I loved The Avengers. The film provided enough pure bliss to momentarily transform this cynical smarmy jerk (me) back into a dumb optimistic little child still unaware of life's horrors to come. Rather than return to those horrors, in fact, I just kept watching The Avengers over and over. I must have seen it 1,000 times. I haven't been an adult since May. It's exhausting.
With so many viewings under my belt, it's easy for my nerdy brain to focus on nerdy details and get to wondering about them far more than non-nerds would approve. But that's the fun of falling in love with a movie. I offer the following Avengers questions no one thought to ask, so that you may read them and join me in my quest to overanalyze away this awesome film's intended viewer involvement level.
Can Any Avenger Actually Die?
Obviously, you can kill Hawkeye and Black Widow. And I don't mean it's theoretically possible, I mean that'd be okay with me, personally. As a potential viewer of both The Avengers 2 and the love-story movie they might potentially make someday, I'm okay with not having these characters around anymore, cool as they were.
But for the main heroes, only Iron Man displays vulnerabilities. And even when his suits gets chopped up by a horizontal propeller, he has another ready to jump out a window and latch onto him midair. You can kill him, but not easily.
Thor takes a knife in the gut (like Batman!) and seems more or less okay (like Batman!). We already know you can't hurt Bruce Banner, but just to hammer it home he recounts a charming antidote in which he shoots himself in the face to no avail. I still don't understand exactly what Captain America's deal is. In the movie universe, would he die if you shot him in the face?
And then there's Loki, not quite as godly as Thor but some sort of adopted Frost Giant thing. Loki can take not only an exploding arrow to the face, but a comic series of Hulk slams as well. He looks a little bruised at the end, but that's it.
We're up to a half dozen of these Marvel movies now. At some point, they're going to have to put these guys in mortal danger. Hopefully then we'll start to get some answers.
How Does Loki's Possession Work?
So if Loki touches your heart area with the glowing part of his super spear you turn into a Loki minion, which is a surprisingly complex thing. The possession allows you to keep your skills and general personality. You don't do what Loki wants like a mindless zombie, but just as you would if you and Loki were best pals. Furthermore, it lets you see amazing things, not just things but "the Truth." (Bonus questions: What is the Truth, and is it really the Truth? Can some characters not handle the Truth? Hawkeye only sees his next orders. Is Hawkeye a wimp?)
What's really curious about this possession is that Dr. Erik Selvig manages to somehow override it while working on the Tesseract dimensional portal thing and sneak in an off switch. Keep in mind that Hawkeye, supposedly a harsh badass, couldn't even make himself ask Loki about his secret plans. Is Loki's possession just weak against middle-aged intellectuals?
Did Nick Fury Just Kill His Own Soldier?
When the shadowy government organization in charge of Nick Fury orders him to blow up New York City with a nuclear bomb, he stands strong and refuses. So they assume control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and send two armed jets off to do the job anyway. Without hesitation, Fury shoots one with a bazooka. Because he's a badass, he points his tiny pistol at the other, but it escapes.
So we basically see him kill one of his own S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, right? You have to ponder the effect this has on all the other personnel. If you go against Fury's orders in favor of the people who actually employ Fury, he will kill you. This means everyone onboard the Helicarrier who doesn't display ironclad allegiance to Fury represents a potential mutiny. Poor guy's in a tight spot.
When Tony Stark catches one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s operatives playing Galaga on his monitor, we at first assume it's just a joke but later find that the guy really was playing the game when he should have been working. So it's our duty to ask: Why? Why Galaga? You're on the most technologically sophisticated machine in the known world, and you're playing a game so anachronistic even Captain America could pick it up.
Actually, this isn't a very good question as the use of Galaga mirrors Iron Man's vertical fight against aliens later in the film. The real question is: What was the guy's score? Is he better at Galaga than I am? And who would win at Galaga if all the Avengers played? (My money's on Bruce Banner.)
Is Agent Maria Hill an Avenger?
If Black Widow and Hawkeye are considered Avengers, then I don't see why Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson aren't Avengers as well. And if we count them, then I don't see why Agent Maria Hill wouldn't be one either. So maybe we answered the question right there. Agent Maria Hill is one of the Avengers. In fact, everyone on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier is an Avenger, I guess. Even the Galaga guy.
No one will have a more uphill battle into viewers hearts before The Avengers 2 comes out than this side character who really did nothing but have a bridge fall on her head and call Fury out on using Agent Coulson's Captain America cards to manipulate Cap and Iron Man into post-mope action mode. I'm rooting for her, though. Not really.
Why Was the Avengers Initiative Shut Down?
A lot of talk goes into this idea that Fury's initial Avengers plan got shut down by his shadowy overlords. Near as I can tell, it must have happened somewhere between Iron Man 2 and five minutes before The Avengers begins.
But pinpointing when it happened is nothing compared to sussing out why Fury abandoned the project. The best answer the film offers is that Powers Boothe felt uncomfortable putting the faith of the world in the hands of "freaks," which seems like a powerfully stupid argument, but that's probably why he's a shadowy overlord and I'm a guy who teases cats with shadow puppets.
Why Does Tony Stark Fly That Rocket so Far into Outer Space?
For this film's now-traditional one Iron Man act of selfless heroism, Tony Stark grabs a nuclear bomb sent to kill New York and guides it into the Loki's dimensional rift, where it detonates into the bad alien fleet and saves the day.
The thing is, it's a rocket heading forward at great speeds. As soon as Tony Stark breaches the rift, he should be able to let go of the thing and go back home. Instead, he keeps flying through space. And flying and flying. He flies so far that the space makes him pass out (I think? The film kind of acts like he dies, then doesn't kill him.) Either way, the scene is quite beautiful and surprisingly weighty given the type of film we're talking about. But it also seems like Stark goes out of his way to make the stunt more dangerous than necessary.
Who Cleans Up All the Aliens?
By the time credits roll on The Avengers, a lot of dead aliens cover New York City. Some just lay smashed in the street. A few probably fell onto rooftops. Many remain smashed into the sides of skyscrapers. It's a mess.
So this raises the question: whose job is it to clean all this cosmic garbage? I like to think the task falls upon the most recent film versions of Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. They invite the Punisher to lend a hand, but he fails to show.
Captain America Doesn't Wear Motorcycle Helmets?
We briefly see Captain America riding a motorcycle in The Avengers, and he's not wearing a helmet. I know he's some vague form of super strong, so a helmet probably wouldn't protect him much. But still, he's a role model to children everywhere. Plus, he wore one in WWII. Helmets are kind of his thing, really. Next thing we know, Avengers 2 will have a scene where Cap drives with no seatbelt and runs with scissors.
Was Thanos Really Going to Let Loki Live?
One thing The Avengers makes clear: Loki is kind of a wimp and a sad sack. He's villainous in this film simply because of that that cool spear Thanos lent him to deliver the Tesseract. Otherwise he's just an insecure twerp with daddy issues.
If Loki's plans had worked out and he became king of Earth, does anyone really believe Thanos would just let him live? No way. He'd squash Loki under his boot like a bug. So in a way, the Avengers not only save Earth but Loki as well. He should thank them and apologize to Black Widow for calling her that name she had to look up in the dictionary.