* [[spoiler: [[SacrificialLion Billy's]]]] death, that is so excruciating and made quite one of the things that became [[ItsPersonal personal]] for the team.
* Tool's monologue in the original and Billy's in the second, when they both reveal what made them the {{shell shocked veteran}}s they are now.
* There's a certain recognition of the passage of time at the very end of the sequel, when in an extremely meta moment, Barney comments on his new plane, "That belongs in a museum", to which Trench replies "We all do." A recognition that their age is coming towards an end.
* In the third, [[spoiler: Galgo]]'s actual backstory is this. [[spoiler: His former team was in a rescue mission similar to the one he and the Expendables are in, all went bad, and he was the only survivor]].
* Still in the third, [[spoiler: Caesar being shot and the events that ensue, leading Barney to fire his team so that they will live]]. The latter part doubles as a moment of Heartwarming.