open the pages, read the words, savor the magic
One. That the events in Louis Letterier’s The Incredible Hulk film happened at the same time as the events in Iron Man 2 and Thor.
Two. The design for most things in Joss Whedon’s record-breaking tentpoleThe Avengers (or Avengers Assemble, if you’re in the UK) – like the helicarrier and everyone’s costumes – are taken from The Ultimates comic series by Marvel.
Three. The fish-like creatures of the Chitauri’s that wreaked havoc in Manhattan during the epic final battle in the movie are not in fact called “Chitauri fish thingie”, as I have referred to them before, but instead are called Leviathans.
You would think that with the absolutely overdose of information that the Internet vomited on The Avengers the last six months, preceding, during and well after the movie’s release, the aforementioned points would be very obvious already. But either I didn’t dig deep enough through the geeky Marvel fan forums or the information was simply not available, I never found out about this until until this book came out and I got my hands on it.
The point is, if you’re crazy about The Avengers film and you wish to know how they conceptualized the film, this book will be useful. It may come across as rather gimmicky at first glance but the tome is more than just a picture book that shows the characters from the movie. It tells you the origins of the ideas upon which Whedon’s The Avengers was built, with sketches, drawings and schemes from the film’s conceptual artists.
The book starts with a helpful Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline (marked BIM and AIM, as in “Before Iron Man” and “After Iron Man”) that clues us clueless souls as the real timeline for the events that happaned in the five pre-Avengers movies. After that, it introduces the team members, including with back stories that will enlighten Marvel newbies on each Avenger’s past. And then, if certain things made you geek out when you saw them on screen, like Iron Man’s flying Mark VII suit, the book explains to you how they planned them. Likewise for the three-way “Shakespeare in the park” pissing contest between Iron Man, Thor and Captain America in their (as Loki sits back with the proverbial popcorn on the edge of a cliff) – this one comes with a storyboard in the book. You definitely can’t blame Marvel for not being thorough.
The weight and the price are rather substantial, but instead of collection limited edition The Avengers Real-D 3D glasses (that one of the local cinema chains here sell), this book seems to be the much better investment. Seeing asThe Avengers has taken the entire universe – Asgard, Midgard and everything else in between and around – by storm, there’s something to be said about owning an official ‘guidebook’ that will keep you company until the sequels come out in the near future.
And if you have cash to spare, consider assembling the previous Marvel ‘Art of the Movie’ books from Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Not as thick, but just as informative and certainly entertaining.
* This review was originally posted on Goodreads, 24 May 2012.