The Avengers was a dream come true for any comic book or action movie fan: after years of introductions, six larger than life heroes were (Hulk) smashed together for one epic blockbuster. Beyond its unprecedented promise, writer/director Joss Whedon managed to turn The Avengers into a fulfilling piece of cinema. A smart script, thrilling direction, themes that got under the skin — calling it a “superhero movie” almost doesn’t do it justice.
There’s one shot in the movie that encompasses everything Whedon did right in The Avengers. Over this single prolonged shot, audiences race by each of the Avengers as they zip through the streets of New York City, battling invading aliens. The sequence is kinetic, but never jarring, as the relationships of the characters end up being just as important as the punching, kicking, and energy blasting. The team works together for the first time — Iron Man gliding past Black Widow, Hawkeye taking out an alien in his path, Thor and Hulk sharing the stage for a dance of clobbering — all like a series of alley-oops. That is gratification.
In the video below, Industrial Light & Magic, the legendary special effects company behind movies like Star Wars, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and the Transformers films, walk us through how they brought The Avengers’ most important shot to life. As you’ll see, it was no easy task, from planning, to shooting, to piecing it all together with the help of computers. But the work obviously paid off.
[Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures]
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