"There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, so when we needed them, they could fight the battles that we never could ... "
~ Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, The Avengers
The Avengers is coming to American theaters next week, and we wanted to be fully up to speed on all the Marvel characters that would be tearing up the screen together. I had seen the Iron Man movies, but hadn't seen the three others (Hulk, Captain America, and Thor), so we decided what better way to catch up than to screen a Marvel Movie Marathon?
We started with Iron Man:
Iron Man was released in 2008 and stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the genius heir to Stark Industries, a company that builds, among other things, military weapons. In the beginning of the movie, Stark is captured by a terrorist group and told that he must build a bomb for them. He instead builds the first generation of the Iron Man suit as a means of escape. When he realizes that it is Stark weaponry that the terrorists are using, he decides he wants to get out of the weapons manufacturing business. Gwyneth Paltrow plays his personal assistant and voice of reason, Pepper Pots; Terrence Howard plays Tony's friend and the military liaison to Stark Industries, James Rhodes; and Jeff Bridges plays Tony's father, Howard Stark's partner and old friend, Obadiah Stane.
We continued the Marvelthon with Iron Man 2:
Iron Man 2 was released in 2010, with Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow returning in their roles as Tony Stark and Pepper Pots, and the movie is supposed to take place six months after the end of Iron Man 2. The military is fighting with Stark over the Iron Man suit, saying it's a weapon and it should be turned over to them, but Tony has so far been able to keep control of his invention. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, an angry Ivan Vanko (played by Mickey Rourke), whose father collaborated with Stark Industries before he was fired and deported back to the Soviet Union, has developed a similar suit based on Stark's technology, and plans to take down Stark for ruining the lives of his father and his family. Don Cheadle plays the role of James Rhodes in the Iron Man sequel, and Natalie Rushman/ Natasha Romanoff (played by Scarlett Johansson) is introduced: an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent posing as an assistant to Stark.
Next was The Incredible Hulk:
The Incredible Hulk was released in 2008, after Iron Man, and starred Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner. We really should have watched this between Iron Man 1 and 2, as it was supposed to happen between the two on the Marvel timeline, similarly to how the movies came out in theaters. The story basically has Dr. Banner as a part of a military experiment, trying to resurrect the "super soldier project" using gamma radiation. When the experiment goes awry, he's forced to flee and try to stay hidden, and try to learn ways to keep the monster (the Hulk) from emerging. He wants to get rid of the gamma poisoning that creates this double identity, but the military, and General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) just want to capture him so they can study him and try to make more super soldiers, if they can get the experiment right. Liv Tyler plays Betty Ross, Bruce's girlfriend before the accident, and General Ross' daughter.
After The Hulk, it was on to Thor:
Thor premiered in the US in May of 2011, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, strong-headed son of Odin (played by Anthony Hopkins), and heir to the throne of Asgard. When, against his father's command, he confronts a leader of the Frost Giants for breaking a truce agreement, a battle breaks out and Odin has to exert his power and the worlds are plummeted into further unrest. Because of his arrogance, Odin banishes him to Earth, stripped of his powers, accompanied only by his hammer Mjolnir (the source of his power) which Odin has cast a spell on to allow only the worthy to be able to lift it. Tom Hiddleston plays Thor's brother Loki, and Thor's love interest (Jane Foster) is played by Natalie Portman.
Last but not least, we watched Captain America - The First Avenger:
Captain America was released in 2011, and stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, a scrawny man who gets denied placement in the military time and time again. When he's finally let in, it's because he's being scoped out to be the perfect test subject for the military's "super soldier" program. He becomes Captain America, and has to defeat Red Skull and the organization that has plans for world domination using the "Tesseract". Tommy Lee Jones plays Col. Chester Phillips, a part of the super soldier project, Hugo Weaving plays Johann Schmidt / Red Skull, and Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter, a Strategic Scientific Reserve officer and Captain America's love interest. Other notable Marvel characters in this story include Howard Stark (played by Dominic Cooper), Tony Stark/Iron Man's father, the creator of Stark Industries, Dr. Abraham Erskine, creator of the "Super Soldier Serum" (played by Stanley Tucci), and Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, Steve Rogers' best friend, played by Sebastian Stan.
These movies are all so much fun. While I know many people have watched them, I didn't want to give away too much information for the people who haven't. I'm glad we got to have this refresher on the movies we'd already seen, and that I was able to see the ones I hadn't before. I always like to be up to speed on a film that has plot lines or characters from other films in it, whether it's a sequel, or something new and different like The Avengers. The movie looks like it's going to be a smash-hit, so if you haven't seen all of these films, you really should! Assemble your friends, make some popcorn, and get into the Marvel Universe!
Iron Man [Blu-ray]
Iron Man [DVD] (Single-Disc Edition)
Iron Man 2 (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Iron Man 2 [DVD] (Single-Disc Edition)
The Incredible Hulk [Blu-ray]
The Incredible Hulk [DVD]
Captain America: The First Avenger (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Captain America: The First Avenger [DVD]
Thor (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)