Okay, well not really....
This post is something near and dear to my heart: The Avengers movie coming out in May!! I wanted to give you guys some movies, clips, and books that might prepare you for the upcoming Joss Whedon-directed awesomeness!! So, without further ado:
The Avengers Primer
Iron Man: The first time we see Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Downey's past drug and alcohol behavior as well as Tony's pure ego and genius on the screen was incredible and a perfect Tony Stark. The first in the Avengers movies. Wait for the end when Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury makes his first appearance, as does Agent Colson.
Iron Man II: War Machine, Black Widow and an expanded SHIELD presence makes this one cool movie. There's also references to a "Super-Secret Boy Band," namely the Avengers. At the end, you can see some TV footage from the Hulk movie. Also, the Stark Expo makes a reappearance on the world stage (the first being during WWII during the Cap movie). Also, home movies of an older Howard Stark, Tony's brilliant dad. He's played as Walt Disney meets Howard Hughes.
Sherlock Holmes: Robert Downey Jr playing the world's greatest detective. Certainly some of Tony Stark is in this appearance.
Timothy Dalton James Bond movies: Alex Ross based his Tony Stark on Dalton.
Captain America: The First Avenger: In the beginning, we're at the First Stark Expo, where you see the original android Human Torch on display. The flying car is also in there, and is a nod to the SHIELD comics. There's also Howard Stark, Tony's father. In both the Iron Man movies, Howard was a national treasure, a deceased war hero. He also searches for the Cosmic Cube at the end of the movie. Imagine Cap in the Avengers movie: asleep for 70+ years, thrown in a super-powered team. Going from The Andrews Sisters and goose-stepping Nazis to Lady Gaga and the Internet. Wonder what he'd think of his namesake in Easy Rider?
Now, I'm not much into fan films, but one I saw a while back really captured my imagination, and to what Captain America must have been in between black-ops missions.
Chris Evans has made some valiant efforts to be an action star, pre-Captain America. Check out The Losers, another comic book movie. He was great as the Human Torch in the okay Fantastic Four movies, but Johnny Storm is a completely different character.
The Incredible Hulk: The Ed Norton one. Norton is perfect as Banner, but I think Mark Ruffallo can pull it off as well. I love the beginning sequence, showing his creation as the Hulk, and his life on the run. There's also a pre-Cap mention of the WWII super-soldier program, even an attempt that went really badly--the Abomination. Banner goes into hiding, where the Black Widow finds him to join the Avengers. A funny bit with Cap's shield shows the Stark family connection with Cap. The discovery of Thor's hammer at the end by Agent Colson. Don't bother with Ang Lee's version once you've seen this one. Maybe watch some old TV eps?
To understand what Banner goes through, try checking out anything with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde--the underrated League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's Dr. Jekyll undergoes the struggle to be more powerful and strong, but not in control.
Thor: A perfect Avengers movie. Science and Magic are the same thing. The first appearance of Hawkeye, but more on him later. Agent Colson makes another appearance. Loki is a revelation and will make a great villain--his supposed death and reappearance at the end of the flick sets up The Avengers. How will Thor get back to earth? Will he see Jane again?
The 13th Warrior: There have been lots of Viking movies, but this is my favorite. Bad-ass Vikings fighting an old menace in their homeland. The Russian guy who played the warrior King Bulvi (or Beowulf) would have made a great Thor.
Chris Helmsworth will apparently play what looks to be a warrior character in the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman movie.
Jeremy Renner has been steadily making a name for himself the last few years. In the comics (and movies), Hawkeye is a soldier with SHIELD and is an expert marksman. As it shows in Thor, he apparently now favors the compound bow.
SWAT: Although he plays the bad guy, it sets you up for Hawkeye. Renner is a former SWAT police officer turned mercenary. Samuel L. Jackson is in this flick too. Renner plays an expert sniper, judging by the scene he takes down a police helicopter from quite a distance. He's also a sniper in 28 Weeks Later, a zombie flick.
The Punisher: The Thomas Jane version, not Dolph Lundgren. I refer to the scene at the end where Frank Castle invades the main bad guy's compound silently, taking out minor bad guys with a bow. With extreme prejudice. For more bow-and-arrow work, check out Jessica Biel in Blade Trinity or even Kevin Costner in the '90's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The beautiful Scarlett Johansen. Her first appearance as Natasha Rominoff/Black Widow was in Iron Man II as a SHIELD shadow agent. Pretty much any Cold War-era femme fatale movie would be a perfect primer for Black Widow. Also see Angelina Jolie's characters in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Salt or Tomb Raider.
The awesome Samuel L. Jackson. He's had a cameo in almost every Avengers movie so far. An expanded role in Iron Man II whetted our appetites for Fury. Even gave a little SHIELD history lesson.
XXX and XXX 2: Augustus Gibbons is a scarred bad-ass secret agent who's put boot to ass for his country for decades. Sounds familiar? A great pre-Fury role for Jackson, highly underrated action movies.
I love the idea of a top-secret government agency made to combat super-human and alien threats, and even better, establish its own super-hero team made up super-soldiers, bad-asses, armored individuals and a God.
The scene at the end of Thor where Nick Fury is showing the Loki-possessed Professor the Cosmic Cube (apparently after fishing it out the ocean, Howard Stark turned it over to the US government and eventually, SHIELD) is great, but makes me think of the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where said Ark is placed in a government warehouse full of identical boxes.
Watchmen: This flick grows on you, even after you've seen it in theaters. A previously un-filmable movie about super-heroes is great.
X-Men First Class and X2: X-Men United: I love these mutant movies, since I was such a comic-book fan growing up. The two actors playing Magneto (young and old) are spectacular. X2 is damn near a perfect comic book movie, and even has Stark Technology building Magneto's plastic prison.
Spider-Man I and II: Spidey One I believe is the first modern Marvel comic-book movie. I included II in there to let you ruminate on this: imagine if Otto Octavius has access to Stark's ARC Reactor technology to power his octo-arms and his energy doohickey.
Firefly: My first foray into Joss Whedon-directed movies (besides TV's Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible, etc).
There have also been Marvel mini-movies with Agent Colson on both the Cap and Thor Blu-Ray releases. Also, check out Mark Millar's/Bryan Hitch's 4 volume run on The Ultimates. These are my new favorite books, it's the Avengers on wide-screen comics.