Movie Recap: The Avengers

The Avengers is in theaters now.

Also, for further reading: previous recaps for Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

The Avengers! Or, Armvengers: Operation Beefcake Extravaganza! It did not disappoint. In fact, it surpassed my wildest dreams. Yes, even those ones! Any reservations I had—Joss Whedon (STOP HISSING AT ME, INTERNET), too many main characters to give adequate time to everybody, fan-pandering in either the too much plot or too much character introspection directions, etc.—proved to be neither true nor particularly relevant. This was a fantastic example of an ensemble film, the character and the action were woven into each other quite seamlessly, and the writing was an absolute delight. Everybody had their own stuff going on, and all of their stuff interacted with everybody else’s stuff wonderfully.

I cannot overstate how happy I am with The Avengers, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. On to the recap!

We begin, as most things do, on a cube. We get a little narration on the Tesseract, the MacGuffin energy thingy from Thor and Captain America. Basically, the Tesseract is awesome for whoever has it because it can fuck some shit up. That’s the scientific term.

Speaking of fucking shit up, let us go now to a NASA facility, a big sprawling compound in the middle of the desert. It’s full of people being evacuated as klaxons sound. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) arrives in a helicopter, eyepatch perfectly positioned and coat billowing in the nighttime wind. He meets up with Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who can’t tell him much about what’s going on, and then speaks with Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), a stone badass who is having even less of this shit than Nick Fury. This shit is the Tesseract going totally insane for no reason. Nick Fury orders a total evacuation, which Maria Hill questions professionally, because if the Tesseract goes nuclear, “There may not be a minimum safe distance.” Fury’s like, okay, so everyone should just chill here then? He orders her to ship out all of the “Phase 2” prototypes. Hill asks if that’s a priority. That’s a yes, and Hill goes off to do what he said.

The problem is semi-explained to us by Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) from Thor. This scene and the next few will be totally baffling if you stayed around for the post-credits from Thor, which showed Selvig being possessed by Loki from afar somehow. I’ve yet to think of a reasonable way for that one to fit in with this movie, except that maybe Loki has been influencing him through the Tesseract portal since the end of Thor? I don’t know.

Selvig’s explanation boils down to “the Tesseract is being weird and spiking energy all over the place.” He refers to it with a feminine pronoun, which is either sweet or creepy, depending on how you feel about alien space cubes and the men who love them. Selvig says it’s just pooping out some gamma radiation, nothing dangerous. Fury, deadpan: “That can be harmful.”

Fury asks where Clint Barton is, and Selvig almost rolls his eyes. “The hawk? Up in his nest, as usual.” And we pan up almost to the rafters to see Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) kind of hilariously lurking and watching over the lab. He rappels down when Fury orders him to, and answers in the negative when Fury asks if he’s seen any shenanigans. Clint postulates that the issues aren’t coming from their end, because the Tesseract is a doorway through space, and “Doors open both ways.” Smartypants. I like movies where everybody’s allowed to be intelligent and have good ideas.

The Tesseract starts freaking out in earnest, and blasts a portal into the room. Everyone stares at it until a figure appears, holding a glowing spear-staff thing. It’s Loki (Tom Hiddleston)! Loki, if you’ll remember from Thor, had the worst reaction EVER to being told he was adopted, which subsequently led to him floating around in space for however many space-years with nothing but his own bitterness and an awkward helmet for company. Bizarrely, most of his endearing qualities from Thor (his motivation made sense, even if his actions were wrong, and he was sympathetic—and it was treated this way within the movie) have disappeared. Tom Hiddleston was very good at making you feel for him in Thor; now he is very good at making you look forward to the asskicking he rightfully deserves. It makes sense—floating around in space with nothing but your own bitterness and an awkward helmet for company will drive anybody crazy.

Fury politely requests that he ditch the spear, and maybe stop grinning like he’s eaten everybody’s sandwiches out of the breakroom. Instead, Loki just starts killing dudes left and right, until he gets to Clint. Loki grabs Clint’s gun hand and says “You have heart,” then presses the tip of the spear into Clint’s chest. Light crawls up Clint’s neck, turns his eyes all black, then drains out and leaves his irises creepy-pale. Clint puts his gun away and stands motionless, now under Loki’s control.

