The Avengers (2012 film)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Some Assembly Required.

"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

A Live Action Adaptation of The Avengers comic book directed by Joss Whedon, with a cast composed of:

Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, followed by Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War. The story revolves around the heroes of the first Marvel Studios films (Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America the First Avenger) banding together to form the eponymous super team.

Steve "Captain America" Rogers, found frozen alive and unthawed in the modern day, must come to terms with the loss of his past life while trying to cope with the modern world. Meanwhile, Loki (the Big Bad of Thor) manages to make his way to Earth in pursuit of the Tesseract, and an entire army follows him.

SHIELD director Nick Fury recruits Rogers to join The Avengers alongside Tony "Iron Man" Stark, Thor, Bruce Banner (and The Hulk), Black Widow, and Hawkeye to face the threat of Loki's invasion. With conflicting personalities and motivations such as Thor wishing to protect his brother while stopping the invasion, the team must set their differences aside and work together if they hope to save the world.

The Avengers should not be confused with the 1998 film adaptation of the classic British TV series (found at The Avengers (1998 film)). The movie is called Avengers Assemble in the UK to ensure this confusion doesn't happen (and also the Republic of Ireland, just because). In addition, the official full title in the US is Marvel's The Avengers.

An eight-issue Prequel comic, The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week has also been released digitally, tying up loose ends from all movies and setting the stage for The Avengers.

WARNING! There are unmarked Spoilers ahead. Beware. Spoilers from the earlier films will be unmarked. Spoilers from the film may be, accidentally, unmarked. Please fix any you find.

Not to be confused with the 1998 film also called The Avengers, which was about John Steed and Mrs. Peel.

The Avengers assembles the following tropes together:


  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Used to great effect in the movie. Notably, after a rather chaotic battle in the Helicarrier, Fury talks to Steve and Tony about what he really wanted out of the Avengers.
  • Action Prologue: Right away, the Film starts off with Loki breaking into S.H.I.E.L.D. and stealing the Tesseract.
  • Acting for Two: Thanks to advances in motion capture technology, Mark Ruffalo got to not only play Bruce Banner, but also the majority of Hulk's part, marking the first time both Bruce and the Hulk were portrayed by the same person.
  • Action Girl: Black Widow and Maria Hill.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Harry Dean Stanton, who played "Brett" in Alien, has a brief cameo as a security guard who asks Bruce Banner if he's "some kind of alien."
    • Robert Downey, Jr. previously poked a big guy with a zappy stick in Sherlock Holmes.
    • Powers Boothe, who in 24, ordered a nuclear strike on a foreign country, appears as a member of the World Security Council who orders a nuclear strike on Manhattan island.
  • Ad Hominem: Nick Fury uses the "Tu quoque" (hypocrite) version of this while arguing with Stark.

Fury: "[Thor] forced our hand. We had to come up with something to--"
Stark: "A nuclear deterrent. Because that always calms everything right down."
Fury: "Remind me again how you made your fortune, Stark?"

  • Adaptation Distillation: Several:
    • Hawkeye and Black Widow are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and dress like their Ultimate incarnations, but act more like their 616 counterparts.
    • Nick Fury is played by Samuel L. Jackson. His 616 counterpart is an old white guy, but the Ultimate Universe gave him a Race Lift and later artists drew him to resemble Jackson. In fact, they specifically asked for likeness rights from Jackson for the comic which he granted in exchange for this role.
    • Captain America's costume resembles his Ultimate counterpart's, although he acts like the original 616 character.
    • Thor's costume takes elements from the Ultimate line, his original costume, and his current comic book costume.
    • The team is formed by S.H.I.E.L.D. (The Ultimates) in response to a threat by Loki (616) and the Chitauri (back to The Ultimates).
  • Adorkable:
    • The normally stoic, all-around badass Agent Coulson becomes this around Captain America. Near-mint condition trading cards are involved.
    • Bruce shows signs of this, particularly when he and Tony are together.
  • Aesop Amnesia: At the end of The Incredible Hulk Bruce realized that he can use the Hulk for heroism. In The Avengers hes back to treating it like a disease and has to learn from Tony that he can use it for good. He even refers to the previous Hulk Out in Harlem as if it were an accident or something to be ashamed of, when actually he voluntarily transformed and successfully stopped another rampaging monster. In fact, the only development that really carried over from The Incredible Hulk is the final shot of Bruce Hulking Out on command. He's still in the same position he was in the previous movie only instead of hunting for a cure, he has resigned himself to his fate.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, as usual. It's even invisible from underneath!
  • Alien Invasion: Loki calls in a Chitauri army to conquer Earth.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Loki and the Chitauri. In the comics it's explained that Loki speaks the "All-Tongue," which is understood by anyone as their native language.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Loki manages it three times: the S.H.I.E.L.D facility, the Helicarrier, and finally Stark Tower (which becomes his Evil Tower of Ominousness).
  • The Alleged Car: Not the conventional example, but the Iron Man mk VI suit[1] goes through a lot of abuse before finally making way for the mk VII. The helicarrier turbine pretty much seals the deal on that.
  • All-Star Cast: Not just with the actors themselves, but with all the heroes involved, as a movie of this magnitude was thought to be impossible a decade ago.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: The Global Council does not even flinch, much less hesitate, in its decision to MURDER millions of innocent civilians with a nuclear warhead just so the Chitauri invasion can probably be stopped.
  • And I Must Scream: Barton's description of what it's like to be brainwashed by Loki.
  • And Starring: Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
  • And This Is For: "I forgot to mention, there's one more person you pissed off. His name was Phil." Both an example of this trope and an It's Personal. Notice in Tony's immediately prior headcount, Tony included, "Your brother, the demigod[2]; a super-soldier, a living legend who actually lives up to the legend[3]; a man with breathtaking anger management issues[4]; a couple of master assassins[5]." That's five Avengers. There are six. Also notice Loki is standing in the exact same spot where Pepper Potts was previously standing when Tony told her, "His first name is Agent."
  • And Your Little Dog, Too: Inverted by Loki for extra sadism. The Trickster God describes to Black Widow how he will first force Hawkeye to kill her, then realize what he'd done, and only then kill him.
  • Anti-Hero: The Avengers are all over the sliding scale.
    • Bruce Banner is a Type I - he's a meek scientist who just wants to be left to his own devices.
    • Tony Stark and Thor are both Type II - they're snarky, arrogant, and mostly involved with the conflict for their own reasons (Tony because of his ego, Thor to retrieve his adoptive brother), but the former is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and the latter is a Spoiled Sweet who comes around to being a team player easily enough.
    • The Hulk starts as a Type V, being just as likely to attack his team mates as the enemy, and ends up as a Type IV, being a textbook example of Destructive Savior.
  • The Archer: Hawkeye, of course.
  • Arrow Catch: Loki catches an arrow fired at him by Hawkeye. Then it explodes.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Agent Coulson (See Even Heroes Have Heroes below).
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Shortly after the Final Battle starts, Cap gives some instructions to the NYPD to evacuate the civilians and set a perimeter. The NYPD Sergeant asks him why they should follow his orders. The next second, some Chitauri attack, but Cap beats the crap out of them (including ripping off one's Arm Cannon). Right after that, the Sergeant gets on the radio and starts giving his men the exact same orders Cap gave them.
  • Asskicking Pose: The entire team as they stand prepared to fight against the enemy.
  • The Atoner:
    • Black Widow has "red in her ledger" that she wants to wipe out.
    • Hawkeye also shows some shades of this. His first scene after being freed from Loki's brainwashing has him asking Black Widow how many of their fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents he killed while under Loki's control.
  • Attack Backfire: Thor's lightning strike against Iron Man puts the suit's power at 475%.
  • Attack Reflector:
    • Cap redirects Loki's bolt when Loki tries to kill a man who refused to bow to him.
    • Later, he reflects a head-on blast from Tony's repulsor beams into the path of a squad of Chitauri sneaking up on Tony. It's an attack that's ripped directly from Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.
    • When Thor assumes an overhead strike against Cap's shield with his magic hammer will crush the tiny mortal. It does not. But the resulting backlash does flatten Cap, Thor, Iron Man, and several hundred feet of surrounding forest.
  • Audible Bluntness: Thor's hammer hums a whole lot whenever it's used or brandished.
  • Audience Surrogate:
    • This role is surprisingly given to Iron Man via his struggle to find his role on the team and the efforts he must make to identify with each and every one of them; the living legend Captain America, the fellow Cursed with Awesome Bruce Banner, and the habitual loner Thor.
    • They also use Captain America in this role for exposition since he's a Fish Out of Temporal Water.
  • Autobots Rock Out: Invoked. When Iron Man arrives in Stuttgart to back up Captain America, he first hacks the nearest sound system -- the PA system of Black Widow's quinjet -- to blast ACDC's "Shoot to Thrill" during the fight. This also serves as a Call Back to Iron Man 2, where he enters the Stark Expo with the same song.
  • Avengers Assemble: Naturally. Though the line itself is only used in a begrudging sarcastic tone by Stark, as seen in the preview.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Steve still dresses like he's in the 40s. And parts his hair like it, too. No one minds.
  • Awesome Yet Impractical: The S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier. Banner even lampshades it.
  • Ax Crazy: Crossed with Came Back Wrong. According to Tom Hiddleston, Loki's unprotected fall through the cosmos has led him to "see things". He's forsaken his family and is determined to destroy the Earth and hand the Cosmic Cube over to those who would use its power to subjugate the entire universe just to spite his brother.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: Averted. The Pentagon said they "couldn't reconcile the unreality of [S.H.I.E.L.D.] and our place in it" (to elaborate, it's left ambiguous as to whether SHIELD is a national or international agency, and the Pentagon didn't like the implication that the US military would answer to anyone other than the US government) and thus declined involvement in this movie. However, the US Army did give their involvement.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Cap and Thor, Cap and Iron Man, Cap and Black Widow, Black Widow and Hawkeye, Thor and the Hulk... it's a popular tactic. The shot of all of them in a circle during the climax is a Money Shot featured in the trailer.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Tony makes several in a conversation with Loki.

Tony: 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... Because if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it.

