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The Avengers / Tropes Q to Z

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The Avengers provides examples of the following tropes:

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WARNING: Spoilers from the earlier films are unmarked.

  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Lampshaded regularly by Loki, Nick Fury, Bruce Banner and every other character, but none so much as Joss Whedon himself.
    Joss: The Avengers is a terrible idea for a superhero team. They really don't belong in the same movie, let alone in the same room.
  • Rated M for Manly: The super heroes, the explosions, the fighting, and the general epic scale.
  • Reaching Towards the Audience: Iron Man, in the official poster.
  • The Real Heroes: During the Chitauri invasion of Manhattan, New York's fire department tries to ameliorate the disaster under fire while the NYPD try to fight back even if they only have their side arms. Eventually, the US Army and/or National Guard manage to get troops in for some fire support for the Avengers.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Natalie Portman was enthusiastic about returning to the role of Thor's human love interest Jane Foster, but was heavily pregnant during filming. Jane was thus Put on a Bus to a conference in Tromsø, away from the action of the movie.
    • Chris Evans quickly grew a full beard once filming was complete, so Cap keeps his face hidden from the camera during The Stinger.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Shortly after Thor nabs Loki from the transport, after Black Widow explains that Thor's basically a god, Captain America states that there's only one God in existence, and it's pretty clear that he's referring to the Judeo-Christian God.
  • Real Time: The S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot fires the nuke and announces it will detonate in two minutes thirty seconds. That's how much movie time elapses until it hits the Chitauri ship.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Loki's other other favorite tactic: He tells everyone and the human race itself that they suck and he is so much better than them.
    • Agent Coulson gives one right back to Loki, punctuated with a BFG, while bleeding to death.
      Agent Coulson: You're going to lose. It's in your nature. You lack conviction.
    • Steve gives one to Tony that stings:
      Steve Rogers: Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away, what are you?
      Tony Stark: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
      Steve Rogers: I know guys with none of that worth ten of you.
    • Even Stark's answer about how he would just cut the barbed wire rather than lie down on it and allow other soldiers to walk over him to achieve the mission gets an angry quip from Captain America.
    • Stark proceeds to fire right back at him.
      Tony Stark: Everything special about you came out of a bottle.
    • And of course, Tony's speech about how Loki sucks because he provoked six of the most dangerous people in the world and thinks he's going to come out on top.
      Tony: Not a great plan.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Nick Fury plays this role. As Tony notes, Nick Fury is a top spy, so everything he says is loaded with half-truths, misdirections, omissions, and good old-fashioned lies, but he has everyone's best interests at heart.
  • Redemption Rejection: When Thor fights Loki on Stark Tower, he tells him it's not too late to turn back. For a second Loki seems to be considering it. Then he stabs Thor in the stomach.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Iron Man is the red to Captain America's blue. Heck, they're even Color-Coded Characters.
  • Red Shirt Army: S.H.I.E.L.D. comes across as one because only the named agents (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hill, Coulson) ever achieve anything.
  • Reflexive Response: Twice.
    • Nick Fury takes out a fight jet about to launch a nuke with a rocket launcher. As soon as he sees a second, he automatically pulls out his sidearm, only to realize the jet is already far out of range of a handgun.
    • During the battle in New York, Hawkeye is startled to realize he's been pulling arrows out of his quiver so fast he's run out of them.
  • Relocating the Explosion: Iron Man does it with a nuke, taking it through the portal to the Chitauri mothership.
  • Renegade Russian: The Russian who was interrogating Black Widow was wearing a Russian military uniform and running what is strongly implied to be an illegal arms dealing business.
  • Retractable Weapon: Hawkeye's bow can retract for easy storage and deploy, bowstring ready, with the press of a switch.
  • The Reveal:
    • Banner's secret for how he's avoided getting angry for so long: he hasn't. He's always angry, he's just made peace with his anger enough to avoid Hulking out. Until he needs to.
    • The true master of the Chitauri is Thanos the mad titan.
  • Revenge:
    • Thor states that this is part of Loki's reason for wanting to invade Earth, since Thor has become very protective of Earth.
    • Invoked in-universe: "Because if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it."
    • After the Hulk and Thor work together for a brief to moment, they stand watching something and facing the camera for a second. Cue the Hulk punching Thor out of the shot offhand still staring forward, in revenge for a vicious fight earlier in the movie.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Loki's plot to take control of Earth in The Avengers is largely driven by jealousy and resentment towards his adoptive brother Thor, as well as rage at being deceived about his true ancestry. He wants to subjugate the entire population of Earth — a planet which Thor treasures and protects — thereby wiping out many of the people that Thor cares about. In addition, Loki feels that he was cheated out of his rightful place as the ruler of Asgard.
    Thor: So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights?
  • Reverse Polarity: Downplayed. The phrase "reverse the polarity" is used by Tony Stark in a less unacceptable context — Stark in giving Captain America instructions to slow down a turbine engine/motor. Reversing the polarity on a basic DC motor will reverse the direction of its rotation, which has the immediate effect of slowing its motion.
  • Revolving Door Revolution: In response to a query by Loki during the Wounded Gazelle Gambit scene, Natasha claims this of Russia:
    Natasha: Regimes fall every day. I tend not to weep over them; I'm Russian. Or, I was.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The World Security Council's decision to nuke New York makes far more sense after watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the revelation that it and S.H.I.E.L.D. are both heavily infiltrated by HYDRA. Destroying a major city in a seemingly justifiable action like that would have played into their long-term goals quite well.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Subverted. Rogers doesn't let himself get sidetracked by Tony's witty reply, continuing the original discussion about the flaws in Tony's view of heroism.
    Steve Rogers: Big man in a suit of armour. Take that off, what are you?
    Tony Stark: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist?
  • Roundhouse Kick: When Loki is fighting Captain America in Stuttgart after he demands that Cap kneels before him, Cap responses with a roundhouse to Loki's face.
  • Rule of Cool: A standard in super hero movies. Hawkeye shooting a Chitauri when his head was facing the other way is a prime example (and something Whedon really liked).
  • Rule of Three: Phil Coulson seems to have a romantic relationship with a cellist that is mentioned thrice throughout the film. Each time it's mentioned it corresponds to a particular part of the Three-Act Structure.
  • Rust Proof Blood: The blood on Coulson's Captain America cards is still bright red long after it should have dried up. It's our first clue that Fury wasn't telling the truth about where he found them. Note that it smears on the glass table when Steve picks them up.

  • Sacrificial Lion: Agent Coulson is killed by Loki when he tries to stop Loki from dropping Thor off the Helicarier.
  • Same Character, but Different: Hawkeye is shown to be a serious S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and one of Nick Fury's most trusted men. His comic book inspiration is an ex-criminal with a distinct dislike for bureaucracy and military structure.
