Sam Jackson saves Cleveland with 4 Superheroes, a Norse God and one really pissed big green dude
By KEVIN CHILL HEARD
Highly anticipated? Yuh think!
Folks were waiting on this film like it was world peace.
When Sam Jackson rolls up on “Iron Man” Tony Stark in the ever-popular “end credit scene” and hits him off with – “You think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” – The countdown had begun!
The build-up for “Marvel’s The Avengers” was, of course, marvelous. With winks and nods, cameos and shout-outs in separate films featuring Marvel characters Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, fans had been primed to a fever-pitch.
This type of anticipation for a group to unite, previously reserved for the initial X-Men film (or maybe the second Wu Tang album), was held in the highest regard. Throw in the fact that the big, angry, green guy was waiting in the wings, a “smash” was inevitable.
“The Avengers,” have been referred to as “The holy grail of the Marvel Universe.”
As Samuel L. Jackson goes patch-eye to become S.H.I.E.L.D shot-caller Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency, his team was being assembled. Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow answer the call.
Well, it took a little some extra to get Doc Banner to bring his really pissed-off alter-ego, but still the crew was all suited up and ready to go.
Yeah-yeah, bad guys were taking over. The world was in danger and the existence of the universe as we know it hung in the balance (blah, blah, blah). The main point, at least as far as “we” are concerned, is that it was all going down in Cleveland!
Aliens were downtown acting a fool, tearing up all kinds of buildings and stuff. Look here aliens… we are just starting to fix downtown back up!
The truth of the matter, for months… Cleveland was all abuzz that the filming of this movie took place in our town. We even put up with East 9th Street being shut down for what seemed like forever to prep and shoot one of the larger action sequences for the Avengers flick.
It was all that we could talk about for months and a good portion of Clevenders ventured down to watch the CLE transform into NYC. In the scene, evil forces attack New York City, culminating with a massive strafing run of explosions on 42nd Street.
It was a good look for the city we love.
“Avengers” Writer/Director Joss Whedon loved that Cleveland had some of the same architectural flavor of New York City and describes the scene this way, “It starts out with a frozen moment, where the people of New York are confronted with unrecognizable evil forces for the first time, so they’ve all stopped their cars and gotten out to figure out what’s going on.”
The director continued, “Then all of a sudden there is a huge strafing run, where they come down and start blowing up the street. There are cars exploding and flipping, people running for their lives, and then a battle ensues between The Avengers and the evil forces.”
For the strafing run, special effects supervisor Dan Sudick and his team set up precision pyrotechnics and well-timed car gags so that the production’s stunt people could safely maneuver. To pull off the large pyrotechnic event, Sudick and his team rigged 28 explosions that went off in a wave fashion down the street to simulate an air attack.
The sequence also included setting up 21 cars down the middle of the street, which included cannon cars, flipper cars and pyro cars, as well as a big semi truck that would explode. In total, 50 cars were rigged for the sequence.
Coordinating all the pyrotechnics and explosions safely in a pretty tight space is all in a days work for Sudick, who describes how he prepared for the sequence.
“The first step for us is figuring out how the sequence fits into the environment and then it becomes dealing with the street closures, utilities companies and finding out what is under the street, so when we anchor the cars into it. We don’t get into high voltage power lines or gas lines.”
“It also helped that we had access to the buildings on the street and were able to put our equipment in them and lock them up,” Sudick continued. “We also had to cover all the windows with Lexan to protect them during the explosions.”
Needless to say, Cleveland survived the alien attack and“Marvel’s The Avengers” took in well-over $200.3 million over the weekend, smashing the record for the biggest opening weekend of all time.
It stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rodgers/Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye.
“Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the cult Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963.
“Marvel’s The Avengers” is currently in theater nationwide… and maybe in other worlds on the other side of the universe!
*You can follow Kevin Chill Heard on Twitter @houseofchill