    • Loki himself gives one complete with an A God Am I line, unfortunately he just had to do it to the Hulk. No need to say it didn't end up well.
  • Badass Bystander: An old man in Stuttgart, credited simply as "Old German", refuses to kneel to a man like Loki.
  • Badass Crew: Of course!
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Loki, while not wearing Asgardian attire. Agent Coulson and most S.H.I.E.L.D. agents also wear suits.
  • Badass Longcoat: Nick Fury.
  • Badass Normal: Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and Maria Hill contribute to the fight using SHIELD weapons, tactics and leadership. Hawkeye and Black Widow fight side-by-side with the superpowered superheroes.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Nick Fury heads up the team.
  • Bash Brothers: Several team ups, the most notable pairings being Iron Man and Captain America, Thor and the Hulk, and Black Widow and Hawkeye. Though Cap and Widow have their moments too.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The Chitauri don't seem to have any apparatus other than their (possibly ornamental) metal masks while riding their sleds in outer space. Of course, they may come from a dimension where the laws of physics are a bit different or their strange cyborg bodies may not need air.
  • Batman Gambit: Loki's plans. All of them.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: When Hawkeye wakes up after the assault on the Helicarrier, he asks Black Widow how she did it.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Maria Hill gets small cuts on her cheek and forehead, though it notably stays there for the rest of the movie. Black Widow takes an accidental backhand from the Hulk and it doesn't even smudge her makeup, let alone pulverize her ribcage.
  • Bench Breaker: Black Widow does a flip while tied to a chair, shattering it on impact and freeing herself.
  • Berserk Button: Tony's is pushed when Coulson dies. As was previously shown in the first Iron Man film, Tony reacts badly when someone he sees as a much better man sacrifices themselves because they believe in him more.
  • Big Applesauce: The climactic fight sequence occurs in Manhattan. For once this is fully justified; it is explicitly stated that Loki is trying to show off and make a spectacle of it, so it makes sense that he'd deliberately choose New York. Captain America tells the Avengers to try to contain the Chitauri in Midtown around Stark Tower(In Real Life the site of the Met Life Building), and within three blocks of the Park Avenue Viaduct in front of Grand Central Terminal.
  • Big Bad: Loki.
  • Big Freaking Gun: Coulson retrieves one based on the Destroyer's remains from the Helicarrier armory to face Loki. And he doesn't even know what it does!
  • Bigger Bad: Thanos.
  • Bigger Stick: SHIELD's true plans for the cube. The consequence of the dawning age of superheroes.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • An elderly German man defiantly stands against Loki in Stuttgart. As Loki is about to kill him, Cap bursts in, tanks the blast on the Mighty Shield, and fights. Then, when Loki has Cap on the ropes, Iron Man arrives to assist Cap against Loki.
    • Later, Thor saves Black Widow from Hulk on the Helicarrier.
    • And when the Avengers Assemble to stop the invasion from destroying New York.
    • And Hulk leaping to catch Iron Man as he falls helplessly from the portal.
    • When one of the leviathans is closing in on an office building and the people inside can only watch with horror, here comes the Hulk, storming through cubicles to the rescue.
  • Big Good: Nick Fury, considering he (nominally) commands all of the heroes and everyone who outranks him is a Knight Templar jerk.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: At one point, Thor hops on Hulk's back and starts choking him with his hammer.
  • Big No: Thor does one when Loki stabs Coulson in the back.
  • Bit Character: Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role from Iron Man, but in a minor capacity. Dr. Selvig also returns from Thor, in a role that's more plot-important but doesn't necessarily get any more screentime.
  • Blood From the Mouth: Agent Coulson.
  • Blood Knight: Shades of this with Thor against the Hulk.
  • Bloodless Carnage: This kind of goes without saying by now but it was particularly noticeable in this film. The army attacks Manhattan without a single person being visibly injured. Despite this, the Avengers seemed quite concerned about the safety of the people on the streets. Afterwards, there's a video of a wall commemorating those who died in the battle, so clearly there were quite a few off-screen casualties.
  • Book Ends: Tony and Pepper in Stark Tower.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • The SHIELD agents all use conventional firearms. Even Nick Fury's RPG launcher fits here, since he uses it for its intended function: shooting down aircraft.
    • During one of his Insufferable Genius monologues, Tony wonders aloud how Fury can see the monitors stationed to his left when he's missing an eye. He's told that Fury just turns to look at them, which Tony comments on as inefficient.
    • When Fury wants to move the Helicarrier south, the helmsman remarks that navigation systems are offline. Fury's response:

Nick Fury: Is the sun coming up? (helmsman gives Blunt Yes) Then put it on the left!

    • When Tony uploads a computer virus to unlock all of SHIELD's files to find out what they're really doing with the Cube, Cap decides it's taking too long so he just breaks into the armory and steals a Phase 2 prototype.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Captain America borrows the Hulk's catchphrase: "Hulk? Smash!"
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Hawkeye runs out of arrows, so he decides to take the arrow out of someone he killed earlier and puts a new head on it. Black Widow does only one onscreen reload during the climax. During the rest of the fight, she can be seen mostly using melee and the invaders' weapons, since she doesn't have much ammo capacity in her Spy Catsuit.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Hawkeye, Selvig, and at least one random S.H.I.E.L.D. agent are all mind-controlled by Loki.
  • Break the Cutie: Black Widow to a certain degree. She is chased by the Hulk in the Helicarrier and is nearly smashed by him, causing her considerable distress. She also confesses to Hawkeye that she's been "compromised" by Loki's Hannibal Lecture in spite of the fact that she was playing a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to trick him.
    • Though it could also be implied that she's going because she has feelings for Hawkeye.
  • Break Them by Talking: Loki, every chance he gets. Which is presumably why he's muzzled at the end.
  • Brick Joke: Used repeatedly, mercilessly, and at every opportunity.
    • Cap and Fury's ten dollar Side Bet as to whether or not Cap has Seen It All. Fury wins.
    • Agent Coulson's Captain America trading cards are mentioned to Steve and that he'll probably childishly ask him to sign them. The second time the two are together Coulson sheepishly asks if he will sign them. After Coulson's death the cards appear again in a much darker context.
    • Tony offers Loki a drink. He declines at first but later he ends up needing one.
    • Tony says they should all eat at a shawarma joint he saw. In the second stinger added to the U.S. version, they do. Everyone except Tony and Bruce are in full costume, and the place is still messed up from the attack. There's almost no way anyone would notice it on the first viewing, but Tony actually bounces past a shawarma joint when he crash-lands after diving through the Chitauri snake tank. It's a blink-and-you-miss-it sort of thing, and is kind of amusing if you consider what it says about Tony.
    • Tony calls an employee of Shield out on playing Galaga instead of working. Cue the end of the scene where we actually see an employee turn Galaga back on.
    • After Banner riles off some Techno Babble, Tony says, "Finally! Someone who speaks English." Later, Tony attempts to explain to Steve what to do while they make some repairs, but does it in such a way that Steve has to tell him "Speak English!"
    • Hawkeye commenting that he'd like to put an arrow in Loki's eye. It comes back twice: Once in Manhattan, he fires an arrow at Loki's eye, Loki catches it, and it explodes. The second return is at the end of the battle, when Loki crawls out of his Hulk Smash hole. The Avengers are all circled around him, and Hawkeye is front-and-center, with an arrow pointed at Loki's face (presumably in the eye).
  • Buffy-Speak: Inevitable, with the Trope Namer on board.

Tony Stark: ...enormous green rage-monster.

  • Building of Adventure: Stark Tower is a somewhat mundane example thats just focused around awesome Iron Man stuff but a Freeze-Frame Bonus at the end reveals that he plans to give the building a substantial upgrade that includes a hanger for the Quinjet as well as giving the various members personalized floors of their own.
  • Bulletproof Vest: After getting shot, Fury makes it a point to extract the bullet from the vest and show it to the camera as per trope tradition.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Yes, Loki, you are a god, but that doesn't mean you should try to push the Hulk around.
    • Similarly, Tony shocking Bruce Banner mid-conversation with a miniature cattle-prod to see if he can control his episodes. Possible Subversion as Tony seems to be playfully teasing, rather than bullying. In fact, Steve seems more annoyed about it than Bruce does.
    • Tony invokes this towards Loki, casually pointing out that he's met some of the most dangerous people on the planet and somehow managed to piss off every single one of them. What makes Loki think this will end well for him?
    • The Chitauri acknowledge that humanity is a very credible threat to the other realms.
  • Butt Monkey: Loki, who's beaten up by all the Avengers (Hulk in particular) when he's not being bullied by the Chitauri leader.
  • Cain and Abel: Loki tries to outright murder his brother Thor when he was safely imprisoned. It doesn't work. Thor later makes one last bid to talk Loki down during the climactic battle. Loki's response is to pull out a knife and stab him.
  • Call Back:
    • "His name is Phil." A Call Back to the start of the movie, where Pepper refers to Agent Coulson as "Phil", and Tony jokingly responds "Um, his first name is 'Agent'."
    • In the middle of the movie Tony refers to Banner's Hulking out as "suiting up." At the climax of the film, when Banner arrives at the battle Tony says to tell him to suit up.
    • Stark calls Fury's plans for the Tesseract and reverse-engineered Asgardian technology a "nuclear deterrent" and scoffs at them. During the Senate hearing near the beginning of Iron Man 2, he referred to himself as America's nuclear deterrent.
  • The Cape (trope): Captain America, who's definitely the most upstanding guy around. He's worried a bit that some may view this as old-fashioned in the cynical 21st century, but Coulson tells him that right now we may need his brand of "old-fashioned."
  • Captain Obvious: Steve slips into a sarcastic version for a moment thanks to Tony forgetting that he's a Fish Out of Temporal Water.

Iron Man: I need you to check that panel and tell me which breakers are in overload position. How's it look?
Captain America: ...It appears to run on some kind of electricity.
Iron Man: Well, you're not wrong...

  • The Captain: Captain America (duh) but the man proves his rank isn't just for show when he displays terrific organization and leadership abilities. During the final battle he manages to get everyone together and quickly tells them all how to play to their strengths for maximum group benefit. (Hawkeye being the team spotter, himself and Black Widow evacuating people on the ground, Stark and Thor taking out enemies in the air, and Hulk... smashing stuff.)
  • The Cameo: Stan Lee, naturally, as he's done it in almost every other Marvel movie thus-far, as a man playing chess in the park being interviewed by a news crew. "Superheroes? In New York? Gimme a break!"
  • Car Cushion: Cap gets this treatment. It helps that he only fell about one story on to his shield and is empowered by the Super Soldier Serum.
  • Car Fu: Thor takes out a few mooks with a car using a swing of his hammer.
  • Casual Danger Dialog:
    • During the final battle in New York:

Tony: I'm bringing the party to you.
(Tony appears, chased by a Leviathan)
Natasha: I... I don't see how that's a party.

    • Also, when she and Hawkeye are standing side-to-side once again against heavy opposition, Black Widow with her handgun and Hawkeye with his bow and arrow:

(fighting techno-organic alien invaders)
Black Widow: It's like Budapest all over again.
Hawkeye: You and I remember Budapest very differently.

  • Catch Phrase: Subverted, then invoked. Instead of Hulk dropping his usual "Hulk smash!" battle cry, we get it from Captain America.

Cap: Hulk? -- Smash.

