When Marvel Studios first started creating films they created distribution rights with Paramount for the most part while Hulk was with Universal. This was when Marvel Studios could have been classed as an Indie studio.
However, that didn’t stop them from dreaming big huge, all the way back in 2007 Marvel were relying on Iron Man kicking off something that had never been tempted, creating heroes with individual franchises which would culminate in to an Avengers film. They placed the first seed in the after credits scene in Iron Man; Nick Fury approaching Tony Stark about joining the Avengers Initiative.
That scene alone made comic book fans around the world salivate and demand more. A few months after Iron Man was released in 2008, Marvel released The Incredible Hulk and the final scene showed Tony Stark walking in to a bar talking to General Ross about the Hulk. That scene cemented it in comic book fans minds; The Avengers was happening, but would it be any good? Who would be on the roster?
After Marvel had a fantastic 2008 with the ultra success of Iron Man and the moderate success of The Incredible Hulk, Marvel Studios were riding on a high, secretly planning which heroes to next bring to the silver screen. Iron Man 2 would be their next film, but that wouldn’t be until 2010. In 2009 Marvel Studios was purchased by Disney. This was absolutely huge news and although jokes were made about having Mickey Mouse team up with Spider-Man, etc. it paid off for Marvel Studios as Disney is a powerhouse in Hollywood, especially behind the scenes.
Disney however would not be single-handedly be distributing the films for a long time due to Marvel Studios contract with Paramount. This didn’t deter Disney and they helped the films grow in budget and in quality talent both on and off screen.
In 2010 Iron Man 2 released and was financially a success, however critically Iron Man 2 was nowhere near as applauded as the original Iron Man. People began to question whether Marvel could actually pull off a good Avengers film.
The following year, 2011 saw the release of two films from Marvel Studios – Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Both of these saw moderate success, not on the financial level of Iron Man, but certainly not a loss and surprisingly, Captain America did pretty well in overseas. By the time Thor was released we knew what the final line-up of The Avengers would be. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow & Hawkeye.
That line-up was solid with everyone except there were two major problems comic book fans had with the film already. The first and arguably least important to the majority of people, where are Ant-Man and Wasp? They were founding members even before Black Widow, Captain America or Hawkeye and in many canons Wasp came up with the team name. The other, more pressing problem was why would Thor or the Hulk ever need help from a robot man, an assassin, an archer and a soldier, albeit with enhanced abilities?
Disney had bought in Joss Whedon to direct one of the most ambitious films ever made. Joss Whedon, most famous for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Joss Whedon, whom has only ever directed one feature length film before. Joss Whedon was in charge of ensuring that The Avengers was a success.
A short montage of clips from The Avengers was shown after the credits of Captain America: The First Avenger. Everyone forgot their complaints, people were blown away by how awesome it looked. “In Whedon we trust” was now the new motto.
The Avengers was set to release in 2012 which means this film had been at least 5 years in the making. Every trailer released garnered up more and more excitement for the film, almost too much, could it have been too good to be true? Maybe the trailers were only showing the good parts. All are valid worries with any trailer, especially blockbusters.
If The Avengers failed critically, financially or with fans then that would have been 5 years of lead up for nothing, it would have gone down as the biggest disappointment in cinema history and Marvel Studios would be tainted in the eyes of fans. This had to work, everyone was willing it to be great, no one wanted it to fail.
The day finally arrived, The Avengers was officially released in cinemas and the reviews were astounding, rightly so. All the characters were equally balanced out, the villain was an exceptionally maniacal Loki, played perfectly by Tom Hiddleston, a generic alien invasion plot and most importantly, it looked like pages ripped directly from comics. Comic book fans, critics, general movie goers, everyone was catered for and everyone loved it.
The Avengers went on to gross over $1.6 Billion worldwide, making it the third highest grossing film of all time. Marvel and Disney were on a high, rightly so and the saga continued with no sign of this juggernaut stopping any time soon
The Avengers is the ultimate super hero film.