Friday, August 24, 2012

Movies Assemble: How the 5 Marvel Avenger Movies Come Together

As of August 24, there are exactly 32 days left until one of the most historical movie events of all moviedom triumphantly falls upon us again, this time in our very own homes: the Blu-ray/DVD release of The Avengers. Like a powerful blow from Thor's majestic hammer Mjolnir, this event will create as much force, thunder, and deafening reverberation throughout Midgard as it's historic theater release. It's important, dear readers, to not discount this incredible event. Just because it arrives in our homes on our small television sets instead of the grand, large screened majesty that is a movie theater, does not mean that September 25, 2012 will not do down as a day of infamy. I've often tried to put into words the voltage of excitement that is constantly being produced from my scrawny and frail little frame. Unfortunately, my expression with words is like a menacing Hydra agent who's just been invited to a good old fashioned S.H.I.E.L.D. Bash hosted by America's own Captain Steve Rogers: they fall flat every time. And sadly for this Hydra agent, this is a dance Captain America never misses.

So after brewing over ideas and formulas like a desperate scientist looking for an alluding cure, an idea struck me like a ray of gamma radiation, unleashing an idea that I could not contain. What if I actually documented how, in every Marvel movie leading up the "The Avengers", the various connections that intertwine and assemble the movies together? At first glance, it may seem that The Avenger movies have pieces of connection flung randomly out there like a mystery of an unknown element. Individually some of these pieces don't make much sense, but as we step back and see the bigger picture, we can start to behold a map for a movie of unfathomable energy and pure awesomeness. I've seen these movies hundreds of times (that's probably a literal statement), and I have gone over in my head on numerous occasions the different ways that these movies relate. I've concluded that my ideas need be shared, and it didn't take a warmly contested senate hearing to make me realize this. Like a hot-wired battery in a far-off dark cave, I hope to jump start some life and excitement for next month's big event. Also, I am definitely ready to admit I could use an iron-clad side kick, so, dear readers, if you happen to catch any omissions, definitely sound off in the comments sections below.

One more thing, I have listed the movies in what I have determined to be their chronological order according to story, not film release. Enjoy!

Captain America: The First Avenger
  • The biggest relation that Captain America has to all of the Avenger movies is the fact that the Strategic Scientific Reserve (S.S.R.), the program that starts the Super Soldier program, later becomes Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistic's Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.).
  • Howard Stark is Tony Stark's dad. It is revealed in Iron Man 2 that Howard Stark helped create S.H.I.E.L.D., which is alluded to in Captain America since he is so heavily involved with the S.S.R.
  • Howard Stark is portrayed as a mechanical genius and a womanizer, which clearly shows that Tony Stark doesn't fall far from the tree when it comes to both his fathers' traits.
  • The Norwegian village where the Tesseract is stored is called Tonsberg. It is the same village in the beginning flashback in Thor.
  • Captain America and his friend Bucky visit the Stark Expo. Somewhere between WWII and Iron Man I, the Stark Expo no longer happens. This is probably due to the death of Howard Stark. Tony Stark starts hosting the Stark Expo event in Iron Man II.
  • The introduction of the Cosmic Cube. It is not given this name in the movie, as it is only mentioned in the film as a "magical tesseract". This item is shown briefly in the post-credits section of Thor, and clearly plays a very large role in The Avengers movie.
  • Notice when Steve Rogers is injected with the Super Soldier serum that his eyes go very wide. Bruce Banner has the same reaction every time he turns into the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk movie.
  • Howard Stark evaluates a piece of the energy from the cosmic cube that fuels the weapons of Hydra. This item was collected by Captain America while he was rescuing the prisoners from the Hydra base. This helps Howard "discover" a new element, which plays an important role in Iron Man II.
  • It appears that when the Red Skull meets his unfortunate demise (for him, not the world), he doesn't actually die. Rather he is transported somewhere in space. This transportation looks very similar to when Thor, The Warriors Three, and Lady Sif are transported away from Asgard to earth, and vice versa. This suggests that the Red Skull was possibly transported to one of the nine realms of Asgard.
  • In the beginning of Captain America, Red Skull attacks a village in Norway as he is desperately hunting for the cosmic cube. When he discovers the Cosmic Cube in the village, he immediately lectures his men and the guard of the cosmic cube (played by Mr. Finch from Harry Potter) about how it is from Odin's treasure room; the same treasure room in Thor. Also, the wooden carving of the tree where the cosmic cube is hidden represents the tree Yggdrasil. In Nordic mythology, this tree represents the nine realms of Asgard.
  • Captain America's shield is made from the fictional metal vibranium. This metal can be found in the fictional African country of Wakanda, where the hero Black Panther resides.
  • It has been rumored (but not to my knowledge confirmed) that the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent at the end of Captain America, who is the first person he sees upon waking up from being uncomfortably frozen for 70 years, is Sharon Carter. In the comics she is Peggy Carter's niece.
  • The end of Captain America introduces the most famous one-eyed-man-with-a-plan Nick Fury, the notorious Leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • The extra material that can be found in the blu-ray copy of Captain America shows Agent Coulson (HE STILL LIVES!) kicking major butt at a gas station while driving to investigate Thor's hammer in New Mexico. A very enjoyable watch.
  • Side note: At the Stark Expo you can see a mannequin in a glass tube wearing what looks like a red spandex suit. This is paying homage to the first Human Torch, who first appeared in Marvel #1 in 1939. He was an android, and frequently fought alongside Captain America and Namor (the king of Atlantis) in the 1940's. The Human Torch fell in popularity in the 1950's, but the concept would be brought back in the 1960's in the form of Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four. And yes, I got the background of the original Human Torch on Wikipedia. This is a blog, not a journal article.

