Comic-Con: Marvel Ready to Take Movies ‘To Another Place’

The Avengers: Age of Ultron concept

With “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Ant-Man” and a sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy” already announced, it was Marvel newcomer Elizabeth Olsen who put it best on Marvel’s Comic-Con panel: “It feels like the beginning; it feels like we’re taking it to another place.”

The Marvel Studios chief was quick to start out the company’s hour-long panel, packed to capacity with over 6,500 people, thanking fans for its success so far on the bigscreen. “It still blows my mind that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is our tenth Marvel Studios movie,” he said. “It always starts in this room with you guys. I love the notion that you are just as excited about part two or part three as something new.”

The focus on the panel wasn’t on Marvel’s next phase of movies — “Doctor Strange,” etc. — but what’s being released in 2015, although it did announce “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” for July 28, 2017.

That includes “Ant-Man,” which has Peyton Reed taking over from Edgar Wright. The switch didn’t sit well with Marvel’s fanbase at first, and the director received tepid applause when taking the stage.

But Marvel tried to win the room over with fanboy friendly factoids like Peyton making his 20th trip to Comic-Con and having played in a punk band called Jonny Quest.

New test footage was also screened for the film that starts production in August, revealing an energetic action sequence in which star Paul Rudd’s character escapes on the back of a flying ant.

During the panel, Evangeline Lilly was confirmed as Hope Pym, the daughter of Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas). She had been avoiding the press when it came to the role for days while at Comic-Con. And it was revealed Corey Stoll will play Darren Cross, the villain Yellow Jacket.

Rudd was making his first trip to San Diego, “and it is as advertised,” he said. He finds the chance to be in a superhero film thrilling “but tough to wrap my brain around.”

Michael Douglas, who is also a first timer at the Con, said he “always looked at Marvel films from afar with envy,” given their scale and massive fanbase.

But it was “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” panel that had the crowd on their feet multiple times, especially at the start as Robert Downey Jr. took the stage, throwing red roses at his screaming fans.

He was soon joined by Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Olsen.

“It just keeps getting better,” Downey said. “This is the longest bench of talent I’ve ever been involved with. I become less significant each time, which is fine.”

A montage of scenes from the film was shown that featured a significant amount of finished visual effects and action sequences that significantly elevates it above the first installment. But it was the humor and camaraderie of the onscreen heroes that stood out the most.

Spader, who plays the robot villain Ultron, said “I’ve always thought life couldn’t get weirder or crazy enough for me, but this place may be the weirdest, craziest place ever,” he said of Comic-Con. “It is really fantastically crazy here. It’s nuts.”

But the film puts him in a new position too.

“I play an eight-foot robot,” he said. “I’ve always played humans up until now. Everything was so entirely new — the process of making (the film), playing this character, the world it was entering and even the world these movies inhabit.”

Watch the “Ant-Man” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” panels below, without the footage that was screened.

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  1. Marvel is doing too much, so the hype has to be one movie at a time! I, personally, am loving how they have so many projects, and how they all fit in one universe, with every movie being connected to each other. I’m thrilled with were this universe can and will get!

  2. Parkour says:

    Spader will take this movie to new heights. And imo, because his acting abilities – he will get a couple of solid roles in other mainstream thrillers.

    Great actors for great comic book adaptations. Love it.

    • nerdrage says:

      Speaking of great actors for great comic book adaptations, I was really hoping they’d announce Joaquin Phoenix as Doctor Strange but they probably only just started talks after the other three guys turned them down. Fourth time’s the charm!

  3. Steve says:

    I grew up reading Marvel comics and DC Comics back when they were a thin dime. All superhero films are the same. That was never more obvious than when a few years ago, both the Dark Knight and Spiderman had climactic sequences on a subway train. There’s a reason comic books only had a few pages. Studios will keep making them and there will always be another group of kids lining up to see them – until there aren’t.

    • nerdrage says:

      Most superhero films are the same, you mean. Marvel is doing a nice job of differentiating itself. Guardians of the Galaxy is the type of movie worth bothering with. Spider-Man and Superman? Pfft. Just cookie cutter crap.

  4. Paul lane says:

    I think DC/WB may be in deep trouble here.

    • Jacques Strappe says:

      Maybe not deep trouble but I’m guessing they are becoming a lesser player with every Marvel Studios release.. Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Studios and their investment and belief in the comic franchise while imposing some much needed fiscal discipline can’t be underestimated. The release of the arguably risky Guardians movie based on a relatively obscure comic, is a testament to the creative mojo now flowing at Marvel Studios. Guardians of the Galaxy looks like it might surprise and delight the most skeptical Marvel fan boys based on the outstanding early reviews (100% fresh Rotten Tomatoes ratings with the first 25 early reviews in). Not every movie release moving forward will be paved with gold at the box office but right now and for the foreseeable future Marvel is in their proverbial sweet spot..

      • big daddy D says:

        Keep it coming. I’m a Proud comic book geek for 35 years. I love where Marvel is going with their spate of movies lined the network television/Netflix shows..I’m optimistically excited. Bring on the Mad Titan!

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