Steve's statement that everyone needs to keep focused on dealing with Loki and not going off-mission by digging into SHIELD's dirty laundry was right the whole time. The revelation about SHIELD's plans with the Hydra weaponry did not really do anything but cause conflict among the Avengers, which is what Loki wanted. If they had stayed focused on taking on Loki and figuring out what he was up to, it would not have fueled the conflict that resulted in the Hulk's rampage allowing Hawkeye and Loki's mooks to board the Helicarrier and do as much damage as they did.
Cap's insult about Tony knowing nothing about sacrifice isn't quite true. Tony has experienced loss, Yinsen being at the top of the list. In that light, it could give new meaning to Tony's vehemence when he snaps back "We are not soldiers!" Yinsen wasn't a soldier, he was just a person. Yinsen's family weren't soldiers. Many of the people who were killed by Stark-built weapons weren't soldiers. So Tony reacts badly to the attempt to anonymize losses behind the premise of war. Compared to the others' losses and sacrifices—Bruce has lost Betty and a part of his humanity, Hawkeye and Widow their autonomy, Cap his entire world—Tony arguably still had the least understanding of the word. Bearing in mind that each has a limited understanding of the other's backstory, their accusations are perfectly in-character, but an audience member who has seen their respective movies grasps that both heroes have blind spots in regard to the other.
Stark seems Crazy-Prepared for having the Mark VII suit be able to deploy and attach to himself in midair while he's falling. However, Given Tony's love for theatrics (remember in the beginning of Iron Man 2 when he jumps out of the plane without his helmet, just to catch it in the air?) it's quite possible that he planned this as part of an even more spectacular stunt. You also have to take Ivan Vanko's attack on him while in the middle of the Formula one race into account. Tony likely realized that a quick way to slap on the suit would be prudent.
Related to the point about Tony's Mark VII suit, there is a smartphone app that traces the evolution of Tony's armors and how nearly every armor upgrade is a response to a previous armor's failing. Examples:
The Mark I was too clunky and rough-hewn, so the Mark II was generally streamlined.
The Mark II had the icing and stability issues, which is why the Mark III boasted the fuselage improvements and upgraded controls.
The Mark III took too long to put on, which nearly allowed Stane to kill Pepper, and it was almost completely scrapped in the fight. It also didn't have its own power source, and ran off the reactor in Tony's chest. There were some unspecified mods in the Mark IV, but it did have its own arc reactor, and it was CLEARLY easier for the suit to be removed. The Mark II was also retrofitted with its own reactor, allowing Rhodey to abscond with it and become War Machine.
A transport system for the Mark IV did not work, and so the Mark V (Suitcase Armor) was conceived.
The Mark V had to sacrifice power for mobility, and it still ran on the Palladium powered Arc Reactor. The Mark VI used the Tesseract-based reactor (Starkium...?) and had upgraded weapons (and a resistance to electrical attacks.)
The Mark VII streamlined the transport system, upgraded the weapons further, and had a back mounted propulsion system, which allowed Tony greater combat mobility, including being able to use his repulsors mid-flight without slowing down.
In Iron Man 2, Whiplash's electrical attacks clearly damage the Iron Man armour. In The Avengers, however, an electrical attack from Thor merely charges up the suit's energy reserves. It can be assumed that the battle with Whiplash inspired Tony Stark to create a means for the Iron Man armour to better endure electrical attacks, and harness their energy. Alternatively, there's a strong implication that the element Tony synthesized to replace Palladium is based on the tesseract, which is Asgardian technology.
Coulson defines Steven Hawking as "a smart person." Most people would use Albert Einstein as their next example, but Coulson realizes that Steve wouldn't know who Einstein was. Now, Einstein was actually world famous by the 1940s, so there is pretty much no way Rogers wouldn't have known who he was, which means that Coulson was simply overcompensating for Steve's inability to catch pop culture references, failing to consider that Einstein was a part of 1930's and 40's pop culture.
Agent Coulson's newly revealed Captain America fanboyism explains his annoyance at Tony using the Shield to prop up his particle accelerator. It's also the first indication of Tony's disrespectful attitude towards Captain America, possibly due to his father "going on and on" about him. According to Downey, Stark sees Cap as a big brother he can never live up to.
When Thor confronts Loki for the first time, two ravens fly past the camera lens. The All-Father keeping watch over his sons?. note For those not up on the mythology, Odin has a pair of ravens (Huginn and Muninn) that act as eyes for him.
Hulk saving Tony. Now, who was the first person to openly befriend him, to the point of offering him a job?
The Chitauri, in the comics, are an alternate-universe version of the Skrulls. You'd think that they'd just replaced the Skrulls in the movieverse, but Thor points out they're not from "any world known." Later on, Selvig tells Tony that the Tesseract "wants to show us something! A whole other Universe!" The point? The Chitauri are alternate-universe Skrulls in the context of the movie as well.
Cap/Steve never got to see America and the allies win World War II because he was frozen. In the end when he tells Tony "We won." we realize he now finally got to see this victory in the brief war he and the Avengers fought against the Chitauri.
Tony calls the Iron Man suit a nuclear deterrent in Iron Man 2. In the climax of the film he physically directs a nuclear missile out of harm's way. Even better: Shortly after Tony called himself a "nuclear deterrent" in Iron Man 2, he learns of other parties building their own Powered Armor to counter him... including Whiplash, who nearly succeeded. In this film, he scoffs at the idea of nuclear deterrents because recent experience has taught him that they work so well.
The "sacrifice play" metaphor makes sense in context when you remember Steve's a baseballfan.
