Now that “The Avengers” is a bona fide hit for Marvel Studios, the next question naturally becomes, “What’s next?”
We already know that “Iron Man 3” will be the next installment of Marvel’s rapidly growing cinematic universe, but along with sequels for “Captain America” and “Thor,” there are a few more elements I’d like to see added to the Marvel movie canon.
In no particular order, here are the top five things I’d like to see in Marvel’s cinematic future:
1. A new Hulk solo movie
After two mediocre films featuring Marvel’s green goliath in the space of five years, no one expected that he’d be the character we’d want to see more of after “The Avengers” — but that’s the case. Whether the credit goes to “Avengers” co-writers Joss Whedon and Zak Penn or Mark Ruffalo’s take on Bruce Banner, the end result is that the latest version of Hulk is the best we’ve seen on the big screen so far. Not only did we get some character development from both Banner and his monstrous alter ego, but “The Avengers” managed to expertly blend brutal action and clever humor whenever the character smashed his way into a scene.
I have a feeling I’m not alone in wanting to see more of this particular take on Hulk, so here’s hoping we get it in the near future.
2. The original Avengers, assembled
I loved the modern-day spin on how the Avengers came together, but the absence of some of the team’s best-known members in the comics world — including some of the team’s founders — was felt acutely by fans of the team’s comic-book counterpart. Over the course of the next few films and into “The Avengers” sequel, I’d love to see some of the other major players in Avengers canon be introduced to the cinematic universe, like Hank “Ant-Man” Pym (who’s likely to be introduced in Edgar Wright’s upcoming “Ant-Man” movie), Janet “Wasp” Van Dyne, and even some of the later members, like Vision.
3. Welcome to Avengers Mansion
The notion of a mansion in Manhattan where all the Avengers hang out might be a little quaint in the modern era, but there’s something to be said for what we learn about the team’s members when they not only save the world together, but live together, too. One of the most interesting parts of growing up with Avengers comics was seeing how the team lived, loved, and fought like housemates are prone to do when they were living in the confines of Avengers Mansion, and there was nothing more humanizing than to see these superheroes eating breakfast together (or shawarma) or playing a board game in their down time.
While we don’t need to see the classic Avengers Mansion make the transition to the big screen, it would be nice to see some element that gives us that human, personal side of these larger-than-life heroes.
4. A team is only as strong as its enemies
Sure, we’ve seen two big Marvel villains make the jump from page to screen with Loki and Red Skull, but what about some of the other, more frequent foes the team has faced in the Avengers comics? First and foremost on the list would likely be Ultron, the killer android created by founding member (in the comics, at least) Hank Pym. Ultron’s introduction could easily be paired with the arrival of Hank Pym in the Marvel movie-verse, with the latter introduced in the upcoming “Ant-Man” movie — possibly while working on a secret invention that will end up becoming Ultron.
If Marvel wants to go for broke, bring in fan-favorite villains like the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror or my personal favorite, M.O.D.O.K. We’ve already seen Arnim Zola (played by Toby Jones) in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” so it shouldn’t be too difficult to bring that character into the fold, either. Of course, the post-credits scene hints at a villain from the cosmic side of the Marvel universe, but that doesn’t mean any of the aforementioned bad guys are entirely off the table. After all, anything is possible in comics… and comic book movies.
5. Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
We’re six movies into Marvel’s cinematic universe, and we still don’t know all that much about Nick Fury, the head honcho of S.H.I.E.L.D. Given the character’s rich history in Marvel’s comics, it would be nice to see some of that back story emerge in Marvel’s live-action world, too. Sure, the Sam Jackson version of Nick Fury is significantly different than the original, cigar-chomping version of the character, but that doesn’t mean there are any fewer stories to tell. If the studio mines some of the old, noir-style spy stories from the character’s past and gives us a look at Nick Fury’s early years with S.H.I.E.L.D., we’ll have yet another character to cheer for the next time the Avengers assemble on the big screen.