Iron Man is like the cool, drunk uncle of the Avengers. He's a big man in a suit of armor, but even under that, in his own words, he's a "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist."
Iron Man in the '90s
In the '90s, Iron Man was a mess of glittery gold and red cables and components. His helmet featured these clownish points above his brow, and a built-in mouth hole that was just a little too agape, making him look like some sort of oafish mouth-breather.
Thor is handsome, brooding, and mysterious – what with his divine provenance and all. Being the one god on the team carries a certain about of gravitas. Also, Chris Hemsworth was just named People's 'Sexiest Man Alive'.
Thor in the '90s
Thor was all over the place in the '90s. Fresh off his run as a super-powered frog called Throg (no joke), Thor became Thunderstrike in the '90s, who wasn't quite Thor, but kinda was and also had a ponytail and a little mace instead of a hammer. (?!)
Then later in the '90s, Thor started wearing a lot of black latex and leather straps because we literally has no idea what we were doing with ourselves as a culture at that time.
Hulk has never had a decent movie of his own, but he's arguably the best part of The Avengers. He's savage, and raw, and misunderstood... a tragically flawed character who can barely control himself, and certainly can't be controlled by any of his friends or colleagues.
Hulk in the '90s
At the start of the decade, Hulk was gray and often went by the name of 'Mr. Fixit', a nightclub bouncer living in Las Vegas. Later on in the decade, he was often seen toting massive guns, and even as Hulk, maintained the intelligence of Bruce Banner, destroying anything interesting or compelling about the character.
Also, he wore pink bunny slippers one time. I don't know why. I guess that's something we thought was funny in the 1990s?
Played by Samuel L. Jackson in the films, Nick Fury is the no-nonsense leader of the Avengers Initiative. He oozes power, and his authority is undeniable, and therefore, goes unquestioned in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Nick Fury in the '90s
In 1998, someone thought it would be a good idea to make a movie about Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., and that the only person who could portray the character was none other than David Hasselhoff.
Don't worry though, all your favorite Marvel characters were there to back The Hoff up, like Contessa Valentina 'Val' de Allegro Fontaine and Andrea 'Viper' Von Strucker?
Black Widow is incredible. She's a master assassin, a martial arts expert, and a super-spy. She's an asset to the Avengers team, despite the fact that she doesn't have any super serum in her veins, or a suit or armor, or any extraordinary powers.
Black Widow in the '90s
In the '90s, Black Widow was a 2nd-stringer on the Avengers whose main claim-to-fame was her terrible haircut and her spreads in Marvel's misguided annual Swimsuit Specials.
The Swimsuit Specials were a whole thing that we're not even going to get into here, but nearly everyone featured in this article made an appearance in the specials, and they were all as embarrassing as you'd expect.
Like Black Widow, Hawkeye doesn't have any actual super powers, but possesses a nearly super-human talent for archery. He gives the Avengers a human component, a relatable way in for the rest of us who aren't gods or billionaires.
Hawkeye in the '90s
Hawkeye used to wear a lot of tight purple outfits that were loaded with pouches and quivers, which themselves were loaded with arrows because when your one thing is that you shoot a lot of arrows, you kind of need to carry around a lot of arrows. Like, an absurd amount of arrows.
He also had half-dog-half-human sidekick (pet?) called Rover. We were super creative with our names back in the '90s.
Like actual America, Captain America is the embodiment of brash confidence. He's a strong leader for the Avengers, and never backs down from a fight as long as he's battling on behalf of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Captain America in the '90s
Okay, so to understand what's happening in that first image, you should know about this comic book artist named Rob Liefeld who often gets a bad rap, mostly because his art actually isn't very good. Despite that, he got a lot of work in the 1990s, because the comic book industry was imploding, and our solution was to have someone who wasn't super talented just do everything.
Don't worry, Liefeld eventually moved on, and in the late '90s, Captain America was finally given the nasal protection he was always critically lacking.
Bucky Barnes is a complicated character. He fought alongside Captain America during WWII, then managed to make the leap through time like Cap, but came out the other side as a villain named Winter Soldier, only to be redeemed by Captain America and turned into a good guy once more.
