By this point in film history, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is omnipresent in our cinemas and our popular culture. Just see all the buzz recently generated by Marvel Studios’ panel at Comic-Con.
This means that sometimes, we forget how unprecedented this entire endeavor seemed on the outset. No one knew for sure if this project — greenlighting a bunch of movies based on heroes who are not Spider-Man, then putting them together in one big team-up movie — would work.
And yet, the creative teams pulled it off. Perhaps more than Iron Man or any of the other Phase 1 films, The Avengers was the one that needed to be a success. As we all know now, it was indeed a success, both commercially and artistically.
There Was an Idea …
The Avengers was ten years in the making, with the earliest plans for the movie dating back to 2003. Over time, a plan formed in which Marvel Studios, now financially independent from other studios, would establish the main characters through five films. The journey from brainstorming to realization had its obstacles.
Major actors like Terence Howard and Edward Norton bailed from the roles they originated, The Hulk stumbled at the box office, and a planned feature film for Ant-Man did not move forward in time. All of this meant that the team behind The Avengers had their work cut out for them.
Slowly, piece by piece, the pieces of the MCU came together. First, there was Iron Man. Then, there was The Incredible Hulk. Black Widow first appeared in Iron Man 2. Thor came next, with a brief appearance by Hawkeye. Finally, Captain America: The First Avenger completed the ensemble and confirmed the end goal. What people could only speculate with Iron Man’s post-credits teaser in 2008, and what Marvel fans could only dream in the decades before, was about to happen in 2012’s cinematic event of the summer.
The Avengers would finally assemble.
A Group of Remarkable People
Devoted fans and casual moviegoers alike were intrigued by the idea of superheroes teaming together. For starters, no one had ever done this on the big screen: Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man films acted like the Fantastic Four did not exist.
Moreover, the team seemed really unbalanced. A team featuring two skilled but otherwise, normal humans and the Hulk was ripe for snide comments, and the idea of Norse gods interacting with a man in a robot suit was weirder still.
Luckily, the movie had director and screenwriter Joss Whedon. Though he had only directed one film before, one that disappointed at the box office, his experience with TV showed he could craft an exciting and entertaining adventure story. Best of all, he knew how to create team dynamics and create an ensemble where every character is interesting.
Whedon recognized that a group of unstable people would experience great tension, especially when they work for a shady government agency. He knew that he had to bring out that internal conflict and show them for the three-dimensional characters they could be. This makes for one of the film’s more memorable scenes, then makes the time when they work together feel even better to behold.
Arguably more than Favreau’s directing in Iron Man, it was Whedon’s work with The Avengers that would define the MCU. His quip-ridden dialogue and snarky sense of humor would pervade the franchise. His soft rebooting of Natasha Romanoff and the newly recast Bruce Banner would prove more definitive than their initial outings. Best of all, he cemented the Avengers as a group of believable personalities who can have serious issues with each other but still come together when needed.
When we see the famed one-shot that zips between each of the heroes fighting the Chitauri invaders, we knew the crossover was a success. When we see the iconic shot of all six Avengers standing together, it feels earned.
To See If They Could Become Something More
Since 2012, the MCU has grown greatly. The number of superheroes grew by leaps and bounds, alien worlds and magical beings have been introduced, and the stakes have gone from defending the world to protecting the universe. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were more grandiose and ambitious films have been released.
That being said, The Avengers remains among the franchise’s most entertaining and rewatchable movies, and one of its most dazzling feats.
If you want to assemble some mighty gifts for an Avengers fan, Your WDW Store is bringing the party to you. We have a diverse variety of merchandise from all of the heroes’ big team-up films, including rare items that were only available for a limited time or can only be found in the Disney parks. That is not just a statement, but a promise.