  • Satellite Character: Hawkeye, compared to the other characters, really lacks a dynamic plot arc. He's defined entirely by Black Widow's desire to save him. Prior to The Avengers, his only development was appearing for five minutes in Thor (and even then, the average viewer most likely didn't realize who he was in that movie). Come time for this movie, he spends the first two acts under mind control from Loki.
  • Say My Name: Initially, Tony gets angry and jealous because Pepper calls Coulson by his first name. Later on, when facing Loki in full Mark VI suit, Tony utterly delivers a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner to him:
    Tony: And there's someone else you've pissed off. His name was Phil.
  • Scenery Censor: Transforming back from the Hulk after his fall to earth, Bruce Banner's nudity is conveniently blocked by debris.
  • Scenery Gorn: Most of Midtown Manhattan becomes this by the end of the movie.
  • Schizo Tech: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "Helicarrier" is an otherwise contemporary aircraft carrier that can fly and turn invisible. Because it's cool.
  • Science Foils: As soon as the Genius Bruiser Bruce Banner (a nuclear physicist) and the insufferably suave Gadgeteer Genius Tony Stark (a weapons engineer) meet, they strike up an Odd Friendship based on mutual geekery and work together for the rest of the film, even driving off together at the end.
  • Science Hero: Bruce Banner and Tony Stark. Erik Selvig also gets a moment to shine.
  • The Scottish Trope: Bruce refuses to call his alter ego Hulk. Instead, he refers to him as "the other guy". He only slips once, and immediately corrects himself. Though he has made his peace with the Hulk, he still doesn't like it.
  • Scotty Time: Fury asks Coulson how long it will take to evacuate the research campus and immediately demands that he "do better." Indeed, the Tesseract blows up in less than half that time and many people are killed.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • The entire team, even Captain America. This almost sets the Avengers against S.H.I.E.L.D. in the middle of the film.
    • The council has made its decision, but given that it's a "stupid-ass decision", Director Fury has merely elected to ignore it, even going so far as to shoot down one of his own birds to curtail it.
  • Seal the Breach: The Avengers rush to close a wormhole above Manhattan to prevent disaster.
  • Season Finale: For Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Seen It All: Captain America thinks he's this. Nick Fury is happy to show him otherwise.
    Cap: At this point, I doubt anything would surprise me.
    Nick Fury: Ten bucks says you're wrong.
    • Coulson's non-reaction to hearing Black Widow in a big, loud fight on the other end of a phone line is an absolutely glorious example of this trope.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Loki accuses Thor of throwing him into the wormhole at the end of their movie. In reality, he let go deliberately.
  • Sequel Escalation: The film involves stakes and action about an order of magnitude higher than any of the previous MCU films.
  • Sequel Hook: Two at the end of the film.
    • Tony starts remodeling Stark Tower into "Avengers Tower", the team's future headquarters in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
    • The mid-credits stinger reveals the Galactic Conqueror behind Loki, Thanos, is now interested in Earth in and of itself, not just the Tesseract.
  • Serkis Folk: The Incredible Hulk, with Mark Ruffalo himself doing most of the motion capture work.
  • Shadow Archetype: Loki works as a twisted mirror to the Avengers more than once. He's an example of different parts of their personalities, like Thor's values about becoming king, Black Widow's past murderous life or Tony's big ego, with the incident that led to him becoming Iron Man.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Just like in Thor, whenever he's not wearing his conqueror gear (with the horned helmet), Loki prefers a suave and classy longcoat that would be right at home for a night at the opera.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: A subdued example after a bomb explodes near Captain America.
  • Sherlock Scan: Tony Stark demonstrates this several times, often referring to a Funny Background Event that no-one else noticed. Fittingly, Robert Downey Jr. has twice played the trope namer, Sherlock Holmes.
    Tony: That man is playing Galaga! Thought we wouldn't notice, but we did!
  • Shout-Out: Collected in their own subpage for this movie.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Shortly before the movie was made, New York changed license-plate designs, and what you see on the streets is a mix of old and new. Which is what you see in the movie as well.
    • Selvig's information about iridium is accurate. It is indeed found mostly from meteorites, produces antiprotons, matches its appearance in the film, is one of the rarest elements on Earth, and would be useful for his work with the Tesseract because of its high melting point.
    • So is Tony and Banner's conversation aboard the Helicarrier about bypassing the Coulomb barrier through quantum tunneling, which is often easily mistaken for Techno Babble.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: The Hulk. The only time he's even remotely in trouble is in his fight with Thor or when he is briefly pinned down by a dozen or so Chitauri gliders.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: This happens to Loki on five separate occasions:
  • Side Bet: Nick Fury offers to bet Steve Rogers $10 that there's still surprises left in the world for Steve. We don't see Steve accept, but after the Helicarrier takes off Steve walks onto the bridge and silently hands Fury a ten-dollar bill.
  • Sigil Spam: The S.H.I.E.L.D. eagle is prominently plastered all over the Helicarrier. The bridge of the Helicarrier is even shaped like the logo. This is most easily visible in the pullback shot at the end of the movie.
  • Signs of Disrepair: Invoked. After the final battle, the STARK on Stark Tower is reduced to an A for Avengers.
  • Silent Whisper:
    • Pepper does this to Tony towards the beginning when motivating him to finish his "homework" quickly. Judging by the shocked, delighted look on his face and Coulson looking away in embarrassment, it was something quite dirty (though this scene also lent itself to some "Hail HYDRA" parodies a few years later).
    • In a possible reference to Scarlett Johansson's role in Lost in Translation, Black Widow whispers something to Hawkeye right before Loki is sent back from whence he came.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Both Black Widow and Loki are firm believers in this, which makes their clash all the more spectacular:
    Natasha: Love is for children. I owe him a debt.
    Loki: [...] and you think saving a man no more virtuous than yourself will change anything? This is the basest sentimentality. This is a child at prayer... PATHETIC!
  • Single Tear: Loki has one after he stabs Thor on the Stark Tower.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Loki's is coming along.
    • Hulk gets a brief but effective one when Cap tells him to smash.
    • And in the stinger, Thanos shows his off against the backdrop of a shattered planet.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps:
    • Thor in this incarnation, looking more like the original costume in the comics. He actually gets the sleeves back when things get serious.
    • Hawkeye's costume is based on his original Ultimates uniform, although his 616 costume is often sleeveless as well.
  • Smug Super:
    • Loki will remind you at any opportunity that he is a god.
