Marvel's The Avengers (classified under the name Marvel Avengers Assemble in the United Kingdom and Ireland), or simply The Avengers, is a 2012 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Written and directed by Joss Whedon, the film features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner as the Avengers, alongside Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Nick Fury and the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Thor to form a team capable of stopping Thor's brother Loki from subjugating Earth.
The film's development began when Marvel Studios received a loan from Merrill Lynch in April 2005. After the success of the film Iron Man in May 2008, Marvel announced that The Avengers would be released in July 2011 and would bring together Tony Stark (Downey), Steve Rogers (Evans), Bruce Banner (Ruffalo), and Thor (Hemsworth) from Marvel's previous films. With the signing of Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in March 2009, the film was pushed back for a 2012 release. Whedon was brought on board in April 2010 and rewrote the original screenplay by Zak Penn. Production began in April 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in August and New York City in September. The film has more than 2,200 visual effects shots.
The Avengers premiered in Los Angeles on April 11, 2012, and was released in the United States on May 4, as the last film of Phase One of the MCU. The film received praise for Whedon's direction and screenplay, visual effects, action sequences, acting, and musical score, and garnered numerous awards and nominations including Academy Award and BAFTA nominations for achievements in visual effects. The film grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide, setting numerous box office records and becoming the third-highest-grossing film of all time and the highest-grossing film of 2012, as well as the first Marvel production to generate $1 billion in ticket sales. In 2017, The Avengers was featured as one of the 100 greatest films of all time in an Empire magazine poll. Three sequels have been released: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man:
A self-described genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist with an electromechanical suit of armor of his own invention. Downey was cast as part of his four-picture deal with Marvel Studios, which included Iron Man 2 (2010) and The Avengers. He said he initially pushed Whedon to make Stark the lead: "Well, I said, 'I need to be in the opening sequence. I don't know what you're thinking, but Tony needs to drive this thing.' He was like, 'Okay, let's try that.' We tried it and it didn't work, because this is a different sort of thing, the story and the idea and the theme is the theme, and everybody is just an arm of the octopus." About the character's evolution from previous films, Downey said, "In Iron Man, which was an origin story, he was his own epiphany and redemption of sorts. Iron Man 2 is all about not being an island, dealing with legacy issues and making space for others. . . In The Avengers, he's throwing it down with the others". Downey earned $50 million from the film, "once box-office bonuses and backend compensation [were] factored in".
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America:
A World War II veteran who was enhanced to the peak of human physicality by an experimental serum and frozen in suspended animation before waking up in the modern world. Evans was cast as part of a deal to star in three Marvel films, in addition to The Avengers. Evans said that Steve Rogers is much darker in The Avengers: "It's just about him trying to come to terms with the modern world. You've got to imagine, it's enough of a shock to accept the fact that you're in a completely different time, but everybody you know is dead. Everybody you cared about. . . He was a soldier, obviously, everybody he went to battle with, all of his brothers in arms, they're all dead. He's just lonely. I think in the beginning it's a fish-out-of-water scene, and it's tough. It's a tough pill for him to swallow. Then comes trying to find a balance with the modern world." Regarding the dynamic between Rogers and Tony Stark, Evans said, "I think there's certainly a dichotomy—this kind of friction between myself and Tony Stark, they're opposites. One guy is flash and spotlight and smooth, and the other guy is selfless and in the shadows and kind of quiet and they have to get along. They explore that, and it's pretty fun. "Evans earned $2–3 million for the film.
