"It's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you." These were Rachel Dawes' words to Bruce Wayne after she grew tired of his playboy antics in Batman Begins. He claimed that there was more to him than that, but Rachel was having none of it, basically telling him, "Sorry Brucey, but actions speak louder than words." Yes, that is a DC film and this is an Avengers list, but the quote is applicable nonetheless.
In order to be a hero, you must be courageous. You must put others first, be willing to sacrifice for the greater good, and certainly not punch a fellow hero in the face during a battle to protect Earth from a Chitauri invasion (we're looking at you, Hulk).
The Avengers are usually heroic, but they aren't infallible. They're human. They behave selfishly, they make mistakes, and sometimes they just straight up kill a dude by paralyzing him and leaving him to get run over by a train (see below). It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens.
Here are the 15 Worst Things The Avengers Have Done.
For this list, we omitted any actions committed by heroes while under the influence of mind control by some other entity. So Hawkeye's actions in The Avengers and Spider-Man's actions in Spider-Man 3 didn't make the cut.
15 >15. Hulk beats up Thor (The Avengers)
This was played for a laugh when it occurred during the final battle of The Avengers (and it was indeed hilarious), but was indefensible nonetheless.
The Chitauri were invading Manhattan via a portal above Stark tower and slaughtering countless innocents in the process. The Avengers had their backs against the wall and were doing everything they could to contain the crisis and protect the city when Hulk decided to punch Thor clear across Grand Central Terminal.
Clearly the punch wasn't meant to hurt the God of Thunder, but it couldn't have come at a worse moment. The Chitauri were invading, people were dying, and this was the time that Bruce chose to give his fellow Avenger a love tap? (Yes, he did choose it because the MCU films have suggested Bruce is able to control the Hulk when he willingly turns into the big guy.) Not cool, Hulk, definitely not cool.
14 Rhodey jumps in an Iron Man suit (Iron Man 2)
Much of the fun in Iron Man comes from watching Tony Stark experiment with his armor. Over the course of what must be weeks (possibly months), Tony finely tunes his suit and learns the necessary power levels to control his repulsor beams for sustained flight.
A brilliant montage shows Tony sacrificing not only his house and cars, but his own body to learn how to properly control the suit. Then Iron Man 2 happens and Rhodey inexplicably jumps into one like he's riding a bicycle.
To make matters worse, Rhodey takes control of the single deadliest weapon in the history of mankind, capable of firing repulsor beams and tank missiles at the drop of a hat, during a party with dozens of innocent bystanders present.
Yes, Tony was drunk and acting like a fool, but this was reckless and Rhodey should've known better. He could've killed someone.
13 Spider-Man antagonizes Harry Osborn (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a failure of epic proportions that caused a swift end to the reboot franchise and Spider-Man's immediate insertion into the MCU. One of the film's uglier moments comes when Peter Parker decides to behave like a complete tool to his childhood friend Harry Osborn.
Harry, afflicted with the same illness as his father and seeking a cure, asks Peter to put him in touch with Spider-Man (since Peter took a blurry photo of the web-slinger that one time) so Harry can ask Spidey for some of his blood.
Peter says no, which is fine since he has no idea what effect his blood will have on Harry, but then he shows up as Spider-Man to... once again say no.
What was the point of that? You already said no, Peter. Why would you put on the costume just to do it again? No wonder Harry hates you. Gwen Stacy's death at the end of the film is entirely on you, pal.
12 Doctor Strange just leaves a portal open (Doctor Strange)
Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange was a welcomed addition to the MCU when he debuted in 2016. Cumberbatch does just enough to differentiate his character from the equally brilliant and cocky Tony Stark, while still being likable despite the lack of quips.
The good doctor makes quite the gaffe, however, when he leaves a portal open and unattended in a hospital closet midway through the film.
After Strange is stabbed, he travels via portal to the hospital where he is stitched up by Rachel McAdams. After he's patched up (and following a fight in the astral realm) Strange heads back to the closet where the portal remains open.
What if someone found it? What if they filmed a video and put it on YouTube or just waltzed into the Sanctum Santorum? This was a serious risk and Strange is lucky there weren't massive ramifications.
11 Scott Lang goes right back to being a criminal (Civil War)
When news broke that Edgar Wright would no longer be directing Ant-Man, Marvel fans across the globe held a collective breath and hoped that the studio could somehow pull together a decent film that wouldn't drag down the MCU as a whole.
