While that might rankle some fans looking for a return to the classic suit worn by the all-time best live-action Superman, Christopher Reeve, consider Brandon Routh’s costume in Superman Returns. As an homage to the Reeve Superman movies, Routh’s costume had brighter colors than found in most modern Superman outfits. But the flat texture gave the suit a plastic, artificial look—a problem made worse by the plastic insignia protruding from Routh’s chest. With modern lighting and cinematic techniques, a textured costume might just be less distracting than a smooth costume.

However, those looking closely will notice one important return to the costumes of old. This Superman sports trunks once again, an element missing from recent live-action costumes and from those in the comics, at least for a while. On one hand, the trunks are dated, a quality of strong-man outfits of the early 20th century, unbecoming for the Man of Tomorrow. On the other, Superman just feels wrong with out the splash of red to break up his blue exterior, especially with the darker blue of many suits.

Against the classic trunks, belt, and boots of the Corenswet costume are elements from the last 15 years of DC Comics. With the textures of the suit come ridges that recall the Kryptonian armor that Jim Lee gave the character during the New 52 reboot, later refined by George Pérez. As with Lee’s design, the Corenswet suit has a high collar, breaking from the plunging necklines of the comics, reflected in the suits worn by Reeve and Dean Cain in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

That said, the most classical (and controversial) aspects of the suit may be the way it fits. The lighting of the image underscores the visible folds on the chest and arms of the costume. Instead of the detailed musculature that we’re used to seeing on Cavill and Hoechlin, there’s almost a bagginess to the suit.

In a way, that lack of extreme detail points back to the first live-action Superman costumes, those worn by Kirk Alyn and George Reeves. Without question, those costumes have a cheaper quality, befitting the low-budget children’s entertainment of the shows. But there’s also something endearing and almost humane about this design choice.

For some, the New 52 elements of the costume portend a problem with the movie on the whole. The New 52 largely presented a darker version of the DC Universe, not unlike the tone of the Zack Snyder movies. Although he’s best known for films that have a real mean streak, including Guardians of the Galaxy, but even more so movies like The Suicide Squad and Super, Gunn has presented his Superman film as a more positive turn from the Snyder films.

 The first image from James Gunn’s Superman, starring David Corenswet, points to a working man of steel, straight from Grant Morrison’s underrated New 52 comic series.  Read More