  • Chairman of the Brawl: Black Widow beats up criminals with a chair, and she doesn't even have to get up from it.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Bruce Banner reluctantly lets himself get recruited for his scientific skills, and makes it clear that he's only there to help find the Tesseract and won't be sticking around once the fighting starts. After he leaves, Tony Stark is confident he'll decide to come back and help, but everybody else assumes he's gone for good. Tony turns out to be right.
  • Character Development:
    • Tom Hiddleston described Loki in this film as having "seen things" while falling through the void, saying that getting tossed through a wormhole of his own making has really affected his psyche and his development as a villain.
    • Tony Stark starts out the snarky anti-hero of previous films, but when Cap calls him out on the selfish, lone wolf approach he's taken to superheroism, Stark realizes what it really means to be part of a team and to put his life on the line for someone else. It helps that Agent Coulson, someone that Tony knew personally, does exactly this and dies as a result.
    • Bruce Banner must continue his arc from the previous film, accepting that the Hulk is a part of him, for good or ill.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Hawkeye has Improbable Aiming Skills without actually being augmented in any way. He's just that good.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Black Widow quips it's only a matter of time before Colsoun rabidly begs Steve Rogers to sign his trading cards. This quickly turns out to be the case. When we actually see the cards in question, they're still wet with Coulson's blood.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Much is made early on of the newly-launched Stark Tower, which runs on its own arc reactor. Later Steve and Tony figure out that Loki needs access to a big power source to activate the Tesseract.
    • Cap dresses down Stark for his inability to be heroic, especially to make sacrifices... Naturally, Stark makes a Heroic Sacrifice at the end. He survives.
    • Early in the Final Battle, Black Widow kills a Chitauri mook by ripping a bunch of electronics out of its neck, establishing these aliens as at least party cybernetic. At the climax, Tony Stark throws a nuke at the Chitauri mother ship, shutting down the entire army, except the leader in The Stinger.
    • Fury's description of Loki's jail cell is a classic example: as soon as he mentions it's designed to be dropped out of the Helicarrier and will fall 30,000 feet, you know that capability is getting put to use somehow.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Black Widow's, um, unusual interrogation techniques.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Loki gets his moments.
  • Colbert Bump: Shawarma started selling like hotcakes in April. One Hollywood shawarma restaurant has seen 80% more business since the movie opened.
  • Cold Sniper: Hawkeye, as the team's Archer as mentioned above. The trope is particularly in effect during the first half of the film while he's under Loki's Mind Control Device. He becomes more Friendly Sniper in the second half, however.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Hulk has a style that consists of bashing, smashing, and using whatever is nearby. It is most obvious in his fight with Thor, who is a seasoned warrior with a much more refined style.
    • Black Widow, a highly trained martial artist, is not above resorting to groin kicks and biting.
    • Hawkeye is a talented archer. In his second combat sequence in the film, he also carries a handgun. And a knife.
    • When Hawkeye and Black Widow fight each other, there's a noticeable amount of biting, scratching, and hair-pulling in among the fancy martial arts moves.
    • As in his own film, Cap relies on his shield because of its powerful symbolic value. But he'll still use a gun or any other weapon that's handy if the need arises, cuz ya know, there's a war on out there.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Per the course of their previous appearances, their superhero names are only mentioned a few times:
    • Banner goes out of his way to avoid saying "Hulk", instead referring to his alter-ego as "the other guy". Other characters use the name, however, and he does manage to slip at least once.
    • Natasha directly calls Clint "Hawkeye" when she's riding a Chitauri hovercraft on piggyback because it's his radio callsign. Dr. Selvig also refers to him as "the Hawk" in the first scene.
    • Tony is once again never referred to as "Iron Man" during the film, with closest being Thor calling him "Metal Man" and a reporter making the clear distinction of "Tony Stark's Iron Man" during one of the reports on the battle in Manhattan.
    • A mention is made of Captain America trading cards and Banner mutters the name once. A civilian bystander also refers to him as Captain America in an interview on the news during the epilogue. In conversation, though, he's always just addressed as "Steve" or as "Captain"--but "Captain" is only used because, in this version, that's actually his rank in the Army.
    • Whilst being interrogated, Natasha Romanov is referred to as "the famous Black Widow", but Clint refers to her as Tasha or Nat.
  • Concepts Are Cheap: Loki's words about The Evils of Free Will hardly come up except a few times in the beginning, and hardly matter (except to briefly compare him to Hitler.)
  • Consummate Liar: Nick Fury. Lampshaded late in the movie concerning where he found Coulson's Captain America trading cards.
  • Continuity Nod: Quite a few.
    • Black Widow mentions to Coulson that Stark doesn't trust her after finding out she's a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Iron Man 2.
    • We get clips from previous films either as Flash Back or as raw footage, especially when it comes to Captain America.
    • Pepper Potts' previous meetings with Coulson are referenced.
    • Banner mentions nearly destroying Harlem, referencing The Hulk's fight against The Abomination at the end of The Incredible Hulk.
    • Banner also mentions that at one point he tried to kill himself but the "other guy" spit out the bullet. This was shown in the alternative opening to The Incredible Hulk.
    • Iron Man refers to the new suit as Mark VII, indicating past armors. He also uses the lasers from Iron Man 2, and they're still apparently one-offs until he upgrades to the Mark VII suit.
    • Practically every plot element of Thor was mentioned throughout the movie.
    • Tony still doesn't like to be handed things.
    • Tony mentions that his father knew Captain America. Who found the Tesseract while searching for the Captain?
    • Insulting Thor to his back is still not a good idea.
    • Black Widow makes an allusion to Tony's talk with Gen. Ross in The Incredible Hulk.
    • Jane Foster is explained as being transferred to a distant place to protect her from Loki.
    • The gun Coulson uses on Loki was reverse engineered from the Destroyer in Thor.
    • The Hulk can't lift Mjölnir, because he isn't worthy.
    • Captain America, when first meeting Loki in Germany, notes that the last time he went to that location, he also had to deal with someone who believed he was almighty and higher than everyone else.
    • When Thor shoots lightning at Tony, his suit absorbs the energy. The Arc Reactor itself was designed by Tony's father Howard after recovering the Tesseract, which is Asgardian in origin, and the lightning generated by Thor being absorbed by the Arc Reactor in Tony's suit seems to be another subtle nod to the connection between the two technologies.
    • The Mark VII Iron Man suit's shoulder-mounted micro missiles have the same kind of rocket flare, audio design, and look as the payload of the Jericho Cluster Missile from the first Iron Man film.
    • Tony's line about bringing 'the party to you', which Natasha responds to, is a hugely delayed response to a similar line from Natasha in Iron Man 2, regarding the Hammer drones.
    • Loki flat out lampshades it when he traps Thor with an illusion trick.

Loki: Are you ever not going to fall for that?

  • Cool Old Guy: When Loki intimidates a crowd of people and forces them to kneel, an elderly man defies him.

Old Man: I will not bow to a man like you.
Loki: Ha! There are no men like me!
Old Man: There are always men like you.

Tony Stark: Please tell me nobody kissed me.

  • Crazy Prepared: Tony almost out Batmans Batman for designing a suit that can deploy and attach itself to him while he's falling out a building.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Coulson's dying speech to Loki shares similarities with a previous Whedon series, Angel, in the aptly-titled episode "Conviction". In it, 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.
  • Curb Stomp Battle:
    • At the climax, Loki lets his own arrogance get the better of him and tries to browbeat the Hulk. This is exactly as bad of an idea as it sounds.
    • You know the gigantic biomechanical Leviathan the trailer builds up as a grave threat? The first one gets smashed by the Hulk, who punches it in the face, setting it up to be blasted by Iron Man.
  • Cursed with Awesome: This is how Tony Stark has come to view the electromagnet and the miniature arc reactor plugged into his chest 24/7 and are the only things keeping him alive. He spends a good deal of the film trying to convince Bruce Banner that the Hulk is a similarly awesome curse. For Tony, the "awesome" part kicks in when Loki tries to brainwash him, but he can't, because his heart is protected by the arc reactor.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Clint knows he can't reconcile the deaths he caused while under Loki's control, but he'll settle for "putting an arrow through Loki's eye socket."
  • Cutting the Knot: During their argument, Steve accuses Tony of not being the sort of man to lie on a wire to let a comrade crawl over him. Tony remarks that he'd rather just cut the wire.
  • The Cynic: Tony Stark is still more than a little self-absorbed and doubtful of the competence and intelligence of anyone but himself, though throughout the film we see this change.
  • Da Chief: Nick Fury.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: When Hawkeye fires an arrow at Loki while he's riding a Chitauri craft, Loki catches it in mid-air with his Super Reflexes and look at it, as if to check what type of arrow it is. The arrow in question looks markedly different from the explosive one Hawkeye used earlier to blow up part of the Helicarrier, so Loki smiles smugly when he's sure he's safe. This turns out to be a setup, however, when the arrowhead opens and explodes anyway.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hinted at in the case of Black Widow and Hawkeye.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • Loki calls Fury on it.

Loki: How desperate are you, that you call upon such lost creatures to defend you?

    • Invoked for the team at large following the Helicarrier siege. Loki breaks it down again:

"Your heroes are scattered, your floating fortress falls from the sky. Where is my disadvantage?"

  • Deadpan Snarker: All of the Avengers have their moments, with the possible exception of Thor, who really isn't deadpan about anything.
    • It's also worth noting that this is averted completely by Cobie Smulders' character, Agent Maria Hill. Despite the actress' knack for deadpan humour in How I Met Your Mother and real life, her character in this movie is one of the most serious and straightforward in the entire cast, if not the most.
  • A Death in the Limelight: In as much as it's possible in an ensemble cast. Coulson gets a lot more character development here and in the tie-in comics, including that he has/had a romantic relationship with someone who may have been a cellist, and that he's a giant Captain America fanboy.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Despite numerous casualties suffered by both attackers and S.H.I.E.L.D agents on the Helicarrier the only one that any time is spent dwelling on is Coulson.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • The old German man who refuses to kneel before Loki.
    • Agent Coulson, who shows no fear when confronting Loki.
  • Destination Defenestration:
    • Tony Stark gets tossed out a window. Sans armor.
    • Cap later gets blasted out of a window at Grand Central Terminal. Luckily, his shield protected him.
    • The Hulk inverts this trope during the Battle for Manhattan by grabbing a Chitauri and lobbing it into the building across the street through the window.
  • Determinator: Much of the cast.
    • Cap especially seems this way, especially after the point where he gets flung out of a building by a bomb, is clearly worn down, and yet gets up and keeps fighting.
    • Black Widow, especially where Hawkeye is concerned. On the Helicarrier, she takes a full on hit from the Hulk and is obviously rattled and injured, to the point of a mini-BSOD. When she hears Hawkeye is in the complex? She gets right up and takes the fight to him.
    • Hulk, naturally. It's in his character, after all: he'll just keep fighting. Nothing you throw at him will stop him.
    • Thor when it comes to Loki and Earth. It's implied that he had his father use a lot of dark energy to send him back to Earth, and when he gets there he seeks out Loki with almost single minded drive.
    • Coulson takes a spear through the back and still manages to give Loki a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and blast him through a wall as he's bleeding out.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: "Mewling quim" caused some eyebrows to be raised in the UK, since "quim" isn't quite as archaic and unknown there. The effect might not have been accidental.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: "Puny god."
  • Dies Wide Shut: Coulson.
  • Disability Immunity: The arc reactor in Tony's chest that keeps his heart beating also makes Tony immune Loki's brainwash stick.
  • Divide and Conquer: This is Loki's plan for dealing with the Avengers; he targets Bruce in particular. He succeeds for a while even after they realize what he's up to.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Massive damage to New York ensues after a surprise attack. The parallel is mostly averted, but the ending with post-strike reports just screams 9/11. Also, you will find few Americans who remember that day vividly and who empathized with the office workers who weren't reminded of it in the scene when the office workers look out the window to see, not a plane, but an equally impossible to imagine giant bug creature. (And none who didn't feel a slight sense of satisfaction in seeing the goddamn HULK racing through the cubicles to the rescue.)
    • At one point, a Leviathan exits from a building and you can see the building begin to fall behind it in a fashion similar to the World Trade Center towers.
    • A more comedic moment: when Loki fails to brainwash Tony with his staff, he looks taken aback and says this has never happened to him before. Tony makes an idle comment about performance issues.
  • Downer Beginning: The film opens with Loki killing over a dozen people, brainwashing one of SHIELD's top agents along with a renowned scientist, and escaping with the Tesseract as an entire SHIELD base is destroyed and Nick Fury escapes by the skin of his teeth. Cue title card.
  • The Dragon: Hawkeye becomes this to Loki until his Heel Face Turn.
  • The Dreaded: Even his own team members are afraid of the Hulk.
  • Dream Team: The best the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer.
  • Drop the Hammer: This trope pops up whenever Thor is around but this movie has a particularly interesting example since Thor drops his hammer on Cap's shield, in response to Cap's request that he put down the weapon.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Banner reveals that he once tried to commit suicide, but the Hulk took control and spat the bullet out, which actually happened in a comic AU miniseries, and was a deleted scene from The Incredible Hulk.
    • Subverted with Selvig. After he wakes up from Loki's brainwashing, Natasha finds him looking over the edge of Stark Tower's roof, like he's thinking about jumping. Nat 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.
  • Dutch Angle: Used several times throughout the film.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Agent Phil Coulson gets stabbed. Despite this, he gives Loki a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and blasts him through a wall with a BFG. He tells Fury he's okay with going out this way, because it will give the Avengers -- specifically Tony and Cap -- the push they need to work together as a team.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Thor and Loki have a rather rocky reunion. Hemsworth has noted that Thor's attitude in this movie is something of a mix between anger, disappointment, and protectiveness towards his little brother.

