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The Avengers / Tropes M to P

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The Avengers provides examples of the following tropes:

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WARNING: Spoilers from the earlier films are unmarked.

  • MacGuffin: The Tesseract is a powerful artifact everyone wants.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Iron Man launches one from his shoulders.
  • Made of Explodium: Surprisingly averted. This is actually a superhero action film where people keep shooting at cars, planes, helicopters, etc. without most of them exploding. There are even a few occurrences where the trope is downright inverted: stuff that should logically explode, and it looks weird and unrealistic when they don't. For example when Nick Fury shoots a rocket at a plane trying to take off with a rocket launcher and it comes out of it with only a destroyed wing and (supposedly) no harm to the pilot.
  • Made of Indestructium: Being made of Vibranium, Cap's shield is used to block or reflect nearly every attack in the movie made against him (including Mjölnir, as Drop the Hammer shows), and only the paint is damaged.
  • Made of Iron: Par for the course for a superhero movie.
    • Tony Stark takes what would be fatal impacts both in and out of his suit. A crash from exploding a Leviathan from the inside only causes minor cuts on his face. He also gets thrown onto the floor, subjected to Neck Lift and thrown through a skyscraper window by Loki without a scratch.
    • Phil Coulson takes a spear through the back and out the chest and survives for about 10 minutes — obviously in shock and bleeding out, but conscious.
  • Mage in Manhattan: Loki provides the trope picture for the scene in Germany.
  • Magic Pants: As usual for the Hulk, except for one scene. After de-Hulking, Banner has somehownote  lost the pants and is covered by nothing but the Scenery Censor.
  • Major Injury Underreaction:
    • Thor appears to be highly annoyed after Iron Man tackles him off a cliff at high speeds. Justified in that he's a Physical God.
      Thor: Do not touch me again.
    • And again when Loki shanks him in the gut in the the battle atop Stark Tower. He seemingly grabs his abdomen in pain, but promptly removes the blade, and proceeds to body-slam Loki. He then tosses the bloodied blade away with a look that says "Now, I'm pissed!" and less "That hurt."
  • Make an Example of Them: Loki preparing to zap a mouthy old man standing amid his flock, before Captain America intervenes.
  • Male Gaze: The movie does this a great deal with Black Widow and Maria Hill seems to be walking away from the camera in a lot of shots. Pepper Potts wears Daisy Dukes and bare feet during her cameo.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Thanos is revealed to be this to Loki in The Stinger.
  • Man Bites Man: During her scuffle with a brainwashed Hawkeye, Black Widow bites his hand in order to avoid being stabbed.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Loki can hold his own in combat with that staff of his and his misdirecting illusions, but he prefers to trick the heroes into fighting each other.
    • Nick Fury, as usual, manipulates the heroes into working for S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Loki has tears in his eyes when he asks Thor whether he was mourned after his apparent suicide at the end of Thor.
    • After Loki traps Thor in the cage and tells him that he's going to kill him, Thor is too heartbroken to respond, simply letting his tears fall as he averts his eyes from Loki.
    • Tony's eyes are openly brimming with tears during the "we are not soldiers" scene after Coulson's death, although they never fall.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but a tear runs down Loki's cheek right after he stabs Thor in their fight on Stark Tower.
    • Tony's eyes also fill with tears when he flies the nuke into the wormhole, thinking that he will not make it back.
  • Market-Based Title: In the U.K. and Ireland, the film is known as Avengers Assemble to avoid confusion with the classic British TV series of the same name. Strangely, the merchandising such as children's toys all still bears the original title, next to posters with the revised title. For some reason, both titles were used to advertise it, saying that The Avengers would be released on the 26th, and Avengers Assemble being released on the 27th.
  • Martyrdom Culture: Implied with the Chitauri in a deleted scene.
    Loki: Your force lacks... finesse.
    Other: Our warriors are fearless! They welcome a glorious death.
    Loki: That may actually be the problem.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: A rare live-action example. This movie is possible since all of these franchise characters are owned by Marvel, and also because the previous films of the team's big four (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America, in this order) all lead up to this.
  • Match Cut:
    • There is a closeup of Loki's scepter, that cuts to the scepter showing up on the readings of a quinjet being crewed by his brainwashed posse, indicating this is how they tracked down the helicarrier.
    • The ending credits before the first Stinger ends up with a close-up of Tony's round ARC reactor which cut to a far-away moon seen from Thanos's lair.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Downplayed, but present. Even with our current understanding of science fiction, some things the Asgardians do are just easier to explain with magic. People refer to Loki as "casting spells", often in the same scene as discussing Asgardian technology.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Loki is talking to the Other, at one point, one of the Leviathans flies past in the background. In the attack on New York, they end up using those things as weapons.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Fury says that when Coulson died, he lost his one good eye. In Iron Man 2, as he's leaving Coulson to watch over Stark, he reminds Tony, "Remember, I've got my eye on you."
    • When Fury explains the Avengers Initiative, he finishes by saying, "It was an old-fashioned idea," echoing Coulson's remark that "Maybe we could use a little old-fashioned." when Captain expressed doubt about the bright, old-fashioned color scheme of his new outfit.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Tony Stark points out the futility of Loki's plan, because even if he wins, he's never going to be able to rule over anyone. Humanity would rather just keep fighting until the bitter end. And the Avengers, regardless of whatever else happens, will be gunning for him:
    Tony: You're missing the point — there's no throne, there is no version of this where you come out on top! Maybe your army comes, and maybe it's too much for us, but it's all on you... 'Cause if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we'll avenge it!
