Brisbane becomes the centre of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Brisbane becomes the centre of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - 1 July 2017

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Thor’s hammer (Mjolnir) on stand, from the 2011 Thor film. It forms part of a new exhibition at GOMA of more than 500 costumes, props and sets form Marvel films. Photo: Marvel

by Rachel Clun

Marvel Studios is giving Queenslanders a peek behind its warehouse doors in a new exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, displaying more than 500 costumes, sets and props from its many films.

Opening on Saturday, the Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe exhibition is the largest Marvel exhibit ever staged and includes set pieces from Thor: Ragnarok as well as objects never seen by the public before.

Marvel's physical production manager Alexis Auditore said the movie studio was excited to be part of the large exhibition.

"We're showcasing a lot of props and costumes that have never actually been seen by the public," she said.

"We're very excited about having people come in and see our world, a world that's sort of been kept behind a warehouse door for years now."

Curator Amanda Slack-Smith said there are some thrilling objects in the exhibition.

"Some of the standouts are really big moments that people will love, and others that are just gorgeous pieces," she said

One of those big moments is the Asguardian throne room, which will feature in the Queensland-filmed Thor: Ragnarok when it opens in November.

Slack-Smith said getting that piece into the gallery was a "feat unto itself".

"I think people will really love that, there's such a weight and presence to that," she said.

Another piece from the upcoming Thor movie is the Hulk's enormous bed.

Auditore said it was amazing seeing those set pieces set up without the hustle and bustle of the film crew around them.

"Honestly these pieces are larger than life, the moment I saw them was amazing, I physically gasped at how fantastic these pieces looked again," she said.

Slack-Smith said they were able to alter the timing so the show would be on before Thor: Ragnarok's cinematic debut, so it would be the first chance for people to see the set pieces.

Thor aside, the smaller items in the exhibition will also excite visitors.

"I'm also very excited about what they've done with the Doctor Strange costumes, and how they've chosen to display those," Auditore said.

Slack-Smith said one of her favourite pieces in the exhibition is a bust of Groot, from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

"Essentially these busts are made to be brought onto set so they can test lighting, and then the characters are CGIed in," she said.

"But what I love is they're so passionate about how they make these: it has wood texturing, it's painted, it has moss on it, it's this beautifully crafted bust that nobody's ever seen."

Part of the behind the scenes section of the exhibition, Slack-Smith said it was a great way to "pull apart just how everything goes together".

The exhibition has interactive elements, which include sound mixing, playing with a green screen and working with 3-D models.

GOMA will also screen four Marvel Studio films, including Iron Man and the Guardian's of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Slack-Smith said the gallery had to negotiate with Marvel about which pieces it could use, as most props were used in multiple films.

"It's really lucky they've actually frozen all these things for the show for the length of time," she said.

"I just loved the fact they're not dusty on the shelves."

Auditore said Marvel were happy to have been involved.

"I've personally be working with Amanda Slack-Smith and her curating staff for over a year now trying to find the best pieces for them to display," she said.

"GOMA has been a great partner as has Screen Queensland and we're very excited to be here and be a part of this."

Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe opens at the GOMA on May 27 and runs until September 3. For more information head to the GOMA website.