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A Look Inside GOMA's Massive Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe Exhibition

Take a walk through GOMA's blockbuster exhibition, featuring over 600 Marvel costumes, props and artefacts.
By Sarah Ward
June 02, 2017
By Sarah Ward
June 02, 2017

Superheroes are taking over Brisbane — and if you're a fan, it's marvellous. Between May 27 and September 3, Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe brings caped crusaders, their costumes, props and the artistry that makes them soar — both on the page and on the screen — to the entire ground floor of the Gallery of Modern Art.

Featuring more than 500 objects (including more than 60 costumes), the exhibition provides a peek behind the scenes of one of the biggest film franchises ever made. In fact, it's the largest amassing of Marvel movie artefacts of its kind in the world, ever. You could dub it a blockbuster, and you'd be right.

Launching the exhibition, QAGOMA director Chris Saines was eager to explain that some of the items on display have Chris Hemsworth's DNA on them; however getting up close to objects touched and worn by Thor — including on the forthcoming Thor: Ragnarok, which was shot on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane last year — is just part of the fun. Casting your eyes over original and concept artwork, exploring the interconnected realm that has been splashed across cinemas for the past decade, and playing with the pre-and post-production techniques behind the movie magic are also on offer.

Indeed, Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe endeavours to show that popular mainstream entertainment and art can be one and the same, especially given the level of detail that goes into both comic books and their movie adaptations. Walking through areas dedicated to the exhibition's three key themes — 'The Cinematic Assembled', 'Decoding the Universe' and 'Behind the Scenes' — delves into both individual and interconnected narratives, and highlights the creativity involved on a movie as well as an overall cinematic universe level.

Along the way, you'll say "I am Groot" to giant humanoid trees, pretend you're a smart-talking racoon, peer into a yet-to-be-seen planet and star in your own Marvel poster too. Discovering the full collection is something best experienced for yourself, and, if you can make it to GOMA before September, here's five things to look out for.


The eagerly anticipated Thor: Ragnarok mightn't hit cinemas until October; however Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe offers a glimpse of just what's in store (don't worry, there's no plot spoilers). You can't miss the giant, gleaming throne room that takes centre stage in the exhibition, and nor would you want to. Just look at it! Costumes and weaponry from 2013's Thor: The Dark World also feature.


Speaking of Asgard and its famous warrior, he's not alone in his next cinema outing. The giant green mass of muscles that is the Hulk is set to tear things up on screen — and, as you'll see here, take a rest as well. What kind of bed does the Hulk sleep on? This one. Saying that it's huge is an understatement — this photo really doesn't do it justice. Also on display are his weapons, which make Thor's mighty mjolnir seem absolutely tiny in comparison.


He's the reason the Marvel Cinematic Universe even exists, and, in typical Tony Stark style, he gets his own room. It was back in 2008 when Iron Man demonstrated that the world wanted more superhero movies, and one of the suits from that pioneering flick lines GOMA's walls — alongside versions from 2010's Iron Man 2 and 2013's Iron Man 3. As you can see, over the years he's had quite a few upgrades.


Spider-Man just keeps slinging his way into cinemas, but 57 years ago, he was only starting to crawl his way across paper. With the initial movie in what will be his third film series in the past 15 years due to drop in July, checking out the first piece of artwork to feature his image proves quite a timely experience. It might seem amazing now, but these kinds of things were usually thrown away back in the day — no one knew just what a big deal they'd become.


Every one of the 15 films that comprise the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date is represented in the exhibition — and, thanks to the forthcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, the 16th and 17th flicks too. Doctor Strange mightn't get quite as much space as some of the bigger titles, but the GOMA folks sure know how to make the movie's costumes stand out. With Inception-like visuals playing a bit part in the flick, expect to witness them in person thanks to some mirrored fun.

Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe is on display at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art from May 27 to September 3. For more information, visit the exhibition website.

Images: Sarah Ward and Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe' Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2017 / © 2017 MARVEL.

Published on June 02, 2017 by Sarah Ward
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