There have been a great many weird and wonderful panels at this year’s Comic-Con. Tron Legacy saw an 8,000-strong queue stretching around the block and a crowded auditorium all shouting “De-rez!” at Joe Kosinski. Scott Pilgrim ended with Edgar Wright leading a bunch of fans out of the panel to a screening of the film like some kind of bearded pied piper. Resident Evil: Afterlife even resulted in someone getting stabbed. But none of that (not even the latter, which the surreal sight of a guy in a Harry Potter t-shirt being handcuffed and frog-marched out of the hall by a phalanx of San Diego's finest) could measure up to what has been the most fan-pleasing event of all at this year’s Con.
The Marvel Studios panel kicked off with Joe Johnston’s adaptation of The First Avenger himself, Captain America. The director referenced Raiders of the Lost Ark as an influence for the film (never going to go down badly) and insisted that he wants it to have a modern feel - "We're going slightly more modern than the original Cap, which was basically a pair of pyjamas with stars and stripes on them."
Given that the film’s only been shooting for about a week that Evans himself has been on set for just five days, we didn’t expect anything in the way of footage for this one. We were wrong. Not only did they show a quick promo, which showed Evans in the WWII version of the Cap costume hurling his shield at the screen (cue rapturous applause), but Johnston had even cut together the first few weeks of filming and screened it for the fans – timecode and all. The scene in question showed an SS contingent break into a crypt and Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull (sans rouge cranium at this point) come in to steel Odin’s Tesseract (a more geeky person could probably telly you what, exactly the Tesseract is and why Odin had one but for now just know that it was all glowy). The Asgardian nod went down well and provided an excellent segue into phase two of Marvel’s Hall H showcase.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the god of thunder: Chris Hemsworth!” it was, as Feige phrased it, ‘hammer time’ and Thor himself was in attendance, accompanied by Kenneth Branagh, Kat Dennings, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg and his own ridiculously bulbous biceps. Branagh – bless ‘im – cites his comic influences as Eagle, Beano and Dandy and confesses to being a Comic-Con virgin – probably not the only one in the room, we’re saying. Portman states for the record that she won’t be in The Avengers but she will be in future Thor movies. Branagh and Feige confide that, while Thor’s alter-ego Donald Blake, doesn’t share his body with the thunder god in this movie, he will feature in a different form.
The Thor footage is queued up and shows Thor kicking eight shades of crap out of SHIELD agents, battling his way towards Mjolnir. The shots are intercut with a scene of the now captured Thor being interrogated by Agent Coulson. Cut to sweeping shots of Asgardian architecture. We see frost giants, Thor, Loki and the Warriors Three before hearing Thor get a proper telling off from his father, Odin. For his selfishness and cruelty, Thor is cast down from Asgard and stripped of his powers. Cue the Odinson waking up in the desert with Natalie Portman leaning over him. “This is Earth, isn’t it?” he groans in a plummy English accent - hey, at least Branagh shied away from traditional Thor speak, "Forsooth, 'tis the Earth realm. Surely thee jests!"
The action shifts back to the SHIELD base with Thor standing before Mjolnir and reaching to pick it up as Odin’s voiceover intones that if someone worthy can wield the hammer, they will inherit the power of Thor. But he can’t lift it. Denied! Some of what followed leaned towards the outskirts of spoilertown, showing Frigga sitting over a dying Odin (he appears dead but may just be in Odinsleep) and announcing Loki as next in the line of succession. Loki takes the throne of Asgard and the Warriors Three bow before him. The final shot, and the one that brings the house down, is of The Destroyer arriving in the New Mexico desert. Coulson and the SHIELD agents think it’s Stark tech and demand its surrender. The Odin-forged killing machine responds by opening its visor and blasting the shit out of the SHIELD vehicles before blasting the screen, which dissolves into the Thor logo. So, Thor falls to Earth, kisses Natalie Portman and is subsequently unable to lift his hammer? Are we watching an elaborate allegory for poor sexual performance? We'll have to wait till next year to find out. It’s great material, though it has to be said that the 3D looked extremely ropey. We're hoping it was a very quick 3D conversion just for the Con but if the finished product is no more convincing then it'll be another kick in the balls for stereo filmmaking. Honestly, If Paul W S Anderson can shoot Resident Evil: Apocalypse in 3D with a proper 3D camera then can't everybody? Please?
