It's surprising that the government did not participate in the film, as the military has a long history of working with studios on action movies. In fact, the Pentagon loaned some F-22s to Marvel for Robert Downey Jr. to go toe-to-toe with in "Iron Man." It also gave a whole host of military vehicles (including ships and helicopters) to Paramount for "Transformers."
Why so little love for the film that would go on to have the best-stelling opening weekend of all time, then? The Defense Department's Hollywood liaison (that's a real position) said the government was concerned about the vague authority of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Samuel L. Jackson-led international peacekeeping / spy-ish organization (please don't write us letters!) that brings together the Avengers to do Avenger-y things.
"We couldn’t reconcile the unreality of this international organization and our place in it," Phil Strub told Wired. “To whom did S.H.I.E.L.D. answer? Did we work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? We hit that roadblock and decided we couldn’t do anything."
Indeed. Cars that turn into robots that think for themselves and wage war on humans? Real enough. Demigods and superheroes? Get out of town.
"Avengers" was plenty real for the movie's stars. Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, told HuffPost he believes the superhero romp "really is a metaphor for what's going on in America."
"In the end, it's the community working together, without the real egomaniacal leader," he added. "It's going to take all of us working together, with all of our strengths. We don't need to dominate to move forward. We need to work together. Everyone has their own strengths and their own talents. We can all benefit from one another."
The government's noncompliance notwithstanding, a few U.S. military apparati did make it into the film. F-22 Raptors are spotted during the movie, as are what appear to be F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. What gives? Strub said Marvel "digitally inserted" the jets into the footage.
PHOTOS: Summer Movie Preview 2012
[Click Iron Man's face to launch the gallery.]