So last time we met I had just watched Ironman, The Incredible Hulk and Ironman2, three films that lead up to the now so close I can taste it The Avengers. Our next two films were to prove tricky prospects for Marvel, as they were a little bit different to the technology based heroes we had seen so far. Magic and history were to be prominent in both Thor and Captain America, and if these films didn’t work, then Marvel had a big problem with The Avengers. Thankfully, these films turned out more than just OK, but more on that later. The feat that Marvel seemed to have pulled off here is really quite staggering. A five film build up to a film that could be one of the most ambitious films ever undertaken. I think that all the heroes have worked very well on their own, but how are they going to work together? It’s a question that I will have to leave hanging for now, but it shall be answered very soon. So without further delay, lets crack on with the God of Thunder, The Mighty Thor…
A bit of a change this, not only in tone, but for the Marvel Universe as a whole. Thor widens the scope of The Marvel Universe, and introduces a less technological, more mystical force. I love Thor, I think Brannagh hit the nail directly on the head, and knocked it right out of the park. On paper, and outside of comic books, Thor is not an easy character to realise. How would a Norse God fit in with genetic monsters and super advanced weapon suits? Quite well as it happens. Brannagh treats the subject seriously, but with a healthy dose of humour, and everything works out great. Chris Hemmesworth is immense as Thor, that guy put in some serious gym time, but he is able to portray Thor’s early arrogance, and also his later more humble nature. The supporting cast are also excellent, Loki in particular is a worthy villain, and played excellently by Tom Hiddleston. Natalie Portman looks like she is very much in awe of Hemmesworth, that’s either some awesome acting, or she was genuinely knocked out by Hemmesworth’s abs.
The story goes a little like this. Thor is about to be crowned Lord of Asguard, so his Father, Odin, played by the awesome Anthony Hopkins, can complete his Odinsleep. The ceremony however is interrupted by Frost Giants, trying to steal back a relic Odin took from their leader ages ago. Easily defeated by the guardian of the relic room the Destroyer. Odin is satisfied that nothing more should be done. Thor is of a different opinion. Gathering his brother Loki, the warriors three and Lady Sif, Thor travels to Jordenheim to face the Frost Giants. Things don’t go too well, and Odin has to save them, but afterwards, banishes Thor to Earth powerless, in order to teach his son a lesson.
Thor manages to crash land into Natalie Portman’s science team, and then the adventure continues on Earth and Asgaurd, with Loki taking the throne, and Thor trying to find some humility in order to regain his powers, by lifting up his mighty hammer Mjolnir. A smackdown with Loki at the end is suitably epic, and sets up The Avengers pretty directly. Stan Lee cameo this time features the great man trying to drag Mjolnir with his truck, less than successfully. He isn’t the only cameo however, as we also are introduced to Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, one of our Avenger team. Coulson is also present and an after credits scene involving Loki, Nic Fury and a Cosmic Cube is a nice little tease for both The Avengers, and our next movie. I wonder where that Cosmic Cube came from? Hmm.
Thor is an excellent film. Probably my Third favourite Marvel movie, but that just speaks to the quality of the films thus far. My favourite Marvel Film just happens to be next, so lets jump to it, these films aren’t watching themselves…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
Love, love, love, this film. If it wasn’t for a certain Dark Knight who frequents the nastier parts of Gotham City, this would be my favourite superhero film. I love the period setting, love Chris Evans in the role. The costume, and how it is slowly put together is a thing of beauty. I love that we have the USO Show bits, and most of all, I love the character of Steve Rogers. Peerless in honour, and as a man, what makes Cap so interesting is that, in a team with a Norse God, a Hulk and an arrogant playboy Billionaire, he is very much the right choice to lead them. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Lets start at the beginning.
Steve Rogers is a tiny guy, with health problems, who wants nothing more than to join the fight against the Nazis. His health prevents him from enlisting numerous times, until a chance meeting with a scientist, now working for the American Government, after escaping the Nazi regime, changes Steve Rogers life forever. It turns out this scientist, Dr. Abraham Erskine, has developed a super soldier serum, and although it has been used before, for the wrong reasons, resulting in Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull, Steve Rogers is chosen as the test subject after a few months of training. Tommy Lee Jones is his commander, sexily aided by the lovely Hayley Atwell as a love interest. Rogers is given the serum, transforming him into Captain America, but a spy of HYDRA, kills out scientist, and it is decided that Steve is too important to risk his life in war, and is best used as a Promotional device. USO Shows beckon, until one day, Steve has had enough. He wants action, and when he learns that his best friend has been captured, along with a whole regiment, he, along with ………. and Howard Star, (that name sounds familiar), mounts a rescue operation.
Captain America becomes a great hero of the war, winning many battles, before a final showdown with Red Skull himself on a HYDRA bomber headed to America. A defeated Red Skull is sucked into another dimension, which looks a lot like some scenes from Thor, and Cap is left to down the plane in the Arctic, saying goodbye to his love Peggy Carter. How sad. Of course, this isn’t the end of the tale. Howard Stark manages to find the source of HYDRAS power, a Cosmic Cube, but cannot find the downed plane. However, 70 years later, a metal structure is found in the Arctic, along with a mysterious red, white and blue shield. Cap wakes up in modern day New York, confused, dazed, and more than a little heartbroken that he never got to make the date with Hayley Atwell, more than understandable, I think you will agree. Nic Fury enlists Cap for a new project he is working on, and the rest, well we shall see. Oh Stan Lee cameo? He appears as a general at a ceremony, and our after credits treat is a teaser for The Avengers.
Captain America is a fantastic film. I think Joe Johnston is one of the most under appreciated directors working in Hollywood today. His films are always worth watching. I initially thought that casting The Human Torch as Captain America was a mistake, but Chris Evans is excellent in this. He really brings the heart and soul of Cap to life. I literally can’t wait until I get to see The Avengers, in the next few days. Early word has been positive, and after such a line of quality films, Marvel surely can not drop the ball now? I will be watching The Avengers on 28th April, a Saturday, that’s like tomorrow. I can’t wait, I am so excited. Avenging April now comes to a close, it’s been fun people, I hope you have had as good a time reading these articles, as I have writing them. I hope you all enjoy The Avengers when you go and watch it. I hope I will too. Let me know what you have thought about these Avenging April Articles, and how you found The Avengers. See you in May, Hmsbeefnuts out.