The first two months of the summer blockbuster season have already included two Marvel movies, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. In a post-credit scene of Iron Man, an eye-patch-wearing Samuel L. Jackson makes a cameo as Nick Fury, the superspy leader of S.H.I.E.L.D, and informs Tony Stark of his plans for an “Avenger Initiative.” How many of you caught that? Stark also appears at the end of The Incredible Hulk to tell General Thunderbolt Ross that he is putting a “team” together. Clearly, there are crossovers on the horizon.

Coinciding with the release of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, Marvel announced earlier this month their plans for two upcoming Avengers movies. The First Avenger: Captain America is slated for May 2011 and The Avengers will follow in July 2011. The First Avenger will be set during World War II and detail the origin of the iconic Captain America. Plot details have not been given, but it’s safe to bet that Captain America will be busy battling Nazis and other enemies of the free world. The Avengers will follow the formation of the original Avenger team: Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Wasp, and Ant-Man. Zak Penn, who wrote X-Men United and X-Men: Last Stand, is set to write the scripts for both films.

The Avengers is an exciting prospect because it has the potential to break free from the cookie-cutter superhero movie plotlines that have dominated the summer screens over the past few years. This film won’t have to slog through the back stories of each character because they have been solidified in previous films. Instead, The Avengers can focus on the unexplored dynamic between the different superheroes of the expansive Marvel Universe. Also, let’s not forget, watching Thor kick the crap out of bad guys with his war hammer is going to be awesome.

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