Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. My favorite stuff of the big Disney Studios event was a look at Frankenweenie (think Burton’s Vincent done with the sophistication of The Corpse Bride, in black and white), the two scenes from The Muppets (hilarious use of We Built This City On Rock And Roll) and, thank God, Marvel Studios Avengers presentation.
I was furiously taking notes at the event, so I’ll do my best to recount the footage, but what I will say straight off the bat… THIS is what should have played after Captain America. I’m not stupid, I know some of these shots wouldn’t have been finished, but there’s an intensity to the group dynamic in this footage that was radically missing from the tease after Cap.
The footage was anchored around Loki locked in a circular containment cell as Nic Fury does his best to intimidate him. The other Avengers watch on. Maria Hill does so from the command deck of what appears to be the Helicarrier, SHIELD agents at monitors all around her in a circular room, Black Widow and Bruce Banner from a monitor (maybe a lab?) Mark Ruffalo was wearing glasses and a light purple shirt. And Cap and Thor are watching on a monitor from a conference room. Cap is half in costume, Thor had his biceps bulging out in a stripped down version of his full attire from the Thor movie. Kind of like an Asgardian tank-top if that makes any sense.
Fury shows Loki a control panel as he’s supposedly trapped in this cell. He says if Loki so much as scratches the glass walls all he has to do is hit a button. The floor opens beneath the cell like an iris, revealing they’re 30,000 feet off the ground. A storm rages below. Fury says he’ll drop Loki to his death if he acts up.
Loki takes it in, not looking the least bit threatened. Says, “It’s an impressive cage. I have a feeling it was not built for me.” Fury approaches the glass. “No, it was built for something a lot stronger.” Loki looks up at the camera recording the conversation and says, “Yes, a mindless beast that has to play at being a man.” This is when we see Black Widow and Bruce Banner watching the monitor. Loki says such a crew shows great desperation.
Fury tries to reassert his dominance (“You threaten my world with war, you speak of peace yet kill for fun, you stole a force that you can’t control. Yes, you have made me very desperate and you might not be glad you did.”) but it’s clear Loki isn’t gonna have any of it. He’s as calm, cool and collected as you’d imagine, obviously feeling no real threat.
Loki gives more back to Fury, saying something along the lines of how frustrating it must be to have been so close to real power and to have lost it. Fury doesn’t know what real power is. Fury leaves Loki in the cell saying, “Let me know if real power wants a magazine.”
Loki looks up into the camera again. Cap is watching from his seat and the screen goes black. Back in the lab room with Black Widow and Bruce Banner, who smiles and says, “He really grows on you, doesn’t he?”
From here we get some flashes of the movie, which had some pretty kick-ass imagery including Cap raising his shield just in time as Thor brings his hammer down on it and another shot looking up (think a Kubrick/Shining shot) as Iron Man and Thor lock hands in the rain, Iron Man’s repulsors glowing brightly.
Sam Jackson has another speech (since it’s Joss Whedon you gotta expect it to be a bit talky, right?) in about the plan to assemble a group of remarkable people, to make them better than they are, so when we need them they can fight for us.
Lots of shots of Black Widow firing, Hawkeye shooting an arrow, Cap throwing a punch, all close, all quick.
The closing bit, my favorite part, starts on Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark as he’s making a martini. He says, “Let’s do a head count. We have two trained assassins (images of Black Widow and Hawkeye), a demi-God (images of Thor raising his hammer to the skies as lightning effects –the actual bolts not put in yet- surround him), a living legend, who kind of lives up to the legend (shot of Cap in full costume and shield)…” We see Stark is talking to Loki, who interrupts with “I have an army!” and Stark fires right back with “We have a Hulk!” and bam, a few seconds of the Ruffalo Hulk roaring. A deep green color, but it was hard to tell more details. He was darkly lit, but it did look pretty rad.
I’m not the biggest Joss Whedon fan ever, so it means a something when I say that I was impressed by this footage. It had an energy and spark that was absent from the Cap footage and really showcased some of the scope. Oddly, the scope was showcased less in massive effects shots, but in the sense of urgency and tone of the character interactions.
Marvel’s Kevin Feige said this footage was only for D23, but they need something like this be put out there and really get the fines fired up. I suppose they’ll wait closer to next summer’s release, but it’d be great to have even just some of this chemistry out there earlier than later.
They brought out Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) and then Robert Downey Jr. who got the only Standing O of the day (there were many partial standing ovations, especially for the Pixar guys, but this was the only one that got everybody up on their feet). Again, the stars didn’t say much of anything, but Downey was given the mic and said “We’re happy to be visiting our parents in Anaheim” before asking if we could all see the footage again.
Cue audience applause and a sigh of relief from us reporters and bloggers at the screening that we might be able to get a second pass at some of our hastily scribbled notes.
So, impressive. Dialogue was snappy, the emotion seemed to be there, the sets looked pretty good and my worry of the film looking cheap (sorry Joss) was alleviated. It’s hard to tell on the whole, as is usually the case with such early footage, but the footage was definitely promising and didn’t strike any wrong chords with me.
Alright, more D23 coverage to come! Some detail on Pixar’s newly announced original films, Brave, Frankenweenie, Disney Animation’s Wreck-It-Ralph, John Carter, The Muppets and Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful! Hang tight!