During their argument when Tony says even without his armor he's still a "genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist" Steve tells him he knows "guys who are none of that who are worth ten of you!" He can only be talking about the Howling Commandos/Invaders and especially Bucky. Tony's bottom line (since his Character Development back in Iron Man 1) has always been about someone's legacy - what they've accomplished. As far as he sees it at that point, he's done more with his brains, his drive, and the money he's gained from the first two that Steve has ever been or probably ever will be able to do. Steve on the other hand focuses more on the interpersonal side of things, and a guy who doesn't care about the people he works with in order to reach a goal probably brings up some bad memories that to him, aren't so distant.
During the final battle, Iron Man contacts Cap and asks if Banner has gotten there yet. Cap asks, "Banner?", somewhat surprised at the notion. Everyone knew Bruce knew where the Tesseract was (he was the only one who saw the computer finish tracking the gamma radiation, he just didn't have a chance to tell anyone before everything went sideways), but Tony is the only one who believed he'd show up, since he was the most reluctant of them all.
Thor's final appeal of brotherly love to Loki is met with a stab in the gut. After that there is no hope for a reconnection, but he finds new kinship with the allies he fights with, the Avengers. Particularly with Cap and surprisingly the Hulk, who even gives him a "brotherly" punch after they take down a leviathan. Though it should be noted that there are many ways to interpret the Hulk's little punch to Thor after they dropped the leviathan together, and that's probably intentional.
Captain America's new uniform◊ provided by S.H.I.E.L.D. seems brighter, tighter fitting and a bit more garish than the one he wore fighting in WWII. That uniform while in the colors of the American flag still had the look and feel of practical combat fatigues◊. In Real Life it's because director Joss Whedon wanted Cap in The Avengers to look more like the comic book. ln the movie this can be explained when Fan Boy Agent Coulson tells Steve he took part in the design. He probably knew Cap mostly from his original "Star Spangled Man" costume◊, as seen on his trading cards (and based on the actual comic book costume). Coulson also said they "need a little old fashioned" now, meaning that Cap is also important for the world not just as leader of the Avengers team but as a symbol the way he was used during WWII in his propaganda costume. (A bit of Fridge Horror, since, had Phil gotten Steve to sign them, they would be worth less than a pristine set. He probably wouldn't have cared, though.)
Black Widow has never been so clearly rattled by anything as the prospect of going up against the Hulk. As an espionage agent, her modus operandi is to manipulate her targets into underestimating her and then revealing their plans to her in their own overconfidence—a move that works well against Russian gangsters, Asgardian Norse gods, and genius billionaire playboy philanthropists alike. In actual combat, Natasha is a master of human-level martial arts and firearms. And the Hulk terrifies her because none of her tactics work on him. The Hulk can't be manipulated or reasoned with, and worse, his actions are completely unpredictable. Guns don't work on him, nor hand-to-hand combat without superhuman power. No wonder she's freaked out by him even as a seasoned agent: when Natasha does confront the Hulk on the ship, her only option is to run like hell. Her eventual acceptance of Hulk/Banner as a teammate is arguably the bravest thing she does in the movie.
Why does Cap have his costume on in the aircraft carrier while everybody else is in their casual outfits? First and foremost, Steve Rogers is a soldier. And seeing as how he's on a military aircraft on a military assigned mission, it makes sense that he would be in his assigned uniform. That, and the Iron Man armor is essentially a vehicle and not a form of clothing while Thor's armor essentially is his clothing and Banner, of course, has no costume. Natasha stays in her uniform at all times as well.
Throughout the film, any time Banner is in close proximity of any military types, he either flinches or attempts to involuntarily conceal himself, because the Hulk's history with anyone of a military background has always involved them hounding or attempting to put him down.
Both Tony and Thor are friendly and familiar with Agent Coulson because of past interactions. Thor considers Son of Coul an ally and respects him as a fellow warrior for good. Tony has known him the longest and keeps a more personal (if snarky) relationship with him, and it's implied both here and in Thor that he visits regularly. Captain Rogers, though, has only known him for a few hours, and even then, only shared a few awkward moments with him. (And on a minor note, both Black Widow and Hawkeye have worked under him before, but their attachment is more professional.) So when Coulson is killed, Natasha is saddened, Thor and Tony are devastated, but the Captain tries to rationalize it as losing a fellow soldier in a war (something he has plenty of experience with, but it would never match losing Bucky.) So what does Fury do to get Rogers to sympathize? He combines Coulson's sacrifice, devotion to the Avengers cause, and intense admiration of Captain America, and he does that simply by getting Coulson's (or somebody's) blood on the trading cards and tossing them at the Captain.
Tony insulting Cap by telling him that "the only thing special about him came out of a bottle" is a far more devastating insult when you remember Tony is a recovering alcoholic. Tony making that particular shot at Cap is also interesting because, low a blow as it is, it's also wrong - Cap's entire movie took pains to make it clear that what's really special about Steve are the qualities that led Erskine to select him for the serum, not the serum itself. Appropriately, in the climactic throw-down against the Chitauri, what Steve brings to the fight has less to do with his physical abilities and more to do with leadership and tactical expertise, things that the serum had nothing to do with - and Tony is the one who invites Cap to "call it." The exchange is straight-up foreshadowing: Tony says that Steve's only special because of the serum. In the third act, Cap proves him wrong, as Cap's biggest contribution is expertly organizing the Avengers and directing the fight, as well as planning the evacuation for the NYPD — things that have nothing to do with the serum. Steve opines that Tony is both useless without armor and would never sacrifice himself for others. In the third act, Tony proves him wrong as Tony's biggest contributions are confronting Loki completely armorless in Stark tower, and flying the government's nuke into space in a Heroic Sacrifice for the flightless Avengers and the population of Manhattan — no third option in sight (he only survived due to luck). With their biggest misgivings about each other proven false, Steve and Tony's obvious budding friendship in the post-climactic scenes becomes a convincing part of a logical sequence of events.
