The celebrity entrance of the evening, however, was made by Robert Downey Jr., who pulled up to the carpet in true Tony Stark style in a flashy sports car, custom-created by Acura and flanked by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
A co-sponsor of the evening’s festivities, Acura also brought to the premiere special militarized S.H.I.E.L.D.-Edition Acura MDX and TL models, which like Stark’s sports car, can be seen in their own big-screen appearances when the film hits theaters everywhere on May 4th.
Walking the carpet, it’s clear that Downey hasn’t left Stark far behind. Posing for photographs and eliciting roaring applause from legions of fans, the actor and the character comes off as virtually one and the same. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s already grown back his Tony Stark beard in preparation for Iron Man 3.
It’s fitting, then, that Acura–whose connection to the big screen Marvel universe goes back to Thor–also walks the line between fiction and reality, sending their costumed “agents” into the crowd with information about the company’s elaborate advertising campaign that fans can play a part of at SHIELDOps.
Designed as an immersive viral campaign, S.H.I.E.L.D. Ops includes new appearances by actor Maximiliano Hernández as Agent Jasper Sitwell (who, in addition to appearing in Marvel’s The Avengers, was previously seen in Thor and the Marvel Studios short film, “The Consultant”) and gives fans the opportunity to “test” Avengers-inspired technologies on different S.H.I.E.L.D.-Edition Acura vehicles. Different combinations can be taken on different missions and, as players rise in the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D., they have the chance to win real-world prizes like movie passes, S.H.I.E.L.D. gear and–the grand prize–an all-expense-paid Tony Stark-inspired trip to New York City.