Berry, who later referred to the film as a "piece of s---", described the costume in 2003 as "very bare, very urban and very downtown." Which is industry speak for "bad idea".

Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell in Batman Forever (1995) / Batman & Robin (1997)

Then again, Berry had form when it came to inappropriate outfits in the Batman franchise. Nearly a decade earlier, Joel Schumacher created minor scandal by introducing nipples to the Batsuit, which were gloriously unveiled in horrendous close-up during costume-change montages in both of his Batman films. Along with some hilariously gratuitous shots of Batgirl's rear end.

As explained to Premiere Magazine in 1995, Schumacher was incredibly proud of his nippular innovation, despite Batman creator Bob Kane reportedly criticising the decision on set.

"Bob Kane doesn't understand why Chris O'Donnell has an earring and Batman has nipples. I told him 'it's the Nineties, Bob! Pumped up!' I wanted a very sexy, very sensual, very body-hugging suit. It's my Gotham City, and if I want Batman to have nipples, he's going to have nipples!"

Speaking to Vice this year, Schumacher joked: "I just know that I'll always go down over the nipples on Batman starting with Batman Forever. Such a sophisticated world we live in where two pieces of rubber the size of erasers on old pencils, those little nubs, can be an issue. It's going to be on my tombstone, I know it."

Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi (1983)

It may have become iconic to a generation of Ross Geller types, but the scenes depicting Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia dressed in a gold chain bikini while being held prisoner by Jabba the Hutt are, in hindsight, sort of icky.

Fisher, throughout her life, explained her mixed feelings over the outfit. She would condemn George Lucas for its gratuitous nature, but also see Leia's eventual actions in the bikini as a form of empowerment.

"The only way they knew to make the character strong was to make her angry," she told Rolling Stone in 1983. "In Return of the Jedi, she gets to be more feminine, more supportive, more affectionate. But let's not forget that these movies are basically boys' fantasies. So the other way they made her more female in this one was to have her take off her clothes."

In 2015, she took a far funnier approach to the ensemble, rebuffing a father who created a minor controversy by complaining about the release of a new "Slave Leia" action figure.
She told the Wall Street Journal: "The father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she's in that outfit?' Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn't like it. And then I took it off. Backstage."

Natalie Portman in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)

While Star Wars has never so brazenly displayed the body of its female lead since Leia's gold bikini, it has dabbled in gratuitous skin-baring, notably in the risible 2002 effort Attack of the Clones.

Natalie Portman, dumped under pounds of costume make-up and exaggerated haute couture in her first Star Wars appearance, is reduced to a skin-tight white outfit in the sequel, which is captured at every angle when she is chained to a pillar to be executed by an alien rendered in horrendous CGI.

But Portman's character is tragically struck down by one of those annoying clothing mishaps that only seems to happen in the movies, when the alien slashes at her belly, tearing away the fabric and leaving her wearing a makeshift bikini top. How inconvenient!

Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. (1966)

In the kitsch caveman epic One Million Years B.C., the older, less conventionally beautiful cavewomen are dressed in modest rags. But Raquel Welch's naughty cavewoman who speaks in nothing but grunts? A ludicrous doeskin bikini.

The Sixties sexpot rapidly became a cultural icon thanks to the outfit, even if she told Fox News last year that it nearly killed her after a bout of tonsillitis.

"I had already so much penicillin when I was wearing the fur bikini that I almost died," she claimed. "I had to rush, turn my car around and head right back to the doctor's office, just run upstairs, jump in the elevator and all that. And I barely got there. They had to shoot me with an antidote. Otherwise, I would have died. It was really rough shoot, man. Really rough."

Mathilda May in Lifeforce (1985)

There has long been an urban legend that Tobe Hooper didn't actually direct Poltergeist, and that it was in fact producer Steven Spielberg who truly shepherded the film. It's never been proven, but based on Hooper's follow-up project, the goofy sci-fi picture Lifeforce, it doesn't seem wholly unlikely.

The sort of film that makes Species look resolutely classy, Lifeforce stars French dancer Mathilda May as an entirely nude vampire alien, who is found on a comet and brought to earth, where she proceeds to remove the lifeforce (that's the title!) from her victims.
Seemingly allergic to clothes, May's character parades around London in the all-together for almost the entirety of her appearance. Hooper also had very specific requests when it came to May's pubic hair.

As makeup artist Sandra Exelby told SlashFilm: "He said I want all her body hair off. And I said, 'You can't do that. You can't do that, Tobe.' She's a young girl. At the time she was 18. 90% of the film she was stark naked walking about. You cannot take all the body hair away. He said, 'Well I want the pubic hair as short as possible. And lighten it up. I don't really want to see it." So every morning I was on my knees trimming and colouring and making it all look perfect."

