A certain Spider-themed hero is hitting the cinemas this week, but you probably already knew that. The film will most probably break records, especially with the early buzz screaming it’s a delight, but what do you do once you finish watching it? Some may see it again, but how about seeing how it was made? Marvel Comics has released an art of the movie book this week to coincide with the film’s release and we’ve got a review of this web-spinning book containing art from the production! If it’s anything like the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 art book, prepare to be delighted!
If your spoiler sense is tingling – don’t worry – we keep it to a minimum. But there are some pictures that might reveal a bit more than you’d like!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Fresh off the heels of his first adventure with the Avengers in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker is back in action! With a mentor like Tony Stark – a.k.a. Iron Man – it looks like Spider-Man’s about to hit the big time. But New York’s newest villain has other plans. Go behind the scenes in this new keepsake volume continuing Marvel’s popular ART OF THE MOVIE collection! Discover exclusive concept art, production stills and commentary from cast and crew as Marvel Studios and Sony team up to bring Spider-Man into the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Check out our video flip-through to get a peek inside:
Why does this book matter?
Art books are a great way to get details on how the creators reached the visuals they did, or how they broke down specific scenes. They tend to contain quotes directly from production designers and the director, which can shed light on why a costume looks the way it does and how they reached the final design. If you’re at all interested in film, costume design, or the creation process you’ll want to read this.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The doodles add to the theme of this art book being one Spider-Man would carry around.
The overall design of this book is quite unique as it resembles a book Peter Parker might carry around school. It’s not quite a yearbook–the table of contents looks like a report card for instance–but you get the vibe it’s a book a student would own due to all the doodles written into the pages. The doodles give the book a fun vibe, drawn in ballpoint pen or markers mostly, and they add a lot of fun to the chapters.
Broken down like most art books, the book opens with a foreword from the director, some quotes from producers and Kevin Feige about the overall work, and then it dives into chapters showcasing art and design elements in an organized way from the start of the film to the end. The first chapter, for instance, has a few photographs of Peter’s school, some computer graphic-style interiors with students and some Midtown High clothing designs. It’s a nice way to open the book as it brings focus to the fact that Spider-Man is back in high school for the film.
There can never be too many Spider-Man costume designs…
Spider-Man fans are going to love the costume design pages, which reveal many different iterations of the costume Ryan Meinerding came up with which showcase how small changes can reveal big ideas. That includes homages–like the Scarlet Spider costume–and fun new ideas too. There’s also entire sections on the different costumes Spider-Man wears in the movie, including details on how Iron Man retrofitted the suit with high-tech features. Web-shooter fans are going to love the multiple pictures of the very conventional looking design Peter came up with, which look as though they could be made by just hitting up a hardware store. A good portion of this book is devoted to the costume and gizmos at Spider-Man’s disposal, most of which will be the only way to get a good look at them since the movie will be moving so fast.
A good deal of time is spent on the weapons Vulture and his goons employ, with a lot of details explaining how these weapons came to be and how they connect to other Marvel movies. The use of drawing, computer graphics, and even schematics help flesh out how functional all these weapons are and how much time went into making them realistic.
Probably the biggest happy surprise in this book is how much it goes into Vulture and his costume. It’s clear a lot of time was spent finding the finished look and this book details the journey from specs to final design. There are also some interesting factoids–like how the design was originally tied closely to Falcon but that was ditched–and you can tell they wanted to get this very right. They went in a few different directions and after reading this book it’s safe to say they chose the right one.
Much of the final third of the book is devoted to story which includes paintings and interior designs focused on specific scenes and sequences in the film. This portion will be the heavier section when it comes to spoilers, though, reading through, I never got the impression of how the film really ends. There is an extensive sequence outlined here that’s been revealed in trailers that could spoil things for fans, but it’s nothing too surprising.
In a surprise addition, the final chapter focuses on the end credits sequence and the many different art styles that went into animating it. The concept, which might not immediately be obvious when you see it on the screen, is quite cool and ties well with the high school theme of this book. A lot of time was spent creating varying art styles and there’s a lot of examples to chew over here.
There are some great up-close shots of the web-shooters.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though not always a given in art books, this book has none of the actors chime in on the production, which does lose an element of the production. That makes this strictly all about the art, but other art books have certainly added the actors’ voices well (like the recent Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), which is unfortunate. Given how close to us Spider-Man lives in the real world, it may not be as relevant as say, Chris Pratt reflecting on how crazy a set design is, but it does leave the overall read lacking in regard to a major part of the filmmaking process. At least Kevin Feige chimes in here and there, which helps remind readers a lot of time was spent making this new Spider-Man fit within the Marvel Universe.
Is It Good?
Spider-Man fans will love this book because it showcases so many great costumes, web-shooter and Spidey-tech designs you’ll miss if you blink when watching the film. There’s also a robust Vulture section that details how much work went into making the costume work, as well as how story background was used when designing everything. Overall, this art book captures the insane amount of work that can go into a superhero film, especially one that’s so cherished. This may be a new and bold take on Spider-Man, but judging by this art book, it’s a direction worth taking.