The biggest news that everyone already knew to come out of San Diego Comic Con was that Joss Whedon would be directing The Avengers, and Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner are joining the cast as Bruce Banner and Hawkeye respectively. (Also in completely unsurprising news, Nathan Fillion will not be playing Ant-Man, and nerds can't tell when people are joking.) Still, it must have been a pretty exciting moment to see the cast assembled on stage at the end of the Marvel Film Panel, especially with Robert Downey, Jr. completely channeling Tony Stark live and in person. And it is nice to have things official, if only because Whedon can finally comment on his plans for the movie, which he does, and I like what he has to say.
As a huge Whedon fan, I'm naturally excited that he will be helming a movie that I was already pretty excited about, but it's what he says about the film that really encourages me, particularly in this io9 interview. The part I liked the best:
Are you tempted to pin [play with] the Civil War with Captain American and Iron Man against each other?
You know Civil War comes from what's great about the dynamic between them. And so does The Avengers, they definitely are at odds. But it's not a Civil War thing because it existed before that, at least in my mind. They are two very different definitions of a person. One is a self-made man, a modern man, a rockstar. The other is a World War 2 grunt, just trying to do his part. They couldn't have more different views of the world. That will just end up in fun. It ended up in Civil War in the comics, in my movie it will be witty banter.
Witty banter is so much better than ham-fisted and trite political commentary.
I'm not nearly as sold on Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner. I think I've only seen Renner in two things, and neither of them were Hurt Locker. He played a vampire serial killer, which wasn't as redundant as one might think, in a season 1 episode of "Angel," a fact that bugged me the entire time I watched S.W.A.T., trying to figure out where I knew him from. Now he's an Oscar nominated actor. This is strange for me. Ruffalo, on the other hand, just flat out doesn't seem like Bruce Banner to me. As Brenda noted, he's more of a geeky hipster type. He won't get angry so much as annoyed. Whedon is pretty high on the guy though, saying that Ruffalo was his "first and only choice for Bruce Banner" and compares him to Bill Bixby (via MTV Splash Page). Of course, that makes me rethink my negativity, since Bill Bixby is to Banner (can't call him "Bruce") what Christopher Reeve was to Superman -- definitive. Also, dead, but that's irrelevant, as well as completely insensitive. I'm still upset about Edward Norton not reprising the role though. Incredible Hulk wasn't a great movie, but I thought Norton was pretty damn perfect in it. Whedon also says nice things about Renner in that interview, but I can't understand what he's saying. Sometimes Whedon-speak is a bit nonsensical. It's part of his charm, or lack thereof, depending on your opinion of him, I suppose.
The only other thing that bothers me is the fact that there's only one woman in the line up, and it's a huge cast, so I have my doubts that Black Widow will play a much larger role than she did in Iron Man 2, which was pretty small. However, if the alternative was Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow and the oft-rumored Eva Longoria as the Wasp, I'll gladly stick with just Black Widow, thank you. I know that probably makes me a bad feminist, or something, but my complete lack of interest in seeing Salt, despite all my bitching about there not being enough female action heroes in film, already shows what a hypocrite I am. I want my female action heroes to be good roles (not the Wasp) in original movies (not generic spy films) and played by good actresses (not Eva Longoria). I'm quirky that way. Hopefully, if they need to round out the cast with some S.H.E.I.L.D. agents, we'll get to see characters like Maria Hill and Sharon Carter. That'd be pretty cool. If they want to have the Wasp's Marvel Adventures counterpart Giant Girl in an Avengers movie, played by someone not from "Desperate Housewives," that would be cool too.
Full write-ups of the SDCC Marvel Film Panel can be found at Newsarama and Comic Book Resources, where you can also find lots of great information about Thor and Captain America. And Chris Evans confirms that Joss Whedon did some work on the Captain America script in this interview, which is good to know. I remember thinking it sounded like it could use some work. There's also the io9 write-up that has a picture of the movie's Red Skull character design that scares the crap out of me. He doesn't really look like a skull though, now that I've gotten over my fear a bit and can really look at it.