What a lovely story.

Olivia Munn in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Psylocke is one of the most scantily-clad X-Men villains, but even such flamboyant source material didn't make her movie debut any more ridiculous.

Decked out in a ludicrous purple-spandex ensemble thrown together in the film by Oscar Isaac's supervillain-slash-amateur-fashion-designer, actress Olivia Munn was mercilessly thrown to the sartorial wolves.

She argued it wasn't sexist, however, telling Collider: "I know that Psylocke is dressed very sexually. Out of all the costumes, it's really revealing, but it's important to know that she always had substantive plotlines.

"Just because she's dressed like that, she's not this promiscuous, slutty girl that's-in fact, Apocalypse is the one who dressed her and gave her that outfit."

Regardless, her duds remain a testament as to why most superheroes are given more realistic makeovers upon their arrivals on the big-screen. Case in point: the scenes in which Psylocke prowls around Auschwitz dressed like a sexy Barney the Dinosaur.

Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element (1997)

Luc Besson's 1997 sci-fi epic is such a relentlessly dizzying fashion spectacle that Milla Jovovich's wardrobe isn't entirely indefensible. But it wouldn't feel right not to address it.
Dressed in a white outfit made seemingly out of medical bandages, Jovovich's babbling humanoid Leeloo smashes into the film with thrilling immediacy.

Designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, the outfit didn't make Jovovich blush, the actress telling Vogue earlier this year: "It was like wearing a bikini, you know? Especially at that point, I was 19, and tiny. I just really got into the character and I definitely didn't feel constraints."

Jacqueline Bisset in The Deep (1977)

"That t-shirt made me a rich man," said director Peter Yates about his 1977 thriller The Deep, in which Jacqueline Bisset dives beneath the waves looking for treasure while wearing an incredibly thin white shirt and a pair of skimpy pants.

Credited with driving the popularity of wet t-shirt contests and positioning Bisset as an icon of the Seventies, the scenes arguably remain the only thing anyone remembers about The Deep. But there was consternation when it came to how they were achieved and ultimately exploited in the film's marketing, with Bisset telling The Telegraph in 2015 that revealing photos taken on set were later used without her consent.

She also told Roger Ebert in 1982 that the film had a vaguely negative effect on her career: "I'd like to get my public image nearer to my reality. People are always saying, 'Oh! You're actually a good actress!' They have seen me, you know, in The Deep and Airport, and... I think they have a lot of misconceptions."

Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung, Abbie Cornish and Vanessa Hudgens in Sucker Punch (2011)

Zack Snyder once described his doomed vanity project Sucker Punch as an "epic fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl." But in execution, it was more an icky middle-aged male sex circus.

Starring a group of young actresses dressed in fishnet tights, short skirts and leather bustiers, who are routinely lobotomised, sexually assaulted and blown up, it's the epitome of sexualised misogyny presented as female empowerment, all because the girls end up shooting things themselves in the end.

"Sucker Punch is a two-hour $82 million fetish film examining how hot sad schoolgirls look when holding weapons," wrote Jezebel, which was joined by numerous other publications in its mass condemnation of the film.

As a result, Sucker Punch remains a cloud that Snyder, now one of the major figures behind the DC Universe, has never been truly able to escape.

Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire (1996)

A doomed attempt to turn Pamela Anderson's breasts into movie stars, the infamous comic book flop Barb Wire saw the Baywatch icon play a futuristic crime-fighter fighting Nazis in a fictitious 2017.

Dressed in an array of leather outfits designed to show off her chest, Anderson fires bullets at people, rides a motorbike, goes undercover as a stripper and a hooker and takes part in a water-drenched striptease. The practicalities of attempting to save the world while wearing a bustier three or four sizes too small remains a mystery for another day.

Anderson did tell Interview Magazine in 1998 that the film's wacky fashions found their rightful home, however: "There's this little cult of different people who love that movie," she said. "I mean, I know a lot of drag queens who dress up like Barb Wire."

Karen Gillan in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

When the first image emerged of the forthcoming Jumanji sequel, a picture that depicted the male characters dressed in actual clothes while Karen Gillan sported a tight, midriff-revealing crop top, leather bustier and tiny shorts, outrage was swift.

But eyebrows were still raised once the film's producers explained that the film sees a quartet of teenagers being sucked into a video game and inhabiting the characters that populate it, including a female hero dressed in an impractical, ludicrous outfit.

"I think it was probably a valid reaction from everyone," Gillan told Radio Times shortly after, "because within the movie my character is having the same reaction to having to wear the costume. She's like, 'How come you guys are covered up and I have to wear this? This is ridiculous! So I think it's fair what everyone was saying."

The logic that referencing the sexism of a revealing movie outfit makes a revealing movie outfit somehow less tacky remains... questionable.