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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Between Thor and this movie, Loki's tactics change from "Silvertongue" to "ranting villain with an army". That and some of his dialogue with Erik Selvig about their experiences with the Tesseract could be read as him also being under coercion from the Tesseract/Staff, if one wanted to do so. He also looks quite intimidated by the threats Thanos sends him through the Other and seems to genuinely believe that Thor was responsible for him falling into the abyss at the end of Thor. Additionally, the trickster was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place with Thanos, not really having the option to reject the deal but having no reason to believe the titan would keep his word. Many of the cases of Idiot Ball could very reasonably have been him unconsciously or even consciously trying to lose. And resolves the complete breaking of suspension of disbelief where the random scientist inserted a complex backdoor into the security of a device he didn't really understand, too; he didn't break the mind control at all. The person responsible for assembling the Avengers and defeating Loki might be... Loki. Albeit, not from the goodness of his heart, more to give Thanos something else to worry about and because he lives in this universe too, respectively.
    Phil Coulson: You're going to lose. [...] You lack... conviction.
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  • Anti-Climax Boss: Years of superhero movies have taught viewers to expect that a final battle between The Avengers and Loki would happen towards the end of the movie. It doesn't happen quite that way.
  • Award Snub:
    • Neither Disney nor Paramount created a For Your Consideration... Oscar campaign. As a result, no one from the cast and crew received nominations, except for the visual effects artists. The victory of Life of Pi in Visual Effects left the Avengers ultimately empty-handed.
    • Surprisingly, Marvel didn't want to try for an Oscar campaign, even though Disney offered to fund it.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The score by Alan Silvestri, particularly the Avengers anthem. Music to repel an Alien Invasion to.
    • And, among many other moments "I Got A Ride" (for The Oner starting with Black Widow hijacking one of the invaders' machines and stopping in on each one of our Big Damn Heroes).
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    • The use of a snippet of Franz Schubert's String Quartet no. 13 as Loki's theme during his attack on Germany.
    • The trailer's use of Nine Inch Nails' "We're In This Together", a perfect musical depiction of the team's fostered camaraderie in the face of danger.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Hawkeye in contrast to the rest of the Avengers, due to having barely any lines and being so Out of Focus and Overshadowed by Awesome that some viewers find his presence pointless. Many newcomers criticized how a guy with a bow is allowed to be on a superhero team, while comic fans are also split due to him having little traces of his rebellious, snarky personality from the comics.
    • Black Widow is beloved by part of the fandom for being a Badass Normal Action Girl capable of outsmarting even Loki, and for being the only non-White Male Lead on the team. On the other hand others find her boring or have questioned her inclusion, due to her lacking superpowers and the reason for her choice over other more prominent female Avengers like the Wasp or Ms. Marvel. She is criticized by others for only being there as Ms. Fanservice, which is an ironic accusation considering Joss Whedon's claim to film is in averting or subverting this trope.
  • Broken Base:
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    • Fans of Captain America in his solo films are mixed on Whedon's portrayal of him. Some find his lines Out of Character to the point of Lawful Stupid when the other films and comics characterize him as a much more rebellious figure, or are irritated that he is so severely Overshadowed by Awesome when he's supposed to be the team's leader. Others feel that the Rule of Funny is an acceptable override, that his contradictory behavior can be justified from a Watsonian standpoint as a result of the shock from just having woke up from the ice, or that it's balanced out by Cap also being the Only Sane Man, the Comically Serious and the only person capable of serving as the leader that the team needs so badly.
    • Despite the film's immense popularity, a fair share of fans were not happy with the film in general. Criticism was given to its overfocus on action and one-liners rather than an in-depth plot and character exploration. The choice of villain for the first Avengers movie has been questioned, considering all of the other options in the Avengers rogue gallery. Black Widow and Hawkeye also have a fair share of critics.
  • Catharsis Factor: The Hulk smacking Loki around. After seeing the latter spend the entire movie being a bastard — and especially his callous murder of Agent Coulson — this was quite satisfying.
