Contains spoilers for the Avengers, Thor, Captain American and possibly Iron Man.
As a child, and still as an adult, I prefer book with lots of words to books with lots of pictures. I know comics and graphic novels work for a lot of people, but they don't really work for me, so this Hollywood craze with setting comic books to movies hasn't been a huge hit for me. I liked the first Batman, but didn't see the second because of the goriness. I saw the Spiderman ones with Toby McGuire and was underwhelmed. I saw the first version of the Hulk with Eric Bana and was again underwhelmed. I did see and LOVE Captain America, thanks to my great interest in Second World War and revisionist history, so when I heard that Joss Whedon was directing the Avengers, which would include Captain America, I decided to get caught up on the rest of the cinematic backstory before seeing the movie.
Some elements of Captain America are key to the Avengers, although they're elements I'd totally forgotten about, and the movie makes enough reference to the backstory that someone who hadn't watched Captain America would probably figure out the Avengers. The ending of Captain America really left me hanging; more so because of the relationship aspect than anything else. Peggy Carter was a serious female character, and I totally shipped them. Look at the nice clean-cut all-American couple, battling evil Nazis/Hydra! Awww...so doomed! :(
I was moderately excited about catching up on Iron Man, because I love Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.
I'm not sure how I missed the mental connection, but I was really disappointed when Iron Man started speaking with an American accent. :P The idea of the suit was interesting, and his character is so much like Han Solo I couldn't help liking him, but I felt like there was too much time spent on how the suit was actually created and not enough time on other plot stuff. I still can't decide how I feel about Pepper Potts - sometimes she was awesome, and sometimes she just sat there and screamed for help. I suppose that makes her a fairly realistic and human character, but I'm not sold on it. Also...did you notice that his friend Rhodey was played by two different actors? That threw me off a bit! Anyway, I feel like the story was sort of interesting, but despite the fact that Iron Man got two movies, unlike everyone else, his story wasn't really key to the plot of the Avengers. Instead of two Iron Man movies, I would have liked to have seen one about Hawkeye and the Black Widow.
I quite enjoyed Thor. The cast was really good, and the plot of Thor is totally key to the Avengers. Did I mention the cast was good? I had seen and quite liked Tom Hiddleston in War Horse (actually, he was probably the best part of that movie) and it took me a bit to recognize him as Loki because the transformation was so complete. Also: Jane and Thor.
Another star-crossed relationship! Gah! We saw Thor the night before we went to the the Avengers, so I went to the theatre all ready to see Thor and Jane run. I mean, have some happy resolution to their relationship...and I hoped Jane would do some serious alien butt-kicking.
The Avengers was funny. It was epic. It had great one-liners. It had eplosions. Captain America said that there's only one God! It did an amazing job of tying together all the different backstories and cameos from the various movies. Agent Coulson!
Also, make sure you stay till the bitter end of the credits...it's totally worth it! There's a clip part-way through the credits, but don't let that fool you...it sets up the Avengers Sequel very nicely, but there's another fun one right at the very end.
So...if you haven't seen any of the movies, watch Captain America and Thor, in that order, and then hustle down to the theatre to see the Avengers ASAP!