That’s right, finally tonight at midnight we Americans–currently frothing at the mouth and wanting to strangle our smug friends across the pond–will get to see The Avengers. But it occurs to me that some of you might not appreciate what it took to get to this moment, when for the first time we have an actual movie universe unfolding on screens. And no, I don’t count something like Star Wars or Star Trek because those have their own movies. Really, the closest thing I can think of is the Godzilla series, but that was more, as I understand it, an accident of, “Well, let’s try this…will it make money?” I could be wrong. But with Avengers, a comic book company that evolved into a film company decided to take their premise of individual comics happening in a single universe and bring it to the screen with a deliberate plan–that’s what I’m talking about.
But there was a time, dear reader–especially you younger readers–when the tools to make something like The Avengers simply weren’t available. And I mean everything: FX, costume fabrics, hell–a time when actors would find it worth their while to sign on for a franchise like this.
We’re big believers in context. And in posterity. So I urge you–if you’re not doing the $40 Avengers Movie Marathon tonight–have your own movie marathon…of the Avengers-esque films that have come before. Here’s some recommendations.