Luckily, Marvel did just that as Ant-Man turned out to be a solid film and Paul Rudd earned his place in the hearts of fans with his endearing performance as Scott Lang.
Lang's story is a relatively simple one. He just wants to live a quiet life and reconnect with his young daughter, Cassie. At the film's end, he makes peace with his wife's fiancé and manages to avoid prison, ultimately fulfilling his goal.
Then Lang pops up in Civil War on Captain America's side of the conflict and (as Cap puts it) "outside of the law" as well. Lang shrugs it off like it's no big deal when it is in fact a very big deal that lands him in the Raft. Good luck getting visitation rights from there, Scott.
10 JARVIS allows random people to use the iron man armor (Iron Man 3)
Somewhere around the middle of Iron Man 2, Nick Fury and Black Widow show up to have coffee and donuts with Tony Stark. During the ensuing conversation between the three, Natasha reveals that the Iron Man armor has protocols in place to prevent unauthorized usage, implying that Tony allowed Rhodey to take the suit earlier in the film.
This reveal that the suit can't be used without clearance becomes an issue in Iron Man 3 when one of Aldrich Killian's henchman manages to kidnap Rhodes and jump in the Iron Patriot armor in order to abduct the president.
There's no telling who exactly is responsible for this massive security blunder, but we're placing this one at the feet (or circuits) of JARVIS (soon to be Vision) who should have locked the henchmen out entirely once Rhodes was out of the suit. Instead, he allowed the president's security to be killed and the man himself to be kidnapped.
9 Tony doesn't install parachutes despite the events of Iron Man and The Avengers (Civil War)
One of the more exciting moments in Spider-Man: Homecoming comes when Peter is in pursuit of two of Adrian Toomes' henchmen and has his first interaction with the Vulture. Peter is pulled into the air by the Vulture before a parachute in his suit deploys and pulls him from the villain's grasp.
The problem here is Tony should have installed a parachute as far back as Iron Man (when his suit froze and he had to deploy his flaps to break the ice) and especially after The Avengers (when he once again plummeted to the Earth and had to be caught by Hulk).
Vision may have fired the shot that knocked Rhodey out of the sky, but his injury is almost entirely Tony's fault.
8 Thor tries to murder Captain America (The Avengers)
2011's Thor was a formidable debut for the God of Thunder. It was an epic fish out of water tale that sees Thor go from arrogant brute to worthy successor to Odin's throne. The main issue with the character's debut and his subsequent return in The Avengers is his appearance in the latter film seems to completely undo the progress he made in the former.
Thor shows up on Earth to collect Loki and after a pretty awesome tussle with Iron Man, comes face to face with Captain America who politely asks Thor to put his hammer down. Rather than speaking calmly and letting cooler heads prevail, Thor tries to murder Captain America by striking him full-force with Mjolnir.
Luckily, Cap is protected by his shield but Thor couldn't have possibly known that. That's attempted murder, buddy, and Thor should've been facing 15 years to life.
7 Captain America tries to murder Spider-Man (Civil War)
One good murder attempt deserves another. After his spat with Thor in The Avengers, Captain America decided to try and take a life of his own in Captain America: Civil War. During the airport battle (one of the coolest action scenes ever put to film), Cap finds himself one-on-one with Spider-Man. The two trade a few shots and quips before Cap makes an attempt on Spider-Man's life.
With Spider-Man under a runway terminal (that likely weighs several tons), Cap throws his shield and causes the structure to collapse on top of Spidey. Like Thor in The Avengers, Cap couldn't have possibly known that Spider-Man has super strength.
For all he knew, Spidey could have been about as strong as Hawkeye or Black Widow, both of whom would've been crushed instantly. Maybe some time locked up with his buddy Thor will teach Cap some manners.
6 Tony gives out his address, does nothing to protect himself (Iron Man 3)
Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is beloved by MCU fans across the world because he can't be tamed. Heck, the first film ends with him proudly declaring that he is Iron Man so it came as no surprise when he gave his address to the Mandarin on live television in Iron Man 3.
Considering the Tony Stark that fans have come to know and love, this reaction to a terrorist’s threat was not only welcome, but expected.
What was unexpected is what he does next: absolutely nothing. Despite having dozens of suits in his basement (that all show up anyway in the films climax), Tony does nothing to protect himself from the attack that he had to know was coming (you know, since he invited it).