Thor: He is of Asgard and he is my brother!
Black Widow: He killed 80 people in 2 days.
Thor: (hesitantly) ...He's adopted.

  • Dysfunction Junction: The team is comprised of enough Type A personalities that there will almost always be conflict. And as with most examples, it more than likely will come and go. Bruce Banner provides an adequate description for the team:

Banner: We're not a team, we're a time bomb!


  • Easily-Thwarted Alien Invasion: The Chitauri are a Keystone Army. Not only that, but other than the alien troop carriers they seem to be just as vulnerable to bullets as unarmored humans, and when we see the full force there aren't anywhere near enough of them for a successful conquest. We're informed by a news broadcast that the American Army is getting overwhelmed by the Chitauri however, although all we see in combat is one squad and a light IFV that seem to be doing ok. Some of the Avengers get banged up, but none of them suffer a noteworthy injury.
  • Eat Me: Tony's approach to a giant alien with impenetrable armor. It's even lampshaded by Tony, who asks Jarvis immediately beforehand if he's ever heard of the story of Jonah from The Bible.
  • Epic Fail: Loki attempts to subdue Hulk in Stark Tower by yelling at him. Hulk responds by wildly thrashing around Loki with his signature style.
  • Epic Movie
  • Epic Tracking Shot: Required for such an epic moment in New York City. It starts with Black Widow on the back of a Chitauri on a hovercraft, controlling him. Iron Man flies by her and he blasts a couple of aliens on the ground. He lands next to and fights alongside Captain America, then flies up the side of a building where Hawkeye is on the roof fighting off aliens. Hawkeye shoots an arrow and the camera follows it as it hits a Chitauri sled. It falls and a leviathan passes by where the Hulk and Thor are on it fighting aliens. The Hulk rips off a big piece of shell off of the leviathan and stabs the top of it, and Thor hammers it in. This brings the leviathan crashing into Grand Central Station. The two later stand on the defeated Leviathan for a moment, catching their breath, only for Hulk to punch Thor off the Leviathan.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Maria Hill shows up in the beginning of the movie, butts heads with Nick Fury over the evacuation of a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, and gets into a car chase with an escaping Loki that ends up with her driving backwards at full speed trading gunfire with another vehicle, all before the title credits. Although her role in the rest of the movie is minimal.
    • In his first five minutes, Loki slaughters half-a-dozen S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel, puts the mind control whammy on some main characters and steals the MacGuffin.
    • Black Widow's first appearance in the film has her utilizing the rather unique interrogation techniques on some rogue Russians, and then kicking ass and taking names when Coulson contacts her about Hawkeye being compromised by Loki.
  • Evil Brit: Played straight with Tom Hiddleston's Loki, partly subverted with the British member of the World Security Council, and averted with Jarvis. Also averted with Thor. Although Hemsworth is Australian, Thor speaks with an RP accent (of varying quality).
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Loki apparently thinks breaking the Avengers team up is enough to eliminate them as a threat. It doesn't occur to him that their better nature as heroes might bring them together again -- as an even stronger team, at that. Tony later guesses, however, that Loki might have indeed been able to tell what would happen and wanted them to get together so that he could defeat them in front of everyone.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Loki has taken a level in bombast since his last appearance.
  • Evil Will Fail: "You’re going to lose. It's in your nature... You lack conviction."
  • Exact Words: Captain America tells Thor to "put the hammer down." Thor puts the hammer down... On Captain America.
  • Explosions in Space: Done correctly at the end of the film. The nuke Tony steers into the Chitauri mothership detonates as an expanding sphere, with no mushroom cloud or Planar Shockwave.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Hawkeye, while Brainwashed And Crazy), has a decidedly blunt approach to bypassing retinal scanners, and Loki is happy to oblige him.
    • Hawkeye shows a desire to "shoot an arrow into Loki's eye".
  • Eyepatch of Power: Nick Fury.
  • Failed Attempt At Drama:
    • Loki's dramatic failure to deliver a climactic brainwashing.
    • Thor throwing his weight around with Loki, ordering him to "Listen well, brother..." He doesn't get too far in his speech before Tony rockets into him and throws him off the cliff.

Loki: (shrug) I'm listening.

  • Famous Last Words: "It's okay, boss. This was never going to work, unless we had..."
  • Fan Boy: Agent Coulson is a pretty big fanboy of Captain America.
  • Fantastic Racism: Loki views humans as an inferior race meant for slavery. He sums up this opinion pretty succinctly when he and Thor are talking on the mountain:

Thor: You think yourself above them?
Loki: Well, yes.

  • Fatal Family Photo: Coulson's trading cards. Tony also makes mention of a cellist girlfriend whom Coulson had been seeing in his spare time.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The Chitauri have something special planned for Loki, should he fail to fork over the Tesseract.

"You think you know pain? He will make you long for something as sweet as pain."

  • Female Gaze:
    • The male heroes' chiseled physiques are often on display, even if only a newly de-Hulked Bruce Banner is the only one who goes shirtless.
    • Captain America bears special mention. He gets it even if he's not in his form-fitting uniform. The very first scene he shows up in, in fact.
  • Fighting From the Inside: Selvig managed to install a fail-safe in Loki's portal that would allow it to be shut down, even while he was deep under Loki's control.
    • An argument can be made for Fury being shot in the chest by Hawkeye. Considering how close it is implied he worked with Fury, he had to know that Fury would be wearing armor. While center mass is standard training, other scenes show that a head shot was well within his abilities at that range.
    • Also the Hulk to some extent. The first time Banner hulks out he goes on a rampage and attacks his friends indiscriminately, but the second time he's more in control and actually goes out of his way to protect his allies.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: An element of the story is that the members don't get along at first but eventually become friends and learn to work together.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Captain America, falling exactly in line with his comic counterpart. Played for Drama or Played for Laughs depending on the situation.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Hero: Captain America. It takes him a while, but eventually he realizes his good heart and tactical knowledge are what is needed to bring the team together.
    • The Lancer: Iron Man. The total opposite to Captain America, and the most resistant to being a team player. However his loose cannon recklessness saves the day several times, and conversely it is eventually he who benefits the most from having people watching his back.
    • The Big Guy: Thor and The Hulk share this role. Interestingly, whilst The Hulk has more raw power, Thor's hammer makes him the stronger fighter.
    • The Smart Guy: Bruce Banner for the most part, but Tony Stark also shares the role.
    • The Chick: Black Widow, by virtue of being a Badass Normal. Lacks any kind of super powers, but makes up for it with a totally different but complementary skill set of martial arts prowess, Improbable Aiming Skills, and the ability to get to places where people don’t want her to be. Also uses emotions to manipulate villains, making her almost a heroic version of the Dark Chick.
    • The Sixth Ranger: Hawkeye. Brainwashed and Crazy for most of the movie, but joins the team at the end for some payback. Appropriately he’s a brooding, dark loner, and his Improbable Aiming Skills are awesome.
  • Flash Step: Loki's trademark. When he pulls it on Thor again, he asks him if he's ever not going to fall for it.
  • Flaw Exploitation:
    • Loki's favorite tactic. However, Stark correctly spotting that Loki's ego (similar in size to his own) could make him sacrifice pragmatism for showmanship means this trope comes back to bite Loki hard.
    • Black Widow also makes use of his love for the Hannibal Lecture and "The Reason You Suck" Speech. The Chitauri use his thirst for vengeance and "worthiness" to make him his errand boy to fetch the Tesseract; in exchange, Loki gets Earth, which they don't give a damn about.
  • Foil: The heart of the humor and drama of this movie lies in the similarities and contrasts of the lead characters.
    • Bruce Banner vs. Tony Stark: Both are genius-level scientists, and harbor mutual respect for each other. While both have a dark side, they are completely different personality-wise. Bruce is, by necessity, mild-mannered and cautious to control his id, while Tony's flamboyance and irreverence are the tip of his self-destructive decadence.
    • Thor vs. Captain America: Both are old-fashioned in ideals and aesthetics, initially felt ill at ease on modern Earth, and are driven by a sense of duty before their homeland. Still, both find it difficult to comprehend each other.
    • Tony Stark vs. Captain America: Apart from being tied by family history, both are motivated by a sense of American patriotism and a desire to end wars and bring peace to the world. But Tony and Steve are completely different in terms of temperament and modus operandi, and Steve has uneasy memories of having worked with Tony's father. According to his actor, Tony has heard so much about Steve from his dad that he's like a big brother he can never live up to.
    • Captain America vs. the Hulk: It's only touched on briefly, but Steve Rogers is the Super Soldier experiment gone right, while Bruce Banner is the experiment gone wrong (or "wrong").
    • Black Widow vs. Hawkeye: Secret agents with Dark And Troubled Pasts, a sense of chilly professionalism, and a deep, long-standing friendship originating when Clint made a choice that perhaps she wouldn't have.
    • In addition, Loki has traits that resonate or clash with the leads: Asgardian origins (Thor), intelligence, mercurial temperament, and love for theatrics (Iron Man), manipulation of emotions (Bruce Banner), disregard for freedom and human life (Captain America), a lack of empathy (Black Widow), and a disregard for free will (Hawkeye).
  • Food End: At least in the U.S. release.
  • Foot Focus: Joss Whedon's Signature Style, due to Author Appeal.
    • Black Widow during her "interrogation" near the start of the film. Extra points for being in stockings.
    • Pepper is also barefoot for her scenes, though there's no direct focus.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Loki is being led to his prison onboard SHIELD's airship, he briefly smirks at Bruce Banner. Guess what his insurance plan for escaping is?
    • The "Galaga gag" is, when you think about it, a subtle foreshadowing the final showdown: much like in the Unwinnable video game, the heroes have to fight endless hordes of alien ships.
    • Not long before The Reveal, Coulson makes an offhand comment to Thor that he "changed everything".
    • Cap telling Tony that he's not the kind to sacrifice himself for a greater cause.
  • For the Evulz: Loki probably didn't need to shove that eye scanner into the poor man's eye quite so hard... or gleefully.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Iron Man crash lands after pulling his "Jonah" stunt, the building behind him is actually the shawarma joint he later mentions wanting to try out.
  • Genre Blind: Thor, yet again, is lured into a vulnerable spot by falling for Loki's trick of creating false images of himself.

