Meet The Avengers: A Brief Guide
They're called Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The Avengers are Marvel Comics' all-star superhero team, and after a series of individual blockbusters introducing us to the squad over the last few years, they finally assemble in theatres on Friday, April 27.
Here's a look at the men and the woman in charge of saving the world:
Real Name: Tony Stark
Played by: Robert Downey Jr
Just because he immodestly calls himself a "genius billionaire playboy philanthropist" doesn't mean it isn't all true. Just add drunken narcissist to that list.
As seen in blockbusters Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Stark fights crime in a mechanical suit of armour of his own invention. One of the most flawed and most flamboyant characters in the Marvel canon, Stark is a truly, truly charming man. Now if only he didn't know that.Manhattan-born Downey Jr, now 47, is one of America's biggest stars right now, owing largely to him having played Iron Man in two fantastically successful films already. His other big current franchise sees him as Sherlock Holmes.
Image: Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man
Real Name: Steve Rogers
Played by: Chris Evans
The no-nonsense authority figure, Captain America is a World War II supersoldier who was cryogenically frozen after the War and brought back to life in contemporary times to be a part of Nick Fury's Avengers initiative.
Plucked out of his timeline, he's clearly a fish out of water -- and a trifle boring even at his best -- but Cap's as dependable as they come. (Even if in the movies he looks a bit too much like The Human Torch.)
30-year-old Chris Evans, a Massachusetts boy, had his first brush with Marvel heroes when he played the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and its sequel. Both films that did awfully enough to enable Evans to wipe his slate clean this time around.
Image: Chris Evans as Captain America
Played by: Chris Hemsworth
Son of Odin and the Norse God of Thunder, Thor is a fearless blonde warrior ready for anything.
In last year's Thor, Chris Hemsworth showed he had both the build and the voice to take on divine superhero responsibility, and the fact that he's worked with Avengers director Joss Whedon should help.
As characters go, he's ludicrously but entertainingly old world, and his godly roots ensure that the ego-battles within the team only intensify.
The Australian Hemsworth, 28, was first seen by most of us in Kenneth Branagh's Thor and, after The Avengers and before Thor 2, will be seen on Indian screens in next week's Joss Whedon horror film, Cabin In The Woods.
Image: Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Real Name: Bruce Banner
Played by: Mark Ruffalo
Having already been played on the big screen by Eric Bana and then by Edward Norton, now Bruce Banner will be played by Mark Ruffalo -- even though in Hulk form the character will be voiced by classic television Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.
In a group of the wise and wily, the Hulk provides an unthinking, muscular counterpoint, shaking things up every single time he overpowers his scientist self, Bruce Banner, and often proving to be a highly volatile asset.A highly acclaimed American actor, the 44-year-old Ruffalo is best known for films like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, We Don't Live Here Anymore, The Brothers Bloom and, of course, The Kids Are All Right, for which he won an Oscar nomination.
Image: Mark Ruffalo as Hulk
Real Name: Clint Barton
Played by: Jeremy Renner
Briefly appearing in Thor, Hawkeye isn't a superhero but a crackerjack archer, known through the Marvel universe as "the World's Greatest Marksman." A highly-trained weapon of destruction, Hawkeye might not quite stand toe-to-toe with the loftier Avengers, but is a guy who gets the job done.
First glimpsed by most of us in the Oscar-sweeping Hurt Locker a few years ago, this increasingly solid American actor was last seen going toe-to-toe with Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol a few months ago.
Image: Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
Real Name: Natasha Romanoff
Played by: Scarlett Johansson
A striking femme fatale and known spy, Natasha's hard to get a read on in the comics, or even, initially, in Iron Man 2, where she shows up briefly.
She and Hawkeye have soldiered through many a global conflict, and in the new film, their position in the team -- as the only 'normals' in The Avengers -- brings them invariably closer.One of the most talented young American actresses, Johannson shone right from her debut in Lost In Translation back in 2003. Career highlights include Vicky Christina Barcelona, A Love Song For Bobby Long and Match Point. She first played Natasha in Iron Man 2.
Image: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
Played by: Samuel L Jackson
The omniscient puppet-master behind the Avengers initiative, Fury's an impossibly cool intelligence director who's been popping up in each film and getting the gang together, so to speak. After several vital but brief cameos, this is Fury's turn to show us his chops as he takes charge of this highly inflammable mix of heroes.
An American institution, Samuel L Jackson is as iconic a face as blockbusters have ever gotten. Having starred in numerous super-successful films, Jackson is the highest grossing actor of all time.
He's been playing Fury in the previous Marvel films, but this is the first time his character gets to take charge.
Image: Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury