That doesn't translate totally though, by the time the Autobots are able to fight back (thanks to be forced off planet by the US Government) Chicago has been occupied for long enough there aren't any civilians left.
Which reinforces my point that the filmmakers' attention wasn't on protecting innocent lives at all. The Avengers
's climactic battle wasn't just about warriors killing each other, it was about heroes saving lives. I think that's a critical difference. Rescuing and protecting is, to me, the most important part of what superheroes (or heroes in general) do, and it's a part that I feel is too often downplayed in movies in favor of having the characters get caught up in their own personal battles. (Look at the ending of the first Fantastic Four
movie, for instance. The FF aren't defending anyone except themselves, and they even endanger the whole world by using Johnny's nova blast to protect themselves. Which is a complete inversion of what superhero stories should be about.) While The Avengers
did keep the film's focus and the audience's focus on the characters, it never forgot that the characters' own
focus was on defending other people, not just protecting themselves or killing someone they had a grudge against. (Although I could've done without the casual killing of the Chitauri.)
Since there were civilians left in Chicago the innocents were safe thanks to the local goverment. The athorities in the Avengers movie seem to just stand around and wait for the heroes to do things, one cop even asked Cap. what kind of athority he had to give him orders. And the Chitauri appeared to be robots of some sort since once hte mothership was taken out they all collapsed.