Loki: Are you ever not going to fall for that?

  • Genre Savvy:
    • Stark and Banner collaborate theirs to figure out the truth about what SHIELD was doing with the Tesseract.
    • Someone in the WSC must have been pretty genre savvy; they scramble two F-35s with nukes rather than just one, and the first is shot down by Fury.
    • When Barton is mind-controlled, he realizes Fury is stalling so the place will collapse and they and the Tesseract will all be buried, keeping it out of Loki's hands, and informs Loki.
    • Captain America realizes Loki gave up far too easily.

Thor: Loki is a prisoner.
Nick Fury: Then why do I feel like he's the only person on this boat who wants to be here?

    • After his "capture", Loki tells Thor that he's had the tesseract sent away with no knowledge of its whereabouts. He already knows that at some point Fury is going to resort to other tactics to find out where it is, but even that would be a walk in the park compared to what Thanos will do to him if he loses the cube to the good guys. Savvy self-preservation, indeed.
    • Towards the end of the fight between Natasha and a brainwashed Barton, he looks up and says her name with a bit of tenderness to get her to ease up. She punches him in the head again.
    • The janitor who finds Bruce:

Janitor: You an alien, son?
Bruce: A what?
Janitor: An alien. From outer space.
Bruce: No.
Janitor: Well then, son, you have a condition.

Black Widow: They're basically gods.
Captain America: There's only one God, ma'am, and I'm pretty sure He doesn't dress like that.

  • Godzilla Threshold: Fury states that the events of Thor proving humanity wasn't alone in the universe prompted S.H.I.E.L.D. to initiate Phase Two in the event that a hostile alien threat attacked Earth & crossed the threshold. Later, the WSC decides to go ahead & nuke Manhattan, in the event that the Avengers can't force the Chitauri back.
  • Godwin's Law: When Captain America confronts Loki in Stuttgart, he quips that, when he last went to Germany, there was another man who believed himself superior to all others. Of course, he could also be referring to the Red Skull, but the old German man was almost certainly talking about Hitler: "There are always men like you."
  • The Good Guys Always Win: Lampshaded, but not stated outright.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Everybody, as is this a Marvel Universe.
    • Tony Stark is, of course, a conceited and arrogant jackass who has problems with authority, but his goal is to make up for his past failures.
    • Thor still has shades of being a Boisterous Bruiser that smashes first and asks questions later, but he follows his heart and demonstrates Undying Loyalty to family, allies, and the Earth itself.
    • The Hulk is a rampaging id monster which smashes friend and foe alike during his temper tantrums, but just because he doesn't like you doesn't mean he won't protect you.
    • Hawkeye and Black Widow are agents (and former criminals) that won't hesitate to do what needs to be done. Also, Widow is duplicitous and very rarely shows anything real about herself. That doesn't stop the two of them from being loyal to each other and to their comrades.
    • Captain America is frustrated by the modern world and sees very little of the future he was fighting for. Considering he was last living in an era where millions were dying to save the world from tyranny, pampered geniuses like Tony aggravate him to no end. Even so, he puts his ideals and heroism above personal feelings.
    • And finally, Nick Fury, who will employ every dirty trick he can think of to meet his ends. It's just a good thing his ends are preserving worldwide freedom.
    • Averted by Coulson, who is amicable, polite, and gets along with every other member of the team. So of course, he was Too Good for This Sinful Earth.
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Invoked and Discussed several times, mostly regarding Captain America. The conclusion is that old-fashioned heroism is is exactly what people need during Earth's Darkest Hour.
  • Good Old Ways: Being old-fashioned is Thor's and Captain America's trademark, although it's significantly Downplayed compared to many of their previous portrayals.
  • Graceful Loser: Loki would like that drink now, thank you.
  • Green Aesop: This is actually central to the plot. The Tesseract is a power-source, Stark Tower runs on self-sustaining energy, and so on. Although, one of the key fights of the film ends up leveling half a forest. It also causes severe complications at the climax - self-sustaining energy is hard to just switch off.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: SHIELD agents are mostly armed with Glock pistols and M4A1 carbines. Bad guys use automatics or, in the case of the aliens, high-tech blasters.
  • Guile Hero: Black Widow's favorite interrogation technique is to make the bad guys feel powerful with her acting skills and then listen to what they let slip in their victorious rants.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Black Widow uses two glock pistols at the same time fighting the Chitauri.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: A rare gender inversion in the team of Hawkeye and Black Widow: while both are entirely capable in the other field (she's a crack shot and he can certainly deal damage hand-to-hand), Natasha is the superior martial artist while Clint is the finer marksman.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Loki's other favorite tactic, and his biggest weakness.
  • Hate Plague: Not that the Avengers weren't getting on each other's nerves before, but it's implied that Loki somehow supernaturally raised tensions between the team while he was on the Helicarrier.

Nick Fury: Dr. Banner, put down the scepter.

  • Headbutting Heroes: Averted with Thor and Hulk, who are almost always at each other's throats in the comics. They still fight in the movie, but it's just Thor trying to stop Hulk from destroying the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier after Loki manages to set him off. The rest of the movie Hulk and Thor are more like Bash Brothers except for the hilarious Offhand Backhand that Hulk gives Thor in one scene after helping him take down a Leviathan, seemingly due to their previous fight or because Thor landed the killing blow on the Leviathan, frustrating Hulk.
  • Heel Face Turn: Near the end of the movie, Clint joins the team for the final battle.
  • Hero Insurance: After everything's said and done, one of the many news reports tries to blame the Avengers for the damage to the city. Fury conveniently fails to ask where the Avengers were going after their mission is complete, precisely to avoid such questions.
  • Hero of Another Story: Every member has had his own movie or at least a minor role (or cameo) in a previous film.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: The Avengers snag a SHIELD quinjet to take to the final battle. An agent mentions they are unauthorized, but Captain America quickly shuts him up.
  • Heroic Neutral: Banner doesn't want to get involved in the fighting, mostly to keep Hulk at bay, but he changes after some character development.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Discussed when Captain America thinks the other Avengers (particularly Iron Man, who's a Take a Third Option kinda guy) aren't heroes at all because they're not willing to make the "sacrifice play", as he calls it. It's a Call Back to Captain America the First Avenger and how Cap wound up in the future in the first place.
    • Coulson's decision to face Loki alone would count as one. Even with the big anti-Destroyer gun, he seemed to think his death would inspire the Avengers to work together in order to avenge him.
    • Tony eventually does attempt this, and while he does survive his heroic act of driving a nuke into space, he did it accepting that he may die.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: The Hulk comes out and smashes everything in sight, not because Banner's rage got the best of him, but because when there are threats against their lives, Hulk comes out to ensure Banner's safety. He does not approve much of this, even when he's told.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Black Widow uses a fallen alien weapon to use against them at one point, and is actually very proficient at it.
    • Loki's scepter serves as a tool for shutting down the portal to the other dimension.
    • Thor tries to fry Iron Man with a bolt of lightning. It charges up the armor's power supplies to quadruple capacity, which Tony uses immediately to blast Thor with a supercharged repulsor discharge.
    • In the movie Thor, Loki took control of the Destroyer and sent it to Earth to get rid of Thor. It also did a number on Agent Coulson's men. It was trashed and its remains were picked up by S.H.I.E.L.D. Fast forward to the present, and Loki is blasted through a bulkhead by an Earth-made BFG built from Destroyer technology, wielded by Agent Coulson. It doesn't kill or seriously harm Loki, but it probably hurt his pride at least a little.
  • Honor Before Reason: Captain America, while retaining his core sense of honor, nicely averts this. Despite his initial insistence to Tony and Bruce that they should trust in their orders, Cap does take their skepticism seriously, and does some off-book investigating of his own. He ends up beating Tony to the punch in calling out Fury.
  • Hood Hopping: Cap hops along a few car roofs while avoiding explosions.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Tony takes Agent Phil Coulson's Heroic Sacrifice really badly, calling him an idiot for facing Loki alone and hopelessly outmatched.
  • Hulking Out: It is the Hulk, after all.
  • Humans Are Warriors: After the Avengers repel the Chitauri invasion, the Other informs his master that humans are not a species to be messed with.
  • Human Popsicle: Unlike Captain America: The First Avenger, we do get to see Steve's frozen fate, which is briefly seen in a series of flashbacks that he has while working out.

Tony Stark: Yeah, I realize you're a little behind the times being a Capsicle for so long.

  • Humiliation Conga: The finale is one for Loki. For starters, over the course of the movie almost every single Avenger and Agent Coulson manage to land at least one good hit on him. (Hulk's definitely takes the cake)
  • Hurting Hero:
    • Captain America, as seen in his first onscreen appearance. He's seventy years out of his own time, everything he's ever known is gone, and nothing in the world makes sense to him anymore.
    • Also Bruce Banner. Though he tries to hide it through sarcasm. The "secret" to how he controls his transformation pretty much spells out much this trope applies.
    • Hawkeye, especially after being freed from his brainwashing. He's going to be having nightmares for a while.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "You people are so petty... and tiny." And:

Thor: Take care how you speak! Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard, and he's my brother.
Natasha Romanoff: He killed eighty people in two days.
Thor: (hesitantly) ...He's adopted.

Bruce Banner: I don't think we should be focusing on Loki. That guy's brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.
Thor: Take care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard, and he is my brother.
Black Widow: He killed eighty people in two days.
Thor: (hesitantly) ...He's adopted.

