Much like Age of Ultron, the original The Avengers in 2012 saw much criticism upon release. From understandable concerns such as “the ending feels a little too much like The Phantom Menace” to absolutely stupid comments like “the rainbow bridge was broken in Thor! The idiots at Marvel don’t know their own movies!” (Odin used dark energy, you twit, go listen to the movie), The Avengers has seen its fair share of compliments and criticisms.
Three years later, critics still choose to act smarter than the collective wisdom of Marvel Studios in an attempt to make themselves feel either intelligent, relevant, or both.
And the reason why I’m so riled up is because of an article published by College Humour on the 28th of April 2015, a scant week before Age of Ultron was released in the U.S. (so we’ll afford the article the leniency of having been written by someone who hadn’t watched the sequel), that is so absurd there are times when I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be satirical. Of course, you may want to read that article before continuing with this.
Now, I do understand that not everyone has had the luxury of watching The Avengers close to 40 times, but you’d think that a “professional” internet-listicle-writer-person would have had the good sense to actually re-watch the movie as opposed to just Googling .gifs.
Then again, this is College Humour we’re talkin’ about.
01) Why Did the S.H.I.E.L.D. Base Collapse?
This one’s gotta be especially embarrassing for the writer given that there was an entire sub-plot and sequence dedicated to explaining this.
The Tesseract, by itself, produces really unstable energy, causing it to, sometimes, produce residual energy which acts erratically. There was as much a chance of it causing the S.H.I.E.L.D. base to collapse as it did to send Fury, Hawkeye, Dr Selvig, and Loki to a reality where only shrimp existed.
It is for this reason that a good 5 minutes is spent on Loki and Hawkeye in Stuttgart stealing iridium… which, y’know, was mentioned by Dr Selvig to be a stabilising agent that would prevent the Tesseract from throwing a super bitch fit and cleaning out New York.
02) How Did Loki Even Survive the Movie?
Because, erm, Thanos wasn’t gonna walk into Asgard just to beat Loki up.
If there’s anything we may have inferred from Thanos, is that his concerns regarding Earth’s inhabitants and the Asgardian prince are of little measure. His objective was the Tesseract and only that. Having already possessed the Mind Stone (which we now know for sure was in Loki’s sceptre), Thanos was (and still is) more concerned with the gems than an incompetent Loki.
His regard for his underlings are so low that, in Guardians of the Galaxy he doesn’t even threaten Ronan for killing his servant, The Other. With another Thor movie in the near future, and two more Avengers movies in the line-up leading to the big payoff, it may not be entirely impossible that we soon see Thanos march into Asgard (though I’m pretty sure he’d do that only after adding some ring to his bling), to claim the Tesseract.
And, at that point, I highly doubt Loki’s going to be sitting high and pretty when the Mad Titan bitch slaps Heimdall silly.
03) Knocking Someone Out Undoes the Control of an Infinity Stone?
Yes, apparently it does. And why not?
The Mind Stone, while possessing insanely high levels of raw power, is just as erratic as its Space counterpart. Given how a little electricity allowed Hydra (and, later, S.H.I.E.L.D.) to manipulate the Tesseract’s energy into powering up weapons, it’s clear that the Infinity Stones aren’t perfect when not in the right hands.
Between Arnim Zola and Red Skull in Captain America, as well as Loki in Avengers, and Vision in Age of Ultron, it’s clear that much of these Stones’ powers can be attributed to raw energy. The proper usage of the Infinity Stones’ more individualistic powers would probably only be visible in a more competent user’s hand–something that Loki clearly wasn’t.
In Age of Ultron, we find out that the Mind Stone is pretty much a computer. This is similar to how the Tesseract was thought to have behaved while under testing by S.H.I.E.L.D., so think of being hit on the head as a sudden reboot. And, by the way, any person, male or female, with the relevant combat knowledge and training would not only be able to deliver a lethal kick, but one that could be fatal as well.
Also, back to how simple electricity was able to make the Tesseract more malleable, why don’t you go ahead and hazard a guess what kinda activity occurs in our brains? No, really, guess.
04) Why was Loki’s Hologram Using a Computer?
Because Loki can teleport, leaving his image where he previously was (or wherever he so wished).
Seriously, did the author not watch Thor as well? Also, Loki was no longer at the console when he teleported to stab Coulson… maybe watch the movie properly?
05) How Did Tony Stark Guess Loki’s Location?
The simple answer: because Loki wanted him to.
The slightly more elaborate explanation: since Loki’s first public appearance at Stuttgart, the Avengers have suspected, rightfully so, that much of the motivation behind his attacks was to gain their attention. After all, why not just teleport and get the iridium—why go through the process of attacking a public event and, presumably, killing a man?
Even his ensuing battle against Captain America and Iron Man is intentionally one-sided, Loki not even bothering to use any of his more magical abilities to confuse the two of them, instead chooses to surrender. Even later, when Thor battles Iron Man, Loki doesn’t bother to flee.
