Superheroes movies are the new titans of the box office. They are the spiritual successors both to the hitherto obscure comic book culture and the action movies of the 80s and 90s. An incredible amount of effort goes into creating these movies.
It's not simply a question of slapping a Captain costume on a guy and letting him run amok throwing a frisbee at evildoers. The reason Superhero movies are enjoying such recent success is that older movies at the time simply did not have the technology available to effectively bring to life the riotous imagination displayed across the pages of a comic book by the creators.
A vast amount of prep work goes into creating a single shot for a superhero movie. Not just the costume, but also the prosthetics, the explosions, and the CGI involved in the process make developing the shot a herculean task carried out by teams of hundreds of the film's crew.
As impressive as the final result is when you see it on the big screen, the daily reality of working on a superhero film set can make you grow quite disillusioned and change the way you see your favorite heroes. Or it can all seem even cooler if you enjoy cosplay roleplaying.
Anyway, here are photos taken from behind-the-scenes of superhero movies that reveal the stark differences between what goes on in reality and what ends up on the big screen.
24 Not-Teenage Not-Mutant Not-Turtles
The TMNT movies got mixed reviews. One of the main reasons behind those reviews was the appearance of the turtles. Gone were the kid-friendly rubber turtle suits from the 90s. The new teen ninja turtles more closely resembled actual turtles.
Which ironically made them look even more alien.
But it turns out that behind the CGI wizardry, the turtles were still just a bunch of guys dressed up in matching leotards with round backpacks attached to their backs. The funny thing is, the audiences would probably have found these actors more relatable than what we got to see onscreen.
23 Superman Really Wants To Believe He Can Fly
The original Superman movie starring Christopher Reeves was advertised with the tag-line 'You'll believe a man can fly'. The Man of Steel reboot could no longer rely on audiences flocking to the theatre just for the flying scenes. But they still made sure the movie had some of the most realistic sequences of Superman in flight ever filmed.
But the behind-the-scenes photo quickly destroys the notion that man can actually fly. Henry Cavill looks like he's fully committed to convincing himself that he's flying. But he's really just hanging from a bunch of wires.
22 Rocket Raccoon Is Just Some Green Dude
Rocket Raccoon has one of the saddest backstories in the MCU. He was the product of painful experimentation, and as far as we know, is the only one of his kind, doomed to a like of not fitting in, and of causing others to see him as a freak of nature.
At least, the GCI Rocket deals with such kind of pathos.
The actual Raccoon is just some dude in a green suit. Also, Drax patting the head of the green dude is a lot less touching than watching him do it to Rocket.
21 Black Widow Rides The Tilt-a-Whirl
What Black Widow lacks in powers or her own solo film, she makes up for with her daring gymnastics and scissor kicks. One of her coolest moments in The Avengers was jumping off of the Cap's shield right onto a flying alien vehicle whooshing past her, like a curvy, red-haired Mario.
But turns out Widow was actually just taking a turn on the Tilt-a-Whirl in front of a blue screen. Also, she had wires propping her up in case she slipped, and far from fighting the alien riding the vehicle, she was holding on to him for support.
20 Wonder Woman Fights Leotard Man
Wonder Woman has now become known to moviegoers as the vanquisher of demons and kicker of behinds. You can easily picture her taking on all kinds of horror in her centuries-old life and sending it running back to the underworld. The sword, the warrior-chic armor, the battle-hardened bracelets.
Diana is every inch the warrior princess.
But in this picture, Diana is just the awesome hero who's picking on Leotard Man, who is clearly no match for an amazon with a sword. Way to pick on someone much lower than you on the power scale, Diana. Why don't you make fun of his neck brace as well?
19 The Thor-Loki Bromance
The animosity between Thor and Loki was at its peak during the events of The Avengers. All Thor wanted at the time was to arrest Loki and take him back to Asgard to receive punishment at the hands of their father. That was the whole purpose of Thor coming back to Earth and meeting the other Avengers.
But in this scene, Thor and Loki have forgotten all the bad blood between them and seem to be having a friendly chat about the good old days. Come on, Thor! You know Loki can't be trusted. Nor Bald Guy.
18 Deadpool And The Broken Plane
Deadpool is all about breaking the fourth wall and allowing the viewer to see the fictional nature of his stories. Which is why this scene seems like something an actual Deadpool film might contain. You see that Deadpool was not fighting Ajax and his men atop the broken remains of the Avenger's helicarrier.
