“Justice League” Costume Designer Talks About Superman’s Brighter Appearance

While Superman’s return for the “Justice League” movie was no secret, the Man of Steel remained absent from much of the film’s promotional material. It wasn’t until the movie was out in theatres that Warner Bros. began including Superman in posters and banners in their continued effort to promote the film.

In keeping with the brighter themes and tones of the movie, it was hard not to notice how vibrant and colorful Superman’s costume is in this new movie… and that’s not just a trick of filters or post-production tinkering. “Justice League” Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson, who also worked on both “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, reveals in the book “Justice League: The Art of the Film” that this was the plan from the very beginning.

“Superman really jumps off the screen in such a heroic way when he finally makes his appearance in this film.” he says. “His suit has a slightly bolder blue. It’s a little more lustrous. We found new printing inks that make a dimensional high-raised surface and new paints and materials that make the undersuit incredibly chromed and shiny.”

Justice League: The Art of the Film [Hardcover]
by Abbie Bernstein (Author)
Inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans – Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash – to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. Packed with stunning concept art, sketches, costume detail, stills, and behind-the-scenes shots from the set, this book is an invaluable insight into the world of Justice League.
Publisher: Titan Books; Mti edition
(November 21, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1785656813

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
November 26, 2017 6:18 pm

Looks really good though the dark blue in the BvS suit wasn’t bad when you got to see it minus the damn Snyder filter.

November 28, 2017 12:21 am
Reply to  MattComics

Well just the images on the homepage background shows it was going look almost the same. On the left is how it was going to look, pre Snyder leaving, on the right is how it looks now.
Though, IMO, the brighter color grading shows off the chrome muscles too much in the opening cell phone scene. It looked odd to me.
Not as noticeable in the rest of the film, it looks pretty good. It looks great in all the promo images too. But I think it was designed with the filter Snyder uses in mind.

November 26, 2017 6:22 pm

I really like this brighter blue and gorgeous red MUCH better! Kudos to Mr.Michael Wilkinson! You have my respect, big time!!

November 26, 2017 6:49 pm

There’s only one thing needed to make it complete. And that’s more obvious yellow in the S!

November 26, 2017 8:18 pm
Reply to  redcape

I am happy enough with this current golden yellowish color.

November 27, 2017 7:23 pm
Reply to  redcape

I wished they had the yellow (or golden) “S”on the back of the cape as well. I always like the look of that in movies & in comics.

November 27, 2017 8:08 pm
Reply to  car2nst

I agree. I like that better than having another S on his belt right underneath the emblem on his chest. Having one for the front and back makes sense and it makes the cape distinctive to Superman.

November 28, 2017 12:26 am
Reply to  redcape

I thought a cool design would be to have the outline of the front S with the Kryptonian script, to keep it consistent. The whole thing in a gold color, that you can only really see when the light hits it right. Like a metallic gold, I think that would go well with how the suit is designed.

November 26, 2017 9:13 pm

PFFT! LAME! Would have been cooler if they’d gone darker.
Now he’s back to being an old fashioned wuss.

New Roosterman
November 26, 2017 9:58 pm
Reply to  Jokerz

If you want dark, go watch Batman. Such a “wuss” he saved the day, not B’man. 😛

November 26, 2017 11:00 pm
Reply to  Jokerz

Dark is not and should never be a synonym for quality.

November 26, 2017 9:55 pm

While I applaud the brighter colors I don’t really care for the new undersuit. It’s too obvious now, it doesn’t look like a muscular guy, it looks exactly like what it is a muscle suit. The BvS suit had a similar problem. The MOS suit was more subtle about it.

November 27, 2017 2:46 am
Reply to  JasEl

Agreed – I’m just being picky, but when Henry already has a good physique for the role – why waste it with an exaggerated muscle suit?

November 27, 2017 12:16 am

Superman should be bright, Bright is good in this guy’s book.

November 27, 2017 1:46 am

I welcome the idea, not so much the execution. If they’re going to color correct from now on, they’ll have to consider redesigning the costumes. These have been made to be shot in a very specific way under specific lighting. I like Superman popping out of the screen as much as the next person, but I’m not huge on the suit looking padded and armored.

November 27, 2017 3:37 am

It’s fine, I guess. I really liked the ‘Man of Steel’ suit’s colours and never felt there was anything there that needed fixing. I honestly find it a little weird that so many people obsess about that.

November 27, 2017 11:28 am
Reply to  LarGand

I could easily say the same thing about the simple, clean and functional look of the “iconic-classic suit” = perfect right out of the ban-box!

They wanted the color to pop more okay, but kept the extraneous lines around the arm and midsection and gold strip….interesting.

November 27, 2017 12:12 pm

I liked the brighter colors that they used in this film. It has a very heroic look to it. Fitting for superman.
They do need to make the his s symbol a little bit bigger. I also think that they should make the s look more like it does in the comics, but that’s just my opinion.

