Today at the Marvel panel at San Diego Comic-Con, we saw Ultron in action. And we met our new Thanos, Josh Brolin! And we witnessed the downfall of the Avengers in Age of Ultron. Plus new Ant-Man footage... and a Guardians of the Galaxy 2 release date.
The panel started with a recap of all the previous Marvel movies, including some Guardians of the Galaxy clips that concluded with a shot of Thanos sitting on his throne, floating in space. And smiling... sinisterly.
Compared to last year's panel, this was short on announcements (no Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain Marvel or Doctor Strange movie announcements.) But the Ant-Man glimpse was cute, and the Avengers 2 footage was pretty insane. So here's what we saw...
They haven't started filming yet, but we were able to see a brief teaser that showcased some visual effects tests and some stuff that they had already filmed — basically some great action sequences and voice work from Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) and Paul Rudd (Scott Lang).
There are two components to this pretty zany footage: a scene in Hank Pym's lab, where the camera just pans across the space, showing off all of the weird scientific equipment and bubbling beakers and creepy anthills, before finishing up at an Ant-Man helmet.
During this, Michael Douglas is convincing Scott Lang to do something. Lang protests that Hank seems nice but "I'm not a superhero." That means he's not an egomaniac, and he's not an "undisciplined moron causing more destruction than he stops," Pym retorts. Superheroes are a "ridiculous concept. You're doing this because it's the right thing to do."
"Someone already stole your balls," Pym taunts Lang. "It's just a small job, he adds.
Cut to a tiny Scott Lang in the Ant-Man suit, running away after completing the "small job" — his Ant-Man helmet is on the fritz, and he keeps losing his connection to Hank Pym, who's barking instructions.
He's supposed to use the helmet to control "the transport" — which turns out to be a small flying ant. He tries to convince the flying ant to help him out, but the ant isn't listening. And then some flying lights show up, chasing him — so Scott has no choice but to jump off the building onto the flying ant, which he doesn't have a very stable grip on. He's trying to reach a rendezvous with Hank, but first he has to survive.
New director Peyton Reed is eager to prove he's up to the job, sharing that it's his 20th Comic-Con in a row. Plus back in the day, Reed was in a punk band called Johnny Quest and once drew the band as the Avengers on a flier, and drew himself as Ant-Man. He showed us that flier.
And Michael Douglas kind of explains the plot of Ant-Man for us: "This is basically the story of a heist. [Hank's] partner has taken the company in a different evil direction, and I have found a [mentee] in Paul [Rudd] to take over my position as Ant-Man. The only problem is Paul is in such incredible shape, such great shape that the Ant-Man suit didn't fit."
Also, it's confirmed that Evangeline Lilly is playing Hank Pym's daughter Hope, and Corey Stoll is the evil ex-partner Darren Cross, who gets his own shrinking suit and becomes the Yellowjacket — the film's villain.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
We saw a ton of Avengers: Age of Ultron footage, which starts light-hearted. We see the Avengers sitting around trying to untangle the "whosoever is worthy" thing, regarding who gets to hold Thor's hammer. And they all think it's a trick, or a circus sideshow.
"If I lift it, do I get to rule Asgard?" Tony asks. And Thor says yes. Tony says he will be fair but firm, and maybe work out the "wench clause." Tony can't lift it — even after he puts on an Iron Man glove and gets Rhodey to help him. Soon everybody is trying to lift it — including Bruce Banner, who gets kinda upset — and only Steve Rogers even comes close.
Black Widow doesn't even want to try lifting it, because "That's not a question I need answering."
Tony guess it's keyed to Thor's finger prints, or some other biometric, but Thor says the answer is simpler: "You're all not worthy."
Then there's a ringing sound and they're all deafened, and Ultron strides into the room, with a crude Avengers logo painted on his slightly misshapen chest. "How could you be worthy? You're all killers," Ultron says. "You want to protect the world, but you don't want to it to change. There's only one path to peace: your extinction."
