The Avengers begins with Thor's villainous exiled brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), attacking Earth, which impels some of the world's strongest and most dysfunctional heroes to band together to defend the planet. Writer-director Joss Whedon sees the characters as a team of unstable loners, and has turned to an unlikely film for inspiration. ''Think of this as the Taxi Driver of superhero-team movies,'' he says.
Rest assured we won't see gruesome vigilante justice from Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth, pictured left), Captain America (Chris Evans, right), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and team leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). The Taxi Driver parallel for Whedon comes from heroes who are so cripplingly lonely that they're both desperate to join a team and too neurotic to be part of any superhero club that wants them as members. ''The conflicts between them are going to define them, and the way they resolve them is in the grand American tradition through violence,'' says Whedon with a laugh. Before they decide they're on the same side, for example, Iron Man and Captain America gang up on Thor in a major brawl familiar to anyone who grew up with hostile brothers. Anthony Breznican
Image Credit: Zade Rosenthal
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