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Fridge / The Avengers (2012)

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It's a Joss Whedon movie, course there is a lot of Fridge Brilliance!

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    Fridge Brilliance 
  • When he and Steve are arguing near the beginning of the film, Tony sums up his value as a person in four words: "Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist." Steve responds by telling him "I know guys with none of that worth ten of you." He may, at least partially, be referring to himself. Rogers is an amazing tactician, but he doesn't have the brilliant scientific mind that Tony does; it even comes up when Banner and Stark chat about the Tesseract. He's not rich — he lives in a small New York apartment, compared to Tony's massive estate. As far back as Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve has been seen to have little success with women (which comes up again when Black Widow tries to get him a date in Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Finally, philanthropy generally involves donating money to charitable causes. With Steve not being rich, this obviously isn't something he does (which would make sense, because Tony's larger ego would desire constant approval from the public for his good deeds — Rogers does the right thing because it's right, and never for recognition).

    And to round out their contrasting personalities, the entire argument started when Steve asked Tony what he is without his armor, and later, Tony notes that Steve is the only person among the Avengers who stays in his fighting gear outside of battle situations. Steve appears to be a soldier first and a civilian second, whereas Tony is a civilian first and a soldier second. One could argue that Captain America is who he really is, and Steve Rogers is simply his alter ego. In Tony's case, he's Tony Stark, and his alter ego is Iron Man. Steve and Tony really are almost complete opposites, and it explains why they don't get along and why they work perfectly as foils for one another.
    • Steve's reply to Tony's "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" retort is ironic on multiple levels, as Howard Stark, Tony's father, not only fit that summation perfectly, but he was undoubtedly one of the "better men" Rogers was referencing. Tony, a tremendously bright and perceptive guy, would get the reference and it would cut him deep. On the flip side of that, however, the elder Stark was also a key architect behind the creation of the stuff in the "bottle" that created Cap, so there's that extra layer of irony for you.
    • Also his body language shows that when he turns towards Steve, he says "Playboy, philanthropist" as it was the only thing he can owe up to as it was his father who was the true genius and billionaire who gave him everything and the only thing he was good at was womanizing and giving things away and looking generous. Deep down he knows without the suit he was little more than a trust fund brat who never will earn the respect of his father.
    • Unless you mean that's how Stark sees himself, I'd argue he was indeed a genius, and at least as smart as his dad, if not richer.
    • That is at least partly how Tony sees himself when looking at some of his issues regarding his dad in Iron Man 2. He is presumably insecure about it especially as Steve was no doubt referring to Howard, so even though Tony is a genius, he might think that he doesn't measure up to his dad. He clearly is a genius considering that he was able to make the first suit in a cave WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS! Tony has the added advantage of being born into privilege yes, but we are shown that he is a genius without his money. Especially as the opening to Iron Man stated that he graduated MIT summa cum laude and that he accomplished a bunch of other things that only geniuses would be able to do at really young ages.
    • This exchange also has another layer to it, with Tony's retort to Steve; saying that the only thing that makes him special, and makes him a hero is the Serum. In a sense, the two confirm each other's greatest fears. Tony's being that he is nothing without his suit; and Steve's being that he is special because of the suit.
  • Stark's characteristic displays of flashy showmanship, even going so far as to play blaring metal music upon his arrival for the skirmish outside the German concert hall, may have been the first thing he did that rubbed Rogers the wrong way. Such a flagrant display of ballyhoo surely reminded Steve of all those gaudy, overdone promotional events he'd reluctantly agreed to swagger and posture his way through to sell war bonds: a fake, unsatisfactory role he'd ultimately come to see as demeaning and useless.
  • At the end, we see the entire army falling dead as soon as the mothership is blown up. While this seems like a very cheap way to win it actually makes a lot of sense when you consider one simple factor: Wireless electricity. Logistics is one of the most important part of any war. The need to provide supplies and support your troops is essential and the key to winning any war. Wireless electricity provided by the mothership solves all of these problems. The Chitauri army doesn't need to carry any ammo, doesn't need to carry any fuel, doesn't use expensive power sources like the arc reactor and seeing as how the Chitauri are cybernetic it's like that they don't even need food or rest. While this does create a big weakness as seen the benefits are far far larger as it makes any army massively more effective and thwarts a big chunk of the classical counter strategies.
