One that becomes heartwarming in hindsight is the when Coulson tells the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to leave the boxes of weapons and go when the base is being destroyed in the beginning. 1. Those boxes probably contain the weapons that were being developed because the Avengers Initiative was expected to fail, which means that he possibly had enough faith in the Avengers to have them leave some of the weapons and 2. He cared about the people more than those weapons.
All Coulson needed to say to get Natasha to leave her current mission was that Clint was in trouble.
The entire scene with Tony and Pepper. After all the trouble we've seen their relationship go through in the Iron Man films, particularly the second one, it's really nice to see them as a couple in a "stable-ish relationship thing".
When Steve and Bruce meet for the first time, Steve is warm and welcoming. Bruce is at best self-conscious about what Cap thinks about the Hulk. Steve says the only thing he's concerned about is Bruce's scientific skills. He also later defends Bruce from what he perceives as Tony picking on him.
Bruce also calls Cap 'Steve' by this point, meaning he must have told him offscreen that it was okay to address him informally.
This makes sense, since Coulson told Rogers that the Hulk was the product of Bruce's attempt to recreate Captain America. Steve seems like the kind of guy who'd feel a little responsible.
Later, it's Steve who tells Bruce to put down the scepter. It was a tense moment, but Steve was probably the only one who could reach out to Bruce without intimidating him.
There's also an easy to miss line when they're all fighting. Black Widow, mentions that they're all monitored as potential threats. Bruce's response is to ask "And Captain America is on threat watch?" in the most disbelieving voice ever.
When Tony arrives to the first briefing on the Helicarrier, he walks in with Coulson and ends their conversation with "...pick a weekend and I'll fly you out to Portland." Tony gives Phil a lot of grief, yet he still offers to let Coulson use his own personal jet to visit his girlfriend.
Crossing over with Funny when you recall the glimmers of jealousy and insecurity he had shown earlier when he realized Coulson and Pepper had a closer relationship than he knew. His offer to help Phil's love life also supported his own!
We actually meet the girlfriend in question in Agents of SHIELD.
"There are always men like you." Crossover with "Crowning Moment of Awesome" when you think about it. An ordinary man telling Loki exactly what he can do with himself.
Gets more heartwarming when you remember Dr. Erskine's words about Germans and the Aversion to All Germans Are Nazis.
A bit more awesome is that: 1.) This man is probably a Holocaust survivor and 2.) It was added in to avert the unfortunate implications of a German crowd kneeling before a supervillain.
Thor calling Earth "The world I love."
When Thor is told that brilliant scientist Erik Selvig has been compromised, he replies that Selvig is a good man and a friend.
Thor defending Loki when Bruce calls him crazy. Actually, Thor and Loki's whole relationship throughout the movie, however subtly touched upon. Loki tried to kill Thor and threatened his girlfriend, yet even after all this, Thor is the only member of the team to try and reason with Loki — even at the very end, when he tells his brother that they can stop the army together.
Loki's helmet can be seen engraved on Thor's vambraces in the scenes where Thor wears his full armor. Thor commissioned them after believing his brother dead and even after finding out about his brother's crimes on Earth he doesn't take them off.
The scene where they're both arguing on the mountaintop and Thor reminds Loki of how they used to be play as children, showing that despite knowing about Loki's true parentage, he still considers him his real brother and loves him as such.
"You give up the Tesseract! You give up this poisonous dream! ...you come home." Thor still loves his brother, after everything that he's done, and all he seems to want is for Loki to realize that and come back to where he, in Thor's mind, belongs.
Even when Loki puts a knife in Thor's side, Thor doesn't lose his infamous Hair-Trigger Temper. He just pulls the knife out, disappointed that he has again failed to bring his little brother around.
And if you look closely you can see a tear running down Loki's cheek before he stabs Thor, when he whispers "Sentiment." Make of that what youwill...
