I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Rocket Racoon isn't real. Nor, for that matter, are Doctor Strange's mystical powers or the galactic Norse kingdom of Asgard. They are all, in fact, magical illusions devised by the clever SFX folk over at Marvel Studios, who bring your favourite comic book characters to life on the big screen through world-leading CGI, motion capture performances, and other technical wizardry which I'm not going to pretend to understand.
It's not easy to create a sentient tree person or rib-chinned titan from scratch, though. There's a bunch of behind-the-scenes magic that we don't get to see from the final product, from the rich concept art that inspires every fantastical setting to the giant, artificial sets created at Pinewood Studios to complement the digital backdrops added in post-production.
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But that's all about to change, as we've compiled an eye-opening highlight reel that takes you behind the special effects of the MCU, with dazzling insights into the makings of Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok, and more. Be warned: while a lot of what you'll see is awe-inspiring, it's not all bells and whistles, and the sight of Rocket Racoon's sinewy, furless flesh is... well, it's something.
Racoon anatomy aside, the sizzle reel does give you an idea of the kind of forensic attention to detail that Marvel's digital effects team put into their craft, all for the sake of letting us get emotionally invested in a walking, talking furball. So before you take to the theatre for Captain Marvel, give the above video a watch, and develop a richer appreciation for the work of these 21st century warlocks, who make our favourite superheroes look as lifelike as the real thing for our entertainment.
If you like this you'll love Game of Thrones without the special effects. We hate to break it to you but... dragons aren't real.