Winter Soldier in the '90s (-ish)
Winter Solider as we know him didn't exist in the '90s. Instead, we had this guy called Nomad who wasn't actually Bucky Barnes, but served essentially the same purpose. He was associated with Captain America, but represented the darker side of the American Dream, which he exemplified with a leather duster and a sawed-off shotgun. (How elegant.)
Nomad spent a lot of time protecting a baby who was called Bucky and who dressed an awful lot like Bucky Barnes, but the baby wasn't Bucky Barnes and didn't actually have anything to do with Bucky Barnes.
Sam Wilson, also known as the Falcon, is the best new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's just a normal dude who can somehow keep up with the likes of Captain America and Black Widow, thanks in large part to the sophisticated wing suit from which he earns his name.
Falcon in the '90s
Back in the '90s, Sam Wilson's high-tech wing suit was just a pair of wings, and they were bright red. Paired with what looks like a luchador outfit, the Falcon was not the most subtle crime-fighter in Marvel's line-up. He also had a telepathic link to his pet falcon named Redwing, as well as the power to control all birds, which is about as useful as the ability to control all squirrels.
Listen, Hugh Jackman is like the epitome of manliness. Sure, he's a foot and a half taller than Wolverine is in the comic books, but nobody could capture the essence of the character better.
Wolverine in the '90s
This is complicated... bare with me. In the '90s, Magneto used his powers to rip out Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, and because of his rapid healing ability, he lived through it. BUT, the process of having his entire skeleton ripped out all at once left him in a bit of a salty mood, so he became a more savage version of himself.
What's that mean? Well, he was often drawn with no discernible nose, and sometimes wore a mask that covered his whole head for some reason, and was always shouting and growling at everyone. Savage as hell.
The Spider-Man of the films is the same lovable friendly neighborhood Spider-Man that we all know and love from the character's genesis in the 1960s. As Peter Parker, he's dopey and relatable... the sort of guy you could see yourself hanging out with.
Spider-Man in the '90s
In the late '90s, Spider-Man wasn't Peter Parker, but a CLONE of Peter Parker named Ben Reilly. He also wasn't Spider-Man, but instead he called himself Scarlet Spider. Oh, and instead of the recognizable costume, he wore a red unitard with a tattered blue hoodie over it because of grunge or alt-rock or whatever. I blame Generation X.
Drax is the most literal-minded member of the quirky group of heroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Played by wrestler David Bautista, Drax is simple and honorable. His motivations are good, even if they're occasionally misguided.
Drax in the '90s
In the '90s, Drax wore a stunning purple cloak, accented with little gold skulls, which made him look like a super villain, which he sometimes was. Most of the time, however, he was more of an anti-hero who was hell-bent on destroying Thanos, who was responsible for the death of his human wife and child, and oh, also, Drax was a human too at one point?
Peter Quill, also known as Star Lord, is a rakish bandit-turned-hero with a heart of gold. He was expertly portrayed by Chris Pratt in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and quickly became a favorite character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Starlord" in the '90s
Seriously, this looks like the box art for one of those old Atari or NES games, which NEVER accurately portrayed the 8-bit jumble of pixels you actually got to play as.
Gamora quickly established herself as one of Marvel's leading ladies when Guardians of the Galaxy came out. She awesome, and powerful, and doesn't take any shit from anyone.
Gamora in the '90s
Gamora spent much of the '90s chasing down her love interest, Adam Warlock, or dead. When she wasn't dead, she wore an outfit which appeared to be made from fishnet stockings, which was tastefully held in place by golden skulls and bangles. (Don't worry, she also made an appearance in the Swimsuit Specials.)
The Ant-Man film has not come out yet, so we haven't had a chance to really fall in love with the character yet. But, since he's being played by Paul Rudd, something tells me it won't take long.
Ant-Man in the '90s
In the '90s, Ant-Man fell into the same trap that every superhero fell into, and went edgy for whatever reason. He started calling himself Myrmidon, and apparently gained about 300 pounds in muscle mass and started throwing around threats of crushing everyone in his "metal mandibles."