Once in a while, there comes a movie franchise that practically becomes a part of our lives. The Avengers movies have followed the lives of various characters in what is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) since 2012 till the dramatic ending in 2019. Throughout this period, most fans have formed relationships with the characters. Some they love and others they loathe, but hey, when a film collection is called the Avengers, it is bound to have quite a story.
The Avengers franchise is made up of four films namely The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Collectively, the films have grossed billions in revenue with individual films comprising the top ten highest grossing films in history. The characters have taken fans through different emotions, and as the franchise comes to an end, we explore these essential films in the MCU.
Avengers Assemble (2012)
While Marvel Avengers comics have existed for more than fifty years, the first film was only released in 2012. The film was known as The Avengers in worldwide markets except for the United Kingdom where it was known as Avengers Assemble.
An evil god (Loki) steals a powerful cube from a Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) base. The director (Nick Fury) assembles a team to retrieve the Tesseract and protect humanity from whatever evil Loki is planning against the Earth.
The first film introduced some of the Marvel’s the Avenger characters who would go on to become an integral part of the franchise. These include Iron Man, Captain America, Loki, Thor and Bruce Banner amongst others. Nick Fury’s team manages to save Earth and retrieve the Tesseract. The film ends with the achievement of peace, but you could almost feel that it was bound to be short-lived.
Top five facts about The Avengers (2012)
- The film grossed over $1.5 billion in sales all over the making it the highest grossing movie in 2012 amongst other accolades. It became the first movie in the MCU to make over a billion dollars and broke the record held by The Dark Knight as the best-selling comic book adaptation film by 2012.
- Samuel L. Jackson’s role in the movie (Nick Fury) made him the second actor in history to play the same character in five different comic book adaptation films. The first was Hugh Jackman who played a role in all X-Men films. It is easy to see why MCU fans have come to relate with director Fury at a very close level.
- The final credits scene shows the Avengers at a Shawarma restaurant. The scene was added after the first movie premiere following a suggestion from Robert Downey Jr. who plays Iron man. This scene caused a significant rise in the sale of Shawarma in Los Angeles and Boston.
- In the film, Captain America is among the founding members of the Avengers. However, the comic books from which the film was adapted tell a different story. The Captain was discovered frozen by other Avengers in the fourth installation of the comics. The discovery was also an accident since the team was looking for another character named Namor.
- A scene in the 2012 movie where Bruce Banner explains his suicide attempt refers directly to a scene that was deleted from the film The Incredible Hulk (2008). Bruce tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the mouth but failed when he transformed into the Hulk.
Avengers Age of Ultron
Remember the peace that prevailed at the end of the first Avengers movie? Well, that was short-lived, but again, in the MCU, it was bound to be. Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., attempts to bring to life a dormant artificial intelligence program (Ultron) created for peacekeeping purposes. You probably guessed that this goes wrong, yes it does. The Avengers are called upon to protect humanity from the destructive Ultron.
The Avengers invade a lab where they discover Loki’s sceptre. The sceptre contains a gem with some form of super-intelligence. With the help of Bruce Banner, Stark transfers this intelligence into Ultron. Things go wrong (they always do) when Ultron begins to think for itself. The program decides that the best way to protect Earth is to wipe out humanity. In the end, the Avengers manage to defeat Ultron after he launches a large portion of Earth in the air.
The film grossed $1.405 billion worldwide to become the fifth highest grossing movie by then. Avengers: Age of Ultron also broke the I.M.A.X. Opening weekend record by 2015 with more than $25 million.
Top five facts about Avengers 2
- Captain America’s shield got an upgrade and could now be called back. Yes, that began in the second Avengers film. This made the shield somewhat similar to Tony Stark’s Iron man suit. Another change to the Captain’s shield included a magnetic element instead of handles placed at the back. The magnetic element attaches to the superhero’s arm gauntlet.
- The Hulk receives a much-needed wardrobe upgrade. When the Hulk turned into his alter-ego, Banner, he was often half-naked and in shredded clothes. In the second Avengers film, he receives pants made out of highly stretchy material which he wears under his regular outfit to avoid the half-naked situation.
- The film introduced the Scarlet Witch (Wanda) and Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff). Quicksilver is super fast, and Wanda possessed a powerful telekinetic ability. She can control people by manipulating their minds. Another significant addition was Vision (an artificial form of life) who has some very unique skills.
- The film directors engaged the services of Korean drone flying champion (Menstru Pa) and the country’s remote car racing champion (Pak Min Keu) for camera placement in Seoul. This was done in instances where the use of helicopters and conventional camera operators would not achieve the desired results.
- The Quinjet received a design upgrade. The new look included a sleeker interior as well as more glass on the front and below. This would give viewers a sense of speed as the jet moved through urban spaces.
Avengers Infinity War (2018)
The third installation of the Avengers franchise revolves around infinity stones and a sociopathic supervillain (Thanos). Thanos plans to collect the six infinity stones and use their combined power in an infinity gauntlet to wipe out half of all living creatures in the Universe. He does this under the twisted ideology of creating balance. Well, he has a basis for his argument coming from the destruction of his home planet but let us focus on his villainy.
Here is a breakdown of the six infinity stones and the powers they possess:
- Space stone: Also known as the Tesseract, the blue Space Stone is the first of the coveted infinity stones to appear in the MCU. The stone makes it possible to travel between two points in the universe in an instant. In the first Avengers film, the evil god, Loki, uses the stone to open portals for armies to invade Earth. Thanos acquires the stone from Loki in exchange for his brother’s life.
