There was a moment during the press conference in Seoul for the much-anticipated Avengers: Endgame that was uncomfortable to watch. It wasn’t when Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner and Brie Larson squirmed and tried their best not to say anything at all that might give away plot details while remaining entertaining (the Illuminati are loose lips that sink ships compared to Marvel Studios).
It wasn’t even when the LCD screen doors wouldn’t open for the film’s stars (it happens – technology is evil).
It was when Larson – who plays Captain Marvel, perhaps, the most formidable Avenger of them all – was the focus of a steady flow of comments about how pretty she looked.
“Beautiful”, cooed the female Korean host of the press conference, as cameras of Asian media flashed. “Effortlessly gorgeous.” “She’s glowing.”
It was, in all probability, meant as high praise. Perhaps lost in cultural translation, these repeated proclamations of Larson’s attractiveness. Awkward as it was, the actress took it in her stride, smiling politely for pictures.
To be fair, Renner was complimented on his appearance – once, briefly – and was asked to strike an archer pose. Downey Jr didn’t need any encouragement to camp it up, launching into a dance routine at his introduction.
The stars of Avengers: Endgame were in the Korean capital on Apr 15 to promote the upcoming finale of the Avengers series, along with the film’s directors Anthony and Joe Russo, executive producer Trinh Tran, and Marvel Studio president Kevin Feige.
This is where we put to bed the story of the original six Avengers.
Endgame is the culmination of 21 films over 11 years, closing Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after last year’s Infinity War.
“This is the ending. This is the finale,” said Joe Russo. “This is where we put to bed the story of the original six Avengers.”
This is also where we can expect the female superheroes of the franchise to shine strong.
“We’re always striving to continue to support our female heroines from the previous movies as well as this one, so we’ll continue to explore that,” said Tran. “Looking up at these posters [in the press conference venue], you see our very strong female characters standing over there – standing next to the men. I’m very proud of them.”
I cannot confirm nor deny having any interaction with our nemesis.
Playing the Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel character, said Larson, has helped her grow in her personal life.
“Carol taught me so much,” she said, going on to explain how taking on boxing training for her role transformed more than just her physical strength. “I trained for nine months before I started shooting [Captain Marvel]. It changed my brain, it changed the way I carried myself, and it strengthened my voice. So it’s a great honour to be able to share that character with the world. With the hope that others can maybe get some of that as well.”
The character, said Larson, represents “the importance of the female story, the female journey”, but she’s also for everyone, male or female. “It’s about equality at the end of the day.”
Captain Marvel is expected to play a major role in Endgame, as the heroes – having suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the last film – go after big, bad, finger-snapping Thanos. “I don’t know,” said Larson, smiling, when asked about her interaction with Thanos and Josh Brolin, the actor who plays the Mad Titan, in this film. “But I do think he should be scared.”
DESPERATELY SEEKING THANOS
“I cannot confirm nor deny having any interaction with our nemesis,” said Downey Jr, giving one of many intentional non-answers from the cast and filmmakers.
The actors insist they do not know how the end will come, seeing as they will only watch the film for the first time at the premiere, along with the audience.
The lack of information, of course, has not stopped fans from speculating on the Internet – official home of rabid fan theory.
“I just love the creativity that comes from theories,” said Renner of the amateur sleuthing online. “They’re hilarious, they’re pretty crazy… but it means people are invested in the stories.”
“My favourite [fan theory] is Ant-Man goes up Thanos’ butt and then makes himself big,” said Downey Jr, smiling, before cheekily “giving away” the plot of Endgame: “And that’s exactly what happens.”
The Russo brothers looked on, amused but looking, perhaps, a little worried that Iron Man’s quip might get lost in translation and make the front page of the Korean newspapers.
However the Avengers’ story comes to an end, one thing is certain: It will end.
I was going to say to bring tissues…
Feige and the Russo brothers had a few suggestions on how fans might want to prepare for the experience.
“I was going to say to bring tissues… but you don’t have to bring tissues,” said Feige. “Bring your enthusiasm. Bring your love of these characters and of this cast, because the actors have worked for so long and so hard.”
Anthony Russo offered more practical advice. “One thing you can do to prepare yourself for this movie is to not eat and drink anything for maybe a couple of hours before you go to the theatre,” he said of the 182-min epic.
“There’s no really good spot for you to be able to go to the bathroom.”
Avengers: Endgame opens in Singapore cinemas Apr 24.