    • Or even simpler: a kill switch. Loki was already obviously not trusted as early as his first talk with the Stranger. It would be a simple way to undermine him to install a kill switch in his "army" that if they ever lost contact with the Chitauri mother ship, like the portal closing prematurely, they would all keel over. Perhaps once they had what they wanted, they planned to hit the kill-switch anyway and leave Loki stranded.
    • Or, alternatively, there was some kind of breathing apparatus that was shut down when the ship blew and the Chitari couldn't naturally survive in the atmosphere.
  • Steve's statement that everyone needs to keep focused on dealing with Loki and not going off-mission by digging into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s dirty laundry was right the whole time. The revelation about S.H.I.E.L.D.'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 Mk. 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 Mk. I was too clunky and rough-hewn, so the Mk. II was generally streamlined.
    • The Mk. II had the icing and stability issues, which is why the Mk. III boasted the fuselage improvements and upgraded controls.
    • The Mk. 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 Mk. IV, but it did have its own arc reactor, and it was CLEARLY easier for the suit to be removed. The Mk. II was also retrofitted with its own reactor, allowing Rhodey to abscond with it and become War Machine.
    • A transport system for the Mk. IV did not work, and so the Mk. V (Suitcase Armor) was conceived.
    • The Mk. V had to sacrifice power for mobility, and it still ran on the palladium-powered arc reactor.
    • The Mk. VI used the Tesseract-based reactor (Starkium...?) and had upgraded weapons (and a resistance to electrical attacks). Also, it was unable to retaliate against War Machine or the Hammer Drones while mid-air, and it's limited firepower made it unable to deal with Whiplash, which leads to...
    • The Mk. VII, with its back-mounted repulsors freeing up the palms while mid-air, along with an expanded suite of missiles and re-usable lasers, as well as another iteration on the transport system that sacrifices the compact size of the Suitcase armor in favor of focusing on armor and firepower.
  • In Iron Man 2, Whiplash's electrical attacks clearly damage the Iron Man armor. 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 armor to better endure electrical attacks, and harness their energy. Alternatively, there's a strong implication that the element Tony synthesized to replace the palladium is based on the Tesseract, which is one of the Infinity Stones.
  • 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.
    • Moreover, Coulson's fanboyism may explain why Fury made him S.H.I.E.L.D.'s go-to guy / liaison for weird superhero shit in the first place.
  • When Thor confronts Loki for the first time, two ravens fly past the camera lens. The All-Father keeping watch over his sons?. note 
  • 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.
    • Coincidentally, the final WWII victory that Rogers missed witnessing was the last time when a war on Earth was brought to a close by two planes bearing nuclear weapons. A couple of planes with nukes contributed to capping off this war, too: one disabled at takeoff by Fury, the other having its payload deflected into the gate by Stark.
  • 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 Hulk is played by Mark Ruffalo, who looks more like the Hulk than the previous Bruce Banner because he's always a little bit angry, always a little bit Hulk. There's also a steady progression of sorts between the three otherwise unrelated Hulk portrayals thus far. Bana!Hulk is at once scared of his own power, yet manic over what he can do with it; Norton!Hulk is still scared of his own power, but too tired from being on the run to actually show it; Ruffalo!Hulk is even more tired from remaining on the run, but now fed up to hell over the whole thing, hence his newfound snark instinct.
  • The "sacrifice play" metaphor makes sense in context when you remember Steve's a baseball fan.
  • 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) 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.
    • Note, however, that Loki doesn't stab Thor deeply enough to actually kill him, or even take him out of the action. Anyone's guess whether this is an indication that Loki's still conflicted about his brother, or merely that he's savvy enough to realize that if the Avengers do defeat his army and capture him, Thor is the only one who's likely to insist that Loki not be executed for his crimes.
    • And with the revelation from Thor: Ragnarok that Loki stabs Thor pretty frequently, Thor may not take the shivving as much of an offense anymore.
  • 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. In the movie, this can be explained when 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.
  • 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. That sort of body language is also common in someone who's spent time in prison, another hostile environment where you have to constantly be on the lookout for threats. No wonder Banner's so antsy... the guy probably hasn't relaxed in years.
  • 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.
