The visual medium of cinema appeals to our eyes, and so, costumes play a major role. In the ancient times, the symbol of Greek comedy and tragedy was the picture of two masks -- one joyful and the other sorrowful. Back in those centuries, the actors had to wear huge masks that amplified their voices. The drama of those days had characters as tall as seven feet thanks to their enormous masks and high shoes. After all, the characters had to be larger than life back in those days.
Today, thanks to the dependence on lighting, microphones, and video cameras, actors have it a lot easier. They can now literally dress for the part that they are playing. One may say that ultimately, the costumes merely heighten the effect of the movie. To combat that view, we have the old adage, "Clothes maketh the man." Clothes can also determine how much moolah the movie will rake in. You might have a wonderful script with superb actors. However, if you cannot help ending up with the mistake of getting the look wrong, success will become somewhat uncertain. It is no wonder that stylists and costume designers are such great demand in this day and age. If you want an example of how the look of the actors can impact the success of a movie or TV show, Sex and the City is a great example.
As a result, the makers of the movie, Shakespeare in Love, invested much time and energy in recreating the Elizabethan times by researching and working on the clothes of that period. The crowning glory was the movie's winning the Academy Award for Best Costumes for their efforts. Apart from this, Titanic, Moulin Rouge, and Chicago are examples of relatively recent movies that put in a lot of effort to get the look right.
As for masks, they are the most popular accessory for superhero movies. However, Spiderman was not the only one to hide his identity in a mask. Remember how Robin Williams pretended to be a woman in Mrs. Doubtfire? That mask actually moved the story forward. More recently, we saw Gwyneth Paltrow don a similar mask in her portrayal of an overweight woman in the hit movie, Shallow Hal. If you love fantasies, the face of Harry Potter's arch enemy, Lord Voldemort is unforgettable. The mask is a very apt one for the character of "the one who is not to be named".
From the movies to costume parties, masks are constantly in demand. And movies such as The Man in the Iron Mask, and the Jim Carrey starrer, The Mask, have made anonymity fashionable..