Marvel’s The Avengers (classified under the name Marvel Avengers Assemble in the United Kingdom and Ireland), or simply The Avengers, is a 2012 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner as the titular Avengers team, alongside Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Nick Fury, director of the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Tony Stark, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to form a team that must stop Thor’s brother Loki from subjugating Earth.
The Asgardian Loki encounters the Other, the leader of an extraterrestrial race known as the Chitauri. In exchange for retrieving the Tesseract,[N 2] a powerful energy source of unknown potential, the Other promises Loki an army with which he can subjugate Earth. Nick Fury, director of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and his lieutenant Agent Maria Hill arrive at a remote research facility during an evacuation, where physicist Dr. Erik Selvig is leading a research team experimenting on the Tesseract. Agent Phil Coulson explains that the object has begun radiating an unusual form of energy. The Tesseract suddenly activates and opens a wormhole, allowing Loki to reach Earth. Loki takes the Tesseract and uses his scepter to enslave Selvig and a few other agents, including Clint Barton, to aid him in his getaway.
In response to the attack, Fury reactivates the “Avengers Initiative”. Agent Natasha Romanoff is sent to Calcutta to recruit Dr. Bruce Banner to trace the Tesseract through its gamma radiation emissions. Coulson visits Tony Stark to have him review Selvig’s research, and Fury approaches Steve Rogers with an assignment to retrieve the Tesseract.
In Stuttgart, Barton steals iridium needed to stabilize the Tesseract’s power while Loki causes a distraction, leading to a brief confrontation with Rogers, Stark, and Romanoff that ends with Loki’s surrender. While Loki is being escorted to S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor, his adoptive brother, arrives and frees him, hoping to convince him to abandon his plan and return to Asgard. After a confrontation with Stark and Rogers, Thor agrees to take Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s flying aircraft carrier, the Helicarrier. Upon arrival, Loki is imprisoned while Banner and Stark attempt to locate the Tesseract.