    • Interestingly, that act is symbolic for another reason. Nick Fury is notorious for playing it close to the vest ("Even his secrets have secrets.") So, as much as an old spy is capable of doing, he takes this time to level with his prospective team- in laying bare the point of the Avengers Initiative, he's putting the cards on the table. Adding to that metaphor, you could interpret the "Coulson's Jacket" move as one helluva bluff.
  • Insults:
    • 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. 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.
    • Their barbs are also perfect for the other's insecurities. Steve fears he's useless: he's been rejected by the army four times and now time has run him over - "I don't remember it ever being this easy." Tony has never gained anyone's approval: not Howard, the media, the government or S.H.I.E.L.D. - "This is the guy my dad never shut up about?" Steve questions Tony's character - "Men with none of that worth ten of you." Stark questions Steve's competence - "Everything special about you came out of a bottle". Ouch.
  • 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, it's clear they don't have the Mind-Control Eyes, so Loki didn't use the scepter 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. Barton remarks that S.H.I.E.L.D. has a lot of enemies when Selvig asks how Loki could recruit so many people that fast. So we can assume that some of the men working with Loki went very willingly and did not need to be brainwashed to join the fight against S.H.I.E.L.D., since it is their everyday job.
  • 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. In case you aren't convinced of this, look at the rig that S.H.I.E.L.D. has the Tesseract set up in at the start of the film. It looks almost identical to the rudimentary arc reactor Tony built in Iron Man, just up-sized. Tie-in materials for the films have stated that the new element Howard Stark discovered and Tony synthesized in Iron Man 2 is in fact what the Tesseract is made of (at least partially).
    • And later revelations that the Tesseract is actually an Infinity Stone suggests that the derivations go even deeper: as Infinity Stones pre-date pretty much everything else in the cosmos, the aforementioned similarities between Aesir technology and the Tesseract suggest that the Asgardians derived their own technology by reverse-engineering its powers, too!
  • 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 siphoned 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.
  • Speaking of free energy, what does the Tesseract (a.k.a. the Space Gem), an artifact of spatial manipulation, have anything to do with free energy? Well, one simple use of spatial manipulation is to move things. Since the Tesseract has virtually unlimited power, it can also generate perpetual movement, which can be used to spin electrical turbines to generate electricity.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and gently 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? Indeed, at no point does Thor treat Banner or the Hulk as anything other than a person. To him, the Hulk probably isn't much different than the old-time Norse berserkers who used to idolize him.
    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 J.A.R.V.I.S.' 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 demeanor 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.
  • 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 taller than the rest of the cast, 6'3" and 6'2" respectively, with Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo at 5'8", Jeremy Renner at 5'10", and Chris Evans, the genetically enhanced super soldier, topping out at 6', 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.
  • As a Rewatch Bonus, when you view that scepter-induced-argument scene again in light of Banner's reveal that he's always angry, you realize that the likely reason things got so heated, up to a point where the scepter actually coerced Bruce into physically picking it up, is that it was trying like hell to make him Hulk out from anger and it wasn't working. Indeed, Loki's plan to provoke such an outcome could well have failed entirely, if one supposes that it wasn't anger that made Banner transform after Hawkeye's attack, but him falling through the floor and landing so badly that only a Hulk-transformation could repair the damage their mutual body suffered from the impact. Unfortunately, such an involuntary transformation spoiled his state of Tranquil Fury, so the scepter's influence slammed home once it got underway and the Hulk went berserk after all.
  • 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 unknowingly 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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, and even without the armor, any attempt would be more likely to drive his embedded shrapnel and/or his arc reactor down into his heart and kill him than to save him.
  • 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, since Asgardian weapons are either thrown, bladed or energy-based.
  • 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. On a more serious note, Steve's blunt dismissal of the notion that Asgardians are "gods" isn't just an affirmation of his own faith: it's also his absolute and ongoing rejection of Red Skull's twisted philosophy. After all, Schmidt was the last guy to rant at Rogers about how being a Physical God made someone innately predestined to dominate others.
  • Speaking of, some people complained that Steve's line including "There's only one God" didn't make any sense, considering that Joss Whedon is a well-known Atheist. He is, but it's irrelevant because he wrote the line based on Steve Rogers' personal beliefs, not his own, and it shows how well he understood the character.
  • 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.
