• Wed, Apr 2 - 11:50 am ET

A Guide To Understanding Superhero Movies, According To A Non-Fan

The Avengers

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I don’t like superhero movies. I would prefer they be all be replaced in every theater by quirky indie comedies, but unfortunately Hollywood would rather listen to America’s very generous wallets than the prayers of one girl who’s tired of hearing about origin stories. Every time I go see a movie, there’s a new superhero trailer, and every time I end up whispering to the person next to me, “Didn’t that one just come out last month?”

My superhero viewing experience is pretty much limited to the Tobey Maguire version of Spider-Man, which I pretty much only watched to ogle James Franco, with a couple of random ones thrown in that my college friends forced me to endure and which I pretty much completely forgot about immediately after the credits rolled. So needless to say, I have no plans to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier when it hits theaters this Friday. However, I do have plans to write a handy guide for keeping track of the many superhero sagas we’ve encountered in recent years, as explained by someone who has no business explaining them. Through it, I hope to give non-superhero-fans something to relate to and super-superhero-fans something to hate me for. Let’s begin.

1. Captain America

An extra from Pearl Harbor gets trapped in Microsoft Paint, where he’s attacked by the eraser tool. He sets out on a quest to get his hot body back with the help of a child’s chemistry set. Once that’s done, he steals a festive Fourth of July plate from a giant and carries it around. Then I guess he finds a time warp somewhere so he can go to the future and hit on Scarlett Johansson.

2. Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. acts like Robert Downey Jr. and occasionally rides around inside a Transformer while still making sure to act like Robert Downey Jr. Oh, and Gwyneth Paltrow shows up from time to time to feed him kale.

3. Spider-Man

A guy gets bitten by a spider and forgets to put antibiotic cream on it so he gets silly string disease and figures he might as well use it to cause major damage to various taxi cabs and buildings. Then he wakes up and it’s Groundhog Day again, but this time he falls in love with Emma Stone instead of Kirsten Dunst.

4. Batman

A kid’s parents die and the grief causes him to lose his voice so everything comes out raspy. It’s really sad. Luckily he becomes friends with the entire cast of Inception, who are nice enough not to make fun of him for that time he put fake nipples on his outfit. And I think somewhere in there Heath Ledger won an Oscar.

5. Superman

I used to think this was a campy story about a guy who possesses the magical power to disguise his true identity using only thick-framed glasses, but last summer I realized it’s actually about a hot fisherman who studies earthquakes and heroically gives publicity to the girl from The Big Bang Theory on the side.

6. Thor

Everyone loves Loki a lot. That’s pretty much all you need to know about anything to do with Thor. Also Natalie Portman is there doing her best impression of a nerd, and Anthony Hopkins proves he’s the greatest actor on Earth by managing to keep a metal eyepatch on his face without a string. There’s something about a hammer somewhere in there too, but I don’t know about all that.

7. X-Men

According to Liz Lemon, rejection from society created these guys. So I guess they were like really emo kids who had to eat their lunch in the bathroom in high school, but then they all ended up with the power to turn themselves blue. But this isn’t Avatar or The Smurfs. It’s the other one with blue people. It’s very important to remember that when talking to people about these movies.

8. The Hulk

This is about a guy who really doesn’t like to keep his shirt on, so he turns himself into a big green angry monster to give himself an excuse to be topless. It’s basically the Justin Bieber story, but in that case “big green angry monster” would be replaced by “little douche.”

9. The Fantastic Four

I think this was a movie that came out a bunch of years ago? For a while I just assumed it was a weird dream I had, but apparently it’s about when Captain America throws away his shield and decides he’d rather hang out with Jessica Alba’s boobs. And wait, is that the Hulk again? Wow, he needs some moisturizer pronto.

10. The Avengers

A bunch of the superheroes we just talked about decide it would be cool if they all starred in a movie together and hypnotized everyone in America into handing them money to watch them make inside jokes and stand dramatically in a circle for two hours. And OMG is that Loki? Shut up, Loki’s on the screen, and I’ve been told I’m supposed to love him.

11. Daredevil

In which the guy nobody wants to play Batman travels back in time to play a blind guy who jumps off buildings in order to show everyone how much worse a superhero movie with him could be. Unfortunately while he was back in time he also accidentally made Gigli.

12. Guardians of the Galaxy

Andy Dwyer and his confusing set of abs embark on a journey of some kind alongside Zoe Saldana in greenface (gasp), Bradley Cooper in a very convincing raccoon costume, another guy who’s probably the Hulk, and an ent. I think I might actually see this one, guys. All that stuff I just listed sounds kind of awesome. I guess I’m a superhero fan now?

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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