Most of the time, Banner transformed into Hulk without full control of his mental faculties prior to the transformation, which led "the other guy" to lash out at anyone and anything in his path. When Banner transforms at the start of the climactic battle in both The Incredible Hulk and Avengers, he unleashes Hulk voluntarily — which allows him to point "the other guy" towards the right target (Abomination and Loki/the Chitauri, respectively).
When we see Loki's other human minions, its clear they don't have the Mind-Control Eyes, so Loki didn't use the sceptre on them. Why? Because one good blow to the head can undo it. That's why he only uses that when he has to, preferring more reliable things like money and mutual hatred most of the time.
Of course a blast of lightning from Mjölnir would supercharge an Arc Reactor - the Arc Reactor is a reverse-engineered Tesseract, and the Tesseract is Aesir technology.
Related to the Arc Reactor being a reverse-engineered Tesseract, Fury mentions that the Tesseract could be the key to free energy, which seems to be true given how many machines HYDRA ran off its syphoned energy in Captain America. Meanwhile, for the arc reactor, Tony is just beginning to get it to the point where it can power large-scale projects and be economical. And, it's mentioned that Loki needs a way to "kick-start" the Tesseract to open the portal, and once it gets going Jarvis tells Tony it's become self-sustaining. In the Iron Man films, when we see Tony and Vanko make their first arc reactors, they have to give them an initial power boost to charge them up. The film all but directly confirms by these points that the arc reactor is designed as a mini-Tesseract limited by the human inability to reproduce it on the same scale.
At the end, Tony and Pepper are standing together, looking at plans for the Stark Tower repairs and—presumably—renovations. At first it just seems cute they were making plans together, until you see a screencap of that. Tony has drawn up floor plans for each Avenger; Nick Fury is fully justified in his faith in them, because the most standoffish member of this family is making a place for them in his home. Even the order of the floors is Fridgey. Talk about a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
Tony's probably made more friends in the last couple of days than he had previously in his whole life.
One of the contributing factors to Natasha defeating Clint on the helicarrier is that he apparently hadn't slept in several days, going by his eyes. Though it is generally accepted as canon across most continuities that Natasha is just better at hand-to-hand than him.
In a relatively subtle one, when Rogers confronts Stark and tells him that he doesn't think that Stark has it in him to "make the sacrifice play." Toward the end of the movie, Tony chooses to guide the nuke into the portal, knowing he likely won't survive. What makes this brilliant is that no one comments on it. He just does it, proving that Iron Man is indeed worthy of Cap, and the way they laugh at the end together shows that Rogers and Stark have overcome their mutual Values Dissonance.
Those who know Thanos will find the Chitauri leader's last line to almost sound like an invitation. Fighting humanity is like courting death, eh? Good thing that's exactly what Thanos would like to do.
In the movie when Thor tells Loki he thought he was dead, Loki asks bitterly "Did you mourn?" and Thor goes "Of course I did. Someone on Tumblr posted this, which makes it seem like they did not mourn, but actually threw a huge party. The Fridgey part is that that is actually how the ancient Norsemen mourned their dead—after a week of more "traditional" (by modern western standards) mourning, they would have a feast in memoriam of the dead person. Presumably in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's history they picked it up from the Asgardians. It's been at least a week since Jane's already searching for Thor, so that scene is actually probably 100% appropriate mourning behavior by Asgardian standards. That laughing they're doing is probably them all telling stories of the good times they shared with Loki.
Coulson tricks the Trickster God.
Fridge Brilliance (or Fridge Horror, depending on your viewpoint): Bruce Banner Can't Have Sex, Ever, and that probably extends to... other things. No wonder he's always angry. Doubling as a Tear Jerker, during the scene in Calcutta when Bruce says that he doesn't always get what he wants, he's staring down at a baby cradle andgently rocking it. One can't help but wonder if he's thinking about Betty at that very moment. Confirmed by Whedon's commentary: Ruffalo improvved that bit of business to give the line a very sad double meaning.
Thor taking on the Hulk without much difficulty, or even visible worry. The Hulk generally doesn't face anything he can't outright obliterate in a few punches, so of course he'd be frustrated and, well, angry. Thor? Thor has fought things at least half as strong as himself practically all of his life, so why wouldn't he be calm and collected? Quote from Thor:
Thor: You're big. I've fought bigger.
Half Brick Joke, half Foreshadowing: Near the beginning of the film, when Tony and Pepper share "12% of a moment," he chides her for what he considers a security breach of their penthouse elevator, because he saw sweaty construction people all over it. Then Coulson comes in, overriding Jarvis' protocols, and Tony yells "Security breach!" again. But towards the climax of the film, Loki and Selvig have set up the Tesseract device outside Tony's penthouse... How could they have ever gotten up there without them (or their mercs) breaching Stark Tower's security?
In the scene where Natasha "interrogates" Loki, he becomes visibly enraged, banging on the glass, blatantly threatening her and calling her a "mewling quim", a medieval slur referring to female genitalia. This contrasts sharply with his cool demeanour during the rest of his imprisonment and most of the movie. Look at some of his conversations with Thor, and you see that he reconstructed the events of the previous movie in his mind to imply that he was forced into villainhood and is now merely following his destiny. In short, he has no choice. The mere idea that Black Widow, who raised as a corrupt super spy, can say,"screw this", Heel-Face Turn and become The Atoner undermines his entire rationale.
