by: Steve (@MisterJackal)
The time has come, the biggest names in the comic book industry have come to life on the big screen in Marvel’s The Avengers. Even though the comic has been around since 1963, there are still many people who are completely oblivious about what and who The Avenger are. (Yeah, its true! I know I was surprised too.) So here is a brief movie history of The Avengers and the power hitters in the upcoming blockbuster.
The Avengers were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963 and originally consisted of Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Then in issue #4, Captain America was revived after being trapped in a block of ice. For decades, fans have loved the comics and always wondered what it would be like to see their favorite Marvel characters in action.
One of the most famous and most know adaptations was the television series The Incredible Hulk(1978) which
starred Bill Bixby as the brilliant scientist Dr. David Banner who after an experiment gone wrong is turned into the seven-foot tall power house we know as The Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno). There were also a few other television shows and movies featuring some of Marvels big names like The Amazing Spider-Man (1977), Captain America 1 & 2 (1979), Howard The Duck (1986) and The Punisher (1989) none of which brought the comics to life as the most recent adaptations.
In 2008, Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist that creates an iron exoskeleton while in captivity in Afghanistan. The suit, even though huge and bulky, was equipped with flamethrowers, a missile launcher and limited range rockets, which allowed him to escape his captors. After his escape, he learns about a deadly conspiracy that could destroy the world. He creates a new and improved suit in order to fight this evil and save the world. This film was the first piece of Marvel’s puzzle of films leading to The Avengers and it set the bar pretty high for any other superhero movie to come. Iron Man was also the first in series of extra scene after the credits, which introduced people to Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), played by Samuel L. Jackson. He also says “You think you are the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark You just don’t know.” Which let us know at this point, HOLY CRAP THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE THE AVENGERS!
In 2003, Ang Lee directed Hulk starring Eric Bana, which didn’t do well and in my opinion was on the same level as bad as the original Captain America movies. In its first week it made $62.1 million, the next week sales dropped 70% making it a huge financial let down. Totally understandable because it was BAD. Fast forward to 2008, a month after Iron Man, Marvel brought us The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner. In this movie, Banner is in hiding after he is transformed into the Hulk during a government experiment to recreate a “super soldier” (much like Captain America) that went bad. OH NO! He is running from General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), who recruits Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a part o f the British Royal Marine, and gives him a serum based on Banners blood transforming him into the beast that is Abomination. I really enjoyed this movie, not only because it was better that Ang Lee’s horrific attempt, but because of Ed Norton. He did a great job as Bruce Banner and it reminded me a lot of the Hulk comics I had read in my youth. On the run but also ready to throw down when things got out of hand. After the credits, we see Ross drinking at a bar and Tony Stark comes in, and says “What if I tell you, we are putting a team together?” AHHH!!!! I geeked all over myself!
Next on Marvel’s roster in 2010 was Iron Man 2. With RDJ once again reprising his role of the billionaire genius Tony Stark. After a very public outing in the first film we find Stark on trial for having the Iron Man suit and not surrendering it to the government for safe keeping. In this film we are introduced to Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson (yay!) and Lt. Col. James Rhodes aka War Machine (one of my favorite sidekicks in the Marvel Universe). Even though we already saw Rhodes (Terrance Howard) in the first film, he was replaced in the second one with Don Cheadle. Iron Man 2 was a decent movie, but lacked a lot of what I loved in the first one. Regardless, it had pretty good special effects and a decent story. At the end, we see a car driving through the dessert searching for an artifact that fell to Earth. MJOLNIR! THOR’S HAMMER! AHHHH!
Now to may 2011, we meet the God of Thunder, Thor! Chris Helmsworth plays the arrogant warrior that is casted out of Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and sent to live among humans on Earth where he becomes their protector. We are also introduced to the ever menacing Loki (Tom Hindleston). Thor was Marvel’s first attempt at 3D, it was full of amazing effects and decent acting, but wasn’t one of my favorites of the films. It kept me wanting more and left me feeling unsatisfied until the credits rolled. We see Nick Fury bringing in Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) to examine this cube that S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn’t figure out. Then we look over and we see Loki controlling Selvig. HINT! HINT! Oh yeah! Almost forgot to mention, this is also our first look at Clint Barton code name Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), the Legolas of the Marvel Universe!
Then in July of 2011, we are finally introduced to Steve Rogers, Captain America: The First Avenger! The story of a young kid that isn’t qualified to be in the military gets a chance to become a hero and defend the free world. Starring Chris Evans as Cap (WAIT!!! Wasn’t he the Human Torch a couple of years ago? Yes, but you get over that really quickly in this film). Taking place in 1942, on the brink of WWII, Rogers is recruited for “Project Rebirth”, which turned the scrawny asthmatic boy into the a super soldier! Eventually he goes to war and battles the Red Skull, played by the talented Hugo Weaving. This movie was probably my favorite of them all! They did a great job embodying the essence of Steve Rogers and made this movie so enjoyable for any comic book geek. The post credit scene shows Rogers training, when Fury tells him that he is trying to save the world, then we get our minds blown when they hit us with The Avengers teaser!!!! NERDGASM!
Now, I have seen The Avengers and all I have to say is HOLY CRAP! Possibly the best super hero movie ever made. Joss Whedon takes you on an amazing ride with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as they battle Loki and his army. Full of great laughs, amazing action sequences and some of the best 3D I have seen yet, Avengers is a must see! So what are you waiting for! ASSEMBLE!