The Centurions

The Avengers
Battle of New York

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Copyright 4 May 2012 Marvel Studios

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division), arrives at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, during an evacuation. The Tesseract, an energy source of unknown potential, has activated. It opens a portal through space and the exiled Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) steps through, carrying a strange spear with a blue glowing tip. Loki takes the Tesseract and uses the spear to take control of the minds of several SHIELD personnel, including Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) , and Agent Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner), to aid him in his getaway. SHIELD personnel pull out of their base when an energy surge from the Tesseract causes the ground beneath the base to collapse and destroying it. A short pursuit of Loki fails to capture him.

In response to the attack, Nick Fury issues a state of emergency, telling his top agents Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), that they are completely out of options. Fury pulls Romanoff and Coulson out of their respective assignments and sends them to find the heroes he needs to oppose Loki. Romanoff is found in Eastern Europe interrogating suspects, and Coulson pulls her off the assignment and sends her to find “the big guy”: Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), aka The Incredible Hulk. Banner has been living in exile in India working for a hospital in Calcutta helping sick people, and has found inner peace doing so. Romanoff tells Banner about the Tesseract and its’ destructive capabilities. As the world’s expert on gamma rays, Banner is their best chance to find the cube’s location.

During a video chat with the World Security Council, the superiors who run S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury is grilled about his plan to bring about the Avengers Initiative. The WSC are furious, saying that it’s the wrong thing to do and these people will never work together as a group. Fury says they have no other option and this is their only hope of defeating Loki. The superiors reluctantly agree.

Steve Rogers, (Chris Evans) on the other hand, is relatively easy to find. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping tabs on him since he was found in the ice and still alive. Fury goes to greet Rogers at his gymnasium where he finds he doesn’t sleep. Fury tells Rogers that he will find a briefing packet about what’s going on back at his apartment. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is seen in a new Iron Man armor that has underwater capabilities. He is installing a new electrical connection that will take his office building completely off the electrical grid allowing it to become self sustaining. He’s greeted at his office by Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who tells him that it’s date night. Tony wants Pepper to know how it feels to be a genius and after an argument about how much credit she should get for coming up with the Stark Tower idea, date night is off. Coulson arrives, and Tony quickly and repeatedly tries to cut him off. Coulson hands Tony a laptop with all the data on it about everything that’s going on. Pepper decides instead to go to Washington DC to get the zoning permits for the next two buildings for Stark Tower as it seems Tony has homework to do, and a lot of it.

On the airplane to the secured location – an aircraft carrier that can convert to a flying aircraft carrier, Coulson is telling Rogers about how it’s such an honor that they found him and tells him about his Captain America trading card collection. They then head to the helicarrier and Rogers is introduced to Dr. Bruce Banner. The two then wonder what kind of ride they’re in for. Rogers thinks it’s a submarine but the last thing Dr. Banner should be riding in is a submerged, pressurized metal container. The carrier takes off. On board, they are briefed that Dr. Selvig and Loki have been traced to Stuttgart, Germany.

Rogers’ first assignment is to go to Stuttgart to arrest Loki and bring him on board the helicarrier. Loki is at a formal black tie gala at an art museum where he is kidnapping a doctor who harbors the element they need to make the Tesseract work. While Dr. Selvig creates a distraction and Hawkeye kills the men guarding the building, Loki carries out his plan. Outside, he is instructing the civilians present that they need to kneel before him – or else, and that freedom is life’s great lie. He’s then confronted by Rogers in Captain America regalia, and later Tony makes his entrance to the tune of AC/DC’s “Shoot To Kill” with full Iron Man weapons drawn and daring Loki to make a move.

Loki quickly surrenders when the two heroes arrive, and while being flown to the high tech prison on board the helicarrier, the plane encounters a lighting storm. Rogers asks Loki if he’s afraid of lighting but Loki tells him it’s not the lightning that he’s afraid of. It’s what follows. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki’s half-brother and the Norse God of thunder, arrives and attempts to capture Loki so Loki can face Asguardian justice for his crimes (which will be more effective than Earth’s), but Thor gets into a fight with Rogers and Tony. The fight ends in a stalemate. Eventually, Loki is taken to the helicarrier and placed in a glass cell designed to hold the Hulk. Fury explains that if Loki attempts to escape, even by merely cracking the glass, a shaft will open below him and he’ll plummet to Earth and possibly be killed.

On board the aircraft carrier, the fully assembled Avengers squad is being briefed by Fury about what they think will possibly happen next. Loki is in prison and is interrogated by Agent Romanoff. Tony Stark arrives and it seems the only one of the group he really gets along with is Bruce Banner. While conducting experiments on Loki’s scepter, Stark tries to get a rise out of Banner so he can witness Banner’s famous party trick (read: turning into the Incredible Hulk). Banner flinches and then begins telling about how he’s been unable to fully harness his abilities and that he suffered depression after the accident. That’s why he moved to Calcutta, as helping people is what gives his life meaning.

The Avengers, now brought together, argue and deliberate over how to approach Loki and the revelation that SHIELD plans to harness the Tesseract’s power to develop weapons, a discovery made by Rogers. Fury admits that the events in New Mexico a year before (recounted in Thor) made SHIELD aware of other races on other worlds, some of whom may see Earth as an easy target. Thor is seen asking agent Coulson about what happened to Jane Foster. Coulson tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. has placed her in their witness protection program and that she’s in a safe zone in London.

The decision was made to produce weapons with the Tesseract as a means of deterrence. As the group argues, Clint Barton and Loki’s possessed agents attack the helicarrier, disabling one of its engines in flight. While Stark and Rogers attempt to restart the damaged engine, Romanoff tries to prevent Dr. Banner from turning into the Hulk and destroying the ship from inside. Her attempt fails and she’s chased through the ship until Thor takes up the battle to pacify the beast and manages to fell him briefly with a hit from his hammer, Mjolnir. While fighting Barton, Romanoff slams him into a guard rail, and the blow to the head breaks Loki’s mind control. After the Hulk falls from the ship, Thor is tricked into Loki’s holding cell by Loki himself, who has recovered his scepter and releases the cell and allows Thor to plummet. Loki is held at bay briefly by Agent Coulson but is also tricked by one of Loki’s holographic projections – Coulson is stabbed in the back by the real Loki. Coulson later shoots Loki with a blast from an unidentified weapon, one that harnesses the power of the Destroyer. Coulson dies while Fury tries to save his life. Thor escapes from the cell a split second before it hits the ground. Banner wakes up in his human form after crashing into an abandoned factory.

Fury uses Coulson’s apparent death to motivate the Avengers to work as a team. Stark and Rogers realize that simply defeating them will not be enough for Loki. He needs to overpower them in a very public way so as to validate himself as ruler of Earth. Using a device built by Dr. Selvig, Loki opens a portal to the Chitauri home world over Manhattan, summoning a Chitauri invasion. Once again the group’s petty differences overshadow their ability to communicate as a team, especially with Banner now missing. While in an argument with Rogers, Tony finally figures out that Loki is a full tilt diva, and that he’s obviously set up shop at the top of Stark’s office.

Natasha, unfortunately arrives too late just as Dr. Selvig has opened the portal. This unleashes Loki’s army and all hell breaks loose. The army is massive and they can’t all fight them off as much as they are entering the earth’s atmosphere. Tony Stark thankfully shows up, as does Bruce Banner. While fighting, Rogers dispatches NYPD cops to direct citizens into the underground tunnels and sewers. Meanwhile, the Hulk smashes, and Tony arrives at Stark Tower where he attempts to stall Loki with a drink which is used to threaten and intimidate him. As that’s going on, Tony has JARVIS prepare an under development version of Iron Man called MK18 which is contained in a giant box coded specifically for Tony and has advanced weapons capabilities. Loki refuses to cooperate, saying the destruction will continue as long as the citizens of earth don’t get that they need to be ruled by him. Loki attempts to take control of Stark by using his scepter on his heart to control his mind, but it fails thanks to Tony’s somewhat trusty Arc Reactor that keeps him alive.

The Avengers rally in defense of New York, but quickly come to the conclusion that they will be overwhelmed as wave after wave of Chitauri descend upon Earth. With help from the reformed Barton, Rogers and Thor evacuate civilians while Dr. Banner transforms into the Hulk and goes after Loki, beating him into submission in Tony Stark’s penthouse. Romanoff makes her way, with a little help from the Chitauri, to the device that holds the portal open (conveniently located on the roof of the Stark Building) and hits Dr. Selvig over the head, freeing him of Loki’s control. Dr. Selvig reveals that Loki’s staff can be used to close the portal.

As that’s happening, Hulk confronts Loki, who refuses to be intimidated by such a beast. As Rogers instructed, Hulk smashes Loki into near oblivion. That allows Romanoff to grab the scepter and head to the roof to shut down the portal. While Romanoff is securing the portal, Stark is securing the perimeter. Meanwhile, with Fury on a conference call to the council, Fury berates the council’s decision to launch a nuclear missile at Manhattan. Fury tries everything possible to stop the council from launching nukes, even destroying two jets that are taking off from the helicarrier. Unfortunately as he’s about to fire on a third, it gets away and launches a nuclear weapon.

Tony intercepts the missile and he knows exactly where to put it – he flies it into the portal. While in the portal, Stark instructs JARVIS to try Pepper one last time. Unfortunately the call fails as Pepper is on a plane and glued to the TV with other Stark Industries executives. Tony launches the nuke at the Chitauri mothership, completely destroying the invasion. All the invading aliens collapse and are rendered useless. Stark sees the nuke go just as he runs out of oxygen and falls to what appears to be certain doom. Thankfully he manages to escape the portal just as Romanoff is able to successfully close it. Once back in the atmosphere it looks like Tony isn’t going to make it, but is saved by the Hulk thanks to incredible timing. A dazed Stark, awakened by the Hulk’s roar, offers to take the team out for shawarma, but they decide to apprehend Loki first. The Avengers go their separate ways. Romanoff, Rogers, and Hawkeye return to working for S.H.I.E.L.D., Tony and Pepper are seen rebuilding Stark Tower and are working on the next phase of the project. Thor escorts Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard where Loki will stand multiple trials for war crimes from both Asgard and the Chitauri. Meanwhile, multiple TV news reports recap the events surrounding the Avengers, and while they’ve become worldwide heroes for to some for their efforts in New York, others are fearful and want to know who will take responsibility for the devastation.

On another video conference call with the World Security Council, Fury is being congratulated, but they also grill him that now their secret’s out, this group is too dangerous for the world to handle. And Fury is glad – what happened in New York is a warning. A warning to all galaxies that if they try to attack earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. is there to defend it. And they have just the team. Fury also tells the S.H.I.E.L.D. board that the Avengers’ whereabouts are no longer being tracked. They’ve earned a leave of absence, but will be called back when needed. He also tells the council that the Tesseract is where no one on earth will ever be able to find it.

In a mid-credits scene, the Chitauri leader the Other tells his master that it is futile to attack Earth, as fighting the Avengers is like courting death. His master turns, revealing himself to be Thanos.

After further credits, the Avengers are shown eating together in a shawarma joint; the team looks worn out and no one speaks.

’Nuff said.

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Captain America
The First Avenger

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Copyright 22 July 2011 Marvel Studios

Bright headlights cut through a thick sheet of snow-flakes. A scientist, bundled as warmly as possible, treks through the sleet. Two other men, in matching black cold-weather uniforms, approach the scientist. He leads them to an excavation site which is easily the size of a football field; at the center of the site appears to be a giant wing and fuselage. The black-suited men cut through the fuselage of the mystery craft and enter. Inside they find the remains of a massive, frozen ship. One of the men brushes away at the snow and sees a shimmering red, white, and blue shield encased in ice.

Tonsberg, Norway, 1942:

Two caretakers for an ancient Viking ruin listen as their town is overrun by Nazis. Suddenly the front door blasts open and in flood multiple Nazi agents. One of the caretakers is killed in the blast and the other frantically begs that the soldiers leave him in peace. They pay no attention to the old man and instead open the building’s crypts one-by-one. They come to one sarcophagus whose lid is too heavy to lift. A dark figure appears in the exploded entryway. Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), a high-ranking Nazi and leader of the HYDRA sect, nonchalantly enters. He crosses the room, comes to the difficult-to-open sarcophagus and easily pushes the lid free. Within he finds the skeletal remains of an old Viking clutching a glass cube (the Tesseract). The caretaker pleads for Schmidt to leave it. Schmidt scoffs and tells how this cube would be the jewel of Odin’s treasury if it weren’t a fake. He smashes it on the floor and goes to the caretaker, asking where the real cube reposes. The caretaker initially refuses but under threat of harm to his family, he relents, gesturing to a hidden drawer across the room. Schmidt pries the drawer open and finds the real, glowing cube concealed within. Schmidt orders his men to shell the city and then shoots the luckless caretaker.

