With Avengers: Age of Ultron coming out tonight, many have made it their mission to rewatch the Avenger movies in order to refresh themselves before going into the new culmination. For those that honestly intended to, but didn’t, that’s fine. This article can work as a little bit of supplement for rewatching the films.
Where did the Avengers leave off? Some of the team we haven’t seen since Phase 1. So without further adieu, where did the Avengers leave off?
Working backwards in order of most recent appearance, Captain America was last seen during his film, Winter Soldier. He and Falcon had discovered the true identity of Winter Soldier as his long lost buddy Bucky and were setting off to find him. They had a couple leads, given to them by Black Widow and Nick Fury. If they had thought to stake out the Cap museum, they would have had better luck finding Bucky, but for now they were executing a two-person, world-wide manhunt for James Buchanan Barnes.
Black Widow left off in the midst of committee meetings. Hydra had infiltrated SHIELD over the course of decades. In an attempt to reestablish freedom, Captain America and Black Widow had published every SHIELD secret online, which quickly attained “trending” status. The United States government began holding hearings as to the fall of SHIELD. Black Widow was the most public face of these hearings, speaking on behalf of Cap and others. When threatened, Black Widow reminded the committee that they needed her where she was.
We last saw Thor during Thor: The Dark World. After preventing a collapse of reality as we know it through the convergence, Thor decided to turn his back on Asgard and his home world. During this previous adventure, he believes himself to have lost both his mother and his brother. He returned to Earth and began smooching with Jane Foster, which is presumably what he’s been doing for the last year or so. He is unaware, however, that his father isn’t exactly feeling normal and his brother may not be as dead as last thought.
Iron Man was last seen in Iron Man 3 (a blip on the screen in Cap 2 doesn’t count). When he last saw him, Tony was struggling with the line between Iron Man and Tony, as well as PTSD following the events of the Avengers. As the most public of the figures in the Avengers, he was consistently being questioned about the portal and about the aliens. He had flashbacks and panic attacks on this subject. Pepper was at the end of her line in the issue regarding Tony and Iron Man’s distinctions and Tony finally decided to destroy his suits as a Christmas present to her. After being infected with the Extremis virus, Pepper went into treatment. Tony joined her and finally had the shrapnel removed from his chest, a move which was odd to many fans. He finally declared that he was still Iron Man, despite not having the suits or the arc reactor anymore.
After being heralded as a hero with the Avengers, Bruce Banner apparently avoided being arrested by authorities. He made himself available to Tony to talk, but we don’t know much about his state. It is likely he has been in close proximity to Tony since the Avengers, due to the end of the Avengers showing the two of them together and the end of Iron Man 3 still showing them together. We do not have any records of incidents, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t Hulked out in Alaska somewhere. For now, we know remarkably little.
Hawkeye was last seen in the Avengers. After being under Loki’s control for the events leading up to the Battle of New York, Hawkeye hosted a lot of anger towards Loki, which he took out on the alien invaders. That being said, his notable absence during the fall of SHIELD tells us that he may have had some more recovery needed. When we saw Selvig, who was in similar control by Loki, he was pretty frazzled (even nakedly so). Hawkeye had this trauma on top of the trauma of doing battle against alien invaders. It’s likely he needed some counseling.
Now that we looked at the six Avengers, there are some other characters that we should take a look at who will be appearing in Age of Ultron.
While his last big screen adaptation was in Winter Soldier, our last appearance of Nick Fury was actually in Agents of SHIELD. Shortly before the fall of SHIELD, the Winter Soldier put a couple slugs in his chest. After a myriad of injuries, Nick recovered, but most of the world believes him to be dead. He still has considerable resources, however, enough to find Fitz-Simmons at the bottom of the Ocean in season 1 of SHIELD. It’s unclear where these resources come from, but hey, he’s Nick Freaking Fury.
Wanda and Pietro Maximoff have only briefly been on screen. As best we know, they were powered individuals being experimented on by Hydra. They are the only ones to survive the testing and experiments. They are currently being held by Baron Von Strucker in a secret Hydra facility…that Coulson’s team just delivered the location of to the Avengers.
There you have it! This is where most of our characters were last seen. Obviously, there has been some development off-screen. Tony has suits again. The Avengers seem to have reassembled. There are technology improvements all around. As usual in Whedon films, pay close attention to the little bits of dialogue. They will likely contain much of the backstory to connect these former positions to the Age of Ultron. For now, however, only time will tell.