  • Megaton Punch: Hulk does this to a Leviathan.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Every single returning character has a new costume/uniform. Even Black Widow gets an altered black catsuit and a new haircut. Compare and contrast.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: The climax has the Hulk shutting up Loki by smashing him to the floor left and right, interrupting the A God Am I monologue he was warming up to.
    Hulk: Puny god.
  • Mickey Mousing: The action in the scene where Loki crashes a formal ball matches the music being played by the string quartet surprisingly well.
  • Midair Repair: Iron Man gets to repair the Hellicarrier: Restarting a damaged turbine, which becomes increasingly important once another (of the four) is taken out, and increasingly dangerous as he has to bring it up to speed inside it.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Iron Man upgrades to the Mark VII armor right before the climactic battle starts. It can fly by itself when deployed by Jarvis, track and line itself up with Stark using a pair of bracelets he wears, and assemble itself around him. Now Stark can don the armor no matter where he is. Also, the Mark VII's laser lenses do not eject after use, implying that they are now limited only by the suit's power source.
  • Mildly Military: S.H.I.E.L.D. uses both Men-in-Black-type agents as well as paramilitary uniformed ones. The uniform insignia reverses the eagle's head on the left shoulder patch, keeping it facing the front of the individual, just like real military uniforms.
  • Militaries Are Useless: The National Guard moves out immediately once the Chitauri invasion in New York City starts, but they're away from the city so the Avengers and NYPD have to do the initial fighting. Subverted in a deleted scene that shows that once they do arrive, they put up a good fight as the Chitauri soldiers and aircraft can be readily destroyed with modern weapons.
  • Millionaire Playboy: Tony Stark describes himself as a "billionaire playboy" as well as "genius philanthropist."
  • Mind-Control Eyes: When Loki controls people with the scepter their eyes first turn pitch black, then their irises and pupils turn the same shade of blue as the shell covering the scepter's gem.
  • Mind Rape: Hawkeye's description of what it felt like to be brainwashed by Loki definitely gets into this territory.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Iridium that Loki has Hawkeye steal in Germany to stabilize the portal. Joss Whedon even calls it Phlebotinum and MacGuffinum in the DVD Commentary.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Hiddleston's performance includes Loki doing the nervous laughter variant of this whenever flustered or wrongfooted — he usually uses it to play off Thor's attempts to reach out to him, but he also does it to pretend he isn't afraid of something.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Played for Laughs when Tony Stark calls out a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent on the Helicarrier for using some of the most advanced computers in the world, surpassed only by Stark's own, to play Galaga.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Coulson's death finally motivates the heroes to get together and, yes, avenge him. Thor sees the Son of Coul get skewered as he watched helplessly. Tony gets roused to action because Tony knew him the longest of all. Cap gets motivation from the bloodstained Captain America trading cards that Coulson so eagerly wanted him to sign. Romanoff and Barton have plenty motivation because they were all longstanding comrades in the agency. Only Bruce Banner isn't motivated by this event, because he wasn't there for it; he came back for other reasons.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: Played for Laughs with Bruce Banner. As the Hulk, he lands on a warehouse, half-destroys it and becomes human again. Then, he speaks to an old man, the security guard, who believes that Bruce is some sort of alien. The security guard is played by Harry Dean Stanton, who was in Alien.
  • Mistaken for Suicidal: After Selvig wakes up from Loki's brainwashing, Natasha finds him looking over the edge of Stark Tower's roof, like he's thinking about jumping. Natasha tries to talk him down, only for him to reveal that he's not looking at the ground; he's looking at Loki's scepter a few stories down, which is the key to closing the portal.
  • Moment Killer: Coulson drops in on Tony during a romantic interlude with Pepper. Luckily, it was only "12% of a moment."
  • Moment of Silence: After Coulson dies.
  • Monumental Damage:
    • Grand Central Station is a wash.
    • N.Y.'s new landmark, Stark Tower, gets trashed, as well as some famous real-world buildings in Manhattan.
    • Stark Tower itself is built on top of the Metlife building. Part of the background set up by the designers for the movie was that Stark literally built his tower over it, meaning the bottom of it would still be the real-life landmark.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Joss Whedon indulges his penchant for intentionally derailing dramatic moments with a witty one-liners. They're better heard than read.
    • The TV cut of the movie in Brazil cut the credits, making the viewer watch the ominous scene of The Other informing Thanos of the defeat of Loki and the Chitauri army being succeeded by the Avengers silently eating shawarma in the restaurant Stark mentioned earlier, completely unaware of the threat coming to Earth.
  • Mooks: The Chitauri.
  • More Than Mind Control: Loki's scepter needs to touch someone to fully control them, but just being in its presence can mess with someone's head.
  • Motivational Lie: After Coulson dies at Loki's hands, Fury tosses a small pile of bloodstained vintage Captain America trading cards at Cap, as part of his attempt to use it to galvanize the Avengers. The cards were not on Coulson's person at the time, but in his locker.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: The Skyscrapers of Stuttgart, Ohio. Loki's first attack on earth was stated to be in Stuttgart, Germany, but it quite clearly was filmed in Cleveland.
  • Mouth of Sauron: The Other, a go-between for Loki and his new boss, Thanos. He even looks like Peter Jackson's version of the Mouth; nasty skin, covered-up eyes.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black:
    • Hawkeye wears a black outfit instead of his classic purple one from the comics. Also lampshaded by Captain America.
      Captain America: Aren't the stars and stripes a little... old-fashioned?
      Agent Coulson: With everything that's happening, people might just need a little old-fashioned.
