It’s undoubtedly going to be one of, if not the, biggest kick off to a summer movie season we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until next year (May 4, 2012) to see it happen. Regardless, the countdown to “Marvel’s The Avengers” has officially begun as production on the movie has finally commenced – beginning in Albuquerque, New Mexico before continuing in Cleveland, Ohio and New York City.
Written and directed by Joss Whedon (“Serenity”), “Marvel’s The Avengers” will bring together some of the iconic heroes we’ve already made into box office giants and some who we’ll meet for the first time in their individual movies this year. This, of course, excludes Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, who takes over the role after Eric Bana and Edward Norton. Together, Bana’s “Hulk” (2003) and Norton’s “The Incredible Hulk” (2008) accumulated over $508 million in worldwide box office receipts. Ruffalo will portray Bruce Banner/Hulk for the first time in “The Avengers” movie. The Oscar® nominee recently told The Advocate that the new Hulk will share similar features to his – even down to body hair. ”They want this Hulk to be as close to me as possible. I’ll be playing him in motion-capture, so this Hulk will just be a bigger avatar version of me. As they’re modeling him, they’re using many of my own features, down to my scars and wrinkles. He will have body hair, but I don’t know to what extent.”
Before we get our first looks at Ruffalo as Hulk in 2012, we’ll get our first full-length movies from characters like “Thor” starring Chris Hemsworth. The hammer wielding warrior will be banished to Earth by his father (Anthony Hopkins) where he encounters reigning Best Actress Oscar® winner Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings.
One of Thor’s objectives in the movie is to reclaim his hammer, which is in the possession of SHIELD - the Marvel-created agency that handles superhuman threats. At this year’s theater owners convention, CinemaCon, in Las Vegas, a packed Caesars Palace Coloessum watched several extended scenes from the movie, including where Thor discovers the location of his hammer and attempts to get it back. This is also where the film introduces the character of Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”). You won’t see his face in this edited version, but you’ll catch a glimpse of the soon-to-be Avenger with his bow and arrow acting as the eyes in the sky, so to speak, as Thor fights it out with SHIELD guards.
Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) will also show up in “Thor” and “The Avengers” next year. Gregg has portrayed the SHIELD agent in both “Iron Man” movies as well. That blockbuster franchise has given us two Avengers…most notably Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
In 2008, comic book and movie fans came together to push “Iron Man” to a worldwide take of over $585 million. Two years later, “Iron Man 2″ surpassed its predecessor, bringing in over $622 million worldwide. Both movies skyrocketed Downey Jr.’s cinematic worth. The Oscar® nominee had quietly been living in the indie movie world until then. The 2010 sequel also helped introduce the character Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson. You can see both Iron Man and Black Widow in the “Iron Man 2″ trailer below as well as Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, who showed up in both “Iron Man” pics. Fury is an Army Colonel turned director of SHIELD.
Nick Fury will also have a cameo in “Thor” this year, a couple months before Chris Evans will star as Steve Rogers in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” A puny, soldier wannabe, Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.
Set for release in the US on May 4, 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers” will also star Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother”) as Agent Maria Hill of SHIELD, as well as Tom Hiddleston (“Wallander”) and Stellan Skarsgård (“Angels & Demons,” “Mamma Mia!”) who will both reprise their respective roles as Loki and Professor Erik Selvig from the upcoming Marvel Studios’ feature “Thor.”