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Headscratchers: Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Just what exactly is S.H.I.E.L.D.'s jurisdiction anyways? They're implied to be a worldwide peacekeeping organization, though the "Homeland" portion of its acronym seems to imply that they're an American-run operation.
    • Pretty vague, it sounds. Even the Pentagon sounded confused as to what SHIELD was, hence why they didn't back the film.
    • In a world where the world is threatened by things from different planes of existence and the far reaches of space, the whole earth is their homeland.
    • My own take is that they are an American-originated organization that had a legacy of international involvement ( thanks to WWII and the SSR ), that various other nations have bought into. By joining the SHIELD Convention or whatever its called, they get involvement and some degree of executive say, in exchange for jurisdiction.
    • My personal belief is that SHIELD is an multinational peacekeeping taskforce/Covert Intelligence Agency created, in secret, by the United Nations, hence why they answer to the World Security Council, instead of the Department of the Defense or Pentagon. I think what we are seeing in the movie is just the American Branch of SHIELD. And we only see the SHIELD involvement in U.S because of all the crazy superhero stuff that happens there.
    • Someone really wanted their initials to spell out "SHIELD".
    • Given that they answer to the World Council I'd imagine that they're a multinational coorperative. That said, Agents of Shield makes that seem less likely, given they constantly seem to have jurisdiction issues with people treating SHIELD as simply American.
    • Even in the comics SHIELD is sometimes a purely American organization, and sometimes is the super-spy branch of the United Nations. Sometimes it changes with no explanation at all.
  • What was Fury even assembling the Avengers for? And who was he assembling? When he asked Stark to join at the end of Iron Man, he told him he wasn't "the only superhero in the world". But according to the timeline Thor hadn't arrived yet, Cap was still frozen, Banner was still hiding in Brazil and either SHIELD hadn't found him or never approached him then, and the only other supers would have been Badass Normals Hawkeye and Black Widow. Who could he have been referring to, and what?
    • Shield was aware of Banner, according to the in-canon comic prequels, S.H.I.E.L.D. have been watching over Banner, Natasha Romanoff was even present during the Culver University attack and in the Harlem battle according to the comics. Sevlig even confirms in the Thor movie, that S.H.I.E.L.D. went to look for him and Banner wasnt heard ever since then.
    • Probably Cap, at this point it's still a case of Never Found the Body, meaning there's the potential for him to still live, and Nick Fury knew Howard Stark (the foremost surviving Super Serum scientist, and was likely Cap's closest male friend save for Bucky) very well.
    • Ant-man, probably. According to the Other wiki, the Ant-man film is supposed to be set in the 60s.
      • Confirmed. There was an Ant-Man operating in the 60's and the upcoming movie will focus on the second person to pick up that mantle.
    • In case you forgot, SHIELD had the Tesseract. They knew it came from somewhere, and there could be other people with comparable power or artifacts.
    • So Thor was a potential Avengers from the start? Or any of the other Asgardians? Who knew...
    • He was assembling them just in case something like what happened happened. He didn't have a specific plan so much as it was becoming increasingly obvious that there were a number of powerful beings wandering the planet. Just in official canon (mind you some of these are dead) Loki, the Abomination, the Leader, Ironman armors (which apparently have a relatively short learning curve) and that's just what we can prove. Magneto and other mutants and Spiderman and his rogues are probably floating around and when/if the copyrights are returned to marvel they'll show. The thing about the Avengers is if it's at all possible you want to get as many of these guys on speed dial as possible BEFORE needing them. It was mostly dumb luck that the Avengers in the movie (and to be fair in the comics) just sort of all fell together.
    • But none of those existed yet when he met with Tony. Loki was in Asgard, the Abomination and Leader weren't created yet, and neither were those Iron Man armors.
      • Fair enough. Red Skull is the only canon super villian at the time. I'm sticking to my earlier assertion that just because we haven't confirmed (again due to copyright issues) doesn't mean they aren't there. Alternatively they could have been gathering to bring in the Hulk who did exist, who at this point a force of nature wanted by the US government. Bottom line is we'll probably never know for sure.
    • I think Hulk was, indeed, an Avengers candidate. Black Widow did say they never lost track of him. And she and Hawkeye were also probably candidates.
    • As of the first Iron Man movie, the Hulk still existed (and depending on what was canon, almost assuredly tangled with some other superpowered villain. Red Skull did exist at some point, and the Tesseract's mere existence implied that there was... something unexplained out there. Given their lack of surprise at seeing Thor, it's likely they knew of Asgard.