Loki pops around the room, making new minions out of remaining SHIELD agents, and Fury shoves the Tesseract into a special briefcase and tries to leave with it. Loki introduces himself, and Selvig says “Loki, brother of Thor?” and Loki’s like “No, the other Loki, duh.” Fury says that Earth has no quarrel with Asgard. Loki neglects to mention that he’s not here on behalf of Asgard, just on behalf of his own crazy. He says “An ant has no quarrel with a boot,” which is one of those things that makes sense until you think about it. An ant would absolutely have a quarrel with a boot, it just isn’t big enough to do anything about it.

Fury: “Are you planning to step on us?” I unfortunately can’t render Samuel L. Jackson’s facial expressions into text, but trust me, he’s killing it with these lines.

Loki starts in about how he’s going to free humans by taking away our free will, blah blah whatever. Does that work? Has it ever worked? (No.) He seems convinced that being a mindless slave is the best thing for humanity, and turns Selvig into another member of his entourage.

Fury stalls Loki by arguing, waiting for the portal to destabilize even further and kill them all when the building comes down, but Clint tells Loki what’s up. Loki signals Clint to shoot Fury, and they scoot off toward the garage with the Tesseract. They pile into a truck, Clint telling a suspicious Agent Hill that it’s all cool. Fury then comes through on the radio, and Hill realizes what’s going on. She wastes no time in firing off a few rounds at the truck as it drives off, then jumps into her own vehicle and chases them down. It’s fucking fantastic, with cars blowing up all over the place and gunfights while driving backwards.

The compound starts collapsing in earnest, knocking over a dolly full of weapons cases that Coulson and several SHIELD agents are trying to take. Coulson directs them to leave the cases and go, which will provide just one example of how awesome Coulson is, because they’re the Phase 2 prototypes Fury was adamant about. When a building is about to fall down on your head, you want a dude like him directing you.

Fury, in a helicopter, watches grimly as the place sinks into the ground. Rubble smashes down onto Hill’s car, effectively ending her part in the awesome chase scene. Coulson looks very sad about everything.

Fury spots the truck and tries to take it out, but Loki brings down the helicopter, which Fury JUMPS OUT OF AS IT IS TILTING. DON’T EVER DO THAT YOU WILL GET CAUGHT IN THE ROTOR AND BE TURNED INTO CHUNKS OF PERSON. Loki, Clint, Selvig, and Other Guy get away with the Tesseract, and Fury lets everybody (Coulson and Hill) know that they are now at war.

Title screen! Then a train! Then a warehouse next to the train tracks! Inside this warehouse is Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johannsson), tied to a chair and being interrogated by a couple of sketchy Russians. They argue back and forth in Russian, Natasha looking progressively more worried as the older guy, wearing a military uniform, works out her identity. She essentially calls him a dirty geezer, and he is preparing to yank out either her teeth or her tongue when the younger Russian’s phone rings. It’s Coulson, for Natasha. The younger guy gives the phone to the older one, who is summarily threatened with an F-18 up his ass if he doesn’t put Natasha on. She answers irritably, informing Coulson that she’s been working on these guys and they’re giving her everything, and he can’t pull her out now.

All it takes is a “Barton’s been compromised,” and her face falls just enough that you notice when she puts her fuck-you mask on. “Let me put you on hold.” she says, and gestures for the older guy to take the phone. She kicks his knee out and proceeds to take out three guys while still tied to a chair, barefoot, in a dress. Coulson waits patiently until she’s done. She picks up the phone and her shoes, heading for the exit. They discuss Clint’s relative wellbeing while Coulson watches video of Clint and Natasha working together, and Coulson informs her that she’ll be in charge of getting “the big guy.” She smiles, reminding Coulson that Stark trusts her as far as he could throw her. Coulson answers that he’s got Stark, and she’s getting the big guy. She stops on her way out and mutters “Bozhe moi.”