At a recruiting station in Brooklyn, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a 20-something, 90 lb, 5-foot tall asthmatic eagerly awaits the opportunity to enlist in the United States Army. The army doctor gives a once-over to Steve’s medical file, which reads like that of a 90 year old man, and rejects Steve’s application as the military 4-F, as this is his fourth failed attempt to enlist.

Distraught Steve heads to the movies. He envies the enlisted men featured in the pre-show newsreel, and watches as other audience members tear up. A loud-mouthed, impatient movie-goer begins yelling at the screen “Start the movie! I didn’t pay to see this crap!” Steve tells the man to shut up, and is surprised as the man turns around, stands up and towers above him. In the alley behind the theater the bully savagely beats little Steve. Skinny Steve bravely fights back, but is easily overpowered. James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Steve’s best friend, comes running to the alley. He swiftly kicks the bully away and tends to Steve, who is annoyed that Bucky showed up and got rid of the bully right as Steve got his second wind. “Bucky” is now an enlisted-man. His application was accepted and he’s been assigned to the 107th infantry.

In a celebratory mood, Bucky invites Steve to go dancing with a pair of girls on a double date. Bashfully, Steve tags along. The four head to the World’s Fair in Queens. While Bucky canoodles with his dates, Steve watches as playboy inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) unsuccessfully demonstrates a flying car. Steve breaks away from the group and goes to another recruiting station. Bucky catches up with him and asks how Steve intends to forge his application this time. Unbeknownst to them both, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) while passing by, eavesdrops on their conversation. He is fascinated by the gumption of Steve. Bucky wishes Steve good luck on his latest application and Steve heads in to the recruiting station for his fifth physical. Inside Steve sits on an examination table and grows nervous when an MP enters the room, and is soon followed by Dr. Erskine. Dr. Erskine has all of Steve’s prior applications, and recognizing Steve’s strong will and unwavering conviction, he accepts his latest application.

In a secret military installation high in the Alps, Johann Schmidt brings the glowing cube to Dr. Arnim Zola, his Hydra weapon specialist. The cube’s seemingly limitless power enables Schmidt and Dr. Zola to power unstoppable energy guns and cannons.

Meanwhile, Steve has been enlisted into basic training under the careful watch of Dr. Erskine and Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). He and his platoon are told that they are candidates for the government’s latest Super Soldier program. Phillips is unimpressed with Steve and is vexed by Dr. Erskine’s interest in him. During basic training Steve meets a beautiful, but serious British officer, Peggy Carter (Haley Atwell), who seems to pity Steve. Despite being the smallest and weakest of the platoon, Steve demonstrates the greatest spirit and selflessness. Phillips, still unconvinced, tosses a grenade into the group, and is surprised when Steve alone leaps on top of it, willing to sacrifice himself to save the others, before discovering that the grenade was a dummy. Phillips concedes to Erskine’s decision.

That evening Dr. Erskine speaks with Steve. The two bond over a bottle of Schnapps and Dr. Erskine reveals that this is not his first time performing this experiment. He tells a story of how as a scientist in Germany, he was ordered by Johann Schmidt to create a serum that would give a man god-like strength. Dr. Erskine created an early version of the serum he intends to use on Steve, only when Schmidt injected himself his body’s skin corroded away, leaving him as a sinewy red skeleton. Undeterred by the risk, Steve agrees to follow through with the procedure.

The following morning Steve and Peggy wind their way through Brooklyn and come to a stop in front of an old antique shop. Along the way Steve points out various parts in Brooklyn where he’s been beaten up. She asks him why he never ran away. He responds that running away, in his mind, was an invitation for further abuse.

The two enter the antique shop, exchange pass-codes with an old woman manning the register and descend into a secret military bunker concealed within. Peggy leads Steve to the heart of the bunker where they find Dr. Erskine preparing a medical capsule along with Howard Stark, and Colonel Phillips rubbing elbows with senators and dignitaries. Steve is told to remove his shirt and sit in the capsule. Stark describes that the procedure will first mean injecting muscle re-generators into Rogers’ major muscle groups which will then be bombarded with “vita rays.” Carter bids Steve good luck and joins Phillips in the overhead viewing chamber. Erskine’s serum is injected into Steve’s muscles and Steve is enclosed within the vita ray capsule. The capsule glows brightly, Steve yells in pain but also tells them to continue and the procedure is quickly completed. Steve exits the capsule a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier with solid muscle.

Everybody, including Phillips, celebrates the success of the procedure, and descends from the viewing chamber to congratulate Erskine. A lone dignitary, in actuality a German spy named Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage), stays behind, placing a small satchel on a chair. Moments later the viewing gallery explodes. Kruger descends the stairs and fatally shoots Dr. Erskine twice. He swiftly kills the guards and flees onto the streets with Peggy in hot pursuit. Steve tends to a dying Dr. Erskine, who has just enough energy to point to Steve’s heart; Erskine passes. Steve bolts out of the bunker, in pursuit of Kruger.

In the street Peggy pursues Kruger, and easily kills his getaway driver. Kruger steals a taxi and aims to run over Peggy. Steve arrives in the nick of time, saving her from being killed by the on-coming taxi. Steve pursues the taxi on foot, running faster than a normal human can (and not suffering the fatigue even a healthy man would). He leaps onto the roof of the taxi, dodges Kruger’s gunfire and the two come to a crashing stop at the Brooklyn docks. Kruger shoots at Steve, who holds the star-imprinted door of the wrecked cab in front of him as a shield. Kruger flees to his Hydra sub, which dives underwater just as Steve arrives. Steve dives after the sub, punches a hole through the cockpit’s glass and yanks Kruger to the surface. Kruger tells Steve that he is the first of many, that Rogers can “cut off one head,” but two more take it’s place." He then kills himself with a cyanide capsule hidden in a fake tooth, letting out one last “Heil HYDRA!” before dying.

Meanwhile, Schmidt and Dr. Zola are visited by a trio of Hitler’s top commanders, tasked with inspecting Schmidt’s operation. They ridicule Schmidt, saying that the Nazi party no longer takes him and HYDRA seriously due to his obsession with magic and the occult and playfully refer to him as “The Red Skull”, a name that infuriates Schmidt. Schmidt takes the three to his weapons lab where they are shown his unstoppable energy weapons and a strategic map of Europe dotted with targets. One of the three notices a target hovering over Berlin and confronts Schmidt. Schmidt quickly vaporizes the three Nazi officers. Schmidt announces that HYDRA has disbanded from the Nazi party and is now enemies with the world.

The following day Phillips and Carter pick up the remains of Dr. Erskine’s lab. Both are despondent because the only man able to produce the super soldier serum was Dr. Erskine. Steve is eager to go the front lines of the European Theatre but Phillips would rather he be a lab-rat than a soldier in his army. Steve is approached by a senator holding a newspaper of the prior day’s events, emblazoned with a front-page photo of Steve chasing down Heinz Kruger. Steve has become an overnight celebrity and the Senator has an idea that will be mutually beneficial.

Steve is enlisted in the USO (United Service Organizations), and travels around the Midwest performing musical numbers in a shoddy red, white and blue costume while carrying a triangle-shaped shield bearing the stars-and-stripes. He takes on the name “Captain America” and the show includes a theme song written specifically for him, features dancing girls and a short segment where he punches out Hitler, played by an actor. Captain America becomes an overnight success, spawning comic books and black and white movies. His antics drum up revenue for the USO.

Steve is soon taken overseas, to Italy, where he is to continue entertaining the troops. Upon his arrival the surly and war-torn men tease him and tell him to get lost. He is soon met by Carter, who along with Phillips, is overseeing European Theatre of the war. She tells him that the men are unhappy because many men from their division, the 107th Infantry, have been killed in battle. Steve realizes that this is Bucky’s division, and quickly runs to see Phillips. Phillips is unable to find Bucky’s name on his casualty list and tells Steve to go back to his job as a movie star and a cheerleader. Steve asks Carter where the men, and Bucky, are being held. She shows him a map, and a known HYDRA weapons factory 30-40 miles behind enemy lines. Steve hastily pulls on a pair of army trousers and leather jacket over his Captain America costume, and a blue helmet with a white ‘A’ stamped on the front. He aims to steal a jeep and drive into HYDRA’s back yard, but she has a better idea.

Howard Stark flies them both over the battlefield in his private propeller plane. Steve surmises that Stark and Carter have a relationship and bashfully withholds his feelings for her. Just as AAA guns from HYDRA begin firing on Stark’s plane, Steve parachutes in, while the other two escape back to safety. Steve stealthily makes his way into the HYDRA base, taking out numerous guards in the process.

Inside, Schmidt and Arnim Zola are manufacturing enough weapons to wipe out every capital in the world. Steve makes his way to the holding cells where he sees hundreds of imprisoned men from the 107th. He frees the men and tells them to make a “messy” exit. Under the leadership of the “Howling Commandos” the prisoners manage to overpower their captors, steal guns and tanks, and escape from the facility, destroying much of it. Schmidt watches Steve by CCTV, and quickly realizes that he must be Erskine’s man. He quickly activates several explosive charges that will level the base.

Steve makes his way through the facility and happens across Bucky, who is tied down to an operating table. There, he also notices an oversized tactical map mounted on the wall, with various marked installations. Steve frees Bucky, who is surprised to see that Steve is taller than him, and commits the map to memory.

The two head up the catwalks and find themselves face-to-face with Schmidt on a retractable bridge. Rogers punches Schmidt in the face who surprisingly stands his ground. Schmidt plays with his face, as it has apparently come free from his skull and quickly peels it away as a mask. The Red Skull stares back at Rogers and Bucky and swiftly enters an elevator. In the elevator The Red Skull tells Arnim Zola to meet him at another one of Hydra’s bases and to take his car. The Red Skull escapes the exploding facility in a private plane while Zola sneaks away in Schmidt’s roadster. Inside Steve and Bucky have a huge divide to cross to their freedom. Bucky crosses a trembling, buckling support beam and manages to cross to safety moments before the beam plummets into the fire below. Left with no other option, Steve backs up as far as he can and leaps over the burning chasm.

Back at the 107th base camp, Phillips dictates a letter to his typist, telling how Rogers disappeared the prior night and likely perished during the battle. Just then Rogers arrives, with nearly 400 survivors of the 107th, leaving the base in a fervor. Rogers submits himself to Phillips for disciplinary action for going out in direct violation of orders, but is forgiven.

The news of “Captain America’s” success on the battlefield is swept over the world. In London, Steve gives Phillips and Carter his best recollection of the HYDRA base map and tells them that he intends to go to those bases and destroy them one-by-one and wishes to recruit a team of men made up of those he liberated in Italy. Steve meets the Howling Commandos in a bar and they eagerly accept the offer. While there all the men are surprised as Peggy enters dressed in a form-fitting cocktail dress. She ignores all the men, including Bucky, and flirts with Steve, telling him that she’d love to have a dance with him some day.

The next day Steve is summoned to the Brooklyn bunker to see Phillips and Stark. Steve is approached by a beautiful female officer who wishes to thank him for his service the best way she knows how. Peggy walks in on Steve kissing the enlisted-woman and angrily storms away. Steve apologetically follows her to Stark’s lab, insisting that he gets nervous around women and asks why he should apologize if Carter and Stark have a thing going. Stark quickly shoots down the rumored relationship and takes Steve to his weapons engineering lab. He remarks that Rogers has become attached to the triangular shield, which Steve says is a handy tool in the field. On a table are several prototype shields with sophisticated components, however Steve finds a plain, circular shield. Stark explains that the shield is made of a metal called “vibranium”, which is lighter than steel and is vibration resistant and will absorb heavy impacts. He holds the shield in front of him and asks Peggy for his opinion. She playfully/scornfully fires a clip at the shield, which Steve ducks behind. The shield passes the improvised test admirably. As she walks off, Steve passes a sketch of a uniform to Stark.

Steve dresses in red, white and blue fatigues, dons a blue form-fitting helmet and stows the newly-colored shield onto his back. Captain America and his soldiers, including Bucky, make their way across Europe, flattening Hydra’s bases one-by-one, with Rogers becoming quite skilled at using the shield as a projectile weapon. News of his exploits reach the Red Skull and Zola.

