When Zack Snyder made Watchmen he produced two 'Art Of...' books: one with the focus on the traditional production stills and concept art, and the other a portraits book with huge, beautiful shots of every character, however minor, by photographer Clay Enos. With a smaller cast for his new metaphysical action movie and an original concept rather than a touchstone of comic-book culture, he's combined both into this handsome effort, with Enos' fierce images chopped in and around the other sketches. The result is less immediately gobsmacking, but there's loads of eye-candy in here for fans.
Snyder wrote the text himself, and is as in-depth as you'd expect given that he also came up with the concept and script for the film. He's also quick to credit others and to showcase his collaborators with a pleasingly fanboyish enthusiasm - notably artist Alex Pardee, whose sketches for the characters helped to shape the ladies' different looks.
While the book clearly holds quite a bit back - swathes of the film remain largely undiscussed and unpictured - it also contains the occasional huge spoiler (page 118 in particular). That's a strange mixture, since it means you can't open it before seeing the film but might be left with questions if you read it later. Still, it's clear that Snyder wants you to come out of this experience still questioning what the heck just happened, so let's assume that's intentional. What's there is gorgeous, and will give you a better handle on all the different layers of what promises to be a more-than-usually complex shoot-'em-up.
Reviewed by Helen O'Hara
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