The new Marvel Studios movie, Avengers: Infinity War, sees Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — you know, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, et al — taking on an intergalactic despot named Thanos. The super-sized smackdown is a magnum opus a decade in the making, that started with 2008’s Iron Man that kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has also taken that long for Robert Downey Jr, who plays Iron Man, to visit us. The 53-year-old was joined by Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy’s Nebula), director Joe Russo and executive producer Trinh Tran. We were at the press conference on Sunday at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre and this is what we found out…
1. Robert Downey Jr is Tony Stark is Robert Downey Jr.
Remember that scene in Iron Man where Tony Stark famously announces to the world that he’s the man in the iron armour? Or that opening in Iron Man 2 where he leaps out of a C-130 and lands in an expo to make a keynote address? Well, the Infinity War press con is kinda like that, but on a smaller scale. Robert Downey Jr, on- and off-screen, is a live-wire presence. The second he turned up on stage, the contagiously charismatic Downey stole the thunder from the rest of his colleagues (Cumberbatch was low-key, Gillan was just happy to be there) with his signature playful, freewheeling, non-sequitur banter.
2. Benedict Cumberbatch didn't like to be reminded of Sherlock Holmes, we think.
A journo pointed out that there are two Sherlock Holmes — Cumberbatch played the world’s greatest detective on BBC, while Downey starred in two Guy Ritchie-directed movies — in the room and asked if there were any Sherlock-related jokes in the script. To which Cumberbatch answered, “If there ever was, I hope there isn’t.” He sounded serious, almost annoyed. But Downey, being Mr Levity, quickly jumped in, “We take all jokes. [If] you got any good jokes, send them to Joe [Russo]. We’ll put them in some movie in somewhere.”
3. RDJ’s favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is…
“The funny thing is, honestly, as they come out, I don’t feel that I have much to do with these other ventures. But I appreciate aspects of them so much,” said RDJ. “I think without Doctor Strange, we will not be have Infinity War, most definitely. I just think Guardians of the Galaxy was a dark horse. But recently, I thought Thor: Ragnarok is so mind-blowing. This Taka Waititi guy [the director] is an assassin; he’s so brilliant. When I am done seeing [Infinity War], this [will] probably be my favourite.” Er, in other words, he likes all of them?
4. Is this a press con or comic-con?
This is just an observation. For some reason, majority of the journos who asked the questions during the half-hour long press con like to precede their questions with an autobiographical footnote, where they fondly looked back at how the Marvel comics and movies have brought so much joy to their lives. It’s fun to watch grown-ups morphed into gushing fanboys (and fangirls) in the presence of Marvel royalty. Nothing wrong with that. Not judging, just saying. In fact, I would’ve done the same thing, fellas. Hmmm, no, not really. Maybe. Probably not. Hey, who knows?
Avengers: Infinity War opens Apr 25.
(Photos: Kelvin Chia)