In The Avengers, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, is on board along with other characters including Captain America, Thor, Nick Fury, Black Widow, and The Incredible Hulk. They team up to save Earth from extra-terrestrial invaders …and rival, evil superheroes.
Robert Downey Jr., who has starred in two Iron Man films, says this ensemble gave him a fresh take on the character.
"Just being a worker amongst workers is kind of where I started out, and it was nice to not really have to carry a movie," he admitted.
Mark Ruffalo takes on the role of scientist Bruce Banner, whose experiments accidentally turned him into the green, muscular and rage-filled Hulk. Other actors have played the character, but Ruffalo researched The Hulk by watching the 1980s TV series with his 10-year-old son.
"After the the third episode, he turned to me and said 'papa, he is so misunderstood.' And I basically based my character entirely on my 10-year-old boy who has all of the force of nature screaming out of his body while at the same time having everyone around him telling him to control himself," Ruffalo explained.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America in "The Avengers" © 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM &2011 Marvel.
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth agrees that kids can easily relate to the Marvel characters, like his hammer-wielding Thor.
"There's a childlike quality in a sense that if he believes something or wants to do something, he does it and says it. Kids own their environment. And I think Thor is there," Hemsworth said.
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in "The Avengers" © 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM &2011 Marvel.
Samuel L. Jackson plays team leader Nick Fury. He describes The Avengers as a big, dysfunctional family that has to work together to succeed.
"It was allowing an audience to see that, okay, these guys have super powers, but they have normal kinds of attitudes," Jackson said. "They can be heroes and they can just be jerks, but they are eventually going to find a way to love each other."
The director, Joss Whedon, is known for sci-fi and fantasy television series including Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. With The Avengers, Whedon says his challenge was to please both film fans and devotees of the original comic books.
"For me, it was capturing the essence of the comic and being true to what's wonderful about it, while remembering that it's a movie and not a comic," explained Whedon.
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in "The Avengers". © 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM &2011 Marvel.
The Avengers also features Scarlett Johansson as the deadly Russian assassin Black Widow. Jeremy Renner plays her bow-and-arrow wielding colleague, Hawkeye, and Chris Evans once again wears the star-spangled tights of Captain America.