High in the Alps, Steve and his men have a mission to capture Zola in his personal train. Three member of the team: Cap, Bucky and Gabe Jones (Derek Luke) zip-line across a massive chasm and storm the train car-by-car. Soon Cap and Bucky are cornered by heavily armed Hydra soldiers. They narrowly defeat the soldiers, however Bucky is tossed from the train and plummets into an icy river below. Zola is apprehended.

Zola sits in a prison cell and is visited by Colonel Phillips, who carries with him a steak dinner for Zola. Zola rejects the meal, impressed with the idea that it must be poisoned. Phillips shrugs and eats the meal. He tells Zola that he broadcast an easily decodable message, which has certainly been intercepted by HYDRA, saying that Zola had defected. He also knows that Zola is easy to bargain with since he’s the sole HYDRA agent they’ve captured who hasn’t taken his cyanide capsule to avoid disclosing information. Zola, fearing that the lie will result in his death by the Red Skull, concedes to Phillips and tells him information of the Red Skull’s only remaining HYDRA base.

Rogers sulks in a war-ravaged bar. Carter arrives and comforts Steve, after losing his best friend. Steve realizes that Dr. Erskine’s serum rapidly regrows dead cells, rendering it impossible for Steve to get drunk. The two flirt a bit and talk about having a dance, once again.

Rogers and his team prepare a battle plan to take down Red Skull at his headquarters. Rogers, dressed in a new uniform, mounts a Harley and charges the base. He easily dodges HYDRA soldiers and tanks and finds himself within the base, surrounded by a HYDRA army. He is taken into custody and led to the Red Skull’s private weapons lab. Red Skull asks what makes Steve so special. Steve says “Nothing. I’m just a kid from Brooklyn.” moments before members of his team zipline into Red Skull’s office.

A climatic firefight ensues as hundreds of soldiers, under the direction of Phillips and Carter storm the base, killing many HYDRA soldiers. Red Skull flees to his private hangar, in which a gigantic flying wing is preparing for take off. Steve attempt to catch up with the plane on foot, but is unable. Phillips and Carter arrive, behind the wheel of Skull’s roadster, and the three take off after the plane. Just as Steve is about to leap onto the plane Peggy stops him and kisses him. Steve leaps from the roadster onto one of the plane’s massive wheels. He sneaks into the craft where he finds dozens of kamikaze planes/missiles, each labeled with a different major American city. Hydra soldiers soon enter the room and Steve battles them, taking out numerous men and tiny planes. One of the planes, labeled New York, drops free. Steve takes off after it and manages to commandeer the craft and crashes it back into the flying wing.

Inside the large cockpit, Captain America and Red Skull have a fisticuffs battle. Red Skull fires his cube-energy pistol at Steve who easily deflects the shots using his shield. A shot is deflected into one of the cockpit’s center consoles which contains the glowing blue cube. The console is damaged and Skull lifts the cube into the air. Suddenly a portal opens above him, showing starry space. The Red Skull glows brightly and is seemingly disintegrated. His remains are swept up into the cosmos. The cube, still glowing brightly, drops to the ground and burns its way down through the plane’s hull before plummeting into the ocean below. Steve mans the plane’s controls and radios Carter. He tells her that the plane is on a flight-path that will take them to the Eastern Seaboard. He tells her that their dance will have to wait. He pushes the plane into a dive and crashes it into a glacier below. Peggy can only hear static.

Steve awakens in a 1940’s hospital. An old-fashioned radio transmits the play-by-play of a Brooklyn Dodgers game. He gets up, looks out the windows and watches as the hospital door opens. A young nurse (Amanda Righetti) who bares a striking resemblance to Peggy enters. She waits for a response from Steve, who suspiciously looks at her. He asks why the radio is playing a game from May 1941… specifically, a game that he knows he attended. She reaches into her pocket and withdraws a two-way radio. Two tall soldiers in black uniforms enter the room, and Steve easily tosses them through a wall. Steve steps through the hole and is surprised to see that the ‘hospital’ is in fact a movie-set. He runs through the dark corridors, pushes a door open and appears in a modern skyscraper, bustling with people in business suits. He flees the building and finds himself in Times Square, circa 2011. He peers around, shocked by his surroundings, and watches as numerous matching black SUVs encircle him.

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) steps out and carefully speaks to Steve. He tells him that he’s been asleep, in ice, for 70 years, in a state of suspended animation. The hospital set was meant to gradually introduce him to modern society. Still perplexed, Steve breathes heavily and sadly tells Fury that he had a date, since everyone else he used to know in the 1940s, is long dead or very old now.

In a post credit scene, Steve is in an old-fashioned gym. He pummels a punching bag so hard that he knocks it off it’s chain and sends it flying across the room. Fury enters the gym, and asks Steve if he’s had trouble sleeping. Steve cynically asks if Fury has come with another mission. Fury replies to the positive.

Suddenly we see images of all the superheroes, whom include Steve/Captain America, Thor (from the movie of the same name), Tony Stark (from the ‘Ironman’ movies), Hawkeye, Black Widow, Bruce Banner (from ‘The Incredible Hulk’) and other Shield agents preparing for battle. Fury, tells him that “They’re up.” His personal mission to build an army of superheroes is complete, previewing The Avengers.

’Nuff said.

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X-Men
First Class

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Copyright 3 June 2011 20th Century Fox

At a German concentration camp in occupied Poland during 1944, young Erik Lensherr is separated from his parents by Nazi guards. The child’s desperate mind remarkably bends a metal gate until a guard knocks Lensherr unconscious (a recreation of the opening scene of the first X-Men movie). Scientist Sebastian Shaw, who has observed this incident through a window, calls Lensherr up to see him. Placing a metal coin on a desk, he orders Lensherr to use his power to move it. When Lensherr cannot, despite his best efforts, Shaw shoots and kills Lensherr’s mother in front of him. In his rage, Lensherr’s out-of-control magnetic power kills the two guards and destroys two rooms, to Shaw’s delight. Shaw tells Lensherr that they will “have fun” developing the boy’s power.

Around this same time, in a Westchester County, New York, mansion, young Charles Xavier is awoken when he thinks he hears a burglar break in. He heads down to the kitchen and finds a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven Darkhölme, disguised as his mother, who is looking through the fridge for food. Using his mind to talk to Raven, Xavier accuses his “mother” of being an imposter, and asks what it has done with his real mother, as she would not make him a sandwich or hot chocolate. Raven shifts back to her normal, blue-skinned form. Overjoyed to meet someone else “different” like him, Xavier invites her in.

In 1962, Lensherr goes to Switzerland and forces a banker (by ripping out one of the metal fillings in his mouth) to trace a bar of Nazi gold to Shaw’s address in Argentina. In a tavern there patronized by former German soldiers, Lensherr kills three men as he learns that Shaw owns a yacht in Florida. Meanwhile, in England, Xavier has graduated from Oxford and is publishing his thesis on mutation; Raven is now his foster sister and works as a waitress. Simultaneously in Las Vegas, Nevada, CIA agent Moira MacTaggart follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Shaw, Emma Frost, Riptide and Azazel. Shaw calmly threatens Hendry, telling him that the Colonel should reverse his position on advocating that the U.S. install nuclear missiles in Turkey, a move the government had previously avoided so as not to provoke war with the Soviet Union. When Hendry refuses, Shaw has Riptide demonstrate his power to conjure tornadoes from thin air and hurls Hendry into a wall. Convinced, Shaw has Azazel teleport Hendry to the President’s War Room, where he supports the missile placement in Turkey.

Shaw later meets with Colonel Hendry on his yacht, and refuses to give Hendry his money, at which point Hendry pulls out a grenade and threatens to pull the pin and kill himself and everyone on the boat’s deck. Shaw takes the grenade and pulls the pin himself, and absorbs the blast — Shaw is a mutant, and absorbs energy, which also keeps him young, then taps Hendry, expelling the grenade’s energy into the Colonel, destroying him.

MacTaggart seeks Xavier’s advice on mutation, and takes Xavier and Raven to the CIA to convince the chief that Shaw is a threat. After convincing them that mutants exist, they are to be taken to a covert facility, but first Xavier insists they track down Shaw. Shaw is aboard his yacht relaxing with Frost and Riptide when Lensherr appears. Frost uses her telepathy to pacify Erik and pushes him overboard.

Lensherr attacks Shaw, using the anchors and chains of the yacht to tear the boat apart. When Shaw escapes in a submarine hidden below the upper decks of the boat, Lensherr tries to stop him, his ability to control metal pulling him along in the water. Xavier stops him so that he does not drown, speaking to him telepathically and telling him it’s useless to follow Shaw. Lensherr joins Xavier and Raven at the CIA facility, where they meet Hank McCoy, another mutant that Xavier accidentally outs. McCoy and Xavier use a prototype Cerebro to locate mutants and recruit several of them to train to stop Shaw. During the recruiting process, we also see Xavier and Lensherr trying to talk to Logan (Wolverine) in a bar. He promptly tells them to go to hell, and they walk off.

Shaw plans to meet with a Russian general, but sends Frost instead, who is then captured by Xavier and Lensherr. Lensherr tortures her briefly and Xavier taps into Frost’s mind and finds out that Shaw plans to start a nuclear war between the US and Russia in order to wipe out all normal humans. Back in the US, the CIA facility is attacked by Azazel, Riptide and Shaw, who kill all the guards and agents present. Shaw offers the new mutants to a place on his side, but most of them refuse. He recruits Angel and kills Darwin by forcing him to ingest a massive amount of energy when he tries to fight back. When Lensherr and Xavier return they all go to Xavier’s mansion and begin to train, though Raven is conflicted about hiding her natural form. Hank creates a vaccine that is supposed to turn his and Raven’s appearance normal, however, when Hank takes it there are unexpected side effects: his mutant physical features are enhanced; he now has blue skin, blue fur and is several times stronger. The newly assembled X-Men team boards a specialized SR-71 Blackbird jet modified by Hank and fly out to the Caribbean.

President Kennedy institutes a blockade of a Russian fleet in the Caribbean Sea. Shaw travels with the Russian fleet to ensure that the missiles get to Cuba. Xavier, MacTaggart and Lensherr fly to the blockade to stop the fleets from engaging. Wearing a special helmet given him by the Soviets that blocks out telepathic interference, Shaw uses the sub’s nuclear core to charge himself up. While Azazel kills the crew of the Russian missile ship, Xavier uses his powers to make a Russian officer on one of the escort ships fire a missile and destroy the cargo ship carrying the Soviet weapons before it crosses the demarcation line established by the United States.

With Xavier’s help, Lensherr pulls Shaw’s submarine from the water, but an attack by Riptide forces the X-jet and submarine to crash on a nearby beach. Xavier desperately tries to locate Shaw with his telepathic ability but is unable while Shaw is in the reactor room of the sub and wears his helmet. Lensherr goes after Shaw and finds him in the sub’s reactor room. The two battle furiously and the shielding around the chamber cracks, allowing Xavier to locate Shaw. Lensherr tries to overcome Shaw with the metal in the room but Shaw counters with his own telekinesis and pins Lensherr to the wall. Suddenly, Lensherr plucks Shaw’s helmet from his head with a length of cable and Xavier is able to freeze Shaw in place. Lensherr puts on the helmet to block out Xavier’s telepathy and admits that he agrees with everything Shaw believes about mutants and humans and how he never would have developed his power if Shaw hadn’t forced him to. Eric, however, is still vengeful about Shaw’s murder of his mother and kills Shaw by slowly forcing the coin that Shaw taunted him with as a child through his brain while Xavier screams, experiencing the act himself. Eric exits the wrecked submarine with Shaw’s body and announces to his fellow mutants that the humans in both fleets are their real enemies and that the mutants should band together to fight them. Xavier pleads with Eric to end the campaign but he fails.

The two fleets fire their missiles and shells at the mutants on the beach, but Lensherr, now fully in control of his abilities, stops the projectiles in mid-flight and then turns them on the fleet. In the ensuing fight Xavier manages to distract Lensherr, but when MacTaggart fires at Lensherr he deflects the bullets, with one striking Xavier in the lower spine. The missiles and shells all fall into the ocean or explode. Lensherr removes the bullet from Charles’ back but, more furious than before, begins to choke MacTaggart with the chain holding her ID tags, blaming her for Xavier’s injury. Xavier tells Erik that Moira is not the one responsible and Erik relents, realizing he injured his friend. Erik releases Moira, who rushes to Xavier’s side.

Lensherr takes Raven, Angel, Riptide and Azazel and leaves, having convinced them that humans are their enemies. Xavier, now confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and his fellow mutants return to the mansion, where he will open a school. He wipes MacTaggart’s memory. MacTaggart reports to her superiors but has nothing to tell them, knowing that Charles had erased her memory of all recent events.