Take a look at everyone's expressions and posture during the post-credits shawarma scene. Steve Rogers, who had to coordinate the entire battle as well as fight on the ground, is completely exhausted mentally and physically, and isn't even eating, just sitting with his chin in his hand. Tony Stark, who came inches away from sacrificing his life, is introspective. Thor, who comes from a warrior culture and has been established as a Big Eater in prior movies, is clearly relishing his meal. Natasha and Clint are eating somewhat mechanically, putting food in their mouths and chewing. Then there's Bruce Banner, who is smiling wryly at the absurdity of the situation. Of course, the real reason Captain America is sitting with his chin in his hand is the scene was shot weeks after the rest of the film, and Chris Evans had already regrown his beard. Also, the real reason why Bruce is smiling is because Mark Ruffalo was trying hard not to crack up. And Thor being hunched over like that is because Chris Hemsworth had lost a lot of the muscle mass he gained for the Large and in Charge Thor.
Rewatching the scene with Nick Fury and Loki in the cage, it seems as though Loki is enjoying the crap out of putting one over an authority figure with one eye. Take note that it's a black (Film!Heimdall) one-eyed (Film!Odin) pissed off authority figure. It's probably the closest he will get to trolling the both of them ever again. And for a probably unintentional Genius Bonus, according to the other wiki, Odin's name is derived from a word whose meaning is, among others, fury.
It seemed it took Cap, Black Widow and Hawkeye a long time in their Quinjet to help Tony as he lampshades: "What, did you stop off for drive through?!" An unseen story for this could also explain what happened to the other Quinjet commandeered by Loki's flunkies. Cap and the others could have encountered the rogue jet on their way to Stark Tower and battled it in a dogfight. Hawkeye and Widow having the more experience flying and using the Quinjet's weapons respectively, would have taken out the other Quinjet without showing visible damage before continuing on to NYC.
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are both slightly taller than the rest of the cast, which is brilliant when you remember that gods in mythology were typically presented as taller than the average mortal!
Thor: You humans are so petty. And tiny.
Tear Jerker example: Why did Tony agree to try to call Pepper before he went on a suicide mission? Because the last time he was dying, he didn't get a chance to tell her.
Why did Tony need to go into the portal with the nuke? Why couldn't he stop just short and let the nuke go through on its own? ...because he was going faster than the nuke. It may have exploded before it got through if Tony didn't make sure it was on the other side - and considering how quickly it detonates on the other side, it seems he was right. He is also the only one that has an actual gauge for his powers, so he knows there is a limit to how long they can keep up the fight. He also knows he has to get the bomb far enough in to not be used against them, and he has only the one chance to end the invasion once and for all. That means carrying the bomb as close as possible to the mothership.
It was probably no coincidence that immediately after Natasha discovered Loki's plan to unleash the Hulk his scepter "activated". Loki was probably planning to do it later but Natasha forced his hand. It was just good luck for him that all Tony, Cap, Thor, Natasha and Nick Fury were in the same room as well and it heightened whatever interpersonal conflict was already there.
How is Pepper familiar with Coulson's first name? Because that's how he introduced himself to her way back in the first Iron Man, after which he never really bothered doing the same with anyone else - presumably including Tony. There's also, of course, the implication that Pepper and Coulson, who are on friendly terms, have been in contact between the events of the movies, so it's not surprising that they'd be on First Name Basis.
Of course Natasha would agree with Tony's backfire (genius, playboy, billionaire, philanthropist) to Steve's Rhetorical Question Blunder. During the time she was spying on him for SHIELD, she had the chance to see every one of those aspects first-hand. And to make it more hilarious, she's probably agreeing to each word in a different and less flattering context from Tony's, when we recall she also has her own list describing Tony (albeit on less flattering terms) on her report to Fury from Iron Man 2. She's probably holding a mental smirk as how Tony is unkowingly confirming each description she made about him in his snark-back to Steve.
Coulson spends his time in all the previous movies and the beginning of this one being snarked at, insulted, given a hard time, or even flat-out ignored by the superheroes, even Black Widow and Hawkeye. But in the middle of this one he finally gets everyone to pay attention and do exactly what he wants them to.
In the original comics, the name "The Avengers" was chosen simply because the Wasp thought it sounded cool, and in the film SHIELD no doubt named the project the "Avengers Initiative" as a codename (like Operation Desert Storm, Operation Shock and Awe, etc). However, the name turns out to be prophetic, because by the end of the film "The Avengers" is actually a Meaningful Name: the team came together in their fury over Coulson's death and their desire to, well, avenge him. The team will no doubt always be partially an homage to him, fulfilling his dream of a superhero team and ridding the world of the kinds of dangers that killed him.
It's made clear that the alien invaders are at least partially cybernetic... which is why pushing the nuke through the portal stops them all: It'll have an Electromagnetic Pulse!
The World Council orders a nuclear strike on Manhattan. The covert operation to create the first atomic bombs back in World War II was called the Manhattan Project. Plus, as espoused by both Tony Stark and Obadiah Stane in Iron Man, Howard Stark personally worked on the Manhattan Project. The gift/curse aspect of the A-Bomb mirrors the effect that Tony had on the theater of war, both before and after the Iron Man, even though his intentions were the same as Howard's: to do his part in protecting people. Thus, in a way, Tony's diverting the warhead brings the entire Stark Legacy full circle.
Tony, in regards to his constant efforts to get Banner angry, functions as an audience surrogate. He knows what the Hulk can do and he's really excited to see it, and the idea that Banner isn't there to become the Hulk annoys him. He takes every opportunity he can to skip the techno-babble reason for Banner's presence and get to the part where the Hulk starts punching things. Plus, it's just how Tony operates. Whenever he meets someone, he initially starts bugging the hell out of them in order to get to know their character. Then he starts getting serious (ish). He knows Banner is brilliant, and kinda wants to know what he's like. Why? Because he's recruiting. After he nudges Banner a couple times to see where his limit is and prove that he's not afraid of Banner, Tony offers him a job.