    • Tony is much the same, and doesn't hesitate to brag about his accomplishments and/or his abilities at any given moment.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The casting for the film is even less balanced than the Sixties teams. While the original team had a 4-1 ratio (Hulk left almost as soon as Captain America joined) and the second had a 3-1 ratio, the movie's inclusion of Nick Fury and Agent Coulson as "title" characters put the central cast at 7-1. Needless to say, some chunks of fandom took note. Maria Hill was added to adjust the ratio a little. Joss Whedon himself was not happy about this, and has said he chose to add Scarlet Witch to the sequel partially for this reason.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: While Steve is chewing Tony out for attempting to provoke the Hulk from Banner, Tony shows him how much he doesn't care by obviously, gratuitously, and sloppily palming blueberries into his mouth throughout the entire speech. He even offers some to Steve while Cap is in the middle of talking.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Quite a bit of the movie has all the main characters (particularly between Tony and Steve) do this to each other. And it's hilarious.
  • Soft Glass: While Hulk and the Chitauri grunts bash through windows with no problem, and Hawkeye isn't visibly injured by his attempt, though his actor at least has the sense to look like it hurt. Tony also gets thrown out of a window made of fairly thick glass from Stark Tower while not suited up. It doesn't hurt him at all and he seems much more worried about falling to his death.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: The Deflector Shield surrounding the portal-opening machine powered by the Tesseract only appears when something touches it, as seen when Iron Man tries to destroy it, and his repulsor blasts are sent back at him.
  • Someone Has to Die: At the end, Tony grabs the nuke and flies it into space in spite of Natasha's warnings that anything going out of the wormhole is on a "one way trip" because everyone on Manhattan Island would've been killed otherwise, even if Natasha managed to close the portal in time to stop the rest of the invading army. It's unsaid, but notable, that Thor also had the capability to do this, and Tony could've refused to catch the nuke and instead flown away from the city in time to save himself, yet chose not to.
  • Something We Forgot: After successfully repelling an Alien Invasion, Tony Stark proposes that he and his teammates celebrate with shawarma. Then Thor says that it's not over yet, because there's still one member of the invaders still alive: Loki, who's back at Stark Tower after a thrashing from the Hulk earlier.
    Tony: And then shawarma after?
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Loki and Fury have their moments:
    • During his Hannibal Lecture to Black Widow:
      Loki: This is my bargain, you mewling quim!
    • When the World Security Council has decided to throw a nuke at Manhattan to stop the Alien Invasion:
      Fury: I recognize that the Council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Elegant classical music plays when Loki and Brainwashed!Hawkeye are killing people at a party in Germany. It gives the scene a very surreal feeling.
    • Inverted during Natasha's chair-bound fight scene. When Agent Coulson calls her, she says, "Let me put you on hold." She then proceeds to fight Russian thugs, accompanied by racing, staccato music. When the scene switches to Coulson listening to the fight, the music continues, sounding like (peculiar) on-hold music.
  • Space Whale: The Chitauri's giant living assault ships, with elements of Giant Flyer, Giant Worm and Our Dragons Are Different mixed in. A Living Ship?
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather: Take your pick. There's at least one character who has you covered. Except the Hulk.
  • Speak of the Devil: Banner refuses to call the Hulk by name, referring to him as "the other guy" and correcting himself the one time he does slip in a "he who must not be named" kind of a way.
  • Spice Up the Subtitles: The Swedish (cinematic) subitles spice up Loki's infamous "You mewling quim" to Black Widow by rendering as "Din fega fitta" ("cowardly cunt"). Well, it's technically correct...
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To multiple past incarnations of Bruce Banner/Hulk. The character is fully re-established in this film and exact details of his past are hardly addressed in a specific nature. The Incredible Hulk has no real bearing on this film, so you could imagine this Banner/Hulk as being the "older and wiser" version of himself from the 2003 Hulk film or the 2008 film.
    • The film itself can be considered one to Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: While Captain America receives thirty more seconds of screentime and directs the battle during the climax, Tony Stark has many of the movie's crucial scenes such as arresting Loki and saving Manhattan with a near-Heroic Sacrifice. At an earlier point, Tony Stark was to have an even greater role. Mark Ruffalo's Banner and Hulk were extremely well-received, considering that Hulk's movies did relatively poorly, and Hulk has some of the most memorable scenes. Hawkeye has the least screentime of each hero, but this works considerably to his favor.
  • Spy Catsuit: Black Widow and Maria Hill.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Tony offering blueberries to Captain America. Who's wearing blue.
    • During the end where Tony is seen making plans to rebuild Stark Tower to the Avengers base, the only letter from the Stark sign that survived the destruction during the film's climax was "A".
    • Shawarma is basically a type of gyro, which rhymes with "hero".
    • In the first stinger, the Other says challenging Earth would be "to court death" while talking to Thanos, the one being who, in the comics, does this literally.
  • The Stinger:
    • One mid-credits, revealing that the entire Loki-led Chitauri invasion was in fact orchestrated by Thanos.
    • A second one after the end of the credits, where the crew eats at the shawarma place Tony suggests at the end of the final battle. Whilst it was originally only in the US-release of the film theatrically, it's included in all versions of the home release.
  • Stock Shoutouts:
    • A113 appears in the upper left corner of Fury's video screen as he's having his last video conference with The Council.
    • And the Tesseract, a source of infinite power and knowledge with alien origins? Yeah, it's in the S.H.I.E.L.D. books as item #42.
  • Stout Strength: In a departure from the previous film (and most of his comics, really) The Hulk has a noticeable layer of fat around his massive trunk, though his muscles still show.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: While Hawkeye does have a service handgun, he spends most of the time firing arrows.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Steve Rogers tells Fury that he doubts anything they're about to face will surprise him after all the strange things the 21st century has already thrown at him. It doesn't help that, this being a Joss Whedon script, people keep making pop-culture references he doesn't understand. (He does eventually get a small victory when he understands a reference that Thor doesn't.)
  • Stress Conga Line: It took quite a bit for Loki to get Banner to Hulk out. Being more or less drafted into S.H.I.E.L.D, shoved onto a flying helicarrier (Banner hates submarines and planes alike), getting into a shouting match with the other Avengers, picking up Loki's scepter, and then banging his head on a wall when the Helicarrier lurches from an explosion eventually does him in.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!:
    • Earlier in the film, Bruce Banner in his Troll-ish moment to pretend he's gonna Hulking Out:
      Bruce: [in low deadpan tone] [Fury] needs me in a cage?
      Natasha: No-one's gonna put you in...
      Bruce: STOP LYING TO ME!
      Natasha: [freaks out and draws her gun]
      Bruce: [chuckles, looks obviously amused and satisfied] I'm sorry, that was mean, I just wanted to see what you'd do.
    • Loki, when he is commanding a group of people in Stuttgart to kneel:
      Loki: Kneel before me! I said... KNEEEEL!
  • Sunglasses at Night: Agent Coulson in his first appearance in the film. He's not just doing it to look cool, though; he has the landing lights of Fury's helicopter in his face, and takes the shades off once he's no longer running the risk of being blinded.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Nick Fury and Black Widow. Captain America to a much lesser extent than in his previous film (he uses an assault rifle in one scene). Hawkeye also wears a sidearm, though he prefers using his bow.
