“The Avengers” is already set to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters and it’s easy to understand why. Superhero films already do well at the box office and this one has an outstanding cast with more Academy Award winners than any other film of its genre. It’s also helmed by a worshiped (though polarizing for some) director. Most importantly, this is a film that we’ve basically been watching two hour-long trailers for since 2008. Yet as excited as many are, “The Avengers” is a bit of an overwhelming prospect for some average moviegoers. So you haven’t seen all the other Marvel movies leading up to this film and you haven’t read the comics. Will you still enjoy this film? The answer is yes, but it might help to do a little brushing up on these heroes before hitting the theater. That’s why we’ve put together this handy article to help you learn about the characters and movies leading up to this film and their end scene teasers. Here’s a guide to how Captain America fits in.
Captain America: The First Avenger (Read Jude’s full review of this film here)
As his title says, Captain America (Chris Evans) is the first of the Avengers, though his movie came out in theaters last (2011). This film is set during WWII in the 1940s (it does a great job paying homage to films from that era). We watch Steve Rogers turn from a scrawny, but brave and determined young man into a powerful super soldier. And we do mean super, Rogers is part of government experiment that uses a special serum to turn him into the buff Captain America. Unfortunately, the serum and its creator are destroyed before the U.S. government has time to turn anyone else super. Captain America eventually finds himself going up against a Nazi villain powered by a similar serum. This villain, Red Skull, has possession of a powerful cube (later called a tesseract) that he plans to use in his quest for world domination. Lucky for us, the Captain is able to stop him, but at a great sacrifice to himself. He crashes into an icy tundra and is thought to be dead during his time. Attempts to recover his body during that era fail, but the tesseract is recovered. Fast forward to the modern day and a secret government group recovers him from his icy prison, finding him frozen, but still alive. The revive him in the modern day New York. This is how he becomes the ‘first’ Avenger. He’s recovered by S.H.I.E.L.D and as a man out of his time, he virtually has no other option, but to say yes and join the Avengers initiative.
Uniform: A patriotic, mostly blue, outfit with a big A on his cap. Most notably he has a red, white and blue circular shield that is indestructible.
Key Powers: Super strength, accelerated healing, super agility, super speed and an indestructible shield that he can use for defense or as a weapon
Weaknesses: Doesn’t know when to question authority, insecurity from being out-of-time with the modern world, pretty ladies
The Avengers Tie-ins (this is not definitive, but shares some key notes): The tesseract has been recovered in “The Avengers” and is a central plot item. Everyone has a different purpose for it, and though its use is debatable, everyone agrees it is powerful. As such, they fight over this object. Also, one of Captain America’s friends in this movie and one of the main financers for the Captain America experiment is Howard Stark. Howard’s son, Tony, would later grow up to be another of the Avengers: Iron Man. In “The Incredible Hulk” it is revealed that the experiment that causes Bruce Banner to become the Hulk was a failed attempt to replicate the Captain America experiment. There’s also a deleted “The Incredible Hulk” scene where you can glimpse the Captain frozen in ice in the background. There’s also a brief “Thor” reference when one character refers to the tesseract as “the prize of Odin’s treasure room,” Odin being Thor’s father. Finally, when Captain America wakes up in the modern world, we see he has been rescued by S.H.I.E.L.D. (the main government operative in “The Avengers”) and he is later invited to the Avengers initiative by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
Stan Lee Appearance: This is a little Easter Egg in many of the Marvel movies. Stan Lee, a primary creator of many of these characters in the Marvel-verse, likes to make little cameos in the films. In “Captain America,” he plays a general.
Sequel Alert: Captain America 2 is expected in Spring 2014.
Watch the Trailer:
Watch the Hidden Credits Scene/Avengers Teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKmvpq9zWnI&feature=related (embedding disallowed, but be sure to watch as this scene gets a special nod in “The Avengers”)
*Black Widow and Hawkeye, while a part of the Avengers team, do not currently have their own movies.