D23 2011 Marvel Studios Presentation: 'The Avengers'

Saturday, 20 August 2011 21:24 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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D23 2011 Marvel Studios Presentation:  'The Avengers'

Marvel Studios assembled The Avengers at D23 on Saturday with several members of the cast on hand and the unveiling of some impressive footage that made many fans geek-out. “We’ve been busy assembling a Marvel world,” said Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige. “But here we are. We’re in production on The Avengers in Ohio right now. It’s really amazing.”

The presentation began with a really cool montage clip that featured all of the important story beats from Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger that will play into the events of the upcoming The Avengers. The montage began with Nick Fury’s introduction in Iron Man, and also included the General Ross/Tony Stark scene from The Incredible Hulk, as well as the end credit scene from Thor, and glimpses of all of the main characters from their previous appearances.

The montage reminded me of just how difficult a task this was for Marvel Studios to pull off, and how impressive it is that they are actually in the process of shooting The Avengers right now! Remember, in order to make this one film, Marvel gambled that five other movies would be successful enough to justify this kind of a project. If the scenes we saw next were any indication, I would say that the gamble paid off big time!

Feige explained that while the film’s director Joss Whedon wanted to be at D23 in person to introduce the clip, he was busy shooting the film today in Ohio and could not get away from the set. With no further ado, Feige introduced the clips by simply saying, “This is how they assemble.”

The clips began onboard the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier and featured Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, the villain from this summer’s Thor. Fury has Loki locked up in some sort of glass prison cell above a hole in the ship that Fury can open up by remote. Fury tells Loki that if he so much as tries to escape that he will open the portal and drop him 300,000 feet to his death. Fury demonstrates this by opening the hatch and showing a dark rainstorm of an abyss below Loki’s feet. I have to say that I found this to be very interesting because it seems like Loki no longer has his powers. Unless I missed something, I thought it was established that he could still do magic on Earth at the end of Thor. My guess is that this scene is early in the movie and that he is only temporarily defeated or perhaps he’s let himself get caught on purpose as part of a nefarious plan. Either way, Loki doesn’t seem that concerned about being locked up.

The scene continued with Loki taunting Fury by complimenting him on building a nice cage but that he knows it was not built for him. Fury concurs and says that it was actually built for something stronger. I assume they are referring to the Hulk but that wasn’t clear. Loki continued by asking Fury why he is so desperate that he would have “lost creatures” defending him. Fury replies by criticizing Loki for threatiening his world, stealing a “force” that he can’t control, and killing because its fun. I think the “force” Fury is referring to is the cosmic cube, which was featured in Captain America: The First Avenger, and the final scene of Thor. After another exchange between the two, Loki ends by saying that he will remind Fury of what “real power is.” Fury exits the room mocking Loki and telling him to call if “real power” wants a magazine to read.

While this is going on, we cut to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) watching this interrogation on a monitor from the control room. Also, several members of the team are assembled in what appears to be their meeting room watching it on a screen as well. Included were glimpses of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). As the scene between Fury and Loki ended, it cut to Banner saying, “He really grows on you doesn’t he.” It was a funny moment.

While I liked Ed Norton’s Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk, I thought Ruffalo looked good in the role. He’s a great actor so I knew he could pull it off. I do have to say that it appears to me that this is a different Bruce Banner than the one we saw previously. Norton’s Banner was strong, athletic, super-smart and heroic. Ruffalo’s Banner, while still smart is also geekier, sluggish and perhaps darker. This Banner seems to have already been a torture soul long before he was hit by gamma rays. I think they are going more in the direction of The Ultimates comic book series by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch with the character. If that is in fact the case, I think it fits the tone of the film and is a perfect choice for this movie.

The next scene began with Tony Stark talking to an unknown person in what appeared to be the billionaire’s private bar room. Tony says, “lets do a head count.” We cut to a quick shot of Hawkeye, and Black Widow while Tony says, “we have two world class assassins…” Then we see a shot of Thor and Tony continues, “A demigod…” Finally we see a shot of Captain America and then Tony finishes by saying, “And a living legend that actually lives up to the legend … but you big guy, you’ve managed to piss all of them off.” It is then revealed that Tony is speaking with Loki, who apparently escaped Fury’s glass box. Loki replies by saying, “I have an army.” To which Tony answers, “We have a Hulk.” Followed by our only glimpse at the new and approved green goliath, who looked to be a shade greyer, which also could point to an Ultimates influence. It went by too quick to tell if the new Hulk really looks like Ruffalo or not as previously reported but he gave a mean roar and I have to say that I thought it was pretty badass. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Hulk 3.0 make his full debut in The Avengers next summer.

After the packed D23 arena hall at the Anaheim Convention Center calmed down and stopped their thunderous applause, Kevin Feige introduced some special guests. He began by introducing Tom Hiddleston as “THE villain of the film” Loki. Now I may just be reading into this but I found Feige’s wording very interesting because there have been rumors that Loki is only a minor baddie in the movie and that the team will be fighting a larger foe like the Kree or the Skrulls. This could have been unintentional on Feigie’s part but it peaked my curiosity nonetheless. On the other hand, the “army” Loki was referring to could still indicate a Kree or Skrull appearance so your guess is as good as mine.

Feige continued surprising the audience by introducing most of the rest of the cast including Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, and finally last but not least, Robert Downey Jr. The cast entered to a standing-room-only applause from the D23 crowd. Downey said to the fans, “We’re happy to be down here visiting our parents in Anaheim,” obviously referring to the home of Marvel’s parent company Disney. Downey was so excited about the clips that were just shown that he asked the audience if they would mind watching them again, which of course they didn’t mind at all. The presentation ended with an encore screening of the D23 exclusive clips, but unfortunately you’ll have to wait until May 4th, 2012 to see The Avengers assemble on the big screen for yourself. 

To watch recent videos from the set of The Avengers, please click here.

The Avengers begin assembling on May 4th, 2012. 

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