The Moviemaking Magic Of Marvel Studios Heroes And Villains by Eleni Roussos (book review).

May 7, 2019 | By | Reply More

Although ‘The Moviemaking Magic Of Marvel Studios Heroes And Villains’ by Eleni Roussos is designated for young adults, the text is for all ages. For each major character there is a multi-page insert showing the film character design from different angles and not necessarily the costumes you expect. The Iron Man suit is his first one for instance. There are a lot of photographs and design illustrations throughout that if you haven’t been able to afford the film books for each film makes this a good substitute considering its covering the first ‘Iron Man’ film to ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ and a picture from ‘Captain Marvel’.

It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed. I think the most significant thing about the MCU is the fact that the film version has remembered its entire reality. Having super-heroes working in isolation in films tends to be less effective and you would have to wonder how they picked up the vigilante habit and not look silly in costume when others are doing it.

© 2019 Marvel

There are a lot of telling moments throughout the book. Seeing the original sketches of Tony Stark being transformed into Iron Man from an attaché case is still fun and a reminder of how he carried his armour in the 1960s.

There’s a reminder with the first ‘Thor’ film that Loki’s costume is closest to the Kirby version or rather the third version if you keep count. I think when we saw a lot more of these costume changes so they matched the detail put into Odin. Kirby loved getting more intricate as he went along.

If you pay attention to the credits noted across the book, artist Ryan Meinerding seems to have had the most significant influence across the films.

There’s also a lot of trivia here that should make you good on quizzes about the film, too. I didn’t realise that Josh Brolin wasn’t the first person in the role.

I also liked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige comment with the first ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ film that rather than stay on a predictable path to take a left turn and do something different and be successful. Bet the old Hollywood system would never have tried that. Oddly, with the film entry, I was surprised that so little was done with Rocket. One page and we only see his back. All right, so Groot only has a page as well but he did have the better insert and a look at his twig version in the second film gets a second entry.

© 2019 Marvel

Moving on to ‘The Avengers: Age Of Ultron’, its pointed out that neither Quicksilver or the Scarlet Witch are mutants so any lineage to Magneto might be forgotten. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Marvel Studios reclaim their rights to the X-Men and whether they re-write history a little.

When it comes to Mordo from ‘Doctor Strange’, it is pointed out that Marvel villains have a taste for green and yellow costumes which did make me stop and think. Considering the other primary colours are often used with the super-heroes, it was probably chosen for contrast. Even so, both colours have numerous shades so I do think they can be played with a lot more. Incidentally, I didn’t realise actor Benedict Cumberbatch also played Dormammu.

© 2019 Marvel

Moving to the second ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ film, I did feel somewhat put out by the fact that they didn’t want two green-skinned beings, Gamora and Mantis, in the same team because people wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, I’m less sure about. After all, there’s far too many pink skins around. Considering that Mantis has antenna, I think they could have gotten away with it. In the comicbooks, Gamora also had more pronounced yellow around her eyes. It isn’t as though there aren’t many shades of green and when you consider how similar the Skrulls are, I think they should have gone ahead on this. The piece on Mantis does show different skin shades that were tried and I think it might have been better had they not gone pink because I wasn’t sure who she was when I first watched the film.

Despite the criticisms above which focus on the films themselves than this book, they are far out-numbered by the amount of art and info making this a great book to own. Knowing how it was done shouldn’t deter you from this book. If anything, you’re likely to be more enamoured by the amount of work that was done in creating them. Will be looking forward to the second edition or volume in a couple years time.

GF Willmetts

May 2019

(pub: Abrams. 176 page illustrated with inserts large hardback. Price: £21.99 (UK), $29.99 (US), $37.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4197-3587-5)

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Category: Movie books, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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