'The Avengers' almost had a dark opening

Posted August 28,2012 - 05:23 PM

The big comic book showdown of the Summer was The Avengers vs. The Dark Knight Rises. It was Marvel vs. DC. And it was awesome. Both movies played to their strengths with The Avengers being a lighter, family-oriented affair, while The Dark Knight Rises was dark with more mature themes. It's hard to declare a loser when both films have grossed over $420 million, but The Avengers did end up with over $600 million so I guess Marvel won. A lot of the success of The Avengers has been attributed to the manner in which it built up the franchise to a crescendo over five films before The Avengers came out this Summer, but many people truly recognize the brilliance of director Joss Whedon. Thankfully, one of the true believers in Whedon is Marvel themselves and they have already locked up Joss Whedon for the sequel. If you want even further proof of his expert decision making, take a look at this alternate opening sequence that Yahoo! Movies debuted today exclusively. The clip (below) is a rather bleak and melancholy look at the aftermath of the events from the film. The stark images of a smoldering New York immediately conjure up memories of 9/11. While it is certainly a dramatic entrance to the movie, and I'm all about more Cobie Smulders, it is clearly the wrong one for this film. In a way, it's the darker opening that would have immediately put the audience in the same frame of mind as The Dark Knight Rises. It would have been tough to start here and then make some of the silliness like "Hulk SMASH" later in the film work. It also is obviously meant to imply that the fate of the altercation is unknown. Did The Avengers actually lose to Loki? Who all died as was alluded to in the debrief? In the end, this sort of approach where you start at the end is a good gimmick for an hour long drama on TV, but it doesn't work that well for a Summer blockbuster. Joss Whedon went for the right choice by starting with Loki and the Chitauri and then proceeding to the theft of the Tesseract, which jump starts the entire film. It's deleted scenes like this one, featured on next month's Blu-ray release, that go a long way in showing how a film takes shape and the importance of making critical decisions.

As we mentioned yesterday, Disney/Marvel is not releasing the mega The Avengers Assembled: Marvel Universe Phase 1 collection as intended next month. It's scenes like this one that make me hope that they can figure it out and eventually release it so that we can experience all of the goodies on that collection. The Avengers hits DVD and Blu-ray on September 25.