In 2012, Marvel introduced a concept that had never been done before. It made a rock band and brought you the movie version of “The Beatles”. Though the actual British rock band were four members, a casual “Marvel fanatic” would claim The Avengers only consisted of four members; Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and Thor. Black Widow and Hawkeye were supporting artists. But to an actual “Marvel fanatic”, Marvel’s The Avengers consisted of 6 members.
This year, Marvel brought back The Avengers for a second installment. The Beatles are back! Recently showing in certain theatres worldwide, the rock band rocks on, cruising over the billion dollar mark in 24 days (I use “cruising” because 2012’s The Avengers shot like an arrow to a billion dollars in 19 days). With additional members to the band, Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver, the earth’s mightiest heroes continue to save the planet from a global threat whilst blowing up the box office (both movies have a combined worldwide total gross of just under USD$3 billion).
Yeah, these guys are legit!
But how are they as individuals? Not standalone movies but as themselves. Robert Downey Jr takes off the suit, Chris Evans puts down the shield and Mark Ruffalo cannot turn green. Chris Hemsworth is no longer a god whilst Jeremy Renner locks away the bow and arrows, and Scarlett Johansson loses her KGB upbringing. How are they as individuals?
Robert Downey Jr.
Since signing on as the “genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist” Tony Stark in 2008, he has been a sought after commodity. He starred as the first ever consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, in two movies, and let us not forget his Academy Award nominated performance as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder.
Downey Jr has had a blossoming career since announcing he is Iron Man. Marvel has not slowed him down in being the global star that he is. Though he has turned down another standalone Iron Man movie, he will return as Iron Man. Only this time, he will go toe to toe with Steve Rodgers in Captain America 3: Civil War.
Initially, he was Johnny Storm in the Fantastic 4 movies, which we all decided to forget. All of us! But he managed to sign on as Steve Rodgers, America’s super soldier and solution to taking down Hitler and the evil super group called Hydra, led by one of Hitler’s right hand men, Red Skull.
Evans took on the shield from 2011 and has since featured in a few other films such as a romantic comedy, What’s your number? In 2013, Evans went on to act in the highly praised Snowpiercer which confirmed he can be more than a superhero: He can also be a romantic with good jokes, and he can lead a population of people against societal norms in order to gain equality. Either way, being Cap is not his only identity.
Still needs a standalone Marvel Universe movie as the “strongest there is”. As we are in Marvel’s Phase 3, it seems we will not see Bruce Banner being played by Ruffalo in a standalone movie. Which is a pity, Ruffalo is an artist.
Ruffalo signed on to be the gamma ray fuelled Hulk in 2012 and outside of being the “green monster” he has critically acclaimed work in The Normal Heart and Foxcatcher. He starred in Now You See which entertained the world over. Out of all The Avengers, he has done more critically acclaimed work than any of them. The Hulk doesn’t need him. Or does he?
Hemsworth picked up Mjolnir in 2011 and yielded one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thor. His best performance was in Rush, where he played the role of the British, misogynist and F1 driver James Hunt. Into The Woods was another success for Hemsworth as he featured in a thriller.
Other films include Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Dawn and Blackhat. Not successful at all, at the box office and with reviews. The Australian seems to need Thor. Thor: The Dark World failed to perform as well, meaning Hemsworth is struggling as the god from Asgard as well as in his career.
(This video contains strong language)
Well known for other roles, Renner picked up the bow in 2012 to become the most accurate shot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hawkeye. Since shooting the Chitauri with arrows and saving the world from an alien invasion, Renner took over from Matt Damon in the Bourne series and became Aaron Cross, a product of the program that created Jason Bourne.
Renner also acted in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters which was not well received. He went on to feature in the critically acclaimed American Hustle, a place we know and love Renner for. He also plays the most whiney character in the Mission Imossible franchise, and recently appeared in the 5th installment of the franchise: Rogue Nation. No standalone movie as Hawkeye yet, but he is an important part of The Avengers. He did however get Scarlett Witch to become an Avenger in (arguably) the greatest speech of 2015.
Johansson took on the role as the Russian assassin turned SHIELD agent in 2010 alongside Robert Downey Jr (Tony Stark/Iron Man) and Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury). Side note: her Russian accent was really poor it had to be dropped. Natasha Romanoff is not an American (casual Marvel fanatics probably did not know that). Johansson is a highly sought after female lead actress.
Since 2010, she starred in Don Jon alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Chef with her former Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. Let’s not forget her lead role in Lucy which sky rocketed her stock in Hollywood and she featured in the critically acclaimed Her. Johansson is a top name in terms of actresses and Black Widow is an identity she can live without.
Having looked at the Avengers from 2012, they have done well for themselves outside of Marvel. No Oscars as of yet but their outstanding performances in other roles show that they are not just bound to the superhero, the-world-will-be-saved, the-good-guy-always-wins naivety.
They take on other roles and perform. Hemsworth may be the “weakest” of The Avengers with both Thor and his outside-of-Thor roles failing, but his performance in Rush shows he can act. Marvel has not tied and locked down their careers. If anything, they have opened up the actors’ portfolios by being associated with comic book movies.
They have stuck to what they know and they have careers outside of Marvel. Though Marvel will be very demanding from now until Avengers: Infinity Wars II (2019), these Avengers will be able to keep their careers going. The world doesn’t always need saving.