I’ve been immersed in the Marvel universe recently, mainly due to the excellent new shows Disney+ have been churning out at rapid rate. Thoroughly enjoyed ‘WandaVision’ and ‘The Falcon & the Winter Solider’ – they filled the gap on Fridays that ‘The Mandalorian’ had left. Although I understand ‘Loki’ will be airing on a Wednesday when it starts in June, which is frankly only what you would expect from the god of mischief.
‘WanderVision’ surprised me by being unapologetically strange and not giving much away to the audience as you try and figure out what it is you’re actually watching. I know friends who nearly gave up on it as they weren’t quite sure what to make of it, but I thought it was refreshingly bonkers. When the series was announced I admit I was rather nonplussed – a show focusing on two characters that I wasn’t really interested in didn’t grab my attention when it was announced. Glad I watched it though as it turned out to be a cracking show. ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ too has been a fantastic way to explore character relationships on the small screen. It still has the set pieces and special effects but the longer run time allows for more of the quieter moments which provide a greater understanding of characters and their motivations. Also, they’re setting everything up for the next films and I can’t wait to see the new Captain America up there on the big screen. I feel Disney has played it wisely and now has some must watch TV for which I am happy to sell my soul and subscribe.
While I enjoy the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ to give it its full gloriously pretentious title, I probably haven’t been as a big a fan of it as some – but I’m pretty sure that I have at least seen all the films…I think. I have been doing a bit of a re-watch as I try and refresh my memory with the new shows and old characters and plot lines. What I’ve been pleased to realise is that I’ve actually been to a couple of the locations used in the Marvel films without really seeking them out. Though given how many hours of content now being produced it’s going be end up being almost impossible to miss them!
New York, USA – Grand Central Bridge / Central Park / Washington Park
New York being one big filmset is a cliché I know to be true, you only need to step out of your hotel room and you’re at a location. I bagged at least three Avengers locations during my holiday in the city in 2018, probably more but these are my favourite.
Grand Central Bridge (Park Avenue Viaduct) is the location where the Avengers, well, assemble in the big fight against the Chitauri in New York at the climax of ‘The Avengers’ (aka ‘Avengers Assemble’ in the UK). The end of the film where a captured Loki is returned to Thor’s custody was filmed in Central Park in a very recognisable section of pavement – I had to grab a picture at the spot.
In ‘Avengers – Infinity War’ there is a fight involving Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man and Dr Strange against the bad guys that flashes in and out of Washington Park in the trendy Greenwich Village part of the city. It was a lovely park to sit, and people watch. My fiancé and I enjoyed pleasant rest in the park and were entertained by some street performers playing the Cantina music from Star Wars.
Durham, UK – Durham Cathedral
Durham is a beautiful city that I enjoyed a lovely birthday weekend in a few years go. I knew the famous cathedral had been used in the Harry Potter films as part of Hogwarts but later it was used as the Asgard royal palace in ‘Avengers – Endgame’. I’m hoping to return there in in November for the famous Lumiere Festival of light https://www.lumiere-festival.com/
Edinburgh, UK – street and train station
When I visited the Scottish capital in 2019 I’d forgotten that Wanda & Vision hide out in Edinburgh at the start of ‘Avengers – Infinity War’. Fortunately, one of the café’s on Cockburn Street in the Old Town has a very prominent sign in the window which proudly advertised the fact that it was used in the film. Of course, it’s a perfect photo opportunity for the film location geek.
Just by arriving in the city by train you’re put straight in a Marvel location. The main train station in the city – Edinburgh Waverley was the location for a nighttime fight scene involving several Avengers including Captain America and the Black Widow. Once the bad guys are defeated our heroes leave via a Quinjet parked at the top of a station access road.
So many more
I could do a blog post on locations that are just places local to me that I’ve been to many times – there are parts of Manchester and Liverpool that were used in ‘Captain America: First Avenger’. Anyone familiar with both cities find it amusing that Steve Rodgers runs down one road in Manchester city centre only to turn a corner and be in the docks in Liverpool a second later.
Further afield there’s Greenwich, London which was used in ‘Thor: The Dark World’. And to keep things current ‘The Falcon & the Winter Soldier’ filmed in Prague in the Czech Republic (doubling for Riga, Latvia) during the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.
As well as wanting to go back to Prague one day there’s a place I now want to visit thanks to this blog; thirdeyetraveller.com I hadn’t known that ‘New Asgard’ were the Asgardian refugees settle in the ‘Avengers Endgame’ move was in Scotland – looks very Nordic. It’s a tiny fishing village called St Abbs on the east coast about an hours drive east from Edinburgh. It’s gone on my ever-expanding bucket list. I’m curious about what the locals have made of any influx of tourist caused by the filming, from the blogs I’ve read they seem to have embraced it.