Iron Man
  • We know that post WWII, Howard Stark gets married, has Tony, starts a weapons development company with the treacherous Obadiah Stane, and along with his wife is tragically killed in an automobile accident. This last note can be seen as a newspaper clip in the award presentation for Tony Stark at the beginning of the movie.
  • THE Agent Coulson is introduced. Though he was only supposed to have a minor role, audiences and director Jon Favreau liked the character so much that they wrote him on for Iron Man II, cementing his role in the Avenger's movies. Might I add this was one of the best decisions ever.
  • The post-credits of Iron Man introduces Nick Fury, and brings up the Avenger's initiative. Since Iron Man was the first movie made of the 5 pre-Avenger movies, this was a very big deal. At the time I only knew Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. from the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and as a result I had a good sense of the potential for what could be possible for future Marvel movies. Needless to say I was freaking out for the next month; and maybe slightly peed myself out of excitement. Maybe...
  • During the scene where Pepper Potts walks in on Tony Stark taking off his Iron Man suit, you can see Captain America's shield on the work table.

Iron Man II
  • As mentioned previously, the movie starts with the Stark Expo, previously seen in Captain America. Tony Stark is quickly trying to change legacy of being weapon's developers created by he and his father, as he thinks he is suddenly dying.
  • Natalia Romanoff, also known as the Black Widow, is a very famous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that is introduced in this movie. She disguises herself as "Natasha from legal", but is really assigned by Nick Fury to keep an eye (pun so intended) on and assess Tony Stark as a possible candidate for the Avenger's team.
  • It is in this movie that the audience is informed how heavily Howard Stark was involved in the development of S.H.I.E.L.D. As such Tony Stark is given a box of old information. Some of the items  in this box includes an image of space (which alludes to the fact that Howard knew about the possibility of other worlds), and a map of the North Pole containing the possible crash site of Captain America.  There is also reference to the Tesseract in the book written by Howard Stark that Tony looks through while he is watching the movie of his dad making an idiot of himself.  It has been noted online that there are documents of an old Captain America prototype shield, but I can never find it.
  • When Nick Fury meets Tony Stark at his house, he mentions how the arc reactor in his chest is based on unfinished technology that Howard Stark discovered. This technology, and the unknown element that Howard Stark found but Tony creates, is the element that makes up the Tesseract. Later Tony creates this element in his workshop, and uses a blueprint of the molecular make-up of the element that was hidden by Howard Stark in the layout of buildings of the Stark Expo. This element saves Tony Stark's life, and is a great power source for his suits. It is also in this scene that Agent Coulson sees a half-made Captain America shield, to which Tony Stark uses to help him stabilize the reactor that makes the new element.
  • Agent Coulson is assigned to watch Tony Stark, but while doing so has to go to the South West region for an assignment. Eventually later on in Iron Man II Agent Coulson comes back, which is a foreshadowing of him coming back in The Avengers II. I actually made that last part up. A fan boy can dream. Anyway, the assignment and it's fulfillment can be seen in Thor.
  • At the end of the movie Tony Stark meets with Nick Fury to discuss his involvement with the Avenger's Initiative. During this scene, you can see a monitor to the right of the screen showing a news image from the Incredible Hulk. The news image is of an asian reporter giving the account of the military attack on the Hulk at the university campus. You can also see a map that has orange dots at various areas. These areas include LA, New York, New Mexico, the North Pole, Europe, Africa (Wakanda), and the Atlantic Ocean (possibly Atlantis). All of these areas of interest represent where the significant events took place. The area of interest in the ocean is perplexing, as there is nothing of significance given to Atlantis. You can speculate that that is where the cosmic cube is found at the end of Captain America, but given the great distance between Captain America's flight path and the orange dot in the map, this seems unlikely. There is also a map that appears at the bottom left corner of the screen that seems to be of Central America (1 h 54 m 42 s into the movie), but it is hard to tell. There are many orange dots. This possibly could be sightings of the Hulk/Bruce Banner, as we know he traveled to and from South America.
  • The post-credits scene is Agent Coulson finding Thor's hammer in New Mexico.

