Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Between Books - Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie

Book cover of Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie showing Chris Hemsworth as Thor holding a sparking Mjolnir

I like Thor: The Dark World more than you!

I’ve never met anyone who legitimately seemed to enjoy it, to the level I did. So a few years ago I bought a copy of Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie because for that devotion and being a collector I had to catch them all after reading a few others. Then it sat on the Between Shelves, and I saw the prices of the rest and there was no completionist urgency in the world to get me to finish the whole set. And so that pages figuratively rotted on the vine till now.

Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie by Marie Javins and Stuart Moore takes readers through the journey to construct the movie of the same name. The book discusses general story settings of the journey such as looking at Asgard and Svartalfheim. A big emphasis is really on the scenery and the breakdown of scenes, where character development explanations are generally smaller portions of the book. The text is filled with a lot of concept art and storyboards.

I have read a few Art movie books. And this was generally not a favorite for me. As I mentioned, this book is a lot about the scenery and I feel like a lot of Art books give us greater detail on how the plot is developed. This book goes deep into how the worlds were physically and virtually built and not the story. The characters are also not fully discussed in their evolutions either. For example, the book discusses the replacement of metal with rope and fabric in Thor and Odin costumes but I don’t believe it really explained how the characters softened internally. And while one of my favorite model breakdowns was creating the dark elves, the evolving models did not really build characters but really attempted to show a visual representation of stock not-nice elves.

And while the art is beautiful and grand in scope, especially when showing backgrounds and scenery. But I also think there are too many black-and-white storyboards in this volume which cover numerous pages of the book. They are to me not as visually interesting as the giant splash images. And while I can see how concepts moved from page to screen, they did not differ to me enough to show me an evolving thought process which is often the most interesting thing in these books.

As someone who collects, completing a full set of Marvel Cinematic Universe art books seemed impossible to me. The secondary sales of some of these volumes were well beyond any price I might consider. I think this is why this volume sat unmoving on my shelve…why read it when I can’t catch them all. But hope has returned as Marvel has announced a new printing of 24 volumes of MCU “Art Of” books. Though I think I may have lost the desire to fill out the full set. 

I’m a weirdo. I may have liked Thor: The Dark World more than Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - The Art of the Movie. It is a fine volume. It does what it is asked to do by giving a visual description of how some concepts went from page to screen. But it lacked the discoveries that I really enjoy in this book genre.


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