#124 at time of writing.
Back in 2005, an enterprising Marvel Studios executive (Avi Arad) decided to produce a slate of films about individual super-characters, to establish their identities and familiarize audiences with them, before merging the characters together in an epic Avengers movie.
They got off to an excellent start with Iron Man, which was followed in quick succession by The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. And now, finally, the motley crew are brought together.
I must admit that I expected this film to be poor. For one thing, the concept is a huge example of what Blake Snyder calls double mumbo jumbo. A god-alien in the same movie as an artificially enhanced soldier from the 1940s and a giant green id monster? Sounds dubious.
But whilst it is indeed silly, this film is never cringeworthy. Rather, it is thoroughly pacey and entertaining, gloriously irreverent, and often laugh-out-loud funny. This quote from director Joss Whedon sums up the spirit of the film: "The whole movie is about finding yourself from community. And finding that you not only belong together but you need each other, very much. Obviously this will be expressed through punching."
Legal rights issues prevented a number of "Avengers" characters from being included in this film, such as Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, villains Magneto, Doctor Doom and Norman Osbourne/Green Goblin. Though all characters are owned by Marvel/Disney, the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters were licensed to Fox Studios, and those of Spider-Man to Sony, before work began on an Avengers film. Marvel has said that in the future they hope to regain the rights to all licensed properties, that the aforementioned characters might have a role in subsequent Avengers films.