Arguably the biggest superhero event since the start of the recent Spiderman and Batman franchises is The Avengers, a film that brings some of Marvel’s stable of superheroes together in what promises to be nirvana for superhero fans.
So let’s say that you haven’t seen Marvel’s excellent run of films leading up to the Avengers (for shame) , or that you haven’t bought and re–watched them over and over (for shame) and need a little help getting on board The Avengers bandwagon. I’ve got you covered! Here’s what you need to know about our heroes before they face down the biggest threat to earth since …ever.
- Behind The Mask:Tony Stark, billionaire genius.
- Super Power:Powered armored suit that flies and can blast things to bits. And looks cool.
- Hero’s Heart:In the first movie, Tony changed from degenerate, ambitious, sarcastic, and self–centered to philanthropic, ambitious, sarcastic, and self centered. A subtle change, but there you go. Tony has a slow burn relationship with Pepper Potts.
- Where Did We Last See Him? He had just beaten off a horde of automated robots and upgraded his suit to a power source that won’t poison him to death.
- Will My Wife/Girlfriend Like Him Better Than Me?Yes.
- Values:Wealth and power may not bring you happiness, but they will likely get you most everything else.
- Required Viewing?Yes. You should see at least Iron Man 1 before seeing The Avengers. Iron Man 2 does introduce us to another Avenger, Black Widow (see below).
- Behind The Mask:Scientist Bruce Banner.
- Super Power:When angry, turns into a giant, green monster that is impervious to just about everything and is strong enough to pry open that annoying clam shell packaging.
- Hero’s Heart:Bruce is a good sort and loves Betty Ross enough that even when he’s in full hulk mode, he will recognize and protect her.
- Where Did We Last See Him?After defeating The Abomination, he retreats to a remote cabin to try to learn to deal with his anger management issues.
- Will My Wife/Girlfriend Like Him Better Than Me? No. The Hulk isn’t a great listener and is an even worse conversationalist. He will take out the trash, however.
- Values:Teaches kids the importance of not playing with radiation.
- Required Viewing?Not required. Good show, though.
- Behind The Mask:Um, Thor.
- Super Power: A magic hammer that helps him fly and smash things. I suppose it could be used to help frame a house if he were so inclined.
- Hero’s Heart:Thor journeys from arrogance to humility, learning the importance of self sacrifice.
- Where Did We Last See Him?Stuck in Asgard, separated from earth and his lady love, scientist Jane Foster. How he gets back to earth in The Avengers is a matter of conjecture.
- Will My Wife/Girlfriend Like Him Better Than Me?Just pray he doesn’t catch the disease that Jacob from Twilight has and find an excuse to take his shirt off every two seconds. The female readers who have seen Thor know exactly to which scene I am referring.
- Values:Shockingly, this film teaches that parents can be right and that listening to them is a good idea! And that discipline works! That almost never happens anymore.
- Required Viewing?Yes. The villain in Thor, Loki, appears to play a key role in The Avengers. This film also introduces us (briefly) to another Avenger, Hawkeye (see below).
- Behind The Mask:Steve Rogers.
- Super Power:Enhanced strength and speed and a really, really hard shield.
- Hero’s Heart:Captain America is as good and wholesome as superheroes get, and it is his strength of heart that got him chosen for the physical upgrades he now enjoys.
- Where Did We Last See Him?After helping to defeat a Nazi offshoot group back in World War 2, he was frozen in ice for around seventy years. He just woke up to find himself in the future (now).
- Will My Wife/Girlfriend Like Him Better Than Me?Nah. You’ve got it all over this guy. I mean, he’s handsome, strong, heroic and all that, but, well, nevermind. Yes, yes she will.
- Required Viewing?Not really. You just need to understand that he is a stranger to the modern world and a bit grumpy about losing his lady love to time. Probably. You never know with these superhero movies.
- Who?Yeah, I know. Hawkeye is the guy with the fancy looking bow and arrow who is in Thor for about all of two minutes.
- Super Power:Master Archer. Yeah, I know. I’m assuming his arrows pack more than the standard punch or, based on the enemies we’ve seen in the movie trailer, he’s going to be a stain on the sidewalk in about two seconds.
- Will My Wife/Girlfriend Like Him Better Than Me?Hmmm. Hard to say. He’s a bit of a mystery man. Rats. The ladies like mysterious men.
- Should I Care?Hawkeye is definitely second string Avenger, but he’s played by Jeremy Renner, who is making a bit of a theatrical run this year. Watch for him in the new Bourne movie.
- Who?She shows up in Iron Man 2 and has a very nicely choreographed fight scene.
- Super Power:Martial artists extraordinaire who uses a number of anti–personnel gizmos. And a pistol. As with Hawkeye, I’m hoping she has something more to offer or she might be pushing up daisies before The Avengers is over.
- Should I Care?As the only female Avenger, we have to root for her. She does bring a feminine touch to the film, even if that touch is a boot to the face. There are hints of a Black Widow spin off movie in the works.
- Will My Husband/Boyfriend Like Her More Than Me?Only if he enjoys a good boot to the face.
So there you have it. If you have time, (re)watch them all! If not, Iron Man 1 and Thor are the films you should concentrate on, with Captain America, Hulk, and Iron Man 2 as nice to haves. I expect to see you all in theaters on May 4th. I’ll be there!
Brian Fuller –ClearPlay Avenger