Why does Tony have an overwhelmingly positive opinion of the Hulk even while the others are very, very concerned? Tony is also a genius who happens to have a powerful second self that the authorities are afraid of and want to own and control; he understands Bruce more deeply within five seconds of meeting him than any of the others ever could and is ready to implicitly trust Bruce's control based on his own example. That's why he pokes Bruce with the... electro-pokey device...thing; to show Bruce that he isn't afraid.
Based on a Fridge Brilliance on the Thor page: the Destroyer is basically a Frost Giant killing machine. Coulson picked a hell of a good prototype to charge Loki with, then.
Coulson referred to his Captain America trading cards as "nearly mint, some 'foxing' around the edges". 'Foxing' refers to FOX, or Ferrous Oxide, which tends to affect any paper items kept in long storage like library books, or trading cards in this case. It's also a major component of blood.
When Iron Man is lying down and the team is unsure if he's still alive, no one tries to give him CPR (a fact which Stark himself lampshades when he wakes up). That's because none of the other three Avengers present at the scene would know to give him CPR: Thor is from another world, Hulk is, well, hulked out, and Cap was frozen from the 40s to present day - CPR was only developed in the 60s. Not to mention that while he's in the armor, none of them could do the compressions anyway.
The family motto behind the surname Coulson is, translated, I will die for those I love.
When Tony is flying into the portal, he calls Pepper, but she can't hear her phone ringing. Tony leaves the call open anyway so he can see her picture on his HUD, and her face will be the last thing he sees before he dies.Where have we heard that one before?
The reason that Tony is so accepting and understanding of Bruce, while the other Avengers are fearful and try to overlook his "affliction?" Tony knows exactly how Bruce feels. Tony also had to deal with the fact that he is responsible for untold destruction and endangering innocent lives due to his history of manufacturing weapons. So when he tells Bruce that he can use his abilities for the benefit of others, he's speaking from experience.
When Iron Man shoots a missile at the Leviathan (after it was stopped by the Hulk), Thor is the only one who doesn't try to cover himself until after it explodes. Being an Asgardian, he would have no idea of what a missile is.
Steve's first impression of Thor basically boils down to "God doesn't dress like that". Amusingly, apart from being blonde, Thor's long hair and facial hair make him look like a vengeful Jesus.
Much ado was made over the line "I'm always angry" by Banner, with most claiming that would mean that he should ALWAYS be the Hulk. However, Depending on the Writer, Hulk is either the embodiment of Banner's REPRESSED anger, or the level of rage he feels when his anger is out of control. By accepting his natural anger and embracing it, rather than living in constant fear of it, he can control it without constantly flying off the handles, thus satisfying both interpretations as to why he can't control himself when Hulked out.
Related to the above, remember what Bruce was working on when the accident happened. The government put him to work on the super soldier serum and he figured that gamma radiation "would be the key to unlocking Erskine's formula." What did Erskine say about the serum? It amplifies what's inside a man. Now, throw some gamma radiation into the mix and some really bad luck, and you have Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk. Well, if the serum amplifies what's inside a man and you have gamma radiation screwing with that formula, then it's safe to say that the Hulk is merely the manifestation of Banner's instincts, impulses, and desires, completely untempered and unchecked. Once Bruce understands that he and the Hulk are one and the same, we see the Hulk act with much more focus and control, not just rage and muscle.
When Banner and Natasha first meet in India, Banner expresses clear disgust that she used a child to draw him out. Later in the scene, he tells her "I don't all the time get what I want" while rocking a baby cradle, implying his own thwarted wish for a child. Given Natasha's skill set, it's likely she knew that playing on Banner's wish for children was the most foolproof way to manipulate him; it's also a good theory as to why Hulk attacked her, if he was manifesting Banner's subconscious anger that Natasha had basically struck an open wound.
Tony and Steve are possibly the biggest problem with the Avengers Initiative in the beginning. They can't seem to work together without trying to rip the other apart in some way, at least until they're in real trouble. The reason Coulson's death pushes them together is that both of their origin stories involve them losing someone who could be considered a good man. Of course a third good man dying, one they both knew, although not particularly well, would be the thing to bring them together.
Dramatically, you can see the point of having Steve talk to Tony about Coulson's death as a contrast between idealism vs cynicism in the face of trauma. But why did Steve go to him in the first place when they'd been at each other's throats hours before? Because when they fought together earlier, he realized from Tony's inexperience that Tony has probably always fought alone and has no idea how to deal with losing a fellow soldier. It's all but outright stated that he came there to see how he was coping. This is also the exact moment that they reconcile their differences. Steve realizes that Tony's been doing the Iron Man thing totally by himself, not because he's a glory hound, but because he's already lost so many people that he can't stand the idea of losing anyone else; when Steve steps up to actually be a supportive leader in the wake of disaster, Tony realizes that Steve's not a self-righteous goody-two-shoes, and is ready to trust him to call the shots.
Steve: Is this the first time you've lost a soldier?
It's easy to overlook but Loki often ends up relying on external power rather than inner strength. He makes use of Odin's staff, the Casket of Ancient Winters, and the Destroyer in Thor, and here he's using the alien sceptre, its mind control of heroes and an alien army (his own tricks and strength are there but not as prominent). In contrast all the heroes' powers are things that they made (Stark) or that come from their own qualities (Banner, Cap etc.). For all his talk of superiority Loki only seems to get by relying on other people's power. This may come from his own self-esteem issues that make him doubt his own strength. Loki is the God of Mischief. His primary power is manipulation and deceit, so it would make perfect sense that he'd achieve his ends by maneuvering people with power rather than wielding his own.