    • Stan Lee had said that it was important to him that Bruce Banner became the Hulk in a heroic way, in the classic comics origin protecting Rick Jones from the detonation of an experimental Gamma Bomb. Some of the best interpretations of the Hulk (and certainly the one mostly drawn from for Hulk's MCU solo movie) posit that Hulk and Banner are fundamentally the same person: Banner is fundamentally good, willing to sacrifice his own life for a complete stranger, so Hulk is fundamentally good. Despite his rage, he uses only the precise amount of force necessary to incapacitate his foes, instead of smearing them across the landscape, and defends the innocent and helpless with his incalculable strength and near-complete invulnerability. In the series, David Banner was always afraid of the Hulk because he knew what it was physically capable of, but not what it was emotionally capable of. As in, did the Hulk feel empathy and compassion, have a sense of right and wrong that would prevent mass slaughter? In the MCU, Bruce Banner has learned that Hulk does share his core values and beliefs, and that Hulk just won't kill someone unless they really, really push him into it. The serum may have amplified Bruce Banner, but that amplified personality doesn't change just because he's now big and green.
  • Banner and Natasha:
    • 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.
    • Not only that, but Bruce probably hulked out because of his trust issues with Natasha. The first time they met, she told him that he could trust her because she came alone, and only revealed her reinforcements after he agreed to join. Granted he probably was half-expecting her to bring them anyways (because seriously, one does not simply confront the Hulk alone, let alone a mere human without superpowers), but the next time she told him to trust her, the situation was far from reassuring. Their invisible, impregnable base is under attack, one of their friends switched sides, the team is scattered, they have a special room just for him, said room was currently occupied by someone who could manipulate everything without even having to lift a finger, they were hurt, and this puny little human who had betrayed his trust just said that everything's gonna be okay? No wonder he hulked out.
  • 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?
  • Loki's mind-control, giving the victim an evil version of their own personality, seemed more than a little reminiscent of Joss' version of becoming a vampire, which would make Hawkeye comparable to Angel for having been freed of the evil but not of the memories thereof. Now the guy who played Hawkeye had previously been a vampire created by Angel.
  • 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 scepter, 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.
    • And this also applies to Thor as of Ragnarok, which reveals that Mjolnir is actually just the conduit for Thor's power, not the source.
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.'s superhero recruitment program called 'The Avengers 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. Which would make no sense for Tony to make that connection... until you realize that he knows that, but Loki doesn't, so Tony could throw it into his speech without any problems. He's nothing if not a showman.
    • The various members of the team DO have something or someone to "avenge":
      • Tony Stark: the hundreds of people maimed and/or killed by his weapons when he was an arms dealer.
      • Steve Rogers: the millions of soldiers and civilians killed by the Axis Powers and HYDRA.
      • Thor: the dozens, perhaps hundreds of people killed by Loki, through the Destroyer incursion, and Loki's own attacks (even before the full-on invasion took place).
      • Bruce Banner: the millions in property damage and probable injuries and deaths caused by the Hulk's rampages.
      • Clint Barton: the people he killed while brainwashed (including fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents)
      • Natasha Romanoff: the casualties the "red in her ledger" is undoubtedly filled with.
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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 talking about, the cops were quick to relay his orders.
  • 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. Moreover, it may be dietary self-medication. The MCU Hulk transforms when his heart rate gets too high as well as from stress, and eating large meals tends to promote a slower heartbeat and an overall state of relaxation.
  • 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. Also, he has no memory of what the Hulk does, so may have no idea that a majority of the damage was the Abomination's doing and not his.
  • 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 stabilize the Tesseract portal above Manhattan. Note the top looks awfully like a miniature version of the Bifröst hub seen in Thor. They both have the same/similar function. Maybe the Bifröst was reverse-engineered from the Tesseract or vice-versa, or maybe Loki implanted some knowledge of the Bifröst in Selvig's mind to help the physicist build the portal-generator.
  • 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, S.H.I.E.L.D.'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. Notice that there's a significant overlap with Black Widow's abilities here. She was smart and humble enough to run. He's so proud he tries to intimidate Hulk, which is outside his core competencies. She survives, he loses.
  • 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 (or Red Skull), 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. It also references what Abraham Erskine told Steve Rogers: "The first country the Nazis invaded was their own"... the old German may well have been one of the Nazis' victims.
  • The showdown in Stuttgart highlights just how ignorant Loki is about the planet he supposedly means to rule. For one thing, he lectures the Germans in English, and for another, if he'd known the first thing about world politics on Earth, he would have known that modern Germany would be an especially bad place to try to subjugate people and claiming that they were "made to be ruled".