November 28, 2017 6:31 am
Reply to  Superman2878

Hmm….I think the “S” is the perfect ratio here (shoulder width-ab length) given his overall physique build. The symbol which is supposed to be his family’s crest is positioned and placed in the middle chest. If there were any more size to the symbol here, it would take up the entire chest giving it more of a “T”shirt / “pullover” feel ala..,John Byrne, although he drew it nicely and to spec, the “S” took up nearly, the entire chest. The main thing with the crest symbol is the (slight) redesigning of the “S” itself, and removing it from the cape,… Read more »

November 28, 2017 7:25 pm
Reply to  jer

. Byrne’s S in my opinion is right up to the line of being big but not too big. The artist that put’s it over the top for me is Alex Ross because he draws it so huge the edges of the symbol start creeping into Clark’s armpits. The design Routh wore would for me be an example of the opposite extreme.

IMO just as a general rule you never really need to go smaller than Reeve or bigger than Byrne.

December 1, 2017 7:01 am
Reply to  MattComics

Alex Ross was simply “out of control” with his “S” symbol, that billboard of a shield just stop short of being the entire top half of the uniform.

At times Byrne, for me, got the size right-(per attch):
Left-(standing)-too big… on the Right-(Flying)-just big enough!
comment image&exph=642&expw=850&q=superman+crisis+john+byrne&selectedindex=12&ajaxhist=0em

Now, it could be an angle issue but it is perfect.

World of Cardboard
November 27, 2017 10:52 pm

The costume….is just awesome. Should have used less filters in previous films. I think the buzz for another Superman film is ratcheting up…which is good to see.

Kal L
November 28, 2017 12:14 am

I liked it so much, I will buy the Hot Toys JL Superman!

November 28, 2017 12:29 am
Reply to  Kal L

I ordered the DC collectables state, but it hasn’t arrived it. Though I think it has the original darker color grading.

November 28, 2017 1:57 am

Does Superman have the s on his cape in this film? I don’t remember if he did. What does everyone else think of an s on his cape if he does have one? I’m not sure how I feel about an s on the cape, and I wanted to know other viewers thoughts on the subject.

November 28, 2017 2:46 am
Reply to  Superman2878

No “S”. Bad for CG, makes things unnecessarily complicated.

November 28, 2017 12:20 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

I think it would be worth trying or if nothing else go back to using a cloth cape and letting us actually see him more when he’s flying.

November 28, 2017 12:57 pm
Reply to  MattComics

It’d be nice, but it’s unlikely. Practical effects just cost a lot more and conventional green screen can only go so far without CGI enhancements. They’d need to touch up that cape anyway. They could sort of get away with it, though, if they went for the New52 cape “S”.

November 28, 2017 5:23 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

Going forward….if the “S” shield is part of the Cape woven into fabric itself, which it should have been in the first place -NO Green Screen- is necessary.

The “it is too difficult to do” mentality – This is same line of thinking that did away another part of the uniform, especially… when you consider that you have a “gold strip” that represents a belt!

November 28, 2017 5:50 pm
Reply to  jer

I have grown to enjoy a few non-trunks Superman costume designs but this whole thing of the trunks being some sort of awful albatross that must be forever banished from our midst lest ye think comics are not for serious folk was and still is ridiculous IMO. If we have to be under the no trunks mandate then I think red belt with yellow/gold buckle like the current comics helps a lot though I wish they would opt for a round buckle. I also like the way the Smallville Season 11 comic used a two-tone blue with red belt that… Read more »

November 28, 2017 6:40 pm
Reply to  MattComics

I’ve made my feelings known before on this; I’m on the no-trunks train. I’m with you on the rest though; round buckle, break up the yellow/gold with red. The Smallville S11 costume was really good. If they follow up on JL, I’d recommend switching the design to something similar.

November 28, 2017 6:38 pm
Reply to  jer

You need green screen for the flying scenes, unless they intend to propel the actor in the air. If not, the flying will be CG, which means they will have to animate the cape, which makes the yellow S a problem. A cape isn’t a stationary part of a costume. It flaps and it waves. It requires a lot of work (and money) to make it work right.

November 28, 2017 3:15 pm

After giving it some thought, I’m fine with or without the s on the cape. It would be cool to see it, but I believe it’s not a necessity either.

November 28, 2017 8:19 pm

Think that the center part of the S could be less “blocky”. If that portion of the S was slightly less wide, the yellow/gold portion would show a little better.

December 3, 2017 4:27 pm
Reply to  redcape

That is a very good point. I never saw that possibility until you said it. They should try it in future movies (at least try it as a color test). But it will still need a brighter gold. The “belt” color even in JL movie is hard to see, maybe because the belt is too thin or maybe it is a color problem. Maybe both options are true.