  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Thor's fight with Hulk starts off as this, but Thor stops trying pretty quickly.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Loki decides to take Tony up on his offer of a drink after he's defeated and cornered by the entire team.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Loki gets captured and taken to the Helicarrier. He then uses this as a distraction while his men attack the Helicarrier and set up the Tesseract device right on top of Stark Tower.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: A visible effect of Loki's brainwashing.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Front and center.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Hawkeye's special power is his improbable accuracy with a bow. He manages to land a USB arrow into a computer, curve an explosive arrow around a ship to hit from the other side, and hits many speeding enemy planes without even looking at them. Hawkeye later nails a Chitauri on one of their hovercraft while looking in the complete opposite direction.
    • Nick Fury lands a hit on the engine of a jet taking off, with an unguided RPG launcher, using iron sights, with one eye.
  • 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.
  • In Name Only: The alien invaders are called the Chitauri. In the comics, the Chitauri are the Ultimate Marvel version of 616 Marvel's Skrulls, shape-shifting aliens whose modus operandi is impersonation and infiltration (see the Skrull-centric storyline Secret Invasion). The movie Chitauri take a blunt Attack! Attack! Attack! approach. They do resemble heavily-armored Skrulls, however. The movie rights to Skrulls are technically tied to the Fantastic Four, and therefore owned by Fox. The choice to use the Ultimate equivalent is a conscious use of this trope.
  • Insistent Terminology: Bruce Banner does not turn into the Hulk. He turns into "the other guy." All the other characters continue to refer to his alter ego as the Hulk, however, and Bruce himself slips up once before correcting himself.
  • Instant Win Condition: Apparently, Chitauri all die if you blow up their command ship. The leading theory is that the Chitauri are somehow linked to their home-ship, similar to the Buggers in Ender's Game. And since the leviathan ship seemed to be biologically related to the Chitauri themselves, this is entirely plausible.
  • It's Personal: Tony theorizes that this was Loki's purpose in attacking the Helicarrier while getting everyone to fight amongst themselves.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: The World Security Council decides to stop the Chitauri threat by nuking Manhattan (while the Avengers are still fighting.) Fury dismisses this as a stupid idea and outright tries to delay it. With rockets.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "Well, let me know if 'real power' wants a magazine or something."
    • When Loki first appears, Fury tries to defuse the situation by saying "We have no quarrel with your people": Loki responds "An ant has no quarrel with a boot." When Loki is captive on the Helicarrier, Fury says that one button is all it will take to jettison the cell, Loki included, and remarks (pointing at Loki) "Ant..." (points at button) "...Boot."
    • A more serious one: while ferrying Captain Rogers to the Helicarrier, Agent Coulson says that "Maybe people need 'old-fashioned'" in response to Captain America's traditional suit, but clearly referring to the ideals Captain America represents. Later, at the team's darkest moment, Fury suggests that believing in heroes might be "an old-fashioned notion."
    • Tony sarcastically remarking that Coulson's first name is "Agent", then later, "His name was Phil." Bonus points for it being said both times in the same room.
    • "Put on the suit."
  • Jekyll and Hyde: Banner and the Hulk. Banner's Character Development has him realizing that the Hulk isn't some villain: he's just a part of Banner driven by the doctor's own simplest desires, which needs to be accepted rather than constantly restrained. This leads to the final battle, where Banner willingly transforms to help the Avengers and the Hulk willingly follows Captain America's orders.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Black Widow's reaction when Cap asks what Tony is without his armor and he answers "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist".
  • Jurisdiction Friction: S.H.I.E.L.D. and the World Security Council want Loki to be judged for his crimes on Earth, while Thor insists that he must "face Asgardian justice".
  • Just Train Wrong: At the beginning of the scene introducing Black Widow we see an establishing shot of a Norfolk Southern freight train passing by the ratty looking warehouse where the heroine is conducting an interrogation. The only problem is that the scene is set in Russia where American locomotives do not operate.
  • Just You and Me and My Guards: "Just the two of us, huh?"
  • Keystone Army: The Chitauri, apparently. Once Iron Man nukes the mothership, all units on Earth cease functioning.
  • Kick the Dog: Loki is a lot less Affably Evil this time around. Still fun as hell to watch though.
  • Killed Off for Real: Agent Coulson.
    • Maybe. Never Found the Body, after all. The medics came in and you never saw him again, and nobody stays dead in comics...
  • Kiss of Life: Averted, but thoroughly lampshaded and Played for Laughs.

Stark: What just happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me.

  • Kneel Before Zod: In Stuttgart, Loki forces an entire crowd to kneel before him, and tries to do the same to Captain America.
  • Even Heroes Have Heroes: Agent Coulson is a huge fanboy of Captain America. Trading cards are involved. Plus, it turns out he helped design Cap's modern-day costume.
  • Know When to Fold'Em: After being blown up, beat down by Thor and the Hulk, and watching his army die, Loki wisely comes quietly.
  • Kubrick Stare: Loki/Tom Hiddleston seems to have this down to a fine art, especially the first time we see him.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Quite a few subtle ones, which if you've seen the previous films, you catch right off the bat.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: If you've missed some of the movies from the MCU, there'll be quite a few spoilers for you, particularly in regards to Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Le Parkour:
    • Cap engages in quite a bit of this throughout the film.
    • Natasha uses it quite a bit as well, most notable in the scene where the Helicarrier is attacked.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The entirety of the second stinger. But they did do three separate takes so they could pick out the best.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Iron Man gives us this gem.

Captain America: We need a plan of attack!
Iron Man: I have a plan: Attack! Attack! Attack!.

  • Leitmotif: Meta-version. Loki's motif from The Ring of the Nibelung plays briefly during the scene in Germany.
    • Whenever Cap does anything awesome, notes of his theme plays.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Thor states that SHIELD's experiments with the Tesseract have started one: it's the equivalent of an otherwise unremarkable postage stamp in Eastern Europe or Africa suddenly getting a nuclear reactor and with their efforts to reverse-engineer HYDRA's weaponry, nuclear weapons. Once Earth re-ignited the Tesseract, it was no longer an Insignificant Little Blue Planet in the CIA Galactic Factbook - it's now a potential rival. And when the Avengers wiped out an entire force of Chitauri and thus earned Thanos' attention, it was pretty much equivalent to said postage stamp wiping out a Spetsnaz unit and thus earning Stalin's attention!
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • Thor's introduction, after Cap and Stark have "captured" the surrendering Loki, is to burst into their transport and remove his brother by force. This could prove an obstacle to saving their world, so both heroes jump out of the plane to give chase. The showdown involves a lot of snarking and pummeling, and answers the question of what happens when a near-unstoppable hammer swing meets an unbreakable shield.
    • Also, the Hulk briefly chases Black Widow and tangles with Thor when he first "meets" the team. Loki planned to use The Hulk to destroy the Helicarrier and all of his enemies along with it.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Hulk is phenomenally strong even compared to the mighty Thor, but the movie also does an excellent job of portraying just how dangerously fast he can be for his size, particularly when he's tearing shit up with remarkable agility in the final battle.
  • Logo Joke:
    • The Marvel and Paramount logos are seen inside the Tesseract.
    • Also seen at the end of the movie. Stark Tower's "STARK" logo gets all the consonants removed during the final fight. What's left? A very stylish 'A', similar to the one in the classic "Avengers" logo.
  • Lock and Load Montage: When the team decides to collectively get dangerous, we are treated to a montage of Captain America and Iron Man suiting up while Thor grabs Mjölnir and Hawkeye checks his bow.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: After Captain America breaks up the fight between Tony Stark and Thor and tries to convince Thor to "put the hammer down," Thor acts on those words by smashing Captain America with it. Captain America blocks it with his shield, which indeed protects him from a blow from the hammer of a Norse god - by reflecting the force of the blow in all directions in a shockwave that levels everything in the immediate area.


  • MacGuffin: The Tesseract
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Iron Man launches one from his shoulders. They even perform an Itano Circus.
  • Made of Indestructium: Cap's shield is used to block or reflect basically every attack in the movie (including Mjölnir, as Drop The Hammer above shows), and only the paint is damaged.
  • Made of Iron: Par for the course for a superhero movie. Even non-powered heroes like Hawkeye or Black Widow can take an enormous amount of punishment. Notable example of just how tough Asgardians are: Loki takes a pounding from Hulk which would turn a normal human into goo but in his final appearance seems to be able to walk around on his own.
  • Make an Example of Them: Loki preparing to zap a mouthy old man standing amid his flock.
  • 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.
    • Not to mention Pepper Potts and her teeny-tiny shorts.
  • 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 scepter of his and his misdirecting illusions, but he prefers to just trick the heroes into fighting each other.
    • Nick Fury, as usual, manipulates the heroes into working for S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Market-Based Title: In the U.K., the film will be known as Avengers Assemble, no doubt 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.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: A rare live-action example. This movie is possible since all of these franchise characters are owned by Marvel.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane / Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Downplayed, but present. Even with our current understanding of science fiction, some things the Asgardians do are just easier to explain with magic. People even refer to him 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, a giant snake flies past in the background. In the attack on New York, they end up using those things as weapons.
  • Megaton Punch: Hulk does this to a Leviathan.
  • Men Don't Cry / Sand in My Eyes: The blue light reactor that keeps Tony Stark alive ALWAYS shines through whatever shirt he is wearing at the time. The ONE time it does not glow through his shirt is when is struck silent with grief by the death of Agent Clouson. There may be no tears, but a mighty heart has been broken.
  • 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: Hulk's epic beat down of Loki.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Iron Man upgrades to the Mark VII armor during the film. 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.
  • Mind Control Eyes: When Loki controls people with the scepter. First, their eyes turn pitch black, then their irises and pupils turn the same shade of blue as the scepter's gem.
  • Mind Rape: Hawkeye's description of what it felt like to be brainwashed by Loki definitely gets into this territory.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Played for Laughs when Tony Stark calls out a SHIELD agent on the Helicarrier for using some of the most advanced computers in the world, surpassed only by Stark's own, to play a game of 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 probably knew him the longest of all. Cap gets motivation from the bloodstained Captain America trading cards that Coulson so eagerly wanted him to sign. Romanov and Barton have plenty motivation because they were all longstanding comrades in the agency.
  • 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.
  • Moment Killer: Coulson drops in on Tony during a romantic interlude with Pepper. Luckily, it was only "12% of a moment."
  • Monumental Damage: Well, 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.
  • Mooks: The Chitauri.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Loki's first attack on earth was stated to be in Stuttgart, Germany, but it quite clearly was filmed in Cleveland; the opera house is actually the city's best known building, the Terminal Tower.
  • Mouth of Sauron: The Other, a go-between for Loki and his new boss, Thanos. Coincidentally (or not) he looks an awful lot like Peter Jackson's version of the Mouth; nasty skin, covered-up eyes.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Mostly averted. Hawkeye is the only character who plays this straight (his classic outfit is purple). Black Widow has always worn black. The color of the Hulk's clothes are pointless, since he rips them apart when he Hulks Out anyway, and Iron Man's reasons for red and gold were ironed out in his first film. Agent Coulson, in fact, flat out defies this for Cap.

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.

