Years of build-up pays off this weekend with the release of "The Avengers." This is the movie Marvel has been building toward since the end of "Iron Man" in 2008 when Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury tells Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark about "the Avengers initiative."
When I heard that after the end credits of that film, I had no idea what Mr. Fury was talking about.
I soon learned it was the gathering of some of the Marvel universe's most celebrated heroes. Since "Iron Man," we've had films centering on some of the key players - Thor, The Hulk, Captain America - and there are a couple others (Black Widow and Hawkeye) who have made appearances in some of those films.
As much as "The Avengers" may feel like a gift to comic book fans, the movie should hold up on its own even with no in-depth knowledge about these characters. So for the uninitiated, here are a few things you should know:1. Writer/Director Joss Whedon doesn't typically disappoint
Talk about a gift to geeks, Whedon has a certain creative flare and sense of humor that seems a perfect fit for this project. He earned a cult following with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which I never watched. But I have a lot of affection for his short lived sci-fi western "Firefly" and the film version of it called "Serenity." He's already scored a solid hit this past month with "The Cabin in the Woods," a clever send-up of the horror genre. So if nothing else, you know the guy behind this movie is to be trusted.2. Watching the previous Marvel movies will help
Specifically, "Thor" and "Iron Man 2." "Thor" is important because the villain from that one is also the Big Bad in "The Avengers," and there's an important relationship to understand. "Iron Man 2" deals a lot with the "Avengers initiative," almost to a fault. I felt like it overshadowed the Iron Man storyline a bit, but it will prove a good companion piece here. As a bonus, the Stars and Stripes Drive-in here in Lubbock will be showing the first "Iron Man" at 9p.m. Thursday before "The Avengers" at midnight.
A side-note: if you missed it, watch 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. I think that one is underrated. 3. The movie was converted to 3D in post production - it wasn't shot that way
It's your call whether the extra few dollars is worth it.
Another treat for fans of superhero movies - a new "Dark Knight Rises" trailer will precede "The Avengers." There's a new viral campaign for underway. The details here.