- Mind stone: The yellow mind stone sits on Vision’s head and proves the most problematic for Thanos to obtain. The stone is the reason behind the battle at Wakanda that pitted the Avengers against Thanos’ army. Wanda manages to destroy the mind stone before Thanos can get it, but the villain turns back the hands of time and repairs the stone.
- Reality stone: Also known as the Aether, this red stone first appeared in the MCU on the movie Thor: The Dark World. The reality stone alters reality by turning matter into dark matter. When the Asgardians get hold of the Aether, they give it to ‘the collector’ in Knowhere for safekeeping. Thanos gets this stone when he kills the collector.
- Power stone: This purple stone is first mentioned in the MCU on the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. The power stone reacts to organic things and has the power to destroy planets. The stone was stored at the Nova Corps headquarters and is the first one that Thanos obtains.
- Time stone: The time stone is also known as the eye of Agamotto. The holder of the time stone can speed up, slow down and even reverse time as they please. The stone was in possession of Doctor Strange who gave it up voluntarily in the final scene of Infinity War. The circumstances surrounding that event had fans wondering whether it was all part of a bigger plan.
- Soul stone: The orange stone is the largest of the infinity stones and grants its holder the ability to do mystical things such as seeing into people’s souls. To get this stone, the guard lets Thanos know that he has to lose what he loves. Thanos throws his daughter Gamora off a cliff and obtains the soul stone.
Thanos manages to acquire all six infinity stones (just like he had promised). He goes ahead with his plan wiping out half of all living creatures in the Universe. The film ends as the remaining characters watch in disbelief as the rest fade into dust.
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Top five facts about Avengers: Infinity War
- The directors say that events in the movie take place in less than two days. Every scene in the film had to do what the directors termed as ‘double duty’ by providing answers to at least two questions.
- The Avengers theme song only plays twice in the entire film. The first instance is when Captain America makes his entrance into the film. The Captain has a somewhat limited role in Infinity War, and the directors suggested that the theme song plays to give the Captain a powerful entrance. The second instance is when Loki’s brother, Thor, comes back to Earth with his newly forged weapon.
- The movie explores relationships more than any other Avengers’ movie. The most important ones include Gamora and Thanos, Spiderman and Ironman and Wanda and Vision, among others. This creates the emotional ending where the film explores the feelings of those who survived Thanos’ snap.
- The film ranks at number five on the all-time highest grossing films. Avengers: Infinity War grossed more than $2 billion and is the second best-selling superhero movie.
- Doctor Strange abilities have grown. He goes one on one with Thanos and though surrenders the time stone, it seems he has something in mind. This growth in character proves essential in the sequel to Infinity War.
This sequel to Avengers: Infinity War follows the events after Thanos decimated half of all living creatures. The movie begins with Tony Stark sending a message to Pepper Potts from deep space. A while later, he and Nebula (Thanos’ daughter) are rescued by Captain Marvel and taken back to Earth. The Avengers hatch a plan to travel back in time and obtain the infinity stones before Thanos does thereby preventing the evil plan he enacted.
Avengers: Endgame was perhaps the most eagerly awaited Avengers film. It features an exciting ending to the franchise even though we may never get to see some of the characters again. The film also introduces some new characters into the franchise such as Captain Marvel. This could probably be for the sake of continuity in the MCU.
Top five fascinating facts about Avengers Endgame
- The film is quickly closing in on Avatar to become the highest grossing film of all time. The record held by Avatar stands at $2.788 billion while Avengers: Endgame is now at $2.73 billion. Fans can only wait and see whether the Russo brothers’ film will dethrone James Cameron’s long-standing record.
- The film and its prequel, Avengers: Infinity War became one of the first Hollywood movies to be shot on digital I.M.A.X. Cameras in their entirety. These cameras use the open-matte ratio of 1.9:1
- Captain America (played by Chris Evans) has been part of the MCU for almost ten years. He has appeared as the Captain in ten films between 2011 and 2019.
- The directors of Endgame wrote a letter to fans urging them not to divulge details about the film. This led to a trend in Twitter under the hashtag #DontSpoilTheEndgame and #ThanosDemandsYourSilence. This was similar to what the directors did with Infinity War.
- The first 20 minutes of the movie make for much of the footage used in the creation of the film trailers. This gave fans a glimpse into about 4% of the three-hour movie.
Avengers Endgame review
The movie has been well received as evidenced by the ratings and scores awarded by various reviewers. Here are a few:
- Rotten Tomatoes: The film has a 94% Score on the Tomatometer and 90% on the audience score. The site describes the film as “Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful” and gives it credit for delivering a satisfying finale to the Avengers franchise.
- Metacritic: The site has awarded the film a Metascore of 78 out of a hundred as well as a user score of 7.8 out of ten. Most of the user and critics reviews are generally positive. The film is the second most talked about movie on the site and the topmost shared movie.
The Avengers cast
As the franchise comes to an end, let us take a look at the people who have played the fascinating characters in the films:
- Chris Evans — Captain America
- Robert Downey Jr. — Iron Man
- Chris Hemsworth — Thor
- Scarlett Johansson — Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)
- Mark Ruffalo — Hulk
- Paul Rudd — Ant-Man
- Tom Holland — Spiderman
- Josh Brolin — Thanos
- Benedict Cumberbatch — Doctor Strange
- Tom Hiddleston — Loki
- Paul Bettany — Vision
- Jeremy Renner — Clint Barton
After four highly engaging films, the Avengers franchise finally comes to an end. We have followed the superheroes through their ups and downs, we have loved some and hated others and fans will not forget the four films. We can only wait to see what the MCU has in store for the fans as we roll the credits on the last of the Avengers films.