    • Inverted by the superhuman members of the main cast — Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America wear pretty flamboyant, colorful attires (or are colorful in the case of Hulk). All protagonists clad head to toe in black (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Agent Coulson) are Badass Normal at best.
    • Tony lampshades the trope by mocking Thor's "Shakespearean" attire, and Steve Rogers' "spangly outfit" (noting that Rogers wears the "Captain America" uniform constantly, as if it's casual attire).
  • Mr. Fanservice: Ladies, take your pick. The blond, clean-cut, blue-eyed, all-American Nice Guy? The tall, dark, and snarky genius billionaire playboy philanthropist? The hunky god with an accent? The Draco in Leather Pants pretty boy Big Bad? The stoic, "cool loner" archer? The bespectacled scientist? Almost all of whom are incredibly buff and march around in skin-tight clothing, shiny badass armor, and/or sleeveless wardrobe with arms the size of tree trunks?
  • Ms. Fanservice: Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cobie Smulders all receive some Male Gaze. Pepper Potts, in particular, shows up to a meeting with Tony Stark wearing daisy dukes and no shoes.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Poor Selvig, awakening from Loki's mind control to the sight of Manhattan being devastated by the Chitauri he'd helped unleash.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Tesseract facility at the beginning of the film is revealed to be Project Pegasus, a S.H.I.E.L.D. research sites from the comics.
    • While discussing the Tesseract, Dr. Selvig claims it will unveil a path to a "new universe".
    • "You have reached the Life Model Decoy of Tony Stark." Life Model Decoy is the term used for an entire sub-set of robotic "clones" featured in the comics.
    • Georgi Luchkow, the Russian who Black Widow beats up early in the movie, shares his name with a minor Black Widow villain from the early '90s.
    • When The Other threatens Loki to make him "long for something sweet as pain" should he fail, one of the Chitauri's giant snakes can be seen moving through the background. In Norse Mythology, Loki is punished for his role in Ragnarök by having a snake drip venom in his eyes for all eternity.
    • During Thor and Loki's conversation on the cliff side, two ravens fly past, evoking Odin's two ravens in Norse Mythology.
    • Where the last couple Hulk movies referenced the character's iconic purple pants; Avengers reference is subtler by having Banner wear a purple shirt for most of the film.
    • The fact that the first Antagonist that the Avengers face together as a team is Loki, as well as Loki's attempt to use the Hulk against the other members, can be seen as a Homage to the first Avengers Issue!
    • The air-dropped prison intended to kill the Hulk if necessary references the way that Hulk died in the TV show: He fell out of an aircraft as Hulk and landed as Banner. The glass cell itself is also inspired by a containment cell designed for the Hulk that was built in the Triskelion in The Ultimates.
    • This one is half-Mythology Gag, half-Continuity Nod; Banner mentions that at one point, he tried to kill himself with a pistol "and the other guy spat out the bullet." This was going to be the opening scene in The Incredible Hulk film (and actually appeared in the Alternate Universe miniseries "Banner!") but was cut because Louis Leterrier, who directed this Hulk film, thought it would be too dark (and yet that scene showed up in the video game tie-in, as well as the novelization). Years earlier, this also happened in the comics.
    • Within the movie continuity, Hulk chasing Black Widow through a narrow corridor can bring to mind a similar scene from Iron Man where Iron Monger chases Pepper.
    • The Captain America trading cards display artwork by Jack Kirby, save for the one that has a picture of Cap in his stage show outfit.
    • When giving "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Loki, a dying Coulson mentions, "You're going to lose. It's in your nature."
    • From a deleted scene: The security guard asks Bruce "Are you a big guy that gets all little? Or a little guy who sometimes blows up to be all big?"
    • While talking to Loki, Tony refers to the Avengers as "Earth's mightiest heroes", a moniker that has followed the team since day one.
    • The idea of Tony's Iron Man armor being a flying module that unfolds and wraps around Tony, armoring him up, dates back to the late 90s (after the Heroes Reborn period).
    • Banner mentions that he's always angry, can transform into the Hulk at will, and implies that the two personalities are more or less on the same wavelength; the World War Hulk arc is built around this.
    • During The Oner across NYC, Captain America and Iron Man pull off a fusion move lifted directly from Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
    • While Hulk never says "Hulk smash!", or "Puny humans!", his two most famous catch phrases in the comics, both of them are alluded to. Captain America commands Hulk to smash (his exact words being, "and Hulk? Smash."), and Hulk calls Loki a "puny god".
    • James Eckhouse appears as Senator Boynton, a minor character during the Armor Wars storyline. He is seen near the end, asking on a cable news show about where the Avengers are and who they should be accountable to.
    • Romy Rosemont appears as Shawna Lynde, a Thor supporting character during the 1980s.
    • Loki has his mouth sealed shut at the end of the film, echoing his mouth being sewn shut by dwarves in Norse Mythology.
    • At the end of the movie, Nick Fury says that all this was a message to the universe: Humans Are Special, defy the odds, and nobody should try to go to war with them. There was a similar premise at the end of the Ultimate Galactus Trilogy. However, the unwanted consequence of this message, attracting the interest of Thanos, is a twist exclusive of the movie.
    • "To challenge them is to court death." The primary aspect of Thanos' motivations in the comic books is that he saw the personification of death when he was young... and fell in love with her. Now you know why he's smiling.
    • Remember that scene when Loki claims to be so superior to Hulk, followed by Hulk tossing him around like a rag doll and making a "Shut Up, Hannibal!!" scene? Well, in The Ultimates Hulk had done a similar thing to the Big Bad, Herr Kleiser, but much more devastating. Let's just say that Loki ended unconscious; Kleiser ended up dead and eaten by Hulk

  • Naked People Are Funny: Dr. Banner's nudity after crashing through the factory is Played for Laughs by the security guard.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: One of the first things Loki does on earth is to force a crowd of Germans to kneel before him while performing a speech about how humans "were born to be ruled". One old German calls him out on this while refusing to kneel:
    Old German: Not to men like you.
