“Shazam” Costume a Commentary on DCEU?

Several photos have been leaked from the sets of Shazam, the DC Extended Universe movie that is set to come out in April of next year. In particular, we have now seen images of the protagonist’s superhero costume from both the front and the back, which has, in turn, led to much discussion among fans and critics about its merit or lack thereof.

What many have focused on is the costume’s decidedly “old school” design—that is, the fact that it looks like spandex, rather than the sort of “armored” look that has been used through the DCEU. This style came into fashion with the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy and is designed to look more functional. The Shazam outfit, as seen worn by star Zachary Levi, looks more like something Christopher Reeve would have worn in one of the old Superman films.

Of course, that may be the point. From the beginning, Shazam has been billed as a lighter, more humorous film than the other entries in the DCEU, which have been criticized as being overly dark (except for Wonder Woman, which notably has also been the franchise’s only unqualified success). A decidedly “sillier” costume could help to emphasize that point, giving Shazam/Captain Marvel (real name Billy Batson, a teenage boy who transforms into a superpowered adult) a purposefully less “realistic” look.

We already have some hints that Shazam will go for some meta humor; one of the leaked photo shows a toy store filled with superhero plushies, which interestingly do not match the characters’ appearances in the DCEU. For now, we are left wondering just how different this movie will be, and how well the costume will help reflect that difference.

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