At CIA headquarters, Emma Frost sits alone in a specialized holding cell. The door is suddenly ripped from it’s frame and Erik walks in, his new recruits waiting just outside. He is wearing a new uniform and a newer version of the helmet he’d stolen from Shaw. He tells Frost to call him “Magneto.”

’Nuff said.

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Thor
Introducing Valhalla

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Copyright 6 May 2011 Marvel Studios

Three scientists, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), are in the New Mexico desert in a four-wheel drive van studying an aurora-borealis-type phenomenon. Suddenly a large tornado/lightning storm develops and they drive towards it. The van hits a man inside the maelstrom and they stop. The man, a well-built & handsome blond, is semi-conscious.

A voice-over describes a battle in 900 AD between the Jötuns, the frost giants of Jötunheim, and Asgardians; the Asgardians win, seize the power casket, and return to their realm. The speaker is Odin (Anthony Hopkins) talking to his two sons, one the energetic blond Thor, the other a more thoughtful dark-haired boy named Loki. Odin says both of them are worthy but only one can be king.

Years later Asgard is having an elaborate ceremony. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now being formally recognized as the crown prince of Asgard. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) looks on enviously. Before Odin can make the proclamation, alarms go off; there are intruders in the secure rooms that hold the Jotens’ power casket. A large Destroyer robot kills the intruders and saves the power casket. Examining the remains, Odin seems unperturbed, yet Thor is angry and wants to attack. Odin forbids him.

Thor gathers Loki and his close friends, Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Josh Dallas), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), and Sif (Jaimie Alexander), and they ride out to the Bifrost Bridge portal. The guardian, Heimdall (Idris Elba), allows them to pass and the six are transported to the frost giant planet, Jötunheim, a frozen, crumbling wasteland. Suddenly they are confronted by King Laufey (Colm Feore), who taunts the Asgardian heroes. More frost giants surround the six and a battle starts. Loki survives with some magic and has an unusual reaction when he is touched by a frost giant. Laufey releases a huge beast and the Asgardians run for their lives. Thor kills the beast but once again the team are surrounded and things look desperate. Odin arrives to save the day; he apologizes to Laufey for the intrusion and attempts to reinstate peace, but Laufey states that they are beyond diplomacy, that the Frost Giants are now at war with Asgard. He attempts to stab Odin, who blasts Laufey back and takes the young group home.

Back at the Asgard side of the portal, Odin lets the four friends go and confronts Thor and Loki. Odin is furious that Thor has dragged Asgard back into war, and tells Thor he is not fit to be king. He strips him of his power, banishes him to Earth and sends his hammer, Mjolnir, after him a few seconds later, saying that whosoever wields the hammer, and is worthy of it, shall have the power of Thor.

Earth: Thor gets a little aggressive and Darcy tazes him, knocking him out. The three scientists load him into their van and take him to the hospital. Once again he starts fighting as he wakes up and he’s eventually tranquilized. Erik tries to get Jane to leave him be, saying he is some kind of nut, but she is curious, and attracted to him. They go back to the hospital but Thor has escaped. As they drive off in the van, they hit the Asgardian man again and knock him out but this time they take him with them. Jane gives him civilian clothes that belonged to her ex-boyfriend. After overhearing locals discussing a satellite crash 50 miles due west, Thor decides to go there and once again Erik tries to get Jane to leave him alone. Thor walks about the town and tries to get a horse in a pet store. Jane appears and gives him a ride; the two head west in the van.

At the satellite crash site — actually the place where Thor’s hammer came to earth — a crowd has gathered; people are partying and trying to lift the hammer from the crater. Stan Lee cameos as one of the locals trying to pull the hammer out with his pickup truck. Government agents from SHIELD take over the site and confiscate Jane’s research notes and computers. After dark, Jane and Thor arrive on the scene. Now the crater is surrounded by guards and tenting. Thor attacks and Jane huddles in safety. After beating up several agents, Thor finally reaches the hammer, but is unable to lift it. He howls at his powerlessness and slumps to the ground, putting up no fight as SHIELD agents close in and take him.

Asgard: Thor’s four friends begin to suspect Loki had something to do with Thor’s banishment. Loki realizes he is not a pure Asgardian and Odin admits Loki was taken from Jötunheim as an infant and raised as his own. Loki is confused and angry as Odin falls into a coma (“Odinsleep”). Loki becomes acting king.

Earth: Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) questions Thor, and when he leaves him alone briefly, Loki appears in the room. Loki tells Thor that Odin is dead and he cannot come back to Asgard. Thor is distraught. Erik arrives to tell the SHIELD agents Thor is Jane’s ex-husband and is under the influence of steroids. Somehow he has faked a driver’s license. Coulson lets Erik take Thor, who surreptitiously grabs Jane’s notebook on the way out. Back in town Erik takes Thor out for a drink; the two chug boilermakers and bond. Thor brings the drunk Erik to Jane’s trailer. Thor and Jane go to a rooftop to gaze at the stars, and Thor explains the nine realms and the Bifrost Bridge to Jane. Jane figures the bridge is the theoretical Einstein-Rosen Bridge wormhole.

Asgard: Loki freezes Heimdall, then meets Laufey. It was Loki who let the frost giants into Asgard to try to retrieve the power casket earlier. He makes a deal with Laufey that he will let them into Asgard again to kill Odin and have their casket, and in return they will go home in peace. Loki commands the Destroyer to go to Earth and kill Thor.

Earth: The Destroyer arrives in the New Mexico desert and starts blasting everything with a heat ray. Thor and the three scientists attempt to get everyone away safely. Thor confronts the Destroyer and asks Loki to leave the humans alone in return for himself. Loki can see and hear what is going on from Asgard. The Destroyer gives Thor a vicious backhand slap and sends him tumbling, apparently dead. Jane runs to the body in tears. However, Thor’s selfless act of protecting his friends proves him worthy to once again wield Mjolnir, which frees itself from the crater and returns to Thor’s hand. He is restored to full life and vigor and once again fitted in his red cape and armor. He easily defeats the Destroyer and tries to return to Asgard, promising Jane he will return.

Asgard: the frost giants invade through the portal, walking past the frozen Heimdall. Laufey goes to Odin’s bed chamber and, as he prepares to kill the Norse god, Loki kills Laufey to appear to be the hero. Although frozen, Heimdall is conscious and manages to break free. He brings Thor back to Asgard. Thor flies quickly to fight the frost giants.

Loki goes to the Bifrost Portal and sets it up to destroy the ice planet Jötunheim. Thor tries to stop him and the two engage in combat. Thor immobilizes Loki with Mjolnir and starts to destroy the portal to stop the process, smashing away at the bridge itself. As everything crumbles, the two brothers fall into space but Odin is there to hold Thor, who holds Loki’s staff. Loki admits defeat and allows himself to fall off the disappearing Bifrost Bridge, into the abyss of no return.

All seems back to normal on Asgard, although Odin is sad about how it turned out. Thor pines for Jane but Heimdall assures him that she is looking for him. Back on Earth Jane is in a new lab with new equipment.

Post-credits, Selvig has been taken to a SHIELD facility where he meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Fury shows him an object in a briefcase, which he says could be a source of unlimited power. Loki appears then, invisible to Selvig and Fury, and says “Well, I guess that’s worth a look,” which Selvig repeats.

’Nuff said.

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The Fantastic Four
Rise of the Silver Surfer

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Copyright 20th Century Fox – June 15, 2007

The movie opens out in space as a strange alien planet slowly fades away and implodes. A mysterious blue entity leaves the planet prior to its destruction, and is next seen flying through the atmosphere over Earth. At the same time, a number of strange circumstances unfold (the China Sea freezes over and the Sphinx is covered with snow).

A news reporter states that the FAA was forced to ground all flights as a result of these events. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffud) watches the news from the airport and is disgusted because the news is more focused on his upcoming wedding to Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) than the strange events.

The Fantastic Four board the plane now cleared for flight. Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) is obviously uncomfortable crammed into a Coach seat. Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) suggests that the team get an endorsement and form their own private airline. He then leaves to fly himself back home as the Human Torch.

Back at the Baxter Building (the team’s headquarters), Sue and Reed discuss the details for their upcoming wedding. Johnny shows off his prototype new uniforms to the team (they are loaded with company logos and product placement). Johnny tries to snoop on Reed’s latest product while Reed explains that the global disturbances are being caused by a similar tyoeof cosmic radiation that originally gave the Fantastic Four their powers.

Johnny insists on throwing Reed a bachelor party. Reed is opposed to the idea, until Johnny blackmails him with the threat of telling Sue that Reed is spending more time researching disturbances than taking care of his end of the planning.

The mysterious entity passes over the nation of Latveria, and its residual energy frees Dr. Victor Von Doom (Julain McMahon) from his imprisonment.

Johnny takes Reed and Ben to a nightclub for Reed’s bachelor party. Reed and Ben are obviously uncomfortable (Reed because of his shyness, Ben because of his Thing powers).

A military force led by General Hagar (Andre Braugher) arrives at the Baxter Building to see Reed. Sue takes them to the club where they see Reed dancing (making full use of his Mr. Fantastic abilities) and Reed is embarassed.

Ben explains to Sue the history Reed has with General Hagar: Hagar had designed a new defense system several years ago, while Reed testified that the technology it called for was unreliable. General Hagar is concerned about the anomolies occurring worldwide, and shows the team sattelite photos of the mysterious entity. The generals’ assistant, Captain Frankie Raye shows the team photos of craters that have been appearing in the same spots as the entities appearance. Hagar asks for a way to track the mysterious entity, but Reed turns him down because his wedding is in a few days. Johnny flirts with Captain Raye as they leave, but she shoots him down.

Later on, Ben finds out that Reed has decided to build the tracking system for the general anyway. Ben (and Johnny, who flies in when Reed is building) both agree to keep quiet.

The next day is the date of Sue and Reed’s wedding! Hundreds of guests file in (including a cameo by Fantastic Four creator Stan Lee).

Sue discusses her future with Alicia Masters (Kerry Washington), Ben’s blind girlfriend. Susan realizes that she has a zit on her forehead, but is able to conceal it with her Invisible Woman abilities.

Reed finishes the satellite tracking system less than an hour before the wedding begins. He is happy to have finished the project, but once Ben points out that he is about to be married, Reed goes limp with shock.

Johnny comes in and has a brief discussion with Ben about his relationship with Alicia, at which point Ben almost breaks Johnny’s skull out of anger and embaressment.

Victor Von Doom begins to track the mysterious entity, trying to figure out the power that brought him back to life.

As Reed & Sue stand before the minister, Reed’s Palm Pilot goes off telling him that the sattelite tracker has come online. Sue is outraged that he lied to her. The entity then passes through New York City, causing a massive power outage and sending one of the news choppers covering the wedding flying towards the rooftop.

Sue uses her force field ability to block the chopper from hitting the guests. Ben jumps in and rips off the tail of the helicopter to prevent anyone from getting cut to pieces by the blades. As the entity passes overhead, Johnny shouts “Flame ON!” and gives chase.

The Human Torch follows the mysterious thing through the city and watches it pass through a building- thus getting his first look at The Silver Surfer (Doug Jones). Torch and Surfer begin an Ariel chase across half the country, but the Surfer ends it by grabbing Johnny by the throat and levitating him to the stratosphere, then sending Johnny flying back down to earth. Johnny is barely able to re-ignite his flame in time to stop crashing.

In space, the Silver Surfer contacts his master and awaits further orders.

Johnny describes the Silver Surfer to the team, who are skeptical at first. General Hagar orders Reed to find another way to track the Surfer.

Sue confronts Reed, worried that the two of them can never have a normal life if they continue to act as part-time superheroes. Sue is unsure if they can ever actually raise a family together.

Johnny, still dazed from his encounter with the Surfer, tries to fly but ends up falling off the building. Sue runs outside to check on him but when she touches his forehead Sue suddenly bursts into flames! Johnny shouts “Flame ON” but he only succeeds in turning invisible. Reed sees what has happened and runs outside. He suggests that Sue touch Johnny again, and they revert to their normal powers- though Sue is now naked after burning off her clothes.

Reed does a physical on them both and sees that Johnny’s molecules are in a state of flux, and that he may switch powers with any of them just by touch. Ben immediately takes advantage of this and grabs Johnny’s shoulder, turning him into the Thing! Johnny is appalled by his new appearance and grabs Ben, changing them both back.

Sue is still watching the news when she is joined by Reed. Reed announces that he has decided to give up being a hero once they are married. She is ecstatic, but Johnny overhears them and is angered.