  • The World Security Council orders a nuclear strike on Manhatten to stop the Alien Invasion, but Nick Fury manages to shoot the jet down before he can take off. Then a second jet takes off and proceeds to carry out the strike. Launching two jets seems smart, but then again, operating combat aircraft in supporting pairs is one of the oldest tropes in air combat. Plus, meta-wise, using two planes allows Fury to contribute directly and vitally to the Avengers' victory, as Tony couldn't have intercepted two nukes.
    • For that matter, with the benefit of hindsight after it's revealed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that SHIELD has been irreparably infiltrated by HYDRA, there was probably an ulterior motive to trying to nuke Manhattan: kill the aliens, kill the Avengers, and probably kill a bunch of other potential superheroes who could stop them in the future, such as Spider-Man.
  • Thor speaking up for Loki:
    • 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 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.
    • Thor standing up for Loki regardless. Family is an incredibly important concept to Norse Paganism, to the point where a murderer could bypass up to three houses before declaring his crime if he had reason to believe his victim's family was there. Thor himself sums it up perfectly, "(Loki) may be beyond reason, but he is... my brother." Thor is well aware of Loki's crimes, but still won't tolerate others speaking ill of him. When he's remonstrated by Natasha, he realizes this isn't a fight he's going to win, and backs down.
  • 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...
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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 outmatched by Thor, a being who does exactly what Tony thought impossible pre-Avengers. Word of 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 after messing with a planet people who, in thor's words, are 'tiny'. Like dwarfs.
  • 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, wholeheartedly. 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.
  • 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! It also makes a great Ironic Echo of the song, given that that was about a man seeing a devastated future, getting turned into steel, and destroying the world. Tony!Iron Man sees devastation, gains the armor, and protects the world while also building the future.
  • 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.
  • Tony demonstrated a resistance to the powers of Loki's spear-doohickey even before he met him at the tower. When they're all in the lab, just before everything hits the fan, and Tony and Steve are getting up in each other's faces, Thor cracks his "petty and tiny" line. It's easy to miss with Fury and Bruce talking, but Tony rubs his forehead, looks markedly more calm, and you can hear the sound of the spear charging up - except it hasn't moved. Presumably whatever little bit of Asgardian tech is contained in the arc reactor let him shake it off a little easier than the others. He still snaps at Steve a few moments later, but that's just Tony being Tony.
  • This may not have been intentional, but: Iron Man's Heroic Sacrifice (and survival) to prevent a nuclear bomb landing sounds a bit familiar. Not really surprising, as it's not even the first time an MCU Avenger has set himself on a suicide course to divert an incoming weapon of mass destruction from New York City, either.
  • Just before Harry Dean Stanton's character finds Bruce, we see a brief scene of Thor locating Mjölnir and hesitating to pick it up. This is just after the Avengers have learned that Coulson is dead. One of the humans Thor placed under his protection died at his own brother's hand... and quite literally on his watch, too, considering that he was made to watch the whole thing happen from the Hulk cell. It's not much of a leap to think that he's second-guessing his worthiness to wield the hammer at this point.
  • Why is Loki muzzled in the end? Because even without his powers, he's a master of manipulation. So neither Thor, nor the rest of The Avengers are taking any more chances with him upon recapture.
  • Why did Fury actually give Loki and the Tesseract to Thor? Because Thor and Loki, as Odin's sons, are Princes of Asgard - and thus in Fury's mind, both are possessed of diplomatic immunity (and Thor is a future head of state). This also comes into play if you consider that there's no other way that Fury would allow Thor to walk around the Helicarrier instead of throwing him into the Hulk-proof cell right alongside Loki, and also why he gave the Tesseract to Thor. Why piss off a future leader when you can get on his good side right away, by giving up all claim to a very powerful weapon and allowing him to deal with his own political/familial problems instead of making it tougher by insisting both remain under human custody?
    • Not to mention that SHIELD's attempts to muck around with the Tesseract is what kick-started the conflict in the first place, or that Fury's confidence in his World Council superiors' worthiness to control any WMD has just taken a nasty knock, thanks to their "stupid-ass decision" to nuke New York. He was most likely being completely honest when he told the Council that the thing doesn't belong in our (read their) hands.
