In the biggest “Duh!” announcement of the century, Marvel Studios has greenlit a sequel to their record-shattering superhero blockbuster The Avengers. The film has already grossed over $700 million worldwide and had the biggest opening-weekend take in the history of American cinema with a gargantuan $207 million three-day haul. While I am still reveling in my blind love and euphoria for Joss Whedon’s magnificent superhero spectacle, I did pause to think of six things that I would like to see if he decides to get behind the lens of the sequel:
6.) A New Captain America Costume
Admittedly, this is a very minor nitpick on my part. Captain America’s “modern” battle togs certainly aren’t terrible by any means, but with some small improvements, I think the outfit could look even better than the great WWII-inspired suit Chris Evans wore in the solo Cap film. The main issue I have with the costume is the headpiece. The piece covering the forehead and the top of the head is just a little too “bulbous” for my taste, it looks especially dorky when the camera points directly at Cap. I’d streamline this piece down so that it’s more form-fitting, and I’d replace that loose, cloth neck-lining with something more along the lines of Batman’s redesigned neck piece from The Dark Knight. I’d also pop out the ear coverings, and have Chris Evans’ ears showing. For some reason, Cap just looks more like Cap if his ears are visible on the side of the cowl. But, no rubber ears, please.
5.) The Avengers living together in Stark Tower
Now come on, how much fun would this be? In the comics, most of The Avengers actually lived together in a huge mansion (owned by Tony Stark, of course). And when they weren’t off saving the world from cosmic Armageddon, they could be found lounging around on the cushy sofas and abusing Tony’s faithful butler Jarvis, who somehow got stuck catering to and cleaning up after a dozen superheroes. (It must have sucked to be on bathroom duty after The Hulk came back from all-you-can-eat burrito night.)
Just think of all the great character interaction and snappy Whedon-esque repartee this living situation would create in the film universe! Couldn’t you picture Hawkeye, listlessly shooting arrows into Stark’s lavish upholstery and bitching about The Black Widow leaving her wet pantyhose on the shower rod? Or Cap covering his ears as the sounds of Pepper and Tony’s kinky shenanigans reverberate from the next room? Or Thor pounding down 40’s in the kitchen? Absolute cinematic gold.
4.) The Pym’s and Ultron
It probably would’ve been a good idea to plant the seeds for this couple and their murderous, Oedipal android during the first film, but if Marvel is looking to add more members to the team in the sequel, then it’s better late than never for these vital characters in The Avengers mythos. Henry “Hank” Pym is a brilliant scientist who invented particles (later dubbed “Pym particles,” ‘nach) that could shrink a human down to ant-size, or grow one to skyscraper heights. He made use of both of these variations, first as Ant-Man, then as Giant-Man. (There would also be another identity called Yellowjacket, but that’s a complicated story.)
Janet Van Dyne, better known by her superhero moniker The Wasp, is a fashion designer by day and a tiny ass-kicker in The Avengers by night. Hank Pym shot her up with his Pym particles, causing her not only to shrink to insect-size, but also grow wings and develop stinging blasts from her hands. She became the Wasp, married Hank, and they both became charter members of The Avengers. In fact, it was The Wasp who gave the team their name in the pages of their very first comic book adventure in 1963.
The interesting character traits of this couple mostly involve Hank Pym, who is really not a very likable guy. He’s got bipolar tendencies, and is prone to violent outbursts if things don’t go his way. He beat his wife Janet on the regular, which is not something the Disney suits who run this money-printing factory of a superteam want to see, I’m sure. However, they may be more comfortable bringing in Hank’s creation, Ultron, a psychotic artificial intelligence that immediately wanted to murder him and steal his wife, and — err… you know what, I don’t think that’s going to fly too well with the suits, either. If they’ve shied away from Tony Stark’s alcoholism, I’m fairly positive we’ll never see a wife-beater and his incestuous killing machine, either.
3.) Iron Man vs. The Hulk
Despite having a great enemy in Loki, and epic battle sequences against the invading Chitauri aliens, the dust-ups among the heroes themselves were probably the most fun aspect of the film. A brawl between Hulk and Iron Man, however, is the one epic clash that Joss Whedon deprived us of in The Avengers. This battle of brute force versus high-tech armor would literally shake the Earth, and be even more poignant in the sequel due to the comraderie sparked between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner; not to mention all the trademark snarky Stark zingers that Tony would level at jolly green behemoth throughout the fight. Who knows, this brouhaha might even give audiences a taste of Iron Man’s special “Hulk-buster” armor!
2.) More Powerful Antagonists
While it was deliriously gleeful to watch The Avengers pummel alien cannon fodder like the Chitauri, for the sequel I’d love to see our heroes really struggle with some more powerful enemies that can match them blow for blow. Let’s the see the Avengers get systemically taken apart, or beaten to the point where all hope seems utterly lost. More powerful foes like Ultron, Baron Zemo & The Masters of Evil, or – as revealed in the mid-credits sequence – Thanos, could amp up the danger factor tenfold for our heroes in a second adventure.
1.) “Avengers Assemble!”
I was pretty stunned that The Avengers iconic – albeit cheesey – catchphrase didn’t get emphatically belted out by Captain America or a different hero in the film. Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige recently told reporters that he asked Joss if there was any place in the film that the Avengers classic catchphrase could go, and in the end there was simply no organic way for anyone to say it without sounding incredibly forced or silly. Because the movie turned out so incredibly awesome, I’m cool with it — but next time I had better see Captain America raise his shield and scream out “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!” as the team swoops in behind him, ready to unleash an unholy amount of asskickery on whatever villain is foolish enough to mess with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!