The snippet of Thor went down thunderously well but nothing could have prepared the Marvel fanboys for what followed. The hall went dark and footage played with a voiceover from Sam Jackson as the Avengers logo is revealed (see below). Seconds later, Jackson himself comes on stage and proceeds to introduce not one, not two but ALL of the Avengers: Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) and Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man). “Nobody stab anyone till I’m done talking!” Jokes Downey, before calling out the film’s director (finally confirmed just 24 hours earlier), Mr Joss Whedon. By this point not a single person in the hall was left in their feet as people stood, jumped and climbed on chairs to get a better look at the stage.
"I have had a dream all my life and it was not this good!” Says Whedon. “This is the Avengers, the team is more than the sum of its parts! The cast is more than I could have dreamed of and… I’m going to blow it! Seriously, though, I need all of your love and support." With that the entire auditorium went into some kind of orgasmic nerd meltdown and screamed till they were hoarse. For comic book fans this stuff is like crack – God help Whedon if he really does cocks it up!
mighty mick Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 18:34
I just came.
crazymoviesdude Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 21:48
I just went.
gooner_no1 Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 22:02
From the first comment, the headline should be:
Fanboys Masterbate Over Death Of Cinema
Or - from the Empire article:
We're In Bed With Big Studios, says top film mag and then the sbu in small print: But Only So they Can Screw Us And You.
How did it come to this?
Die of shame Empire and be done with it.
MusicLovesYou Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 22:31
Die of shame my arse! Go read Sight & Sound and lament the 'Death of Cinema' in private you nugget. An assembly of the world's finest like this is cooler than a polar bear's toenail and we should be revelling in the sheer audacity of it all. Empire is a movie magazine, not a monthly literary critique on cinema-verite so please, allow the nerds and the geeks among us our moment!
gooner_no1 Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 23:26
I don't begrudge you it, bubba, my comment was on the high premium Empire puts on these type of action figure ads masquerading as cinema.
I enjoy mindless blockbusters as much as the next despairing cinephile, but when they go all gurgly talking about 'special' nerdathons then my gander gets up at how low a once great magazine as fallen - in line, admittedly, with the product on our screens.
Enjoy the bastard child of WWF wrestling and the greatest art form of the 20th century in this comic book cancer, and hope that it will devour itself and the nerds will strangle, tug, and choke it to death like they normally do with their reproductive organs.
I'm staying optimistic that the cheaper the acting fees, lighting, footage and effects will spur on a renaissance in the art form we all love - and the comic book cancer will take down a huge studio - but hopefully not my favourite magazine.
Then movies will be cheap again, the studios - chastened - will learn their lesson, some people will grow up and buy more advanced acne cream, meet a girl, and settle down - and want to immerse themselves in proper drama without the aid of silly glasses.
Mind you, that may not be the end of it, they do say it makes you blind.
m.casey92 Posted on Sunday July 25, 2010, 23:56
someone's abit touchy on the matter...
True the comic book genre is the latest "fad" but you should just let it run its course, you don't like it then don't go and watch the films simple as. Besides we've had plenty of great comic book movies out the last 5 odd years as well as bad ones and i'm confident that those in charge will know when to calm it down and start producing other kinds of film.
Until then it's strange to criticise a magazine you love just because it's reporting on something alot of people want to know about.
cerebusboy Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 00:09
You know how football hasn't been just for the proles since,at the latest, post Italia 90 and Fever Pitch? the same thing is true of comic fandom (actually, don't a number of women like Joss Whedon's work, and think it's pretty cool that he's getting a tentpole blockbuster). I've been reading Empire since 1992, so I'd be curious if you can mount a serious argument on why Empire getting in board with comic book films is significantly different and inferior to, say, your average 1996 or 2001 blockbuster. And do you count The Dark Knight as reflective of the comic book cancer (!) ? INolan tends to be taken seriously by the wanky effected cineaste viewpoint that you seem to be espousing. Thinking about it, Empire haven't uncritically embraced all comic book movies. Remember the grudging 3 stars for Wolverine? Or the appropriately critical reviews of the Fantastic Four films? In other words they give ratings to 'comic book movies' based on how good they are. Like, you know, they do with 'proper' films. Oh and twentieth century blockbuster cinema is really not the sort of thing most naturally contrasted to the allegedly childish escapism of comics.
And comic book movies didn't bring 3-d into being. Is Avatar high art, or something dumb that at least isn't as dumb as those damn comics? I think they did action figures for those movies, so that must be for and by nerds too, eh?
cerebusboy Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 00:31
And wasn't Fellini a fan of ,and influenced by, comic strips? What a nerd! No wonder his movies, presumably made from his parents' basement, never rose to the heights of the pre-comic book blockbusters, characterised by gems like Godzilla and Hook.
