There’s a moment in The Avengers, just after Bruce Banner reveals his greatest weapon (“that’s my secret Captain, I’m always angry!”), when Joss Whedon assembles Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in spectacular fashion.
By calling upon a circle shot, Whedon takes viewers up close and personal with Marvel’s finest, resulting in one of the more iconic one-takes in modern superhero history – on the big screen, at least. Hell, one could argue that that same sequence has inspired other key shots in the MCU, including Age of Ultron‘s slow-mo jump and the by-now famous scene of Captain America (Nomad?) and friends charging into the Battle of Wakanda as part of Infinity War.
But long before Marvel’s star-spangled patriot was shipped off to the other side of the world to battle Thanos and his minions, Steve Rogers was present during the Battle of New York, and even helped the Avengers fight off an alien invasion. Flanked by Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Incredible Hulk, Cap became the patriotic anchor point of Phase One, and below you’ll be able to trace the evolution of The Avengers and, more specifically, its famous SDCC banner.
In the intervening years since, the MCU has ballooned in size thanks to cosmic adventures (Thor: Ragnarok) and grounded, hilarious heist movies (Ant-Man), resulting in a 76-character ensemble for Avengers: Infinity War. That’s an impressive, if overwhelming roster by any standard, though we’re quietly confident in the Russo Brothers’ ability following their incredible work on Captain America: Civil War.
“There was an idea…to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they become something more. See if they can work together when we needed them to. To fight the battles that we never could.” On May 4th, that threat takes the form of Thanos (AKA the Mad Titan), who will wage an Infinity War in order to rebalance the universe as we know it.