Fury's reference to flying monkeys, that Steve Rogers actually understands. It doesn't seem like much at a glance, but Steve hasn't had any idea what his new colleagues are talking about, and The Wizard of Oz is not the sort of thing Fury would normally refer to in conversation. Fury's throwing him a bone with that one, and he seems to really appreciate it.
Meta example: Chris Evans was unsure about the "I understood that reference" line, because he was worried that would make audiences think Captain America was unintelligent. However, he was quickly comforted after he watched the movie with an audience and he saw that they found the line humorous as opposed to stupid.
The line works because it's been set up so well. From his first appearance in the film, Cap has been set up as the classic "Man out of Time", who has difficulty fitting in and understanding his new "home", and the story doesn't play it for laughs, though it doesn't become overly maudlin either - it's just a quietly sad situation for him. When the "OZ" reference comes along, it's one of the first times he's able to really feel like he's part of the conversation, an insider rather than an outsider.
The scene with Tony Stark working at the lab and Stark offering Banner a job at his company. Probably the first time in a long time Banner's had contact with anyone who was aware of his scientific skills and valued him for them, rather than just regarding him (or rather, the Hulk) as either a threat or a weapon.
Tony shocking Bruce Banner can be seen as this too. Tony is implying that he is the first guy that is not terribly afraid of the Hulk.
Watch Bruce's face at this. He is amazed that Tony deliberately risked unleashing the Hulk, and more than that, he's delighted that someone is so willing to trust his self-control. Seeing his complete lack of surprise at the face S.H.I.E.L.D. had a back-up plan to kill him if he Hulked out and everyone's sheer jumpiness at the very idea that Loki intends to unleash the Hulk later in the film, it's clear nobody has been so casual with him in a very long time. The disbelieving grin on his face gets this Troper every time.
Even better is later, where Banner is seen driving off with Stark and has apparently taken the job.
During the final battle with the Chitauri, Tony is the only one who has any faith that Banner will show up to help. Even Cap is visibly surprised when Tony asks about him.
The moment when Tony Stark talks to Bruce Banner about the arc reactor. Tony compares the arc reactor keeping the shrapnel out of his heart and Bruce's transformation into the Hulk, both emergency lifesaving responses to horrific accidents: the arc reactor and the Hulk are all that kept Tony and Bruce alive, in exchange for the "terrible privilege" of Cursed with Awesome power. Bruce asks why he survived; Tony implies that maybe it's to use his power, like Tony, to help people.
For the first time, someone offers the admittedly-suicidal Bruce hope for a purpose in life that's not just "Maybe you'll find a cure someday." And this is Tony Stark, of all people, serving as a mentor, as The Atoner like Bruce. The universe's most cynical Deadpan Snarker is telling poor Bruce, whose life has been hell, that You Are Better Than You Think You Are.
In the final battle, Tony surprises Steve by asking if Banner has joined them yet. But Tony never doubts that Bruce will come through. Bruce does come through... and as the Hulk, he saves Tony's life.
It's even earlier than that. One of the more quoted lines of the movie is Tony wittily responding "We have a Hulk" to Loki's claims of having an army. But at the time he said it, Bruce had dropped from the hellicarrier to god knows where, and no one expected he was going to come back except Tony. Bruce didn't even think he was going to come back. And Tony doesn't think twice before claiming the Hulk as the most dangerous asset amongst earth's mightiest heroes.
Looking Back: to when you watch The Consultant you'd remember that Tony's role there was vital into getting Bruce to the team.
Meta-heartwarming: Both Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo have gone through some hellacious personal experiences and come out on top, bringing a poignant Reality Subtext to the scene's emphasis on survival.
Just the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants Banner rather than the Hulk is heartwarming in itself. With Bruce's concern about people trying to exploit the monster, it's refreshing that people put more focus on his experience as a brilliant scientist, picking his brain rather than the Hulk. The primary reason why Natasha recruited Bruce was to use his knowledge of gamma radiation to track the Tesseract, hoping to avoid the Hulk.
