Suit up and go out for some shawarma. It's hard to believe, but the first all-star Marvel epic is now officially 10 years old. 

The Avengers opened in theaters on May 4, 2012. Taking previously released Marvel films, including Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and treating the films as the building blocks for a story much grander in scale, Marvel managed to create the superhero adventure that comic book fans had long hoped to see. 

The film situated Tom Hiddleston’s Loki as its primary villain opposed by adoptive brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth), along with Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner aka The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). The organization S.H.I.E.L.D. played a large role as well, with representatives including Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and a slew of faces both familiar and new.

The Avengers and its sequels became what we now know as Phase One in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The grand design for the epic story became apparent with three subsequent official Avengers films, including Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Other Marvel entries like Captain America: Civil War (2016) also qualify as ensemble pieces on the same level, shaping the Phase One narrative. 

Watching The Avengers today is a reminder of the ambitious and truly unprecedented nature of the overarching plan, with elements like the Thanos character (seen in the post-credits scene) and the Tesseract laying crucial pieces of the groundwork for the series. The film also introduced the audience to Ruffalo’s Banner/Hulk for the first time following the departure of Edward Norton, who had played the character in the 2008 film. It was also the first time that the audience got to hear the grandiose score of two-time Oscar nominee Alan Silvestri, one that would become the series’ musical calling card. 

The Avengers was released in IMAX, IMAX 3D, and standard presentations. The film went on to shatter various box office records, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. 

Where to watch 'The Avengers':

Available to stream on: Disney+ and Hulu

Available to rent or purchase via: Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play and Vudu


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