As been pointed out on the main page with No OSHA Compliance, the Helicarrier's layout seems pretty badly considered with the angled runway (used primarily for landing aircraft) terminating directly over one of those gargantuan rotors sucking air down to lift the carrier. It seems really stupid until you think about the function used by Steve and Tony to slow the rotors down temporarily, a function that apparently has its own special red lever to be activated. At first glance, that seems pretty plot convenient, solely for the purpose of giving Tony a way to escape. However, being able to abruptly reduce the speed of the rotors for a brief moment would be an ideal safety feature to keep an aircraft with an aborted landing from being sucked down into one. It's a safe bet that the function can probably be engaged from the bridge, or even automatically, with the lever serving as a fail safe.
Why are they called 'The Avengers' when they don't 'Avenge' anything ( aside from Coulson)? Well, according to Fury, the name comes from SHIELD's Superhero recruitment program called 'The Avenger Initiative'. Why 'Avenger'? The same reason why 'Manhattan' has nothing to do with atomic weapons. Because it doesn't make any sense. That's the whole point of using a codename for a military organization like SHIELD.
The cops may have been so initially distrusting of Captain America giving them orders because to them, this was some guy who was pretending to be the country's most renowned war hero who the cops most likely admired and could possibly get more people hurt or killed in their antics to help (since no one aside from SHIELD knew that Captain America was revived in the present time). But once Steve proved he was capable of fighting the Chitauri and that he knew what he was saying, the cops were quick to relay his orders.
Alternative fridge to the above: They may not even know who Captain America is. Yes, Captain America was a huge, inspirational propaganda symbol and war hero during WWII, but he entered the war late and "died" before it was over. That war was 70 years ago. He's probably a footnote, maybe a paragraph or two, in the history books at best. Many of these officers may have grown up never even knowing that Captain America was ever a thing that existed and, to them, he would just be some crazy guy in a star-spangled uniform barking orders at them. Seeing him take down a handful of Chitauri gave them the sense that he actually knew what he was talking about, however; as one officer explicitly points out, they have no idea what's going on.
Mark Ruffalo's Hulk is noticeably plumper that Edward Norton's Hulk. Well, considering that Banner was working as a doctor in an Indian village, he most likely charged food for his services, explaining the weight gain.
Bruce also has some leftover guilt from when he "broke Harlem", even though the Abomination was responsible for the most of it. Bear in mind though, the first thing Bruce did was leap out a helicopter, land as Hulk and leave a crater in the street - maybe he meant it literally.
Compare Black Widow and Loki. Both are master actors, talented liars, and obviously very skilled in manipulation. Now compare their reactions to the Hulk: Black Widow utilizes stealth to escape. Loki confronts the Hulk head on. Guess what happens.
Look at the apparatus that Selvig created to stabilise the Tesseract portal above Manhattan. Note the top looks awfully like a miniature version of the Bifrost hub seen in Thor. They both have the same/similar function; maybe the Bifrost was reverse-engineered from the Tesseract or vice-versa.
When Tony and Steve are talking about Coulson's death, Tony calls him an "idiot" and says he had no idea what he was doing and that he "should have waited." Steve then points out that he was just doing his duty, and Tony angrily points out that "We are not soldiers!" This scene is pointed in its own right, but remember the last time - and the circumstances - where Tony lost someone else dear to him: Yinsen, who gave his life to buy Tony time to escape the cave. Tony saying that Coulson should have waited, that he was in over his head, and that they "are not soldiers" applies just as much to Yinsen. It's clear that, despite all this time, Tony still hasn't forgotten or gotten entirely over Yinsen's sacrifice, and learning of another friend's death has shaken him deeply.
Some commenters have complained that Loki's getting captured serves no real purpose, and he could just as easily accomplish his plan without letting himself get caught. But he has to checkmate the Avengers, and getting caught is the only way he can find them, because they're based aboard an invisible flying aircraft carrier.
When Loki sees Tony hovering over Stark Tower, he smiles. At this point, Loki probably believes that he's won. He knows there was a Hulk-out that probably did additional damage to the Helicarrier along with Hawkeye's arrows. He removed Thor by dropping him several miles in the cage and probably killed or seriously injured him and now Tony shows up in an armor that's on the verge of falling apart. In Loki's mind, SHIELD's been put out of action, and all the physical threats to him have been crippled. No Hulk and no Thor means Loki only has to worry about Captain America, Black Widow and maybe Hawkeye. Finally, Tony would be a threat at full strength even if he couldn't defeat Loki outright, but with the Mark VI being trashed, he's useless so far as Laufeyson is concerned. All things considered, Loki had won in that moment, hence the smirk. And even if he didn't think them totally destroyed yet, he figured he could brainwash Tony and get another powerful agent on his side.
Stark saying Fury having to turn to see all those screens "sounds exhausting" is also (in addition to a joke about Fury only having one eye) a reference to the fact that Tony normally doesn't need to turn, because the HUD of the Iron Man armor is projected directly onto his eyes. He's basically rubbing his advanced HUD in their face.
Loki being an Anti-Climax Boss is sort of annoying (no matter how hilarious it was) until you realize two things: 1) if Loki couldn't beat Thor last time, how could he stand a chance with the Avengers? And 2) they're actually staying true to the source material. How was Loki beat in the original Avengers origin comic? Ant-Man dropped him into a lead-lined tank before a fight even started. Also, what is Loki? A trickster god. His powers lie in the areas of misdirection, illusion, and using others to do his dirty work, all things he puts to good use throughout the movie- but there's nothing in his arsenal that would let him tank an all-out Hulk Smash.
The scene where the old German man refuses to kneel before Loki is, of course, awesome, As You Know, but let's look at the full weight of his Shut Up, Hannibal! line: Loki insists that there are no men like him, and the man replies that there are always men like him. This isn't just a comparison between Loki and Hitler, this is a self-proclaimed god being told by one of the nameless mortals that he is nothing special. For Loki, that's about the biggest slap to the face he received until he tried to go toe to toe with The Hulk.