  • Aside from the other reasons why Stark and Banner hit it off so well, if you go back and re-watch their respective previous movies, Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk, it turns out that both men were going through very similar experiences at those films' start: coping with toxins in their blood that they struggled to suppress, searching in vain for a cure, getting harassed by government authorities who want to militarize their work, and kept apart from the women they love by unique and frightening self-inflicted mutations. The only real differences were that Tony's separation from Pepper was one of hiding the truth from her rather than hiding himself from everyone, and he was being hounded by lawyers instead of troops. That, and Stark did find a cure for his palladium poisoning eventually, which makes it all the more natural that he'd encourage Banner, who's still looking for his own miracle treatment, to have hope.
  • Banner hiding out as far away as India may not have been merely a question of him avoiding General Ross' attentions. The last time he was working in a distant country and Hulked out there, he woke up again to find he'd traveled all the way from Brazil to Guatemala, suggesting that the Hulk (who clearly remembers Betty and isn't afraid of her father the way Bruce is) was heading back to where they'd last seen her. Banner probably wanted to make sure that there'd be whole oceans and continents between himself and Betty next time: enough to discourage the Hulk from trying to go home again.
  • How did Loki know that the Tesseract would be present on Earth, since it was clearly left there after his time? Simple. The Red Skull. Early in the movie, the Tesseract is explicitly called a door that opens at both sides. When the Red Skull is sent through years ago, those on the other side know that the other side of the door is active again. To Thanos, this means a missing Infinity Gem has been found.
  • Stylistically, the look of the Chitauri and their Leviathans bring together elements of major adversaries from the four core Avengers' previous films. The Chitauri warriors have skull-like faces reminiscent of Schmidt, while their mottled skin and lumpy musculature show similarities with the Abomination's. The Leviathans' armor has a similar drab, overbuilt look to the Iron Monger suit, and their spiky anatomy and the flat, irregular planes of their fluke-plating show hints of the Destroyer's head and shoulders.
  • Tony suffocating in space even though his suit can help him breathe underwater seems to be a plot hole on the surface, but think about it. Instead of using an oxygen tank (which would probably make him more vulnerable to gunfire), he uses an advanced oxygen concentrator. Concentrators work by filtering the gases around them in order to extract oxygen out of them. Tony's is advanced enough to extract oxygen out of the water around him giving him plenty of air, but in space where there is no oxygen to extract he was truly vulnerable.
  • Manipulating the Hulk:
    • As was mentioned on this page, tactics like manipulation and trickery don't work on The Hulk. He sees a target and he destroys it (and even in the case of a voluntary Hulk-out, he would have no reason to hesitate against someone like Loki). It says a lot for Loki's psychological abilities that he could make the enormous green rage monster stop in his tracks during his A God Am I rant. Loki is so charismatic that even The Hulk, who's well known to be beyond reason (or anything non-physical, really — at least from his enemies), stopped to listen... for a second.
    • Alternately, the Hulk's reaction could be a subtle example of how the MCU Hulk is smarter than anyone gives him credit for. It's just as possible that he did stop to listen to Loki's claim that he's a god, and then - with a simple pragmatism that only looks like animal brutality - opted to test his claim in the most straightforward way possible. Hence, that momentary pause in mid-Metronomic Man Mashing to check if the self-proclaimed "god" is paste yet.
    • And his parting line to Loki, "Puny god?" Well, Loki did survive Hulk's smashing, so sure, he's a god... just a puny one.
  • Stark's humor is a defense mechanism. He gives the other Avengers irreverent nicknames because they're all stronger than him, including a national idol and a couple of demigods. He mocks the S.H.I.E.L.D. staff because they rejected him. He jokes about performance issues because he's a (former) playboy pushing middle age, facing the possibility of certain problems in his near future.
  • Tony tells on a man on the helicarrier for using his terminal to play Galaga, a game that is basically a Space Invaders clone in which the player fires upwards at constantly descending alien ships - in other words, exactly the game Tony Stark plays in the climax...
  • Fridge and funny, when Pepper is whispering into Tony's ear about the things she will do for him, Phil looks uncomfortable and is shifting his gaze alot, that's because he is an exceptionally good secret agent type, he can hear very well and read lips, he knows exactly what she is saying to Tony!
