OKLAHOMA CITY, May 3, 2012 — “The Avengers” may be the most ambitious movie ever made. A total of five major films have carefully led up to this single, epic ensemble piece, with all five managing to keep the same stars involved with the project.
Has this ever happened before?
In any event, for those who are new to the film version of the Marvel comics franchise, the Avengers in this movie consist of Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye. If you’re looking forward to seeing “The Avengers” but are unfamiliar with the scene-setting individual character movies that have been leading up to it, we can help.
Here is a guide of all of those movies along with their clever connection to “The Avengers.”*
Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Jr. begins his comeback as the snarky billionaire Tony Stark. Iron Man isn’t one of the most popular comic book characters of all time like a Superman or Spiderman, but the movie made big money and kicked off the franchise. In the movie, Stark is kidnapped in Afghanistan and forced to build a catastrophic weapon. Instead he builds an iron suit and becomes Iron Man.
Connection to The Avengers: S.H.E.I.L.D.’s Agent Coulsen pops up, but it’s the scene after the credits that got everybody talking. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) approaches Stark to talk to him about The Avengers Initiative.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Bruce Banner has a gamma ray experiment go haywire that causes him to turn into a green monster when he’s angry. Banner was played by Edward Norton, but is recast in “The Avengers” with Mark Ruffalo in the lead—the only character not played by the original actorin this film. So he’s not to be confused with Hulk that has nothing to do with this series and has generally won a thumbs-down from moviegoers and film critics alike.
Connection the The Avengers: Another after-the-credits scene, this time with Tony Stark approaching General Ross and talking about putting a team together. Best line from the scene has Tony Stark stating, “That super soldier program was put on ice for a reason.” This is a reference to Captain America (see below).
Iron Man 2 (2010)
More adventures featuring Tony Stark, but not as good as the the first one.
Connection to The Avengers: Coulsen and Fury are in this film quite a lot. Fury outwardly talks about evaluating Stark for The Avengers Initiative but ultimately feels they don’t need him. We are also introduced to Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Stark uses Captain America’s shield to level a laser beam. The after-the-credits sequence in this one shows Agent Coulsen discovering Thor’s hammer in the desert.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Norse God of Thunder, is cast down to Earth by his father in an effort to teach him the value of humility. Meanwhile, Thor’s adopted brother, the nefarious Loki (Tom Hiddleston), sets out to stir trouble up in his pursuit of his evil agenda.
Connection to The Avengers: Agent Coulson shows up again, this time to get to the bottom of the hammer in the desert issue, which leads him to recruit Thor. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) makes his debut in this film and almost takes out Thor with his trusty bow and arrow. After the credits we see Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) talking to Nick Fury about some projects. But he’s soon revealed to be Loki who’s posing as Selvig.
Captain America (2011)
Taking place during World War II, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is skinny and weak, but is absolutely dead set on joining the military and fighting the Nazis. His grit and determination garner him enough notice that he’s chosen to participate in a military super-soldier experiment. In a contraption that seems to infuse him with super-steroids, the Army transforms Steve into a huge, powerful, dedicated soldier who is, if anything, even more patriotic and ready to fight for America, which leads to military PR flacks giving him his superheroic name. The movie concludes with Captain America being discovered in our own time, mired in the Arctic ice where he and his plane had crashed at the conclusion of this film.
Connection to The Avengers: Tony Stark’s father, Howard, is involved in the technology that produces the super soldier. Stark, Sr. also invents Captain America his famous shield which he bestows on the super-hero. After the credits run, a short scene appears in which Fury recruits the unfrozen Rogers for a team he is putting together.
*Note to Fanboys: this is a recap of the movies not the comics.
Read the Movie Review: ‘The Avengers’ finally hits theaters and doesn’t disappoint.
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