Initially, it seems as though Thor's reaction to hearing that his beloved brother was now a mass murderer ("he's adopted") was surprisingly indifferent for a superhero, but then I realized that Thor is a Viking god, and presumably has some Viking values...so death doesn't mean the same thing to him as it does to us. Thor thought that those killed, since it was part of a war, had died honorably. Which is the best anyone can hope for in his view. Even though Loki is still morally in the wrong for doing it, it's not as big a deal as it would be to a human. A subtle hint to the Asgardians' Blue and Orange Morality. That said, he still seems uncomfortable with Loki having offed so many people - a sign that what he learned during his origin movie has stuck with him and he still recognizes Midgardian values.
When Loki tricks Thor into trapping himself in the cage using a duplicate, he says "are you ever not going to fall for that?" he may be talking about the time in Thor where he used duplicates to distract Thor...but something about the line seems off. It's bitter and sardonic and almost vicious. Like an in-joke. And he says the word "ever". Almost as though he's used the duplicate trick on Thor many times in the past. When? Perhaps when he and Thor were children, play-fighting or playing tag or hide-and-seek, and Loki would duplicate himself, and little!Thor would fall for it every time and little!Loki would laugh his ass off every time, and they'd get up and start playing and laughing together again...
Here's some Fridge Brilliance that doesn't become apparent until a second viewing of the film. When Bruce says, "I'm always angry." he isn't kidding. Mark Ruffalo's entire performance in the movie has a undercurrent of hostility to it. His dry sarcasm, pessimistic outlook and his refusal to make eye contact with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have the earmarks of a guy with a big chip on his shoulder. It's subtle and not fully obvious on first viewing but, like Hitchcock's Psycho, it's a reveal that changes how you see the film.
It doesn't look like Asgardians surrender. When Fury orders Loki to "put down the spear", Loki curb-stomps the SHIELD personnel. When Cap invites Thor to "put the hammer down", Thor attacks with what might have been lethal force. If you look at it from that angle, suddenly Loki surrendering at Stuttgart becomes a very obvious I Surrender, Suckers. And the best part? The humans wouldn't pick up on that.
It's subtle, but Loki occasionally betrays a strong fear of Thor, such as when the Thunder God first lands on the Quinjet. He also looks rather startled when Thor tries to break out of Hulk's cage, causing a sizeable crack in the glass. And lastly, just before asking for his drink, Loki glances nervously at Thor a few times before shifting his gaze to the other side of the room. The best part? He ends up looking at Iron Man, behind whom is standing the Hulk. Loki would rather stare in the direction of "the monster" that smashed him than make eye contact with Thor.
In Iron Man 2, Tony exhibited a pride born of Iron Man being one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Indeed, he justified keeping the suit by claiming no immediate threats, and that he hadn't met anyone "man enough to go toe-to-toe with him on his best day." It's ironic to see him be completely overmatched by the Mighty Thor, a being who does exactly what Tony thought impossible pre-Avengers. Wordof God says their fight contributed to Tony's mental state in Iron Man 3.
Loki gets his mouth sewn shut in Norse mythology after a trick with the dwarfs goes awry. At the end of the movie, there's a muzzle over his mouth as he's taken away to Asgard.
Tony and Cap's 'Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist' exchange perfectly explains the dichotomy between Tony and Cap and why they don't see eye to eye. At a fundamental level, their views on heroism are at completely opposite sides of the spectrum. Cap is a soldier, whole-heartedly. He feels that to properly serve, he must be devoted to this one course of action. When he asks Tony what he is without his armor, he intends for it to be an Armor-Piercing Question, as his answer to "What are you without your abilities?" is "No one special". Tony, on the other hand sees himself as fulfilling multiple paths at once, each equally important to his self identity. To Tony, his inventions and philanthropy do as much good as armor, particularly since his move into clean energy, while his role as a billionaire playboy is fundamental to how he sees himself, even though it no longer applies, as he is in a relationship with Pepper. The exchange, in two sentences establishes that to Captain America, you must devote yourself completely to your cause, like a soldier does, while Tony values retaining ones own identity, independent of the cause you fight for.
A retroactive one in the wake of Thor: The Dark World - it's made clear by both the Collector and the two Asgardians in the mid-credits stinger that both the Tesseract and the Aether are Infinity Stones. If the Gauntlet is what the films are working towards, that means we should have six gems of different colours assembled from various sources. The blue one, in particular, is for Mind. Now, what colour's the Tesseract? And what does the sceptre do to people when it's powered by the Tesseract?
When Loki says, "Look to your elder. Let him serve as an example," he's obviously referring to how he's about to kill the old man standing up to him—but it applies just as much to Captain America. And the people, who begin to stand up, do take him as an example.
The reason Tony is wearing a Black Sabbath shirt throughout the film? Because he's Iron Man!
Just before Thor and Loki are whisked back to Asgard, there's a shot of Steve getting one last troubled look at the Tesseract. Of course it's been the source of so much stress for him personally and his teammates, but remember how he assumed Red Skull had been killed when the Tesseract went nuclear the first time. Now he knows that Schmidt was not killed but simply teleported elsewhere. With this last glimpse of the cube, Steve is realizing that Red Skull may still be alive out there, somewhere...
The bracelets Tony puts on before activating the Mark VII are a precursor to the Mark XLII subcutaneous implants.
In Iron Man 2, Fury tells Tony "I've got my eye on you," which at the time seems like just a really bad joke. Fast forward to this movie, and he calls Coulson his "one good eye." That scene in 2 involved him leaving Coulson to watch over Tony.
