Superheroes unite in fight
Anyone who remotely calls themselves a comic book fan has seen them. You know, the cameos and end credit scenes in Marvel films over the past few years. The ones that teased us into believing that an ensemble film was in the pipeline.
'When the idea of a Nick Fury cameo started coming up, we called Sam Jackson and he thought it was a cool idea,' says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, producer of more than two dozen Marvel films.
'It was his enthusiasm about it that led us to shoot that end credit scene and what he says to Tony Stark, 'You're part of a bigger universe, you just don't know it yet.' The line was also Marvel telling the audience as well.'
That happened in Iron Man. A few months later The Incredible Hulk ended with Stark informing General Ross that 'a team' was being assembled. Marvel heroes were being connected to other Marvel heroes - and it just so happened they were all part of the Avengers team. Eventually Thor and Captain America received the same treatment, culminating in The Avengers, the most ambitious superhero ensemble flick ever created.
In the film, Shield (I'm not even going to bother with the full name and numerous changes over the years), an elite peacekeeping force, mistakenly releases sources of evil into the world. Shield director Nick Fury assembles a group of superheroes, called the Avengers, to save the day. This consists of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).
Together the elite team must set aside their egos and join forces to defeat Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor's vindictive brother, who plans to unleash terror on earth.
Much of the challenge in The Avengers was giving each character their due screen time. These are eight larger-than-life characters. One is a god, others have superpowers, others still have super suits and/or superhuman abilities.
Director-writer Joss Whedon avoided the trap of writing 'part one' of a potential series. He wanted the original to be a self-satisfying film with the ability to stand alone.
'When I finished writing the script, it really felt like an original story,' says Whedon. 'You get to see how these characters come together to form The Avengers ... Even with so many characters in the story, they all have their moments to shine.'
The Avengers opens Thursday