India. A little girl darts and weaves through the busy Calcutta streets, looking concerned. She enters a house and goes up the stairs to find Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) tending to some sick people. She asks him to come with her because her father is sick, and he confirms that it’s the same symptoms as his own patients. He agrees to go with her. THIS DOESN’T SOUND LIKE A SETUP AT ALL.

She leads him to a house, then hops through a window and disappears. “Should have got paid up front, Banner,” Bruce says, and then suddenly Natasha is there. She allows a little bit of small talk (“And your little actress buddy, is she a spy, too? They start that young?” “I did.”) before telling him she’s there alone on behalf of SHIELD, and would like him to come with her. He’s uninterested and cautious, and she’s hiding the fact that she’s on edge, and the whole scene is great and so packed with tension. She shows him a picture of the Tesseract, saying that SHIELD needs his help locating it. He asks if Fury wants him to swallow it, and she assures him that this is not the case—the gamma radiation signature is too weak for SHIELD to trace, and Bruce is their best bet for finding it (in case you haven’t read the comics and fell asleep during both films—me—Bruce Banner was a scientist that exposed himself to massive amounts of gamma radiation after a laboratory accident, and that’s where the Hulk comes in).

Bruce asks her for more information, saying that Fury hasn’t told her everything. She starts to argue, and he slams his hands down on the table and yells “Stop lying!” only to be met with a gun in his face. He steps back, smiling a little. “I’m sorry, that was mean,” he tells her, a little sheepish. THIS WAS THE MOMENT I FELL IN LOVE. I honestly had zero interest in the Hulk going into this, but Ruffalo and the script managed to create somebody so endearing that it’s impossible to come away without some residual affection for the guy.

Natasha finally lowers the gun, and tells the 20 SHIELD agents with machine guns outside to stand down, still visibly disturbed.

Fury talks to some shady higher-ups on a conference call. He wants to bring back the Avenger Initiative, which was scrapped in Iron Man 2, and the higher-ups want him to just go full hog with the Phase 2 business instead, dooming the Earth to an actual war with Loki. Fury has faith in his people, believing that with the right push, this ragtag band of losers can make it all the way to Nationals. The higher-ups basically stomp on his pom-poms, but he’s determined.

At SHIELD HQ, down in the gym, a set of intense shoulders and delightful buns belonging to Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) takes out some existential angst on a series of punching bags. He has flashbacks to the Forties, then to being defrosted by SHIELD, and hits the bag so hard that it flies across the room and the sand falls out. He hangs up another one from a row of them on the floor, and starts hitting it again. WILL THE ABUSE NEVER END???

Fury shows up and asks if he’s having trouble sleeping. Steve reminds him that he just woke up from a pretty thorough seven-decade nap, so sleeping is the literal last thing he wants to do. Fury tells him he should be out having fun instead of beating defenseless bags until their sand falls out, but Steve is maudlin, a little. “I went under, the world was at war. I woke up, they say we won. They didn’t say what we lost.”

:( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

Fury’s amenable to a little bit of maudlin. “We’ve made some mistakes along the way. Some, very recently.” Samuel L. Jackson is doing a lot of awesome acting things in this movie re: Fury’s position as both a leader and a fixer. I’m glad he gets a chance to show Fury as a character instead of, you know, SAMUEL L. JACKSON IS NICK FURY, SHIELD GUY.

Steve asks if Fury has a mission for him, and he does indeedy. He gives Steve a folder full of nicely graphic-designed Tesseract information, telling him that Howard Stark pulled it out of the ocean while looking for Steve. Fury promises that shit is about to get both dire and weird, and bets a dubious Steve ten bucks that yes, it’ll get even weirder than he’s already experienced. Steve’s like, “I’ll believe it when I see it, which I might not, because I’ve got some stuff to process right now” and starts to leave with a punching bag.

Fury: “Is there anything else you can tell us about the Tesseract?”

Steve: “Should have left it in the ocean.”