All of this links to how he’s been repeatedly inviting the Avengers to attack him. After all, Loki had little to no interest in actual world domination. Had he been successful, it may have been a happy accident—ruling over Midgard would certainly annoy Thor.
However, Loki’s intentions were clearly about finding the least suspicious way to get back into Asgard. And what could be better than re-entering as a prisoner of Thor’s? Also, it probably doesn’t hurt that he and the Tesseract would now be in the same place.
06) Loki Really Couldn’t Figure Out How to Control Tony Stark?
Loki’s been doing his research. From his unique perch in the depths of space since the end of Thor, it’s anybody’s guess as to how much he has been able to observe. Take into account scientific mumbo jumbo like singularities and so on, we have no idea if he’s been able to witness human history since, maybe, the 1940s, when Steve Rogers first became Captain America.
All of that aside, the mistakes in this point are that it’s a) assumed that the sceptre needs to come in contact with flesh and b) the arc reactor is why the sceptre didn’t work.
The first point is completely baseless as we know that Tony Stark isn’t heartless (thank you, Pepper), and there is actually no hint that the sceptre has to be in contact with flesh. Loki’s got an elaborate plan, but he’s no moron. Besides, we cannot assume that the sceptre works on just about any part of the anatomy, even Ultron—whose intelligence is born of the Mind Stone—chooses to use the sceptre on Dr Helen Cho the same way.
The second point, however, is half true—the arc reactor does contribute to the sceptre not working on Tony. But not just because it’s a metal plate. The answer actually lies in Iron Man 2.
When Tony’s palladium-core arc reactor is discovered to be slowly poisoning him, he begins to look for a new energy source and (after detouring through a very watered-down adaptation of the comics’ Demon in a Bottle arc) finds clues to an element discovered by Howard Stark hidden in the blueprints of Stark Expo.
And this is where we, the audience, need to use our brains to put 2 and 2 together—after all, this is a Marvel movie by Joss Whedon, not The Dark Knight Rises or Transformers 4. Howard Stark fished out the Tesseract decades ago, having stumbled onto it while searching for the body of Steve Rogers. Being Howard Stark, he studied it and probably even discovered a new element extracted from the alien nature of the Tesseract. While the Tesseract itself isn’t an Infinity Stone, it was nevertheless built to contain the raw power of what is quite certainly the Space Stone.
It is the presence of this Tesseract-based element, which is essentially Infinity Stone containment technology, in the arc reactor that prevents Loki’s sceptre from working on Tony.
07) How Couldn’t J.A.R.V.I.S. Find a Soft Spot?
This one’s a multi-fold of stupidity, so let’s go slow, shall we?
Firstly, J.A.R.V.I.S. is a “natural language UI,” as described by Tony Stark in Age of Ultron. Even warranting the lack of being privy to that knowledge, given that this article was written a good week before Age of Ultron’s domestic release, we are already well aware (from the first two Iron Man movies) that J.A.R.V.I.S. is, simply put, a computer system built by Tony Stark. And like all computers, it can only achieve what its architect can… to some extent.
Tony Stark never had any reason (nor the resources) to programme J.A.R.V.I.S. with an understanding of alien physiology. In fact, even years after The Avengers, J.A.R.V.I.S. is still not privy to alien elements and is unable to truly comprehend much of the sceptre’s composition.
Moving on, we witness the absurdity of comparing Iron Man’s firepower to the likes of the Hulk’s brute strength. Here’s the simple math: Iron Man (in Mark 6) pretty much got his armour brutalised by Thor, who didn’t suffer so much as a scratch, and would have probably faced a crushing defeat had Thor not accidentally super-charged him with lightning… or if Cap hadn’t stepped in at the right time. Comparatively, Thor was later fought to a standstill by the Hulk who even took a smash by Mjolnir to the face, and not only survived but simply continued to tear things apart—proceeding to torment a pilot who is now on S.H.I.E.L.D. mandated trauma counselling… I assume.
The combined firepower of Iron Man’s armour is nowhere near the brute force that the Hulk has at his disposal. If they were comparable, the Hulkbuster armour would have never been necessary, in both movies and comics.
And when did Thor prove that it was susceptible to energy based attacks? Are we really comparing the power of the lightning god’s near-supernatural attacks to the arc reactor? As far as the Mark 7 goes, other than military grade weaponry, the unibeam is as powerful as it can get… not a brilliant tactic to use at the beginning of an alien invasion if your life depends on your suit being charged up.
Of course, the absurdity of the argument doesn’t end here: J.A.R.V.I.S.’s supposed incompetency is pointed out with the example of Iron Man later defeating another Leviathan by flying through it while firing missiles… except, that J.A.R.V.I.S. was against the idea and would not have suggested something that would put Tony’s life at risk.
