21 Most Memorable Movie Moments: Avengers Assemble in New York from The Avengers (2012)

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says it wasn't until he the final touches that The Avengers' most indelible image became truly iconic.

by | April 22, 2019 | Comments

Watch: Kevin Feige on the making of The Avengers above.

In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating the 21 Most Memorable Moments from the movies over the last 21 years. In this special video series, we speak to the actors and filmmakers who made those moments happen, revealing behind-the-scenes details of how they came to be and diving deep into why they’ve stuck with us for so long. Once we’ve announced all 21, it will be up to you, the fans, to vote for which is the most memorable moment of all. In this episode of our ‘21 Most Memorable Moments’ series, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige details the creation of one of the MCU’s most iconic moments.


The Movie: Marvel's The Avengers (2012) 91%

When Marvel Studios kicked off the MCU with Iron Man, success was not a guarantee. Audiences didn’t know the character, and Robert Downey Jr. was not the superstar he is today. And yet lightning struck. It would strike again and again for the studio, but never as spectacularly – at least until the past two years – as it did in 2012’s The Avengers, the mega successful Marvel superhero team-up written and directed by Buffy creator Joss Whedon. Audiences got to see characters they had started to love (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow) unite with a new version of the Hulk/Bruce Banner as well as a guy with an arrow, to square off against Loki, god of mischief, brother of Thor, and man on a Tesseract mission. The film was in many ways as much of a gamble as Iron Man: Disney and Marvel Studios spent a reported $220 million on it, and the filmmakers had the challenge of balancing multiple storylines, generating real chemistry between multiple A-listers, and meeting colossal expectations. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says his own expectations were exceeded.

Joss Whedon and Scarlett Johansson
(Photo by Zade Rosenthal, © Walt Disney/courtesy Everett Collection)

“The big danger of the first Avengers was just getting overwhelmed with action.”

“Early on we realized that the role of the filmmaker on our films is to bring a tonality — Jon Favreau, amazing job! — [to] bring a unique tonality and be able to maintain and ride that tone over the course of production and through post production. To bring the characters to life, to make them realistic, grounded. And that we have amazing artists and technicians who can help with the scale, that can help with as big a canvas as it is. What the filmmakers need to do is not get lost in all of that and to focus on the great character work. And the big danger of the first Avengers was just getting overwhelmed with action. So many superheroes, so much spectacle, so many special effects. And we knew there would be plenty of that. But the most interesting thing about the Avengers is: why in the world are all these people in the same room together and what would they do when they were in the same room together?”

“Joss exceeded all of our wildest expectations – twice.”

“Joss Whedon was an amazing writer, and had done amazing things – the entire Buffy series, he had written X Men comics in the years preceding that – that showed the character would not get lost amongst the spectacle. And he of course exceeded all of our wildest expectations – twice.”

The Moment: The Avengers Assemble in the Battle of New York

If there is a moment that has come to define The Avengers, and potentially the entire MCU, it is the moment when our key heroes assemble during the climactic battle in New York. The six key “original” Avengers – Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and Hawkeye – form a circle, ready for battle, as the camera pans around them and Alan Silvestri’s now-iconic music soars. According to Feige, it was a moment both he and Whedon knew the movie needed.

Captain America in The Avengers
(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

“The moment I realized that this could be an iconic moment, not just for the MCU, but for these kinds of films, was on the mix stage.”

“The shot of all the Avengers assembling for the first time was shot in an open-air warehouse in New Mexico, not in New York. It was nothing but green screen behind them. Iron Man wasn’t in the shot. Hulk wasn’t in the shot. They were CG and put in later. But it looked pretty cool. And Joss had a great vision for it. Cut to many months later: the visual effects are coming together, Iron Man’s there now, landing, Hulk is there… But the moment I realized that this could be an iconic moment, not just for the MCU, but for these kind of films, was on the mix stage. When the effects were final and when Alan Silvestri’s amazing score was coming in, and the timing, and the experience of watching the whole movie up to that point. When you just watch the dailies, when you just watch the visual effects shots coming in, you don’t get the experience of watching that final playback on the mix stage with Silvestri’s amazing score put in, building to that moment… that[‘s when] I got chills and I realized Joss had pulled it off.”

The Impact: We’re in the Endgame Now

Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson
(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

To understand the lasting impact of The Avengers and its key inspiring moment, you only need look to the box office. The movie made $623 million domestically, and more than $1.5 billion globally, which made it the third highest-grossing movie ever at the time. It’s since been beaten out by a handful of films – including Avengers: Infinity War, which would top $2 billion internationally. Avengers: Endgame could make even more than that. But it all started in Phase 1, which began to build the universe audiences love today, and which culminated in the first Avengers movie.

Those early films, and The Avengers especially, also changed modern blockbuster moviemaking: Seeing what Marvel did with the MCU, and what Warner Bros. and DC did with the Dark Knight trilogy, studios and filmmakers began to chase the same magic, drawing from beloved comics and graphic novels for inspiration. They began to build their own universes, some more successful than others, trying to capture the imagination of audiences in the way that Feige and his team had done, and continue to do, as we head into the Endgame.

Marvel’s The Avengers was released on May 4, 2012. Buy or rent it at FandangNOW.

Adjusted Score: 104.13%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes' humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.
Synopsis: Marvel Studios presents Marvel's The Avengers-the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man,... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

Tag Cloud

President Mystery cops DC Comics indie DC streaming service Mary Poppins Returns Sundance Now foreign war facebook CMT jamie lee curtis adventure composers comic Podcast CBS All Access Polls and Games serial killer Binge Guide festivals Reality Competition Netflix Sundance A&E travel sports game show 21st Century Fox Paramount New York Comic Con Turner game of thrones Nominations Netflix Christmas movies Mindy Kaling CW Seed Mary Tyler Moore children's TV Tumblr sitcom Drama Crunchyroll Rocky TV Land Trivia Apple cancelled TV series halloween based on movie WarnerMedia VICE versus Amazon Prime Video Spring TV Apple TV Plus Disney+ Disney Plus discovery TCA 2017 Toys TCM Lifetime crime Box Office quibi rotten movies we love Lucasfilm romantic comedy werewolf ABC Family Pride Month Ghostbusters spider-man 45 Shudder Crackle blockbuster FXX dc SXSW social media Summer crime thriller anthology Animation Teen E3 technology Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Interview supernatural BBC Comic Book GoT 24 frames witnail animated Horror Holiday Winners TruTV 2016 FX psycho revenge dragons Creative Arts Emmys FOX A24 Spike Hulu Western zombies Dark Horse Comics Action Tomatazos talk show Biopics YA Columbia Pictures slashers 007 Extras Brie Larson The Purge zombie ABC OWN MTV cancelled television psychological thriller First Reviews period drama Writers Guild of America Comedy Central CNN AMC 2019 cooking Superheroe Paramount Network spanish language Film Festival crossover Musical christmas movies The CW Fantasy Starz Marvel Studios National Geographic latino Awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt El Rey cancelled Hallmark Red Carpet Nat Geo ghosts Star Wars spinoff harry potter Stephen King Rocketman toy story romance Pixar canceled Hallmark Christmas movies Adult Swim hispanic 71st Emmy Awards Television Academy crime drama ESPN SundanceTV cartoon Mudbound miniseries space zero dark thirty CBS Video Games American Society of Cinematographers docudrama aliens GLAAD justice league TLC VH1 video kids political drama TV comiccon Song of Ice and Fire independent Photos Lionsgate Rock TV renewals breaking bad boxoffice YouTube Premium comics YouTube Arrowverse Premiere Dates Sci-Fi canceled TV shows Cartoon Network TNT vampires Chernobyl USA Network Sony Pictures cats Pet Sematary Bravo Amazon Prime Marvel Television Quiz Trailer Schedule Character Guide 2017 Oscars cinemax Captain marvel joker Comedy binge First Look APB TIFF Apple TV+ golden globes San Diego Comic-Con DC Universe Lifetime Christmas movies screenings renewed TV shows BET ITV singing competition Year in Review Martial Arts Epix TBS nature PBS batman Marathons mockumentary The Arrangement Elton John Trophy Talk Peacock MCU robots WGN RT History HBO streaming green book 2018 Countdown true crime History Esquire IFC Films The Witch Disney Tarantino Sneak Peek blaxploitation LGBTQ Super Bowl Warner Bros. Film Black Mirror GIFs Turner Classic Movies award winner PaleyFest Superheroes Valentine's Day Cosplay doctor who HBO Max teaser ratings Amazon Reality Shondaland Ellie Kemper Calendar hist anime NBC mutant Certified Fresh Food Network Showtime Rom-Com Anna Paquin Kids & Family USA Universal Set visit Ovation elevated horror LGBT Infographic DirecTV Watching Series Syfy finale Best and Worst biography historical drama TCA stand-up comedy science fiction theme song dramedy Freeform Christmas Family Thanksgiving south america cults See It Skip It E! 20th Century Fox cars casting Awards Tour strong female leads book Vudu disaster cancelled TV shows Star Trek NYCC transformers movies Classic Film adaptation Country X-Men Musicals tv talk Women's History Month natural history Disney streaming service Emmys spy thriller series Nickelodeon Fall TV Grammys unscripted Disney Channel Spectrum Originals thriller Logo richard e. Grant MSNBC medical drama dceu Pirates what to watch politics Holidays IFC Marvel Disney Plus Winter TV Pop Opinion Fox News 2015 television police drama YouTube Red RT21 free movies Masterpiece BBC America Emmy Nominations Election Acorn TV SDCC The Walking Dead spain Britbox DGA Mary poppins Walt Disney Pictures sequel diversity Music Comics on TV Cannes Heroines