“Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”: Marvel’s The Avengers celebrates 10th Anniversary


The original six Avengers assemble at the Battle of New York in Marvel’s The Avengers. The film celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Photo credit by Daily News.

May 4 will, once again, undoubtedly be filled with exclamations of “may the force be with you!” and other spirited Star Wars references. But this year, there’ll be another cinematic universe to share the spotlight: Marvel.

Ten years ago, on May 4, 2012, Marvel Studios released The Avengers, one of 27 released Marvel films [as of article publication], and the first to bring together its original six major superheroes. Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye come together to fight Loki in the critical Battle of New York, a landmark event that crops up again and again in later Marvel films.

Similar to Star Wars, the Marvel films were not released in chronological order. The Avengers, although the sixth to be released, is actually the seventh installment of the Marvel timeline. It falls into Phase One of Marvel’s currently planned four phases – the most recent of which began with the release of Black Widow in July of 2021. At a runtime of 2 hours and 23 minutes, The Avengers is the longest Phase One movie, a little over Marvel’s average movie runtime. 

The Avengers was directed by Joss Whedon, a screenwriter, director, and producer known for his work with franchises including The Avengers, Toy Story, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe – the MCU – is the biggest movie franchise of all time, grossing over $25 billion globally. Its highest-grossing film is essentially a no-brainer, given the PR surrounding its release: Avengers: Endgame has earned $2.8 billion worldwide. 

The Avengers rolls in at number 4 on the box office list, just ahead of Avengers: Age of Ultron and a bit farther behind Spiderman: No Way Home. Its total box office earned $1.5 billion worldwide, $623.4 million domestically, and $207.4 million domestically on its opening weekend, with a $220 million budget. 

 Since the release of The Avengers, the Marvel universe has expanded to give many characters beyond the six original Avengers their own detailed storylines, including Spiderman, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, the Scarlet Witch, Vision, Falcon, the Winter Soldier, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and more. 

Marvel isn’t the only superhero franchise on the block, but it does tend to eclipse its competition, DC Comics. It’s an age-old debate, but for many LCHS students, Marvel wins out. “I just love how creative it is, and how there’s so many different varieties of characters,” senior Charlotte Penberthy said.

Freshman Cameron Serafin agreed that the characters give Marvel an edge over DC comics. “It’s unique,” Serafin said. “It’s different from DC comics. It has better characters. It has more interesting characters.”

Many students cite the action as why they love the MCU, whether they’ve seen all the films or only a few. “Constant action,” senior Jonathan Haslet said, the sentiment echoed by both senior Morgan Appel and freshman Josh Cook.

But for others, it’s the narratives and plots that create the appeal. Senior Michael Kettish’s favorite part of the MCU is “how it carries on from movie to movie, the storyline.”

Penberthy agrees. “I’m not as much into the battles,” she  said. “I don’t really like watching the battle scenes, I just like the character development.” 

Although the general premise of The Avengers is bringing together the MCU’s superheroes, one notable favorite is left out: Spider-Man. 

“My favorite Marvel character is probably Spider-Man,” Penberthy said. Spider-Man and the actor playing him, Tom Holland, got a lot of nods from the LCHS student body.

“I like Tom Holland as Spider-Man,” Serafin said. 

“He’s a good actor,” Cook agreed.

Spider-Man first appears in the Marvel universe in Captain America: Civil War, released in 2016, the first Phase Three film, also chronologically happening after The Avengers. He got the first Marvel movie of his own two movies later with Spider-Man: Homecoming, in 2017, which many students named as their favorite MCU film.

The tenth anniversary of The Avengers comes just two days before Marvel’s next movie is set to release, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will continue Phase Four of the franchise.