“The Avengers” Panel – New York Comic Con 2011

Greetings again!

As promised, below are the embedded videos from last night’s panel for Marvel Studio’s “The Avengers”, one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2012.

In attendance was, Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Evans (Captain America), Coby Smulders (Maria Hill), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) and Kevin Feige, the Head of Marvel Studios.

They led with the newly released trailer for the movie, then introduced the cast (including Mark Ruffalo, who was previously unannounced), and then showed an entire scene, followed by a new trailer-esque montage of unseen footage, before returning to field questions from the audience.

Click “Continue Reading” to find the videos, my description of the footage shown (you’re not allowed to record it, sorry) and my impressions of the panel!!

First off, my apologies that there’s so many “Parts” to this, I’m still getting the hang of being a cameraman, here. Eventually, as my experience grows, the video coverage of these events will improve. That includes such fancy things as joining parts and editing and watermarks and all the stuff I’m not ready to do for you at this point. :D

Also, if you listen closely on part 2, you can hear me getting called out of my row by New York Comic Con security!! Yeah!! I’d like to thank the paranoid security staff for thinking I would be video recording the already widely available trailer for the movie in order to get my footage removed from the internet via a cease and desist order. LOL. I mean, it was the most retarded thing I’ve ever heard of. This was the second time I’ve done video recording at these things, and both times I’ve found that security does their absolute best to ruin your experience!! You guys rock!! Except not really.

So the camera was actually unattended as the cast is announced, I feel fortunate it got as good a frame as it did, even though I would have liked to have followed everyone’s entrance for you.

More bitching about things later, but here’s the description of the new footage they showed.

The scene is set in India (it seems) and begins with a little girl running into a house and up some stairs. There, she finds Mark Ruffalo (as Bruce Banner), washing up after looking after some sick people. The girl is told by a woman to go away, but she is insistent and pleading that the doctor come to look at her sick father.

The scene then cuts to Ruffalo and Scarlet Johansson (as Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow) having a conversation in a remote hut. Ruffalo is complimenting her on her ruse. “Nice. Remote… get me away from people..” he says, or something to that effect. Romanaov explains that she’s been sent by Nick Fury to bring him in. Not to harm him or imprison him, but to gain his assistance as Banner in the field of gamma radiation. Apparently, someone has been experimenting with gamma radiation, and they’re worried that it’s some form of weapon.

Ruffalo asks what she would do if he resisted. She tells him she would be forced to subdue him and bring him against his will. Ruffalo finds that laughable, asking what would happen if the big green side of his personality resisted. Johansson says something that angers him and he pounds his fist on the table in anger. Everyone assumes that it’s coming, that he’s going to Hulk out. Johansson has a gun pulled instantly and aimed right at his face. At which point Ruffalo says something to the effect of, let’s do this the nice way. That way you don’t have to shoot me, and the big green guy doesn’t have to come out.

Johansson says “Stand down”, and its revealed that the hut had been surrounded by a SHIELD swat team while they had been conversing.

They then cut away to a montage of clips, trailer style, with new images, including a huge Stark Industries sign on a helipad (I assumed it was a look at the Hellicarrier, which they do mention in the panel), new character flashes to each of the members, and then a short snippet at the end where Downey Jr makes some kind of wisecrack to Mark Ruffalo, and Chris Evans asks him angrily, “Is everything a JOKE to you?” to which Downey replies, “Only funny things”

My apologies, that’s all from memory and is probably more than a bit fuzzy on the details. In all, it looked great, the crowd was psychotic for it, and the scene between Ruffalo and Johansson had the feel of a mexican stand-off all the way through. It’s not exactly “Resevoir Dogs”, but it was an excellent scene, and holds a lot of promise for the interaction scenes between all the characters. The snippet at the end also totally reinforced the previous “Take that away and what have you got?” exchange from the trailer… it’s obvious that they’re going to be creating a tension between Cap and Iron Man from day one, where Cap is very very straight-laced and serious, while Iron Man… not so much.

Here’s the rest of the panel.

PART 1:

PART 2:

PART 3:

PART 4:

PART 5:

PART 6:

PART 7:

The atmosphere was really hyper charged for this one. It really had that rock concert feel to it. They also brought their “A Game” in terms of footage. Comparatively? Bringing an entire scene and a trailer’s worth of montage footage plus a mini clip is a fantastic boatload of goodies by your average panel’s standards. The cast was well represented, too. There’s a lot of big names on that cast… so you can’t expect to get them all. I think getting three of the majors, and two supporting actors was a really a big score.