  • Music of Note: Loki is understandably a Wagner aficionado.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Ladies, take your pick. The blond, clean-cut, all-American nice guy? The tall, dark, and snarky millionaire playboy? The pretty boy god with an accent? The Draco-in-Leather-Pants main villain? The stoic, "cool loner" sniper? The adorkable bespectacled "hot scientist"? Almost all of which are incredibly buff and march around in skin-tight clothing, shiny badass armor, and/or sleeveless 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.
  • Mythology Gag: Not as many as other MCU movies, but there are still small ones, if the IMDB cast listings are to be believed:
    • 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. So minor, in fact, that it's entirely possible this is unintentional.
    • Romy Rosemont appears as Shawna Lynde, a Thor supporting character during the 1980s.
    • 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.
    • The research center at the beginning is revealed to be Project Pegasus, a S.H.I.E.L.D. research center from the comics.
    • "Hi, you've reached the Life Model Decoy of Tony Stark." Life Model Decoys were often used in the comics as robotic "clones" for heroes.
    • 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.
    • Possibly literal Mythology Gags:
      • When Loki has his mouth sealed shut at the end of the film, it echoes how he had it sewn shut by dwarves in myths.
      • After Thor pulls Loki from the Quinjet, they land on a cliff side and it looks like two ravens fly past, evoking Odin's two ravens.
      • During Loki's conversation with The Other through a psychic connection, at the point where The Other promises Loki "more than pain" should he fail, what seems to be an enormous snake rustles past them: in Norse mythology Loki is at one point punished by having a snake put venom in his eyes, from his murder of Balder by proxy to Ragnarök itself.
    • The moment during the oner across NYC, Captain America and Iron Man pull off a fusion move lifted directly from Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
    • 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).
    • While talking to Loki, Tony refers to the Avengers as "Earth's mightiest heroes", a moniker that has followed the team since day one.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • "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 it. Now you know why he's smiling.
  • Neck Lift: Loki does this to Tony, right before tossing him out of the Stark Tower window.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Dr. Banner's nudity after crashing through the factory is Played for Laughs by the security guard.
  • Nerves of Steel: Nobody is braver than Captain Rogers, not a man in Power Armor, nor a green humanoid tsunami who can punch through mountains, or even the literal god of thunder himself, and hence it is he, a mere mortal in comparison, who leads The Avengers to a crushing victory against an Alien Invasion.
  • Never Found the Body: Partial aversion. 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!). Furthermore, Clark Gregg has said that he was assured by Joss Whedon that the character survives, and is rumored to be in talks to appear in future Marvel movies as that character... though an interview with the actor in the Huffington Post seems to debunk the assurance. Time will tell.
  • 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 Stark'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."
    • 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 mothership, not because he was shot out of the sky.
    • 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.
    • Again, editing suggests Thor laughs at Tony's rebuttal when Captain Rogers asks what use he is without his armor. In the movie, the 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 doesn't include himself in the "headcount" of his fellow Avengers.
    • In the trailer Tony says "Guys, I'm bringing the party to you," but in the movie it's "I'm bringing the party to you." It's the Black Widow who says "Guys..." when she sees more examples of the party following soon after.
  • Newscaster Cameo: MSNBC's Thomas Roberts covers the aftermath of the final battle.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Loki's portal created using the Tesseract allows the heroes to dispose of the nuke by sending it through the portal. Which conveniently destroys Loki's army as well. Most of his 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), his staff "the Glowstick of Destiny" (because of its Mind Control properties and how it glows), Thor "Point Break" (because of his long blonde hair 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 Chitauri are alien cyborgs with an almost mythical feel to them, as if they were demons from outer space. Considering their boss is basically a Space God, this is fitting.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Quietly but very deliberately averted. 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.
    • Also 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.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • When the Helicarrier first takes flight, Bruce and Steve approach the very edge of the flight deck to gape at the rotors directly below. There is only a thin, waist-high railing to prevent them from falling in, or getting sucked into them.
    • 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.
  • Won't Work On Me: Loki gets a very unpleasant surprise when his mind-control powers are blocked by Stark's Arc Reactor. Stark lets him try several times before offering sympathy for "performance issues".
  • 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.

Tony: He's a full-tilt diva! He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument in the skies with his name plastered-
(realizes he's describing Stark Tower)
Tony: Son-of-a-bitch.

  • 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 tosses Iron Man on the ground.
  • Nuke'Em:
    • 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.

Nick Fury: I recognise that the Council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-ass decision I'm inclined to ignore it!

    • Completely subverted however in that, once fired, Tony changes the course of the nuke to hit the Chitauri command ship on the other side of the Tesseract's gateway, which turns out to be the key to victory.
  • 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 dicks.
  • Odd Couple: Pretty much any pairing minus Black Widow and Hawkeye but who does Tony actually get along with first? Banner. It helps that Banner "speaks English".
  • Offhand Backhand:
    • Hawkeye does it with arrows.
    • Hulk punches Thor right out of the shot at one point.
  • Oh Crap: Natasha's reaction when she realizes that she's been tasked with recruiting The Hulk.

Natasha Romanoff: Bozhe moi! [6]

    • 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 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.

  • Once More, with Clarity: Just like in Thor, a Stinger from a previous movie (Captain America: The First Avenger in this case) is fully elaborated here.
  • One of Us:
    • Tony Stark can spot and identify someone playing Galaga without trying, wears a Black Sabbath T-shirt, hacks speakers to play AC/DC and makes a The Lord of the Rings reference by calling Hawkeye 'Legolas'.
    • The usually dry and reserved Agent Coulson turns out to be a huge Captain America fanboy. He even collected the entire vintage set of Captain American trading cards in near-mint condition.
    • Tony feels this way in-universe about Bruce Banner. Banner being the only one who can understand and speak Techno Babble back to him.
  • One-Man Army: Avengers are a One Man Army to some extent, 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.
    • 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 Cap and reflexing his beam off of Cap's shield to clear out enemies... to Hawkeye fending off Chitauri trying to climb up to his location... to Thor and Hulk fighting on top of a Leviathan and ultimately using a concerted effort to bring the monster down.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Cap gets shot, and later Thor is stabbed, both in the abdomen. They suffer only momentarily.
  • The Other Darrin: Ed Norton was originally going to reprise his role as Bruce Banner from The Incredible Hulk, but negotiations broke down. Mark Ruffalo replaced him, making him the only Avenger actor to not appear in a previous film as his character.
  • 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.
  • 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 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
  • Phrase Catcher: At the climax, when Cap is divvying up tasks. Last up is the Hulk with the exchange mentioned above.
  • Pillar of Light: As seen on the poster, the Tesseract beam has this look while creating the portal.
  • Playing Against Type: Mark Ruffalo, veteran of indie cinema and the occasional Rom Com, as the Hulk.
  • 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 spear.
  • Poisonous Captive: Loki, big time.
  • 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. When someone 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.
  • Power Walk: Right before the final battle, the team walks out all together in full Badassery.
  • 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 just apparently really good at calculating ricochet angles in fractions of a second.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": Delivered by Cap to a SHIELD pilot.

Captain America (comics): Son, just don't.

  • 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 presumably need by this point.
    • 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.
  • 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."
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Thor.
  • Psychotic Smirk:
    • Loki's entrance comes adorned with an epic one. Many more follow.
    • 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. Later, Thor catches Hulk's fist and tries to talk to Banner before Hulk slugs him with his free hand.
    • Thor also catches Iron Man's punch the first time they fight. Iron Man responds with a repulsor blast to the face.
  • Punched Across the Room: For half the main characters, this is the basic at-will attack.
  • Puny Earthlings: The Chitauri had been told that we were those, but changed their mind after their invasion of New York faced the Avengers and Iron Man nuked their mothership. Also inverted when Hulk beats the crap out of 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.


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: Goes without saying.
  • 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/Religious Bruiser: 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:

Agent Coulson You're going to lose. You lack conviction.

    • Steve gives one to Tony that actually stings:

Steve: Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away, what are you?
Tony: A genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.
Steve: I know guys with none of that worth ten of you.

    • Stark proceeds to fire right back at him.

Tony: Everything special about you came out of a bottle.

  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Nick Fury plays this role. As Tony notes, Nick Fury is 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 for Your Convenience.
  • Redshirt Army: S.H.I.E.L.D. mostly comes across as one sadly, in order to have the Avengers be necessary.
  • Reflexive Response: Twice.
    • When the Council sends out jets to nuke Manhattan, overriding his orders, Nick Fury takes things into his own hands. He successfully takes one out with a rocket-propelled grenade. Then the second one takes him by surprise, and he instinctually whips out his sidearm to shoot at it, even though (a) the jet's already out of range, and (b) there's very little chance that a small weapon like that could have done to the jet in the first place. You can practically hear him thinking Damn You, Muscle Memory!.
    • During the battle in New York, Hawkeye finds out that he's out of arrows the hard way: he reaches to pull one out of his quiver and there's nothing there. This startles him so much that he's almost too late to smack a Chitauri warrior in the face when it gets close.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Hulk's entire fighting style, including his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Loki and destroying a skyscraper-sized flying leviathan by punching it in the face.
  • Renegade Russian: The Russian who was interrogating Black Widow (who was strongly implied to have deliberately gotten herself captured in order to trick him into admitting his goals) was wearing a Russian military uniform and running what is strongly implied to be an illegal arms dealing business.
  • Revenge: 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.
  • 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.
  • Rustproof 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.
  • Scenery Gorn: Pretty much most of Midtown Manhattan becomes this by the end of the movie.
  • 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 is just going to ignore it, even going so far as to shoot down one of his own birds to curtail 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.
  • Sequel Escalation: The film involves stakes and action about an order of magnitude higher than any of the previous MCU universe films.
  • Sequel Hook: After the main end credits, the Chitauri leader is shown talking to a person's back, mentioning how fighting the humans after the Chitauri's disastrous defeat would be "to court death". Cue The Reveal from Thanos, smiling. Fans with a keen eye may have noticed the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor. Putting together those two facts will cause this hook to become much more interesting. In addition,Stark Tower now only has an A on it... and Tony seems to be doing some major renovations, like a hangar to hold a Quinjet. If you look closely, he also has plans for a floor for each member of The Avengers.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man/Badass in a Nice Suit: 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The opening sequence references the ultimate fate of Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the misfiring portal flare, collapse wave and fleeing vehicle.
    • Iron Man throwing a nuclear missile into outer space is a big hello to Superman.
    • Loki is brought to "face Asgardian justice" in chains and a face mask resembling that of Hannibal Lecter. Anthony Hopkins plays Odin in Thor.
    • Tony wears a Black Sabbath shirt from their "Never Say Die!" era; one of Black Sabbath's hits is "Iron Man".
    • When Thor and Loki are talking on the mountaintop, a couple of ravens are seen flying by.
    • Tony's "reverse the polarity" references many sci-fi shows.
    • Tony calls Hawkeye "Legolas", Thor "Point Break", and Loki "Reindeer Games".
    • Loki taunts Nick Fury about coming so close to unlimited power, the very same phrase used by Palpatine when he killed Mace Windu inFranchise/ Star Wars. Both recipients of the speech were played by Samuel L. Jackson.
    • Tony briefly asks Jarvis if he's ever heard of the story of Jonah, immediately before he goes through the mouth of one of the leviathans and blows it up from the inside out.
    • Blink-and-you'll miss it, but the image of the iridium that Selvig shows Loki? If you look right at the beginning, the shadows on the iridium sample make it look exactly like Serenity.
    • The shot during the final battle when Cap, Black Widow and Hawkeye are looking up at the portal watching the first Leviathan come out is shot in the exact same manner in which Peter, Ray, and Egon look at Gozer's portal opening in Ghostbusters (The scene is at 2:19.)
  • Signs of Disrepair: Invoked. After the final battle, the STARK on Stark Tower is reduced to an A for Avengers.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Loki's is coming along.
    • Dr. Banner also has a good one, if only briefly when he reveals that he's always angry.
  • 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.
      • It's more like a jacket over a vest. Notice there's a difference with the torso when casual and battle.
    • Hawkeye's costume is based on his original Ultimates uniform, although his 616 costume is often sleeveless as well.
  • 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:
    • The Hulk has pretty much the last word on this when Loki confronts him.
    • Also applies to a dying Phil Coulson shooting Loki in the middle of a sentence.
  • Smug Super: Loki will remind you at any opportunity that he is a god.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Black Widow.
  • Soft Glass: While Hulk and the Chitauri grunts bash through windows with no problem, Hawkeye gets noticeably winded after one attempt. 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.
  • Sophisticated As Hell:

