Comic book movies are great. Not only do they allow audiences to experience their dreams come true on the big screen, but also allow for a couple of hours of pure escapism. However, such movies, while undoubtedly enjoyable, tend to have flaws and plot holes in their stories — and Marvel’s Avengers movies are no exception.
But what exactly is a plot hole? In literary terms (which includes films), a plot hole is a logical inconsistency in a story’s plot. While there are various types of plot holes, they could form because a particular plot point contradicts a previous plot point, or that a specific plot point question wasn’t attained organically. Granted, not all of the following entries are plot holes, but rather egregiously unanswered questions that affect the movie’s story in one way or another.
We’ve already run through the various plot holes affecting the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so for the purposes of this list, we’ll focus only on Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here are the 15 Biggest Plot Holes In The Avengers Movies.
15. What happened to Loki between Thor and The Avengers?
One of the biggest questions people have about the Avengers movies is, what exactly happens to Loki between Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Joss Whedon’s The Avengers? Toward the tail-end of Branagh’s Thor movie, Thor and Loki are seen fighting each other on the Rainbow Bridge. In order to prevent Loki from accomplishing his plan of destroying the Frost Giant’s homeworld Jotunheim with the Bifrost, Thor destroys the bridge using his trusty hammer Mjolnir.
By destroying the bridge, Thor effectively dismantles the only way he could travel back to Earth and see Jane Foster — or so we thought (more on that later). Although Loki attempts to prevent Thor’s destruction of the Rainbow Bridge, he ends up falling into the vast abyss of the universe. Where did he go, and how did he end up on Earth a year later in The Avengers? We can deduce that Thanos had something to do with Loki’s survival, but there are still several questions that need to be answered.
14. Why does Thanos give Loki the Mind Stone?
As previously mentioned, we assume at some point Loki was saved by either Thanos or the Chitarui (whose invasion he helps lead) before appearing inside S.H.I.E.L.D.’s base in The Avengers. But when he does appear, he’s not in dire need of help, but rather clutching a scepter containing the Mind Stone (one of six Infinity Stones — but more on that later). Again, based on various scenes in The Avengers, we are under the presumption that Thanos gave Loki the scepter to invade Earth.
But why did Thanos give Loki the Infinity Stone and the scepter in the first place? The common question regarding this decision stems from Thanos wanting to accrue all six Infinity Stones so he could embed them into the Infinity Gauntlet, thus making him an omnipotent villain for The Avengers. This is not as much a plot hole as it is an unanswered question, one that certainly bewilders some comic book fans.
13. What Happened To Loki’s Scepter In The Avengers?
After the Chitauri invasion had been thwarted in The Avengers, Thor took the Tesseract back to Asgard along with Loki, whom he arrested for his atrocities on Earth. But the question is, what happened to Loki’s scepter? It’s never explained what happened to the scepter following Loki’s defeat. Of course, audiences likely assumed S.H.I.E.L.D. took possession of it — but that begs the question, why doesn’t Thor take it with him, especially if it possess magical capabilities? Furthermore, when does S.H.I.E.L.D. lose control of the scepter?
Some fans have theorized that HYDRA obtained the scepter sometime between the events of The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which it was revealed that HYDRA had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., and had been operating from within for decades. Still, that is a flimsy theory and feeds off speculation. The fact of the matter is, no one knows what happened to the scepter following Loki’s defeat, and it remains one of the biggest plot holes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, let alone the Avengers movies.
12. How did Tony not find out anything about Hydra when he hacked SHIELD’s computers?
Continuing off that last point, when Tony Stark hacks into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s servers and learns everything there is to know about the organization aboard the helicarrier in The Avengers, how is it that he doesn’t find out anything about HYDRA, who had apparently been operating from within S.H.I.E.L.D. since WWII? The logical answer here — considering that Captain America: The Winter Soldier didn’t release until two years after The Avengers — is that Marvel didn’t know they were going to go with that plot line in The Winter Soldier.
But when The Winter Soldier came around, that little act by Tony became an egregious plot hole to audiences who’ve seen all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, everything in the universe in connected, and Marvel Studios tends to plan out their stories years in advance. That’s why we know Thanos will likely be the villain in one of the next two Avengers movies. A simple line in The Winter Soldier may have remedied this mystery.
11. How did Thor get to Earth in The Avengers?
Shortly after Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow capture Loki in Germany (something Loki wanted to happen), Thor suddenly appears and takes his mischievous brother with him. Of course, the first thing that came to audiences’ minds — those who saw Kenneth Branagh’s Thor movie — is, how did Thor get to Earth if he destroyed the Rainbow Bridge? Didn’t Loki say that if Thor destroys the bridge he would never be able to see Jane Foster again? It appears that Odin had to conjure quite a bit of “dark energy” to send Thor to Earth.
