ByViktorio Serdarov, writer at
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Viktorio Serdarov

The path to success is full challenges that require a person to prove himself. This is also true for actors, as in order for them to get to coveted roles in big-budget films, they first have to establish themselves in more modest productions.

The Avengers are not an exempt to this general rule. At present, they may be the face of a billions of dollars franchise , but this was not always the case. Consequently, I have decided to compile a list of some of Earth's mightiest heroes' awesome early performances. Without further ado, here it is (and thank you for reading):

Robert Downey, Jr. in Weird Science (1985)

Nowadays, RDJ is most well-known for his Oscar-nominated performance in Chaplin (1992), as well as for his acclaimed portrayals of Tony Stark/Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes.

However, long before all this success, he made his debut at the age of 20 as Ian, the fresh-faced bully in Weird Science (1985), which was directed by John Hughes.

Chris Evans in Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

There was a time when Chris Evans was not even the Human Torch, let alone Captain America and this was when he began his career on the TV series Opposite Sex (2000) at the age of 19.

Shorty after that Chris Evans moved to film with appearances in The Newcomers (2000) and Not Another Teen Movie (2001). Here is a rather flamboyant clip of him in the latter, which the female readers will definitely appreciate.

Scarlett Johansson in Manny & Lo (1996)

Scarlett Johansson made her film debut at the age of 9, as John Ritter's daughter in North (1994). Following minor roles in Just Cause (1995) and If Lucy Fell (1996), the future Black Widow played the role of Amanda in Manny & Lo (1996).

Her performance in Manny & Lo (1996) was critically acclaimed, earning her a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female, as well as hinting that she had an extremely bright future in cinema.

Chris Hemsworth in Guinevere Jones (2002)

Even before starring in Home and Away (2004-2007) and certainly before playing the mighty Asgardian god - Thor, Chris Hemsworth made his debut at the age of 19 in the fantasy TV series Guinevere Jones (2002). Hemsworth played King Arthur himself and is it can be seen from the above clip, he sported a hilariously awful wig.

Mark Ruffalo in On the 2nd Day of Christmas (1997)

Ruffalo made his debut in the TV series CBS Summer Playhouse in 1989, aged 21. However, he did not make a jump to the silver screen until appearing in the horror film Mirror, Mirror II: Raven Dance in 1994.

Here is a clip of The Hulk in On the 2nd Day of Christmas (1997), in which he showcases his singing ability in a truly adorable way.

Jeremy Renner in National Lampoon's Senior Trip (1995)

Presently, Jeremy Renner is most well-known for his Oscar nominated performances in The Hurt Locker (2008) and The Town (2010), as well as for playing Clint Barton/Hawkeye in the MCU. He has also starred in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), The Bourne Legacy (2012), Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), American Hustle (2013) and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015).

However, long before he was an A-Lister, Renner's film debut came in 1995 as the underachieving (but confident) student - Dags in National Lampoon's Senior Trip.

Cobie Smulders in Walking Tall (2004)

The incredible Cobie Smulders made her debut on TV with appearances in Special Unit 2 (2002), Jeremiah (2002) and Tru Calling (2003).

The above video shows Special Agent Maria Hill present at a hilarious exchange between The Rock and Neal McDonough in the remake of Walking Tall (2004), which marked her film debut at the age of 21.

Samuel L. Jackson in Jungle Fever (1991)

Samuel L. Jackson made his film debut in the blaxploitation independent film Together for Days in the distant 1972.

However, his breakout role came 19 years later by playing the role of the crack cocaine addict "Gator" Purify in Jungle Fever (1991). The role was so well-received that the 1991 Cannes Film Festival created a special ''Supporting Actor'' award just for Jackson. Also, he described this role as "cathartic" because he began shooting Jungle Fever (1991) right after recovering from a heroine addiction.

Elizabeth Olsen in The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of Thorn Mansion (1994)

Olsen did not completely dive into acting until 2011 when she starred in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Silent House and Peace, Love & Misunderstanding.

However, she began acting at a very young age, with appearances in her sisters' Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies. As a result, before the age of 11, Olsen had small roles in How the West Was Fun (1994) and The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley (1994-1997).

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

After making his film debut (aged 11) in Tom & Thomas (2002), Taylor-Johnson continued to establish himself making appearances in movies such as Shanghai Knights (2003) and The Illusionist (2006).

However, before becoming Kick-Ass and Quicksilver, he starred as Robbie Jennings in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008). The above video shows a hilarious scene from the aforementioned film.

Paul Bettany in A Knight's Tale (2001)

After making his film debut in Bent (1997), Bettany had breakout roles in Gangster No. 1 (2000) and A Knight's Tale (2001).

In the latter, Vision had an iconic role playing the legendary quick-witted writer - Geoffrey Chaucer.

Paul Rudd in a 1992 Toyota Commercial

3 years before playing the cult favorite role of Josh Lucas in Clueless (1995), Rudd made his acting debut in 1992 with the television drama Sisters at the age of 23.

In the same year, the Ant-Man (2015) and comedy star, also made this hilarious Toyota commercial.

So, there you have it! Which throwback Avengers performance is your favorite?

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