Then a shit ton of robots burst through the wall and attack all of the Avengers, plus Maria Hill.
Then we hear Ultron's voiceover saying he had a vision of the whole world screaming for mercy, and everybody tangled in it.
And we see glimpses of some city in what looks like Africa being reduced to rubble by an attack. There's a closeup of Loki's staff, and everybody looking freaked out on the Quinjet — most of all Bruce Banner, who is holding himself and shaking with a terrified look on his face. People are running everywhere, and the debris is flying like crazy.
Ultron gives a menacing look, as he surveys all the destruction.
Then there are some hero moments: Captain America enters a place shooting some guns. Stuff is blowing up. Banner staggers to his knees in a snowy forest, looking sickly. Thor uses his hammer to smash a tank. Black Widow is in a medical bay, reaching for some surgical tools. We glimpse Nick Fury looking the way he did at the end of Winter Soldier. And Scarlet Witch is on a bus, approaching some people at the back of the bus with magic in one hand.
Tony Stark is looking forlorn and guilty. "It's the end, the end of a path I started us on," he tells Black Widow, who says everything ends.
Scarlet witch sinks to her knees shouting. And there are more shots of Scarlet Witch using her powers, just quick glimpses of her projecting magical energy.
At this point, the trailer strts playing the clasic song "I've Got No Strings."
Tony, in Hulbuster armor, confronts Hulk on a city street, and there are several shots of them brawling and Tony getting the shit beat out of him. Quicksilver runs through a crowded room that seems to be standing still. Captain America is fighting someone in what looks like a knock-down brawl.
And because this is Joss Whedon, there's a glimpse of girls doing ballet.
Then we're back to Black Widow shooting shotguns, and more of the Hulk/Hulkbuster brawl. Thor grabs Tony Stark's throat and lifts him off the ground. Captain America is riding a motorcycle and then running. Cars are tumbling in mid air. Black Widow touches her hand to the Hulk's massive green hand, like she's calming him down. We glimpse a confrontation between Black Widow and Scarlet Witch.
And then Ultron finishes the song saying, "There are no strings on me," clenching a fist as he celebrates that he's no longer a puppet.
And we go a shot of Captain America's shield — shattered to fragments. We pull back, and all of the Avengers are lying prone, apparently dead, in the rubble. Tony is leaning over them, and he looks totlaly horrified and ashamed.
The actual panel was more light-hearted and contained a few surprises.
To the sound of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough," Robert Downey Jr. danced out on stage and opened his briefcase to throw roses at the crowd. Then the rest of the Avengers cast danced out one by one — including Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury). And newcomers Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver), Paul Bettany (The Vision), James Spader (Ultron), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch).
Downey Jr. says the second Avengers will be fun — but luckily, he's a little less important every time, which is good for him.
When asked what he'd like to see Thor do next, Chris Hemsworth says "turn him into a woman." It would be a big transformation "but I'd be willing to do it." He jokes that this would be his Oscar-winning role.
"I play an eight-foot robot in this movie," says Spader. "I've always played humans.... It was just unimaginably exciting" to discover that whole other world of comic-book movies.
"There's now magic" in the Marvel Universe, "there's now mutated people," says Olsen. (She nearly says "mutant" and the room oohs.) "It adds something to the fights. It adds a new element, it's not just punching. We add a new element. It goes with what Marvel is doing with their other films as well."
After the footage, Josh Brolin (Thanos) comes out on stage wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. Downey Jr. gives Brolin a rose... and he eats it.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
We saw a funny video that was supposedly a "live feed" of director James Gunn and star Chris Pratt, waiting to address the crowd at Comic-Con. And they debated whether they could announce that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 already has a release date of July 18, 2017, before deciding they don't have the balls. Heh.
So there you have it — the first Guardians isn't even out yet, but Marvel is obviously feeling pretty confident.