Instead, Deadpool was lying on the ground in a green screen room while ADs rushed around trying to capture the perfect shot. You can imagine Deadpool saying, 'And that, kids, is why you should never have too many chimichangas before a fight scene.'
17 The Joker Isn't Actually Insane
A big part of The Joker's personality is that he is always ready and even eager to give up his life if it is in service of messing with Batman or pushing him over the edge. This scene, in particular, showed that Joker actually felt gleeful about falling off a building as long as he had played Batman and Gotham for all their worth.
But in reality, Joker is a sober man who is fully aware of the fatal nature of falling from buildings. Hence the sturdily attached wires protecting him from a fall onto his head.
16 Constipated Bruce Banner
What you have in this scene is not the raging Hulk about to open a can of mayhem on an alien army. What this scene clearly shows instead is Bruce Banner in the throes of acute constipation, the likes of which cause him to fly into a rage and turn into a monster... in the toilet!
You also get a new appreciation for the tough job that Ruffalo had to do, convincing himself and others that he was a giant angry Goliath instead of an ordinary guy who's had too many stale and unhealthy meals while on the run.
15 Quicksilver Ain't Going Anywhere
One of the coolest scenes in any X-Men film is when Quicksilver gets to run around a room while everyone else is frozen in place. In this scene from the movie minus the CGI, we see the practical effects that went into creating such a scene. Turns out that Quicksilver did not even have to run around the room in order to shoot the scene.
All he had to do was run in place while a guy blasted air directly into his face.
The rest of the scene relied on computer graphics and a cool background score.
14 Thor Beats Up A Random Dude
The Thor VS Hulk scene in The Avengers was one of the most hotly anticipated sequences in the entire movie. Everyone wanted to see the Green Monster take on the God of Thunder in a no holds barred smackdown. And that is what we got to see in the film.
But behind the scenes, turns out Thor was just beating up a guy who is clearly smaller and weaker than him. The hollow Hulk bust only serves to make the scene even more ridiculous. And Thor just comes across as a bully.
13 Jor-El Has Lame Transportation
Jor-El was a well-developed character in Man of Steel and a hero in his own right. Especially when he was riding his giant dragon pet to fight for the survival of his species after predicting the doom of Planet Krypton.
But as awesome as that description is, the reality was Russell Crowe dressed in a leotard with fake muscles sitting atop what looks like a giant vacuum cleaner. But you have to hand it to Crowe. He is still selling the heck out of that scene. You can almost imagine other soldiers chasing him atop their own giant vacuum cleaners.
12 The Actual Iron Man Suit
Part of what makes Iron Man so cool is the fact that he has unquestionably the coolest suit/armor among his fellow Avengers. Right from his very first solo film, the Iron Man suit has become a fan favorite.
Each new iteration of the suit looks cooler than the one before it.
But turns out Robert Downey Jr. doesn't get to feel cool strutting around set wearing his Iron Man armor. Instead, he only gets to wear the top half of the suit, leaving his legs encased in normal clothing suitable for a night out, not superheroics.
11 Age Of Uncle Ultron
The character of Ultron was entirely CGI, which meant that for all the movie's filming, the other characters were basically staring at an empty space somewhere over their heads imagining they were conversing with Ultron.
But during filming, James Spader, who acted as the stand-in for Ultron, looks like your frail old uncle who you could never dream of punching, even if it is to save the world. It must have made the task of imagining Ultron as a serious threat and acting intimidated all the harder for the rest of the cast.
10 De-Clawed Wolverine
In this age of CGI, it feels like Wolverine is one of the last few superheroes who doesn't need CGI to show off his abilities. You just glue the claws onto the hands of Hugh Jackman and call it a day. But apparently, even Wolverine could not escape having small bumps on his knuckles later transformed into blades via CGI trickery.
This was probably for the best since Jackman has often spoken about frequently injuring himself while wearing the claws. For the more intense stunts, it makes sense to shorten the length of the claws to minimize the risk of accidental injury.
9 Batman Needs Stage Directions
Ben Affleck was widely derided for taking up the mantle of The Batman. But he proved the naysayers wrong. Building his 6 foot 4 inches frame up to resemble a bodybuilder's, Batfleck was the most physically intimidating Batman the world has ever seen, capable of striking terror into criminal's hearts with his very presence.