Would it have been that hard for him to have the "house party protocol" ready to go? Once Killian's henchman's helicopter was within range, all it would've taken was a few simple words to take it down. For shame, Tony, for shame.
5 Cap trusts the fate of the world to a vending machine (Winter Soldier)
One of the biggest flaws in the nearly flawless Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Steve's decision to hide the flash drive given to him by Nick Fury (along with the advice to not trust anyone) in a vending machine inside of the hospital where Fury supposedly passed away.
Clearly the flash drive is important, so why wouldn't Steve keep it on him or at the very least stop off on his way to SHIELD and hide it somewhere? What if a HYDRA agent saw him hide it in the vending machine?
What if Alexander Pierce accessed security footage to see where Steve stashed it? What if some average Joe bought it for a dollar? There are way too many variables that could have gone wrong because of this bad decision on the part of Steve.
Luckily, everything works out fine and Natasha ends up buying it, but that doesn't excuse Steve's poor planning.
4 Vision doesn't help catch Crossbones (Civil War)
Captain America: Civil War is a great film, and what it lacks in stakes it more than makes up for in action and humor.
The film opens with the New Avengers (Captain America, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Falcon) attempting to track down and apprehend Brock Rumlow aka Crossbones. Oddly missing from the group, however, is Vision.
During the ensuing melee, Cap ends up losing focus when Crossbones mentions Bucky, which allows Crossbones to blow himself up and nearly kill Cap in the process. Scarlet Witch temporarily contains the explosion but ultimately destroys a building, killing innocent people inside.
Vision is responsible for every one of those deaths. All of them could have been avoided if he had gotten up off of his lazy butt and helped. Between him and Scarlet Witch, Crossbones could have been easily apprehended. Instead, he chose to sit this one out, and people died as a result.
3 Doctor Strange just lets Baron Mordo walk away (Doctor Strange)
Baron Mordo's character arc in Doctor Strange is one of the best featured in the MCU so far. He begins the film as a loyal follower of the Ancient One, soon begins to question her methods, and ultimately turns his back on Kamar-Taj, opting instead to rid the world of sorcerers.
The problem here is Doctor Strange's decision to let Mordo simply walk away when the man is clearly disillusioned and borderline evil.
Just look at the last thing Mordo says to Strange at the end of the film. "You think there will be no consequences, Strange? No price to pay? We broke our rules, just like her. The bill comes due. Always!" This man is clearly on his way to becoming evil.
What Strange should have done here is lock Mordo in a time loop until he promises to not rid the world of sorcerers. Or kill him. One or the other.
Instead, Strange lets Mordo walk away and as a result poor Jonathan Pangborn gets his back broken again. Not to mention all the chaos Mordo is sure to cause in the future.
2 Iron Man, Thor, and Vision don't kill Ultron when they have the chance (Age of Ultron)
Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of those rare films where the heroes are given a definitive opportunity to end the conflict with no casualties, and yet they choose not to.
With Ultron's army nearly decimated, Iron Man, Thor, and Vision find themselves in the position to kill Ultron and keep anyone else in the film (cough, Quicksilver, cough) from dying.
With Ultron literally being melted from blasts by Iron Man's repulsor beam, Thor's lightning, and Vision's mind stone laser, the three heroes suddenly relent and allow Hulk the opportunity to punch Ultron out of frame. This decision comes to bite the heroes' in the rear when Ultron returns and kills Quicksilver in a hail of bullets.
To make matters worse, the Avengers destroy all of Ultron's drones anyway later in the film, with Vision delivering the final blow. So there was absolutely no reason not to kill Ultron when they had the chance. Quicksilver died for nothing.
1 Daredevil murders Jose Quesada (Daredevil)
Daredevil joined the Avengers in New Avengers Vol. 2 #16, which qualifies him as an entry on this list, and boy does he ever earn the top spot considering his actions in his only feature film, 2003's Daredevil.
In the film, Murdock is a rather inept lawyer incapable of convicting rapist Jose Quesada despite the fact that Quesada is very clearly guilty.
Murdock knows this because he can hear in Quesada's heartbeat that the man is lying on the witness stand. (In response to this, Murdock simply smirks, as opposed to doing his damn job and getting the man convicted.)
After the trial, Murdock follows Quesada to a club and chases him into a subway before paralyzing him and leaving him to be run over by a C train. That's pretty dark, Murdock. And to think all of this could have been avoided if you had just done your job in the first place.
Can you think of any other awful things the Avengers have done? Let us know in the comments!