The fifth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to begin with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on Feb. 17, 2023. After more than a decade’s worth of films proving the MCU knows how to manage a shared universe, fans are willing to give it the benefit of the doubt as the threat of Kang ramps up.
Yet it is hard to rival the slow build to Thanos in the early phases. From his appearance in The Avengers to his fateful snap, he was an incredible villain. That said, while fans may return to The Avengers to glean more insight into Thanos’ machinations, revisiting the beloved 2012 film today reveals some harsh realities fans may not enjoy.
Thor Isn’t Fun
Ever since the lackluster reaction to Thor: The Dark World, Marvel has been looking for ways to retool their premiere Asgardian god. Eventually, it led to Thor becoming a more comedic character. Yet, while fans have responded to the funny Thor well, he doesn’t exist in The Avengers.
The Avengers comes right after his banishment and restoration, one of the most formative moments in Thor’s life. As such, he is a stern and self-righteous character with no love for the arrogant humans around him. Considering Loki’s behavior, he is even less fun, as he has to deal with his brother.
Bruce Banner Is A Different Character
After spending years with a Hulk who is at ease with himself, leaning into comedy, and learning to get along with Bruce Banner, returning to The Avengers can be jarring. After all, Bruce has very little control of the Hulk in that movie, while he later even manages to become Smart Hulk.
Given that Marvel fans know that the Incredible Hulk went through considerable development, it’s hard to look at Bruce before he came to terms with who he was. It’s no fun to look at people in their worst moments, and The Avengers occurred during some of the worst times of Bruce’s life.
Hawkeye Has No Agency
While Hawkeye may be the lead of a show of his own now, he had absolutely no control over himself in The Avengers. Having been mind-controlled by Loki from the start, he just lacked any individual influence on the narrative. It was a waste and damaged his character going forward.
After all, Hawkeye is the weakest member of the Avengers. Having him have no role besides being a brainwashed soldier ruined any chance of fans getting attached to him. He didn’t even have powers to lean on to make him interesting. Brainwashing Hawkeye was a huge mistake.
Loki Isn’t Interesting
Today, Loki is an antihero who worked with the TVA to stop a rogue variant and save the known world. He has managed to ally with Thor, redeem himself by lashing out against Thanos, and he even tried to save the universe. Yet the Loki of The Avengers is much less lovable.
Little more than another brainwashed tool, Loki was a bland Marvel villain. While he had some humor, he just wanted to rule the world. It was a boring motivation that makes him much less engaging than the sympathetic and manipulative trickster that fans know and love today.
The Chitauri Have No Personalities
Early MCU movies are typically criticized for having lackluster villains. After all, the best MCU villains typically came later in the franchise. Unfortunately, the main villains of The Avengers were hardly any better than the others of the era. The Chitauri were boring.
Without a visible leader, and with soldiers who lacked any personality or comprehensible motivations, the Chitauri were no better than any other faceless army. They could have been replaced with ease and no one would have noticed. There’s a reason many fans forget they even existed.
Black Widow Doesn’t Do Much
While Black Widow was an incredible spy and a brilliant fighter, there is very little she could do in a gigantic war. Once Hawkeye’s mind control was removed, she has a very limited role. After all, even Hawkeye could shoot explosives. All Black Widow had were bullets.
Of course, Black Widow has beaten powerful characters, but against an army like the Chitauri she can’t do anything particularly useful. Her involvement felt particularly contrived, as she lacks the powers that the Black Widow from the comics enjoys.
There Are Too Many Quips
As much as the MCU is known for its quips, there are some jokes that tried way too hard. After all, Coulson was supposed to be a respectable and severe agent, who also had a somewhat creepy obsession with Captain America. While it made audiences sympathetic to him, it also made him seem less competent.
Later MCU movies balance humor and serious moments well. The Avengers cut serious moments with jokes too often, and it takes away from the tone of those scenes. After all, while Tony was funny, he needed to tone it down a bit when the city was about to be bombed.
The Avengers Aren’t Friends Yet
In the MCU, it can be easy to imagine that the original six Avengers were friends from the start. Yet The Avengers can easily remind fans that there were very few moments where they actually got along. After all, Captain America and Tony were rivals from the start.
It makes it somewhat less impactful that the Avengers eventually erupted into a civil war. After all, if they weren’t truly friends, the emotional weight of their break-up is not quite as prevalent. What did it matter if Steve and Tony hated each other when they always had?
Captain America’s Costume Is Bad
Early on, the MCU tried its best to replicate some of the suits from the comics. Yet, while the producers tried with Captain America’s suit, it was a little too ridiculous and far too bright. He looked absurd every time he was on screen, yet the movie seemed to think that it was a brilliant design.
Steve later changing out of the suit from The Avengers was the best costume upgrade in the MCU. Once his suit became more realistic, it wasn’t quite as easy to see Captain America as a joke. He needed to look rugged, instead of appearing to be a show pony.
Too Many Beloved Characters Are Missing
In recent years, new and beloved characters have been added to the MCU. Doctor Strange, Shang-Chi, Sam Wilson, and the Black Panther have appeared and become mainstays. Yet, when The Avengers was released, Marvel Studios only dreamed of having so many comic heroes on screens.
It’s hard to imagine characters like Captain Marvel or T’Challa sitting out a battle as important as the Chitauri invasion. The entire world was at stake, yet they still isolated themselves and didn’t bother to appear. It makes the universe feel small, especially when fans wondered where those other heroes were.
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