Why is Tony so casual about Bruce's anger management problems? Zapping him, joking that he should blow off some steam? Everyone else is notably concerned at the prospect; Steve, Fury, and Widow. The only other one who isn't is Thor, and it's never established that he knows about the Hulk. Well, sure, Tony befriends Bruce and appears to have confidence in his self control, but remember his plan of attack against Thor; Tony probably thinks that with his armor, he can take care of the Hulk if Bruce loses control. Why is this fridge horror instead of brilliance? Because he is almost certainly wrong.
To something that didn't happen. Imagine Stark didn't make it back alive. Imagine Pepper picking up her phone to see a missed call. Heck, forget if he had died! She probably didn't know he was okay right away, and looked at her phone. Yeah...
When Cap and Iron Man were going at it in the Helicarrier, Cap accidentally hit all of Tony's weak spots. That without Iron Man, he'd be nothing when Tony's insistent that he isIron Man. That he's only doing it for himself and therefore he's a failure at being The Atoner. That Tony would never be willing to sacrifice himself for his team, which he'd already experienced firsthand with Yinsen. All this coming from the guy his Dad admired. Ouch. Although, judging from the fact that Loki was influencing all of them through his staff, it might not have been so accidental since Loki pretty much did the same thing with Natasha in a previous scene.
Coulson's death is far more horrific than what's apparent on the surface, when you think about it. Loki obviously didn't get him in the heart, else he'd be dead instantly, so in all likelihood, Phil sat there with a gaping hole all the way from his back through his chest, a severely punctured lung and massive internal bleeding for who knows how long. And yet, still managed to crack a one liner and blast Loki's smug ass through a wall.
When Thor winds up and hits Cap's shield with all his might, he has no way of knowing that the shield can repulse anything. He would be more likely to believe that any shield would be useless against Mjölnir. In the heat of battle, he just wanted to get away from the people who were preventing him from keeping his brother from doing anything stupid(er), but he would have been horrified and guilt-ridden if he had turned someone who was basically a interfering bystander into a smear of protein a few molecules thick.
In the end, among other things, the Avengers stop the Chitauri invasion, but at the cost of several completely destroyed blocks of the city of Manhattan and, presumably, many dead civilians. Remember the reactions to another event that happened on Manhattan eleven years before the events of the movie: the 9/11 terrorist attack, which destroyed three buildings and killed over 3,000 people. The United States was traumatized and people still have not gotten over it, and these are mere understatements. Now, a little over a decade later, an even LARGER attack is undertaken by forces NOT EVEN OF THIS WORLD and, in the eyes of the civilians, FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON, and we can assume that even MORE people were killed. It cannot be emphasized or estimated how the entire world would react to these horrifying revelations. The Hollywood Reporterestimated that the amount of damage done to New York in the movie would cost $160 billion to repair.
Steve has a grim expression when seeing the cube at the very end. Possibly thinking of how something like that has cost so many lives in his time, but there's a bit of Fridge Brilliance in universe, as Steve realizes for the first time that if they're about to use it to transport Loki and Thor, perhaps 70 years ago, it didn't kill Red Skull, but transport him somewhere else, and that he could still be out there somewhere.
Just how common are the bilgesnips if Thor is surprised that they aren't in Midgard - or haven't gotten there yet?
Loki's scene with The Other is chilling. At some point, The Other sidles up to Loki, speaks into his ear and it seems like a thinly veiled rape threat, especially since he says that Loki will wish for something "as sweet as pain." The huge phallic worm flying ominously in the background doesn't help.
The way Loki looks when he first appears, all through the first scene, as well as the way he acts throughout the film show he's not only not in his right mind, but may be under control of the spear as well, and not willingly. Look at the first scene. He's sweaty, he has sunken in eyes, he sounds worn down, he's clearly weak, and when he looks at the spear, it like he doesn't even know he's holding it at first. Other than his reaction to the spear, all these things are signs of heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Now, what is Loki? Jotun, aka. a Frost Giant. Even the scanner on the cage shows he is a physically cold figure. Loki was tortured with heat, and forced to use the spear. Why forced? Well, in Thor, his eyes are green and pretty natural looking. In this movie, his eyes are blue, though not as blank as Barton's and Selvig's are, but something does seem off about them except at one moment in the film, when Thor and he are on the balcony of Stark Tower. Thor makes Loki look at what he's caused, and for a brief moment, when it seems he can see what he's done, his eyes look frightened and upset by what he sees, and they're green again. Then they go back to being cold and blue and he stabs Thor. It's like he wants to fight the urge to do so too. Up until the opening of this movie, Loki has been known to be a good brother to Thor who snapped and lashed out against the way Odin had treated him, but in this movie, he's all-out evil, and it seems like it's not really Loki. And just one extra point about the spear. Yes, Bruce is the Hulk, but when the whole group is fighting and he gets pissed off, it's not the Hulk that scares everyone. Bruce grabbed the spear without even knowing it. It's like the thing called to him, asking to be picked up. It doesn't need to be held to control people. All of these things point to the spear being the true villain of this film. Loki was a Frost Giant tortured into submission and forced to use/be controlled by it, and it even effects people whose hearts it hasn't touched. Talk about Nightmare Fuel.
In Norse mythology, Loki's punishment for murdering / tricking someone into murdering the god Balder is laid this way: Odin has Loki's two sons (by Sigyn) brought before their father, then the elder is turned into a mindless wolf that kills and devours his younger sibling. Then the curse is lifted and the boy has some moments to be aware of what he did before he is executed. Depending on how much Marvel's Loki is coherent with the mythological one, his little speech about what he'll do to Barton takes a rather disturbing meaning.
Considering that it took going unconscious to break Loki's Mind Control, take a look at Hawkeye and Selvig throughout the movie. This is especially true for Selvig—he never changes clothing and starts noticeably growing stubble. It's clear that Loki is forcing those he controls to stay awake constantly in order to complete his project. It also explains why Hawkeye looks worse and worse. It may also have affected him in the fight with Natasha.