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Film Talk: Looking Back – Assembling The Avengers

It was the moment that fanboys, nerds and true believers like me had been waiting for a lifetime to arrive.

Avengers Assemble
Avengers Assemble

Attempts at bringing the lore of Marvel comics to the silver screen had resulted in years of ups and downs, with 2003’s Hulk having cut a feeble rug, and the Toby Maguire Spider-Man trilogy leaving many people disappointed.

2005’s Fantastic Four had been a pale shadow of its source material, and its 2007 sequel was little better. The flame had gone out for the superfans of the superworld, and hopes of a cinematic effort ever doing justice to their treasured pantheon of heroes were extinguished.

Yet then came Robert Downey Jr, and his take on a certain Mr Stark. With the phenomenal success of 2008’s Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was born, and a spark was ignited. Though 2008’s The Incredible Hulk was a little weak, 2010 saw the sublime return of Downey Jr in Iron Man 2, while 2011 heralded the arrival and superb establishment of Thor and Captain America.

Marvel Studios had proved its worth and done justice to its characters. Fans were in rapture, and though at one time it was unimaginable, Earth’s mightiest heroes were finally ready to assemble...

Directed by Joss Whedon, 2012’s Avengers Assemble was the culmination of a studio’s dream to bring together the greatest characters of the Marvel world, just as the comic-books had done decades before.

Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it was the sixth film in the MCU and featured an ensemble cast including Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner.

Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson completed the impressive list of stars that would bring this monumental endeavour to life, and finally give us an on-screen adventure featuring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk and Hawkeye standing side-by-side.

But would a flick with so many big characters on screen work, or be a disaster of overindulgence and excess?

Needless to say, pressure was on, and Whedon had no option but to deliver in spades...

When Earth falls under the threat of the mischievous Loki (Hiddleston) and his alien army, director of S.H.I.E.L.D Nick Fury (Jackson) calls for the assembly of the only team with a hope of stopping him. Recruiting the services of Tony Stark (Downey Jr), Steve Rogers (Evans) and Dr Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) to their cause, Fury and his agent Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) assemble Iron Man, Captain America and The Hulk into a force to be reckoned with. With Loki’s adoptive brother Thor (Hemsworth) joining their side, the team prepares to take Loki on, and while doing so, free S.H.I.E.L.D agent Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton (Renner) from the grip of Loki’s mind control.

Torn apart through mistrust, The Avengers will need to overcome their own divisions in order to save Earth from total domination...

With an end tally of over 2,200 visual effects shots, Avengers Assemble was released to rapturous applause from audiences the world over.

Grossing over $1.5 billion worldwide, it received praise for Whedon’s direction and screenplay, as well as its visual effects, action sequences, acting, and musical score. The flick garnered several award nominations for achievements in visual effects. The highest-grossing film of 2012, it also set numerous box office records and became the third-highest-grossing film of all time as well as the first Marvel production to generate $1 billion in ticket sales.

The true magic of Avengers Assemble however was in the on-screen chemistry of its stars. Evans, Downey Jr, Hemsworth and Ruffalo were fantastic together, staying true to their characters and creating a very real, often abrasive but also very funny dynamic. Marking the end of the MCU’s Phase One, and paving the way for its incredible Phase Two, Avengers Assemble will always stand as the Marvel flick that above all others we couldn’t wait to see, and the one that delivered in every way possible.

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