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Hypable

Luckily for those of you that didn’t get to catch up on Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor or Captain America, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is pretty penetrable and the story is told in such a straightforward way that studying the first five films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe like you have the board exam next week isn’t necessary.

For those of you with only a crude and basic understanding of Marvel properties however, explanation of a few points might help you enjoy and understand the film just a bit better.

The Tesseract is a source of unlimited energy

The Tesseract (also known as The Cosmic Cube to Marvel nerds) is by far the most important object in The Avengers. In the first few moments of the film, the cube is lightly explained via voice-over before it is stolen by Loki. It’s first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the opening of Captain America when Johan Schmidt (Red Skull) breaks into a village in Norway and steals it from its secret hiding place. He calls it “the jewel of Odin’s treasure room,” a clear reference to the character played by Anthony Hopkins in Thor and the treasure room we end up spending a surprising amount of time in.

Apparently, the cube was left there by “the gods” and contains perpetual power that some would call magic, but Schmidt explains that it’s just science that humans haven’t discovered yet. The same explanation is given by Thor to Jane in Thor to explain the multiple universes that exist (a concept explored in even further detail in The Avengers), so it makes sense that the cube is simply from a different dimension.

Captain America was the result of a WWII super-soldier experiment

This whole “super soldier experiment” thing is a big concept in the Marvel universe. The first experiment was on the Red Skull, who forced brilliant scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine to shoot him up with the serum before it was ready. The serum chemically burned off his skin and enhanced the evil that was already inside of him, turning him into the Red Skull.

After some changes to the serum and after finding the right subject (the skinny and inherently good-hearted Steve Rogers), the experiment was ready, but this time it actually worked. It turned “skinny Steve” Rogers into a super-human worthy of the title of Captain America.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is a government/military espionage and security organization

If we remember right from Iron Man, the official acronym stands for the Strategic Homeland Intervention and Enforcement- Logistics Division. S.H.I.E.L.D. made it’s first appearance in Iron Man in the form of Agent Phil Coulson, who would become a running character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the face of S.H.I.E.L.D.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is a military/government organization headed by Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson, again appearing in Iron Man) that specializes in national security. Fury’s pet project is the “Avengers Initiative,” which focuses on getting certain individuals together to work as a team. Black Widow, the spy played by Scarlett Johansson is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., even going so far as to pose as Tony Stark’s personal assistant in Iron Man 2 in order to spy on him.

Another agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sharpshooter Clint Barton, a crossbow professional that goes by the codename “Hawkeye.” Hawkeye had a brief introduction in Thor, but he gets more of an opportunity to shine in The Avengers. In fact, S.H.I.E.L.D. in general gets thrust into the spotlight, along with their many toys.

Tony Stark has a gigantic magnet over his heart to keep him alive

When Tony Stark’s own missile exploded in his face in the opening moments of Iron Man, it blasted chunks of shrapnel into his torso and chest. If not for a makeshift magnet hooked to a car battery installed in his body by cave-mate Yinsen, Stark would have died in a cave in Afghanistan. In fact, one of the first things that Tony Stark does is build himself a better one. In a cave. With a box of scraps.

Basically, he builds a glowing miniature arc reactor in his chest to power the magnet that keeps the shrapnel out of his heart. It’s the part of Tony Stark that’s actually a machine, and the magnet is proof, as Pepper Potts adorably put, that Tony Stark indeed has a heart.

Loki is the God of Mischief and Thor’s half-brother

In the first 40 minutes of Thor, we’re introduced to Asgard, the home of Odin, Thor, Loki, and hundreds of other Asgardians. Thor and Loki have been brought up their whole lives to believe that they are brothers, and that one day one of them would inherit the throne. Thor, of course, inherited the throne and Loki discovered that he was actually a frost giant orphan found in the Jotunheim after the end of the war with the frost giants.