    • Lack of surprise? Coulson stayed fairly cool (notice he instantly gave in to Thor's demands after witnessing the Destroyer's beatdown) but SHIELD clearly didn't know anything for certain about Asgard, hence their decision to build Tesseract powered weapons to try and counter them after New Mexico. The Thor stinger and Captain America's film show that most people (aside from Johann Schmidt) regarded the old Norse myths as exactly that, myths. "Legend tells us one thing, history another, but every now and then we find something that belongs to both." Red Skull believed the old Norse myths, but no one else took him or the legends that seriously even with Zola's Tesseract weapons. Going from Fury's above comment to Selvig, SHIELD may have believed the Tesseract was just one of Zola's inventions. It wasn't until New Mexico that Fury and SHIELD started realizing "Oh, Crap, Schmidt was right, the Norse Gods do exist in some form, and they like blowing up our towns. Who knows what the hell else is out there, and how do we stop them?!"
    • Let's not forget Coulson's words at the end of the first Iron Man flick, "This isn't my first rodeo." Obviously Coulson and SHIELD itself have been aware of superheroes for some time. The audience just hasn't seen everything yet.
    • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it is revealed that: 1) they have interacted and have knowledge of several Super-powered beings(example: Blackout) and items(example Gravitonium). 2) they have a prison FOR Super-powered beings and items(of both known and Unkown Origin(these called 0-8-4s(Thor's hammer was an 0-8-4))) 3) They had a "dead" "alien" which they were using to extract several serums, one of wich was one of the steps used to bring back Coulson, and was used to heal show character Skye(who is apparently a "gifted" 0-8-4 that was found and hidden before Iron Man 1 came around)
  • Why couldn't Thor pick up his hammer in the movie? It wasn't explained.
    • In Thor, he couldn't lift Mjölnir due to Odin stripping him of his power and enchanting Mjölnir so that it could only be lifted by someone worthy. Which was amply explained in that film, so I assume you mean instead The Avengers, but Thor's never shown unable to lift Mjölnir during that movie. After his fall from the helicarrier he seems to take a moment to psych himself up before trying to pick it up, as though afraid he's somehow become unworthy again; then he picks it up with no difficulty.
      • Exactly. He allowed himself to fall for Loki's trick again, and Coulson paid the price for it. He wasn't sure if he was still worthy.
      • They probably did mean Thor even though it was amply explained. Sigh. He couldn't pick it up because he wasn't worthy until he was willing to sacrifice his own life for those of the innocent people that Loki was using the Destroyer to attack. He was still too arrogant to be worthy in the scene where he tried to lift it from the crater while under the S.H.I.E.L.D. tents.
      • The OP wa very likely menaing the Avengrs and not Thor since he/she posted here. It was explained bya poster above but the scene is pretty odd since it appears as though Thor tries to summon it to his hand but fails at first.
      • Thor never fails to lift Mjolnir in Avengers. It's just an artsy shot of him being upset over the events of the past few hours. There's no straining or confusion present. He stretches out his hand, then looks at his hand as though seeing it for the first time. It's a common sort of contemplative gesture in movies ("They look like good, strong hands"). If falling for Loki's tricks was enough to make him unworthy, he'd never be able to lift the damn thing.
  • Here's something that confuses me: If Tony's head is tight inside Iron Man's armor how can he be seen moving it freely with all those holograms as if he was wearing a big helmet during the interior shots?
    • The interior is just a big ol' screen, designed to make it look like the screens aren't directly in Tony's face (which would be disorienting, claustrophobic, and hard to focus on). Because of that, in our shots we see his face looking like there's more space than there is.
  • Why is SHIELD vilified for creating Tesseract weapons? Most of the Avengers act like its such a horrible thing despite the fact that it is a pretty good idea.
    • Stark hates weapons manufacturing due to his past as a weapons manufacturer. Rogers and Banner were brought into the mission under false pretenses of recovering an unlimited clean energy source for the good of all. Thor really doesn't care about the weapons part, he's just pointing out that screwing around with the Tesseract is what caught the attention of Loki's benefactors in the first place. In addition, the entire scene makes it very clear that Loki's staff is messing with their heads somehow, as everyone is acting way out of character, to the point where Thor actually seems to be drunk. Which Infinity Gem was the blue one again? Oh, right, it was the Mind Gem.
