‘The Avengers’ Lost U.S. Military Support Over S.H.I.E.L.D. Issue

Published 3 years ago by

The Avengers U.S. Military Support  The Avengers Lost U.S. Military Support Over S.H.I.E.L.D. Issue

The Avengers may have spent the last week wowing critics and breaking box office records, but Joss Whedon and company reportedly had to accomplish both feats without the assistance of the U. S. military. Although the Defense Department usually jumps at the opportunity to contribute resources to high-profile Hollywood actioners, it took issue with several aspects of the film, especially the role of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Like any organization, the U. S. military strives to cultivate a certain public image, which may explain the Pentagon’s close involvement with a plethora of recent films, including the first Iron Man, and the upcoming Battleship. What better way to drum up support and attract new recruits than to showcase the army’s cutting-edge wares sticking it to a group of terrorists or alien invaders on the big screen? But using cinema as a tool for public relations can backfire, and the Defense Department was apparently wary of its portrayal in The Avengers. Ultimately, they opted to cut ties to the project, concerned that the film didn’t accurately depict certain aspects of the military’s inner workings.

At the heart of the Defense Department’s qualms lay confusion over the actual purpose of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), as well as its relationship to the U. S. military and government. According to Wired, Pentagon representatives couldn’t discern whether S.H.I.E.L.D. is a of branch of the U.S. intelligence community (and therefore answers to the president), or is some sort of independent international organization.





nick fury avengers2 570x320 The Avengers Lost U.S. Military Support Over S.H.I.E.L.D. Issue

The film seems to suggest that S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) takes orders from someone, since he clearly disobeys them toward the end. However, it’s unclear who exactly he is seen chatting with via video monitors. They are obviously his superiors, but are they U. S. government or military officials, U. N. representatives, or some sort of private board of directors?

To all but the most die-hard Marvel aficionados, these questions seem rather trivial, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s shadowy nature kind of adds to the fun. The Defense Department, on the other hand, apparently finds such ambiguity too risky. After all, the U. S. Military answering to forces other than the president and federal government could be construed as treasonous, and not something they’d likely want any part of – even in the context of a superhero movie. It’s therefore unlikely that the Pentagon will provide much help to the proposed Nick Fury/S.H.I.E.L.D. solo film.

The military’s one visible contribution to The Avengers is the small group of New York National Guard personnel and Humvees briefly seen during the climactic battle, but easily overlooked amid all the dazzling special effects.

The Avengers is now playing in theaters everywhere. It is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.

Source: Wired

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  1. Good! One of the reasons the movie is as great as it is!

  2. BTW. after watching Battleship (saw it, already started couple of weeks ago outside the US) you will know what happens when Navy etc. takes a little to much control.

    • @andi

      What, you get a bad-ass look at our military kicking butt? Oh, sorry they were not portrayed as evil and weak like you wished. Awwwww, tear for you…

  3. Their loss really.

  4. Meh

  5. Ohhh boo hoo. They’re screwed up as hell. They don’t want to admit it or let anyone know. Smh. Ask them for some transparency and how many forms of bs you get.

  6. Makes sense to me. That was one part of the movie that I wasn’t so sure of. Who was Fury take orders from? I just assumed it was the President. When I saw that it wasn’t I wasn’t a fan. I agree with the military on this one.

    • U weren’t a fan? You do know this is a movie about a demi god a man in a robot suit a guy who gets injected with a syrum and a man who turns into a green monster. It is very far fetched. It is not based in reality, and realism in the military have no basis in a film like this.

    • Fury answers to (or rather, doesn’t answer to ;)) the world security council – they’re the officials appointed by multiple countries’ governments to ensure the planet’s safety (from outside, as well as inside forces) – doesn’t anyone remember that those guys on the monitors (the council) had different accents?
      IMO, SHIELD has always been an international peacekeeping organisation (like the UN).

      So, who does Fury answer to? I’d say he answers to everyone in a way… not just the American government, but also the governments of a collective group of (like-minded) countries – again, very much like the UN.
      That’s just how I’ve always seen it.

      • A better explanation: SHIELD is like the CIA, but instead of taking orders from the US government, they take orders from the world security council (which is like the UN).

        • Thanks. The Avenger. I always learn something from u. :)

      • And that’s why the US military didn’t like it, because he didn’t answer to them.

        • Strategic HOMELAND Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. If they didn’t want to suggest answering to the United States then they shouldn’t use an acronym that suggests an affiliation with HOMELAND Security. I’m with the D.O.D. on this as well.