    Loki: There are no men like me.
    Old German: There are always men like you.
  • Neck Lift: Loki does this to Tony, right before tossing him out of the Stark Tower window.
  • Nerves of Steel: The Badass Normals of the group keep their cool when surrounding by an alien invasion and lacking superpowers.
  • Never Found the Body: Downplayed. Agent Coulson appears to die, but the scene cuts away before we find out whether he was really Only Mostly Dead and taken to a hospital room. Fury plays the death for all it's worth in getting the bickering heroes to put aside their differences but is explicitly shown to be a Consummate Liar about other things (including lying about the Captain America trading cards being taken from Coulson's body, rather than his locker!). Later events in the MCU confirm that he did, in fact, die. But he got better.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: In contrast to his teammates, Tony calls Agent Coulson an idiot for trying to take Loki on alone but it quickly becomes clear that this is really just Tony's way of trying to ensure the cracks in his usual snarky facade don't overwhelm him completely.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • That scene where Black Widow stands in front of an explosion? It's not in the film. Many alternate takes are used as well.
    • Coulson never suggests a "time out".
    • Stark's listing of the Avengers members includes himself ("And then there's me...") in the trailer version. In the film, he names Coulson instead.
    • The circumstances surrounding the Hulk catching Iron Man are different from what the trailers would have you believe. It's a case of clever editing. Iron Man's falling because he's out of power after a long fight, ending with his delivering a nuke to the Chitauri control ship, not because he was shot out of the sky. See also Trailers Always Spoil.
    • The editing would also have you believe that Loki was smirking at the Black Widow when he first escorted into the helicarrier, when in fact he is smiling at Bruce Banner.
    • Editing suggests Thor laughs at Tony's rebuttal when Captain America asks what use he is without his armor. In the movie, Black Widow is the one shown amused by the response, though it's much more muted. Thor is actually laughing at how "You people are so petty... and tiny."
    • Tony's delivery of his rebuttal in the trailers is calm and just a little snarky, while in the actual movie it's much quicker and a bit more mean-spirited.
    • Steve and Tony's curt introduction to each other ("Mr. Stark." "Captain.") occurs not on the Helicarrier when they're out of uniform, but in Stuttgart while they're both suited up.
    • In the trailer Tony says "Guys, I'm bringing the party to you", but in the movie it's "Then tell him to suit up, I'm bringing the party to you."
    • Nick Fury's speech is longer in the movie:
      Nick Fury: [trailer] There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, so when we needed them, they could fight the battles that we never could.
      Nick Fury: [movie] There was an idea, Stark knows this, called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people. See if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles that we never could. Phil Coulson died still believing in heroes... Well, it's an old-fashioned notion.
    • In the teaser trailer, Fury says, "Gentlemen, you're up." This was actually two separate lines clipped together. In the actual movie, he says, "Gentlemen" when Rogers and Banner first step on to the Helicarrier bridge, and "Captain, you're up" when they find Loki in Germany.
    • That strange chord that plays when the Leviathan rounds the building chasing Iron Man doesn't play in the film. It's been replaced with a roar.
    • The trailer adds an eerie green glow to the shot of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents outside the shack where Widow is talking Banner, implying he Hulks out at this point. In the film, he does not.
  • Newscaster Cameo: MSNBC's Thomas Roberts and NY1's Pat Kiernan both cover the aftermath of the final battle. Kiernan would later become the go-to person whenever the MCU needs an American newscaster to report on events.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Loki's scheme helps bring the Avengers together, which pays homage to Loki's role in the Avengers comic-book origin, where he brings the team together even more accidentally.
  • The Nicknamer: Tony calls Loki "Reindeer Games" (because of the horns on his helmet) and "Rock of Ages" (because of the hair), his scepter "the Glowstick of Destiny" (because of its Mind Control properties and how it glows, and also a reference to The Spear of Destiny), refers to Steve being frozen as a "Capsicle", he calls Thor "Point Break" (because of his long blonde hair, muscles and beard), and Clint Barton "Legolas" (because of his bow and arrow). It is a Joss Whedon movie, after all.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
    • Tony Stark, a self-described "genius billionaire playboy philanthropist" who is also a super hero.
    • The Leviathans which are something like giant cyborg space snakes that serve as Awesome Personnel Carriers.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Defied Trope.
    • During the massive superhero battle in the middle of Manhattan, no civilian casualties are shown. However, in the aftermath, the news footage includes several shots of people lighting candles and putting up messages on memorial walls. A framed Bulletin front page that Ben Urich keeps in his office in Daredevil (2015) says that hundreds of people were killed. When the Leviathans die, they are shown then crashing to ground and Captain America urges Black Widow to close the portal so the nuclear explosion doesn't come back to Earth.
    • Daredevil (2015) established that Hell's Kitchen took a lot of damage from the invasion, and Wilson Fisk is taking advantage of bid rigging on reconstruction contracts.
    • Joss Whedon didn't want any of the jets to fall off the Helicarrier because that also would be an aversion. He commented that it would kill innocent people, and he didn't want viewers blaming the Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. for that. Prior to take off workers are shown strapping the jets down, which is Truth in Television for procedure for securing an aircraft exposed to winds that strong that are not intended to experience lift.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming reveals that a black market sprung up selling weapons made from alien tech left behind by the invasion, giving New York's criminals more firepower than they ever could have dreamed of.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Hulk grabs Loki by the ankle and slams him into the floor like a rag doll about five times.
