With Captain America: Civil War soon to be unleashed, let’s take a look at the very best superhero VFX breakdowns on the internet.

Superheroes are everywhere these days, and it’s nothing new. The superhero genre can be traced all the way back to the 1940s with serials such as Batman (1943), Captain America (1944), and Superman (1948).

The majority of these early superhero films utilized practical effects. For instance, the Superman serials tried to use a seven-foot-tall papier-mâché stand-in. When this proved too cumbersome, directors Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Carr relied on a mixture of live action and animation to sell the effect of Superman flying. While you can easily notice the transition between live-action and animation, the effect was incredibly impressive for the 1940s. But it’s obviously a far cry from the VFX used in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Batman vs Superman VFX

Image via Warner Bros

Today, every superhero film showcases mind-blowing VFX, and in many cases the majority of the film is rendered in post. Let’s take a look at the post-production magic required to bring Hollywood’s heroes and villains to life. Here are some of our very favorite superhero VFX breakdowns.


1. The Avengers

VFX Studio: Industrial Light & Magic

The original Avengers film finally brought Marvel’s cast of superheroes together under one roof. This film is a visual spectacle, sure, but it’s also a really great film. Where it really shines is during the final battle sequence between our heroes and the Chitauri. The video below (from ILM) showcases the elements needed to pull off this sequence, as well as the film’s other major action sequences.


2. Avengers: Age of Ultron

VFX Studio: Industrial Light & Magic

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the VFX gurus at ILM took things a step further with the creation of the Vision. In this VFX breakdown from Marvel Entertainmentwe’re given insight into how the creative teams were able to enhance the performance of Paul Bettany with CG effects.


3. Dredd

VFX Studio: Prime Focus World/Double Negative

One of the underrated gems of the last few years is Dredd. While it didn’t really set the box office on fire, it has gone on to became a highly regarded cult film. In the video below (via The CGBros), we get a full tour of just how Prime Focus World and Double Negative were able to take Johannesburg, South Africa and turn it into Mega City.


4. Guardians of the Galaxy

VFX Studio: Moving Picture Company

Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t just a great superhero film, it’s a fantastic sci-fi film. The VFX team at MPC worked diligently to create incredible set extensions as well as fully rendered sets. The key to all of this was being able to match the look and feel of the practical sets. In the video below (via FilmIsNow Movie Bloopers & Extras), you can see exactly how they arranged all of those elements to help take Guardians to another level.


5. Man of Steel

VFX Company: Weta Digital

While Batman v Superman definitely has some pretty spectacular visual effects, we can’t overlook the work of Weta Digital on Man of Steel. In the video below (from Wired), we get an inside look at how Weta developed the amazingly textured and organic VFX for Krypton.


6. Ant-Man

VFX Studio: Industrial Light & Magic

The VFX for Ant-Man, as with most Marvel films, was overseen by Industrial Light & Magic. However, visual effects studio Cinesite came in and worked on the first fight sequence between Ant-Man and Yellow Jacket. You can see the process below.


7. Thor: The Dark World

VFX Studio: Blur Studio

For Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, Blur Studio  developed some amazing visual effects for the opening of the film. This opening showcased their ability to create expansive sets and realistic character models. You can see their skills in action in the VFX breakdown below, via Blur Studio.


8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

VFX Studio: Industrial Light & Magic

The Jedi masters of ILM were hard at work again in 2014 with the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As you’ll see in the video breakdown below (via The CGBros), the ILM team utilized the voice actors for each character by putting them in full-body mo-cap suits. These suits allowed the ILM team to build the character rigging around the movements of the actors.


9. Deadpool

VFX Studio: Atomic Fiction

The up-and-coming VFX studio Atomic Fiction worked side by side with Blur Studios to create the effects for Deadpool. In the video below (via Aiden Pearce), we see their work on the film’s opening chase sequence. There’s a lot happening here, from fully CGI elements to a mixture of CGI and live action.


10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

VFX Studio: Industrial Light & Magic

As we inch closer to the release of Captain America: Civil War, let’s take a look back at the previous film in the series, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Produced by ILM, the effects for The Winter Soldier are simply incredible; the blend of live action and CG work is flawless. Be sure to pay special attention to the scene where Falcon runs from the destruction created by a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship crashing into the side of the building.

Hopefully these VFX breakdowns gave you some insight into how these amazing special effects were developed and put together. What’s your favorite superhero VFX breakdown? Share your thoughts in the comments below.