  • Cliché Storm: It wasn't lost on some critics and movie goers that The Avengers, for all of its praise, hardly broke new ground in superhero movie storytelling (especially compared to The Dark Knight and Watchmen). It's more than a bit predictable, and every convenient plot twist unfolded in the way most people would expect after viewing one too many superhero flicks. Of course that's why the film works, it makes what was once considered unthinkable, a cross-over super-team adventure, look and feel like it was easy to do, making the group dynamic of characters who are wildly different and weird into a believable coherent group dynamic, and this is an exceptional case of Tropes Are Not Bad for many.
  • Continuity Lockout: A mild case. Thor, oddly enough, is by far the most vital of the preceding films, otherwise there's a lot of stuff about Thor's and Loki's backstories that you won't understand. It also helps to have watched Captain America: The First Avenger, just to get more background details on the Captain himself and the Tesseract. Averted elsewhere however, as The Incredible Hulk is almost totally ignored by this film, and anything you need to know about Iron Man is explained pretty well in the first couple of scenes he appears in.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Search for Loki on Tumblr. The fangirls have gone nuts about Loki ever since the first Thor film, to the point that some have said, without a single trace of irony or sarcasm, that he's the real good guy and all his misdeeds should be automatically forgiven. Yes, this includes his attempted conquest and subjugation of humanity. It's a character interpretation shared by Tom Hiddleston, incidentally. He thinks Loki needs a big hug.
  • Ear Worm: Like the sun, we will live to rise...
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Evil Is Sexy: Loki. Just ask his millions of fangirls.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Due to box-office competition, Batman fans (especially fans of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Saga). This can also be attributed to the fact that the two are perfect Foils. Dark Knight Rises is bittersweet, theme-driven, introspective, gritty and realistic, while The Avengers is triumphant, runs on action scenes and Rule of Cool, and fully embraces the Magitek fantastical world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This means that which film is objectively "better" is a very tricky question to answer because they are so entirely different.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: A few fans seemed to favour Ashley Johnson's character (the blonde woman who appears several times during the Chitauri invasion) as a potential love interest for Captain America.
  • Fight Scene Failure: The early fight between Captain America and Loki looks very stilted, awkward and obviously staged, especially when compared to the very impressive fight choreography Cap would later be given in Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron and Civil War.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Many of the tropes and cliches often looked down upon in the Marvel films (and superhero/comic-book films in general) note  were present and played straight in this movie, which is often considered one of the best superhero films of the current times. However, seeing that the other films most likely included these tropes in an attempt to copy The Avengers, they may be judged on simple lack of originality rather than the quality of execution in the tropes themselves.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • This exchange from Steve and Tony is Played for Laughs, but come Iron Man 3 this is exactly the type of issue Tony is struggling with.
      Steve: Big man in a suit of armor, take that off and what are you?
      Tony: Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.
    • It's mentioned that Steve Rogers is on a S.H.I.E.L.D. watchlist as a potential threat. Though Played for Laughs here, it's not as funny once you watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and find out that HYDRA has been active inside S.H.I.E.L.D. for years. Steve Rogers is their old enemy. Odds are good that HYDRA put him on that watchlist.
    • Stark tries to get Coulson to leave by saying he is the Life Model Decoy (LMD) of Tony Stark. Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents would later battle LMDs for half a season.
    • Out in the real world, Bruce's "Last time I was in New York I kind of broke... Harlem" comment is less clever now that a film production directed by erstwhile Hulk Edward Norton has been deemed resposible for a fatal fire in that neighborhood.
    • When Tony regains consciousness after nearly dying, Steve tells him, "We won." The fact that they're surrounded by wreckage makes this a funny moment. The humor level drops fast after seeing Tony's actual death in Avengers: Endgame, where Spider-Man tearfully tells him the same thing to comfort him.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Selvig says he needs iridium for the portal device, and describes it as "it's found in meteorites, forms antiprotons. Very hard to get a hold of". Every word of that is accurate.
    • When Tony and Bruce throw around their Technobabble about Selvig's plan to create a portal, they're actually making sense. The Coulomb barrier is the barrier two nuclei need to overcome so they can get close enough to undergo a nuclear reaction. Thus the Tesseract needing to be heated to "hundred and twenty million Kelvin" to break through it. Unless, as the two note, Selvin can stabilize the Quantum tunneling effect, in which case he could achieve ion fusion at any reactor on the planet because such high temperatures would not be needed to kickstart the reaction. We aren't told enough to understand exactly what Selvig's device does, but obviously the writers aren't just throwing around words when it's brought up in dialogue.
