3 Things You May Have Missed In Marvel’s The Avengers

The Avengers is a film that was at least four years in the making, being conceived way back with 2008’s Iron Man. All of Marvel’s movies since – Iron Man 2, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America – all lead up to The Avengers.
Unlike other superhero movies, Marvel makes sure to include a lot of significant background detail and back story to create a truly astonishing and in-depth three-dimensional universe. This means a lot of hints that the average viewer may miss, and that comic book fans endlessly debate and scream over.

We’ve all now seen the film (and if not, spoilers ahead!), so now it’s time to discuss some of the elements you may not only have missed, but that will be crucial in future films. Such as, what is the comic (and cosmic) plot unfolding beyond the huge visual effects sequences? Why does Loki grin near the end of the movie? And what was with that green dude after the ending? Let’s review these three things you might have missed.
1. Marvel and their unifying world
Yes, we were first introduced to Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Black Widow and the SHIELD team led by Nick Fury in previous Marvel films. Even Hawkeye first played a cameo in Thor. What makes this team unique is that it is a major clash of egos, ideologies and approaches – and that’s what makes good drama.
You’ve probably guessed that all these characters are interconnected in a larger picture. I find nothing more frustrating than watching movies or television shows that are supposed to take place in the same fictional “world,” only to have contradictions, lazy writing and flat story lines that break the believability and richness of such a world.
Marvel’s grand story arc takes special care to keep everything successfully interconnected. Iron Man’s Mark VII armor in The Avengers is a direct and believable progression from what he wore in Iron Man 2. Bruce Banner acts exactly as you would think after his adventures in The Incredible Hulk. Captain America is realistically confused about the modern world after being frozen at the end of his movie.
This definitely makes for exciting cinema – all these movies feel like an epic serial drama, which is what Marvel Entertainment is intending. You care for all the characters and superheroes, because their actions in one movie has consequences in the next.
2. Sure, bad guy Loki is defeated at the end – so why does he look triumphant?
What, you didn’t see Loki’s sly little grin after he was captured and sent to Asgard? Are we to believe that Loki set himself up to fail? Why?
Thank the superb writing of Joss Whedon (aka creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Joss is well known for his masterful subplots – watch the very meaningful background sets on his ill-fated Serenity television show.
On the surface, we see that master bad guy Loki is trying to take over the world – as all bad guys apparently like to do. Loki is working with The Other, the leader of the Chitauri alien race. He works out a deal wherein he will nab the Tesseract (an energy source with huge potential for destruction) in exchange for the support of the Chitauri Army. Loki wants to subjugate the earth due to a Zod complex…or so it seems.
What you may have missed (though Loki’s conspicuous smile at the end gave it away) is that Loki’s earth domination wasn’t necessarily a priority. As we know in the previous movie Thor, Loki is primarily jealous of his brother and wants to be king of Asgard. He cares nothing for earth, and in Thor he was banished. Now, even though he is a prisoner, he will be back exactly where he wants to be.
3. What’s with the purple guy after the ending?
Marvel always has to walk a tight rope between appeasing comic book fans and entertaining a general audience who knows nothing about the comic book universe. They stretch it pretty far with a scene after the credits – the appearance of a huge cosmic purple dude who looks to be the leader behind The Other and Loki. Who is he?
Well, this guy is called Thanos, the bad guy of all bad guys. He is infatuated with Death (yes, with a capital D), an actual character that he is constantly trying to impress – by killing millions. There is also the pun in the movie when The Other mentions to him that anybody challenging earth is like “courting death.” Ha ha, get it?
So, besides trying to win the affections of Death, why does it look like Thanos is the instigator behind all the destruction in The Avengers? What does he want? You have to be quite eagle-eyed to see it. It’s not even featured in The Avengers, but in Thor, when the camera pans around Thor’s father Odin’s trophy room – a gauntlet with glowing rubies.
This is called the Infinity Gauntlet, and it is the most powerful object in the universe. In the comic books, Thanos actually acquires it and destroys half the universe – he just has to snap his fingers and superheros such as the X-Men are killed. It is the ultimate weapon of galactic mass destruction.
So, this weapon is stored in Asgard … and Loki is sent back there … are you thinking what I’m thinking? Hmm, things may get quite cosmic and apocalyptic in future sequels!
By Chris Molnar, fan geek, Dad and editor of Avengerscostume.net, where he writes about each character and costume of the Avengers in detail.