IRON MAN TIME. He’s under water, retrofitting something onto a pipe with his suit. He blasts up out of the water and flies back into the city, talking to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) on a little screen in his helmet—the thing he put on the pipe (or a cable?) is an energy source, based off the arc reactor technology, and is both strong and clean enough to power Stark Tower for a year. He lands on the roof and the suit is pulled off of him by machines in the floor, revealing both Robert Downey, Jr.’s precious face and that Tony Stark wears, like, flared yoga pants.

He flirts with Pepper for like six hours, ignoring Coulson’s calls and JARVIS’s warning that Coulson has breached his security protocols, until Coulson finally just steps out of the elevator. He’s greeted warmly by Pepper, who calls him Phil (“His first name is Agent,” Tony argues), and there is some trading of champagne and high-tech file folders. Tony grumpily tosses the electronic contents of the folder into the air—I don’t understand that at all—and it shows video files of the other Avengers and various and sundry informative tidbits for Tony’s perusal. Pepper says she’ll take the plane to DC that night so that Tony can do his homework, says something that is probably sexy in his ear, and then hitches a ride to La Guardia with Coulson. They chat like bros all the way into the elevator, about a cellist Coulson was seeing who moved back to Portland. “What? Booooo.” Pepper says, and Tony is all WHAAAAAAT.

Quinjet! Quinjet? Yeah, it’s probably the Quinjet. Some kind of tiny airplane, in any event. Steve reads/watches up a little on Bruce, and Coulson exposits that lots of scientists tried to replicate the supersoldier serum that was used on Steve, and that was where Bruce got hit with the gamma rays. Coulson says that when Bruce isn’t the Hulk, he’s like Stephen Hawking. Steve is like ???????????? and Coulson says “He’s a smart guy.”

Coulson then tells Steve it’s an honor to meet him, and Steve is like “Hey cool thanks bro.” But then Coulson goes on to say “I watched you while you were sleeping. I mean, I was there while you were unconscious. From the ice.” Steve is gracious about it, even when Coulson says he had a hand in designing Steve’s new uniform. COULSON, HONEY, STOP TALKING. Steve asks if the flag uniform will be too dorky, but Coulson assures him that the uniform’s nostalgia may be useful as a morale booster. Then he pretends there’s turbulence and falls dramatically into Steve’s arms.

Loki’s Laboratory (He’s the smartest god you’ve ever seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!). Stuff sparks and people walk around while Loki sits on the floor and ponders. His staff starts glowing (that’s not code) and the lab melts away around him. In its place, there is a desolate and craggy space plain full of aliens called the Chitauri, a group of weird metal/flesh monsters. According to the Marvel wiki, they’re a roving band of weirdos who try to abolish free will wherever they go. They’re teaming up with Loki because he can a) lead them in a battle against humanity (BUT WHY??? Even the Chitauri is all “Um do you remember your ant/boot metaphor from the beginning? Only crazy people go out of their way to murder ants that are just chilling in their own anthills”) and b) get the Tesseract for them, so they can continue fucking shit up across the universe while Loki is King President CEO of Earth.

The head Chitauri threatens Loki hard enough that he ends up back in his lab, scowling. IDK man this may have been a bad move on your part.


The Helicarrier is everybody's favorite character.

It’s so awesome. Steve and Coulson depart the little plane, greeted by Natasha. She tells Coulson he’s needed on the bridge, as “They’re starting the face-trace.” Coulson leaves them to it, it being Natasha totally selling Coulson out on being even more of a fanboy than he already was. “There was quite the buzz around here, finding you in the ice. I thought Coulson was going to swoon. Has he asked you to sign his Captain America trading cards yet? They’re vintage.”


“He’s very proud of them.”

Steve’s halfway between amused and bemused. He and Natasha spot Bruce stumbling around a little bit. Steve greets him all friendly, assuring him that he only cares about Bruce’s scientific talents, and that seems to calm him a little bit. Natasha tells them they should probably get belowdeck, as it’s “About to get hard to breathe.”

Bruce assumes it’s a submarine, and wonders at the relative intelligence of locking him inside a metal canister. When it’s revealed that the carrier is more of a helicopter, he’s not totally reassured that the sky is a good idea, either.