  • Noodle Incident: Black Widow and Hawkeye make numerous references to these from their partnership.
    Black Widow: This is just like Budapest all over again.
    Hawkeye: You and I remember Budapest very differently.
    Earlier, in a video file, you see the two in a similar situation, caught between cars and firing in all directions.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Helicarrier's angled flight deck leads directly to one of the huge rotors. This means that pilots making use of the flight deck better pray that they land the first time because overshooting will mean getting sucked into a rotor designed to pull the air above it and direct it down with enough force to lift an aircraft carrier. The helicarrier can apparently stay in the air with one of the rotors turned off to make landings safer, but that endangers the entire helicarrier, and leads to uneven wear.
  • No Party Given: Averted. Senator Boynton, the politician criticizing the Avengers at the end of the movie, is explicitly labeled as a Democrat though if you blink, you miss it.
  • No-Sell:
    • Thor's lightning is absorbed by Tony's Arc Reactor, charging his suit up to 400% capacity. Neither of them actually saw that coming. This might double as a Mythology Gag or Continuity Nod, since in Iron Man 2 it was indicated (in the notes that are briefly shown on screen) that his father developed the Arc Reactor technology from reverse engineering the Tesseract. So, his suit was built as a knock-off of Asgardian technology... so Asgardian lightning charging it up actually makes sense.
    • Iron Man attempts to overpower Thor via headbutting, and Thor simply gives him an incredulous look akin to "Seriously?" He then returns the favour to greater effectiveness.
    • The Hulk gets shot at by a jet's gatling gun in order to distract him and keep him from wreaking havoc on the Helicarrier. He doesn't appear to even notice until he hears the bullets bouncing off of him. During the final battle he also takes a couple of shots from the Chitauri foot soldiers arm-cannons, and it does absolutely nothing.
    • Loki gets a very unpleasant surprise when his mind-control powers are blocked by Tony's Arc Reactor.
  • No Such Thing as Space Jesus: As Captain America prepares to dive into a battle involving Thor and Loki:
    Black Widow: These guys are from legends. They're basically gods.
    Captain America: There's only one God, ma'am. And I'm pretty sure He doesn't dress like that.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Loki gives one of these to Tony Stark just before the Chitauri invasion. True to form, Tony never loses his cool.
    Loki: I have an army.
    Tony: We have a Hulk.
  • Not So Different:
    • Tony and Loki, much to Tony's chagrin.
      Tony: ...And Loki, he's a full-tilt diva! He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built to the skies with his name plastered on—
      [realizes he's describing Stark Tower and in turn, himself]
      Tony: Sonofabitch.
    • Tony's supposed Heroic Sacrifice by guiding nuke to the outer space shows that, even though his and Captain America's standing policies might be different as night and day, but in the end, they are similar: heroes that wouldn't let innocents dies even if it means sacrificing themselves. Made more poignant by Pepper's photo when JARVIS tries to call her, a Call-Back to Cap's similar scene in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Inverted by Bruce Banner: he's a physicist, but is seen practicing medicine in the slums of Calcutta.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Played straight for the most part, except for one instance where the Hulk rescues a falling Iron Man by sliding down a building to slow his fall, then sliding several hundred yards down the street before finally coming to a stop. He then just drops Iron Man on the ground.
  • Nuke 'em: Zigzag'ed. The World Security Council's solution to the alien threat is to target Manhattan with a nuclear missile. Nick Fury mentions how monumentally stupid it is. However, Iron Man re-appropriates the nuke to strike the Chitauri mothership instead, though it wasn't absolutely necessary for victory (Black Widow was about to close the portal).

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Black Widow was introduced during an interrogation with a Russian mobster type who calls her "just another pretty face" while she manipulates information out of him by pretending to be a naive prisoner. She later uses a similar interrogation technique on Loki, playing up her vulnerability until he feels the need to threaten her and reveal something of his plan.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The World Security Council. Styling themselves like an Omniscient Council of Vagueness is bad enough, but then they go and act like complete jerks.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: Near the start of the film, Black Widow is being awesome. Only, Scarlett Johansson isn't. It's her stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker. Usually, you'd be too enthralled by the fact they're flipping around strapped to a chair, but the change in hair color and the additional muscle makes it a bit obvious.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: When Loki mind-controls someone, their eyes glow bright blue as an indication (the same color as the shell covering the gem in Loki's staff and the color of the Tesseract), and when released from the mind-control, the eyes turn back to normal.
  • Odd Friendship: Pretty much any pairing minus Black Widow and Hawkeye. A standout though is Tony and Bruce, who bond over their physical handicaps, shared suspicion of S.H.I.E.L.D., and that they're the only ones who actually "speaks English".
  • Offhand Backhand:
    • Thor does this to Iron Man right before he "drops" his hammer on Cap.
    • Hawkeye does it with arrows. Joss Whedon admitted outright to really enjoying having him do that, purely for Rule of Cool.
    • After the two kick some serious Chitauri ass together, Hulk punches Thor right out of the shot as the dust settles, for no reason other than there being nothing else around to punch.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Selvig asks Hawkeye where they got all these advanced supplies to help Loki's scheme. Hawkeye responds that S.H.I.E.L.D. has many enemies.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Natasha's reaction when she realizes that she's been tasked with recruiting The Hulk.
      Natasha: Bozhe moi... note 
    • Loki has this look on his face when Thor arrives on Earth and lands on the Quinjet to take Loki with him.