So that’s it? After that grand, selfless act by Thor, who knew he would never be able to see the love of his life again, we’re just supposed to accept that there were other means of travel all along? Although Heimdall did say “there is always hope” in Thor‘s final scene, Odin summoning dark magic to transport Thor to Earth just doesn’t add up. Comic book fans know how powerful Odin is, but using that throwaway line in The Avengers diminishes the affect of Thor’s actions in Thor.
10. The Helicarrier In Avengers: Age of Ultron
As far as the movies are concerned, S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer exists. Yet in Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s climactic battle, Nick Fury and Maria Hill manage to get their hands on a helicarrier, which is more than enough to help evacuate the citizens of Sokovia. But where does Nick Fury get that helicarrier? It is not only one of the biggest plot holes in the Avengers movies but also in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.
Of course, this plot hole is filled with a tie-in episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — but is that fair? Sure, everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is connected, but to all of people who don’t watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the helicarrier is an egregious plot hole.
Even if we were to accept the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode as a remedy for this plot hole, there is still the unmistakable fact that using the helicarrier was a deus ex machina — a negatively viewed, contrived plot device in which a seemingly unsolvable situation is suddenly saved by an unforeseen power (think of the Eagles in Lord of the Rings).
9. Why Did Tony Activate The Clean Slate Protocol Only To Remain Iron Man?
One year after The Avengers released in theaters, Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 released, the last installment in Marvel’s first — and most profitable — trilogy. Although the movie was an outstanding success commercially and received generally decent reviews from film critics, the movie’s Mandarin plot twist irked many longtime comic book fans.
However, its most concerning plot point happened at the very end of the movie, when Tony, as an act of devotion to Pepper Potts, activates the Clean Slate Protocol and destroys all of his Iron Man suits, in addition to undergoing surgery to remove the shrapnel in his chest. Despite tossing his arc reactor in the Pacific Ocean, he muses that he’ll always be Iron Man — which is evident by the fact that he not only returned as Iron Man in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but also became the head of the team. Why?
Tony’s inability to remain retired as Iron Man is directly addressed in Captain America: Civil War — but the thing is, at the time of Age of Ultron‘s release, his having numerous Iron Man suits in the movie was a big mystery — and still is.
8. Why do the Chitauri all drop dead after Iron Man destroys the mothership?
Anyone who has read the Ultimate Universe comics knows of the Chitauri, an ancient alien race of shapeshifters conceived as Marvel’s replacement for the Skrulls race — the Chitauri’s counterpart in the comic publisher’s mainstream continuity. Note that they are sentient beings and not androids, nor do they adhere to a hive mind. Which means the Chitauri all collapsing after Iron Man redirects a nuclear bomb to the Chitauri mothership in The Avengers makes no sense.
While casual moviegoers may not consider this a plot hole, simply seeing the Chitauri as mindless aliens, comic book fans will, of course, take issue with the sudden change. Up until that point, there had been zero evidence showing the Chitauri were being controlled by the mothership. As with many other aspects of The Avengers, the Chitauri soldiers collapsing all at once seems rather convenient for the plot and inflates the heroic act of Iron Man, who saved New York — and the world.
7. How does Dr. Selvig implement a failsafe in the Tesseract portal?
In addition to the Chitauri all collapsing after the Iron Man destroys the mothership, Dr. Erik Selvig implementing a failsafe in the Tesseract portal just seems rather conducive for the Avengers to win the Battle of New York. After all, Dr. Selvig was one of the people controlled by the Mind Stone — one of the primordial singularities to have existed prior to the Big Bang — embedded within Loki’s scepter in The Avengers.
If Hawkeye, a highly-trained spy and member of both S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers, wasn’t able to counteract the Mind Stone, why would Dr. Selvig, a scientist, be able to? Installing a failsafe in the portal, which would allow for Loki’s scepter to penetrate it and shut the portal down, thus closing the wormhole above New York, while under Loki’s full control, just doesn’t make any sense.
In fact, just about everything associated with Loki’s scepter doesn’t make sense. For instance, why is it that Loki is able to control virtually everyone except for Tony Stark? His arc reactor cannot be the only reason he’s invulnerable to the Mind Stone? But that’s a discussion for another time.
6. How Does Thor Know About The Fourth Infinity Stone?
The first time audiences are made aware of the Infinity Stones is when Taneleer Tivan aka the Collector explains them to the Guardians (and to audiences) in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It was the first time that audiences see the true, galaxy-affecting power of just one of the Infinity Gems.
Up until Guardians of the Galaxy, three Infinity Gems had been revealed: the Space Stone (Tesseract) in Captain America: The First Avenger, and again in The Avengers; the Mind Stone (Loki’s scepter) in The Avengers; and the Reality Stone (the Red Aether) in Thor: The Dark World. The fourth stone, however, the Power Stone, is used by Ronan the Accuser, appears in Guardians of the Galaxy. It went from the hands of the Guardians to the Collector, then to Ronan, then back to the Guardians, and then finally to the Nova Corps. The question is, how does Thor know about it?