They go inside as the Helicarrier covers itself in reflective panels, and Steve gives Fury a ten-dollar bill.

Fury thanks Bruce for coming, and Bruce thanks him for asking nicely. Bruce summarily has SHIELD ask the entire world to put every spectrometer they have on the roof so he can track the gamma radiation. That sounds like it might be a good idea, in theory, but it’s not like there are gamma ray spectrometers everywhere. I mean, I own nine of them, but I know a guy.

Natasha takes Bruce to where he’ll be doing his work.

Loki’s Laboratory (Avengers blow his experiments to smithereeeeeeens!). Selvig asks Clint where he found all of these people to help out.

Clint: “SHIELD has no shortage of enemies.”

Clint messes around on a tablet, asking Selvig if the material he needs is iridium, remarking that it’s difficult to get if SHIELD knows you need it. Loki comes up, and Selvig greets him with a smile and a “Hey,” talking excitedly about his work with the Tesseract, how it’s showing him all sorts of things: “It’s more than knowledge, it’s truth.”

Loki: “I know. What did it show you, Agent Barton?”
Clint: “My next target.”
Loki: “Tell me what you need.”
Clint: “I need a distraction. And an eyeball.”

Don’t we all, sugarpop. Don’t we all.

SHIELD agents run facial recognition software against a headshot of Loki while Coulson tries to convince Steve to sign his cards. Aaaaawwwww.

One of the agents gets a match, in Stuttgart, Germany—Loki is in a suit and cute scarf, creepin’ around a huge fancy museum. Fury says Steve’s up. Steve flutters his jaw with determination.

Coulson pretends there’s some turbulence and falls into Steve’s waiting arms.

Mournful strings play over the party at the fancy museum, and also over Steve as he finds his new uniform. I don’t remember what the song is called, and my notes just say STING 13 AMINOR ROSAONOE (I can’t read my own writing). It’s lovely and sad and sounds quite German, but I don’t know classical music well enough to be sure about that.

Two guards take some arrows from Clint, who sets a little machine on an eye-scanner outside the building. Loki steps into the midst of the party, hitting a security guy with his staff, and slams another dude down on the table. He pulls out a machine with a lot of whirring blades and jams it down onto the dude’s eye. A floating hologram eyeball appears in front of the scanner, giving Clint access to an airtight cylinder full of iridium inside a cabinet in the office.

Loki follows the partygoers out into the courtyard, his clothes changing into his crazy helmet and Asgard outfit as he walks. He splits himself into four and boxes the crowd in, delivering a speech worthy of an insanity plea about how humans would be so much happier if they just let themselves be subjugated, giving up all aspirations toward power and identity, because “You were made to be ruled.” One old guy stands up, saying he won’t kneel, “Not to men like you.”

Loki: “There are no men like me.”
Old German Dude: “There are always men like you.”

Loki prepares to shoot him with the staff, but Steve drops in and deflects the shot back into Loki with his shield. “You know, last time I was in Germany, and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.” Other people start to stand up, too, and clear out so Steve and Loki can trade blows, up to and including jumpy spin-kicks to the face. It’s awesome—the fights and action in the movie are top-notch throughout.

Natasha flies up in one of the little planes, telling him to drop his spear and surrender. He’s disinclined to acquiesce to this request, and continues fighting, but Natasha can’t get a good shot on him because he’s moving so quickly. Then, ACDC’s “Shoot to Thrill” starts playing over the PA, because Tony Stark has commandeered the music. He’s also knocked Loki on his ass and referred to him as Reindeer Games, which I think means he’s won this round. I hate that Tony Stark makes all the jokes I wanted to make. Like every single one of them.

Steve and Tony greet each other stiffly. NOT LIKE THAT. MAYBE LIKE THAT. I DON’T KNOW! Everybody’s chemistry is off the charts, which would have made this movie great even if nothing else about it worked. They take Loki up in the plane (not code) and everyone sort of frowns at each other silently on the way back to the Helicarrier. Steve voices his concerns about Loki being subdued so quickly, because “He packs a wallop.”