    • Tony has a blink and you'll miss it one when Thor starts crushing his gauntlet.
    • When Banner informs the others that he once tried to commit suicide by sticking a gun in his mouth and "the other guy" spit out the bullet, everyone stares at him in silence as a quasi-godlike alien who spent centuries fighting giant monsters for amusement, a super-soldier used to taking on ridiculous odds, a cocky genius who tried to deliberately provoke him into changing into the Hulk for a laugh, and a Magnificent Bastard superspy all suddenly realize what the mild-mannered guy they've pretty much been taking for granted could likely do if he gets annoyed. invoked
    • When she's pinned down during the attack on the Helicarrier, within a few feet from Banner, and he's changing.
    • Thor has a dawning realization of just how much rage Hulk has when he looks Hulk in the eye for the first time.
    • The S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot's reaction when he tries to distract the Hulk by shooting at him with a Gatling gun and the Hulk jumps toward the plane:
      Pilot: Target angry! Target angry!!
    • Tony has a humorous one when Cap is the only one around to fix some some highly advanced equipment. When Tony asks what it's doing, Cap replies that he's out of his depth.
      Captain America: It seems to be powered by some sort of electricity!
      Tony: Well... you're not wrong.
    • Tony Stark gets one when the blades of the turbine that he's been pushing start picking up speed, with him briefly getting carried along by one.
      Tony: Uh oh.
    • He gets another right after he blasts Loki with the new Mk. VII armor... then sees the portal opening overhead, reminding him that the Chitauri are coming.
      Tony: ...Right... [HUD goes into battle mode]
    • After Tony takes the Nuke through the portal. Before it blows up, he gets a brief glimpse of the world on the other side and the look in his eyes pretty much screams that.
  • Old Soldier: Black Widow is a lot less concerned about the Chitauri than you'd expect from a mundane soldier. She claims she saw worse in Budapest.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Bruce Banner is a physicist whose special field is radiation, while Tony Stark is an engineer specializing in weapons, robotics, and electricity generation, yet upon meeting each other for the first time, the two are immediately able to speak (and bond over) the same Techno Babble. Banner was also introduced (in the TV show) as "Physician, Scientist".
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Just like in Thor, a Stinger from a previous movie (Thor itself in this case) is fully elaborated here.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Hawkeye has a trick arrow that fires submunitions to achieve this effect.
  • One-Man Army: Each of the Avengers is a One-Man Army in their own right, but Tony Stark specifically describes the Hulk as one in the climax.
    Loki: I have an army.
    Tony: We have a Hulk.
  • The Oner: There are a couple of notable ones. Joss is a fan.
    • On the Helicarrier, half of the blowout between all the Avengers is a single shot, including the upside-down parts. The director's commentary mentions filming it was crazy.
    • We start with Black Widow riding a hijacked Chitauri craft... to Iron Man covering her back by blasting chasing craft... to Iron Man landing next to Captain America and reflecting his beam off of Cap's shield to clear out enemies... to Hawkeye picking off Chitauri from nearby and far... to Thor and Hulk fighting on top of a Leviathan and ultimately using a concerted effort to bring the monster down. Marvel released this scene to the press to promote the Blu-Ray/DVD edition.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Cap gets shot, and later Thor is stabbed, both in the abdomen. They suffer only momentarily since both are wearing armor.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Fury and the other Avengers are momentary shocked out of their psychically-induced squabbling when the gentle, easygoing Bruce Banner snarls, "In case you had to kill me. But you can't: I've tried."
  • Orbital Shot: During Nick Fury's famous quote — "I recognize the council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it." — the camera is orbiting around him and the holographic screens showing the council.
  • Orifice Invasion: Tony can't break through the armor and thick skin of the leviathan alien, so when it opens its mouth, Tony flies in there to see if its insides are vulnerable. It works.
  • Organ Dodge: Loki's mind-control staff works by poking the target over the heart. It doesn't work on Tony Stark because his implanted arc reactor is in the way.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Thor is used sparingly compared to the rest of the Avengers. This works nicely — since Loki is the main villain, the film could have risked being Thor 2 if he'd had too much screentime, and his Character Development is mostly shown through body language and facial expressions. It also helps that the extended cast from his movie is inaccessible; Selvig is in enemy hands, Jane is MIA because Natalie Portman was pregnant during filming, and the rest of Asgard are stuck there due to the trashed Bifröst (Thor got to Earth through a far less efficient method due to the emergency). The only person on the Helicarrier he knows is Agent Coulson. He does get a scene with Phil discussing his feelings about Loki targeting Earth.
    • Also Captain America, even though he has the most screentime, is usually not the focus on whatever scene he is in.
    • The real offender of this though is Hawkeye who, despite being one of the six featured leads, spends the first two acts under mind control. He doesn't really come into play until the climax.
  • Outdated Outfit: Steve's fashions are hopelessly out of date and what he deems "casual" (long-sleeve collared shirts, maybe with the sleeves rolled up and slacks) seems stuffy and formal compared to Tony and Clint. Cap himself suggests that his old stars-and-stripes uniform is a bit old-fashioned. Coulson doesn't argue, but suggests that with everything that's happened, people "might need a little old-fashioned."
  • Outrun the Fireball:
    • During the prologue, the Tesseract's deactivation leaves a remnant of portal energy, which builds up into a massively destructive blast which implodes the facility and forces everyone to outrace the collapse.
    • When the Chitauri mothership is destroyed by a nuclear missile, Captain America orders the portal closed to prevent the explosion from coming through to Earth. As the offline Iron Man falls back, not only does he have to get through the portal to come back home, but also to escape the nuclear explosion himself (he makes it with half a second to spare.)
