Walter Cronkite. Earnest Hemingway. Ron Burgundy. All great men have one thing in common: facial hair. At least that is what we are to believe based on the photos that have leaked for the upcoming Man of Steel movie. The first batch of images to hit the web have all shown Superman with a thick beard. This has raised the question whether this film will start like the last bomb where Superman has abandoned his role to “find himself.” However, this iteration of Superman is so shrouded in secrecy that the few photos of the actors in costume are all marked as “unofficial.” The one shot of Henry Cavill as the Last Son of Krypton that is official shows him bursting through a bank vault with most of his body covered in shadow.
So why is director Zack Snyder being so secretive about this Superman flick? Because he doesn’t want it being compared to previous attempts to capture Metropolis’s hero. Snyder has commented that the film will not be based on any specific comic story line and that it is a completely unique script. Shots of the film have shown a shirtless bearded Cavill on set with a rescue helicopter crew and on what appears to be a logging company jobsite. Snyder has explained that this film will follow a young Clark Kent as he becomes Superman and will not be drawing on the established mythos of previous films like Superman Returns did.
So far, with no plot or clips released for the film (which is already in post-production and slated for a June 2013 opening) fans have nothing to feed their anticipation but a few costume images. The first thing that anyone will notice about the Man of Steel costume is that the red underpants of Supermans past are gone. This suit is much more like a spacesuit than a superhero uniform. A careful eye will reveal what looks like pinstriping around the waist and leg and wrapping around the wrists like futuristic bracers. This kind of detailing is common of Hollywood costuming as they need something to break up the wide expanses of color on superhero costumes. If there aren’t unique textures and added lines on a costume, all the lighting will make it look flat (you can really see this on the costume in this summer’s Amazing Spider-man from Marvel studios).
But what really looks interesting is that Michael Shannon’s General Zod has almost identical detailing on his own costuming (though he has commented to press that there is a second Zod costume that is completely CG and requires him to wear a motion-capture unitard). They are definitely going for a consistent Kryptonian spaceman look.
However, thanks to Russell Crowe’s Jor-El (who also has a beard I might add), we get a different look at Kryptonian garb. Jor-El’s look is much more medieval than futuristic. Jor-El appears to be the kind of brilliant scientist who did experiments in battle armor. It almost appears like they are trying to make Krypton look like a warring planet that dies because of internal conflict rather than complete global catastrophe. It could be possible that they are planning to portray Superman as the last survivor of a global civil war that ended in xenocide. Until next summer, all we can do is grow out our beards and wait.
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