  • Superhero Paradox: Invoked by Thor. According to him, when S.H.I.E.L.D. activated the Tesseract to create weapons capable of defending themselves from Asgardian-level threats, they ironically sent the message to everyone in the galaxy that the Earth "is ready for a higher form of war". Nick Fury, in turn, cites Thor himself and his arrival on Earth in New Mexico as an example of this trope and the reason S.H.I.E.L.D. was escalating in the first place, since Thor's fight with the Destroyer showed everyone that Earth is "hopelessly, hilariously outgunned" by pretty much every alien race out there.
  • Super Strength: At least half of the main cast has this trait, which is perhaps best displayed when Thor tackles The Hulk through a metal barrier. Also subverted (though definitely justified) when Hulk, in the ensuing brawl with Thor, attempts to lift Thor's hammer off the floor, and the damn thing doesn't even budge (for the curious, here's a great blog that lists Hulk's feats of strength throughout the years. Yes, you read that right— The Hulk holds up a 150 billion ton mountain). This, more than anything, is proof that physical strength means nothing in this context — only a warrior (and possibly only an Asgardian one) worthy of wielding the hammer can lift it.
  • Super Team: The Avengers Initiative.
  • Super Toughness:
    • Loki, being a Frost Giant, shrugs off small-arms and assault rifle fire, but is thrown around by explosions. He also understandably gets beaten up by the Hulk, but lives to tell the tale and is able to crawl under his own power by the time he's captured again in the finale.
    • This is half of the reason S.H.I.E.L.D. is so worried about Banner Hulking Out in uncontrolled circumstances. He survived firing a bullet into his own mouth by transforming involuntarily, and in the movie he survives a nearly 30,000 foot drop with no ill effect.
  • Supervillain Lair: Loki sets up shop in a warehouse somewhere, loaded to the gills with equipment and mindwiped servants. Oddly, he never seems to return to it after Stuttgart, so there's no scene of the heroes Exploring the Evil Lair.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: Coulson wields a gun that was created from the remains of The Destroyer.
  • Super Window Jump: After running out of arrows, Hawkeye swings down and crashes right through a massive window. He isn't badly hurt, but his pained body language seems to imply that he got poked by a few pieces of glass.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language:
    • Black Widow's interrogation scene in the beginning of the film has the dialogue in perfect Russian, although the Russian general has a weak but noticeable foreign accent (due to the actor being Polish) and Natasha herself speaks with a very heavy American accent. The text on the billboard briefly seen outside the building appears to be gibberish, though.
    • While a tiny example, her pronunciation of "Budapest" is also correct (unlike Hawkeye's anglicized pronunciation).
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Loki and Asgardians in general are obscenely durable by Earth standards, as he shrugs off bullets at the beginning of the film and both he and Thor take a hell of a beating from the likes of Iron Man and continue to get back up little worse for wear. When the Hulk, who is effectively the strongest physical character and able to singlehandedly endure and dish out insane amounts of damage as the game-changer for the entire conflict, performs some Metronomic Man Mashing on Loki, the latter is so badly thrashed that he passes out in the aftermath and can't get up to his feet even after the Chitauri are finished.
  • Surprisingly Super-Tough Thing: Thor is surprised when the containment cell built for the Hulk actually holds against his first hammer hit when Thor tries to break out. After he's been dumped with the cell into free-fall, he adjusts his technique and flies straight at the crack he made with the first hit, breaking through.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Black Widow is all sorts of badass, but she's savvy enough to know how well she'd fare if Banner turns into the Hulk and she happens to be the closest target for his rage. When it happens, she's visibly terrified and doesn't try to fight him, instead resorting to hiding. When he catches up to her, a single swipe is enough to stun her long enough for him to crush her, and it would've happened if Thor hadn't intervened.
    • Despite being in a superhero movie, the team fighting a full army is treated with a fair amount of realism. The cliché of a dozen enemies landing a single hit is deconstructed when every member slows down from injuries and exhaustion:
      • The most human member Black Widow slows down first and decides to do something else to stop the army.
      • Hawkeye runs out of his trademark Trick Arrows at one point and is nearly killed. He is also shown having to scavenge and collect arrows he's already fired in order to remain useful in the fight, as well as the effects of smashing through a hard glass window and landing on the shards of broken glass.
      • Iron Man runs out of weapons outside of his repulsors and gets swarmed.
      • Captain America is injured from fight after fight and it's pretty obvious that if they had to battle for a couple more minutes, he wouldn't have held out.
      • Hulk himself is being shown overwhelmed by the Chitauri as they focus all their firepower on him and he gets less smash-happy as it goes on and the hits pile up.
      • The only one who doesn't appear to be affected by all the fighting is Thor, who is a god.
    • The Stinger for the movie also shows something that we rarely get to see in anything superhero-y: the exhausted Avengers sitting around the ruins of a schwarma joint, wolfing down food in weary silence.
    • After the big battle when the various screens are showing people's reactions to the Avengers, one screen shows a memorial service being held for those who died in the attack. What, you think no one at all got hurt when the aliens invaded? This becomes one of the driving forces for the main conflict in Captain America: Civil War, as after the events of this film and Avengers: Age of Ultron, governments of other countries want restrictions for the Avengers.
    • The fallout from the invasion starts to be shown in better detail throughout The Defenders (2017) and the Netflix shows leading into it:
      • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk is profiting from bid-rigging on reconstruction contracts for damage sustained to Hell's Kitchen. A framed newspaper front page in Ben Urich's (later Karen Page's) office reveals hundreds of people were killed.
      • Jessica Jones (2015): Some people have developed prejudiced fears of 'gifted' people, as Jessica discovers with Audrey Eastman
      • Luke Cage (2016): Hammer Industries has used alien metal from the Chitauri to engineer the Judas bullet.
      • Iron Fist (2017): Among those that Bakuto has recruited into the Hand are teens who were orphaned in the invasion.
  • Surveillance Station Slacker: Tony Stark calls out a S.H.I.E.L.D. Mission Control op for playing Galaga while on duty. The guy goes right back to playing the game after Tony leaves.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Pepper asks Coulson if he's come to get Tony to join the Avengers, which of course she knows nothing about.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: No more than a few hundred Chitauri are ever visible on-screen in total, even after Loki orders them to "send in the rest." Even when we get a look at their home dimension with the rest of the invasion force, we only see eight additional Leviathans, a few dozen space speeders similar in speed and armament to WW-2 prop planes, and a mothership that is not particularly huge and couldn't possibly hold more than tens of thousands of additional troops at most. This makes their desire to conquer an entire planet with hundreds of millions of soldiers quite questionable. Justified by the Other and Loki being ill-informed of Earth's capabilities and small armies being the norm in the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's civilizations, such as the Einherjar of Asgard.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: Selvig opening a vortex over Stark Tower.