    • Partly because it's an escalation—and if SHIELD gets them, it's really only a matter of time before others do—partly because it's exactly what Hydra did; and partly because they were hiding the project.
    • The WSC proved they couldn't be responsible with them when they ordered New York to be nuked. Leaving them with more powerful weapons would be even worse.
      • They were only irresponsible with a nuke from our perspective where we knew the Avengers would come together and more importantly they would win. In Universe trading New York for the world would have been a bargain. Without the nuke Tony would have had no way to end that conflict and sooner or later the numbers game would have caught up with the Avengers who were nearing their limits by the end. In addition Tesseract Weapons aren't the same kind of mass destruction as nukes. I'd rather irresponsible people have access to Tesseract weapons and Iron Man Armors where they for the most part have to be actively trying to kill someone to do it than nukes that can't be precision aimed. They were villainized because this is fiction and the government is always wrong. We see similar issues with the Sentinel Program in the X-Men series or CADMUS in DC comics. Apparently the various governments of the world are supposed to blindly trust that the various super heroes will never turn on them and always triumph.
      • The Avengers could have still closed the portal without the aid of the nuke. Then they'd just have to mop up the last of the Chitauri. Fury was watching the fight and showing the footage to the WSC, so both could see the Avengers were doing well. Plus, we see on the Phase 2 screen that Tony brings up to Fury that one of the planned weapons is in fact a Tesseract-powered nuke. That doesn't show necessity for those weapons by the WSC, but rather a poorly veiled attempt at gaining more control through firepower.
      • By doing well you mean pretty literally at the end of their ropes. Hawkeye was out of arrows, Cap was wounded, they'd focused fire on the Hulk and seemed to have been wearing him down. The WSC had no way of knowing when they launched the nuke that the gate even could be closed let alone would be as soon as it was. I'd be willing to bet the Chitauri were just getting started and those sled are probably their equivalent of motorcycles. They almost definitely have something on par with our jets. Something between the sled and the Leviathan. And the Leviathan were nigh-unstoppable! They were also coming in a bit cocky because Loki "Underestimated" (Read didn't know about the Avengers) Earthlings and they found more resistance than they expected. Which goes back to the Tesseract and perhaps if NYPD and New York National Guard had weapons on par with WW2 Hydra they would have been much more effective making the nuke less necessary from their point of view. Nick Fury is right when he says we are hopelessly, laughably out gunned in the universe.
      • And the WSC went right to the nuke, in a civilian population center, and never even thought about any other options. Yeah, the Chitauri were tearing up the place, but outside the Avengers their only resistance was unarmed civilians and lightly armed police. Black Widow demonstrated Bullets kill the Chitauri just fine, and the sleds were awesome but impractical. Only the Leviathans might have been a real problem. And although the Chitauri are more technologically advanced, they aren't that great on tactics, which consisted of zerg rushing. The WSC overracted.
      • "Never even thought about any other options"? Citation needed on that one. What we see is the end result of their deliberations, and we never see their deliberations. They present it to Fury as, "The Council has made their decision," indicating that they've discussed the situation and determined the nuke to be the best option. The WSC has to work with a complete lack of any intel regarding the threat they face; there is an impenetrable force field holding open a portal through which seemingly infinite numbers of enemy soldiers are flooding through, coming from an enemy force that has achieved space travel, and nothing further is known about this. The WSC has no way of knowing how many enemy soldiers they would have to deal with in a direct battle: milliions? Hundreds of millions? Billions? Yes, they can be killed with standard arms, but how many aliens can come through that portal? How many Leviathans are there? Is there anything worse than Leviathans? They are faced with an enemy through which no information about any aspect of the battle exists anywhere in the world, and the only sure way to win such a battle is to cut off the portal itself, which can't be penetrated by any force that's been applied to it thus far. Reducing the area to a crater was the best idea they had to kill the portal and end the invasion.
      • "Reducing the area to a crater" is NEVER the best idea. It is, literally, the last resort. To use Fury's phrasing, they either jumped to worst case scenario to justify their 'stupid-ass decision', or somehow looked at a conventional arms response by the military and made the 'stupid-ass decision' to not use it. Yes, the army would have taken a while to get there in any considerable numbers, but it would certainly have been able to respond with less loss of life, not to mention damage to ecosystem and the collective psyche of the planet. You don't go blowing up your own cities. Lack of intel is a major reason NOT to use the nuke. You get boots on the ground and you size up your enemy.
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