    • Early in the film we see signage identifying the S.H.I.E.L.D./NASA facility where the Tesseract is being worked on as part of the Joint Dark Energy Mission, as well as mentioning other projects such as the Dark Energy Space Telescope. Despite the comic-book sounding name, the Joint Dark Energy Mission was a very real thingnote  dedicated to probing the edge of relativistic physics as we know it.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The line after where Steve challenges Tony to put on the suit and go a few rounds becomes much harsher after the brutal fight between Steve, Bucky and Tony in Captain America: Civil War.
    • World Security Council's decision to launch nuclear strike becomes this after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed that one of them is a HYDRA mole.
    • It's shown that NYPD cops helped evacuating citizens in the middle of Chitauri Invasion. After the battle, many areas in New York are devastated, and one important thing at the end of the movie is that humans learned that they are not alone in this universe. Survivors, including the cops, are pretty much traumatized by the incident. And a consequence of this is that many of them may have ended up working for Wilson Fisk out of desperation after surviving an alien invasion. Detective Scarfe also describes having seen the Incident up close...and Scarfe himself is on Cottonmouth's payrollnote .
    • Let's be real, the iconic scene where Captain America tells Hulk to "smash", a big crowd-pleaser in this movie, becomes a lot less pleasant when Civil War reveals several people were hit by the rubble caused by the ensuing fight.
    • "Your world in the balance, and you bargain for one man?" Come Avengers: Infinity War, Loki finds himself in that exact situation and pays for it with his life.
    • "Because if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it." In light of Thanos succeeding in killing off half of all sentient life in the universe in Avengers: Infinity War, it seems that the Avengers (or rather what's left of them) will have to make good on that claim. They do at the start of Avengers: Endgame, but since killing Thanos doesn't bring back the countless people he's killed, their vengeance is also a lot more hollow than Tony makes it seem in this scene.
    • When Loki is talking to the Other via astral projection, it looks as if the Other is snapping the neck of Loki's illusion when he dismisses him after threatening him with Thanos's wrath should he fail to deliver the Tesseract. In Infinity War, Loki eventually gets his neck broken by Thanos as a punishment for his failure and dies.
    • Cap's "You're (Iron Man) not the guy to make the sacrifice play". It becomes harsher both after his sacrifice this movie and his sacrifice in Endgame which does truly kill him.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Fury's unwavering belief in the Avengers Initiative becomes more meaningful once Captain Marvel (2019) showed that it was Carol's heroics that inspired him to put the team together. The fact he named the entire initiative after Carol's old callsign showed that he truly wanted the Avengers to honor the legacy she had left behind.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: In this page.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Much of Manhattan is wrecked in the climactic fight. Though only bad guys are shown dying, the death toll is probably in the thousands, and a memorial is briefly shown in a news report afterwards. The Netflix shows had to go to great lengths to address the fallout.
    • Daredevil (2015): One of the New York Bulletin headline photos in Ben Urich's office reads "BATTLE OF NY: Buildings Leveled, Hundreds Killed in Midtown Battle". Likewise, the invasion enables Wilson Fisk to attain a stronghold in Hell's Kitchen's organized crime. Leland Owlsley notes that gang-owned construction work has become incredibly profitable in light of both the damaged caused by the Chitauri invasion and the damage from the superheroics that stopped them. Matt and Foggy are said to be getting their office space for Nelson & Murdock on the cheap because their building was relatively untouched by the invasion.
    • Jessica Jones (2015) shows that some people who survived the invasion have taken up a hatred against superhumans, as shown by one client who tries to kill Jessica as a preventative measure against gifted/powered people, as her mother was killed in the Chitauri invasion. Apparently, downplaying the event as just "The Incident" lets her conveniently ignore the fact there was an alien invasion happening at the time, and that the Chitauri were targeting everyone in sight until the Avengers arrived to draw their attention from wiping out innocent bystanders.
    • Luke Cage (2016) reveals that alien metal has been taken by Hammer Industries and used as the base for their Judas bullet.
    • Iron Fist (2017) reveals that some kids orphaned by the Incident got taken in by Bakuto and turned into soldiers for The Hand.
