Avenging April keeps on Assembling here at All Geek To Me, we are close now, very close, and it is more than a little exciting. As a lead up to the big event on April 27th, I have decided to go back, dip into my Blu-ray collection, and watch all of Marvels Avenger based films, in sequence; in order to drive me into fits of excitement and refresh my memories of said films. I chose to watch the films in the order they were released, Kicking off with Ironman, The Incredible Hulk, Ironman 2, Thor and last, but certainly not least Captain America. Before we start, I would like to say that I watched all of these movies theatrically, and I had not seen some of them since. I enjoyed all of them the first time I saw them, and I was looking forward to seeing if they held up.
I had originally wanted to watch all the films back to back, but having a life and the need to do other stuff prevented this. I think if you have the patience to watch all these films back to back, good luck to you, and perhaps if I had booked a few days off I could have done it, in the end, it took three sittings, not because I was bored or anything like that, but just because of time constraint. As such, I managed to watch Ironman and the Hulk in one sitting, Ironman 2, and then finally Thor and Captain America. I will say that all these films work wonderfully together, and that although incredibly ambitious, Marvel has pulled off an amazing feat of film making, lets hope that they can reach the next step, and knock The Avengers out of the park, surely they have done so? Right, on with the marathon…
A great way to kick off the marathon. I love Ironman. Jon Favreau hit the mark with this one, and set up the Marvel universe at he same time. Ironman hasn’t aged at all, and in fact, stands up far better than its mish mash sequel, but more on that later. Tony Stark is a weapons manufacturer, who learns a harsh lesson when a terrorist group, The Ten Rings, kidnap him and force him to make a Stark Industries Jericho Missile. Oh, and during his abduction, he is almost fatally wounded, and left with shards of metal worming their way to his heart. A revolutionary Arc Reactor later, as well as a pretty cool metal suit of armour, decked out with flame throwers and rocket boosters, and Tony is on his way home, and to a very different life.
The sense of fun in this movie is palpable, the Stan Lee cameo, mistaken for Hugh Heffner at a party. Downey Jnr. Is a fantastic Stark, cocky, sure of himself, but very very likeable. When we actually get to see Ironman in his Mark III armour, its an exciting and breathtaking spectacle. Bad guy duties are well played by Jeff Bridges, as Ironmonger, and Tony’s partner. Supporting roles are well cast too, Fav’s as Happy Hogan, Gwyneth Paltrow in her best role in ages as Pepper Potts and Terrance Howard as James Rhodes, as well as a few Agents of Shield. The impressive thing is that even at this point, Marvel were building up to The Avengers, a project that must have seemed a long way off at the time.
Ironman is one of the strongest superhero films, and at this point, one of my favourites. The Blu-ray pops off the screen and I very much enjoyed watching it again after quite some time. The film flies by, and what is after the credits? Oh. Hello Nick Fury, what?!? I remember watching that moment for the first time, mind blowing. I literally can not wait for April 27th right now. Anyway, enthusiasm is high, time to change discs…
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Of course Marvel did try to make a Hulk film before this one, and it was absolute shit. Hulk dogs? Ergh. The Incredible Hulk is a far better film, and even though I’m no fan of Ed Norton, or Liv Tyler, this part sequel, part re-boot is a fun ride. The Stan Lee Cameo? A man who drinks some soda infused with Bruce Banners blood, leading to an unfortunate Gamma related incident, genius. The film kicks off with a credits sequence explaining how Bruce became the Hulk, basically a quick rehash of some events from the first film, and perfectly acceptable. The film proper kicks off with Bruce Banner on the run in a favela in Brazil. He is trying to find a cure, and working in a bottling plant. He is also trying to control his heart rate, and thus, stop the Hulk from appearing. The gamma incident mentioned above leads General Thunderbolt Ross to his location, and sends a crack team, including soldier of fortune Emile Blonsky after Banner. A chase through the favela, a few anger making incidents, and Blonsky gets a good look at Banner alternative form.
