Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Well, one thing's for sure: nobody's going to be looking at your face."

As is becoming a theme, new pictures have leaked from the set of "Man of Steel," giving us our first really clear look at the new Superman costume. Some key shots (stolen shamelessly from Superman Homepage and ComicVine) here:
Rock-Em Sock-Em Superheroes!
Dude's face is chiseled.
White boy ain't got no 'S'!

Well, one thing's for sure: Ma Kent didn't sew that one. I'll just tackle things the way I did when the first pictures hit. Set your browsers to 'bulleted list'!
  • The Hair: Nary an S-curl in sight in these shots. It's a really minor detail, but something about his hair in these shots looks funny, like the part is off, in a way that allowing some of it to hang down on his forehead might alleviate. But it also seems to be the middle of a battle scene, so who knows?
  • The Cape: Shots with and without the cape. I'm glad it's there and it's fabric (and in at least one shot, it's clearly quite large), but I wouldn't be surprised if it were added with CGI in some of the scenes. I also wouldn't be surprised if, in the hot, humid weather we've been having in these parts, Cavill just wants to have it off as much as possible. It's a little disappointing that it doesn't have a gold shield on it, but it's hardly the first version of the Superman costume to be missing that little detail.
  • The Boots: Not much new detail on the boots. They look to have the same texture as the rest of the suit, which is okay. They're definitely better than the roboto-boots that New 52 Superman is rocking.
  • The S-Shield: It's different, in the way that the only official image suggested, looking a lot like some of the variations we saw in the Golden Age, which were eventually adapted into the Earth-2 Superman emblem. I actually like it a lot; it evokes what Morrison and Quitely originally set out to do in All-Star Superman and boil the S-shield down to simpler, more basic elements, and I think it does that job better. The clean curves and size variations make it look somewhat alien, without making it unrecognizable as the Superman symbol. I'll enjoy seeing this on all the licensed goods a lot more than I enjoyed the beveled "Superman Returns" version.
  • The Belt: Not really a belt, as it turns out, but texturing that suggests a belt. This is, frankly, what I hoped they'd be doing when they removed the briefs from the design: adding some other elements that compensate. It'd be nice to have a bit more color variation to separate things, and the converging lines do seem to draw attention toward Kal's lowercase El, but I think it generally works. The shapes remind me a little of Cosmic Boy's Waid-era costume.
  • The Texture: I could do without it, but it doesn't really distract from things. It's a little weird that it's uniform over the S-shield, but broken up by the plasticky design elements.
  • Additional Design Elements: I'll be interested to see what the harder plastic-looking bits do in the final product. Previous shots demonstrated that they're glossier than the rest of the costume, and that might very well be purposeful, to make these lines shine or glow in various sorts of ways under studio lights or in post-production. It could be taken to a ridiculous extreme, of course, but it might be another way to make the costume look otherworldly and break up the blue field. Of course, that's largely speculation. As they are, again, I wish they provided a little more contrast, but they don't really detract.
  • The Briefs: No briefs, which I still generally think is a bad thing for this costume. The other elements compensate, but still don't quite cover the fact that between the shield and the boots is almost nothing but blue, and there's nothing to tie the main costume in with the cape--which is what the briefs do, for better or worse.
  • The Colors: I'm still not thrilled with the more muted palette, which I'd hoped we'd get away from after "Superman Returns." But I've seen enough of "Watchmen" and "300" that I know 'bright shiny colors' just aren't Snyder's thing. It's not unexpected, but it would be awfully nice to have a new Superman movie that's as vibrant and colorful as "Captain America: The First Avenger."
  • Overall: I actually like it, and the more I see of it, the more I like it. There are definitely things I'd change or do differently, but I'm excited to see it in action. And remember, it could be much, much worse.

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