5 Marvel & DC Movie Nude Scenes That Changed Superhero Cinema

While critical analysis of sex scenes is worth having, especially when it comes to ensuring actors are safe and comfortable while shooting them, if social media had been around in the 1980s, the discussion would have almost certainly been less nuanced. Back then, films were far more likely to contain gratuitous nudity than scenes that were vital to the story. That includes 1982’s “Swamp Thing.”

Prior to “Swamp Thing’s” release, the only live-action DC movie adaptations were based on Superman and Batman and were obviously designed for children. But “Swamp Thing” represented a different kind of comic book story. It was more adult, and the big-screen adaptation’s nudity exemplified that. One scene many people likely remember is when Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) wades naked in a swamp. More of her body could be seen in the European release of the film, but Americans still saw the profile of her breast. It helped differentiate the film from others at the time, proving these stories could still appeal to adults — even if the nudity wasn’t really there in service of the overall plot.

In the DVD commentary for “Swamp Thing,” director Wes Craven said nudity wasn’t just more readily permitted at the time — it was encouraged. “It was always, like, the solution to everything was to have a nude scene,” Craven recalled. “So Adrienne did agree to do that, with my vow that it would only be used in Europe.” “Swamp Thing” shows how nude scenes in Hollywood’s superhero projects go way back. It’s not some new thing more recent films have done in attempts to be edgy. Hopefully, these movies and others show filmmakers how nudity and superheroes can still go hand-in-hand.

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