I’m pissed off.

Here I am, enjoying my coffee and writing this, while just 20 kilometers away some heroic S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are engaged in battle against that rat bastard Baron Von Strucker and some of his Hydra minions who were in town to do a deal with AIM. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are pinned down by gunfire and need backup desperately. I’m not there to help them, so who the hell is? Suddenly the ground shudders and HE arrives. He’s over 8 feet tall, green, and despite serious anger management issues he’s pretty damn incredible.


He’s the jolly green ass-kicking giant known as the Hulk, and he’s paying a visit to the town where I live. He picks up a bus like it’s nothing and tosses it between the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Von Strucker’s goons, giving our heroes some much-needed cover. Von Strucker begins to attack the Hulk, and even though Hulk’s “the strongest one there is” he’s having trouble. Then from out of nowhere, a speedster with silver hair races in and punches out the Hydra and yellow bodycondom-wearing AIM troops in a blur, while a woman with mystical hex powers contains Von Strucker with a spell. They check that our heroes have recovered and make a wise-ass comment about how if The Avengers are ever recruiting, to give them a call. As they leave, the Hulk roars with frustration at being shown up…

Or maybe that’s not happening at all. I don’t know, I’m not there! All of that’s just going on in my head. I wish I were there though, having a front-row seat to the making of Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron as it gets underway filming in central Johannesburg. Instead, I’m just having my coffee and sitting at my desk, my brain imagining what I’m missing out on. Even if I were there I doubt I’d be able to get past all the security, while the second unit crew film establishing shots of what’s being reported as the action-packed opening 10 minutes of the film. They may be tossing cars and rubble about, or they may just be filming someone crossing the road. It could be Von Strucker, the Hulk, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, or just a man in a hat. I’ll only know when the film comes out. But I can imagine, and it’s fun to think about…


It’s not the first time big movies have been filmed here. I’ve walked the same grubby Jo’burg streets as those guys in District 9 and driven on the same busy freeway as Dredd. I know that – despite the tourism board’s beautiful photos – it’s an overcrowded and dangerous place that can easily pass itself off as a post-apocalyptic scrapheap of a city. For Avengers 2 they’re saying Johannesburg is Johannesburg though, and I’m curious to see what happens there because I’ve got a strange love/hate relationship with it. For all the real-life faults it has, it’s also a fascinating place and the pace it moves at is usually a frenzy.

In previous Marvel films we’ve seen a New Mexico town get ripped apart, parts of London get demolished and New York become a battleground. Several times, actually. Wait, isn’t that the city where Marvel is? Isn’t Stan Lee from there? How does he feel about his birthplace getting trashed regularly by his creations? Actually I imagine he probably loves it, it’s a guilty pleasure seeing the fictional destruction of your hometown. That’s one of the reasons Godzilla was always so popular.


Based on what happened to those other places onscreen, it’s possible the same thing is going to happen here… and in a strangely gleeful way I’m looking forward to Jo’burg getting seven colours of crap kicked out of it. I could argue that smashed buildings and car wrecks aren’t that uncommon here anyway, so who could tell the difference? It’s not a warzone with super-villains, but on a bad day it’s not that far off either. But knowing that some mad nutjob with plans of world domination is going to trash it… well, I’ll confess that I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store. I just wish that I were there to see it now.

But May 1st 2015 is getting nearer every day and the countdown has begun. Will I get to see the Hulk rampaging through MY town? Possibly not, but I can hope and imagine. That thought alone makes the wait more than worthwhile…