When The Avengers hit theatres back in May, it was immediately praised for being the exact opposite of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. Whereas Nolan’s Batman movies were dark, anguished, and ultra-serious, The Avengers was good, light-hearted fun. And since no one in their right mind would even think about trying to out-Nolan Nolan as far as anguishedness is concerned, it seemed like Avengers director Joss Whedon made the right call by going the light, fun route.
But if the alternate opening to The Avengers is any indication, it looks like Whedon’s initial vision for The Avengers was a lot closer to The Dark Knight than the finished product would suggest. The alternate version opens with a very Nolan-esque helicopter shot of a cityscape followed by a series of slow motion shots of the city in flames. Ominous, mournful music plays on the soundtrack. An off-screen voice notes that, “A lot of people are dead.” Without any context, you’d think this was a deleted scene from Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center.
It’s compelling stuff, but it also completely clashes with the tone of the rest of the movie. Whoever decided to cut it out definitely made the right call.