The Avengers (2012) annotations
Release date: 4th May 2012
Director: Joss Whedon
Screenwriters: Zak Penn, Joss Whedon
Studio logos. Very interesting how the Marvel logo diffuses into Tesseract energy, then turns into Paramount, before we get our first shot.
The music here is called The Arrival.
The score is by Alan Silvestri. He also scored Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and will score Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
A voice tells us about the Tesseract. The voice is… We will find out who it is later.
This is the third time we’ve seen the Tesseract. We first saw it at the end of Thor (2011) and played a big part in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). although it was alluded to in Iron Man (2010). It is a random source of great cosmic power, and at this point it was thought it was an artefact from the comics called Cosmic Cube. It would later be revealed to be an Infinity Gem.
A staircase in space. Obviously a studio creation. The studio for this film was Albuquerque Studios, 5650 University Boulevard SE, Albuquerque.
A staff is handed over to someone whose face we don’t see but trust me, it’s Loki. We will see him more later, too.
That staff, and it’s glowing bit, will also turn out to be very important in future films, as it also contains an Infinity Gem.
Then the Chitauri. They first appeared in The Ultimates universe of comics. The Ultimates line was an alternate universe to the Marvel Comics that had existed for decades. It modernised the origins of many heroes and the MCU takes many cues from that world of comics.
The Chitauri were a replacement for the Skrulls, and share some characteristics. Here, they are not given much of a backstory. Interestingly, there was some speculation that the aliens in this film could be Skrulls or Kree.
The Chitauri first appeared in The Ultimates #8 (2002) and was created by Brian Hitch and Mark Millar.
There was an alternate opening sequence featuring Maria Hill, who we will meet later. Unclear how it would have fit in, or if it would have just replaced the existing opening.
Then we see a helicopter fly over some facility. In our story it’s a secret facility, with a fake name in the Joint Dark Energy Mission. Dark Energy at least, is a real thing.
Also on the sign is SHIELD. The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division – just the secret government agents of the MCU. We’ve last saw them in Thor (2011).
The real location is Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, 10800 Dennis Chavez Boulevard, near Albuquerque.
First face we see is Agent Coulson. He’s played by Clark Gregg.
This is Gregg’s 4th appearance in the MCU. He last appeared in Thor (2011).
Out of the helicopter is more SHIELD agents.
First out is Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders.
Maria Hill in the comics is also a high ranking SHIELD agent, and once took over as director for Nick Fury. Her no nonsense attitude has also carried over from the comics.
She is a fairly recent addition to the comics, having first appeared in New Avengers #4 (April 2005). She was created by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch.
It’s been really cool, you know, it’s, it’s really cool that Marvel is bringing in these strong females. And especially with Maria Hill, it’s really cool to see a strong female that’s in a commanding position.
Also considered for the role was Morena Baccarin, Jessica Lucas, Amanda Peet and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Here’s Nick Fury, played by Samuel L Jackson.
This is Jackson’s 5th appearance in the MCU as Fury. We last saw him in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). And we’re like 6 films into the whole thing.
They head into the facility. This impressive set is a real building – it’s NASA’s Space Power facility, Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, west of Cleveland.
Fury sends Coulson and Hill on their tasks, then finds Dr Erik Selvig, played by Stellan Skarsgård.
This is Skarsgård’s 2nd appearance in the MCU, having (first and) last appeared in Thor (2011).
Fury mentions that Gamma radiation can be harmful. This is likely a reference to the Hulk, who was created by Gamma radiation. It’s pretty dangerous in real life too.
The characters keep coming. Here’s Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (although Selvig calls him the Hawk). He’s played by Jeremy Renner.
This is Renner’s 2nd appearance in the MCU as Hawkeye. We last saw him in Thor (2011) (barely).
There doesn’t seem to be any working lifts, so Barton abseils down. He passes banners with NASA and SHIELD logos.
The Tesseract goes Tesseract-y.
Suddenly there’s Loki. Played by Tom Hiddleston.
This is Hiddleston’s 2nd appearance in the MCU as Loki. We last saw him in Thor (2011).
Loki‘s choice as villain ties into the first Avenger’s comic, where Loki is responsible for the film to come together.
The music here is called Doors Open From Both Sides.
Several SHIELD agents are killed.
Hawkeye actually uses a gun! And poor Hawkeye, he is now under the spell of Loki. Famously, Renner didn’t like the fact that he signed up to play a hero, but was a mind wiped baddie instead.
Selvig is also put under Loki’s spell.
Hawkeye helps Loki escape, fighting both Hill and Fury.
The music here is called Tunnel Chase.
These amazing tunnels lie beneath the Creekside Mushroom Farm, Moonlight Drive, in Worthington, east of Cleveland (a lot of the film was shot around Cleveland).
They jump into a Hummer H3T.
Hill is driving a Jeep J8.
The car that is flipped is an Acura TL.
SHIELD give chase. Note – some poor interning helicopter pilot is waiting just for Fury. Later, when the helicopter is shot down, Fury doesn’t even check if he or she is ok.
Whedon initially wanted Iron Man to appear here and help with this fight.
The Tesseract destroys the base. And we are at war, according to Nick Fury.
In the UK, the film was called Avengers Assemble, to make it different from The Avengers from 1998, based on the cult TV series.
Then an abandoned building in Russia. It’s actually a warehouse on Ashland Road, Cleveland. It runs along those train tracks. Although some of the interiors look like a set.
Being ‘interrogated’ is Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow. She’s played by Scarlett Johansson.
This is Johansson’s 2nd appearance in the MCU as Black Widow. We last saw her in Iron Man 2 (2010).
It seems very Whedon-esque, this scene. Setting up a stereotypical scene and reversing the gender balance.
The head honcho in charge of her interrogation is Georgi Luchkov. He is played by Jerzy Skolimowski. He is given star billing in the main credits sequence.
Luchkov is a very obscure character in the comics. He appeared in one comic, not even a full length feature, but part of Marvel Comics Presents #135. He was a foe of the Black Widow, and a KGB informant. Traits that carried over into the film.
His creation is credited to Mindy Newell and John Stanisci.
His thugs. The shorter one is played by Kirill Nikiforov. He would also appear in one episode of Daredevil (Season 1).
The taller thug is played by Jeff Wolfe. He was also a stuntman on Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
After a call from Coulson, Widow attacks.
The music here is called Interrogation.
We get a glimpse of a computer screen of Hawkeye and Black Widow on an old mission. According to the screen (and the co-ordinates that match) they are in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.