          • Homeland could refer to our planet….just saying?

            • Could, yes. However, that’s not how the term is used or interpreted by most. That was their concern, how would most viewers interpret their involvement. Global is a better term to use for planet but that doesn’t work in the acronym. It all boils down to perception and interetation of the involvement of the most powerful military force on the planet. They already have enough working against them WITHOUT having a film suggest that their orders aren’t from our government.

              • “Perception and interpretation”, sorry for the improper spelling.

              • Or it could boil down to a fictional movie with a fictional agency….do you feel when someone in France sees “Homeland” they think US military?

              • I live in Homeland, California. I guess the jig is up. (I never did know what that means. Maybe a plug for dancing.) I confess, Nick Fury takes his orders directly from me.

                • Hahahahaha, he does? Well, you should have told him to be in Iron Man III ;)

          • You do realise SHIELD has been in the comics for much longer that Homeland Security has been around? Anyone upset by this should really grow up, start thinking for themselves and stop believing every morsel the government throws your way.

            • Yes, I do realize how long SHIELD has been in the comics. THAT isn’t what the issue is. The issue is the wording of the acronym.

              As for the “should grow up comment”, judging by your choice in user name; I’m probably older than you… by years AND mentality.

              As far as the “start thinking for myself” comment goes… OBVIOUSLY I’ve given this quite a bit more thought than you.

              And finally, “believing every morsel the government throws your way”… WHAT I’m doing is agreeing with the Department of Defenses and United States Military’s standing on involvement in a film.


              • Some of these people seem to think that standing up for your country’s greatness is the same as believing everything that we are told. I don’t believe much of what Obama says, but he’s still my president and our country is still the greatest, whether our military made a stupid move on the Avengers movie or not.

              • Hahahahahahaha. I’m…laughing… at the superior intellect! Good one Wolfman, keep it coming.

          • Everybody on this planet has a HOMELAND, and it’s not for everyone the US you know?
            They defend everyones HOMELAND, it is as simple as this.

      • Yep, there is much more on the security council in the Avengers Prelude comics, “Fury’s Big Week”. I know you already know that, Avenger, but I’m responding to the others.

    • You weren’t a fan because the fictional agency SHIELD don’t take their orders from the President of one country? SHIELD protect the world, not just the USA.

      • @DrSam

        Well, he can be a fan or not be a fan for any reason he likes really… Sorry, but that’s the way things work in the real world…

    • you’re kidding right?

    • S.H.I.E.L.D. is an international organization. Kinda like the spy version of Interpol. They do not answer to any one government figure.

  7. Worst product placement decision since M&Ms declined to be in E.T.

    • LMFAO!!!

    • I thought it was reeses pieces in E.T.

      • M&Ms were asked first and refused. Reese’s Pieces were a plan B.

  8. It’s because the pentagon has an issue when someone other then themselves are in control! Now that is funny and makes this film even more epic. When you can ruffle the feathers of those in power. Due to not knowing whether they are top dog or not talks to a serious image complex. I guess the government is more paranoid then I gave them credit for haha. Wow & I thought the hulk had issues lol. :/

    • @A.R:S:F:U:You nailed it!

      • Do either of you even know what “reconnaissance” means? Appropriate terminology would have made the joke a littel more dry and bit more funny.

  9. makes sense.

  10. Wow what a jip. Who needs the military when they don’t even have the technology for a helicarrier?

  11. Makes sense. SHIELD operating on US soil in the film(s) but not taking orders from any branch of the US gov’t, would definitely make it hard to gardner military support for the film. The added fact that SHIELD fired a nuke om US soil was probably the biggest turn off lol

    Its a shame, because Military support might of come in handy in a SHIELD movie. Even Bourne Idenity got military support and it was a rogue branch of gov’t.

  12. COME OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!! Wow they were afraid to give a bad representation of the US Military and Government so they decided to act like a bunch of crybabies and they “took their ball and went home”…. Guess that D.A.D.T. overturn came just in time (BAAAAAAAAM!!!!! Politically incorrect comedy :-D )

  13. If anything the military has been giving its blessing to too many films.
    The value of film as a recruitment tool is overstated and hard to measure.

  14. In the comics, SHIELD originally stood for Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division. It was changed for the movies. Guess the military doesn’t read comics lol.

  15. Good golly miss molly!!!! does this even warrant as news?!?!?! big deal!!!! its about the avengers not the military.

    • That’s pretty much my thought on the whole thing. Not sure how or why this came out. Does it really hurt either side to not have the military involvement? Besides, they were still referenced in the movie when it was stated that it’d take at least an hour before they could show up and provide support.

