by Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Marvel Studio’s magnum opus The Avengers kicked off the 2012 season of summer blockbusters and with Robert Downey Jr. confirmed to play Stark in Avengers 2 for 2015, this universe will no doubt be sizzling. Answers have to be made to address what Iron Man has witnessed after entering that worm hole. With more comic book films like Thor: The Dark World to come, the stories being introduced will no doubt concentrate on each individual hero and maybe tease at how each film will tie in to the next movie. The focus may move away from the mysterious cube that was introduced in this first film, but for fans in general, they will be asking the question of for what reason will the Avengers reassemble in the sequel coming up?
Like every other first movie in Marvel’s long line of theatrical releases, the first film develops the origins first, camaraderie second and the high octane fights last. In the case of this film, it is to resolve the story thread that started in Iron Man 2, where Howard Stark has in his notes a sketch of a hypercube, called the Tesseract, which is said to hold unlimited power. Just what’s next will have to be in locating Loki’s sceptor, said to hold another mysterious power just as equal to the hypercube.
Director and writer Joss Whedon is tasked to develop this plot. Instead of always focusing in about who has this magic cube now, this producer has to now showing how the team of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) gets along. As the first film concluded, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) revealed that not all of them are all that really interested in working as a team.
His dream to create the world’s mightiest fighting force has its problems. Tony Stark has always said he would be willing to act as a consultant, but lately, he is a bit snobbish in the attitude of preferring to take most of the credit, if not work alone. In Iron Man 3, he was all alone. Nobody would come to help him. S.H.I.E.L.D. may have been busy, but it seems Fury thinks the Mandarin is not a threat to American homeland security.
With the exception of Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America, everyone else prefers to work alone. When the other heroes do not agree with one another, these alpha males want a duel in true medieval, if not Marvel Comics, style. The first film deals with them never ever really getting along. They do not how how to function as a team. There is plenty of wow factor, good comedy and eye-popping special effects to make this film entertaining as a popcorn action adventure yarn, but very rarely will a Marvel Entertainment property offer something philosophical for audiences to leave with. It’s unlikely Avengers 2 will offer anything new.
What must be done is for the sequel to answer the question of why the politicians Fury was conferring with are afraid of superheroes. That context made the X-men comics and films unique. Those undercurrents of fear were also hinted at in the Iron Man movies and lightly addressed in Thor but gets tentatively dropped since the success of simple wham, bam, thank you ma’am narratives work better to entertain the masses.
The prequel movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine can also be blamed. Unless audiences have seen the X-men movies (or read the comics), not many people can sympathize with who Wolvy is. He is the ultimate loner in the whole Marvel Comics Universe. Fortunately, X-men: First Class fixes some of that. Sadly, this mutant universe will never get a crossover with the Avengers universe since two different studios own these properties. Like the mutants and humans, they very rarely play nice together.
Hopefully Whedon will pen a more intimate sequel. Maybe it will explore the issues of heroes realizing they have to do more than just unite to fight a common enemy. When Thanos is revealed to be the major villain in this universe, the big question fans will want to know is if he is already wearing the Infinity Gauntlet or not… or is he going to start collecting the gems himself!
It’d be fun to see the real Mandarin emerge to challenge Thanos for ownership over the stones can can fit into either a gauntlet or ring, but that’s unlikely the direction this Marvel Comics Universe will make. That would make for a great movie to see because it will not be following the comic book canon. but when considering writers Drew Pearce and Shane Black never delved into this character’s Asian origins or even considered him a real threat to Iron Man, because ‘an actor’ was playing the merciless role, the shame is that he may never get realized to all his wizarding potential at all in any sequels.
But as for what kind of tale will emerge, hopefully the next few movies will begin offering teasers that can set the course of Marvel Comic’s best villians squaring off with one another for these power stones. After all, with the title Avengers: Age of Ultron finally announced, the big question is that will this robot be a single movie villian wonder or a continuous threat to come in later films? The hope is for the latter since no villian can truly die. That’s unheard of in comic book superhero-dom!