Avengers: Gadgets, vehicles and stunts Guest Writer April 26, 2012 Features 1978 With a cast list boasting a demigod, a super soldier, an airborne weapons manufacturer, two master assassins, and a tank-sized green behemoth, MARVEL’s THE AVENGERS was never going to be the quietest or most uneventful of summer movies. While character, plot and tone are still integral (this is storytelling genius Joss Whedon taking the directorial reigns, after all), the battle-hardened, kick-ass team guarantees that MARVEL’s THE AVENGERS will be stuffed full of explosive action, jaw-dropping stunts, supercool vehicles and enough gadgets to put other movie blockbusters to shame. As the main stunt co-ordinator on the movie, R.A. Rondell (SUPERMAN RETURNS, THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, HAYWIRE) was the man behind training the A-list cast on how to roll with the many punches, kicks and explosions seen throughout the action. “They all worked very hard. The only time we had to use doubles for these guys was when there was a serious possibility of getting hurt,” Rondell says. “As a bunch of alpha males – and I’ll include Scarlett in this – they all wanted to step up.” It’s sure to look authentic too – each actor underwent weeks of fight training. As master marksman Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner even received training from Olympic archers on how to use his bow properly. With so many different power sets, weapons and fighting styles – including medieval fighting techniques, Wushu, Kung Fu and Kali – in the mix, the finished battle scenes are going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before. “Thor has a warrior fighting style, Captain America has more of a parkour approach, Black Widow is a down and dirty grappling fighter, and Hawkeye is all about using his bow,” Rondell says. Like any good superhero team, they get the chance to spar off against each other before uniting for the common cause, with Rondell admitting to a “bad-ass” Black Widow vs. Hawkeye smackdown, and a forest fight between Thor and Iron Man that is “pretty far out”. Death-defying stunts come as standard, and while Rondell says there are “literally hundreds” to choose from, there were some breathtaking moments on-set. “We had Nick Fury jump out of a helicopter that was crashing, and Captain America being blasted out of a third story window and crashing onto a car parked below – they were pretty radical.” Executive Producer Jeremy Latcham proudly admits that “the stunts are bigger than anything Marvel Studios has ever done before.” The fact that one stunt alone involved 28 explosions and 50 cars blowing up and flipping over supports Joss Whedon’s claim that the movie is an “orgy of destruction”. It helps that the team has access to a host of technologically bleeding edge weapons, gadgets and vehicles. Captain America’s iconic shield has been given a shapely, curvier upgrade, Thor’s back with his lightning-summoning, portal-opening hammer Mjölnir, and Iron Man’s new weapons-heavy Mark VII suit is going to ensure Tony Stark is quite literally dressed to kill. “Joss was eager to play up some of the technology that had been developed in Iron Man 2, such as the suitcase suit which really had the cool ‘wow’ factor. You’ll see with the Mark VII that’s he’s taken that one step further,” teases concept designer Phil Saunders. “This suit was designed as more of a weapons hub, knowing that in the script we’d be facing an entire army. This would be Tony Stark’s weaponised version of the Iron Man suit, with a modularity that allows for armour and weapon elements to eject from the suit when no longer needed.” Another major asset in the Avengers’ arsenal is the Helicarrier, AKA the coolest superhero base ever created. While it looks like a simple nuclear aircraft carrier, the floating S.H.I.E.L.D base can also turn invisible and take to the skies. “The Helicarrier will be the biggest surprise for people,” Saunders raves. “There’s one major battle scene in the movie that’s all about the Helicarrier and that’ll be pretty kick-ass.” It can also deploy the team’s rock-hard, super-sonic, ground deployment people carrier, known as the Quinjet. Based, as with the Helicarrier, on real-world and proposed military technology (with a hint of artistic, action-movie license for good measure), it’s capable of vertical take-off, and vital to the team’s survival. Like any good Hollywood blockbuster, there will be chase scenes galore and cool cars as well – including a fleet of specially equipped SHIELD Acura SUVs and sedans and a notable moment for Tony Stark’s state-of-the-art Acura 2012 Stark Industries Super Car. This vehicle is actually a prototype of the new Acura NSX, which Acura gave to production to use ahead of general release. Built with anti-ballistic body panelling, invisa-shields, a nitrous fuel-injection system, and some seriously sleek, sexy curves, it’s worth every cent of its $9.2m street value. The Avengers’ weapons, vehicles, gadgets and stunts look set to offer some of the coolest, most radical extras on the big screen this summer. The audiences’ awed breathlessness comes as standard.