So it's been a month and I've withheld any spoilery-type comments I might have had after seeing The Avengers. In a month's time, including the midnight premiere I've seen the movie 5 times. I loved the movie and enjoyed the movie going experience every time I saw it. (Thank god for coupons and AMC stubs, do you realize how much a IMAX 3D ticket costs?) So here are a few of my thoughts, I'll try to stay as spoiler free as possible (but seriously, if you haven't seen the movie get off your ass.)
The main thing to take away from the movie is that all of these character exist in a larger universe. There are things out there that require the strengths of all the members of the Avengers to stop them. Those heroes assembled, defended the universe and unsurprising to no one, Avengers 2 is in development at Marvel. Iron Man 3 is going into production this summer with a release set for May of 2013; and is rumored to be based on the Extermis arc of Invincible Iron Man. Thor 2 is also in development for a November 2013 release. Marvel has stated they intend to release 2 movies a year. That could mean we could finally get an Ant Man movie or Marvel may be working on some of their other comic properties like Immortal Iron Fist or the recently rumored Guardians of the Galaxy.
Who are the next Avengers?
With the release of Thor we have a justification for magic in the Marvel movies. And with the cosmic cube (tesseract) playing a role both in Captain America and Avengers it makes sense to delve deeper into the magic portion of the universe. Doctor Strange could appear in his own movie dealing with some sort of mystical attack on New York (why not right?) and some one like Bruce Banner or Dr. Selvig could come to him about the Avengers' Initiative. Patrick Dempsey has expressed interest in playing the role and he could definitely pull it off.
One of the oldest and most popular black superheroes in comics is the Black Panther, the king of Wakanda. A legend in Africa on par with Captain America, he's quick and agile with animal instincts and according to the comics he's one of the 8 smartest people in the world. He's one in a line of warriors who protects Wakanda. He could appear in Captain America 2 in WWII flashbacks or as an ally of Captain America's in an international conflict.
Ant Man & Wasp
It seems odd that you would make a movie about the founding of the Avengers without two of it's founding members. Granted it seems kind of pointless in having a guy who can shrink down and speak to ant's and his wife who can shrink down and shoot stinging bolts and fly around with insect wings. These two character may be dumb sounding but they are an integral part to the Avengers and the Marvel Universe. Hank Pym (ant man) creates a form of particle that allows himself to shrink down and ride an ant he can also use the particles to grow exponentially to become Giant Man. In an Avengers sequel he could be a 'big' contribution to a global threat, imagine him growing and smacking down chitauri. Introducing these two characters in their own movie, which has been rumored to be in the works with Shaun of the Dead's Edgar Wright, could set up a potential villain for the Avengers as well.
Ultron is a robot A.I. that decided to eliminate human beings. It's software is decided by Hank Pym with help from Tony Stark. It is incredibly adaptive and has eliminated multiple groups of Avengers over the years. Ultron could function as a villain that takes the new Avengers squad to the breaking point with other dangers lurking in the galaxy.
Heroes for Hire
The Immortal Iron Fist and Luke Cage could each have their own movie, covering their origins, but the idea of two superheroes working for money could work in the Marvel movies, especially as potential Avengers. Iron Fist is a martial arts expert who can focus his chi through his fists, and Luke Cage has bulletproof skin and increased physical strength. Quick flashbacks could tell their origins as they work to fight crime in New York City.
The Cosmic Cube (tesseract) and the Infinity Gauntlet
Anyone who's read the Infinity Gauntlet knows the importance of the cosmic cube. It can be used to bend reality to the will of the user. In Captain America it was used by the Red Skull to power Hydra's weapons of destruction. In Avengers, Loki uses it to power a machine long enough to rip a whole in the fabric of spacetime opening a gateway for the chitauri to come through and attack New York. It was used to give a user enough power to harness the infinity gems, which when gathered would form the infinity gauntlet, granting the barer unlimited power. Rumor has it Loki's staff was powered by one of the infinity gems, and some of the other gems have been held by people like Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.
The Avengers would have an uphill battle on their hands if the infinity gauntlet or the cosmic cube fall into the wrong hands. Having some new blood would definitely make things a little easier, but not too easy.
I do have one problem with making an Avengers' sequel, which I'll get into tomorrow.