And, to wrap things up for the inattentive, a prolonged repulsor blast would drain energy (resulting in that armour running out of power bit). A missile into its mouth is effectively what Tony did, but by removing the uncertainty of the missiles missing and hitting the Leviathan’s armour instead.
As for getting help from a teammate—c’mon! The whole context of this scene was that there were more aliens than the six of them could handle! So unless Spider-Man actually was hidden somewhere in the movie, as 9GAG seems to believe, Tony was alone on this one.
08) Bruce Banner’s Always Angry?
This is a common issue that’s been brought up by many people who’ve watched The Avengers. While I can accept the nuances of the Hulk—who is one of Marvel’s more complex characters—to be lost on many, I find it surprising when many comic book readers are left confused. After all, we are familiar with the many versions of the green goliath that have appeared in the comics—almost all of whom are, in one way or another, affected by Bruce Banner’s emotional state.
More important is that this is all explained in The Incredible Hulk. It is in here that we witness Bruce Banner’s journey towards trying to control his rage as a means of suppressing the Hulk. While his initial attempts fail, he is able to somewhat achieve this by the end of the movie. However, just because he can control when he gets to transform, doesn’t mean he can control when the Hulk chooses to make itself known. As described in The Avengers the Hulk isn’t a suit of armour, but rather “exposed like a nerve.”
While the change of actor from Ed Norton to Mark Ruffalo may be confusing for some, the Hulk’s solo outing from 2008 is actually very much in continuity. After all, The Incredible Hulk is not only the first movie with a proper crossover (with Robert Downey Jr. appearing in the post-credits scene as Tony Start), it is also referenced again in Iron Man 2 and the Marvel One-Shot The Consultant. Even Bruce Banner’s confession of attempting suicide in The Avengers is a reference to a scene from The Incredible Hulk‘s script that didn’t make it into the movie.
09) How is Anyone Expected to Believe the Chitauri are a Threat?
This point proves everything wrong with the sensibilities of superhero fans in a post-Man of Steel world. Easily compared to disaster porn, the senselessness of the latest Superman movie (are we even allowed to call it a Superman movie?) seems to have made people think that the only quantifiable measure of a villain’s threat to a hero is in his potential to directly assault the good guy.
The Chitauri aren’t a threat to the Avengers because they are capable of actually fighting them—they’re a threat because they were flying around and blowing things up, causing people to, y’know, die. And since The Avengers is an actual superhero movie (where the heroes care about innocents in danger) the Chitauri are a very real threat.
10) Why did the World Security Council Think that a Nuclear Strike was a Good Idea?
“Basically, the World Security Council are a bunch of stupid, irrational jerks.”
This kinda explains the whole thing right there, buddy. They are a bunch of stupid, irrational jerks! They’re representative of the guys who said, “nuke Japan, show them what we’ve got,” and “throw bombs in the Middle-East, doesn’t matter who we actually hit.” It’s all response with no regard.
In the words of Nick Fury “… it’s a stupid-ass decision…”
11) A Chitauri Hive Mind? Really?
I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of this either. Not because I have an issue with a hive mind or whatever, but because it was just too easy. Like battle droids in The Phantom Menaceeasy.
It would have been far more interesting to see the remaining Chitauri being taken down after the portal closes, perhaps by Justin Hammer’s drones from Iron Man 2 now repurposed for the government’s use, perhaps led by Don Cheadle’s War Machine. Maybe even take the opportunity to introduce War Machine’s Mk 2 armour, the basis of the Iron Patriot in 2013’s Iron Man 3.
But, ultimately, the error in the subject article’s point is the assumption of a hive mind. While the Chitauri have worked in sync throughout the movie, that’s no different from any other well-trained military unit with competent soldiers—it doesn’t make it a hive mind or explain their uniform death.
Instead, it could more probably have been some form of advanced life support. Much like how human astronauts are dependant on external means when in space for extended periods of time, the Chitauri could have been reliant on their ship for sustenance as well.
Scientific viability aside, this makes a lot more sense than just “drop dead just ’cause.” After all, it’s not like we were made to believe that the Chitauri were in any way robotic from the start. They do unmask themselves and make it clear that they’re organic beings. But we do see them being taken down by having the wiring on their armour ripped out by the Avengers.
12) When did Hulk Develop the Power of Revival?
For one was Tony even dead or simply unconscious and on the verge of death? Given that you don’t die instantly from the time you stop inhaling (because there’s still oxygen in your blood) he wasn’t as far gone as you would have believed. Or maybe, it was for, dramatic effect, god forbid that from happening at the climax of a movie.
But of course, the point here isn’t Tony’s death as it is the childish need for College Humour’s author to secure his intelligence by nitpicking and exaggerating.
The Hulk clearly hasn’t developed the power to revive people. Tony Stark was simply startled into consciousness from the roar of the Hulk. Medically accurate? Hell if I know. Great dramatic build to the conclusion of the climax? Yes.