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk:
A genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated. Ruffalo, who was considered to play Banner in The Incredible Hulk (2008) before Edward Norton took the role, was cast after negotiations between Marvel and Norton broke down. About replacing Norton, Ruffalo said, "I'm a friend of Ed's, and yeah, that wasn't a great way for all that to go down. But the way I see it is that Ed has bequeathed this part to me. I look at it as my generation's Hamlet." About the character, he said, "He's a guy struggling with two sides of himself—the dark and the light—and everything he does in his life is filtered through issues of control. I grew up on the Bill Bixby TV series, which I thought was a really nuanced and real human way to look at the Hulk. I like that the part has those qualities". Regarding the Hulk's place on the team, Ruffalo said, "He's like the teammate none of them are sure they want on their team. He's a loose cannon. It's like, 'Just throw a grenade in the middle of the group and let's hope it turns out well! "This is the first production in which the actor playing Banner also plays the Hulk. Ruffalo told New York magazine, "I'm really excited. No one's ever played the Hulk exactly; they've always done CGI. They're going to do the Avatar stop-action, stop-motion capture. So I'll actually play the Hulk. That'll be fun". The 3D model used to create the Hulk's body was modeled after Long Island bodybuilder and male stripper Steve Romm, while the Hulk's face was modeled after Ruffalo. To create the Hulk's voice, Ruffalo's voice was blended with those of Lou Ferrigno and others; however, the Hulk's only speaking line ("Puny god.") was provided solely by Ruffalo. Ruffalo earned $2–3 million for the film.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor:
The crown prince of Asgard, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name. Hemsworth was cast as part of a multiple movie deal. He had previously worked with Joss Whedon on The Cabin in the Woods (2011). Hemsworth said that he was able to maintain the strength he built up for Thor (2011) by increasing his food intake, consisting of chicken breasts, fish, steak, and eggs every day. When asked exactly how much, Hemsworth said, "My body weight in protein pretty much! "He remarked that Thor's motivation "is much more of a personal one, in the sense that it's his brother that is stirring things up. Whereas everyone else, it's some bad guy who they've gotta take down. It's a different approach for me, or for Thor. He's constantly having to battle the greater good and what he should do vs. it's his little brother there. . . I've been frustrated with my brothers at times, or family, but I'm the only one who is allowed to be angry at them. There's a bit of that. "Hemsworth earned $2–3 million for the film.
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow:
A highly trained spy working for S.H.I.E.L.D. About the character and her relationship with Hawkeye, Johansson said, "Our characters have a long history. They've fought together for a long time in a lot of battles in many different countries. We're the two members of this avenging group who are skilled warriors – we have no superpowers. Black Widow is definitely one of the team, though. She's not in the cast simply to be a romantic foil or eye candy. She's there to fight, so I never felt like I was the only girl. We all have our various skills and it feels equal". Regarding her training, Johansson said, "Even though Iron Man 2 was 'one-for-them,' I'd never done anything like that before. I'd never been physically driven in something, or a part of something so big. For The Avengers, I've spent so many months training with our stunt team, and fighting all the other actors, it's crazy. I do nothing but fight—all the time. "Johansson earned $4–6 million for the film.
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye:
A master archer working as an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. Renner said it was a very physical role and that he trained physically and practiced archery as much as possible in preparation. About the role, Renner said, "When I saw Iron Man, I thought that was a really kick-ass approach to superheroes. Then they told me about this Hawkeye character, and I liked how he wasn't really a superhero; he's just a guy with a high skill set. I could connect to that. "Regarding Hawkeye's sniper mentality, Renner said, "It's a lonely game. He's an outcast. His only connection is to Scarlett's character, Natasha. It's like a left hand/right hand thing. They coexist, and you need them both, especially when it comes to a physical mission. "Renner said Hawkeye is not insecure about his humanity. "Quite the opposite, he's the only one who can really take down the Hulk with his [tranquilizer-tipped] arrows. He knows his limitations. But when it comes down to it, there has to be a sense of confidence in any superhero. "Renner earned $2–3 million for the film.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki:
Thor's adoptive brother and nemesis, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name. About his character's evolution from the film Thor, Hiddleston said, "I think the Loki we see in The Avengers is further advanced. You have to ask yourself the question: How pleasant an experience is it disappearing into a wormhole that has been created by some kind of super nuclear explosion of his own making? So I think by the time Loki shows up in The Avengers, he's seen a few things. "About Loki's motivations, Hiddleston said, "At the beginning of The Avengers, he comes to Earth to subjugate it and his idea is to rule the human race as their king. And like all the delusional autocrats of human history, he thinks this is a great idea because if everyone is busy worshipping him, there will be no wars so he will create some kind of world peace by ruling them as a tyrant. But he is also kind of deluded in the fact that he thinks unlimited power will give him self-respect, so I haven't let go of the fact that he is still motivated by this terrible jealousy and kind of spiritual desolation."