The Avengers are back! This time with a bigger story and an even bigger villain to fight. As part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers 2 builds and takes on the overarching plot of the previous movies. This time, they take on the villain named Ultron along with the appearances of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The carefully and meticulously crafted universe is indeed a universe in its own right; from the costumes, visual effects, characters, actors, actresses and locations.
The actors and actresses play a huge part in bringing the comic book characters to life but the locations are important too.
The locations and settings of the stories and movies help put things in better context and makes us appreciate them more.
We recognise the places, walked these streets and feel a tinge of emotion whenever a landmark or building is destroyed. These locations connect us with the actual places here on Earth; a link between the Marvel Universe and ‘our’ universe.
It’s not surprising that most of the backdrop for the stories are set on cities; being the hub of everything and anything, good and bad, fictional or real. Most of Marvel’s settings also happen in actual and real locations.
As we immerse and enjoy ourselves in the Marvel Universe, we present to you our Cities Of Marvel series.
Let us show you something beautiful.
NEW YORK, USA
New York, New York… What better way to start our cities list with none other than New York. Marvel Entertainment even has an actual office there on the 135 W. 50th Street. Because New York is such a big city and a melting pot of different people and cultures, it is the most densely-superhero-populated city in the Marvel Universe. The New York of Marvel Universe and the New York in reality is very much the same with only minor modifications for some buildings and districts. For the Avengers film, most of the action takes place in Manhattan and its key landmarks.
The story of Avengers 2 continues upon the events that happened in Avengers 1 particularly the battle with Loki and his Chitauri army in New York. The city is home to Stark Tower which also featured in Avengers 1 but was heavily damaged during the final confrontation. For Avengers 2, the tower is repurposed as the headquarters of the Avengers as well as the research lab of Tony Stark and Dr. Banner. Aside from Iron Man, Captain America also has deep ties with the city. Before he became Captain America, Steve Rogers was born and lived in the neighbourhood of Brooklyn where he was consistently bullied.
Being an old city with history that goes back to the Roman Empire, London is a character in itself in the Marvel Universe. Captain America fought there during the war and discovered the planned bombings and attacks by HYDRA. It was also in London where they imprisoned Arnim Zola and learned Johann Schmidt’s plans on dominating the world using the Tesseract and the whereabouts of HYDRA.
Fast forward to present, London played another major role in Thor : Dark World. A gravitational anomaly caused by The Convergence was observed in the city and the final confrontation with Malekith The Accursed and Thor happened in Greenwich. London would not be complete without the famous Tube and it was featured briefly in Thor : Dark World.
For the Avengers 2 film, London is the location where the production is based. Some locations in UK also doubled as other locations in the story. Hampshire and Norwich were used as locations for the wintry forest battle in scenes supposed to be in Sokovia.
The iconic Founder’s Building at Royal Holloway, University of London also appears as itself. It was in front of the Founder’s Building where Thor met with Erik Selvig. The University Of East Anglia was also used as the site for the new and upgraded Avengers headquarters.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Seoul is the only Asian city that is included as a location for the Avengers 2. “South Korea is the perfect location for a movie of this magnitude because it features cutting-edge technology, beautiful landscapes and spectacular architecture,” said Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios. Seoul was used as the site for an advanced, high-tech scientific laboratory in the movie as well as for the fast-paced chase scenes.
The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) coordinated with Marvel Studios in filming the scenes throughout key locations around the city such as the Jamsil and Mapo Bridges and the famous Gangnam District. The South Korean government also shouldered some costs in the filming. Famous South Korean actress Claudia Kim also starred in the movie as the geneticist Dr. Helen Cho.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
“The great thing about this movie is that they are shooting Johannesburg as Johannesburg.” (Desmond Mthembu, head of the film commission of South Africa’s Guateng province).
Johannesburg, South Africa sees a lot of city-smash in the movie. The African city is near the fictional country of Wakanda and it will be used as the location of an intense fight scene between Hulk and Iron Man. The South African city and its people are portrayed as they are and many areas of Johannesburg will be familiar to the viewers.
Unlike New York, London, Seoul or Johannesburg, Sokovia is fictional country located in Eastern Europe. This country will play a major role in Avengers Age Of Ultron, most notably as the place of origin of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and as Ultron’s ‘headquarters’. This location will also see some epic damage and destruction in the battles. Sokovia is a country in turmoil stirred by HYDRA. In the movie, Wanda and Pietro became orphaned at early age when their living quarters was mortared killing their parents.
The scenes for Sokovia was mostly shot at Aosta Valley, a small French-speaking corner northwest of Italy. The streets were modified to make it look Eastern European. The signage were in cyrillic and even the cars placed in set were old Eastern European models. Fort Bard was used as the headquarters of HYDRA and eventually of Ultron.
Wakanda is another fictional African nation that will be introduced in the movie. In the Marvel Universe, Wakanda is the country of origin of Black Panther. It is also the prime source of the metal Vibranium which is the strong metal used in Captain America’s shield. Wakanda was first hinted in the Iron Man 2 movie. It was marked on the right side of the African continent.
Ultron needed a supply of Vibranium for his plans and he went to Ulysses Klaue, a black-market arms dealer and a shady character. The location for Klaue’s lair in Wakanda was shot in the shipyards of Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Enjoy the movies and another thrill ride with The Avengers : Age Of Ultron and appreciate these cities and locations with fresh perspectives.