by Jessica Marshall
Have you ever daydreamed—as we often have—that one of the spandex-suited heroes of “The Avengers” would swoop through your window and whisk you away to romantic bliss?
Come on, we can’t be the only ones who have fantasized that Captain America would fight for our honor, that Iron Man’s energy would pulse just for us, or that Thor would swing that mighty hammer of his in our direction, right?
Whether or not you dig big-screen superheroes, it’s hard to ignore that the actors who suited up to play the Marvel legends in this comic-book adaptation from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon are easy on the eyes. So easy, in fact, that it’s no surprise that all of them have not-so-secret romantic film origins.
If you’re going to catch “The Avengers” in theaters, you might want to rev yourself up beforehand with a little movie marathon that highlights some of the more romantic roles the film’s stars have played.
Chris Evans (Captain America) – “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond”
Chris Evans has played a few superhero types in his day (Johnny Storm from “Fantastic Four” for instance), but while he wasn’t donning a skin-tight, flame-retardant suit or slinging a shield for the cameras, he was bringing a Tennessee Williams screenplay to life. He stars in this 2008 romantic drama as Jimmy, a down-and-out store clerk in 1920s New Orleans who embarks on an affair with a snotty debutante (Bryce Dallas Howard). When scandal and a classist society threaten their love, a truly romantic side of that all-American hunk Chris Evans we never knew comes out!
Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) – “13 Going on 30″
We’d never thought of him as a romantic lead before he played Matty Flamhaff in “13 Going on 30,” but now we can’t get him out of our minds. He danced his way into our hearts with his gawky rendition of “Thriller” and wooed us with his honesty and class in this bubblegum rom-com about a 13-year-old girl whose birthday wish to be 30, flirty and fabulous lands her in the body of her future self (Jennifer Garner), where she encounters—and falls in love with—her best friend from childhood.
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) – “Only You”
RDJ has played many a romantic lead prior to his stint as Iron Man, but he is truly Mr. Right in this 1994 gem. Literally, his character’s name is Peter Wright, and he falls head over heels for a naive and destiny-obsessed woman named Faith (Marisa Tomei) on a trip to Italy. He’s the perfect blend of goofy and charming in this film, which makes you adore him even more when he shows his range of character and dons the Iron Man suit with snarky bravado.
Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) – “Monkey Love”
Before “The Hurt Locker,” before “28 Weeks Later,” Jeremy Renner played the dopey-yet-lovable Dil in this off-beat, under-the-radar 2002 rom-com also starring Amy Stewart and Seamus Deaver. We thought he was cute back then, but now that he has grown more mature and more muscle and more acting chops since then? Well, playing characters like the bow-and-arrow wielding superhero Hawkeye in “The Avengers,” he just may pierce our hearts, Cupid-style.
Bonus: Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) – “Match Point”
ScarJo has a vast repertoire of romance-tinged films under her belt, including “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “Lost in Translation,” but one of her steamier lovefests comes in the form of a Woody Allen movie co-starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers of “Tudors” fame. She plays a buxom young thing who embarks on a passionate affair with a married former tennis pro. The affair drives both of them to do crazy and dangerous things—she to preserve the relationship, and he to preserve his reputation as a wealthy London socialite.
Do you find superheroes attractive? If so, which ones? Let us know in the comments section below and on Twitter!.