You’ve got to give Joss Whedon props for trying something a little darker, but his abandoned idea for the opening of The Avengers probably deserves its place in the dustbin of cinematic history.
In this sequence, available on the upcoming Blu-ray for the movie, we begin with a flash-forward to the smouldering city of New York, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) being grilled by the unseen members of the World Security Council. We see a shot of Captain America, looking mournfully at a wounded woman, and hear (but don’t see) that a lot of people have died.
This grim opening is meant to suggest that getting these super-powered individuals for a team was a colossal mistake.
Except … c’mon, who would’ve bought that?
Interestingly, this sequence reinforces Hill’s role in the Marvel comic books as an antagonist of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. We didn’t get to see her question him, let alone resist him, in the movie, but here she seems to be expressing gave doubts about his so-called Avengers Initiative.
But, but … the framing device never would have worked. Audiences went in to The Avengers expecting a clash of the titans, but we all knew they’d eventually get through their assorted conflicts and work together for the common good. That’s the movie.
This melancholy misdirection was an attempt to build suspense and doubt about the team, but it was wisely put aside.
Check out the full scene on The Avengers DVD and Blu-ray, out Sept. 25.
For another deleted scene, here is an EW exclusive featuring Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, waking up naked and disoriented and wondering: Who am I?
Most people do this after a particularly raucous Saturday night, but he does it after a Hulk rage.
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