Evil_Bob Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 00:33
I was going to post a lengthy comment but cerebusboy seems to have covered all the bases that I would have although I would have used the expression 'pretentious twat' more often.
Good_Film_Hunting Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 00:54
To summarise: Gooner = OWNED
gooner_no1 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 00:56
I thought the Dark Knight was an appallingly dull blockbuster. You want Batman, you want dark, you want edgy? View Tim Burton's masterpiece Batman Returns and set it alongside Christopher "Hack" Nolan's dirge and tell me which one is better?
Blockbusters from the years you mentioned?
The Rock - a fantastic action thriller. (1996)
Swordfish - brutal and clever - a great action thriller (2001)
Compare either of them to the lumbering, poorly choreographed, unimaginative Dark Knight or any of the rest of this crap - and you'll see how far down these films have fallen.
I'll give you something to think about - the car chase in The Dark Knight? Compare with the chase scenes in The Matrix Reloaded and The Bourne Supremacy - both made 5 years earlier.
The scene in the Dark Knight is inferior to both of those, it doesn't even attempt to raise the bar, and yet the dheads on Empire are trying to tell us that this mediocre Peter Collinson wannabe is the next Kubrick?
Are they having a laugh?
You MUST raise the bar as a director on those films which came before. And yet we had in the Dark Knight action sequences (car chases) which Lethal Weapon 2 put in the shade, never mind the brilliance of the Matrix Reloaded and Bourne Supremacy.
I'm not commenting any further on this as it's hard to engage with those who sup the Kool Aid Empire pisses out.
MANICBOii Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 01:34
Sorry, but this isn't the first time I have heard Christopher Nolan being called a 'hack', nor is it the first time i've seen such cynically contrarian opinions on films, such as the generally well received 'The Dark Knight' and, conversely, the generally poorly received 'Matrix Revolutions', 'Swordfish' and 'The Rock'.
Did you happen to read Rex Reeds' review of Inception? Because I believe you're stealing his opinions. The fact that you're repeating sections of his, rightly, condemned article word by word is kind of a giveaway.
People, believe it or not, are allowed to love Comic Book movies and Blockbusters as well as Foreign Cinema and Avant-Garde. For example, my favourite films include one's that would lead most people to consider me a film-nazi (Cinema Paradiso, Battleship Potemkin, Pi, Hidden, A Prophet) but I also love the classic Blockbuster as long as it isn't a complete insult to my brain cells.
People like you, and indeed critics like Armond White and Rex Reed, serve no purpose other than to spout pseudo-philosophical and contrarian opinions on film in the vain hope that they will be considered knowledgeable on film as an art form. In reality, you just look like a dick.
I do sometimes strongly disagree with Empire, I also disagree strongly with Sight & Sound which also read, but in this case Empire are simply giving people the stuff that they want to know, in this case, news of The Avengers. That's what film magazines are for. If you don't like it, don't read it, not least write to complain on a fucking message board. It's a pretty simple concept.
brendan619 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 01:59
Samuel L Jackson would beat the shit out of you.
that is all.
witters Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 03:11
"the brilliance of the Matrix Reloaded" "Tim Burton's masterpiece Batman Returns" "Swordfish - brutal and clever - a great action thriller"
I think you are clutching at straws endeavouring to appear learned.... You should invest in Netflix and expand your collection sir... either that or go and get laid somehow....
evildave69 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 03:58
Gooner!!! To quote Police Officer Wigan, 'Dig up, stupid!!!'
Don't get me wrong, I love Batman Returns, in fact it's my favourite pre-Nolan Batman (infact I prefer it to Batman Begins but it pales in comaprison to The Dark Knight) but comparing any of Nolan's work to Swordfish is just plain ignorant. It was a clumsy, ridiculous, and poorly conceived piece of crap...apart from the opening scene which kicks ass! Plus Halle Berry can kiss my pucker!
As for The Matrix Reloaded, I like it, have watched it many times and would happily watch it again for the action scenes. Unfortunately you can't judge a film like that just on the action scenes when it's obviously attempting to be so much more and failing.
DigitalMan Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 04:05
"We're going slightly more modern than the original Cap, which was basically a pair of pyjamas with stars and stripes on them."?
It's official...Joe doesn't have a fucking clue about what he's doing!!!
drweir Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 04:44
Do not feed the troll.
waltham1979 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 08:53
That, along with my cup of tea, has brightenend up my Monday morning...geek sex wee literally everywhere!!
HellBilly Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 09:10
"Death Of Cinema?" Why? Are they gonna make it a stage play instead?