  • Tagline: "Some Assembly Required."
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier has a cell designed to hold and theoretically kill the Hulk. It's strong enough to stand up to a blow from Thor's hammer with only a crack to show for it, and set up to be dropped from the helicarrier at high altitude if it's damaged in any way. It gets used to hold Loki instead, and Banner doubts its effectiveness on the Hulk when it comes up in conversation.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Tony Stark's favorite tactic. It disgusts Captain America during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Stark, because in his mind this means that Stark would never be willing to make a sacrifice if it came down to it.
    • Fury wants to fight the Chitauri off with the Avengers, while the WSC wants to nuke Manhattan to make sure the aliens are defeated. Iron Man proceeds to grab the nuke after it's been shot, fly through the wormhole and chuck it at the Chitauri fleet, thus managing to both take a third option and make a sacrifice play.
  • Take Over the World: Loki wants to conquer Earth and reign over it as an absolute ruler.
  • Take That!: Coulson's "I watched you while you were sleeping" line to Captain Steve Rogers could be a Take That! to Twilight.
  • Taking You with Me: Discussed by Tony when he tells Loki that even if the Chitauri do take over Earth, Loki himself wouldn't profit, because they'd make sure to avenge Earth by at least taking Loki out as well.
  • Talk to the Fist:
    • A dying Phil Coulson shooting Loki in the middle of a sentence.
    • Loki is just warming up to his favorite theme of humanity's inferiority when the Hulk gets bored and just starts flailing him around like a rag doll.
  • Tame His Anger: The secret on how Bruce has been able to control his anger and keep himself from hulking out most of the time?
  • Tap on the Head: Black Widow knocks out Hawkeye during their fistfight. Unusual for the trope, it takes two blows to knock him completely out.
  • Team Dad: Chris Hemsworth sees Tony Stark as "the godfather of the Avengers", which would explain why he's always arguing with The Leader Steve Rogers over what's best for the proverbial kids, like Dr. Banner.
  • Team Prima Donna: All the Avengers are rather skeptical of the others' abilities and convinced their concerns are the most important ones, but especially Thor and Tony.
  • Team Title: The Avengers.
  • The Teaser: Loki stealing the Tesseract from under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s nose.
  • Techno Babble:
    • As one of their many, myriad differences, it's another of the wedges between Iron Man and Captain America.
      Tony: That stator control unit can reverse the polarity long enough to disengage maglev and that shou—
      Steve: Speak English!
      Tony: ...See that red lever?
    • Tony and Bruce bond over their shared understanding of it. Funnily enough, it's not truly Technobabble; see Shown Their Work.
      Tony Stark: Finally! Someone who speaks English.
      Steve Rogers: that what just happened?
  • Technology Porn:
    • The S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier.
    • All the various Stark technologies.
    • Hawkeye's special quiver that can attach different types of arrowheads to a shaft.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: For most of the movie. By the final act, the heroes learn to work together.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Agent Coulson is a big fan of Captain America, and watched him while he was sleeping.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Tony Stark doesn't like how Pepper Potts is on First-Name Basis with S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson, and insists that his first name is "Agent".
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Black Widow reacts with horror when Coulson informs her that whatever "compromised" Barton is so bad that they need Bruce Banner.
    • While Loki's sitting in the S.H.I.E.L.D. transport, having "surrendered", and notices the raging storm outside, he cottons on that he's about to have an uncomfortable reunion...
      Steve Rogers: Scared of a little lightning?
      Loki: I'm not overly fond of what follows...
    • Also, Black Widow's response to Iron Man's "party" of a Leviathan chasing him, as shown in the trailers.
      Black Widow: I... I don't see how that's a party.
    • Captain America's and Black Widow's realization that the latter has to to steal one of the Chitauri crafts to get back atop Stark Tower.
  • This Is Not a Drill: This phrase blares over speakers as the Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. faculty is being evacuated due to the Tesseract "misbehaving".
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: New York is invaded by several aliens, and a flying creature that seems immune to missiles, laser beams, repulsor beams, it's all useless. Nobody can stop that thing... except a lone guy who is always angry. The creature is destroyed, but Loki simply summons more like them from the portal.
  • Three-Act Structure: In this case it was something of an Enforced Trope. According to Joss Whedon in an article in Wired magazine, Marvel Studios wanted three basic things to happen in the script: a big fight among the Avengers, a set piece in the middle that tore the team apart somehow, and a Big Badass Battle Sequence. Joss goes, "Great, you just gave me your three acts."
    • The Setup: The heroes gather and capture Loki.
    • The Confrontation: S.H.I.E.L.D. interrogates Loki and they get more than what they bargained for.
    • The Resolution: The big battle in Manhattan.
  • Three-Point Landing:
    • Naturally, this is a movie featuring Iron Man, so you can be sure this he'll take the pose on landing. Notably to conclude his Big Entrance in Stuttgart.
    • Thor also lands in this position on top of the Quinjet the first time he shows up, chasing after Loki.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: During a particularly heated argument, Captain America demands Stark put on his armor so they can fight. Tony refuses, however, saying he "isn't afraid to punch an old man" without putting on the suit. The line "put on the suit" takes on a very different meaning almost immediately after this, when an explosion rocks the entire transport. This time, Tony quickly agrees and puts on the suit.
  • Title Drop: Unless you saw it in a market which used the title "Avengers Assemble". Double Subverted. While the term "The Avengers" is mentioned casually many times, it's not until Nick Fury and Tony Stark's speeches that the title is given gravitas.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: A three-way argument to this effect is briefly had between Cap, Stark and Banner.
  • Token Good Teammate: On a team plagued with detachment from humanity, egotism, anger issues, guilt, and a seething desire for revenge, Captain America stands out because his only flaw is that he's a little old-fashioned. As such, he's the first to realize Loki is playing them against each other, and later on, the team (appropriately) accepts him as The Leader.
  • Too Clever by Half: Loki clearly thinks he's really cool, catching Barton's arrow like that. He wasn't expecting it to explode.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Hill specifically tells a pilot not to get too close to the Hulk when he distracts him. Despite the mini-gun having a range of hundreds of meters, the pilot opens up his visor and gets to stone-throw range before using it. He nearly dies when he succeeds. However, it does get the Hulk off the Helicarrier before he "tears it to pieces".
    • Loki antagonizing the Hulk might also count. Even though it might have been a surprise just how quickly he got beaten to a pulp, nobody could have been particularly surprised that it happened. On the other hand, he was probably going to get beaten up anyway and was probably just displaying false bravado in a (doomed) last-ditch attempt to intimidate him.