Thumbs down to Chris Evans for showing up in a cap. You should be PR savvy enough to know that people want to SEE you when they see you.

Thumbs up to Clark Gregg for being extremely entertaining.

Thumbs up to Tom Hiddleston for carrying the load when the audience continually put their questions to him.

Thumbs down to the collective fans of New York Comic Con, who couldn’t spread the questions around (more on that below).

Thumbs WAY up to Disney and Marvel Studios. After bailing on San Diego in favor of D23, everyone in Comic Fandom presumed that now that Disney owned Marvel, they would hoard the goodies for their own events. NOT so! In fact, they really put on a great great panel here.

It was a flat out awesome experience, and I completely feel rewarded for committing my entire day to being in the IGN Theater early enough to get great seats (right behind the reserved sections, best you can do) for this and “The Walking Dead”. I feel as though I took a gamble, and it paid off big-time. I’ll always have this memory to associate with “The Avengers” now, and that’s a very cool thing.

______________________________________________________________________

Before I sign off, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t use my soapbox to vent over my biggest peeve from yesterday… taking questions from the audience.

This is a part of every panel ever, it seems. It’s almost as if every panel feels locked into it. Yet in spite of several awkward moments, some unfunny attempts at jokes, and some really, really dumb questions, I never really thought it was a bad practice until yesterday. Firstly, almost all of the panels went to the audience WAY too early. Look, I appreciate you want to give the fans a chance to interact, but we’re here to see the stars, not the audience. Get a good moderator and work out a question schedule that leaves – tops – like 10 to 15 minutes for audience questioning. Just a taste. If you give the audience 20 minutes to a half an hour, you’re essentially turning the fate of your panel over to the randomness of the crowd!

Collectively yesterday, there were probably 5 or 6 really good questions asked out of the 40 or 50 total questions I witnessed spending the entire day in the IGN Theater. And I’m not alone in feeling that way. Questioners were frequently and lustily booed throughout the day as they rambled, stammered, told stories without questions, asked things that had already been addressed, and generally asked flat-out dumb things. In “The Avengers” panel above, you’ll note that questioner after questioner after questioner addressed their questions to Tom Hiddleston, to the point where it was a joke amongst the cast, and booed by the audience. I realize that audience questions aren’t a coordinated effort, but it was absolutely ridiculous. The one blemish on an otherwise legendary panel.

It was the topic of conversation on the train ride home between myself and other attendees… just how badly the crowd failed. My advice to panel programmers (not that I’m under the delusion that any such people would ever see this), don’t leave the fate of your panel in the hands of the crowd… you’ve got a really, really big downside there. Just don’t even risk it.

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16 thoughts on ““The Avengers” Panel – New York Comic Con 2011

  1. One thing I noticed during my stint at TIFF this year was how specific venues would guarantee a horrible Q&A after the film. The worst kinds of people to attend a Q&A are:

    1. People who don’t know much about movies.
    2. People who are massive fans of the film they just watched.

    TIFF is broken down into (I think it was) 8 venues. The larger ones, the venues that are used as theaters for plays while the festival isn’t going on, we’re guaranteed to always have the worst Q&As. The people there aren’t in attendance to see the movie, they’re there for the experience of seeing a festival film at a beautiful, giant, old theater. Thus, the questions they ask are retarded. (Like my screening of Damsels in Distress, someone asked the entire cast to act out their favourite scenes from the film. They were met with awkward rejection.)

    On the other hand, big “fan films” have the same problem, but for different reasons. Super fans aren’t interested in asking questions that everyone wants to know, but instead are more concerned on fulfilling their own, weird personal fantasies.

    The best Q&As, in my experience, were at the smallest venues for the least well-known films. Those people are there just because they love movies, and their questions reflect it.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, Comic Con Q&As are never going to be good. The people who attend Comic Con, more often than not, don’t know movies. Thus, their questions suck.

    Also, is anyone else completely indifferent to The Avengers. I feel like this is a movie I should be totally pumped for, but I can’t bring myself beyond mild excitement.

  2. Some valid points in there, for sure, although I definitely wouldn’t go so far as the people who attend Comic Cons more often than not don’t know movies. Thats pretty far off.

    They do suffer from the “Big Fan” syndrome you describe, TOTALLY. I mean, big time. I got a huge, unhealthy dose of that yesterday.

    And I can’t speak for anyone else, I’ll be interested to hear what others have to say, but I’m not “indifferent” about “The Avengers” LOL. Even before last night I was jacked up.

