Premiere Of Marvel Studios' "Marvel's The Avengers" - Red Carpet
Robert Downey Jr and Susan Downey attend the premiere held at the El Capitan Theatre on April 11, 2012 in Hollywood, California © © 2011 MVLFFLLC

It’s the movie comic book fans all over the world have patiently waited for. On May 4th, Marvel’s The Avengers hits the big screen, starring Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, the God of Thunder and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye.

When an unexpected enemy, Loki of Asgard (Tom Hiddleston), puts the world in jeopardy, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), director of the peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D, assembles the Avengers team to defeat him.

Robert Downey Jr spoke about playing Tony Stark again at the press junket for the movie, a film he is obviously very proud of.

Are you surprised that The Avengers finally has come to the screen?

Marvel's The Avengers - Robert Downey Jr and Susan Downey attend the premiere
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) © © 2011 MVLFFLLC

We had planted some ideas after the credits of Iron Man, hinting at the notion of The Avengers, and in Hollywood I’m always amazed when anything that difficult works out.

What is Tony Stark’s role as part of the Avengers?

Tony Stark is open to all possibilities and has no problem accepting extraordinary happenings. Joining The Avengers team is an act of curiosity – he wants to see what’s happening firsthand.

He realized a while ago that he’s not an island and this time around he is beginning to understand that it’s about a group mindset and that ‘we’ is better than ‘I.’

Your co-stars are saying that you were the leader, the force uniting them. Did you instigate that?

Marvel's The Avengers - Premiere, Robert Downey Jr and Susan Downey
Robert Downey Jr and Susan Downey at the premiere © © 2011 MVLFFLLC

Again, going back to 2007 when I was cast in Iron Man and (producer) Kevin Feige said, ‘You know this is going to lead where we’re going to have all these franchises come together. We’re doing something unprecedented in entertainment, and we’re going to make this Avengers movie.’

I remember I would get nervous and excited about it, and doubtful of it. I already had a history with Sam, and I was really wanting to capitalize on that, and by the time Chris and Chris had launched their individual franchises with success and charisma, and we had Mark, I was like, “Wow, this is really going to happen.’

Just being a worker among workers is kind of how I started out, and it was nice to not really have to carry a movie. I think everyone really is equal in this venture, and it’s great. That will be my last sincere answer of the afternoon!

What was your most memorable moment in filming The Avengers?

Marvel's The Avengers - Robert Downey Jr, with director Joss Whedon, Chris Helmsworth and Chris Evans
Robert Downey Jr, with director Joss Whedon, Chris Helmsworth and Chris Evans © 2011 MVLFFLLC

It was the first time when we were all assembled on the bridge.

I think it’s the time that we all saw each other and realized that we were probably likely to continue shooting the movie, and have to make good on this vision of Kevin Feige’s from as far back as I can remember.

Can you talk about what it was like to banter back and forth with Chris Evans in this?

Seeing it last night I think what everybody captured to a character is it was the right tone. At a certain point, without killing it, you kind of tip your hat so you don’t take it too seriously. This is essentially a comic book movie. But you kind of [bend] to the reality of it.

I’m extremely fond of Chris Evans, and I think he is one of the most underrated actors out there. I watch him and I think to myself, here is a guy who is wearing a stretchy American flag suit and I absolutely believe him. How is he doing this?

The other thing I love about Chris is that he’s kind of this tough guy from Boston, but he also is a sensitive artist who really has an opinion.

Our characters are very connected because Steve Rogers was close with Howard Stark and there’s something definitive and tangible about their relationship. If Steve Rogers and Tony Stark’s relationship doesn’t work, then the film doing work.

You saw the movie last night at the premiere, what struck you about that experience?

Marvel's The Avengers - Premiere, Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr signs autographs at the premiere outside the El Capitan Theatre © © 2011 MVLFFLLC

Once Mark turns green [as The Hulk], and my helmet closes, Mark [goes back to] upstate New York and I’m back in LA. There’s this final battle and [our co-stars] were on the ground. It was this whole huge sequence that was shot in Cleveland. I don’t think we ever had to go to Cleveland for one day.

So I kept squeezing the Mrs’ hand last night during these incredible sequences that they did, going, ‘They shot a lot in Cleveland!’

There’s this moment where the cop goes to Cap, ‘Why should we take orders from you?’ And then some of the aliens come in and he handles them, and the audience really appreciated that.

That, to me, was the moment where The Avengers could have fallen flat on its face and had people not be able to suspend their disbelief or get behind it anymore. That was, to me, the Act III moment where the movie succeeded.

Whether the wit was funny or whether the wit is actually able to hold the whole myriad of ideas and notions that you have to get right for Avengers not to be bunk is what [writer/director Joss Whedon] accomplished.

Robert was asked what makes Tony Stark special to him? Click here to listen to what he said.

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.