When the first public trailer dropped for Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers film, it was met with a collective sigh from many, including yours truly. It wasn’t very exciting and the only thing it had going for it was some pedestrian banter that relied solely on the charm of Robert Downey Jr. Even on a visual level, the trailer failed to deliver the scale expected from an Avengers movie. It’s with that attitude that I entered the IGN theater at the New York Comic Con this past Saturday.
When the panel started, moderator Chris Hardwick walked out to a crowd that was already coming down from the high of The Walking Dead panel and introduced the film’s producer Kevin Feige. Feige commented on how the teaser just recently dropped, but that it was on the computer and then proceeded to ask the audience if they would like to see it played on the three giant screens in the theater.
This was met with great enthusiasm.
This was the first time that the teaser had been shown on a movie theater sized screen. And the the fact is, it didn’t make much of a difference. It induced the same sigh felt earlier in the week, just with the addition of a blaring room filled with 4,000 Marvel fanatics who would hoot and holler at every frame featuring a different character no matter the quality of the footage.
Once the trailer had concluded, the rest of panel was brought out, including Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders and Clark Gregg.
Things like Gregg singing his own version of the Avengers theme song to the crowd and Ruffalo coining his new catch-phrase, “Ruffalized” drew major laughs which were then met with wonder as some of the cast began talking about their roles. Specifically Ruffalo and Hiddleston.
In regards to how he felt about Loki‘s portrayal in the upcoming film, Hiddleston commented that he found it thrilling to be the only villain in the film and that he found it allowed Loki to truly shine and develop his complete self-centered outlook on life. A side that was merely touched upon in Thor.
When asked about how he was approaching the character of Bruce Banner, Ruffalo stated that he was “building” his version with elements of the actors that played him in the past including Edward Norton (whose name drew massive applause from the audience), Eric Bana and even Bill Bixby and then “Ruffaloizing” them. He stated that he wanted this Bruce Banner to be a more “mature” version of the character, and one that hadn’t been seen thus far.
Later on in the panel, Ruffalo stated that the one thing he has over the other three actors who’ve played the character is that he got to be on set as Hulk thanks to performance capture technology. Every scene featuring Hulk in the film is 100% Ruffalo’s performance.
After Ruffalo finished his breakdown of his approach to Banner, a reel of brand new, never-before-seen footage was shown to the audience.
The reel opens in what appeared to be a South American town where a little girl is running through the streets. The girl eventually makes her way up a set of stairs where she finds Dr. Banner and asks for his help. This is when we cut to an empty house where the girl has led Banner. At which point, Black Widow comes from around the corner and through a dialogue exchange that tops any action scene in the aforementioned trailer, informs Banner that Nick Fury needs his help and that they have been watching him for quite some time.
It was the kind of scene that should of been in the trailer that recently came out. It completely helps get across the kind of tone Whedon’s script is going for and gives a really good idea of the kind of dialogue and performances we can expect from the film.
After that scene, we cut to various moment of eye candy, some of which were shown at D23 earlier this year. Moments like Stark doing his “head count” intercut with various action beats. But new scenes including some more banter between Stark and other characters, most notably Banner, were present.
In another great dialogue moment, Stark shocks Banner with a what appears to be some sort of cattle prod like device while he’s working, in order to see if he can make Hulk come out. To his surprise he states “wow, you really have that thing under control, don’t you? What’s your secret?” At that point, Steve Rogers says “is everything a joke to you?” “Only things that are funny,” the exact response we have come to expect from Downey’s Tony Stark.
A few more D23 action beats are shown, and then the footage ends. All in all, it did a much better job of exciting the audience for the film, and they didn’t even need a Nine Inch Nails soundtrack to do it.
The floor was then opened up to fan questions that were mostly directed at Hiddleston and his amazing body. But some interesting facts were learned. Two of the most notable were that there will in fact be a post credit scene at the end of The Avengers, simply because Feige has found it to be tradition at this point and sees no reason to break it now.
When discussing the upcoming Iron Man 3 film being helmed by Shane Black, Feige stated that the new sequel will be the beginning of “Phase 2″ of the Avengers project. I.E. Iron Man 3 will be the start of a new story that will lead into a second Avengers film… At least on paper.
And there were of course some amusing answers such as the fact that Evans has found he enjoys playing Captain America over The Human Torch, and that when Clark saw all the Avengers on set for the first time he felt like it was the make-a-wish foundation, which was met with a bit of laughter from the crowd.
At the end of the day, the NYCC Avengers panel was a complete success and now it all comes down to waiting out the next seven months to see what Whedon and the rest of his team have in store for us all.
There’s more to come from New York Comic-Con, so stay tuned…