Bruce Banner's relationship with the whole group period is heartwarming. Everyone likes him, or at least respects him; and treats him like both an equal and a valued member of the team, even if the fear of exciting him enough to trigger him transforming into the Hulk is a factor. Even when Thor has to try to put him down, he doesn't want to, he just has to so no one else gets hurt.
Tony doesn't even seem to fear that. He tries to convince Bruce that the Hulk saved him from a level of gamma exposure that should have killed him, and that there must be a reason for it. This is Tony Stark, snarky bastard extraordinaire, telling a complete stranger that what he's gone through is worth it, and that what he's become is something he should embrace, not fear. In his words, "It's a terrible privilege." His unwavering faith that Bruce will join them in the battle just makes it even more heartwarming.
A posthumous one for Howard Stark, when Tony makes the comment about Steve Rogers being "the guy my dad never shut up about." If you've seen Captain America: The First Avenger, and the interaction between Cap and Tony's father, it speaks volumes about how much respect Howard must've had for him.
Tony giving Steve an indignant glare when he called the Stark Tower "ugly." Sure it may have offended his pride, but he wasn't the one who designed it. Pepper did.
Thor's discussion with Coulson on the Helicarrier. He's deeply thankful when Coulson reassures that S.H.I.E.L.D. made sure that Jane Foster is safe, and that they've done it in such a way she doesn't even know she's in danger. No further words are required: the look the two share is enough. Thor is also obviously regretting how he used to behave — the arrogant Blood Knight princeling — particularly since Asgardian fights tend to cause a lot of collateral damage to the Earth. It goes to show how much he's grown since then.
It's very subtle and relates back to his first film, but Captain America's attitude is somewhat heartwarming. He comes from an entirely different era than everyone else, an era when the Army was segregated and women didn't have equal rights, and all of a sudden finds himself working with a multi-national team with women and taking orders from an African-American. Not once does he ever seem even remotely uncomfortable with this and he treats everyone with the utmost respect. Admittedly, it's not something to put focus on, but it fits Steve's character that he's nice to everyone regardless of race or gender when many others from his era did not have such enlightened views.
Well, he served with an integrated unit with a black man, a Japanese American, two non-US members (the British Falsworth and and French Dernier), and his immediate superior was Major Peggy Carter. Throughout First Avenger Cap didn't seem to have an issue with any of them being in the military, so this applies for that movie as well as this one.
Steve hates bullies. Sexism, racism, other -isms, when you boil it down, they're all an excuse for institutionalized bullying. Makes sense he'd consider it good that there's less of that in the world.
Extra bonus: Check out the smile on Cap's face after Widow does the bounce off his shield. One of Peggy's frustrations (one that he absolutely sympathized with) was that she was always having doors shut in her face because she's a woman; seeing Natasha being fantastic right alongside him as a frontline fighter is more than just something he can accept, it's something he thinks is pretty damn cool.
It seems Natasha is more emotional about the other Avengers than she is about most things. Despite her fear of the Hulk, she tries to calm Bruce in order to stop his transformation. She shows genuine concern for Captain America when she warns him about Loki and Thor, and she even shows concern for Stark when he almost dies destroying the Chitauri. However her most well known one is her undying determination to save Hawkeye from Loki's control. It seems this Widow has a heart after all.
Thor trying to reason with the Hulk while he's fighting him, saying "We are not your enemies, Banner. Try to think..." instead of treating him like a mindless beast. One wonders if his steadfast optimism has anything to do with his unfailing belief in Loki.
A double shout-out to that guy considering that he does all that while being so scared that it's visible despite his face being completely covered by his respirator and black visor.
Additionally, when the pilot ejects, the Hulk grabs him before the ejector seat can get out of range — and throws him off into the distance, where his parachute can work normally. He could've effortlessly just smashed the guy into the plane's fuselage if he wanted, but he seems to consider the plane itself a much greater threat than the person using it.
