Wait, they’re not really flying? 

Recently, Marvel movies have been the most reliable iterations of a studio outside of Pixar. You always get something entertaining and inventive. Even the lesser films in their series usually look great. 

But how do they achieve consistent quality and success across all 20+ films? 

The answer is behind the scenes at Marvel, where they try to make magic happen. 

Let’s take a look at how Marvel continues to wow and amaze us. Watch this video from Insider and chat with me after the jump. 

What do Recent Marvel Movies Look Like Behind the Scenes?

Before we get into the article, I want to say how much we desperately need a stunt category in the Academy Awards. These movies would not be written without courageous and excellent stunt work.

Even though we talk about all the CGI and greenscreens Marvel uses, many of their explosions and fight scenes are done practically. This keeps the world feeling real and the action feeling grounded. 

So let’s dig behind the scenes of some of their films. 

First, let’s talk about Captain America: Civil War

The movie involved demanding stunts from cast members like Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson and their stunt doubles. Not only was there a ton of wirework for the fight scenes but they also tried to layer in things like flipping a truck and real jumps building to building to keep the story as grounded as it could be. 

That brings us to Doctor Strange, which had to build alternate universes and portals while maintaining reality. 

One of the things Marvel does best is adding realistic sets into the imaginary worlds. They craft them with depth and range so the audience does not always pick up on what’s real and what’s manufactured. 

Aside from the explosions and action, there is a ton done with de-aging people. 

Both Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 featured innovative de-aging work that allowed them to show actors Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell at different points in time.

They did this with complex software and motion capture devices. 

They have stand-in actors and then digitally lift the skin from their face and drop it onto the star’s face, adding new hairlines and smoothing wrinkles. The dots on his face in the image below show where artists will render new expressions. 

For Black Panther, a lot of their work in hair and makeup was done on Killmonger’s scars, which had to stay consistent throughout the film. Still, almost all of Wakanda had to be built using blue screens to drop in a scenic backdrop. But they wanted Africa to feel real as well. 

So they tried to enhance practically where they could. 

And you can’t talk Marvel without mentioning the motion-capture breakthroughs in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.  Not only were they able to turn Josh Brolin into Thanos but that last battle was as epic as anything ever been put onto screens. 

Marvel has been responsible for pushing story and visuals to new levels for a few decades now, but as we look back, we can also appreciate where we are going. This blend of practical and real will soon be available to filmmakers all over and help to keep budgets down. 

The future of blockbusters is exciting and Marvel is leading the way. 

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