    • Captain America: Civil War invokes the deaths from the Battle of New York (74 in total, Retconned from the hundreds in Daredevil) as a plot point to justify reining the Avengers in.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming reveals that the all of the alien tech and debris resulted in a thriving black market for weapons created from it, giving the city's criminals more firepower than they could ever have dreamed of.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Few people really believed that Iron Man was going to kick it.
    • As well as Hawkeye shooting Fury in the first 5 minutes.
    • Both of these overlap with Interface Spoiler: thanks to the internet we know that these actors were contracted for one more movie and four more movies respectively, and you do not relegate Samuel L. Jackson to flashbacks for four whole movies.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Hawkeye, for very nearly taking down the entire Helicarrier with his arrows.
    • Agent Coulson has risen to this. Some examples here and here.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now with its own page
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Loki calling Black Widow a "mewling quim" ("whimpering cunt," in more modern vernacular) is supposed to establish that he's a nasty, unpleasant, misogynist villain. Either because the language was too dated and silly-sounding, or because fangirls will forgive anything if the guy is hot, that didn't happen.
    • Many fans put up a meme of the bit where Loki talks to an old man in Germany and end with him saying "there are no men like me." This clearly is meant to push how awesome Tom Hiddleston is and how fun Loki can be. This totally misses the point of the scene, summed up by the old man's line "there are always men like you." The scene is not meant to show Loki as a great figure but nothing more than another would-be tyrant who will always be opposed and eventually defeated by those he tries to rule.
  • Mis-blamed: Coulson's death was actually one of the conditions Marvel gave to Joss Whedon. Upon which he promptly had an Oh, Crap! moment, knowing that no one would believe it wasn't his idea given his history of killing off his most popular characters.
  • Money-Making Shot: In the commentary, Whedon calls out the Epic Tracking Shot in the climax as one.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Loki stabbing Agent Coulson.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: When Thor strikes Cap's shield with Mjolnir, the strike resonates like a deep church bell as the impact dissipates.
  • Music to Invade Poland To: Technically, Loki's invading Germany, and only as a distraction. Still, two seconds after he starts a buttkicking rampage set to the tunes of Franz Schubert.
  • Older Than They Think: Although some complained about Loki being the antagonist of this film (see Broken Base), he was indeed the villain of Avengers issue #1 and the impetus for the formation of the Avengers, making his inclusion here canon accurate.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Harry Dean Stanton as the security guard. "Son, you've got a condition."
    • The old German man who stands up to Loki.
    • Thanos. One non-speaking appearance in The Stinger, but to some comic fans, he's one of the most memorable parts of the movie.
    • The Galaga-playing S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, despite only appearing for five short seconds.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The Hulk. Two previous attempts to bring the character to the cinema screen proved somewhat lackluster, the role got recast once again, and the character had already developed a reputation of being the most boring of the team. However, a combination of clever screenwriting, Mark Ruffalo's interpretation of the character of Bruce Banner as a normal guy who's got issues instead of the emotionally-stunted, severely repressed individual of the previous films who was constantly scared that he'd flip out over everything, and that his version of the Hulk isn't a barely controlled rage monster; his casual Offhand Backhand of Thor after they brought down a Chitauri Leviathan and his smackdown of Loki shows us that the Hulk is really just an irritable jerk (albeit with a heart of gold) who just happens to have superpowers (and the hilariously awesome "Puny God" scene), turned the Hulk into an unexpected favorite of the movie; it might be one of the fastest turnaround times for this ever.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Steve is continuously demonized by Tony fangirls as a cruel bully. Both characters are impatient and antagonistic toward the other, but Steve's particular point of contention is Tony's insistence in allowing Bruce to let the Hulk out, possibly risking lives. To Tony's credit, he turns out to be right about Bruce.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Due to the large Slash fandom and heaps of Ho Yay, pretty much every Avenger or S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the film has being attacked for being in the way of a pairing with one of the others.
    • Due to the Platonic Life-Partners relationship between Hawkeye and Black Widow, and the very Ship Tease like moments between the two, comic book fans that ship Hawkeye with his ex wife Mockingbird have gotten fairly aggressive towards Widow. Likewise, fans of Widow and Hawkeye have been tossing unending heaps of hate towards Mockingbird for the crime of the two breaking up.