  • Outside-Context Problem: Oddly, both sides of the conflict are this to each other:
    • The human Avengers have only ever fought other humans, occasionally ones armed with fantastic science. Thor is the only one from the same genre as them, and even he has no idea where exactly they came from or who they answer to.
      Steve: An army. From outer space.
    • The Avengers to the Chitauri's invasion force. It is made very clear that the Chitauri were expecting to simply waltz in and easily conquer the human race. Instead, their invasion is repelled in less than an hour by a team comprised of two Badass Normal soldiers, an Asgardian warrior, a guy in powered armour, a super-soldier... and the Hulk. Best summed up in The Stinger;
      The Other: To challenge them is to court death.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Loki is, as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanova (a.k.a. Black Widow) puts it, "nothing we were trained for" — most of the eponymous superteam are used to terrorists with fancy weapons, not mad physical gods from another dimension. Fortunately, Loki's elder brother Thor has dealt with his crap before and joins the human heroes.
  • Outside Ride:
    • Black Widow hops on the back of an alien glider, though to be fair those don't really have an "inside" to begin with.
    • Also, Hulk and Thor both hop onto a Leviathan and take it apart.
    • Then there's the scene in which Thor lands on top of the Quinjet.
  • Overly Long Gag: The second stinger shows the the Avengers sitting quietly in a Shawarma restaurant, eating.

  • Pac Man Fever: Downplayed. Tony Stark points out that one of the Helicarrier's crewmen is playing Galaga. When he leaves, the crewman looks around and then goes back to his game. When he does, the sound of a tractor beam can be heard, but there aren't any on the screen.
  • Painful Transformation: The Hulk's first transformation looks excruciating and takes a long time, because Banner is fighting it the whole time.
  • Parallel Conflict Sequence: Happens a couple of times, with the first time being the downed helicarrier scene when Thor fights Hulk, Black Widow fights Hawkeye, and Iron Man and Captain America try to get the broken propellor back to full function. It is displayed briefly during the Final Battle as well when Loki is fought by Thor (and later Hulk in a Curbstomp Battle) while the other Avengers fight the Chitauri army.
  • Le Parkour: Cap engages in this when New York becomes a war zone and the streets are littered with cars and debris.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Loki sitting comfortably to enjoy the fight between Thor and Iron Man.
  • Percussive Shutdown: Subverted in Tony's attempt to destroy the portal generator. Double subverted in that his attempt brought Selvig to his senses, leading to the portal generator being shut down by more conventional means.
  • Percussive Therapy: In the beginning, Steve Rogers is using said therapy to deal with the loss of his familiar world after waking 70 years later. He gets so into it he literally knocks a heavy punching bag off its stand. He even takes one home.
  • Pet the Dog: Tony offering to fly Phil Coulson on a private jet to Portland, apparently having overheard his earlier conversation with Pepper where he mentioned that he'd had to break it off with his girlfriend after she'd moved there.
    Tony: I'll fly you to Portland, keep the love alive!
  • Phrase Catcher: At the climax, when Cap is divvying up tasks. Last up is the Hulk:
    Cap: And Hulk? [Hulk turns to Cap] ''Smash!''
  • Pillar of Light: The Tesseract beam has this look while creating the portal.
  • Pitiful Worms: Loki has this opinion about the humans:
    Fury: We have no quarrel with your people.
    Loki: An ant has no quarrel with a boot.
  • Playful Hacker: Tony Stark points out that if S.H.I.E.L.D. expects him to be effective, he needs to know everything.
  • Playing Games at Work: After Tony Stark comes aboard the Helicarrier, he gleefully points out that one of the bridge deckhands is playing Galaga at their desk. Shortly after the scene ends and the heroes leave, the deckhand turns their screen back to Galaga again.note 
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Played with. While there are few obstacles that can be overcome only by a specific superhero, it is unavoidable due to the very nature of the set-up. As Fury points out, the entire idea of the Avengers is to be a versatile and flexible response team.
  • Pocket Protector: Tony's Arc Reactor performs like this against Loki's brainwashing scepter.
  • Poisonous Captive: Loki will taunt you and demoralize you and lead his minions to you.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Loki calling Natasha a "mewling quim".
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Steve doesn't get a lot of references the other characters make, like Pilates. When Fury puzzles Thor by mentioning "flying monkeys", Steve's happy that he finally got one. It also goes the other way, when Thor describes an Asgardian beast that Coulson is unfamiliar with.
  • The Power of Friendship: Obviously a major theme in the movie. Tony Stark's kindness towards and acceptance of Bruce Banner/The Hulk, refusing to treat him like a ticking time bomb the way everyone else is, has drastic consequences later on, as not only does his insistence that the Hulk can be used for good get through to Bruce, who decides to come back to help during the final battle, but the Hulk remembers Tony and winds up saving his life.
  • The Power of Trust: Between Stark and Banner. In this movie, Stark makes a point of offering Banner trust (even his poke in the stomach can be seen as a demonstration of his confidence in Banner's self control). Banner repays it in spades.
  • Power Trio: Iron Man fits The Kirk, and Captain America fits The McCoy. Given that Thor is calculative and likes control, and that Banner (when he's not Hulk) is calm and logical, either one could be The Spock.
  • Power Walk: Right before the final battle, Cap, Black Widow and Hawkeye walk out all together in full badassery.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    • Props to another Cap and Hulk scene at the beginning of the final battle where Cap asks Bruce how he manages to stay calm.
      Captain America: Dr. Banner, now might be a good time to get angry.
      [Banner looks over his shoulder at Cap]
      Banner: That's my secret, Cap... I'm always angry.