Alternatively, he is throwing the pilot way outside the explosion radius. Might be a Banner moment, might be Hulk trying to protect the puny human, might be coincidental. Still ends up saving the pilot's life, most likely.
Agent Coulson knows what he is getting into when he stands up to Loki, but he still does it because he believes in the Avengers completely, enough to sacrifice his life for Thor.
Nick Fury referring to Phil Coulson as his one good eye.
After Agent Coulson's death, Tony is berating him for his foolishness in standing up to Loki where he knew he was outmatched and dying because of it. What makes this heartwarming is that Tony is clearly upset and visibly fighting back tears (props go to Robert Downey, Jr. for this performance as well) showing that he's just trying to rationalize the death of someone he truly liked.
Then Cap tries to console him by likening it to "losing a soldier." From his perspective, it's only been a few subjective weeks since he, himself, lost his best friend in a mission, who knows how many other soldiers in various anti-Hydra operations, and everyone he ever cared for since he was frozen and brought back to life. Despite their differences, Steve is trying really hard to sympathize with Tony and he knows that the latter's snide remarks about Coulson's death are only a "tough guy" front to avoid dealing with the pain.
Which Tony then responds to with "We are not soldiers!" Which reminds us that, for all his personal power, Tony is a private civilian who hasn't had the training, the emotional readiness, or the need to desensitize himself towards death... and that he considered Coulson a friend, a silly government stooge, a partner... but not a soldier that could be expended in war.
Natasha consoling and rejuvenating the formerly Brainwashed and CrazyClint after he is restored to normal. Some of the most emotional response she has shown in the entire franchise thus far aside from slight snark. Same goes for Clint.
She also consoles Erik Selvig when he is restored as well, despite not knowing the man.
And tries to help Bruce. In the Iron Man films she wasn't really emotionally involved and is kind of a femme fatale so its nice to see her human side.
After Hawkeye recovers from being brainwashed by Loki, Cap stops by his and Natasha's room to look for a pilot. Bare in mind that Cap has never met Hawkeye outside of him being controlled, and he visibly pauses on seeing him. However it just takes a small nod from Natasha for Cap to warmly welcome his new comrade.
The old security guard played by Harry Dean Stanton giving Bruce some clothes and being as kind and understanding as any ordinary person has been about his "condition."
And in the extended cut of that scene, he's the one who gives Banner the bike to travel from New Jersey to Manhattan, along with some friendly advice.
When Tony lists the powerful people coming after Loki, he doesn't include himself. After Loki tosses him out the window and he pops back up in his Iron Man suit, he says he forgot one. "His name was Phil." *repulsor*
This gets even better if you keep in mind the "His first name is 'Agent'" scene from earlier.
When Tony gives his headcount speech to Loki he mentions Cap, "a living legend, who kind of lives up to the legend." After disrespecting and butting heads with Cap for most of the movie, Tony is able to give Cap his props.
Also note that when listing the Avengers, he forgets to include himself. This is Tony we're talking about here, the guy who previously pointed out that even without being a super hero he's a "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist". The guy is an admitted narcissist and proud of it. But when bragging about the people who are going to royally mess up Loki's day, he not only gives his allies top billing, he doesn't even mention how great he is himself.
Bruce: Well, this all looks...horrible. Natasha: I've seen worse. Bruce: Sorry. Natasha: No, we could use a little worse.
Banner's "I'm always angry" moment may have been badass, but it also revealed something amazing: the filmmakers were actually willing to progress Banner and the Hulk's relationship forward. Banner has learned to cope with the monster who shares his body by meeting it halfway. They may not be friends, but there's a certain amount of give-and-take between the two, and the implication is that what the Hulk needs most, even more than an enemy to point him at, is understanding.