Victor Von Doom calculates the next appearance of the Silver Surfer. He confronts the cosmic entity, suggesting a partnership between the two of them. The Surfer ignores Doom’s idea and blasts him with a burst of cosmic energy. Doom is angry, but then notices that the energy is restoring his normal organic appearance.

Johnny tells Ben about Reed & Sue’s plan to leave. Ben is mad but decides that something like this is something that they can’t argue with.

Reed points out that the Silver Surfer’s energy has been tracked to several other planets, which are now lifeless husks. They realize that 8 days after the Surfer’s appearance on any world, that planet dies. Reed gets the idea to track the Surfer using the coordinates of the craters he leaves behind.

En route the the newest spot (in London), Johnny confronts Reed & Sue about their decision and they argue.

The Surfer’s passing through causes The London Eye (London’s famous Ferris wheel) to be damaged, and many civilians are in danger. The Fantastic Four quickly rush to save them, with Johnny trying to chase the Surfer again. But Johnny accidentally collides with Reed and they switch powers. Ben & Sue almost let the Ferris wheel collapse before Reed gets the idea to use Human Torch’s power to weld it back into place. Reed sets back down and quickly reclaims his rightful power from Johnny, angry that Johnny’s recklessness almost killed a lot of people-including Sue.

General Hagar is outraged at the Fantastic Four’s failure. He has decided to get extra help: Victor Von Doom. Ben, outraged that their old foe is still alive, attacks. Reed convinces Ben to back off, and asks what Victor has to contribute.

Victor shows a recording of his previous encounter with the Silver Surfer. They observe that the Surfer’s energy attack originated from his board, and theorize that if they can divide him from the board the Surfer will be vulnerable.

Johnny and Ben spend the night at a bar, discussing the turn of events. Johnny asks Ben what he wants to do if the world is indeed coming to an end. Ben admits that part of him would want to go down fighting, but he mostly would want to spend his last moments with Alicia. Johnny agrees, apparently jealous that Ben has someone so special to him.

Reed has surrounded himself with databases, working around the clock to find the solution without Victor’s help. Sue comes in and reassures him, ordering Reed to relax. Sue mentions that Reed’s pulse must be overexerted, and the word “pulse” inspires Reed: he can create an energy pulse generated by a power field to divide the Surfer from his board. Reed requests some equipment from General Hagar to build the power field.

Sue confronts Victor about his intentions and his return. Meanwhile, Johnny flirts with Frankie again but she blows him off as a reckless jokester.

The Fantastic Four arrive at the newest coordinates and begin to set up the pulse generators. Ben has a humorous confrontation with a bear when setting up his section of the generator.

Susan is setting up her generator when the Silver Surfer appears in front of her. Sue approaches the Surfer, asking him why he is working to destroy the planet. The Surfer claims that he has no choice; that he is not the destroyer but merely a beacon.

General Harding spots the Surfer and opens fire. Silver Surfer merely swats down the missiles with his cosmic powers. Reed activates the pulse system, knocking the Surfer off his board (and in the process turning his body from bright silver to a dull, tarnished gray).

General Harding brings the Surfer and the board to a hideout in Siberia for further study. He places the Fantastic Four under “house arrest” until they are finished studying. Sue decides to go out and confront the Surfer. She asks him who the real destroyer is, and the Surfer responds (showing her an image) that the true destroyer is his master, a vast cosmic entity known by many names and forms which his people refer to as Galactus. The Silver Surfer explains that his service spares his homeworld from the destroyer. Surfer explains that he is compassionate towards Sue because she reminds him of his beloved.

Out in space, a vast cloud is shown moving towards Earth. The destroyer is drawing closer.

Victor is permitted to do tests on the board. He uses a special device to free the board from its confinement and bond with it. General Hager tries to stop him, but Doom blasts him with his new cosmic energy and vaporises the general.

The Fantastic Four escape from confinement, also freeing the Silver Surfer. Frankie is reluctant to let them leave, but Johnny pleads with her and he manages to convince her.

As they get outside, Reed summons his new invention- the FantastiCar, a flying hovercraft for the team. Reed, Sue, Ben and the Surfer climb in (Johnny flies along beside them). The Silver Surfer confesses his real name- Norrin Radd. He agrees to try and help them.

The Fantastic Four track Victor to Southeast China, and attack. They are able to lure him over the land, but must abandon the FantastiCar after he attacks it. Norrin confronts Doom, who fashions a javelin from the board’s energy and hurls it at him. Sue steps in front of Norrin, conjuring up a force field to protect them both, but the javelin passes right through the force field and impales Sue, mortally wounding her. Seeing no other option, Johnny suggests that all of the other team members transfer their powers to him. They argue, but Norrin points out that they have no other choice- Galactus has arrived, and is extending its tendrils into the planet to devour it.

Reed tells Johnny to aim for the remote emitter Doom is using to connect himself to the board. Ben, remembering his thought of going down fighting, takes control of a giant crane and uses it to attack Doom. The combined efforts of the team’s powers is successful and Doom crashes into the ocean, sinking out of sight.

Norrin re-connects with his board, and infuses Sue with a small part of his cosmic energy, restoring her to life. The Silver Surfer tells Reed to treasure every moment with Sue, and flies off to face the cosmic entity. He is joined midway by Johnny, who uses the last of his combined powers to give the Silver Surfer a boost into the cosmic storm.

In the heart of the cloud, Silver Surfer tells Galactus that he will no longer be a servent. Norrin Radd charges up a massive amount of cosmic energy and then releases a huge blast, stopping the cosmic entity by apparently destroying them both.

The Fantastic Four, including the revived Sue, are thrilled to see that the destruction of the planet has stopped but saddened by the loss of the Surfer. Johnny accidentally comes into contact with Ben, but is shocked to see that nothing happened. To everyone’s relief, Johnny’s second encounter with the Surfer has restored his powers to normal.

Sue reveals that she has decided against her past ideas and does not want to break up the team, since they just saved the world together. Reed agrees that they cannot run away from their responsibilities and that people do not have to be “Normal” to have a family. Reed also has an idea regarding the prospect of a wedding.

Sue and Reed decide to hold a Shinto-style wedding while they are still in China. They must rush through the ceremony when Reed’s pager alerts them of new danger. Sue tosses the bouquet to the women in the audience (including Frankie, who apparently has decided to pursue a relationship with Johnny). When it looks as if Frankie might catch the bouquet, Johnny “accidentally” sneezes and burns up the flowers.

The Fantastic Four boards their newly restored Fantasticar and speeds off to another adventure!!!

In a bonus scene partway through the credits, the Surfer and his board are seen floating through space. The Surfer appears to be dead after his encounter with Galactus. But suddenly the Surfer’s board turns and begins to move toward him.

’Nuff said.

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The Invincible Ironman
Introducing Whiplash

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Copyright Marvel Studios – 7 May 2010

The movie opens several months after the events in the first Iron Man movie. We are introduced to a man named Ivan Vanko. Ivan’s father Anton is slowly dying and telling Ivan his final wishes. Ivan thinks he should have the fame that Tony Stark is enjoying but Anton tells him to “ignore that garbage.” All Anton can give Ivan is his knowledge. Ivan takes a blueprint that has his father’s name on it, and also the name of Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s father. Ivan then sets about recreating the Arc reactor and begins building his own weaponized suit. Tony Stark has become a champion for world peace thanks to the Iron Man suit, and has practically solved the issue of world peace, or so he claims.

Six months after the end of the first movie, Tony Stark has used his Iron Man armor to bring about a negotiated peace treaty between the major super powers of the world, and his immense popularity with the general public is only furthered when he fulfills his father’s dream by reopening the “Stark Expo” in Queens, NY, to showcase all the latest inventions that will benefit the world. Tony fulfills this dream by flying into the expo in full Iron Man regalia, and making a flamboyant entrance to become the new symbol of world peace. Backstage, following his address, Tony does a quick test of his blood: the palladium he uses to power his chest arc reactor is slowly poisoning his body. After the event, Tony and Happy are leaving when they are approached by a woman who hands Tony a subpoena, summoning him to a Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing. Tony and Happy decide to take a road trip to Washington DC in Tony’s new Audi R8.

The next morning, during the Senate hearing, Tony’s usual brand of humor becomes the center of attention while completely ignoring the fact that the government has classified the Iron Man armor as a weapon. Colonel Rhodes presents the investigation into the events surrounding Iron Man’s creation, but Senator Stern, the committee chairman, takes his remarks out of context. Tony gives a rebuttal showing that he is Iron Man and will not part with his armor (likening handing himself over as being tantamount to indentured servitude), and proceeds to hack the committees computers to show that various “attempts” at copying Tony’s suit – from Iran, North Korea, and even Hammer Industries itself – are complete failures: North Korea’s is top heavy and collapses easily, Iran’s crashes into the ground and explodes, while Hammer’s suit turns around 180 degrees at the torso and severs its pilot’s spine. Tony still refuses to turn over the Iron Man armor to the government and walks out of the hearing.

Back at home, Tony is on JARVIS analyzing the latest prototypes and developments for the Iron Man suit, and Pepper enters and the two start having arguments about the future of Stark Industries. Tony is telling Pepper that he’s making more money off the company’s common stock than he ever did as CEO. He decides he’s had enough of being the CEO and wants to focus solely on developing Iron Man. He decides to appoint Pepper as the new CEO and she is stunned. The next day a lovely notary public enters to have Tony officially sign the company over to Pepper. Tony is undergoing fighting training with Happy and performs an illegal move on him, getting it confused with MMA. The notary’s name is Natalie Rushman, and he has Happy give her a boxing lesson, and while looking up her bio, Natalie performs a TKO on Happy, using a takedown that shows there’s a great deal more to her than there appears.

Tony heads to Monaco for some much needed R&R. At a pre-reception before the Monaco 500, where Stark Industries is sponsoring a driver, Tony’s greeted by his favorite “Vanity Fair” reporter Christine Everheart, who wants Pepper for the cover of the next issue which will introduce her as the new Stark Industries C.E.O. Justin Hammer also happens to be there. They also greet Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who wants a panel at the Stark Expo to showcase his latest invention. In the bathroom, it’s learned that the palladium in Tony’s chest is slowly spreading, and his arc reactor can barely take the punishment. Tony decides that he’s going to be driving the Stark Industries car instead of the driver that was pre-selected.

Stark starts the race, but unbeknownst to him, Ivan Vanko has joined one of the race’s pit crews. Under his jump suit, Vanko wears a harness with two large energy whips powered by the arc reactor he’d built after his father died. Vanko uses the whips to stage a massive wreck and ambushes Tony. As Vanko is wrecking havoc on the track, Happy and Pepper rush to deliver the briefcase Happy carries with him to Tony. Vanko uses his electric whips to completely destroy the Rolls Royce Phantom that Happy and Pepper are in, and after repeated ramming attempts, Pepper finally manages to give Tony the briefcase. Tony activates the case which is a portable version of the Iron Man armor. After a furious battle, Tony is able to defeat Vanko by manually pulling out the Arc Reactor battery that powers his whips, crushing it after he has JARVIS analyze it. The police grab Vanko and take him into custody. The entire crowd is stunned at what they’ve just witnessed. Justin Hammer, however, believes that Vanko can be put to better use.

Stark confronts Vanko in prison and Vanko asks Tony what it feels like to be a dead man and that palladium in the chest is a very painful way to die. Stark tells Vanko that makes two of them.

Later, Hammer breaks Vanko out. He slips Vanko a meal consisting of chicken and mashed potatoes along with a note telling him to “enjoy the potatoes.” Vanko and another prisoner are given uniforms with the same identification. Vanko immediately kills the prisoner as well as a guard on his way out the door, and sets the explosive device contained in the potatoes and as he makes his escape, he’s bagged by two Hammer operatives and taken away. Hammer knows Vanko needs his resources to outdo Tony, and Vanko obliges. Hammer then hires Vanko to build armored suits based on existing designs. Vanko tells Hammer they are doing everything wrong.

On the plane back home, Tony and Pepper are watching the aftermath of the events that took place and are watching a rather angry Senator Stern unload his frustrations with Tony on The O’Reilly Factor. Stern is saying that Tony Stark lied to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, and that he’s in danger of being arrested on felony perjury charges: Stark had told the Senate that other countries, as well as Hammer Industries, were 20 years away from having anything that remotely resembled Iron Man, however Vanko surprised everyone by making an working copy of the Arc Reactor. Tony presents Pepper with a gourmet meal and is going to tell her the truth, but they have an awkward moment as Pepper knows that something is up and that Tony isn’t telling her the whole truth.