But in this scene, Batman doesn't look very intimidating.
In fact, outside of his usual shadowy haunts, and in deep discussion with Zack Snyder dressed casually in jeans and a T-Shirt, the mystique surrounding Batfleck gets stripped away completely. Then it basically looks like cosplay.
8 Superman's Tiny Hometown
Richard Donner's Superman movie is widely credited with bringing 'serious cinema' cred to superhero movies. But the budget allotted to Donner was nowhere near the fortunes spent on Superhero movies these days. So the team had to make Superman's world come alive as cheaply as possible.
Here we get a glimpse of Kansas as it looked in the movie. Instead of going to Kansas, the crew built their own miniature town for the shots of Superman's home. While the miniature model may look ridiculous with two apparent giants standing in its midst, it held up well in the movie.
7 Talking Turtle Power!
Before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could rely on CGI to show up in a live-action film, there were guys in rubber turtle costumes and animatronic heads programmed to move their lips and eyes to mimic human speech and expressions.
The results were good enough for kids who watched the movie, but seeing the animatronic heads lying backstage is something else. You can't help but wonder whether The Shredder finally managed to get his hands on his sworn enemies and kept their decapitated heads as a warning to anyone else who wanted to challenge his might.
6 Not Quite Batman V Superman
The movie Batman V Superman was marketed as the ultimate showdown. You have arguably the most iconic superheroes of all time slugging it out on the big screen. Understandably, the fight scenes between the two in the movie were suitably epic.
But filming those scenes must have felt considerably less epic.
For one thing, Superman without his cape just feels wrong somehow, as does Batman in what looks like a knockoff Iron Man armor. Also, the fight takes place in a green screen room instead of the rooftops of Gotham. Thank god for special effects.
5 The Colossus Dude
That guy in the picture is the Colossus dude. Meaning he was standing in place of Colossus for all the scenes which required his presence in the Deadpool movie. Once again you have an incredibly cool character from a movie looking considerably more ordinary once you realize that he's actually just a guy in a motion capture suit.
Fortunately, the actor who voiced Colossus managed to infuse such a distinct personality into the CGI mutant that we can still find some trace of Colossus within him. Just imagine him as a really tall but otherwise normal dude instead.
4 Revealing The Wizard's Tricks
Doctor Strange was a movie that was as mind-bendy as it was entertaining. The film made good use of Dr. Strange's wizard premise to show all kinds of cool tricks, like levitation, light-based weaponry, and portals that could transport you across vast distances in an instant.
This behind the scenes photo lets us know what was really going on when Strange opened a portal to visit his ex-flame. Far from being a mystical doorway, there was just Benedict Cumberbatch staring at Rachel McAdams through a circle of light while standing in front of a green screen.
3 Not-So-Incredible Hulk
Mark Ruffalo has received a lot of praise for playing Bruce Banner in the MCU, and justly so! Ruffalo does a great job of capturing the world-weary pathos of a brilliant man forced to go on a self-imposed exile to protect society from the monster within him.
But many fans often forget that Ruffalo is also responsible for providing the motion capture for his big green alter ego. Hulk may be the biggest and strongest there is, but he's actually played by one of the smallest actors in the MCU who doesn't boast of six-pack abs or giant biceps.
2 Cosplay Team Cap Unite!
This scene right here lets you know that beneath all the high tech wizardry at the disposal of Disney, and the millions of dollars spent on specialized trainers, seamstresses, and make-up artists, are basically just a bunch of actors dressing up in cosplay.
And pretending to shoot energy beams from their hands.
Really, it's like going out with a gorgeous supermodel, and then later seeing her without makeup for the first time. No wonder so much time is spent in post-production adding new cosmetic layers to the scenes to make them worthy of the comics.
1 Frenemies Bane And Batman
More than any other villain, Bane came the closest to breaking Batman's spirit, right after very effectively breaking his back (but not so effectively that Bruce Wayne couldn't recover from it without any serious medical aid and make a dramatic comeback).
Anyway, in this scene, Bane and Batman seem to have put their differences aside and struck up a cordial friendship, perhaps over their mutual inability to understand each other. Also, Bane looks a lot smaller here than he does in the actual movie. Not to mention seeming less focused on his previous obsession with breaking the Bat.