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 Hawkeye are killing people at a party in Germany. It gives the scene a very surreal feeling.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Robert Downey Jr. admitted to trying to steal the film away from Captain America, the Avengers' leader in the comics, but backed down when he realized that the film would suffer as a result. Ultimately Captain America receives the most screen time and clearly takes charge during the climax. Mark Ruffalo's Banner and Hulk were extremely well-received, considering that Hulk's movies did relatively poorly, and Hulk had some of the most memorable scenes. Hawkeye had the least screentime of each hero, but this works considerably to his favor.
  • Spy Catsuit: Black Widow and Maria Hill.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • In the first stinger, the Other tells the Chitauri leader that attacking Earth would be "to court death" while talking to Thanos, the one being who does this literally.
    • Shawarma is basically a type of gyro, which is pronounced the same as "hero."
  • The Stinger:
    • One mid-credits, revealing that the entire Loki-led Chitauri invasion was in fact orchestrated by Thanos.
    • A second one in the U.S. release post-credits, where the crew eats at the shawarma place Tony suggests at the end of the final battle.
  • 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.)
  • Stock Shout-Outs:
    • A113 appears in the upper left corner of Fury's video screen as he's having his last videoconference with The Council.
    • And the Tesseract, a source of infinite power and knowledge with alien origins? Yeah, it's in the SHIELD 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 through.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Nick Fury and Black Widow. Captain America as well, although 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.
  • Super Team: The Avengers Initiative.
  • Super Toughness: Loki is the Asgardian (or more accurately, Frost Giant) equivalent of a Squishy Wizard... which is still pretty tough. He (or his armor) shrugs off small-arms fire and he gets beaten up by the Hulk and lives to tell the tale.
  • Super Weapon, Average Joe: Coulson weilds a gun that was created from the remains of The Destroyer.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Pepper asks Coulson if he's come to get Tony to join the Avengers, which of course she knows nothing about.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: Selvig opening a vortex over Stark Tower.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier has one to stuff Loki in after the first act of the movie. It's a roomy round cell with thick glass windows suspended over a shaft. If the glass breaks or the cell is compromised the whole thing plummets thousands of feet to the ground with enough impact to kill anything that isn't Nigh Invulnerable. Loki notes that the cell was not made for him, but the Hulk. (Probably wouldn't kill the Hulk, but it would certainly do a number on Loki).
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Tony Stark's favorite tactic most of the time. It even 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 My Hand: Thor reaches out to an exhausted Captain America with a warm smile and helps him stand, having come to respect this brave, noble and kind man as an equal and brother warrior.
  • Take Over the World: Loki wants to conquer Earth and reign over it as an absolute ruler.
  • Talk to the Fist: The aforementioned Shut UP, Hannibal moment.
  • Tap on the Head: Subverted; smashing Hawkeye into the railing stuns him rather hilariously, but doesn't actually knock him out.
  • The Teaser: Loki stealing the Tesseract from under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s nose.
  • Techno Babble: Tony speaks it fluently.
    • As one of their many, myriad differences, it is another of the wedges between Iron Man and Captain America.

Tony: Then stay in the control unit and reverse polarity long enough to disengage m-
Steve: Speak English!
Tony: ... See that red lever?

    • It helps him bond with Banner, however.

Tony Stark: Finally! Someone who speaks English.

  • Technology Porn:
    • The S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier.
    • All the various Stark technologies.
    • Even Hawkeye's special quiver that can attach different types of arrowheads to a shaft.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Agent Coulson is a big fan of Captain America, and watched him while he was sleeping.
  • Three Act Structure:
    • The Setup: The heroes gather and they manage to 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.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: During a particularly heated argument, Captain America demands Stark to 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. [7]
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: For most of the movie. By the final act, the heroes learn to work together.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: 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...

Cap: What's the matter? You scared of lightning?
Loki: I'm not overly fond of what follows...

  • Title Drop: Unless you saw it in a market which had the title changed to "Avengers Assemble".
  • 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 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, said pilot opens up his visor and gets to stone-throw range before using it. He nearly dies when he succeeds.
    • 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 actually to be trying to hide his grief over Coulson's death through his trademark snark.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Loki relied on tricks & illusions when he fought in Thor. Here, while he still relies on those plenty enough (arguably, he makes better use of them this time round), he goes toe-to-toe with Captain America, and puts up a decent fight against Thor. Not that it helps against the Hulk. The intro also shows that he is completely bulletproof, and he has a new toy- a spear-like weapon that fires energy blasts and gives him Mind Control powers that he uses immediately on Hawkeye and Selvig. He survives several blasts and beatings throughout the film that would kill any normal person as well, without any visible injuries.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Although he was interrupted, the Russian general at the beginning was clearly planning to use this method of persuasion on Black Widow.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Fury was absolutely trying to invoke 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.
  • Tranquil Fury: Invoked as a prelude to a superlative ass kicking.

Steve: Doctor Banner? ... Now might be a really good time for you to get angry.
Banner: That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry.

  • Traveling At the Speed of Plot: After Loki is spotted in Stuttgart, Cap gets to him, from the Helicarrier, which is somewhere off the US's eastern seaboard, in about two minutes. Quinjets may be fast, but no aircraft is that fast. Iron Man managed to fly from Malibu to Gulmyra in minutes though, so he can be excused for being a bit late.
  • 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 later on. 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 flying chariot with a superheating arrow.
  • Trojan Prisoner:
    • It was strongly implied that Black Widow deliberately let herself get captured by the Russian officer early in the film in order to trick him into confessing what he was intending to do before she was forced to abort the operation thanks in part to Loki's arrival.
    • Loki allowed himself to be captured just so he could get his spear inside the Hellicarrier, which supernaturally encouraged the Avengers to start arguing with each other, thus setting up Bruce Banner to go Hulk and smash everything. The spear also allowed Hawkeye to trace the Helicarrier's location so he could disable it and rescue Loki; you can see a readout of the spear on the Quinjet's console.
  • Troll:
    • Loki's default state of being. You can tell he's really enjoying it.
    • Bruce Banner, of all people, decides to scare the ever-loving shit out of Black Widow to see what she'd do. Answer: Completely freak. It turns out the one thing in the world that truly terrifies her is the Hulk.
    • And Tony Stark, who is pretty much on a nonstop troll-roll throughout the entire film.
  • 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.
  • Unfazed Everyman: A guard coming across Hulk in mid-transformation. "Son, you've got a condition."
  • 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.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Black Widow and Hawkeye.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object:
    • Thor's hammer vs. Cap's shield. It produces a huge impact that levels half of the forest.
    • Hulk vs. a Chitauri leviathan. Hulk wins.
    • Hulk trying to lift Mjölnir. Alas, he wasn't worthy.
  • Unusual User Interface: The Chitauri chariots are piloted by an elaborate harness that makes it looks like they're steering with their faces.
  • 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. His speech to the Hulk just gets him beat down for good.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The only reason why the grand schemer Loki would taunt and antagonize the Hulk near the end of the film. Also, pretty much 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 someone, anything, no matter what.
  • Visible Invisibility: The SHIELD 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We ARE Struggling Together!: Done very well. 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.
  • Wham! Episode:
    • One for the entire MCU. Not only is the first major super team formed, Coulson possibly dies. There are conflicting reports from his actor on whether or not he actually died.
    • Also, the public knows about aliens, and a huge amount of innocents died in the New York attack.
  • 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.
  • 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 SHIELD even possessing the tesseract in the first place, simply stating to Fury "You should have left it underwater." (referring to Howard Stark finding the Tesseract while searching for Captain America in the previous film).
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The usually fearless Black Widow is terrified of the Hulk until the Final Battle, and not without good cause. This is ironic considering her heavy-handed treatment of Banner earlier in the film.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Justified in-story: while Loki decides to toss Tony out of the window (within shouting distance of his various technology) rather than just kill him with the spear as he did with everyone else, there's that little clinking sound when the spear hits Tony's arc reactor. It probably made Loki think Tony was still wearing at least some armour.
  • Wicked Cultured: Loki knows his motif from The Ring of the Nibelung well enough to beautifully choreograph his dramatic entrance to it.
  • With My Hands Tied: The Black Widow can still kick your ass while tied to a chair, shoeless, and on the phone with Coulson.
  • World of Badass: It is the Marvel Universe, after all.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Just before the climax, Stark has a conversation with Loki about how he forced their hand to put together this powerful but unstable group. He explained that there is no longer a point where Loki is going to come out unscathed.

Tony: 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. Because if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we'll avenge it.

  • World of Snark: Each and every major character takes a level in sarcasm from their previous portrayals. The worst offenders are Tony Stark (obviously), Bruce Banner, Loki, Black Widow, and to a lesser extent, Nick Fury.
  • Workout Fanservice: While Captain America works his frustrations on numerous punching bags, there's tons of fanservice shots of his body and butt.
  • Worthy Opponent: The smile on Thor's face after being punched by the Hulk says it all.
  • 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 that he did rattle her pretty badly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: 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
  • You Are the New Trend: The news report shows a barber trimming men's beards to resemble Tony Stark's.
  • 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: "If we don't get the Tesseract, for any reason, we will hurt you in ways you thought impossible and you cannot hide from us."
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Said almost word for word by Thor
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Everyone is well aware that Loki plans on doing this to his mind controlled minions. Thor worries deeply about Selvig's fate, and Loki promises to Black Widow that he will do this to Barton in as horrific a way as possible.
  • You Just Told Me: This is how Natasha Romanoff/The Black Widow managed to deduce what Loki was planning as his escape[8]. It's also implied earlier that this is how she gets intel, among other things.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: The Hulk, as expected considering he is the Trope Codifier. Subverted. 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?
  • Zerg Rush: The aliens, 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.


The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week contains the following tropes:

  • Another Side, Another Story: Much of the later issues involve the Black Widow as she Forrest Gumps her way through the chronologically-later MCU films.
  • Badass Normal: Black Widow as usual, who has no problem navigating through a number of superhuman battlefields.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In relation to the movie Coulson's request for a gun that has the strength of the Destroyer's blast is what he eventually uses on Loki in the movie.
  • Continuity Nod: When Hawkeye visits a gas station, he notices that the place was the scene of a crime. It turns out that this is the same station where Coulson stopped a robbery in the A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer short.
  • Da Chief: Nick Fury, who spends his week dealing with obstructive superiors, dying super geniuses, incursions by alien gods, idiot generals, and giant monsters tearing up New York. Probably best summed up by when he asks Black Widow to shadow the Hulk:

Widow: I thought Sitwell was on Banner?
Fury: He was, but I had to send him to New Mexico.
Widow: Why?

  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alluded to when Samuel Sterns starts to read Black Widow's mind, though all we know for this version of Natasha is that the traumatic events again took place during her childhood in Russia.
  • Even Heroes Have Heroes: When Coulson learns of Steve Rogers being found, his joy is a sight to behold.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The World Security Council, veering close to being a full-on Omniscient Council of Vagueness. Fury ends up telling Coulson to simply tell WSC what they want to hear, and then to continue doing what they were already doing anyway.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Nick Fury's general ethos in running S.H.I.E.L.D. When his bosses cut his budget allocations and tell him to start focusing on the Cosmic Cube or else, he ignores them, lies to them, and by the end of the week turns the whole situation around and tells them to either get on board with him or get out of the way.

Fury: Hell, I dunno. Get creative, cook the books. Whatever it takes to let us do this job right.

The junior novelization contains the following tropes:

  • Happily Ever Before: The junior novelization only adapts the first part of the movie, up to the point where Loki is locked up on the Helicarrier, and thereby leaves out a lot of subsequent events that might upset or just confuse younger readers.

"All right, hey! Hooray, good job guys. Let's just not come in tomorrow; let's just take a day."

  1. the only time a suit's made it into a sequel, Iron Man 2 started with a new mk IV
  2. Thor
  3. Captain America
  4. The Hulk
  5. Black Widow and Hawkeye
  6. Gratuitous Russian for "Oh my God"
  7. 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.
  8. Manipulate Bruce Banner into becoming the Hulk