Back home, Tony is using JARVIS to conduct investigations into Ivan Vanko. He finds that Vanko’s father Anton Vanko was Howard Stark’s partner and one of the co founders of Stark Industries. Howard Stark found out that Vanko was conspiring to sell weapons to the Soviet Empire and had him arrested for treason and deported to Russia, where he was imprisoned. His son had been seeking revenge against the Stark empire ever since. While sitting in one of his hot rods in his basement, Tony nearly collapses and is discovered by Rhodes who tells him that this isn’t a good look for him. He shows Rhodey how the palladium is slowly poisoning him. Rhodes also tells him that he’s been battling with the Pentagon by stopping them from coming to his Malibu house and taking his suits to be used for weaponized purposes.

Tony is then preparing for what he believes will be his last birthday party. He asks Natalie what she would do if this were her last birthday party. Natalie responds that she’d do whatever she wanted with whoever she wanted to do it with. While at the party, Tony is extremely drunk and wearing the Iron Man suit and behaving recklessly with its weaponry. In the background, Pepper and Rhodes are discussing that he’s gone way off the deep end. Rhodes tells Pepper that he’s tired of dealing with the Pentagon and the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Rhodes, finally having enough of Tony’s antics, goes and dons one of the in-development Iron Man suits. He then challenges Tony to a fight, where Tony has the in-house DJ play some good background tunes. The battle ends in a stalemate and Rhodey flies off in the Mark II armor, delivering it to military authorities at Edwards Air Force Base. Justin Hammer is later invited to study the suit himself and provides them with advanced weapons to arm it with.

The next day, Tony is at the famous Los Angeles landmark doughnut shop Randy’s Doughnuts, sitting in the Iron Man suit atop the famous giant plastered doughnut. Disgraced and hungover, Tony is approached by SHIELD director Nick Fury, who tells Stark that despite the problems he’s having with the government and his drunken Iron Man antics, which are the least of his worries; Fury has an issue to deal with in the Southwest United States. Tony wonders if Fury and the “Avengers Initiative” is real, and Fury reassures Tony that it’s real, and that he knew Howard Stark very well, in fact Howard was one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D., the agency he works for. They are joined by agent Phil Coulson and Natalie Rushman, whose real name is Natasha Romanoff, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent planted in Stark Industries to monitor Tony himself. A hungover Tony is stunned at this revelation and fires Natalie/Natasha, but she then tells Tony that it’s none of his business and that he’s under investigation from S.H.I.E.L.D. , and she and agent Coulson are there to make sure Tony follows orders and doesn’t screw up. Fury and Natasha both mention Tony’s palladium poisoning; Tony replies that he’s investigated and tested every know element and every permutation of them with no success. Natasha injects Tony with a serum that slows the symptoms of his palladium poisoning significantly, giving him the time to find an alternate element to keep him alive.

Fury tells Tony some more detail about Anton Vanko’s relationship with Howard Stark and provides Tony with a chest of his father’s old artifacts that can hopefully be used to find a cure for his condition. Tony resists further attempts from S.H.I.E.L.D. interference, but Agent Coulson reassures Tony that he’s not going anywhere until Tony finds the answers that he’s seeking about his condition. Reviewing the film reels in the chest, Stark discovers a message from his father that leads him to the original 1974 diorama of the Stark Expo. He retrieves the diorama from his old office, now occupied by Pepper, and tries to reconcile with her. In reality, the diorama is a disguised diagram for the atomic structure of a new element that Howard couldn’t produce in his time but Tony may be able to with his advanced knowledge.

Stark performs a radical alteration of his home workshop and hand-builds a particle accelerator with the aid of his computer system, J.A.R.V.I.S. Stark synthesizes this new element, creating a new triangular chest arc reactor that cures his poisoning and is much more powerful than Stark’s earlier versions. Just before Tony completes the particle acceleration, Coulson tells him that he’s free to go and that S.H.I.E.L.D. has reassigned him to another case in New Mexico.

At Hammer Industries, Vanko has radically changed the design of Hammer’s suits: they are now automated drones. Despite what Vanko considers improvements, Hammer is displeased and imprisons Vanko in a small room with two guards while he takes the drones to the Stark Expo.

Hammer unveils his new military drones, captained by Rhodes in a heavily-weaponized version of the confiscated Mark II armor. Unfortunately, it is soon discovered that Vanko has programmed the drones, giving himself complete control. He also has control of Rhodes’ new armor, and Stark arrives just as they go on the attack. As Stark battles these remote-controlled enemies and tries to evade Rhodes, Happy Hogan and Romanoff race to Hammer’s Queens facility to stop Vanko. By the time they arrive, Vanko has already departed for the Expo in a new armored suit, an updated version of the harness he used when he attacked Tony in Monaco. Back at the Stark Expo, just as Hammer has finished his presentation, the drones attack the standing-room-only crowd and they begin to flee. Stark and Rhodes chase after the drones and destroy each and every one of them, while Agent Romanoff and Pepper have Justin Hammer arrested for harboring the fugitive Vanko.

Natasha is able to give Rhodes control of his armor again so that he and Stark can fight Vanko together. The two armored allies combine their powers and successfully destroy all the drones. Vanko then lands in the area, wearing a greatly updated armored suit with improved plasma energy whips. After a grueling battle, Stark has an idea for he and Rhodes to use a trick from their earlier battle during Stark’s birthday party, firing their energy repulsors to collide and create the same explosion with Vanko caught in the middle. The maneuver takes Vanko down, but Vanko’s armor and drones are revealed to have been equipped with self-destruct charges. As they begin to explode, Stark races to save Pepper, rescuing her at the last moment. After landing on a roof she quits her CEO position, and she finally gives Tony a kiss, to which they both find Rhodes sitting a few meters away. Tony finally tells Pepper the truth about his heart, upsetting her greatly. Stark tells Rhodes to leave, but Rhodes then claims he was there first, so they should get their “own roof” after Stark tries to defend himself.

At a debriefing, Fury informs Stark that while Stark is “unsuitable” for the “Avengers Initiative,” SHIELD wants Stark as a consultant. Stark agrees on the condition that Senator Stern personally present him and Col. Rhodes with their medals for bravery, however Senator Stern is less than amused when he presents Tony with his medal.

In a post-credits scene, SHIELD agent Coulson is seen driving to a remote impact crater in the New Mexico desert. He informs Fury over the phone that they’ve “found it”; in the crater is Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor.

’Nuff said.

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X-Men
Origins: The Wolverine

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Copyright Marvel Studios – 1 May 2009

In 1845 in North-Western Territory, British North America, young James Howlett (Troye Sivan) sees his father John Howlett (Peter O’Brien) killed by his friend Victor Creed’s father, Thomas Logan (Aaron Jeffery). In an act of vengeance, James kills the elder Logan using bone claws which have grown out of his hands due to the stress of the incident. With his dying breath, Logan tells James that he is also his son. James runs out of the house, followed by Victor, who finds him and promises his younger brother that he’ll look out for him. James and Victor (Michael-James Olsen) run away, pursued by a torch-wielding mob.

In the years that follow, adult brothers James (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) are seen fighting together in the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and eventually the Vietnam War. Their regenerative powers keep them from being killed in the battlefield and they both age considerably slowly compared to non-mutants. James is forced to act as a check on Victor’s increasing rage and ferocity. In Vietnam, Victor kills a superior officer after being stopped from raping a girl, and James and Victor are sentenced to death by firing squad, though their unique regenerative abilities keep them alive.

While they are incarcerated, Major William Stryker (Danny Huston) approaches the two mutants and offers them membership in Team X, his elite group of mutants. The team consists of mutants Fred Dukes (Kevin Durand), who possesses super strength and invulnerability; John Wraith (Will.i.am), who can teleport; Chris Bradley (Dominic Monaghan), a.k.a. Bolt, who can control electricity and possesses telekinetic abilities; expert marksman Agent Zero (Daniel Henney); and mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), an amazing swordsman who never stops talking. The brothers join the group and are sent to the team’s first mission: Invade the headquarters of a diamond trafficking operation in Lagos, Nigeria, to retrieve a meteorite. When Stryker asks the diamond smuggler about the source of the meteorite, the smuggler tells him that it came from a remote village further into Nigeria. The team goes there and Stryker and the team brutally interrogate the local people to learn where the meteorite was found. James is disgusted by the murders committed by his teammates and abandons the group over Victor’s persuasions and protests.

Six years afterward, James — now going by his last name, Logan — is a lumberjack living with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). Meanwhile, Victor hunts down and murders Bradley, who works at a circus; Victor mentions that Wade is already dead. Stryker locates Logan and claims that someone is killing members of the now-disbanded team. Stryker asks Logan for help, but is refused. Shortly after, Silverfox is murdered by Victor. Wolverine hunts down his half-brother, but is easily defeated. Stryker once again asks Logan for help, and Logan agrees. Stryker has Logan’s skeletal system reinforced with adamantium, a virtually indestructible metal retrieved from the meteorite source found by Team X in Nigeria. Before the procedure, Logan asks for his new dog tags to say “Wolverine,” a reference to a story that Kayla told him. After the procedure, Stryker orders Wolverine’s memory to be erased, but Wolverine overhears this and flees. Stryker orders Agent Zero to hunt him down and take his head off.

An elderly couple, Travis (Max Cullen) and Heather Hudson (Julia Blake), see Wolverine — who escaped in the buff — enter their barn. They’re wary but welcoming, giving him food and clothing, including a leather jacket of their son’s — and their son’s motorcycle. The next morning, both are shot dead by Zero. Wolverine takes out several HMMWVs, a helicopter and Zero himself, telling Stryker over Zero’s radio, that he’ll hunt him down. Stryker warns Wolverine that if he chooses to go after the answers he seeks, he won’t like what he finds.

Wolverine locates former associates John Wraith and Fred Dukes (who is now massively obese from a guilt-driven eating disorder), seeking to learn the location of Stryker’s new laboratory. After beating Dukes in a boxing match, Wolverine learns the disbanded team had been capturing young mutants for Stryker. One of them, Remy LeBeau (Taylor Kitsch), also known as Gambit, escaped the island laboratory and knows its location. Dukes tells Logan that his brother Victor is actually working for Stryker, capturing and killing mutants for him. Meanwhile, Stryker captures a teenaged Scott Summers (Tim Pocock) with Victor’s aid.

Wolverine and Wraith locate Gambit in a New Orleans bar. Wolverine talks to Gambit while Wraith keeps watch outside, but Gambit suspects Wolverine was sent to recapture him and, using his ability to charge objects with kinetic energy, throws several playing cards at Wolverine that send him flying through a wall. Outside, Wolverine sees Victor has killed Wraith and taken a sample of his blood. Wolverine fights Victor, only to be interrupted by Gambit. Victor escapes, and after a brief struggle, Gambit agrees to take Wolverine to the Stryker’s secret mutant prison/laboratory.

The facility turns out to be Three Mile Island. Once there, Wolverine confronts Stryker and learns Silverfox is still alive; Victor faked her death with hydrochlorothiazide. She was keeping track of the mutant to free her sister, Emma Frost (Tahyna Valentina MacManus), who is also in the prison. Wolverine is devastated by this betrayal.

Now having no quarrel with Stryker, Wolverine departs. Victor, angered that Stryker let Wolverine go, demands the adamantium procedure. Stryker, however, tells him that he won’t survive the procedure and in an act of rage, Victor tries to kill Silverfox, her power of persuasion failing to influence Victor despite her physical contact with him. Wolverine hears Silverfox’s screams and attacks Victor. Finally having the chance to kill Victor, Wolverine chooses not to give in to his animal instincts and instead knocks him out. Silverfox shows Wolverine to the holding cells, and he frees the mutants there; among them are Emma Frost and Scott Summers.

Panicking, Stryker prematurely activates his newest creation, Weapon XI (Scott Adkins and Ryan Reynolds), a bald, pale-skinned and deformed Wade Wilson, lacking a mouth and with patterns on his skin marking his adamantium bone structure. As the rescue party approaches an exit, it is blocked by Weapon XI, who is under Stryker’s control. Wolverine tells them to find a new exit as two long blades extend from Weapon XI’s arms. The blades are similar to Wolverine’s claws, but more like katana swords, Wilson’s weapon of choice. Wolverine realizes that this monstrosity is actually Wade Wilson. “Looks like Stryker finally found a way to shut you up,” he quips.

