Cinematography in Superhero Films
Superhero movies use cinematography in new and interesting ways. With technology, Hollywood can bring to life scenes that reveal the super normal characters of the heroes, dazzling shows of light and colour, seemingly impossible moves, and destruction of the universe. Cinematography also helps change the background, make the characters move better, and show the true nature of the characters.
Here are a few ways cinematography is used in superhero movies, with examples.
An Enhanced Visual Palette
Cinematographers are able to use their skills to get the screens bursting with colour. This way, they are able to showcase the incredible powers of their main characters and show how supercharged heroes decimate villains of epic proportions.
One of the best examples of this skill is in Thor: Ragnarok. The movie has several such scenes; from the colourful garbage of Sakaar Surtur, which is laced with flare, there are beautiful colours that burst onto people’s eyes. Other scenes in the movie with a similar effect include the Hulk and Thor fight, Valkyrie’s flashback, and the scene where Thor fights Hela men.
Using a Pause in Action
In movies, the direction that the character faces is very important. In most movies, the character walks in the same direction throughout the entire scene. However, this is not the case in some movies. A classic example is the case where Tony from Iron Man leaves Caesar’s Palace. If you check the first scene, he walks from the left to the right, while in the second, he walks from right to left.
Cinematographers have ensured that this works without affecting the continuity of the movie by putting a pause in action after the first scene. A pause acts as a period placed between the two sentences. Viewers continue with the story without losing the flow, even when directions change.
Animated movies also bring forth awesome cinematographic moments to life. While animation looks like the extreme side of live action cinematography, there is a lot that a special effects team can do to enhance such movies. One of these ways is to animate the background in order to show what a character that is not visible in the foreground is doing.
An example of this technique is Spider-Man in Into the Spider-Verse. In one scene, Miles Morales leaps from one skyscraper to another, where the skyline is shown looking like a water reflection. This makes the scene look different and draws the eye to the tops of different buildings.
A zoom shot enhances the focus on a specific item, object, or character. Viewers are able to see the finer details that they would not have otherwise noted in a large scene or when the character is seen in full size.
There are various scenes across multiple superhero movies where zooming brings out some epic illustration of events. One of the movies where this is extensively used is Black Panther. Scenes like the ritual combat and the T’Challa car chase zoom in on the main characters such that viewers are able to see each move that they make along with their facial expressions.
Slowing down a scene allows viewers to internalise an epic event that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. It could be a character dodging a bullet, making an impossible jump or a flip, or an extraordinary event.
Slow motion has been extensively used in both conventional and superhero movies over the years. One of the superhero movies where it creates an epic scene is Wonder Woman. There is a scene where Diana Prince emerges from a trench just as the opponent makes a shot. She then repels the bullet in slow motion. Viewers get the chance to see the trajectory of the bullet and how her supernatural abilities deflect it.
Character enlargement allows the cinematographers to highlight the abilities of one character over the other. This not only demonstrates their capabilities, it also shows their every move with epic results. Character enlargement also levels the playing field where there are two superheroes who are not the same size but are meant to fight.
One of the movies where this technique has been used with awesome results is Captain America: Civil War. There is a scene where superheroes battle at an airport, and Spider Man joins one side. In the scene, Ant-Man’s size is enlarged in a meetup with Hawkeye. For a moment, the movie director gives viewers a good look at his abilities. Later, Iron Man’s face was seen with Captain America, and a similar technique was used on him.
Movie managers and cinematographers use various photography and camera manoeuvring techniques to bring seemingly impossible events and moves into action. These techniques are more evident in superhero movies, but they have been used extensively in other genres, from comedy to action movies.