With the release of “The Avengers” just two weeks away, I thought I’d write up a guide on how to mentally prepare yourself to see this movie. From the response so far, this will not be one to miss, so start getting excited and follow this list of movies to see before you see “The Avengers” which opens on May 4.
Iron Man (1 and 2)
In the first “Iron Man,” we met Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.), a genius who’s inherited a hugely successful weapons manufacturing business. Tony was captured on a trip to Iraq for a weapons demonstration and was forced to build a replica of his most recent weapon. Instead, he built a massive iron suit to blast his way out and escape. During the capture, he was outfitted with a chest plate, which is essentially an electro-magnet, which keeps shrapnel from moving in his bloodstream to his organs. This then becomes what is called an “arc reactor,” and is what keeps the Iron Man suit running.
In Iron Man 2, we begin to meet some of the main characters of “The Avengers:” Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). That’s mainly why it’s an important movie to watch. This sequel is entertaining enough but it’s packed with plot and characters and has a rather anti-climactic ending. If you’re only going to watch one Iron Man movie, stick with the first, but the second is still a fun ride.
In this movie we are being introduced to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a tiny young man from Brooklyn who is determined to enlist during World War II. He’s got a lot of heart and determination, but his tiny body and his asthma hold him back. He enlists in a mysterious special program where he proves himself during boot camp, and as a result he is chosen to be injected with some new science juice that makes him really big and muscled. This juice was made with the help of Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Iron Man’s father. Connections! Steve becomes Captain America, a mascot of the Army during WWII, until he is actually able to go into combat. The action in this movie isn’t well planned out, and the editing is at times very choppy and awkward, but Captain America will be an essential part of The Avengers (you’ll just have to see this movie to find out how that’s possible).
Thor was a mess and I’d tell you not to bother, but unfortunately it shares a villain with “The Avengers,” so unless you’ve seen it, you’re going to be confused. This will be a very basic and brief synopsis; more than a quarter of the movie is spent trying to explain itself. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is one of two sons of the king of the realm of Asgard (another planet). He is arrogant, handsome and powerful. But as you may expect, he does some impulsive things due to his arrogance, and is banished from his home to Earth. There he meets astrophysicists Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard). Thor also attracts the attention of S.H.E.I.L.D, a secret government organization (they play a prominent role in Iron Man 2), who arrive to try and figure out why there is a giant hammer stuck in a rock in the middle of the desert. There’s also some trouble with Ice Giants, betrayal, etc. It’s very complicated and I really didn’t walk out confident that I understood it. Again, I’m only recommending this one because these movies will share a villain.