  16. Wow. The ignorant, anti-military attacks here are really something. Thank you, Screen Rant, for keeping your post to the facts and not injecting partisan cheap-shots. That’s one of the reasons I love your site.

    Now, let’s say there was a “Screen Rant: The Movie.” In the script, it is implied that Screen Rant is actually run by a bunch of smarmy attorneys from the various Hollywood studios. SR is told what to write and when to write it. Do you think the actual Screen Rant staff would cooperate with the production? Is it accurate? Is it in their best interests to be portrayed as such? Why would any organization give its blessing to a portrayal that is inaccurate or unflattering?

    • Bravo. Where’s the like button when you need it? You literally took the words out of my mouth.

    • You’re missing the point. It seems petty that the D.O.D. would deny support because a fictional military force, that is not affiliated with the US military anyway isn’t portrayed in a manner consistant with how the US military works. You have to admit it’s kinda silly.
      And I’m not an anti- military or anti-establishmentarian, I actually served in the Marines, so I’m not just talking smack.

  17. Wow sorry screen rant but I find this as one of the dumbest discussions ever. So what if the dod doesn’t support this film. It’s broken records and it’s about superheroes. Implications and perceptions are what give arm chair bloggers something to talk about. Shield is around to protect the planet fromeverything not just US soil. It was started in the US but to stop threats foreign and domestic just so happens that now foreign is alien as well. So sorry just dumb and thought it should be known.

  18. The Avengers is a work of Fiction so the US military should have no say on it’s representation in a Fictional world. Why are they even chiming in on their portrayal in film, shouldn’t they be busy defending our country or invading others or whatever they do?
    -Butt-out US military it’s not your job to speak on non-realistic topics!

  19. I bet the DOD sooooo wish they had become involved after seeing the incredible success of “The Avengers”. They were involved with the “Transformers” movie and they were all tosh.

  20. Surely this can’t be for real. The U.S. Military was insulted by their portral in a comic book movie? Well, in that case, I am offended by the way the U.S. military treats the Hulk. I think that they shold be banned from the Marvel World. How do like that U.S. military? Two can play at that game!

    • I think you misunderstood the article… ;)

  21. from the buttom of my heart, f**k USA.

    • From the buttom of my heart, nobody cares what you think.

      • You care enough to reply, although I don’t need you to care.

        • Yes, I guess I do care about people who hate our country. Ever since one blew up some planes and buildings more people started to care. But don’t worry, we are taking care of the terrorist problem while everyone else would just get bombed to ashes and while appeasing them.

          • that was your government’s fault or you think that happened just bccause they are evil and you people are good. things like this happen when you start messing with what you shouldn’t mess with, like stealing other countries’ natural resources for instance, but yeah, you guys are the good ones, keep thinking that.

            • I see nobody else is stepping in here so I will. You have really bought into the anti-America propaganda. Congrats, that takes a truly small mind. But, if not for people like you, mrcellfizh, we would not have awesome things like the Holocaust and other mindless slaughter. Good for you for buying into that we caused our own people’s death b/c “insert idiotic reason here”.

              Don’t know what country you are in, but I guarantee you it is nowhere near as great as the US.

              • @Herc

                You know, it’s cooler to believe that… ;-)

    • @mrcellfizh – From the bottom of my heart Good Bye

      *drops ban hammer*

      I’ve got no time for haters of my country.


      Paul Young

      • Thanks, Paul. I honestly thought nobody else was stepping up here. It’s a sad day when Stoned Thanos is the only one standing up for the USA. Luckily, you saved us all.

      • @Paul

        Will you marry me? lol :-D

  22. Personally, I would take what WIRED magazine reports with a huge grain of salt. They would take any opportunity to talk bad about our military and the DoD… That magazine is more of a political opinion rag than a magazine that reports on fact. For this reason, even though I got a free subscription to it, it does straight from my mailbox into the trash without even one page being turned. Yes I could cancel the subscription, but I’d rather let them print it and let it go to waste to be honest with you…

  23. This discussion is hilarious. So many clueless people out there talking like they actually think they know what they’re talking about. Wow, am I evil for finding amusement in other people’s stupidity? I’m actually unsure if I should be sad for how dumb people of the same species as me are or just feel good about myself that I’m not as clueless as so many people… :-D

  24. Fury probably reports to the UN Security Council and I imagine it operates similarly to Interpol within the intelligence and military community.

  25. Why did the other nations not send reinforcements against the Chitauri, only Americans fight?