  • Stark and Banner scoff at the idea that S.H.I.E.L.D. regards Captain America as a potential threat. However in Winter Soldier we discover that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by HYDRA, who have every reason to regard Captain America as a threat.
  • Of course Loki's scepter is the only thing that can close the portal. It takes an Infinity Stone to stop another.
  • In the parting-of-the-ways scene when Thor departs with Loki and the Tesseract, Natasha whispers in Barton's ear while he's glaring at Loki from behind heavy sunglasses, and Barton smiles. Surely she's just described to Hawkeye, who is extremely farsighted and likely can't see fine details up close, precisely how beaten-up and humiliated Loki looks.
  • Fury and Cap's "ten bucks says you're wrong bet takes on a whole new light when you consider that for Steve, 1945 was like a few days ago, and $10 back then had the equivalent buying power of $126. Cap just lost a HUGE bet, relatively speaking.
  • The main driving plot of The Incredible Hulk was General "Thunderbolt" Ross' pursuit of Banner, to reclaim what he sees as "government property", specifically the power of the Hulk, to be used for military purposes. Ross had to have been watching the happenings in New York, and with the Hulk smashing an alien invasion like the weapon of mass destruction he and his superiors always envisioned, he quite probably swelled up with pride, or at least basked in the glow of self-satisfaction at being vindicated.
  • As each character is introduced, the previous scene references that character. It begins when Fury says to call in the rest of the team, leading to the next scene of Black Widow being called. In that scene she is told to bring in "the big guy", referencing the Hulk. The next scene has her luring Bruce Banner. In the next scene, Fury is having a video conference with the World Security Council and says a war is won with soldiers, leading to the next scene with Captain America. In that scene, he says the Tesseract should've been left in the ocean, leading to the next scene in which Iron Man is in the water.
  • When Steve made a reference to The Wizard of Oz with the flying monkeys. Tony rolled his eyes because he thought it was a subtle jab towards him as well as the tin man without a heart.
  • Steve realizes the true depths of Tony's character and moral fiber in the helicarrier crisis. Out of everyone there, Tony with his flying armor was among the people who should have been the least at risk. With everything going so badly, he had every opportunity to jump ship and play hero later when it's more convenient, which Steve would probably expect of him. Instead, Tony is immediately on the scene, working as fast as he can to save everyone, and upon seeing the extent of the damage, concludes that he would "have to get in there and push", going from a position of relative safety to almost certain death. Yes, he reveals his way out shortly afterwards, but it's something completely out of his control, and relies entirely on Steve being there to bail him out. For all of his It's All About Me tendencies, the fact of the matter is that Tony put his life on the line to save everyone where a lesser man could have and would have flown away. Anyone would give him a pass after something like that.
  • During the Battle of Manhattan, Cap assigns various roles to the others, capping it off with "Hulk? Smash". That wasn't just a joke or an implication Hulk is too stupid for anything else, but a recognition that anyone else would be overwhelmed if the Chitauri can rally and concentrate forces... But they can't if a rampaging Hulk smashes them any time they try. That is also confirmed when the Chitauri manage to briefly pin Hulk down... And the others are immediately attacked with overwhelming force.
  • A common question asked about this movie after Winter Soldier was why Tony didn't pick up any sign of HYDRA infiltrating SHIELD when he hacked into their database in this movie to look for SHIELD's dirty secrets. The answers are easy, HYDRA presumably has information like that in a more secret database to keep hackers out, Tony's probe was picked up pretty fast and he stopped after Cap came in with the weapons and the argument intensified and lastly Tony was mainly looking for Phase 2 information about the cube which most likely didn't have anything that would outwardly confirm HYDRA involvement.

    Fridge Horror 
  • 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.
  • 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 is Iron 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 an interfering bystander into a smear of protein a few molecules thick.
  • Fallout:
    • In the end, among other things, the Avengers stop the Chitauri invasion, but at the cost of several completely destroyed blocks of Manhattan and, according to a framed Bulletin headline in Karen Page's office in Daredevil, several hundred casualties. Remember the reactions to 9/11, which brought down the World Trade Center towers and killed 2,700 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. It cannot be emphasized or estimated how the entire world would react to these horrifying revelations. The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the amount of damage done to New York in the movie would cost $160 billion to repair. And think even more: in the MCU, Hurricane Sandy's impact on New York City in October 2012 was probably much worse than it was in real life because there's no way that all the damage from the Chitauri attack was fixed by the time Sandy struck.