Weapon XI, also called Deadpool, is a mutant Frankenstein’s monster, with the abilities of several of the killed and captured mutants: Summer’s optic blasts, Wraith’s teleportation, and Wolverine’s healing ability. During the escape, Silverfox is mortally wounded. The other mutants escape through the facility’s tunnels, guided by Scott who is unable to tell them how he knows the way out. Emerging from the tunnel, the party encounters a helicopter. Riding in the helicopter is a familiar figure: Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who has guided them to safety and offers them a home at his school.

Meanwhile, the fight between Wolverine and Weapon XI moves to the top of one of the nuclear power plant’s cooling towers. Weapon XI overpowers and prepares to decapitate Wolverine, but Victor returns to aid his brother. Wolverine and Victor, now working together, are able to decapitate Weapon XI, sending its head, still firing optic blasts, down into the cooling tower. Wolverine coldly informs Victor that despite his help, their relationship is over. Victor reminds him that as brothers, they can never be finished, and jumps off the the cooling tower. The damage from the optic blasts causes the cooling tower to collapse, but Wolverine is rescued by Gambit.

Wolverine asks Gambit to ensure the prisoners are safe, while he returns to find Silverfox, who stayed behind because she was wounded. As he carries her to safety, Stryker shoots him in the back with an adamantium bullet. Wolverine charges Stryker to kill him but is shot in the head, knocking him unconscious.

Stryker approaches Silverfox and prepares to shoot her as well but she uses her powers of persuasion to order Stryker to first throw away the pistol and then walk away until his feet bleed. She then dies from her injuries. Gambit returns to assure Wolverine that the mutants are safe, but due to amnesia caused by the brain damage the adamantium bullets inflicted, Wolverine does not remember anything (this was Stryker’s intention, knowing that even the adamantium bullets could not kill Logan but will cause amnesia). Gambit tries to get Wolverine to come with him, but he declines. Gambit wishes Wolverine good luck before departing, and Wolverine flees the scene as the ambulances and police arrive.

The film has several additional scenes during and after the credits. The first of these scenes plays a few seconds into the credits, and depicts William Stryker walking down a road. Due to Silverfox’s order, the toes of his shoes are torn and bloody from walking for so long. A military vehicle drives up behind him and he is apprehended by military police for questioning about the death of General Munson. (Stryker murdered the general earlier in the film in order to protect his vendetta against mutants.)

Depending on which theater the movie was shown in, one of two possible endings then appears following the credits. In the first ending, Weapon XI’s hand reaches out from the rubble of the nuclear complex to touch his severed head. Deadpool’s mouth is now open and he says “Shhhhhhhh” to the audience. The second alternate ending shows Logan drinking at a bar in Japan. The bartender asks if he is drinking to forget; Logan replies that he’s drinking to remember.

’Nuff said.

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The Fantastic Four
Introducing Doctor Doom

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Copyright Marvel Studios – 8 July 2005

Reed Richards, a brilliant but timid and bankrupt scientist, is convinced that evolution can be triggered by clouds of cosmic energy, and has calculated that Earth is going to pass one of these clouds soon. Together with his friend and partner, the gruff yet gentle astronaut muscle-man Ben Grimm, Reed convinces his conceited MIT classmate Dr. Victor Von Doom, now CEO of his own enterprise, to allow him access to his privately-owned space station. Von Doom agrees in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. He thus brings aboard Susan Storm, his shy, though assertive chief genetics researcher and a former lover of Reed’s with whom she had an acrimonious break-up, and her diametrically opposed brother Johnny, the maverick and hot-headed playboy pilot. The astronauts make it home intact; however, before long they begin to mutate, developing strange and amazing powers as a result of their exposure to the cloud! Reed is able to stretch like rubber; Sue can turn invisible and create force fields, especially when angered; Johnny can produce fire at supernova temperatures, and is able to fly; and Ben is transformed into “The Thing”, a large, rock-like creature with super strength. After Ben, brooding about his situation on the Brooklyn Bridge, inadvertently causes a major traffic pile-up whilst attempting to stop a man about to commit suicide, the four manage to use their powers to prevent any loss of life and to rescue a fire truck and its crew from falling off the bridge in a resulting explosion. The media dubs the team the ‘Fantastic Four’, and whilst Johnny eagerly embraces his powers and new life, Ben – the most heavily disfigured – particularly suffers from his transformation; his disfigurement has caused his fiancée to abandon him and has seen him shunned and feared by much of New York. Blaming himself, Reed vows to return Ben to his human form, and he, Sue and Ben work on a cure, constructing a healing chamber in Reed’s high tech Baxter Building loft-turned-laboratory. During this time, Reed and Susan begin to grow close once again, and Susan admits that she is not interested in Victor, but ended their relationship because Reed feared to commit, thinking only in terms of variables. Unknown to the others, however, Victor’s body is also mutating; he is turning into organic metal capable of absorbing and manipulating electrical energy known as Doctor Doom. As a result of the disastrous expedition, his company is going bankrupt and he is losing public stature; blaming Reed for his misfortunes, Victor swears revenge. And Reed, Ben, Susan, and Johnny must defeat Victor Von Doom and foil his evil plans once and for all.

’Nuff said.

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The Incredible Hulk
Introducing The Abomination

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Copyright Marvel Studios – 13 June 2008

Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is a scientist working to find a way to use gamma radiation to increase healing time in soldiers. One of his co-workers is Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), whose father, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), oversees the project. Upon subjecting himself to a gamma test, Banner transforms into a green-skinned, superhumanly powerful creature. He destroys the lab, injures Betty and Ross and escapes.

Several years later, he surfaces in Brazil, working at a local soft drink factory and living in a run-down favela. He trains with martial artists on how to control his gamma-irradiated anger, and communicates via encrypted e-mail with a man know as Mr. Blue about developing a cure. Ross has continued to search for him, believing that Banner is effectively the property of the United States government. Thanks to an accident at the factory where his blood drips into a bottle of soda and poisons a man in America (Stan Lee in a cameo), Ross tracks Banner to Brazil. He assembles a strike force led by a ruthless British soldier, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) and sends them after Banner. They chase Banner through the city and into the soft drink factory. Banner is also pursued by several hooligans who dislike him. When the hooligans attack Banner, he loses control of his anger and transforms into his green alter ego just as the strike team arrives. He makes quick work of the hooligans and strike team, then leaps his way out of Brazil.

Blonsky demands that Ross tell him the truth about Banner. Ross reveals that the goal of the program was not to develop new ways of treating injuries but to create an army of invincible super soldiers. Blonsky is intrigued and, recognizing that he is at the end of his career at age 39, asks to be given the super soldier formula himself. Ross agrees and Blonsky undergoes an extremely painful procedure.

Banner returns to the United States, in particular to a college town in Virginia. Betty still teaches there. Banner sneaks into a computer laboratory and downloads vital information about the experiments and his own physiognomy. That night, Betty and her new boyfriend, Leonard Samson (Ty Burrell) see Banner in a restaurant. Betty takes Banner home, but Samson contacts Ross. Banner plans to leave the next day but Ross’ forces attack him on campus. Banner transforms again, and witnesses to the battle dub him “the Hulk.” During the fight, Blonsky confronts Hulk and displays superhuman reflexes, but Hulk kicks Blonsky into a tree, shattering every bone in his body. Betty is nearly killed in a helicopter assault. Hulk rescues her and takes her to safety. During a rain storm, Hulk becomes scared of the thunder and hurls rocks at it. Betty calms him down. The next morning, she checks them into a motel and buys him new clothes. They decide to go to New York and meet Mr. Blue. On the way, Betty suggests that some of Banner’s personality remains when he is in Hulk form, but Banner angrily rejects this notion. He wants to be rid of the Hulk, not find a way to control it.

Ross is pleasantly surprised to see Blonsky has completely healed from his grievous injuries — more rapidly than a normal human man would. However, he doesn’t notice the bony spines beginning to protrude from Blonsky’s back.

Mr. Blue is really Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), a professor at a college in New York City. He reveals to Banner that he has a procedure that might suppress the Hulk reaction but may not be potent enough to cure him. However, he wants to continue to study Banner so they can find a way to use his blood to cure countless diseases. Banner refuses to allow that, but agrees to undergo Sterns’ suppression procedure. It seems to work. However, Ross has tracked Banner to Sterns’ office. This time, Banner is successfully captured. Betty tells Ross that she no longer considers him her father. Blonsky confronts Sterns and asks to be exposed to Banner’s irradiated blood. Sterns warns him that the result could be “an abomination” but Blonsky insists. The result: Blonsky turns into an enormous, scaly beast, Abomination. He leaps from Sterns’ laboratory. In the chaos, some of Banner’s blood drips into an open wound on his forehead. His head begins to mutate.

Insane with power, Blonsky goes on a destructive rampage in Harlem. In the helicopter taking them to custody, Banner, Betty and Ross see television footage of the destruction. Banner believes he can now control the Hulk. He leaps from the helicopter and transforms into the Hulk just before he hits the ground. He and Abomination wage a fierce battle. Abomination knocks the helicopter with Ross and Betty in it from the sky. Just as Abomination is about to kill them, Hulk stops him and nearly strangles Abomination to death with heavy chains. Betty’s horrified reaction keeps Hulk from actually killing Abomination, however. Instead, he leaps away, eventually winding up in British Columbia. Weeks of meditation help Banner finally gain control of his alter ego, however the glimmer of the force inside him does appear in his eyes.

Ross sits in a bar, smoking his trademark cigars and drinking himself into a stupor. Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) enters and suggests that a team he is putting together just might help Ross solve his Hulk problem.

’Nuff said.

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The Invincible Ironman
Introducing The Ironmonger

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Copyright Marvel Studios – 2 May 2008

A convoy of military Humvees drives across the Afghanistan desert. In one of them is billionaire weapons developer Tony Stark, riding with soldiers on duty. He is joking with some members of a convoy who seem to be genuinely amused by his persona and his flamboyant public image. Suddenly, the convoy is ambushed by unseen gunmen. The soldiers fight to defend themselves but are quickly killed. Tony flees the Humvee, taking refuge behind a large rock. Moments later, a missile lands nearby and explodes, but not before Tony sees the Stark Industries logo painted on it. Large amounts of shrapnel are lodged in Tony’s chest despite the body armor he wears. Tony is captured and recorded on video by a group of masked terrorists.

Las Vegas, 36 hours earlier

Tony Stark is about to receive the Apogee Award in Las Vegas. A presentation documents Tony’s life story: born the son of legendary weapons developer Howard Stark, Tony is a child prodigy who built his first circuit board when he was four years old, his first V8 engine when he was six, and graduated summa cum laude from MIT when he was 17. His parents were killed in a car accident in 1991, and when he was 21, he became CEO of Stark Industries, where he is to this day. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes prepares to present Tony the award, but Tony is not in attendance. Tony’s right-hand man (and his father’s former partner) Obadiah Stane accepts the award in Tony’s stead. Rhodey later finds Tony partying in a casino. On his way out, a reporter named Christine Everhart approaches Stark with some questions regarding the ethics of his weapons business. Stark deflects her questions with some swift quips and the two end up spending the night together at Tony’s oceanfront house in Malibu.

The next morning, Christine is awakened by a voice on a computer monitor. It’s J.A.R.V.I.S., the artificially intelligent program responsible for running Tony’s house and his research lab. As Christine leaves the house, she’s greeted by Tony’s human assistant, Virginia “Pepper” Potts. Pepper helps Tony catch up on some business before Tony heads out to the airport where his plane awaits. In flight, Tony talks with Rhodey. Rhodey is unhappy about Tony’s lax attitude, and Tony tries to get his old friend to relax. Before long they are drunk and leering at the flight attendants.

Tony arrives at a military outpost in Afghanistan to demonstrate his company’s latest project: the Jericho, an advanced super-missile system. After the demonstration, Tony gets a phone call from Obadiah and they are both pleased that the demonstration went well. Tony goes off with the convoy, which brings us to the convoy ambush at the start of the movie.

Much later, Tony regains consciousness in a cave. His chest is hooked up to a strange device. Another captive, Dr. Ho Yinsen, explains that he operated on Tony but was unable to remove all of the shrapnel. Yinsen created a device — essentially an electromagnet powered by a car battery — that will keep the remaining fragments from shifting and causing further damage to his heart. The terrorists who captured Tony and Yinsen enter the room. Yinsen translates; they want Tony to build them a Jericho missile. Tony refuses and they torture him by dunking his head in water.

