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Marvel Underwhelms With Brief 'Avengers' Showing, Inexplicable Cast Appearance & Nothing Else

by Jeff Otto
August 21, 2011 1:46 AM
11 Comments
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D23 Event Is An All Too Brief & Nearly Pointless Teaser



After Marvel’s much-discussed no-show at last month’s Comic-Con, the hype machine has been turning fast leading up to this weekend’s Disney D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. They’ll be pulling out all the stops, right? “Avengers” footage, revealing those two newly-dated mystery projects, surprise appearances and who knows what else. Well, some of that wound up being true, but Marvel’s showing at D23 wasn’t nearly as exciting as the speculation leading up to it.

Mouse House head-honcho Rich Ross led the day’s slate of Disney-related announcements, which concluded with the Marvel bit. He brought out Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige, who took the stage geeked out in a “Star Tours” baseball cap.

The reel of Marvel Studios movies was heavy on “Iron Man” with a supporting mix of “Thor” and “Captain America.” 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” got only the briefest snippet (we get a clear shot of Abomination compared to a shadowed Hulk), making it pretty clear that Marvel would rather you forget Louis Letterier’s film, which received mixed reviews. More likely, they’d prefer you forget that film’s star, Edward Norton, replaced by Mark Ruffalo in “The Avengers.”


Feige spoke for a few minutes. He basically said something along the lines of “Disney’s awesome, Marvel’s awesome, etc., etc.” I’m paraphrasing, but not that much. Feige added that “The Avengers” has two weeks to go and director “Joss Whedon has put something together just for you.” Finally the moment everyone’s been waiting for.

The footage was generally well-received, but with the mixed audience of mouse-eared Disney aficionados thinning out the usual comic geek-heavy fandom of a Comic-Con crowd, it certainly wasn’t met with the roar of, say, “Iron Man” footage in Hall H.

The clip opens with Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury in a control room speaking to a captured Loki (Tom Hiddleston) within a glass cage. The two exchange a bit of banter, Fury with confidence and Loki with an overabundance of smugness. The Avengers team -- Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Cap (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) watch on. “He kind of grows on you, doesn’t he,” says Ruffalo with a smirk. In another scene, Stark has a cocktail while talking to someone (it’s made to look like he’s talking to Loki but the cut is odd and doesn’t clearly match up). “Let’s take a headcount,” Stark offers. “We’ve got a couple of highly trained assassins” [quick action scene of Black Widow and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)], a demigod [shot of Thor] and a living legend who kinda lives up to the legend [shot of Captain America].” Loki says, “We have an Army.” Stark smirks and responds, “We have a Hulk.” The clip ends with Hulk roaring at the screen, which appears to be from the 2008 “Hulk” movie. Cut to the Avengers logo and out.

Feige basked in applause before welcoming a good portion of the 'Avengers' cast to the stage -- Renner, Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Hemsworth and, of course, Robert Downey Jr., who received the biggest applause and, ultimately, a standing ovation. Only Downey Jr. spoke, mocking Anaheim by saying how it was good for everyone to come to town to visit their parents. “You want to see it again?” he asks. They show the exact same clip again. “See you next summer,” Downey Jr. said, before exiting the stage with the rest of the cast.

Seems like a long trip from Cleveland to just stand on stage, smile and wave for a minute or two. While it’s not like we would exactly expect the group to say anything in-depth about the movie, you’d think there might be something approaching a reason for their presence. Otherwise a set of cardboard cutouts might well have sufficed. You know, to let fans pose with them for pics after the presentation.

The other disappointment was the lack of any Marvel-related announcements. After their summer success with “Captain America” and “Thor” many expected Marvel to discuss and possibly announce more future projects. Dr. Strange? Captain America 2? Ant Man? No such luck. The entire Marvel portion of Disney’s nearly three-hour presentation took roughly 10 minutes.

With the projected expense of 'Avengers' and the looming skepticism over Joss Whedon’s ability to command such a massive cast in a very, very ambitious feature, you might think Marvel and Disney would have tried harder to really knock this one out of the park. Instead it’s more of a ground rule double with a hitter in a slump coming to the plate. He’s due for a hit and might be able to knock in the winning run, but then again he might just strike out again and be sent back to the minors.

