As entertaining as comic book movies are, one thing they have classically lacked over the years is airtight storytelling. The action is usually exciting, the special effects are often state-of-the-art, and the visuals are usually a colourful aesthetic treat – but all of that becomes moot if the plot sucks.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has attempted to buck the trend of poor plots in the genre. Movies like Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy were great productions by any standards – but that doesn’t mean the franchise hasn’t suffered from some glaring plot holes.
For clarity, plot holes are logical inconsistencies within a story. They can include things like inexplicable or impossible events occurring, or events that contradict earlier events in the storyline – and you might be surprised at just how many there have been in the MCU. Here are 10 unforgivable plot holes in Marvel movies.
Captain America Vs The Red Skull
In 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, there’s a sequence of events that results in an outcome that was frankly incredibly implausible. Cap storms Red Skull’s HYDRA base alone and ends up getting captured. He’s taken to a room in the base where he meets the Nazi supervillain, and Cap’s friends happen to burst through the window to save him. This scenario relied on way too many assumptions. How did Cap know he’d be captured and not killed? That base was huge – how did he know the room he’d be taken to would be the one his friends were going to burst into? How did he know the glass they smashed in order to enter wasn’t bulletproof? It’s all far too convenient to be taken seriously.
The Bifrost Problem
In 2011’s Thor movie, it was Loki’s plan to open the Bifrost – the bridge connecting Asgard to the rest of the Nine Realms around the universe – and use its energies to destroy the realm of Jotunheim to prove himself worthy of ruling Asgard to Odin. In order to prevent him from doing that, Thor destroyed the Bifrost, which resulted in him being trapped on Asgard away from Jane Foster – his Earth-based lover. Thor was devastated as a result, and yet in 2012’s The Avengers he arrived on Earth as soon as he felt he was needed there, with a half-baked explanation about Odin using dark energy to send him back. If it was that easy, why was he so devastated in the first place? And why didn’t he just ask Odin to send him back to Jane earlier?
Everyone Knows Where Everyone Else Is Going
In 2012’s The Avengers, everyone seemed to have an uncanny knack of “just knowing” where other individuals were heading, simply because it suited the plot – but it really made no sense. For instance, Tony Stark assumed that Loki wanted to be seen by the masses conquering Earth – describing him as wanting a monument with his name plastered on it – and he immediately knew that meant he’d set up camp at Stark Tower. How?! There are literally thousands of buildings on planet Earth that would have provided Loki with what he needed. Moreover, how the heck did Bruce Banner know EXACTLY where to find his fellow Avengers in the HUGE city of New York? Seriously, this kind of thing was far too prevalent in The Avengers.
Bruce Banner’s Anger
The degree over which Bruce Banner has control over his anger and his transformations into the Hulk is something that really needs to be clarified. In 2012’s The Avengers, the trauma caused by an attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier triggered an involuntary transformation, but Banner later proclaimed that he was “always angry” and therefore had total control over his transformations. Then, in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Scarlet Witch was able to trigger an involuntary transformation that even made the Hulk get into a fight with his good friend Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. Granted, this transformation was triggered by the mysterious powers of the aforementioned Maximoff twin, but it still suggests that Banner isn’t quite as in control of his body as a major plot point in The Avengers would have us believe.
The Fall of the Chitauri
At the end of 2012’s The Avengers, Iron Man single-handly defeats the invading Chitauri army by diverting a nuclear missile towards their mothership. Every last one of them drops down dead when the ship is destroyed. How? Prior to the nuking, there was absolutely no evidence of the Chitauri operating under a hive mind and they weren’t cybernetic beings, so there’s no reason that the destruction of a ship should have resulted in their deaths. It just seemed like far too convenient a method of ensuring they were all accounted for.
Tony Stark and Extremis
2013’s Iron Man 3 ended with Tony Stark having learned everything there was to know about Aldrich Killian’s Extremis formula. As a result, he not only stabilised it in order to cure Pepper Potts of its effects, he also used it to enable surgeons to remove shrapnel and the arc reactor from his chest without killing him. And yet he hasn’t used it since. Why? A stabilised Extremis could be used to save lives and regrow limbs. Stark had the intelligence to make it into an extremely useful applied tool, but he decided to bury it in the archives? That’s far too hard to believe – especially given that Stark and his friends are in the dangerous business of superheroics.
Everlasting 80s Technology
It’s not a stretch to call Star-Lord’s Walkman a major plot point in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s extremely important to the heroic outlaw. It keeps him going and is his only real remaining connection to his late mother and his home planet of Earth – but how the hell is it still working? Chris Pratt’s character left Earth 26 years prior to the events of the movie and, unless there are AA batteries in space, that Walkman should have died long ago – and that’s without even mentioning the general wear and tear on both the device itself and the tape inside it, as well as the fact that Star-Lord often finds himself in the kind of dangerous situations that would see it taking a regular beating.
English: The Universal Language
It isn’t only the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which this inexplicably happens, but it’s still something that should bug you. Planet Earth alone consists of around 6,500 spoken languages – and yet we’re expected to believe that the majority of the rest of the universe conveniently speaks perfect English? 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy revealed that Xandarians, Kree, Zehoberei, Centaurians, Luphomoids, Krylorians, space racoons, and even the Mad Titan Thanos are just some of the beings in the MCU that are fluent English speakers. How is that remotely possible?
Avengers Assemble! (But only when it suits them)
Ever since the assembling of the Avengers in their 2012 movie, questions have been asked about why any of the team’s individual members have had to deal with villain problems on their own. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America have all had their issues – with Aldrich Killian and his Extremis army, Malekith and the Dark Elves, and the Winter Soldier and HYDRA respectively – so why didn’t their heroic teammates offer some assistance? In a world where the Avengers (and even S.H.I.E.L.D.) make it their business to turn up wherever there’s major trouble brewing, it’s hard to believe that Thor had to deal with what was essentially another alien invasion on his own, or that the three Helicarriers that were targeting thousands of people considered to be threats to HYDRA were only opposed by Captain America.
Captain America’s Shield
Captain America’s shield is awesome – of that there is no doubt. But it’s also one gigantic plot hole. It seems to pick and choose when it works depending on the situation. For instance, it will easily absorb the impact of the mighty Thor’s Mjolnir and will deflect Tesseract-powered energy weapons effortlessly, but when the Winter Soldier throws a grenade and Cap holds up his shield to absorb the impact, he gets brutally launched from an interstate to the underpass below. And when Cap uses it as a projectile, it also seems to pick and choose what it will bounce off and what it will wedge itself into. And let’s not get into the fact that it blocks every single bullet or projectile fired at Cap, even when 90% of his body is totally exposed.