Blonsky gets General Ross to inject him with a ‘super soldier serum’, which hasn’t been used for a very long time, wonder where they got that from? Round two ends with Blonsky near death, but by the end of the film, a dose of Gamma makes Blonsky a far more powerful opponent.
Hulk is a bit of a change of pace. At its heart, it is a sad story of a man who can not control his destiny, can’t be with the woman he loves, can’t live a normal life. Thankfully the meat of the film has quite a lot to do with Hulk smashing stuff, and I thought the effects held up very well. This adds to the Marvel universe by having Tony Stark meet with General Ross at the end of the film, to talk about some sort of super team thing, I wonder what he could mean? We also learn that by the end of the film, Bruce has learned to control the Hulk, and can seemingly change whenever he wants, Might come in handy if an alien force invades New York, or something.
It is also worth noting that on the Thor Blu-ray there is a Marvel One Shot, called The Consultant. A meeting between Agent Coulson and another Shield Agent, discussing an directive from above about perhaps trying to enlist Blonsky, or at least his new form, to join The Avenger Initiative. However, it seems they aren’t too keen for him to join, they decide that they need to send The Consultant to talk to General Ross, as he is rude, cocky and will not be listened too. Of course they are talking about Tony Stark, and this is why he turns up at the end of The Incredible Hulk. There plan seems to work, and Blonsky remains under lock and key, I’m sure they will be able to find some other hulking green monster to join their team. I like what Marvel did here, just filled in a little bit of story, the One Shots are a fun little extra. This one also seems to suggest that the event of the Hulk take place concurrently with certain events that occur in New Mexico, interesting.
A days break and we reconvene for Marvel’s first major sequel. Ironman 2 is a bit of a mess to be honest. Thanks mainly to the fact the script wasn’t fully written during filming, however, that’s not to say the film isn’t very good, it is, it just doesn’t quite reach the heights of Ironman. Right, Stan Lee Cameo, this time he is introduced to Tony as Larry King, a nice little nod to the first films cameo. This time, Stark is established as Ironman now, and is responsible for a long period of world peace, however, not all is going well. The government want his suits, the arc reactor is slowly killing him, and the son of a former partner of his father, Howard Stark, has developed his own arc reactor, and has a vendetta against Tony. I fight at the Monaco Grand Prix, goes Tony’s way, however, it also puts our new big bad in contact with another arms manufacturer, Justin Hammer, which will no doubt cause trouble for the Invincible Ironman.
Tony also loses one of his suits in a fight with his best mate James Rhodes, soon to be War Machine. Pepper Potts is now CEO of Stark Enterprises, giving Tony time to work on a new arc reactor, that will not kill him. Oh did I mention Nick Fury is more prominent in the sequel, a scene at a doughnut shop is particularly good. Stark Enterprises also has a new employee who may become more important later. Natasha Romanov, AKA, Black Widow is moonlighting as an assistant, and also kick a fair amount of ass, and looking absolutely beautiful whilst she does it. Ironman 2 has a lot going on, perhaps too much, but it does come to a satisfying conclusion.
Once again, Ironman is left to face a group of Hammer Drones, and a very pissed off Whiplash, thankfully, War Machine is with him to lend a hand. Ironman 2 isn’t as confident as it’s prequel, but it is still a lot of fun and very exciting. What Ironman 2 does best is strengthen the Marvel Universe, this is very much a set up film for The Avengers, with nice little nods to Captain America, a few members of the Avengers that won’t appear in the film, and most importantly, in the post credits sequence, Agent Coulson makes his way to New Mexico, and finds an item that might be of use to a certain Norse God. Probably the worst of the Marvel films, although I still enjoyed it immensely, Ironman 2 works better as a tease for what is to come…
So that’s it for part 1 of my Avengers Movie Marathon. Join me later in the week for Part 2, where we will be watching Thor and Captain America.