TheColumnist Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 09:59
"Empire pisses out" the best Kool Aid - I love to sup it!
projector Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 10:22
The problem with comic book movies is that they're made by people who don't read comic books....Snyder may have waxed lyrical about bringing Watchmen to life and paying homage to the original vision but then rips the guts out of the original story...just take a look at the new Green Lantern - the first thing they do is change the costume! Why?....at the end of the day Comic books are just another cash cow for lazy studio execs who have no creative impulse and who bastardize the medium for quick bucks - just take a look at V for Vendetta, From Hell, Batman and Robin,both Punisher movies (I actually quite enjoyed the third one)...Thor and Captain America will be no different and Iron Man is already shows signs of becoming more about the FX than the story...let's just hope they don't fuck up Walking Dead too much!
Chan Solo Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 10:34
@cerebusboy Thank you for some insightful and well made points my friend! But I think those be moaning the death of cinema, will always be those voices. Film, like anything artistic unites and divides us all. Personally, as a comic fan, I am not instantly rubbing my thighs in anticipation at the words, "comic film". As a fan of both film and comics and books too, I do feel a sense of dread and when getting to the inevitable task of getting beyond the hype of years and seeing the finished product. I don the specs and a harsh expression and dissect it.
There are times, when 30-40mins in I have had to frown and shake my head in sheer dumbfounded disbelief which gives way to rage – X3 – The Last Stand managed to so this is 15minutes. There are times when I just have to query in my head why a decision was made and chalk it up to “oh well” but generally am sated by the experience. And then there are times when I hit the bliss, when the whole thing has been executed to perfection, especially when it with stands my constant breakdowns.
One mans Matrix is another mans Uncle Buck. There will always be excellent cinema, plain bad cinema and guilty pleasures.
Comic movies seem to be the ‘easy’ route, the idea that you just ‘knock one out for instant hits and cash’. One of the many people to make that mistake was one Mr Joel Schumacer and every film since Batman and Robin seems to be an apology. The proof of this pudding is in the eating, we will all see how this plays out, but in the meantime, “Calm Down, love it’s only a movie!”
waltham1979 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 11:07
Does this mean that we won't be seeing Hank Pimm in the Avengers film??!!
MusicLovesYou Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 13:01
mighty mick Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 13:02
I'm enjoying all this!
and gooner: it's "masturbate" xD
JS Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 13:07
"Does this mean that we won't be seeing Hank Pimm in the Avengers film??!!"
He'll be there, but too small to see...
That gives the immediate retcon potential!
reinhardt76 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 13:19
Comics have always found another medium to promote their heroes, be it radio, tv, film or now internet. Liam Neeson once said that when he saw Star Wars in Belfast he could hear the bombs goin off outside the cinema, for me thats what cinema is all about to escape and be entertained. Matrix reloaded was entertaing but undone by its own self-importance namely The Architect, no one remembers anything about Swordfish apart from the money shot explosion and Halle Berry showing her baps, hardly the foundations on which classics are built on and Batman Returns was excessive Tim Burton in "look at me aren't I dark and wacky?" mode. The Rock (admittedly) is a good saturday night film, nothing more. In short, I would rather watch some movie about costumed heroes twatting each other with superpowers than a movie about middle class french nobs talkin quietly for three hours. Besides the death of cinema is when Greedo shot first and they started puttin Ashton Kutcher in movies. And what is this code shit?...I am human(ish)
Dr Science Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 14:07
I don't think I can add much to the dicking you've just been given, except to add my wizened perspective on the "fad" that is comic book movies and the myth that Empire have sold out.
I have been buying Empire since 1991 - when as a typically geeky 15 year old I was rather excited by the prospect of a little film called Batman appearing on the cover - that was also the edition that had a competition to win a full size replica of Akira's bike - another comic book adaptation.
Rosco_06 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 14:48
This is great. The other week Empire got slated on the forum (probably rightly so, in my opinion) for missing the point of Predators in their review of the film and reviewing the film as if they were expecting some nouvelle vague masterpiece.
Now they get excited about a dumb (but potentially very very fun) action/comic book film and they're still getting slated!
Empire readers are a fickle bunch, eh?!
Bobby TwoTimes Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 15:15
Gooner = Total bellend!
kenada_woo Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 18:33
Bit of a gamble letting Wheadon do this...dontcha think?
Barneyross1 Posted on Monday July 26, 2010, 22:11
This film looks bollox!
