D23 Expo Report: THE AVENGERS Footage

Footage from THE AVENGERS proves that Joss Whedon can do two people talking very, very well.

Disney and Marvel sat out Comic Con this year, opting instead to bring their projects and clips to the public via the D23 Expo, an annual event of the Disney fan club. While I was interested in what else Disney had to show today at D23, it was really The Avengers that got my butt down to Anaheim; the film is in its last days of shooting, so I knew that Marvel could have something to show. After all, they had shown footage from Captain America at Comic Con last year when that movie had been shooting for just eight days.

The footage we saw was strong, if underplaying what I think fans wanted to see. After all, this was the first clip from The Avengers, but most of it featured Nick Fury talking to Loki. I would have liked more team interaction, the kind of stuff that I know is in the script but that doesn’t need a bunch of post-production work to make it come alive.

I don’t want to make it sound like what we saw wasn’t good - it very much was - it’s just that the content, mixed with the shortness of the Marvel session, underwhelmed. The hope for me, walking into the convention center, was to get an announcement of some sort about Marvel’s new direction under Disney, what their post-Avengers plans are. I know it’s quite likely that nobody’s exactly sure what those plans are right now, but I was really hoping the two mystery Marvel 2014 movies would get titles today.

Anyway, this is about The Avengers. The footage we saw was mostly Nick Fury and Loki; Loki is in a plexiglass prison of some sort on the Helicarrier while Fury taunts him. He tells Loki that should the god so much as try to scratch the glass, they’ll drop him 30,000 feet in the container (which may not be a good idea. Would that kill Loki?). Loki says that this prison wasn’t built for the likes of him, and Fury says it was built for stronger, meaning the Hulk. Loki then uses that opportunity to taunt Fury for the make-up of his team, which includes said Hulk.

We see some cutaways to the Avengers proper, seated in a situation room, watching the two bicker on security monitors (the image above). Bruce Banner quips “He grows on you,” and then we cut to a montage. There are a lot of helicopters and planes approaching places, and Tony Stark talks over the montage footage. We see him making himself a drink at his home bar.

“We have two world class assassins,” he says as Hawkeye and Black Widow do their thing. “A demi-god,” we see Thor hurtling from the sky, smashing Captain America on the shield with his hammer. “A living legend who actually lives up to the legend,” shots of Captain America’s outfit in a memorial glass case, as well as Cap jumping out of a plane.

“I have an army,” Loki says. It turns out that’s who Tony has been talking to all this time.

“We have a Hulk,” Tony retorts, and we cut to the Hulk growling at the camera. Cue the D23 crowd going berserk.

Kevin Feige, who had previously proved his Disney Nerd cred by namedropping some famous Imagineer, then brought out most of the Avengers on stage. Nobody said anything except Robert Downey Jr (who got the biggest applause), who said, “Do you want to see that again?” Everybody did; the cast stuck around to watch the footage, but that was it.

Again, the footage looked good, but it only showed me what I knew I would get from a Joss Whedon movie, which is that any scene where two people are talking will be great. It’s the action I’m curious about, and frankly the leaked on-set footage from yesterday impressed me more in that regard than the D23 presentation.

I don’t mean to sound negative, because I’m not. It’s possible I was just hoping for something a bit bigger.