The MCU Actor Who Benefited the Most From the Avengers

When it comes to the MCU, our original six Avengers have become intimately tied to their superhero counterparts. From Chris Evans’ Captain America and Hemsworth’s Thor to Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, you can’t think of the performer without seeing the performance — flashes of their action-packed and emotionally stirring cinematic spectacles just wash over you.

The Avengers MCU Actors
Kevin Feige, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeremy Renner attend the Marvel Studios’ ‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

The actors known for their MCU roles have all gone on to experience vast career benefits. Chris Evans has taken a shot at directing and is set to star in Jekyll as a descendant of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Mark Ruffalo continues to land captivating and unique roles, as he did before the MCU and will continue to do so long after. RDJ will take on Dr. Dolittle in the upcoming years, and the list goes on. 

The question is: whose career has benefitted the most from starring in the Avengers? Whose life has seen the greatest improvement as a result of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? When breaking down all the factors, two actors seem to be most deserving of this “most-improved” honor, so to speak. 

2. Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)

Robert Downey Jr. was a star way before Iron Man found its way to his desk; however, he was in need of a reputation makeover prior to climbing into the iron suit. Following stints in rehab for drug abuse, as well as nights in the slammer, Robert Downey Jr. went from an Oscar nominee for 1992’s Chaplin to a “risk” in the entertainment industry. 

As Mental Floss notes, Marvel didn’t want to cast RDJ as Iron Man, afraid that the years of bad publicity and arrests made the actor a poor decision. Not to mention, with a not-too-glamourous track record, placing the actor in a role designed to appeal to families and children was likely a step out of the studio’s comfort zone. 

Jon Favreau fought for Downey, and the director felt it was his job to prove RDJ was the best choice for the role, from a creative standpoint. Favreau was right, and Downey went onto to become one of the most beloved actors in the industry and, he is now a role model to the youth.

Talk about a redemption tale. For this fact alone — RDJ’s ability to turn his career around, and get back on track through the MCU — no one can deny that the actor benefitted greatly from the Avengers. He proved to the community, and fans alike that he was no longer a risk; instead, that he was an excellent choice for various roles.

1. Chris Hemsworth (Thor)

Before Thor, Chris Hemsworth was a virtual unknown; he had a recurring role on the Australian soap opera Home and Away, and appeared on Australia’s Dancing With the Stars in season six. However, Chris Hemsworth failed to find his footing in the industry until the hammer-wielding God of Thunder came his way. 

In an interview with Fox News, he recounted the several LA-based roles he missed, including G.I Joe: The Rise of the Cobra and Gambit in the X-Men films. Hemsworth explained that, at the time, he began to grow upset, likely fearing that he wasn’t going to make it in Hollywood. He even stated that he was “running out of money” before Thor.

When it comes to Chris Hemsworth, he was low on cash and struggling to break away from the Australian soap opera world prior to Thor; thus, he arguably received the biggest career boost following his casting. 

Prior to The Avengers, ScarJo had already appeared in Lost in Translation, The Nanny Diaries, The Prestige, The Other Boleyn Girl, and more. Renner had already appeared in The Hurt Locker and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Ruffalo made a name for himself, and retained it, years before The Avengers. Chris Evans appeared in several big-budget movies and, while critical reviews were not in his favor, he managed to snag leading roles in The Fantastic Four, What’s Your Number, and more before the Avengers. When taking the original saviors into account, RDJ and Chris Hemsworth, undisputably, benefitted the most.