Nimrods Son Posted on Tuesday July 27, 2010, 03:31
How would you know you twat??? We haven't even been given a plot description or footage, only an amzing cast and you say it's bollox. A bit stupid, no?
gambit21 Posted on Tuesday July 27, 2010, 05:48
OK I dont mean to be a boast or anything but I am in San Diego right now- I went to comic con and I was at that panel- ti was incredible. the best thing of all four days and easily the most fan pleasing. To see all those people on stage and have the avengers little teaser was so awesome- Im chuffed Whedon is directing and the cast is great. The Thor footage was so brilliant as well, I cant describe how excited I was after seeing that- totally blew every other panel out of the water including green lantern. Seeing the Cap Am stuff was a suprise too as i thought they would never have any footage after just 8 days shooting- it was great though. I happened to see Chris sitting on the Asgard throne in the Marvel booth on Sunday as well, hope empire had a great time like I did. Rest assured Marvel fans, things are looking bright.
Bobby TwoTimes Posted on Tuesday July 27, 2010, 09:12
Gooner = Cock!
Hillsman Posted on Tuesday July 27, 2010, 09:47
Getting back to the f*cking article in question, the Avengers news is very exciting - decent cast, great director and Scarlett Johansson is in it!!!
TypeY Posted on Tuesday July 27, 2010, 19:34
Aren't there a just few films that may have been based on Short Stories and novels throughout the history of cinema....?
Are comics any different in that sense?
Surely the benefit of adapting comics is that the characters and stories have had years of development and that gives the film makers plenty of choice as to how they will (literally and figuratively) 'play' it.
Ultimately it's very difficult for fans to compare the movies against their favourite comics as there will always be compromises to be made when cramming years of material into 2hours of cinema.... much like the general criticism when comparing novel adaptations to the books, especially when you have custom-made images that own mind has created for the story (This even applies to comics as you 'fill in the gaps' between the panels!).
As a great fan of comics since a very young age I have suffered many bad adaptations that just treated the comic material as a short-cut to pre-purchased ticket sales on the back of the existing fans. Having said that, I do truly believe that the films do try harder and attempt to treat it the subjects with more integrity these days probably due to the comic companies taking a more hands-on approach and having to protect their property). It's all about choice and I, for one, am happy that we are getting lots!!
My personal opinion is that we should just take it for what it intends to be; entertainment and if it happens to get a little deeper than we expected then that is just an added bonus!
TypeY Posted on Tuesday July 27, 2010, 19:42
My main worry about the Avengers is that there a LOT of major characters and they won't all be able to get a fair amount of time devoted to them....
I wonder if the movies will ever get to the point where they can film 'Secret Wars' and how will the film lot be able to cater for all the massive motor homes for all the A-list hollywood stars that Marvel will have collected along the way (and manage the egos!)!
Bobby TwoTimes Posted on Friday July 30, 2010, 14:58
Gooner = twat!
gazpop Posted on Monday August 2, 2010, 17:46
Yuk yuk, thank god manicboii got his retort in before anyone else; we wouldn't have been able to move for slander. Gooner? The Rock? Really? And Cerberus, (now that WOULD make a great movie, although playing an Aardvark is never easy....I would guess), Hook was a great film! Hoffman playing the part to a tee. Hello Children. Sick. Don't think JM Barrie wrote comics though. And when Greedo shot first the death of cinema was upon us? Like your style Reinhardt. Josh did Serenity (massively underrated) and has my confidence. He knows what we want and will deliver. The strange thing is, a lot of these films are ultimately forgiven by many of us becasue we just want to hear the 'snick', or have Logan call someone 'Bub'. Have Batman say 'I'm Batman', or hear Johnny say 'flame on'. These simple things get our pulses racing and are the things we pay our money to go see. And the things we most remember, good film or no. I do agree though that it's going to be hard (not impossible) to fit all the Avengers into one movie without serious over-crowding and shoving a few to one side. Yes Scarlett is fit as, but I don't remember her being the most important of the team. What am I saying; they needed a woman's touch!
Bizz90 Posted on Sunday August 8, 2010, 20:37
Thank you Gooner, seriously, because up until reading this thread i thought my opinions were the most unpopular. I mean i've done some fairly unpopular stuff on empireonline in the heat of the moment, like spoiling the ending of Battlestar Galactica (which i'm not proud of), but this is just unprecedented! Christopher Nolan is a hack? come on man, seriously!? Anyway, i love Joss Whedon (Firefly and Serenity were totes under-appreciated) blah blah blah fantastic cast, love Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans yak yak Mark Rufallo was a great choice yadda yadda should be tricky but they've got a great team etc and so forth, you know the rest.
P.S. @ evildave69, thank you for the Chief Wiggum quote, i haven't laughed that hard in like 6 months