  • Thor and Captain America really tie-in together. More explanation goes into who Odin is, we see Odin's treasure room, and that one can travel to and from planets that are connected by Yggdrasil; all of which are mentioned/alluded to in Captain America. 
  • At min 11:05 you can VERY BRIEFLY see The Infinity Gauntlet.
  • We see Agent Coulson fulfill his mystery assignment from Iron Man II.
  • After S.H.I.E.L.D. comes and takes away Jane Foster's equipment, Dr. Selvig relates a story of a friend of his who worked in gamma radiation. This is referring to the Hulk. The other collegue he mentions, who has worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. before, is referring to Hank Pym. He is Ant Man, and was one of the original Avengers. An Ant Man movie is currently in the works.
  • Hawkeye is briefly introduced. He is the archer that is ordered to possibly fire on Thor as he infiltrates the S.H.I.E.L.D. compound to get his hammer back.
  • Loki is introduced, and might I add greatly, in this movie.
  • The post-credits scene is Dr. Selvig visiting a SHIELD compound to meet Nick Fury. Nick Fury shows Dr. Selvig the cosmic cube. It is revealed in this scene that somewhere after the events of the Thor movie, Loki has taken control of Dr. Selvig's mind. How this will play out in The Avengers is yet to be determined.
  • The blu-ray of Thor shows a scene between Agent Coulson and a colleague (who is introduced during the scenes that take place on the S.H.I.E.L.D. compound. This scene explains why Tony Stark is asked to approach General Ross from The Incredible Hulk Movie to discuss with him the Avengers Initiative. It is revealed that the government wanted The Abomination (who is introduced in The Incredible Hulk) to be apart of the team, and not the Hulk. Obviously Nick Fury and Agent Coulson know that this is a terrible mistake, so they arrive at the idea that they need someone extremely cocky to discuss the idea to General Ross. This way,General Ross would only become annoyed and upset. Therefore we would want nothing to do with the Avengers Initiative, hence the Hulk would have to be the other option. It turns out that their set-up for General Ross worked. He became so annoyed with Tony Starks cocky attitude that he kicked Tony Stark out of the bar. As a result Tony Stark purchased the bar so he could tear it down.

The Incredible Hulk
  • General Ross uses the SHIELD database to find the Hulk in New York City.
  • In the beginning credits, you can briefly see blueprints for STARK made military equipment that looks like two hummers with a large circular device on the top. You see these two vehicles be used by General Ross on the Hulk in the middle of the film during the skirmish on the college campus.  Also, Nick Fury's name shows up really briefly in a S.H.I.E.L.D. document during this opening segment.
  • General Ross recruited Bruce Banner to develop a serum to protect soldiers against gamma radiation. What he didn't tell Bruce was that the serum was based off of the Super Soldier serum that was given to Captain America. Hence the result of the Hulk rather gloriously being created when Bruce Banner was hit with gamma radiation.
  • The serum that was given to Emil Blonsky was a knock off of the Super Soldier serum that was attempted to be replicated, but failed. In Captain America, it was mentioned that the serum would make a good man great, and an evil man worse. That is why it was so important to choose a candidate for the Super Soldier program by his character. This principle is evident in Emil Blonsky, as eventually his dark side takes over towards the end of the movie.
  • When General Ross reaches the canister that houses the Super Soldier serum, the name is very different from Dr. Abraham Erskine, the creator of the Super Soldier serum. The name on the canister is Dr. Reinstein. This is because Dr. Reinstein was the name he was given by the US government to hide is identity from the Nazi's.
  • The post-credits show Tony Stark approaching General Ross about the Avengers Initiative. This ultimately showed the potential for what to expect with the Marvel Avenger movies, as cameos, connections between movies, and one large Marvel movie universe could actually be possible.

Well, there you have it! Do you think Marvel crafted these movies together beautifully like Da Vinci piece of art, or are these more akin to a kindergardener's take home project? Let us know! 

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