Even though the first MCU movie ended with Nick Fury appearing and announcing the Avengers Initiative to Tony Stark in the post-credits scene, the idea of an Avengers movie was far from set in stone. For it to happen, Marvel Studios had to score several more individual successes before it could happen and they needed to introduce an entire team to join Iron Man.
When we got to The First Avenger, we knew it was coming, but still seeing the title screen - some TWELVE minutes into the film after Loki's invasion prologue - was one of those real watershed movie moments. This wasn't just the culmination of the first phase of movies, it was a new begining and if it worked, it would change everything.
Needless to say, it changed everything and added a billion dollar premium value to the Avengers brand. With the fourth in that particular series about to land in cinemas, we're looking back to the first assembly of the team...
10. It Was Originally R-Rated
The MCU gets a lot of heat for being "too family friendly" from fans who prefer their superheroes to be in the mould of Zack Snyder's grumpy murderers, but The Avengers actually struggled initially to not to be saddled with an R rating. That would have limited its selling power, but having Joss Whedon directing generally means you're going to see some deaths.
It actually took Marvel three attempts to get a PG-13 rating from the MPAA and it all came down to Agent Coulson's death. The original plan was to have Loki's staff burst through his chest, but that was too much so Whedon toned it down and instead all we got was the stab sound effect and Thor's reaction selling it. It works arguably even better.
And for anyone saying it's another MCU movie with no grave stakes, the kill count in this movie is one hundred fifty-one, including the Chitauri warriors.