“The Avengers” opens May 12, 2012. Perhaps more interesting than the entire panel however, is this somewhat spoiler-filled Tom Hiddleston interview with THR where he gives away much of the early plot and Loki's motivations. Then again, any good Marvel geek guessed this all long ago. Watch below.

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11 Comments

  • Nobody | August 22, 2011 7:40 AMReply

    I was there. Disappointed with no Q&A or announcements, but the footage was fantastic and screened twice. Triple Six needs to talk to someone outside his circle of buddies, because the crowd went insane. The biggest gripes I heard were from the people who couldn't get in.

  • Christopher Bell | August 21, 2011 11:36 AMReply

    Getting just a little too defensive over this movie and someone not really popping an erection over it, don't you think? Relax.

  • Figures | August 21, 2011 6:47 AMReply

    OMG, they didn't do backflips from a promotional tradeshow by Disney for Disney enthusiasts that media now attend. You're right, cold-hearted hipsters, who should be crucified.

    A lot of people would rather their coverage be like this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UTURYLfZwaI

  • TedTheodoreLogan | August 21, 2011 6:31 AMReply

    The footage was great, D23 not so much.

  • triplesix is an idiot | August 21, 2011 5:55 AMReply

    "Case in point: Superman Returns was dubbed a failure in 2006 with BO numbers that surpass every superhero film of 2011"

    Superman Returns
    Budget - $270 Million
    Worldwide Gross - $391,081,192

    Thor
    Budget - $150 Million
    Worldwide Gross - $448,150,968

    Captain America
    Budget - $140 Million
    Worldwide Gross - $298,877,178

    X-Men First Class
    Budget - $160 Million
    Worldwide Gross - $350,250,377

    Captain America, Thor, and X-Men have not fully completed their world wide run yet, their production budgets were over $100 million less than Superman.

  • abe | August 21, 2011 5:14 AMReply

    hey triple six, you realize the movie is still shooting? christ, no reason to write it off and start trying to question it or build negative buzz just because some blogger wanted "more" from a presentation almost a year away from release

    i could care less about whedon, i've never given a shit about buffy or anything he's done. i could care even less about "geek cred." but its beyond lame how bloggers want to judge movies based on little reels and media created "buzz" that has nothing to do with how the actual movie is going to be.

  • P862010 | August 21, 2011 5:11 AMReply

    wait is that another snobby play list blog post yup

    nothing new to see here

  • Kimberley Walsh | August 21, 2011 4:11 AMReply

    It would be great if they have a pre-credits mini-adventure opening sequence like with the James Bond movies to ground the movie in reality with the Avengers and the rebels in Libya fighting Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces or the Avengers and the police in England fighting the rioters.

  • triple six | August 21, 2011 3:29 AMReply

    @ abe: if you base your comment on Firefly/Buffy fans' expectations, I can see your point.

    However, if you ever talked (in flesh or online) to people outside of this field you'd know that not *everyone* is confident about this. Excited somehow but not overly confident, for many reasons: the overload of crossover stuff that plagued Marvel movies of late (Iron Man 2, anyone?), Whedon's relative lack of experience as a director, the diminishing returns of superhero films this summer (the X-Men, Thor, Green Lantern and Cap did nowhere near what Iron Man, Spidey, or the same X-Men were doing BO-wise a few years back)... Case in point: Superman Returns was dubbed a failure in 2006 with BO numbers that surpass every superhero film of 2011, so there's definitely some spandex fatigue looming.

    Whedon does have his geek cred for him, but Marvel films being not exactly director-driven it's gonna take more than that to live up to the monstrous - and possibly counter-productive - hype Marvel has built since 2008.

  • abe | August 21, 2011 2:53 AMReply

    looming skepticism?

    typical prick blogger, with a sense of entitlement who thinks a movie studio needs to cater to his wants.

  • rotch | August 21, 2011 2:22 AMReply

    Your footage description sounds awsome, I say.

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