After being filled with rage at the discovery of his parentage, Loki works with the frost giants to stage himself as his father’s hero by setting up an assassination attempt that he himself will thwart. Thor returns from Earth to stop this plan, but Loki forces Thor to fight him until he is dangling from a bridge. After almost being saved by Odin, Loki chooses to fall into a wormhole, transporting him to an unknown branch of the universe.

Bruce Banner turns into The Hulk when he’s angry

Yes, we know. This one is a no-brainer, but after discovering that there are in fact people out there that don’t know that The Hulk is Bruce Banner’s angry alias, we had to include it. In another super-soldier experiment gone wrong, Banner blasted himself with Gamma radiation and found that when he got angry, the beast inside of him would erupt and take control.

In this incarnation, Banner calls The Hulk “the other guy” with little-to-no introduction, so those that are unfamiliar with Banner’s condition might have thought that he was talking about another physical “other guy.”

Excited to see The Avengers? Who among our United States readers will be watching it at midnight tonight? Tweet us your excitement for The Avengers @Hypable or @Herohype!

  • http://www.twitter.com/matsemann08 Matsemann08

    Very useful for those who haven’t seen all the latest Marvel movies.
    The Tesseract, SHIELD/Fury and Loki parts are especially important for the Avengers.

  • http://profiles.google.com/gfludal gfludal

    I hadn’t seen any of the other movies with these guys in it (meaning, the only superhero movie I’ve seen is Spiderman, at least as far as I can remember), but I felt I could still understand most of it.
    The Bruce Banner/Hulk thing I knew, although I didn’t catch the name the first time, so it was first in SHIELD headquartes I got that connection.
    Thor/Loki: I’m Norwegian, and like mythology, so I figured that even though they probably changed a bit of the story, that main stuff was the same (although what you describe there sounds quite different than the original story actually).
    What I guessed from the dialog about Captain America and SHIELD seems to be about right.
    I didn’t get that the Tesseract was an unlimited energy source, just that it was very powerful.
    Even after watching Iron Man (1 and 2) the day after I saw Avengers, I’m still not quite sure why he wasn’t affected by, well, you know – in the Stark tower. Can anybody answer that?

    • 7Starrchasers

      What do you mean when you say “s, I’m still not quite sure why he wasn’t affected by, well, you know – in the Stark tower.” Do you mean the Loki bit.

    • moonshoespotter1712

      *Spoilers*
      Because the tried to control him by touching him in the chest with his staff, but it didn’t affect him because of the magnet machine.

    • AnnaTveit

      I’ve seen Thor and Iron Man, so I hope I’ll understand the movie.

  • spaghetti-o’s

    I still can’t beleive that this is only coming out now is the US? since when does Australia get such big “American” movies more than a week earlier than you guys?

    • MillerT1

      I think it was more to do with the fact that we here in Australia had a public holiday last week and they wanted to capitalize on that by launching the movie on that day. By doing so, Avengers became the second-highest Opening Day Gross (behind last year’s Harry Potter). What’s even amazing is that Avengers was able to do this on a day when cinemas didn’t open until 2:00 in the afternoon. If it had been a full day, it probably would have beaten Harry Potter.

      • http://frankifoni.tumblr.com/ Franki94

        There was as midnight release though. I have friends who went. So glad Aus got something before the US though. haha. It’s the same with Harry Potter actually. We got DH part 2 a two and half days before the States, if you include time difference.

    • 7Starrchasers

      Usually most of a time…but its generally not a week…its a couple of days at the most.

    • Mad

      We almost never do tho…so it kinda evens it out.

  • http://twitter.com/eiVega eiVega

    Cool, I really appreciate this.  I haven’t seen the majority of these superhero movies but am curious about Avengers.  I’ve been worried if I need to try to catch-up or study anything before seeing it.  Thanks for the info! 

  • http://twitter.com/emilyecstasyTM Emily Cyr

    omg the Hulk part. Why do people not know that? .__.