5. Bruce Banner’s Control Of The Hulk
So, just how much control does Bruce Banner have over the Hulk? This is something that has not been definitively established nor has it been consistent. We see in The Incredible Hulk (yes, this movie is part of the MCU) that Bruce Banner learns to retain some semblance of control over the Hulk, yet in The Avengers, he inadvertently transforms into the green monster following Loki’s attack on the helicarrier.
Perhaps transforming into the Hulk was Banner’s way of protecting himself; nevertheless, after he mutates, he doesn’t retain full control, but rather proceeds to attack Thor and Black Widow. But later in the movie, as a quip and intriguing plot point, Banner reveals the secret to him staying grounded is that he’s “always angry.” Yet we see him lose control again in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Of course, in Age of Ultron, Banner was affected by Scarlet Witch’s powers; however, everyone else was able to maintain relative control of themselves, despite having envisioned their worst nightmares. All in all, Banner’s control of the Hulk is something that needs to be understood. And judging by the fact that he leaves the team at the end of Age of Ultron, it appears that that is something Banner needs to figure out, too.
4. Loki’s flawed plan in The Avengers
Come to think of it, what was Loki’s plan in The Avengers? Sure, we know that he was one of Thanos’ pawns and that he sought to rule over the Earth (which he saw as his right), but what exactly was his plan to achieve all that — and not be thwarted by Thor and his newfound friends?
After first taking control of Hawkeye, Dr. Erik Selvig, and a handful of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents using the Mind Stone, Loki’s grand plan to conquer the Earth involved being caught by the Avengers and taken aboard their helicarrier. While imprisoned in the cage designed to restrain the Hulk, Loki awaits Hawkeye’s rescue.
But why did he want to be caught only to be rescued a few hours later? Oh yeah, that’s right: to force Bruce Banner to involuntarily transform into the Hulk. That doesn’t make much sense, nor does it sound like an effective plan; it depends on far too many variables to actually work — but this is a comic book movie we’re talking about here.
3. Why do the heroes only come together in Avengers movies?
The common question, ever since the Avengers assembled in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers in 2012 to prevent the Chitauri invasion, is why don’t the Avengers come together in other standalone movies? It’s not as if the heroes are protecting individual cities, like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Spider-Man; rather, they are protecting the world and preventing world-ending events.
We understand they all have their own issues to take care of, but the thing is, isn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsing and virtually hundreds of millions of people at risk of being targeted by HYDRA enough to justify the Avengers assembling? Or the world being invaded by Malekith and the Dark Elves, who aimed to reestablish the Dark Elves as the dominant force of the Nine Realms?
There’s also the issue of Hulk and Thor being noticeably absent during Captain America: Civil War (along with everyone in Marvel’s TV shows) when virtually every other hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was called up by either Iron Man or Captain America? It’s the same issue some people are taking with Suicide Squad: Why aren’t heroes like Batman, The Flash, and Wonder Woman handling world-ending events, instead of Task Force X?
2. “Fine, I’ll Do It Myself”
Thus far, Thanos has appeared three times in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: first in the mid-credits scene in The Avengers, second in Guardians of the Galaxy, and third in the post-credits scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In The Avengers, it’s clear that Loki was a pawn in Thanos’ grand scheme, as was Ronan the Accuser, who betrayed the Mad Titan in Guardians of the Galaxy. However, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thanos didn’t have a pawn, or did he? Here’s where things get confusing.
Ultron was created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, though they probably didn’t expect him to take his objective quite so literally. For the most part, Ultron seemed like he answered to no one. However, in the mid-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thanos utters: “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” To whom is he referring? The likely answer is Ultron, but the thing is, Ultron was never one of his puppets (he had no strings on him, remember?). Although Tony’s dismay as to why the Ultron test suddenly worked could be an allusion to a greater power in play.
1. Two Infinity Gauntlets
In the same sequence as the aforementioned mid-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thanos picks up the infamous Infinity Gauntlet, which was last seen as an easter egg in Asgard’s vault in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. After seeing this, millions of comic book fans began to wonder, was this the same Infinity Gauntlet from Thor? And the answer, strangely, is that it’s not.
Shortly after the movie released in theaters, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige revealed that there are, in fact, two Infinity Gauntlets in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: one right-handed gauntlet (the one appearing in the Asgardian vault) and one left-handed gauntlet (the one appearing in the Avengers: Age of Ultron mid-credits scene).
It’s a mystery as to why Marvel decided to have two Infinity Gauntlets in this cinematic universe. While it would make for an interesting story — how Thanos obtained the second gauntlet, and why there are two — all this does is present another unnecessary plot hole, simply for fan service.