    • Tony accuses Agent Coulson of having been this for going up alone against Loki, although Tony seems to be trying to hide his grief over Coulson's death through his trademark snark.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Loki's first scene, and thus the first scene in the movie, is dedicated to this. He forces his way into a S.H.I.E.L.D. base, wipes out a bunch of agents, mind controls the rest, and steals the Tesseract. This is far greater physical power and ferocity than he demonstrated in Thor.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Loki still plays Divide and Conquer against the Avengers in the first half of the film, but by the second half his overblown ego and mental instability turn the former Chessmaster and Manipulative Bastard from Thor into an easy target. He is outsmarted by Black Widow, and then every member of the main cast has a chance to get back on him during his Humiliation Conga while he experiences a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Tongue Trauma: Although he was interrupted, the Russian general at the beginning was clearly planning to use this method of persuasion on Black Widow.
  • Torture Always Works: Never played straight, but played with twice.
    • Black Widow is introduced as a "helpless" victim about to suffer Cold-Blooded Torture. She is actually drawing information from her would-be torturers, though, and presumably has an escape planned before Agent Coulson intervenes.
    • In the second act, while other characters are debating the possibility of beating information out of Loki, Black Widow uses real interrogation to deduce Loki's strategy. Loki has also taken the precaution of being ignorant of the MacGuffin's whereabouts so that that information can't be tortured out of him; he fully expects Fury to try it.
  • Touché: A non-verbal example. Captain America tells Fury that nothing in the modern world could surprise him, which Fury bets ten dollars against. Then he's brought aboard an aircraft carrier, which turns into a helicarrier and engages stealth panels to hide itself. Clearly impressed, Cap wordlessly hands Fury ten dollars.
  • The Tower: The newly-built Stark Tower, aptly-if-inadvertently described by Tony (albeit talking about Loki) as "a monument built to the skies, with his name plastered on it". Naturally, it becomes the focus of the Final Battle.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Fury invoked this by showing Cap and Tony Agent Coulson's bloodied Captain America trading cards, which he had taken out of Coulson's locker and added blood to.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Will Iron Man die from his fall or not? Well, anyone who remembers the trailer will know he doesn't.
    • The line "Barton's been compromised." appears in several trailers hinting at Loki taking control of him. This happens in the opening scenes, however.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Invoked as a prelude to a superlative asskicking.
      Steve: Doctor Banner? ... Now might be a really good time for you to get angry.
      Banner: That's my secret, Cap.... I'm always angry.
    • Also the man himself, no pun intended.
  • Transforming Vehicle: Of a scale rarely seen: what appears at first to be a standard aircraft carrier deploys its turbines and turn into the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier before taking to the sky.
  • Trick Arrow: Though he tends to stick to pointy or exploding arrowheads, Hawkeye has a couple of notable uses of this trope. He fires a computer override arrow at one point, and uses a grappling hook arrow a couple of times. His quiver is the real impressive bit of technology. It stores dozens of specialized arrowheads and automatically attaches new ones to the shafts he's got stored; he can select which arrows he wants at the press of a button. He later takes down a Chitauri hovercraft with a superheating arrow.
  • The Triple: Tony Stark asks Bruce Banner how he stays calm.
    Tony: What's your secret? Relaxing jazz, bongo drums, huge bag of weed?
  • True Companions: The Avengers are all such big egos (except for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents) that they can barely be in a room together. They fight and argue, but at the same time, they bring out the best in one another and when they unite with common purpose, they're unstoppable. In short, the Avengers are, as Joss says, "family".
  • Truth in Television: Hawkeye's techno-quiver screwing headless shafts into custom arrowheads at the push of a button is quality Technology Porn, but has basis in reality; medieval archers carried arrows and arrowheads separately for the same reason — so they could swap arrowheads to suit their target. Well, that and so yanking out the arrow would leave the arrowhead inside the wound....
  • Turbine Blender: Iron Man nearly falls victim to a self-inflicted turbine blender when he has to spin up the Helicarrier's malfunctioning engine from the inside.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Black Widow and Maria Hill. Though the latter is not a member of the superhero team, they're both heroines and agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: In a movie like this, it's almost inevitable. We have Iron Man vs. Thor vs. Captain America, Thor vs. Hulk and Brainwashed and Crazy Hawkeye vs. Black Widow.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • Yes, Loki, you are a god, but that doesn't mean you should try to push the Hulk around.
    • The Chitauri are initially quite dismissive of the ability of the human race to challenge them. Needless to say, lessons are learned.
    • The Russians at the beginning say that Natasha doesn't live up to her badass reputation as the Black Widow. Then they discover that not only has she been getting information from them, she was in no danger, and easily frees herself and takes them all out once the time comes.
  • Understatement:
    • When briefing Cap, who yet has to find out about the existence of extraterrestrial life, about the situation, Nick Fury says that Loki is "not from around here".
    • The security guard who discovers Banner after his exit from the Hellcarrier sums it up pretty nicely.
      Guard: Well son... you've got a condition.
    • As does Captain America when he runs into Loki in Germany.
      Steve Rogers: You know, the last time I was in Germany, and saw a man standing above everybody else... we ended up disagreeing.
  • Unfazed Everyman: A guard coming across Banner post-transformation. "Son, you've got a condition."
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: JARVIS complains that the latest Iron Man armor isn't ready, but Tony needs to use it since his current suit is barely functional and an invasion is minutes away.
  • The Unmasqued World: While everybody had already more-or-less known about Cap (although not his return), Iron Man and the Hulk, by the end of the film mankind has become aware of the existence of extraterrestrials, Asgardians and the Avengers themselves, and have even begun to react much like the mainstream Marvel Universe does with most of their heroes.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: What happens when Thor's hammer, the most powerful weapon in the MCU, is dropped on Captain America's shield, the most indestructible defense in the MCU? BOOM
  • Unusual Euphemism: Natasha substitutes Out, Damned Spot! with the accounting metaphor "red on my ledger" when discussing her motivation as The Atoner.
  • Unusual User Interface: The Chitauri gliders are piloted by an elaborate harness that makes it looks like they're steering with their faces.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: While it's still mostly Loki's fault and he had very good reasons to be suspicious, if Stark had kept quiet on what he figured S.H.I.E.L.D. would do with the Tesseract, things could have gone smoother for the heroes. Banner's more of a pawn.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Loki's plan to foil S.H.I.E.L.D. hinges on Bruce Banner — not just his condition, but the fact that Banner is smart enough to put half of Loki's clues together before the rest of the Avengers realizes there's a puzzle that needs solving.
  • Urban Ruins: The Avengers enters its climax in this environment. Loki's army of Chitauri have ravaged Manhattan and left most of it in ruins.
  • Use Your Head: Iron Man tries this in his battle against Thor. Key word: "Tries." Fully suited, he blasts Thor with a headbutt, who doesn't even flinch in slight discomfort, before returning the favor, bare forehead vs. gold-titanium alloy. And the former wins handily — apparently, Asgardian skulls are Made of Indestructium.