  3. I’m definitely interested in the Avengers movie, but I’ll admit to not being 100% sure it’s going to be good. It ought to be, as most of what it’s building off of has been very good (with the Hulk movies being rather wobbly), but it would be so very easy for it to go awry.

      • I’m just temporing my expectations. I’m a Whedon fan, I’ve liked Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America… but this is such an unprecedented thing, it’s almost impossible that it will stick the landing. Not saying it won’t, but…

      • “Stick the Landing” :D

        Let’s put it this way, since that phrase obviously reminded me of “LOST”. I dont think the level of difficulty is that high on this one.

        A) They have the audience predispositioned to like it. We all WANT it to be good. B) They have an incredible cast who… well, almost all of them… have walked around in these character’s shoes already. I mean, Downey Jr rules as Tony Stark, Hamsworth WAS pretty much Thor incarnate, Eveans didn’t do bad with Cap, etc etc C) They have an ENORMOUS budget, and it’ll definitely show up on screen, the effects shots I’ve seen so far already look awesome.

        The biggest challenge they’ll have is in living up to the lofty expectations. I think the toughest challenge will be working in sufficient high quality action sequences. I think they’ll deliver.

  4. The Q&A parts of panels are always my most un-favourite part of them. They’re almost always slightly embarrassing, awkward and boring. Full of questions you don’t want or need to know the answers to.

    I’m now starting to look forward to The Avengers. Thor was great, Capt. America not so. I was a huge fan of Joss Whedon. Well, I am still sort of. But Dollhouse made me seriously second guess what I thought of him! However, looks like he’s done good here. The question will be if all the big names can share the limelight or will be be overly crowded.

    • Well, Jaina, there’s no such thing as an unblemished filmography. The only directors who don’t have a project or two that sucked are young directors, people who haven’t been around long enough to have a misfire. Happens to everyone if they still in the game long enough.

      And that IS a good question about them all sharing the limelight. Looks good though, I think it’s going to wind up being awesome.

  5. Had a great time Dan. Can’t wait till next year. I agree with your comments about the convention. Of course we had plenty of time to talk about it there and on the way home. Wish we could have done more. Seen the floor and gotten more autographs but of course there are sacrifices that need to be made to see the panels we wanted to see. This year was a little more hectic. Mainly trying to get back to Gran Central. Last year much more relaxed. We had time for diner and hang out at Penn Station to grabl a cup of coffee and talk about our day. Not to mention a nice train ride home. This time around, standing room only on the Metro. Well, like I said scrifices had to be made but the panels were worth it. I say if we have a conflict like this again next year, we see if we can pull off a two day trip. We will see. Now we have Wizard World to look forward to in the spring.

    • Yeah… roger that. WW is always a more laid back atmosphere too, so that’ll be cool again hopefully.

      You’re right, that trip from the center to the train was a little hairy. It was “The Last Bus”, we had like a ten minute window to make the train, standing room only….

      Although, the last train actually left at 10:20, so I think we’d have had plenty of time to finally hail a cab. Of course we wouldn’t have been able to eat after we hit CT, and would have wound up home by like 2am…

      That’s one thing we should prepare for better next time, we need to have food for the entire day. Lunch AND dinner. Cause getting food there is probably out of the question, unless all we’re doing is the floor and we’re totally not in a rush to see anything…

      Still, another successful adventure, man. Like I was saying, if we had gone down and NOT seen the Avengers panel? I think we’d have both been pretty pissed. Not hitting the floor? I’m ok with it.

  6. Ah shoot I completely forgot to post your vids on AM. I’ll see what I can do on Wednesday Dan :) Glad you had a blast there (except for the security guards ah)

  7. Pingback: The 2012 Summer Movie Preview, Part 1 | Fogs' Movie Reviews

  8. I watched the The Avengers and it was FREAKING AWESOME! I like them all but the Hulk/Bruce Banner STANDOUT among the rest. Mark Ruffalo did an AMAZING job and he gave JUSTICE to Hulk/Bruce Banner compared to the other 2 Hulk movies. Marvel and Disney made an EXCELLENT decision for giving the role to Mark Ruffalo. We NEED a new Hulk movie of Mark Ruffalo! WE NEED MORE!

    Sincerely,
    TheUniverse

    • :D I like how you speak for the entire Universe. I think we’re all in agreement.

      Anyways, that wish is going to come true. Ruffalo did sign a 6 picture deal recently, so there’s going to be lots more Ruffalo/Banner Hulk.

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