Visual Effects in the MCU’s Phase 4 slate were surprisingly weak when compared to other blockbusters. Movies such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Thor: Love And Thunder went viral for having laughably bad CGI, while other movies such as Everything Everywhere All At Once and Top Gun: Maverick raised the bar of standard VFX. This could be attributed to the exponential increase in projects released every single month, as well as the mistreatment of VFX workers, which gained widespread attention lately.
However, not all of Phase 4’s VFX was as people make it out to be. The latter half of 2022 surely proves it, with Werewolf By Night, The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Not only did the trio receive one of the highest audience scores of all time, but they also featured top-notch VFX as well.
New ‘Wakanda Forever’ Stills
ILM visual effects supervisor Craig Hammack spoke to Befores & Afters about the flying Namor scenes, the Golden City destruction, and water bombs.
Well, firstly, when this initially came to us, it was a really exciting opportunity to get back into a city that we had built six years ago for the first film. It was a huge massive build at that point and something we loved putting together and doing and we were really excited about how it ended up in the movie. And so bringing that back, we were like, ‘Okay, well this is an opportunity to just plus that out even more and build on top of it.’ Well, as I’m sure you know and have heard, anything you bring back six years later is not going to work.
For us it was an exploration of how we could get everything in one spot with all these buildings, and all this data that goes with fluid sims. We wanted to render those together so that we got accurate refraction, accurate reflections onto the water of the buildings, correct water lines, stains on the buildings, everything like that.
He mentioned that most of the scenes where we see “Namor from the waist down were CG replacements.”
Boy, there were so many scans, and it’s something that Marvel does really well, which is, document the shoot. There’s a full understanding of how necessary it is and what trouble you get into later if you don’t have scans. Clear Angle was the company that provided the scans to us, and they were there for the whole shoot. At some point we had to break up into multiple units and they brought in a second scanning company; SCANable, to help.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in cinemas.