    • Glaciusx

      We’ve got some special snowflakes in this world.

  • nexxi

    cool summary, thx :-) would have been cool to read this a week ago. we saw the premiere of The Avengers on April 24th here in Austria and it was AMAZING :-)

  • http://www.thatwasdramatic.tumblr.com/ Anya

    Where were you guys two weeks ago when I first saw the film? ;) Although I did know about the Hulk ;) I must admit turning to my friend a couple of times to ask questions (or say “oooh okay, they’re brothers!”). But in the end it really made no difference – even someone totally clueless like me loved the film!

    Now I’m just waiting for someone to explain the credits scene… ;)

    • CliveRogan

      Go on Badass Digest for an explanation on who they guy at the end is.  They explain it quite thoroughly.

      • http://www.thatwasdramatic.tumblr.com/ Anya

        Thank you! :)

  • Guest

    Loki is an orphan, as you said, which means that he is not Thor’s half-brother. They are completely unrelated. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/Panhead1922 Ande Anderson

      Yep, “He’s adopted.” as Thor put it. =)

  • rdh014

    Just saw it. 
    BEST. MOVIE. (EVER.)ALL CAPS CANNOT EXPRESS MY ENJOYMENT AND LOVE OF THIS FILM.

  • http://twitter.com/acjub CK

    I just watched Thor, so I’m ready for the Avengers. I felt no need to watch the Hulk as that story is common knowledge.

    • http://www.eigakanthemovietheater.blogspot.com Jenny Leigh

      Good choice. They changed the actor anyway. And it was kinda boring.

      • CliveRogan

        Boring?!  For me, Hulks story line made the film.  Unless you’re talking about Hulks other films, because they weren’t great.

        • http://www.eigakanthemovietheater.blogspot.com Jenny Leigh

          I’m talking about the Marvel remake with Edward Norton. It’s not bad at all, however I just didn’t ever feel a pull to watch it again, unlike I have with other Marvel Avengers movies. I just found it not as interesting as the others, and that’s probably because I don’t find The Hulk that interesting to begin with. Maybe I need to watch it again.

  • Laura J

    my friend went with me having no clue about any of this and she got it…the only thing on that list that isnt mentioned in the film is the S.H.E.I.L.D  thing…you dont have to know anything to enjoy it  or understand it

  • Gary65

    Maybe with the exception of what’s in Tony’s chest, you really don’t need to know any of this to get the movie. They do explain that CA is a super-soldier. I got it anyway.

    • Guest

      and Stark actually makes a comment to Banner (i believe..) about this during the first bit of the movie

      • Gary65

        Don’t remember that but OK. I NEED TO SEE IT AGAIN!!!!! Such a good movie :D

    • Laura J

       they are in fact ALL mentioned- including Tony’s magnet, i THINK it was Banner he mentioned it to

    • belac889

      Interestingly enough, IM is the only Marvel movie I’ve seen… at the moment

  • notenoughpuff

    BUT WHEN IS THE NEXT HERO HYPE????

    • http://Hypable.com/ James Bean

      Funny you ask, we’re recording it in the next hour and a half. Get ready nerds!

  • Glaciusx

    How do people not know any of this stuff? Haha. If you go into watching The Avengers without watching CA, IM, IM2, The “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer” short, Thor, The Hulk, and the “The Consultant” short, you’ll be somewhat lost and confused. Btw, these are all in chronological order.

  • http://www.eigakanthemovietheater.blogspot.com Jenny Leigh

    Basically the moral to the post:

    have a Marvel marathon before going to see The Avengers!

  • Anon

    “Step-brother” not “half-brother.”
    Sorry, I’m that person.

  • Rioguy7

    Also Banner did not blast himself with gamma rays. He was bombarded with gamma rays during a test explosion. They should also know who Thanos is. People were shouting hell boy and red skull during the end credits.

  • Rioguy7

    And they should know that Hawkeye and the blackwidow were not members of the first avengers.

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