Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Avengers Chronology

 Summer 2011 has come and gone, and with it the final Marvel Studios films left before the 2012 release of The Avengers. This is a historic event for comic book and cinema fans alike, with individual origin stories and character crossovers leading to a big-budget amalgamated event.

However, while there have been several films released so far, along with a couple viral shorts, the events of their stories revealed to not have been released in order of their actual occurrence withing the movie timeline. Here, I will attempt to straighten the chronology out and put the films in their proper viewing order, should any of the fans want to have a marathon in preparation for The Avengers, or simply want to make sure they're caught up before next summer.

Ordered by U.S. Theatrical Release Date
5/2/08 - Iron Man
6/13/08 - The Incredible Hulk
5/7/10 - Iron Man 2
5/6/11 - Thor
7/22/11 - Captain America: The First Avenger
5/4/12 - The Avengers

Ordered by Chronological Events
1) Captain America: The First Avenger
2) Hulk
3) Iron Man
4) The Incredible Hulk
5) The Consultant
6) A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Thor's Hammer
7) Thor
8) Iron Man 2

And before you object, allow me to clarify a few things.
First, the inclusion of Ang Lee's Hulk. This film came out in 2003 to box office success but critical failure. This simply wasn't the Hulk movie most people wanted, with a focus more on personal relationships and back-story and less on action (which I found to be a weird critique, given just how much action is in this film). However, while The Incredible Hulk did boast itself as a reboot and tied in to The Avengers, aside from a few brief rewrites of Hulk's origin, it basically picks up right where Hulk left off. If one wishes to get a better grip on the main characters of Hulk/Bruce Banner, his girlfriend Betty and her father General Ross, then I do recommend Hulk as a supplement to the Marvel Studios releases. Then again, I actually like this movie where many do not. Secondly, this is an approximation of the placement for the Agent Coulson shorts. Those actually would take place within the events of The Incredible Hulk and Thor, which brings me to my next point: Overlap.
The chronological list is nice for if you feel like throwing your DVDs or Blu-Rays and watching the films, but in an ideal world when I had time and capability to edit BluRay rips, I'd love to see the Avengers saga edited together into one, long chronological story.
If I were to do such a project, I think it'd play out something like this:

Captain America: The First Avenger
---starting with WWII era scenes, stop before modern day
Iron Man
--re-edited so opening flashback happens at the proper point in the film.
---stop before the scene of people trying to remove Mjolnir from the ground.
Iron Man 2
---stop after Agent Coulson leaves to go on a trip.
The Incredible Hulk
---stop after the 'blood falls into the bottle' scene
A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Thor's Hammer
The Incredible Hulk
---stop after Hulk's first encounter with soldiers Thor
---remaining scenes
The Incredible Hulk
---stop before Bruce/Betty get to NYC
Iron Man 2
---remaining scenes
The Incredible Hulk
---remaining scenes
Captain America: The First Avenger
---first scene (flashback), followed by Steve waking up in modern world.

Now, the Captain America final scene of him waking up in the modern world could play at the end of this series as well as maintaining it's place at the end of his film. That's a matter of preference, but I like the idea of having it as a bookend of this entire mess.

This is also a very basic cut. If I were truly to make this edit, I'd try to splice between the films wherever possible so we start to get a flow of jumping back and forth between various characters in their films. Given the passage of time in Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, these two are probably happening at around the same time. Iron Man 2 and Thor are definitely taking place during the same span of time, along with the Coulson shorts, so lots of intercutting would be required.

Anyway, I hope this has been an entertaining read and if you feel I've missed something or somehow got the order wrong, this is definitely open for debate!

Avengers Assemble!

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