      • On the Natasha side of things, comic fans who are invested in her current relationship with Bucky Barnes are also bitterly against the movie fandom shippers of Clint and Natasha. This heated rivalry exploded with the announcement that the next Captain America movie will be Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and will feature both Bucky and Natasha, with no news of Clint being involved.
      • The tangle did not get any neater after it was announced that Mockingbird would be appearing in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with a number of Clint and Natasha shippers deciding that they will be fine with Mockingbird existing as long as she and Clint never meet.
    • And then Age of Ultron goes and reveals that Clint has been married this whole time, instantly causing all other ships involving him to transform into No Yay. Given that Black Widow ends up with Bruce Banner, of all people, in the same movie, one almost gets the feeling that Joss Whedon specifically set things up to troll the shippers, as he has been known to do.
  • Signature Scene: The group shot pose in the Chitauri attack, and above all, Hulk smashing Loki like a ragdoll.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The Avengers at the time was considered a huge deal for successfully pulling off the big crossover movie and having all these disparate characters together in a coherent way. However, as time has gone by that novelty has worn away and some people have become more critical, claiming that other Marvel films since then have had better writing, character handling, and just been more meaningful. The general backlash against Joss Whedon post-Age of Ultron has probably contributed to this as well.
  • So Bad, It's Good: A tie-in for the film made for Wyndham Resort hotels features the Avengers fighting Ultron, then splitting up to go on vacation. The writing is lackluster and cliché, reading like a bad 60's comic book but with modern artwork. This makes it unbelievably funny. Also worth mentioning is Tony, in Iron Man armor, eating at a buffet and what can only be called Bored Hulk.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The audience is probably supposed to share the team's disgust at the revelation that SHIELD is using the Tesseract to create high-powered weapons. But Fury makes some perfectly reasonable points about the necessity of providing Earth with weapons capable of fighting off new alien threats.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It's shown that when Thor hits Iron Man's suit with lightning, it supercharges his suit and allows him to do a super powerful blast. After they discover this, neither Tony nor Thor suggest using this during any other fight in this movie or the sequel.
    • During Avengers: Endgame Thor does finally supercharge Tony's armor to glorious effect.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • Lampshaded, in the commentary, and then averted for that very reason. During the Kneel Before Zod scene in Germany, Joss Whedon realized the unfortunate implications of all the Germans kneeling, and so he added the old man to defy Loki, thus turning it into a crowning Moment of Awesome. He also made sure people started getting up after Captain America arrived, so that Cap wouldn't be standing above them but with them.
    • Thor's quip about Loki being adopted offended a number of people on the grounds that it demonized adoption.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: A movie about a superhero team required an equally awesome team of visual effect studios to get right, with ILM and WETA spearheading the effort. This video gives a tiny breakdown of what ILM did for the movie.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Loki arrives at Earth and brainwashes Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye), Eric Selvig, and another agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury is the only person in the room that is not brainwashed, and Loki wants the Cosmic Cube.
      You'd Think: Loki would find value in Nick Fury and brainwash him as well, since he is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. He can then have Fury as his puppet and manipulate S.H.I.E.L.D. so that he can get away with his plans. And then the Avengers would never have been assembled. If he eventually thinks Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. are no longer valuable, he could then pull off a "You Have Outlived Your Usefulness" on both SHIELD and Fury.
      Instead: He doesn't value Fury at all, only viewing him as an ant. He only takes the briefcase, leaving Hawkeye to kill Fury. He fails to do so, and Fury survives to lead the fight against Loki.
  • Win the Crowd: This movie pretty much put the fears of everyone who thought Disney would ruin Marvel to rest.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Captain America's costume in this film is a frequent source of Snark Bait. In contrast to his WWII outfit, which was praised for looking very practical and era-appropriate while being true to the comics, his Avengers outfit is mocked for looking awkward, cartoonish and cheaply made. And even Mr. Fanservice Chris Evans couldn't wear it well, since, without anything to add definition to his chin and jaw, his face just looks pudgy. It's even been compared to the intentionally bad outfit Cap wore back in his propaganda show days. However it has its share of fans who consider it So Bad, It's Good, and point to the fact that it was designed in-universe by Promoted Fanboy Phil Coulson as justification. Thankfully his costumes improved considerably in his other film appearances since.

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