How Much Would It Cost to Get the Body of a Superhero?

Jager Weatherby on 10 Oct 2014 at 4:30pm

How Much Would It Cost to Look Like a Superhero

If you've at all been paying attention to the world of pop culture, you've undoubtedly heard about Toby Sheldon, a man so infatuated with Justin Bieber that he spent over $130,000 to look like the pop star. Claire Leeson has similarly shelled out wads of cash on cosmetic procedures in order to imitate Kim Kardashian, while “Human Ken Doll” Justin Jedlica claims his 100+ surgeries are all in the name of art. 

But what if you wanted to take it even further? What if, instead of looking like your favorite musician or reality star, you strove to achieve the chiseled body of a superhero? Well… there’s a surgery for that.

All we have to do is look at the transformation of Batman over the years to see that the ideal male body has changed. "The Hollywood action hero mold is an evolutionary one," says Marc Bernardin, the former senior editor of The Hollywood Reporter. "As the social climates change, we want more out of our superheroes. That's why you get to Ben Affleck and Christian Bale. Guys who feel like they register onscreen in a way that Adam West didn't have to. A lot of it is what's required from the audience. Are they willing to tolerate the less-than-buff, or do we just need these guy to be Terminators?"

The pressure to conform to these standards has made its way far outside the limits of Hollywood. "The superhero body inspired me to get into fitness in the first place," a San Diego Comic Con-goer told RealSelf. The desire to measure up has caused many men to go to more extreme lengths, as evidenced by the rise of recreational steroid use all across the globe. And for those willing to take an even further risk, there's always a little help to be had from a cosmetic surgeon. In fact, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of cosmetic procedures being performed on men has increased 273% in the last 16 years.

MORE: The Rise of Male Liposuction: Hollywood Heroes, Technological Advances, and Competitive Workforce

Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot more than a single round of liposuction to give you the body of Thor. As actor Chris Hemsworth revealed, achieving a God-like figure required high-intensity workouts five to six days per week. The demanding plan was combined with “endless amounts of chicken, steak, vegetables, and brown rice,” as well as eliminating alcohol in favor of 20 glasses of water per day.

"The question is: Do they always look this way?" asks Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken. Pose this question to Chris Hemsworth, and even he will admit it's not a body he can maintain every day.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Despite the fact that 90% of men tell RealSelf that they're motivated by these superhero figures, maintaing that regimen long-term may not sound appealing. (Beer or barbells? You take your pick.) Unless your job allows you to spend a significant amount of time in the gym — or it actually happens to be your job, like it is for Chris Hemsworth — having the figure of a superhero is often next to impossible. Aside from using unhealthy steroids (which have the potential to cause breast growth in men), numerous plastic surgeries could be the only bet for dramatically changing your appearance without drastically changing your life.

Curious what it would cost to get the biceps of Batman, the abs of Iron Man, or the calves of Captain America… without giving up all of your favorite foods? RealSelf teamed up with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rick Silverman to figure out how much you’d have to pay to get the body of your favorite superhero. (Spoiler alert: It ain’t gonna be cheap — and the cost doesn't even include things like wardrobe and fancy gadgets!)

Average Male Versus Batman

Forehead/Hairline contouring
: $6,000; Filler in the cheeks: $950; Chin implant: $4,050; Deltoid implants: $8,000; Bicep/tricep implants: $16,000; Pec implants: $8,200; Forearm implants: $5,000; Abdominal etching: $5,900; Quad implants: $8,000; Calf implants (four total): $7,100; Butt implants: $7,750

TOTAL: $76,950

MORE: Man Gets Plastic Surgery to Look Like Superman

Women have even more to deal with (isn’t that always the case?), especially if they’ve had to handle the changes that come from giving birth. “It’s tough to maintain that wasp-like figure after having twins,” reveals Dr. Silverman. Unless you’re aiming to achieve the massive muscles of She-Hulk, the surgeries needed to look like a female superhero will likely be less exaggerated but greater in number than those for the men. There’s an upside to these added procedures, however: combination surgeries like the Mommy Makeover (implants, breast lift, tummy tuck, and lipo) come at a reduced rate. It’s like a Buy 3, Get 1 Free for your body!

Average Female Versus Wonder Woman

Forehead/Hairline contouring: $6,000; Rhinoplasty: $6,900; Filler in the cheeks: $950; Filler in the lips: $1,000; Liposuction on the upper arms: $3,000; Deltoid implants: $7,000; Mommy makeover (including breast implants, breast lift, liposuction, and tummy tuck): $13,000; Liposuction on the thighs: $6,000; Fat transfer to the outer hips: $4,500; Brazilian butt lift: $7,000; Liposuction on the calves: $4,000

TOTAL: $59,350

MORE: 6 Plastic Surgery Procedures You Didn’t Know You Could Do

Sadly, you can’t rely on plastic surgery alone to give you the believable body of a superhero. (Emphasis on the word believable.) As Dr. Silverman explains, “surgery can be a helpful adjunct to bring up weak body parts or remove fat deposits, but one cannot take a body without muscular shape and turn it into a superhero." 

If you do decide to go under the knife for one of these procedures, it’s important to be reasonable with your expectations. “We must remember that superheroes are strong,” adds Silverman. “Pec and calf implants add no strength; they merely create the appearance of a larger muscle. If superheroes are expected to provide superhero skills, they need to be strong, flexible, fast, and clever. None of those result from surgery.” Translation: Just because you paid for some chiseled new deltoids, that doesn’t mean you’ll magically be able to lift a car over your head with the greatest of ease.

Needless to say, there’s no easy way to turn yourself into a superhero, as much as we’d like to believe that there was. However, if you are able to build that body through diet and exercise (and maybe a bit of surgery), then more (super)power to you! The world could always use a few extra people willing to kick the ass of whatever alien symbiote/psychotic psychologist/supergalactic space-god comes our way.

Would you ever get a cosmetic procedure in order to look like a superhero? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo credits: Zade Rosenthal © 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & 2011 Marvel; © 2014 Warner Bros. Pictures

Infographics created by RealSelf with photos courtesy of DC Comics and