  • Verbal Backspace: Thor tends to rush in when he speaks...
    Thor: Have care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason but he is of Asgard, and he is my brother.
    Black Widow: He killed 80 people in two days.
    Thor: He's adopted...?
  • Vichy Earth: Loki believes he and his Chitauri army will be the bringers of such a regime. Tony Stark, however, does not agree.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier has a few giant vertically-mounted touchscreens for Fury and Hill to use, which feature giant spinning holograms of the Helicarrier, Earth, or just some moving wiggly lines. Background drones get keyboards and joysticks on their machines. The "Captain's" screens are specifically designed for a person with normal eyesight, which is lampshaded by Tony Stark when he covers one eye and tries to see all the screens around him and then asks how Nick Fury can see them with just one eye. (He turns, according to Maria Hill.)
  • Villain Opening Scene: The movie opens with a brief, ominous scene of The Other giving Loki his scepter and musing about how they will Take Over the World and "The humans? What can they do but burn?"
  • Villainous Breakdown: The only reason why the grand schemer Loki would taunt and antagonize the Hulk near the end of the film. Also, the only reason why Loki does anything in this film. With the throne of Asgard out of reach, he apparently wants to be ruler of something, no matter what. Hilariously averted when Loki tries and fails to brainwash Tony. Instead of screaming "This cannot be!" like a typical villain, Loki just mutters his confusion.
  • Villainous Plan Inertia: While The Hulk effortlessly curbstomps Loki during the final battle, his alien invasion still continues without him and nearly wears down The Avengers through sheer attrition. It's only when Iron Man commandeers a nuke and sends it to the alien flagship through the portal that the Chitauri are defeated.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Upon figuring out that Loki's next step involves trespassing Stark Tower, Tony tries to force this situation onto Loki, by pretending to be completely unfazed by his presence and offering him a drink. It's actually a ruse so Tony can get access to the bracelets he needs for putting on the Mark VII suit.
  • Visible Invisibility: The S.H.I.E.L.D. carrier has this, flipped on after it lifts off, but it ceases to be a plot point after that (and certainly didn't help when Loki's posse came knocking). Loki's rescue team is explicitly shown to be tracking his scepter.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Tony in his Black Sabbath T-shirt; one of Black Sabbath's hits was "Iron Man". The design of the shirt is also a visual pun. The figure on the shirt is a British military pilot with a triangle on his forehead, and the album is called "Never Say Die!" The Iron Man armor started as a flight suit and had a triangular motif (until Whedon changed it) to match the triangular crystal that powered his arc reactor, which is what keeps him alive.
    • In Black Widow's opening scene, she beats up her captors with a total of eight limbs — her own, and four on the chair.
    • When Bruce first starts to hulk out, as his shirt tears he's lying next to a sign saying WARNING: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE.
    • Nick Fury's go-to pistol for the fight on the Helicarrier is a Smith and Wesson M&P pistol. Specifically the 'Shield' model.
  • Vox Pops: Occurs at the end, after the Battle of New York, to foreshadow the public opinion of superheroes in Phase One: most people are supportive and thankful, but some are wondering about the damage the city sustained and the fact that the Avengers themselves aren't answering to anyone.

  • Waif-Fu: But of course. The movie is directed by Joss Whedon, after all. Mostly performed by Black Widow, though not nearly as highly played as usual for Whedon. Loki is a male example.
  • Wall of Weapons: Seen on board the Helicarrier next to Captain America's shield and new uniform and near a door where Coulson has to do a retina scan to enter. Presumably it's the room where the BFG he uses on Loki is stored.
  • Wall Slump: Agent Coulson immediately collapses against a nearby wall after being stabbed through the back by Loki and dies shortly after speaking to Director Fury.
  • We All Live in America: The German company being guarded by security officers complete with SMGs may be somewhat believable in an American setting, but in Germany, most private security firms would get into trouble issuing as much as tasers to their personnel.
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: The rich CEO Tony Stark describes himself as "a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist".
  • Weaponized Landmark: Thor uses the Chrysler Building's spire to concentrate and amplify his lightning.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The various characters get on each others' nerves when they're off duty, and thus set the stage for Loki's Batman Gambit, but even before they become True Companions, none of them are stupid enough to let personal quarrels stop them from cooperating when trouble starts. This is clearly demonstrated when Cap and Iron Man are on the point of fighting each other, but as soon as the alarm goes off they immediately drop their argument, suit up and have no problem working together in the ensuing chaos. Summed up in the tagline: "Some Assembly Required"
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Stark's still wrestling with his issues, and apparently Howard Stark spent years talking about how awesome the Captain was. And now the Captain is back, like the big brother you can never live up to. All this is confirmed by Downey.
  • Wham Episode: One for the entire MCU. Not only is the first major super team formed, the public now knows about aliens, a huge amount of innocents died in the New York attack, and Thanos has become interested in Earth.
  • Wham Line:
    • "So. Banner. That's your play." Spoken by Black Widow after manipulating Loki into gloating and revealing his plan. Loki's face says it all.
    • "I'm always angry."
    • "Phase 2 is S.H.I.E.L.D. uses the Cube to make weapons!"
    • "To challenge [the humans] is to court Death." Cue Thanos turning around... and grinning.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • After the attack on the Helicarrier and the transport of the Tesseract to New York, the remaining rogue scientists and mercs that assisted Loki just up and vanish, leaving him and Selvig to operate and defend the portal device by themselves.
    • At the start of the film Loki uses Mind Control on Barton, Selvig, and an unnamed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. We see nothing of that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent again after Loki's escape.
    • The sick patients Banner had been treating when Natasha recruited him aren't mentioned again, for all that losing their doctor surely reduced their chances of recovery. One would think S.H.I.E.L.D. could at least spare them some antibiotics.
    • While Selvig is seen in the movie and Jane is referenced as being in a secure site, no mention is made of Darcy's location. Especially telling since she was one of only 3 friends that Thor made on Earth and he never asks about her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Captain America calls Nick Fury out after discovering that he has been secretly reverse-engineering HYDRA armaments and weapons. He also called him out earlier when Nick Fury arrives to assign him to the Avengers shortly after Loki stole the Tesseract in regards to S.H.I.E.L.D. even possessing the tesseract in the first place, simply stating to Fury "You should have left it in the ocean." (referring to Howard Stark finding the Tesseract while searching for Captain America in the previous film).
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Pepper Potts does!
  • Wicked Cultured: The beautiful music that plays as Loki attacks Stuttgart is Franz Schubert's String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804, Op. 29. Loki choreographs his attack quite neatly with it.
  • Within Parameters: Subverted when Dr. Selvig notes the "low levels of gamma radiation" emitting from the Tesseract. Fury expresses concern, but the reference to gamma rays is just a Continuity Nod to the Hulk's Super Hero Origin.