    • Daredevil (2015) shows that the damage from the Chitauri invasion and superheroics that stop them made gang-owned construction work incredibly profitable, allowing Wilson Fisk to gain a stronghold in Hell's Kitchen.
    • Remember how many people were alleged to have started profiling Muslims and people of Middle Eastern origin after 9/11? Jessica Jones (2015) shows that after the Chitauri invasion, some people started doing similar things to "gifted" people.
  • 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 Johann Schmidt, 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 shows he's not only not in his right mind, but maybe 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's 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? Jötun, a.k.a. 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 Film/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 affects people whose hearts it hasn't touched. Talk about Nightmare Fuel.
    • The heat torture theory holds up but not the mind-control. In the movies, Loki's eyes have always been blue, since they don't alter Tom Hiddleston's eyes with contact lenses or digital effects. Plus, Thor: The Dark World pretty much Josses this theory, nothing Loki does suggest he was under mind control and he pretty much owns his crimes (even if he puts all the blame on Odin's parenting).
  • 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.
  • The subtle implications that being unconscious undoes Loki's Mind Control, meaning that unless Loki was re-possessing them every morning, anyone under his control was awake the entire time. Which also explains why Clint looked more and more worn down every time we saw him: he hadn't slept for days; this, in turn, explains why Romanov was able to beat him in a fistfight in close quarters; although Hawkeye is more of a sniper than a boxer, he still has the better part of 50 or so pounds of muscle on Black Widow. Sleep Deprivation would slow him enough for Black Widow to beat him. It would also explain why Selvig speaks in such an overexcited way while under mind control as if he's had too much caffeine.
  • Unlike Hawkeye who's a bit dark even while good, Selvig is a 100% cheerful Nice Guy who is not only still friendly and sweet but genuinely excited about the amazing new science he's discovering... while under mind control and helping the enemy. Like an innocent child doing evil unwittingly.
  • One of Captain America's flashbacks, while he's attacking the punch-bag, has him recalling a scientist exclaiming he's still alive over his still half frozen body, implying he was conscious for at least some of his defrosting. Or, even worse, during some of the time that he was frozen.
  • The very concept of Loki as a villain. Imagine you're fighting an enemy who you know is insane and desperate. You have him locked up, but there's still something not right — it's almost as if he wants you to keep him locked up. Slowly, subtly, he starts messing with your head. Are you still human? Can you be redeemed? He begins to tear at the seams of the only group capable to stop him, getting into your head. The worst part is that, short of manipulating him right back (which is incredibly difficult), you can't stop him from doing it. He's mentally disturbed, nigh-on impossible to kill, and you may not even realize that he's tearing you apart until it's too late.
  • What does it say about the director (Nick Fury) of a large paramilitary spy organization (S.H.I.E.L.D.) when he has the habit of wearing body armour at all times. The movies play it as being Crazy-Prepared, but under more normal circumstances, he would come off as The Paranoiac. Apparently, he can't visit one of his own installations, surrounded by armed security staff at his command and no obvious enemy present, without the risk of being shot. This would put him in the Properly Paranoid category.
  • Yes Loki killed 80 people in 2 days....but the government was willing to kill off a whole city to try and stop the Chitauri... Thousands of peoples' lives decided for them in ten minutes.
    • And what makes it worse is it might not have stopped them, as the Chitauri could have just flown back through the wormhole as the nuke hit making the whole thing pointless.
  • After watching (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) for the hundredth time, suddenly, Coulson's "Watching you while you were sleeping, I mean frozen in the ice" comment suddenly sounds less like creepy fanboying, more like the only thing protecting Steve from being murdered or experimented on by HYRDA while sleeping, or just defrosted and disorientated. Who's to say without Coulson, HYRDA wouldn't have done some terrible things to Cap? All the while the poor thing can't do anything about it? Steve should feel grateful Coulson was there now...
  • Fury witnesses Loki taking control of Selvig and Barton, and sees what the scepter (and Loki) is capable of. It's incredibly lucky for both of them that he did—otherwise, the Avengers might think that two trusted allies had sided with Loki and turned on them willingly. Things could have ended very differently for Selvig and Clint if Fury hadn't been there when they were turned.
    Fridge Logic 
On the Headscratchers tab.


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