Photos: A guide to ‘The Avengers’
Photos: A guide to ‘The Avengers’
IRON MAN (Robert Downey Jr.) ALTER EGO: Tony Stark, high-rolling industrialist. POWERS: Suit of weaponized armor that can fly, shoot missiles, and generally amp him up to kick supervillain butt. ORIGIN STORY: Critically wounded during a war zone visit, forcing him to invent Iron Man tech to help keep his heart ticking. In the process, his cocky demeanor got a jumpstart, too. FAB SUPERHERO ACCESSORY: The armor, of course -- given a next generation upgrade here. (iArmor?) NEMESIS: Bond-like megalomaniac the Mandarin -- who some speculate will feature in next year’s “Iron Man 3,” given recent casting talks with Ben Kingsley. REQUISITE ANGSTY HANGUP: Beneath all the bravado, he’s a guy with a pacemaker. JOINER OR LONER? Loves to party.
CAPTAIN AMERICA (Chris Evans) ALTER EGO: Steve Rogers. POWERS: Scientifically enhanced strength and combat skills. ORIGIN STORY: 98-pound weakling Rogers tired of getting sand kicked in his face and volunteered for a WWII supersoldier experiment. He was frozen in polar ice while saving the day decades ago; thawed out for Avengers duty. FAB SUPERHERO ACCESSORY: Indestructible red, white, and blue shield -- perfect for Nazi busting, or parade grand-marshaling. NEMESIS: Red Skull, the baddie who helped put him on ice. REQUISITE ANGSTY HANGUP: His wartime gal is long gone. (And just when he finally got buff, too.) JOINER OR LONER? Melancholy, but born to lead. Or reborn, anyway.
THOR (Chris Hemsworth) ALTER EGO: None onscreen (although the comics originally cast him as disabled doctor, Donald Blake). But feel free to call him thunder god, if you like. POWERS: Weather control, flight, you name it -- he’s the Avengers’ Superman. ORIGIN STORY: Asgardian prince sent to Earth from his celestial realm to learn humility. FAB SUPERHERO ACCESSORY: His mystical war hammer, Mjolnir -- a mallet good for plenty more than croquet or sealing paint cans. NEMESIS: Loki (Tom Hiddleston), god of trickery, the villain who sets “The Avengers” in motion. He’s also Thor’s adoptive brother. Talk about sibling rivalry. REQUISITE ANGSTY HANGUP: A lingering haughty feeling that he's slumming it here on “Midgard.” JOINER OR LONER? A god, sharing the stage with mere mortals? Oh, if he must.
THE HULK (Mark Ruffalo, with a CG assist) ALTER EGO: Bruce Banner, scientist. (Yes, another one.) POWERS: Brute force personified. Able to inspire abject fear just by offhandedly remarking, “You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.” ORIGIN STORY: Banner’s gamma-radiation experiment gone wrong left him living a transmogrification nightmare. FAB SUPERHERO ACCESSORY: Miracle-fabric pants affording him a flattering fit at bantamweight or half a ton. NEMESIS: In Ang Lee's 2003 “The Hulk”: Nick Nolte. In the 2008 reboot: the Abomination. Or is that redundant? REQUISITE ANGSTY HANGUP: His Dr. Jekyll guilt complex. JOINER OR LONER? That contemptuous “puny humans” catchphrase from the comics doesn't bode well.
HAWKEYE (Jeremy Renner) ALTER EGO: Clint Barton. POWERS: Archer -- human, but with a super-accurate marksman’s eye. ORIGIN STORY: Not yet established onscreen -- all we know is that in 2011’s “Thor,” he'd already been tapped by the feds to keep the thunder god in check. FAB SUPERHERO ACCESSORY: Trick arrows badass enough to make the opposition, well, quiver. NEMESIS: Whoever’s giving the team grief. REQUISITE ANGSTY HANGUP: What, no super strength? We might have an inferiority complex if we were him. JOINER OR LONER? Hard-nosed -- so who knows?
BLACK WIDOW (Scarlett Johansson) ALTER EGO: Natasha Romanoff, former Russian spy. POWERS: Like Hawkeye, merely human, but as dangerous as her codename. ORIGIN STORY: Classified -- duh. FAB SUPERHERO ACCESSORY: Leather that gets the bad guys looking -- right up until she karate kicks the leer off their faces. NEMESIS: Probably that leather, depending on the scene. REQUISITE ANGSTY HANGUP: Past espionage sins? Dealing with life in a boys’ club? JOINER OR LONER? We’ll guess joiner -- in the comics, she’s been paired with both Hawkeye and Daredevil, and she already provided backup in “Iron Man 2.”
NICK FURY (Samuel L. Jackson) ALTER EGO: N/A. POWERS: Unsurpassed espionage skills, and an Army sergeant presence that’s able to make even headstrong superheroes toe the line. (Great vengeance and furious anger, indeed.) ORIGIN STORY: War hero turned director of the government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division). FAB SUPERHERO ACCESSORY: A signature eyepatch that somehow doesn't diminish that cold stare. Oh, and the helicarrier, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s massive flying HQ. NEMESIS: Bureaucracy, no doubt. REQUISITE ANGSTY HANGUP: Will his disciplinarian-dad routine be enough to make this little dysfunctional family work, and save the world? JOINER OR LONER? In the comics, Fury’s old Army unit was known as the Howling Commandos -- and not for their howls of protest at the sarge. Joiner.