  • With My Hands Tied: The Black Widow can still kick your ass while tied to a chair, shoeless, and on the phone with Coulson.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Loki, who decides to conquer Earth to prove himself better than his Manipulative Bastard father, Odin.
    • Bruce Banner. The look on his face when he says "I'm always angry," shows what a burden "the other guy" is on his life. There's also the beautifully subtle moment when he says to Black Widow "I don't every time get what I want," and gently rocks an old baby cradle.
  • Workout Fanservice: Captain America is introduced with a loving shot of his body and butt while he is working out his frustrations on a series of punching bags.
  • Working Out Their Emotions: Steve Rogers' first scene shows him working out on a punching bag in an empty gym, interspersed with World War II Flashbacks from his first film, until he completely destroys the bag.
  • The World Is Not Ready: S.H.I.E.L.D. hands the Tesseract over to Asgard at the end, as it makes Earth a target and they clearly aren't ready to possess that kind of power yet.
  • World of Badass: Deconstructed — the title heroes and their enemies are badass, but the rest of the human race aren't. They need a team like the Avengers to deal with the new universe of unstoppable threats like Loki, the Chitauri, and Thanos.
  • World of Snark: Most of the major characters take a level in sarcasm from their previous portrayals. The most prominent are Tony Stark (as you would expect), Bruce Banner, Loki, and to a lesser extent, Nick Fury. Even the Hulk gets one, after being told by Loki that he stands before a God. His response is to bash him into the ground repeatedly and mutter "Puny god."
    Joss Whedon: Everyone in this movie is a dry wit. It's like a desert of wit.
  • Worthy Opponent: The smile on Thor's face after being punched by the Hulk says it all.
  • Would Harm a Senior: When an old man refuses to bow down to Loki, Loki is about to kill him before Captain America stops him.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Black Widow's interrogation technique uses an interesting form of this. She pretends to be at a disadvantage, prompting her victim to become overconfident and let slip some vital information. While she was playing her reactions to Loki up, she later admits to Hawkeye that he did rattle her pretty badly.
  • Writer on Board: Averted. In the commentary, Joss Whedon mentions how fans were surprised by Cap's line about God before facing off against Loki, since Whedon is an atheist. Whedon said that he's an atheist, but Cap isn't.
  • Written-In Absence:
    • Natalie Portman was unavailable for the film due to pregnancy. Her absence was explained as Jane Foster being transferred to a secure location in an observatory for her protection after Loki shows up.
    • Hayley Atwell was probably never intended to appear as an elderly Peggy Carter in Avengers, but her character is still referenced on screen by way of a photo (and a deleted scene included on the DVD shows Steve discovering that she is still alive).
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Black Widow takes out a mook via hurricanrana, Hulk body slams several opponents, and Thor even gets in on the action when he gorilla presses Loki. During the battle in New York, Hawkeye finds himself on the wrong end of a spear.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • When Black Widow tells Captain America and Bruce Banner to enter the interior of the aircraft carrier, Captain America deduced from her comment of it "soon becoming hard to breathe" that the aircraft carrier doubled as a submarine. Turns out it was actually a literal aircraft as well.
    • Loki, thrice. First he mistakenly assumes that Romanoff is going to try to pretend to take his side while he's in captivity. Later, he thinks Tony is going to try to appeal to his humanity. Finally, he assumes that ruling is a simple matter of forcing weaker beings to do exactly what you want, despite the fact that the old man in Germany, the New York cops and Dr. Selvig all fought back against him or his forces in some way. Thor points out that Loki doesn't seem to understand what being a king actually is, and that asking an insane tyrant alien for help probably wasn't the best idea.
  • Wronski Feint: Hawkeye advises Iron Man that this is the way to get rid of the Chitauri bogeys on his six, because "they can't bank worth a damn."

  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Invoked. Tony Stark taunts Thor by speaking in mock-Shakespearean English (although, in the Thor movie, Asgardians didn't speak like that). Doubles up as a Mythology Gag.
    Thor: You have no idea what you're dealing with.
    Tony: Uh... Shakespeare in the park? [strikes a Shakespearean pose] "Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?"note 
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are!: Bruce rebuffs all suggestions that the Hulk could be channeled to benevolent purposes: Tony draws parallels between their situations and insists that Banner/Hulk can be a hero.
  • You Are the New Trend: The end features the citizens of New York (and the world in general) showing their admiration of the titular group by doing things like getting their beards cut in the style of Tony Stark and images of The Mighty Shield appearing on t-shirts and graffiti.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Downplayed. Black Widow says "Oh. You." when Loki starts to fire at her while they are riding the Chitauri chariots, but Black Widow's delivery is deadpan and Loki is too far away to hear her.
  • You Have Failed Me: Not actually done, but promised by The Other should Loki fail to acquire the Tesseract for Thanos, though he was also talking about the possibility of Loki attempting to withhold the Tesseract as well. To wit:
    The Other: If you fail — if the Tesseract is kept from us... there will be no realm, no barren moon, no crevice where he cannot find you. You think you know pain? He will make you long for something sweet as pain.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Said almost word for word by Thor to Tony Stark about Loki on meeting.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Our heroes are quite worried that Loki plans on doing this to his mind-controlled minions. Thor worries after Selvig's fate, and Black Widow approaches Loki under the guise of finding out what his plans are for Barton after. His response is not reassuring.
  • You Just Told Me: This is how Natasha Romanoff manages to deduce what Loki is planning as his escape. It's also implied earlier that this is how she gets intel, among other things.
  • You Monster!: Natasha levels this one at Loki after he tells her what he has in mind for Barton. It's just part of her very effective Wounded Gazelle Gambit, though.
  • You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: Iron Man and Captain America trade these:
    • Steve Rogers sneers at Stark, "Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away and what are you?" Stark immediately responds, "A genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." Rogers then immediately shoots down Stark's smug reply by pointing out he knew plenty of better men who had none of that. However, the question of whether Stark has the heart of a hero is not concluded until the finale.
    • Stark eventually returns the favor by telling Captain America, "Everything special about you came from a bottle," implying that Captain America hasn't really earned his spot among the team like the rest have.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: The Hulk, as expected considering he is the Trope Codifier but subverted in this case.He's always angry and you won't like him when he loses control but you definitely won't like him when he decides to voluntarily unleash the Hulk. Notice how fast and comparatively painless the transformation is before the final battle now that he's accepted the Hulk as part of himself?
    • Also referenced after the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot opens fire on the Hulk:
      Pilot: Target angry! Target angry!

  • Zerg Rush: The Chitauri, given the kind of opposition they face, rely on sheer numbers to whittle down the heroes. Of particular note is when a good dozen or so of them simultaneously focus fire on The Hulk, effectively pinning him in place under the combined fire.


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