      [Banner faces the gargantuan Chitauri ship, simultaneously turns into the Hulk, and stops its onslaught with a single punch]
    • Captain America gives one to the Hulk near the end of the film as he's giving the other heroes tasks to accomplish.
      Captain America: And Hulk...
      [Hulk turns to face him]
      Captain America: Smash.
      [Hulk smirks and leaps towards some Chitauri]
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Both Thor and Cap toss their weapons around with this effect. Thor is justified by it being a magic hammer that he can summon to his hand whenever he wants. Cap is apparently really good at calculating ricochet angles in fractions of a second, for instance when he breaks up the Thor/Iron Man fight by bouncing it off both of their heads.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": Delivered by Cap to a S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, who tries to tell Cap that he isn't authorized to take the Quinjet.
    Captain America: Son, just don't.
  • Previews Pulse: The second trailer had some instances of this, coupled with Loki's Hannibal Lecture. So did its third trailer.
  • Primal Stance: The Hulk in assumes a hunched, almost gorilla-stance. He even slams both fists into the ground and grunts at one point.
  • Product Placement:
    • During the final battle, one of the only buildings with no noticeable damage sports the motto for Farmers Insurance, which all of New York would need by this point.
    • The Chitauri fly across a clearly placed Dr. Pepper truck, which they blow up along the way.
    • Tony Stark drives an Acura in this movie instead of the Audis from the Iron Man films. S.H.I.E.L.D. also uses Acura cars, and in a deleted scene, Steve (mulling over his past) walks past a showroom with the Acura RDX 2012 model prominently displayed, along with the company's logo.
    • Tony Stark's bracelets are Colantotte bracelets, which are supposed to administer magnetic therapy for healthier blood flow. A tie-in comic explains that Pepper bought them for Tony's birthday, and their magnetic properties inspired him to build the Mark VII.
  • Production Throwback:
    • "Does anybody feel like shawarma? I feel some shawarma coming on." was evidently the line that got Nicholas Brendon cast as Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Coulson's dying speech to Loki is inverted in an older Whedon production, Angel, at the end of the aptly-titled "Conviction": The villain lectures the hero about a lack of "conviction" to his cause, ensuring that evil will always triumph. Both scenes end in the same way, with the good character silencing the villain with a well-placed shot.
    • The Engineer and The Big Guy have to do some hasty work on their vehicle's engine. The big guy opens a panel and tries to make sense of a mind-boggling mess of circuitry. In Firefly, it was Kaylee and Jayne, in this film, it's Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.
    • Loki's mind-controlling scepter works by poking people in the heart. It doesn't work on Tony Stark because his arc reactor blocks it. Joss Whedon's earlier work Serenity features a bad guy whose signature move is jamming people's nerves to paralyze them, and a hero with a missing nerve cluster that makes him immune to this.
  • Prolonged Prologue: The movie begins with The Other explaining to Thanos (and the audience) what their Evil Plan is. Then we cut to Nick Fury arriving at a joint S.H.I.E.L.D./NASA/Project Pegasus research facility being evacuated. Then Loki arrives, takes control of Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig, and escapes with the Tesseract as the entire facility collapses. Finally Coulson asks Fury "What now?" and we get an Answer Cut to the title "The Avengers", a moment made even cooler in the UK release as the title is "Avengers Assemble".
  • Protectorate: The whole world is this to the eponymous team, but especially to Thor:
    Thor: So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights? No! The Earth is under my protection, Loki!
  • Psychological Projection: Loki's default mode:
    • He gives the crowd of Germans a lecture on how the mad scramble for power and identity diminishes their life's joy, something he is reluctant to admit about himself.
    • He refers to Bruce Banner/Hulk as a "mindless beast" that "makes play he's still a man," asks how desperate Nick Fury is to summon "such lost creatures" to defend him and constantly taunts Banner with looks. When Black Widow calls Loki a monster he just replies "No, you've brought the monster." In Thor, Loki called himself a monster after finding out his true parentage, and in Thor: The Dark World he says that Thor must be truly desperate to come to him for help.
    • During his speech to Black Widow, he's as much talking about himself as he's talking about her. Bonus points for showing his own reflection in the glass that separates them:
      Loki: Your ledger is dripping, it's gushing red. [...] You lie and kill in the service of liars and killers. You pretend to be separate, to have your own code, something that makes up for the horrors. But they are a part of you, and they will never go away!
  • Psychotic Smirk:
    • Loki's entrance comes adorned with an epic one. Many more follow. They stop once Hawkeye takes advantage of his nature to stop and do this by blowing him out of the sky.
    • The Hulk sports one after Cap's order to defeat the Chitauri is merely: "And Hulk? Smash."
    • Thanos gives one as he is revealed in The Stinger, just after the Other says that attacking Earth is to "court death".
  • Punch Catch:
    • Loki catches Captain America's fist during their scuffle.
    • Thor also catches Iron Man's punch the first time they fight. Iron Man responds with a repulsor blast to the face.
    • Later, Thor catches Hulk's fist and tries to talk to Banner before Hulk slugs him with his free hand.
  • Punched Across the Room: For half the main characters, this is the basic at-will attack.
  • Puny Earthlings:
    • The Chitauri had been told that humans were those but changed their mind after their invasion of New York faced the Avengers and Iron Man nuked their command ship.
    • Also inverted when the Hulk smashes Loki and calls him a "Puny God".
  • Pure Energy: When Tony tries to blast the portal generator with his repulsors, they are blocked by a Deflector Shield. Jarvis points out that the repulsors will have no effect, as the shield is made of pure energy.


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