Heck, just seeing the Hulk smirk like a kid when Captain America tells him "Hulk, smash" suggests as much. For once, he's being asked to do what he does best, against opponents both Hulk and Banner can agree deserve a thorough pounding-on, and with allies fighting on his side for a change. It's not just Bruce who's been lonely all these years; from the Hulk's POV, the film's final battle actually was one big non-stop party, and the first one he's ever been invited to.
This puts the glare he gives Cap after Cap addresses him as "Hulk" in a whole new light. Whatever Hulk thought Cap was about to say, it wasn't what Cap said.
ThisDeleted Scene shows Captain America saving a family from a Chitauri breaking into their car, killing it by throwing his shield. The little boy in the car then silently hands the shield back to Cap, looking scared but filled with gratitude. D'awww.
A CMOA for the Dad for driving a car that is on fire. And said fire is near the engine. The Dad's driving a car that could go up in flames any second, but he's willing to put his family and son over his life.
During the midst of the battle while Captain America has the Chitauri pre-occupied, Black Widow and Hawkeye along with killing stragglers; take the time to rescue people trapped inside a bus during it all. It's that side of Heroism most people rarely see in a Superhero action movie, but it's heartwarming nonetheless.
Whedon wanted to give the Chitauri a few more nods that they might not be mindless drones. One rather touching shot is when Hawkeye shoots that 'scatter shot' arrow a Chitauri tries to push his comrade to safety showing that whatever they are, Chaotic Evil or not they are comrades.
A small but significant one during the battle of Manhattan is when Thor extends his hand to an exhausted Captain America with a warm smile of respect. A god is so inspired by the bravery and nobility of a mortal man that he comes to see him as a brother warrior and an equal.
Tony's Heroic Sacrifice at the climax, when he catches the nuclear bomb headed for Manhattan and flies it out of the portal to save the city, knowing that Natasha is about to close the portal and that anything going out is on a "one-way trip" and fully expecting to suffocate and die trapped in the emptiness of space. Doubly so because he does it without any kind of remark or final statement, and without a moment of hesitation or attempt to find a way out. Triply so because it's clear from the wide-eyed, frantic expression on his face as he flies upwards that he's absolutely terrified out of his mind, yet is doing it anyway.
Though it crosses over with Tear Jerker, JARVIS offering to connect Tony to Pepper as he guides the nuke towards the portal. It was an incredibly heartfelt gesture from his loyal friend.
We've seen hints of JARVIS being caring in the past. In Iron Man, JARVIS and Tony's dialogue was more or less covered in snark. In Iron Man 2, JARVIS expresses his concern towards Tony's condition, and even suggests that he let Pepper know. Tony's dying in the second movie and doesn't get a proper chance to tell Pepper about it. Cue the tear jerker when not only is Tony moments from certain death, JARVIS offers to make the phone call.
JARVIS is the ultimate aversion of A.I. Is a Crapshoot. The machine genuinely cares for his master, but what makes it sweet is that when Fury tells Stark a nuke is going to flatten Manhattan, JARVIS has already routed all power to the thrusters before Tony can order it. JARVIS loves Tony, but apparently he loves his master's mission to save people even more.
And one more nice, subtle touch: just before JARVIS offers to phone Pepper, Stark calls him "Jay". Tony The Nicknamer finally gave his right-hand AI an affectionate nick of his own.
After Iron Man successfully guides the nuclear missile through the portal, we see S.H.I.E.L.D. agents cheering and hugging each other. It's nice to see what is often seen as the stiff government agency having a genuinely emotional moment.
A blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but Natasha, after scanning the skies muttering "Come on, Stark...." when Tony makes his Heroic Sacrifice, bursts into the single most genuine, relieved, beaming smile she's sported the entire movie when she sees Tony plummet back through the wormhole at the last second.
Hulk saving Iron Man, showing that Tony's faith in Banner was well-placed. But just before he does that, Thor was about to launch himself into the air to do the same thing, realizing that Tony was unable to slow down.