Hours later, the terrorists, whose group is called the the Ten Rings, show off a huge stockpile of weapons — all made by Stark Industries. Tony appears to give in and starts building the missile, but he has other plans. With Yinsen’s help, and using palladium collected from his weapons, Tony constructs a tiny version of an arc reactor, streamlined from a much bigger design used at his company’s headquarters. The power output is enough to run Stark’s heart for “fifty lifetimes… or something much bigger for about 15 minutes.” It will also be enough to keep the shrapnel in Tony’s heart from shifting any further and killing him.

Tony designs a way out for himself and Yinsen: an armored suit powered by the arc reactor that he will wear and use to defeat the terrorists. Midway through construction, the head of the Ten Rings, Raza, arrives and threatens to torture Yinsen, angry because he thinks Stark is not working on the Jericho as they wanted. Tony bargains for Yinsen’s life, saying he makes a good assistant. Raza gives them one more day to finish.

Working furiously overnight, Tony completes his project. Yinsen straps Tony into the completed armored suit, telling him the way out of the cave. They set off a bomb inside the cell door as a distraction for the guards as Tony powers up his suit. Yinsen realizes that they will not have enough time. He grabs a gun and runs off to distract the surviving guards.

Tony, fully powered, muscles his way through the cave. The guards try to stop him but his suit easily deflects their weapon fire and he beats them off or kills them. He also fires one of the suit’s missiles at Raza himself, who is flung out of sight by the blast. Halfway out of the cavern, Stark finds Yinsen, mortally wounded. Yinsen reveals that this was his plan, sacrificing himself so Tony could escape — Yinsen’s family is already dead and he will now see them again in the afterlife. Tony tearfully thanks Yinsen for saving him. Yinsen’s last words to Stark are not to waste his second chance at life.

Tony turns his suit on the remaining terrorists, igniting flame-throwers and firing missiles. He destroys their stockpile of weapons, but some of their larger-caliber weaponry begins to damage his suit. He uses a rudimentary jet-pack to launch himself out of the valley. Not long after firing, his jet-pack fails and he survives a crash in the desert. Stark leaves the suit behind and hikes through the desert until a couple of US helicopters fly overhead. A group of soldiers, led by Rhodey, come across Tony. Rhodey is overjoyed to find that his friend is alive.

Tony is quickly flown back to the United States. Upon his arrival at Edwards Air Force Base, Pepper wants Tony to receive medical treatment, but Tony says that there are only two things he wants: an American cheeseburger and a company press conference. So Tony appears before a group of reporters and, clearly humbled and no longer the arrogant CEO he was before his capture, announces that he intends to shut down Stark Industries’ weapons manufacturing division immediately. At the same time, Pepper is approached by Agent Phil Coulson the from Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement & Logistic Division. They want to talk to Tony about his capture. Pepper schedules an appointment for them.

That evening, Obadiah Stane confronts Tony about his actions, furious. Obadiah knows that the stock value for their company (and, by extension, their financial status) is going to take a serious drop because of this announcement. Tony wants Stark Industries to move forward with arc reactor technology, but Obadiah thinks that the arc reactor is nothing but a publicity stunt. Through the conversation, Tony ends up revealing his prosthetic power-heart to Obadiah but refuses to allow the device to be studied for production. Stane convinces Tony to lie low for a while so the company can sort things out.

Pepper watches Jim Cramer deliver a scathing news segment on Mad Money on the declining value of Stark Industries when Tony asks for her help. He’s created an upgraded and much more powerful mini arc reactor, the Mark II chest piece, but can’t install it into his chest without someone to help — his assisting robot, Dummy, tried to insert the arc reactor but failed. Pepper accidentally yanks out the cords for the old reactor too soon, putting Tony on the verge of cardiac arrest. They manage to complete the process in time. Tony tells Pepper to destroy the old model since he’s not a sentimental person.

Tony visits Rhodes and asks for help with a new private project. Rhodey does not agree with Tony’s approach; he thinks Tony is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his capture and needs time to recover.

Tony turns to his other best friend — JARVIS — for help. Tony’s plan is revealed to be an upgrade to his armored suit (referred to as Mark II; the suit from the terrorist cave was Mark I). Tony, studying a 3D CGI-mapped image of the Mark I, discards many of the components, streamlining the design.

Meanwhile, Raza, having survived his battle with Stark and the Mark I, searches the desert, gathering all fragments of the Mark I suit that Tony left behind.

Tony decides that the first thing he has to do is to perfect the armor’s flight system. Since the leg-mounted jets proved too unstable, he creates repulsors for the feet and arm-mounted stabilizers for balance. Pepper comes in when he is testing the stabilizers and they find that it also creates a powerful repulsion beam that could also be used as a weapon. Pepper leaves a paper-wrapped box on Tony’s desk as a gift.

Obadiah visits Tony and reveals that the board of directors has filed an injunction to gain control of Stark Industries. Tony isn’t worried; he still maintains controlling interest in Stark Industries.

After several failed and painful attempts, Tony perfects his flight system, and is delighted at the prospect of flying.

The Mark II armored suit is soon finished. It looks like a heavily-streamlined version of Tony’s Mark I armor. Tony connects with JARVIS to monitor the progress in the suit. Against JARVIS’s advice, Tony takes it out for a test flight, and he is thrilled by the suit’s functionality. Tony pushes the limit for high-atmosphere flying, but at such great heights the freezing air causes the suit to become coated with ice and his power supply shuts down. Tony is barely able to reactivate his thrusters in time to avoid crashing into the ground. Stark returns home, but the armor is so heavy that it smashes through three floors of the house. As Tony recovers from his crash landing, he opens the box that Pepper left behind earlier; inside is the Mark I arc reactor, encased as a trophy with the message, “Proof That Tony Stark Has a Heart.”

Tony analyzes more data and decides to rebuild the suit using gold titanium from an old project to solve the icing and weight problems. He instructs JARVIS to add some hot-rod red trim to the next suit, codenamed Mark III, then leaves to attend his annual benefit dinner while the new suit is being assembled and painted.

At the charity event, Tony meets with Agent Coulson, who still wants to learn about Tony’s incident. Tony leaves to dance with Pepper and they share a moment together in the moonlight.

Christine, the reporter Tony slept with prior to leaving for Afghanistan, shows him photographs of his weapons being used by a terrorist group the previous day in the remote Afghan town of Gulmira, Yinsen’s home village. Tony confronts Obadiah on the matter, and Obadiah reveals that he is the one who filed the injunction against Tony. Obadiah calls himself an “iron monger,” and has no qualms about selling Stark Industries weapons to both sides of the conflict. Tony returns home, furious. While there he watches news reports of the worsening situation in the Gulmira region. He tests modifications to his hand repulsors, turning them into a weapon and blasting out several glass panes. When the new suit is completed it is fitted to his body by an automated robotic system. Stark flies off to Gulmira at hypersonic speed, determined to right his company’s wrongs.

In Gulmira, terrorists are rounding up civilians for capture and execution when Tony shows up. His Mark III armor is more than a match for them. Within seconds, he defeats the first group of terrorists, using his advanced weapons to take out several without any innocent casualties. He leaves the group’s leader, Raza’s chief lieutenant, alive and defenseless for the villagers to take their revenge on.

While flying to find his weapons, Iron Man is shot down by a tank shell. When he gets up, a second shell barely misses him. He responds by shooting a mini-missile at the tank, destroying it. Using the palm repulsors he designed, he destroys the captured Jericho missiles. After they are demolished, Raza arrives in time to see Tony fly off.

CENTCOM at Edwards Air Force Base detects Tony in flight, mistaking him for a rogue drone. Col. Rhodes is asked about the status of any new developments. He contacts Tony, who claims that he knows nothing about what is happening. In the meantime, Tony is confronted by two F-22 Raptors. He tries to outrun the jets but they are too much for him. Tony calls Rhodes and reveals that he is responsible for the “unidentified craft.” Rhodey is furious about Tony sending in unauthorized equipment, and horrified when Tony explains that the “equipment” is actually himself in his new invention. Iron Man is hit by one fighter jet, sending him flying into the wing of the second jet. The pilot is forced to eject, but his parachute fails to open. Iron Man, still under fire, flies in and deploys the parachute in time to rescue the pilot. Tony convinces Rhodey to pass off what happened with the jets as a “training exercise.”

After Tony arrives back at home, Pepper catches him removing the battle-damaged Iron Man armor. The removal is not going as well as the assembly and Tony quips that Pepper has seen him in situations that were much worse.

Meanwhile, Stane pays a visit to the Ten Rings’ camp. He paid the Ten Rings members to capture and kill Tony, but they realized who Tony was and had demanded a much higher price when they made their tape. Using a high-powered sonic device that induces temporary paralysis, Stane immobilizes Raza and takes the remnants of the Mark I armor they have gathered. Stane then has his men execute everyone in the camp.

Tony tries to talk Pepper into helping him, believing that nothing else matters but saving the people who he put in harm’s way. Pepper is moved by Tony’s dedication, and agrees. She goes into Obadiah’s office with a flash drive programmed to copy files from the computer. As Pepper sifts through stored files, she finds a video from the terrorists proving that Obadiah was responsible for Tony’s capture. Obadiah comes into the office and sees her at the computer, but Pepper manages to hide what she is really doing. She leaves the office, but as soon as he powers up the computer, Obadiah realizes what she was up to. On the way out, Pepper sees Agent Coulson and tells him he can have his interview immediately so that he accompanies her safely out of the building.

Obadiah meets with his team of developers who are working on his own armored suit based on the Mark I. They have rebuilt the components, but they cannot miniaturize Stark’s arc reactor. Stane is furious, angrily telling one of them, “Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!”, then realizes that he has one other option.

Stane arrives at Tony’s house and paralyzes him with the sonic weapon. Obadiah yanks out the the Mark II chest piece from Tony’s chest, taunting him about how it will be the flagship invention in a new era of weaponry. After he leaves, Tony realizes that he has only one hope for survival — the preserved arc reactor that Pepper gave him as a gift. He gets the power source installed just as Rhodey arrives. Rhodey informs him that five agents have gone to arrest Obadiah, but Tony knows that is not nearly enough manpower.

Rhodey watches Tony suit up, awestruck at the Iron Man armor. Rhodey asks if there’s anything Tony needs, Tony asks him to “keep the skies clear.” As Tony flies away, Rhodey spots the silver-colored prototype suit, the Mark II… then shakes his head and mumbles “Next time.”

Pepper, Coulson and several other agents arrive at Obadiah’s research facility. They spot the Mark I armor and a storage location where something else was kept. Just then, a gigantic robotic suit comes to life and attacks them — it’s Obadiah’s counterpart suit, code-named the Iron Monger, powered by the chest piece he stole from Tony.

While Tony flies towards the research facility, JARVIS warns him that he has only about half power in the suit because the older chest piece wasn’t designed power the Mark III during sustained flight.

Tony arrives just as Obadiah is about to execute Pepper. The two ironclad warriors begin a huge, brawling battle that spills into the streets near Stark Industries. Tony flies into the upper atmosphere, drawing Obadiah along with him. Obadiah struggles but before long begins to freeze up — his suit has the same icing problem that Tony’s Mark II had. Obadiah begins to fall back to Earth, leaving Tony hovering above. The older arc reactor begins to lose power rapidly and Tony falls back to Earth, landing on top of his factory, running on auxiliary backup power.

Back on the ground, Obadiah attacks Tony again. Tony evades Obadiah long enough to instruct Pepper to overload the building’s arc reactor, which will generate a shock wave strong enough to disable Obadiah’s suit. Pepper is hesitant, believing that Tony could also be killed. Tony manages to keep fighting while she builds up power to the reactor. The reactor releases its shock wave, knocking out the Iron Monger suit, which falls into the reactor, killing Stane and destroying the reactor. Stark’s original mini arc reactor sparks back to life, allowing Tony to survive.

Days later, Rhodey holds a press conference about the incident with the two “robots.” Tony is impressed with the name the newspapers come up with, “Iron Man,” and plans to adopt it. Agent Coulson has released cover stories about the death of Obadiah (who will die in a small plane crash while Tony is supposedly elsewhere) and the “truth” about Iron Man (who will be referred to as Stark’s bodyguard). Pepper thanks Coulson but cannot remember the full name of the group he belongs to. Coulson tells them to call it “S.H.I.E.L.D.” and says that they will be in touch again.

Tony goes before the reporters once more, and prepares to comply with the cover story. But, as he begins talking, he throws away his notes and declares “I am Iron Man.” The press goes into a frenzy.

Much later (after the credits), Tony returns home to find a mysterious man in black telling him that as Iron Man, Tony has become part of a larger universe. Tony asks who the man is. He turns around and introduces himself: Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s come to talk with Tony about an upcoming project known as the The Avengers Initiative.

’Nuff said.

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