There is loudness and then there is the ear shattering, floor rumbling reception given to THE AVENGERS at New York Comic Con’s IGN Theater. The song of a couple thousand voices who had sat on-line for hours and/or braved though lesser panels like the one for GHOST RIDER or NIKITA.
By now you‘re likely one of the millions who have helped set records downloading the first official, full length AVENGERS trailer but I tell you that, (and not in a douchey, “nah nah” kind of way“) until you‘ve seen it on a big screen, with screaming, shrieking fans you cannot fully appreciate the trailer.
Exclusive Footage (spoilers)
As for the new footage that was shown during the panel: it was very Bruce Banner centric, with Mark Ruffalo sharing a tense moment with Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow, who has been sent by Nick Fury to “persuade” Banner to essentially join the Avengers. I don’t want to give away too much because I’m sure the clip will make its way out into the mainstream in the coming days but the Whedon touch is there, specifically in the interplay between the two actors.
The second part of the clip heads more toward the other Avengers, with Robert Downey Jr. reading off the “roll call” as we see inter-cut moments of action from each individual Avenger. There is also a tense moment between Downey’s Tony Stark and Tom Hiddelston’s Loki, and a more playful moment where Downey tries to draw out Dr. Banner’s not nice side, much to the chagrin of Captain America.
Chris Evans, Tom Hiddelston, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had been the announced guest list but as we waited online making alliances with those around us and handicapping our odds of getting in, we speculated freely on who exactly the “special guest” would be. Samuel L. Jackson? The Joss? I won’t lie, moments before the panel I gently clasped my hands together and said a whispered prayer, “Dear and Fluffy Lord, please let it be Joss Whedon, peace out, your homie, Jason”, but alas it was to no avail as Mark Ruffalo came out to shock and delight the crowd (and me).
With that kind of diverse group and no Robert Downey Jr. to hog the spotlight (usually in a splendid way) you expect a raucous roundtable but unfortunately the proceedings were hampered by some lackluster audience questions that were often focused on Hiddelston and his male beauty (alright, he ain’t bad up close). In fact the Hiddelston love was so apparent that it actually was noted by Moderator Chris Hardwick (NERDIST, duh) and poor Chris Evans who sat at the far end of the panel, baseball cap pulled low in near silence before jumping onto one of Hiddelston’s questions in an effort, I suppose, to earn his participation badge.
As usual Clark Gregg proved to be a highlight, singing his own Trent Reznor-influenced AVENGERS theme song (Hiddelson also sang “Pure Imagination” from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATTE FACTORY , beautifully…yes, prettiness and he can sang.). Gregg also noted that his favorite superhero was his character, Agent Phil Coulson, “The superhero you don’t see coming”. He also revealed a bit of a spoiler when he admitted that Coulson pulls back his face and “reveals he’s a Romulan princess”. Whether or not that’s code for Skrull is, I suppose, up for interpretation.
Cobie Smulders, aka Robin Sparkles (HIMYM) admitted that it was her first con and stated that she was more intimidated by the prospect of working with Joss Whedon who was busy editing the film (hence my unanswered geek prayer).
Of Whedon, Feige said “it’s his movie” giving due credit and painting a bold target on the back of The Joss should all this astound in a very bad way (which it won’t).
Chris Evans wasn’t entirely silent, remarking that it was genuinely nice to “share the load” while admitting that he preferred Cap to The Human Torch, and plain clothes to his Captain America costume.
On costumes, Hiddleston cheekily described his costume as mostly “leather and metal” while it was revealed that Ruffalo will be the first actor to play both Bruce Banner and The Hulk, thanks to advances in motion capture technology. Which I assume means something akin to the way Andy Serkis embodied Caesar in RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.
Ruffalo was perhaps the most introspective but also the most playful member of the on-hand cast (aside from Gregg), speaking about the challenges of stepping into a role that he said Ed Norton had said was “our generations Hamlet” due to its ever-growing list of portrayers. Ruffalo also spoke on the past Banner’s with shout outs to Norton, Eric Bana, and of course Bill Bixby, before saying that he had to “pay homage but then I had to Ruffalize it”. A word so beloved by those in attendance that Chris Hardwick remarked that he would be surprised if the word didn’t wind-up on Urban Dictionary by the end of the night (I may be slightly paraphrasing).
As I said before though, Tom Hiddelston was the star of the show and I’ll give him credit, the man knows his comic books, revealing some deep cut knowledge of Loki’s origin, and some interesting and slightly weird places he’d like to see Loki go in the future (ice cream street?).
Hiddelston also spoke about the slightly different version of Loki that we see in THE AVENGERS, one who “knows who he is” and who is “fully self possessed”. He later added that “villains don’t believe their villains”.
An honest tie between Hiddelston’s story about Chris Evans admiring the size and shape of Hemsworth’s biceps on set, and Clark Gregg describing his thoughts upon seeing all the Avengers assembled in one place, “I kind of thought it was the Make a Wish Foundation” while wondering if he only had 2 weeks left to live.
They kept things pretty close to the vest save for the Romulan Princess thing, but Kevin Feige said that he thought the tradition of a teaser scene following the credits would continue, the Hellicarrier was named, but that isn’t really a surprise. Feige also spoke to the independent nature of the possible GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and INHUMANS movies from the existing Marvel Universe.
The cast brought their A-game, the exclusive footage was fantastic, and Tom Hiddelston is cat nip. Well worth the wait, even if I had to see Nic Cage piss fire in the 3rd Dimension. Also I’m quite sure I won’t hear words or sounds in a clear manner for at least 72 hours thanks to the thunderous applause, the eruption of geek glee, and the high pitched, Tommy Hid inspired carnal cat calls.
I’ll have more from the floor of New York Comic Con later today and over the coming days. Full coverage of THE WALKING DEAD panel, and The Sony Panel featuring GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE, TOTAL RECALL, and UNDERWORLD AWAKENING.
I’ll also have my exclusive interviews with Josh Adams, the artist for IDW’s DOCTOR WHO comic book, F.J. Desanto, author of IMMORTALS: GODS AND HEROES, an exciting pre-quel to the coming IMMORTALS film, and a hush hush, TOP SECRET, yet very SHINY actress.
Want to know more about GOLDENEYE: RELOADED and MAX PAYNE 3? We’ve got you covered. Want to here about some cool toys and geektastic products? You know we got you covered. Daleks, cosplayers, and an impromptu bear hug from a former WWF “Million Dollar Champion”, check, check, check.
All that plus an editorial on the future of digital comics with opinions from comic book All Stars, Daniel Way, Alex Sinclair, Scott Allie, Joe Quesada, and comic book shop retailers.
Yeah, we got New York Comic Con covered.