Reaction to the Marvel Studios Panel Footage – Comic-Con 2013

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Every year, I don’t think Marvel could go any bigger than they did the year before when they return to San Diego Comic Con. The yearly pilgrimage from geeks around the world is a big deal, and the driving force behind Marvel’s films, championing the studio and their films every step of the way. In return, Marvel likes to bring the newest, and the best, to Hall H every year, hoping to tide their fan’s appetites until the next con, while leaving them wanting more. This year was no different, and it may have been the most exciting presentation the studio have put together yet. The studio brought with them an Asgaradian, new footage from ‘Thor: The Dark World’, the first footage from ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, and finally, footage from my most anticipated of the Phase 2 films, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Topped off with a surprise appearance by Joss Whedon, it’s safe to say Marvel really brought the house down on Saturday night.

I have to say, first and foremost, Marvel opened the panel in a huge way having Tom Hiddleston come out as his alter ego, Loki, at the beginning of the panel. It was an almost surreal experience, as Loki buttered up the crowed, asking them where their precious Avengers were now, when they want to see new footage from Marvel’s newest films. He then asked the crowd to join his army, and if they did, he’d give us an award, specifically aimed at us. When the crowed went crazy, and joined Loki’s side, he granted us a new look at the new film, ‘Thor: The Dark World’. The footage was absolutely insane. It showed a battlefield, where Sif (Jamie Alexander) is in the midst fending off an a horde of villains, when Thor arrives in the middle of the villain. He ends up going toe-to-toe with a giant creature, who he quickly takes care of by knocking the stone creatures head off. He smiles sly, and says “Anyone else?”. We then saw quick cuts of footage, where he goes and retrieves Jane (Natalie Portman) for the first time, footage where he goes and gets Loki for help, and much more. It gave us a really great idea of exactly what the film will feel like, and it’s much different than the first. It looks much more like an epic fantasy film, more in the vein of ‘Lord of the Rings’ than the fish out of water tale of the first. It definitely looks like it’s going to be bringing it’s A-game, and Marvel looks like they’ve really pulled out all the stops to really delve into Thor and his universe. I’m glad to see them trying to dig deeper into the mythology around the character, because it looks like we’re going to get a much superior film from the first because of it.

Chris Evans

The second film footage that was screened was for ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, which looks to be on the epic scale of ‘The Avengers’. That’s no joke, it looks like it’s going to be huge. The film sees Captain America leading his own team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including the Black Widow and the Falcon, as he goes after the mysterious Winter Soldier, while dealing with the fact he is a man out of time. The footage started with Captain America in an elevator, clearly under arrest by S.H.I.E.L.D., but we don’t know why. He’s surrounded by three guards, but as the elevator ride continues, eventually the elevator fills up to nine guards, and Cap quips, “Before we doe this, does any body want to get out?”. A very close quarters fight breaks out, with Cap fighting off the different guards, and eventually beating them all. He stands amongst all the bodies of the unconscious guards, and kicks his shield up and catches it. This isn’t anything like the pulpy style action from the first film, but more along the lines of things like ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘Mission: Impossible’ style action. This felt very, very much like a spy thriller. We then see Cap talking to a new agent played by Robert Redford, saying that what’s happening now with politics and surveillance in the country, saying “This isn’t freedom, this is fear.” The footage than cuts through some rapid action beats, with Widow fighting guys off by shooting them, Falcon lets his wings out and begins to fly, being chased and shot at by a fighter plane, and eventually the Helicarrier taking a massive blow and falling towards the ground. This is a completely different film compared to what Marvel’s done before. The feel was epic, really on the scale of ‘The Avengers’, and just looked like a ton of fun. This is going to to be one of Marvel Studio’s best films, period. It’s got so much going for it.

Finally, we got our first look at what is my most anticipated film of next year, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. The footage was completely offbeat, fun, and exciting. The movie has only been shooting for ten days, so what we saw was very rough, but it was really cool. The footage starts as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, where he enters a very sacred looking buiding with a glowing orb of some sort. He’s then accosted by some guards, where he quickly spits out, “Cool man, no problem.” He introduces himself as Star-Lord, to which the captors seemed confused by. They ask again who he is, and Quill responds, “Star-Lord? Legendary outlaw…? Forget it…” Then we cut to the Nova Corp, where the Guardians have been incarcerated, and a man named Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) begins introducing and describing all the characters, in the order of Drax, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot (Who is very amusingly described as “House plant/muscle”), and finally, Peter Quill. When a man behind Dey says that Quill goes by Star-Lord, Dey asks who calls him that, and the response he gets is “Mostly himself.” After that, we begun to see lots of action shots of Rocket Raccoon, and his giant Tree friend Groot taking on bad guys, as the rest of the Guardians are fighting everyone around them. The movie looks like so much fun, and so offbeat. It’s not a typical Marvel studios film at all, and looks more in the vein of ‘Star Wars’ than anything they’ve done before. This is going to be the standout film of Phase 2, just because it’s trying to be something we’ve never seen before. The humor is great, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

The Marvel panel concluded with Joss Whedon arriving on stage for one last announcement, where he said “I have nothing to say, but I have something to add.” A teaser trailer began to play, where we hear soundbites from all the characters in ‘The Avengers’, as the camera is on Iron Man’s helmet. But the helmet is being beaten and hammered, changed from what it was. The the camera begins to pan out, and the shape of the helmet has changed, revealing it has become the helmet of Ultron, one of The Avengers’ greatest foes, The title than comes up on screen as ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’. It was a very cool reveal, and one that made sure that the Marvel closed on a very exciting note. I’ve said it before, but I don’t know how Marvel manages to do better than they did the year before. The studio completely understands showmanship and their fans, so it’s great to see them continuing their streak this year at Comic-Con.

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