It would almost be sappy, except that, categorically, nothing the Hulk does can be considered "sappy".
Tony's improper sense of humor irks Steve throughout the movie. In the climax, after almost dying, Tony randomly brings up the topic of shawarma and Cap laughs, relieved that Tony's fine.
Note that this is the only time Steve laughs (and more-or-less the only time he even smiles) in the whole movie.
More like Fridge Heartwarming, but Clint being the one front and center and pointing an arrow into Loki's face when they retrieve him after the battle, while the other Avengers just stand behind him glaring disapprovingly at Loki. The Avengers must've all decided to give Clint, the person most horribly brutalized by Loki, the honors of being the one to bring him in.
One of the biggest heartwarming moments is the post battle news montage showing how the world celebrates the Avengers. Not talking about that, but specifically, how the public now embraces the Hulk. The Hulk, who has been feared and chased and reviled, is now a genuine media darling. Summed up best by a celebratory parade which shows a lady holding a sign that says "HULK = HERO". It speaks volumes.
That, and the kid who joyfully imitates the "Green Guy" as he calls him as some people smile and laugh in the background.
Another shot, partially Blink-and-You-Miss-It thanks to the fact that the screen changes almost as soon as it's panned over, has a series of banners over a street. The largest of them, is a Green fist on a black border.
Amidst the wave of news videos of people celebrating the Avengers, (tattoos of Steve's shield, men getting their beards cut like Tony, people waving flags etc.) there's one video that brings down the mood; a politician blaming them for the damage done to the city and demanding they should be brought to account: but the news team cuts to an 'eye on the street': "Beth," a waitress who was running for shelter during the attack, now disheveled but smiling: "Captain America saved my life. Wherever he is... wherever any of them are... I just want to say: thank you."
"Beth" isn't just a random one-shot character that appears for the interview scene; we saw her being rescued earlier during the final battle. She took a few seconds to stare at Cap in wonder before finally running for safety.
Possibly the biggest Missed Moment of Heartwarming this story could've offered, but didn't show, is the one when Banner woke up after the final battle. Pretty much every time it's happened before, he's been all alone in the middle of nowhere, without clothes or memory or any clue where he is, and terrified that his alter-ego may have killed somebody. This time, it's a sure bet that he came out of his transformation kindly draped with a blanket and surrounded by his new friends and allies, all reassuring him that the Hulk only smashed what needed smashing, that the people of New York are hailing him as a hero, and that the "other guy" saved Tony's life on his own initiative. Heck, the clothes he's wearing in the shawarma scene were probably rung up on Stark's platinum cards.
Banner: Did I hurt anyone? Stark: About seventy or eighty Chitauri so far, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s still counting the pieces of those guys. And two or three of those flying dragon/snake Death Whale things. And Loki could probably use a good chiropractor.
The look on Steve's face as the Avengers go their separate ways. At the start of the film, Steve's in a world he doesn't know and everyone he knew & cared about is either dead or likely to die soon due to old age, and it's clear (especially in one of the deleted scenes) that he's having trouble adjusting to the present day & is unsure of his place in the world; at the end of the film, he's found his place in the world with the Avengers.
Also note that he's seen taking off, alone, on a motorcycle. Surely if he was just going back to wherever he was at the beginning of the film, Fury would have simply dropped him off the same way he picked him up. Instead he looks like he's going on a trip. Looks like he's finally ready to come out and experience the modern world.
Or better yet, he's possibly going to have a reunion with a certain someone he promised a dance to some 70 years ago...
The film's ending, where we see the Avengers parting on good terms, Fury assuring that they'll come together again when the world needs to be avenged, and finally, Tony making certain modifications to the Stark Tower.
Just before the credits, there's a slow zoom away from Tony's now-trashed tower, where the large STARK sign has been reduced to just a familiar "A."