Tony: “I wouldn’t be so concerned. You’re pretty spry, for an older fella. What’s your thing, Pilates?”
Steve: ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Tony: “It’s like calisthenics. You might have missed a couple of things, you know…doing time as a Capsicle.”
Steve: >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/ >:/

Steve: “Fury didn’t tell me he was calling you in.”
Tony: “There’s a lot of things Fury doesn’t tell you.”

Lightning kicks up all around the plane. Steve notices Loki’s apprehension and asks if he’s scared of lightning. “I’m not overly fond of what follows,” Loki answers. WHAT FOLLOWS IS THOR. WHO THE HELL DOESN’T LIKE THOR?

Thor lands on the plane, hops in through the bay doors, and just steals Loki right out of the plane. Everyone’s like, ugh, drama queens. Tony leaps out of the plane after them, and Steve grabs a parachute to follow. “I’d sit this one out, Cap. These guys are from legend. They’re basically gods.” Natasha warns.

Steve hears her but decides to jump anyway, because “There’s only one god, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” But what if he does, Steve? What if he DOES? He hops out of the plane, and somewhere, god sits on a cloud and sadly folds his giant cape, empyrean tears staining the fabric as he sadly whispers Steve’s name.

Down on earth, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) body-slams Loki and demands to know the location of the Tesseract. Loki, full of piss and vinegar, asks Thor if he missed him. Thor says “DO I LOOK TO BE IN A GAMING MOOD?” You look like you’re LARPing, so sorta? Loki asks him how much “dark energy” Odin had to expend to send Thor to Earth, now that the Bifrost is broken. Thor makes sad faces and is like “I thought you were dead!” Loki asks if Thor mourned, and Thor says that they all did, “our father—”

Loki holds up a finger, cutting him off with a bitter “Your father.” Thor lets him walk away a bit, and they argue about the relative merits of their brotherhood, what with Loki being a frost giant and Thor being a hot slab of beefcake. I mean Asgardian. Loki is firmly against, as all he remembers is being in Thor’s shadow. And then he says he remembers Thor tossing him into space? BUT THAT’S NOT HOW IT HAPPENED LOKI???? YOU LET GO?????????? Everyone’s got at least one relative like this. My tried and true method for dealing with them is hurling rocks at the backs of their heads when your grandma isn’t looking. Thor can’t do that, though, so he tries to talk Loki out of his plans for world domination and into coming home.

Loki says he doesn’t have the Tesseract, and that he knows Thor needs it to bring him home. Thor picks up his hammer and says, “You listen well, brother—” before being fly-tackled off the tiny cliff by Iron Man. Loki, hilariously: “I’m listening?”

Tony drops Thor on the ground. Thor says, “Do not touch me again.”

Tony: “Then don’t take my stuff.”
Thor: “You have no idea what you’re dealing with.”
Tony: “Shakespeare in the Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?”


Thor nails Tony with the hammer, which just pisses him off. They fight it out through the trees while Loki watches, delighted with the proceedings. Thor calls down the lightning and blasts the Iron Man suit with it, bumping it up to 400% capacity. Tony ignores the feeling of metal on his boner and continues fighting Thor all through the forest, like twinkly violent elves.

Suddenly, Steve’s shield slaps them both in the face as Steve yells, “Hey! That’s enough.” like the world’s dorkiest older brother. Steve jumps down in front of them, inquiring as to what Thor’s damage is. Well, he’s here to put a stop to Loki’s schemes. Steve commiserates, and says that Thor needs to put Mjolnir down. Tony’s like “Uh, he has a really fucking awkwardly sexual relationship with his hammer—” but Thor bashes him twenty feet away. Thor also yells “YOU WANT ME TO PUT THE HAMMER DOWN?” as he runs at Steve, which is hilarious to me, because putting the hammer down is my favorite euphemism for sex.

Thor puts his hammer down all over Steve (not code), but Steve’s shield basically blows him across the forest on impact (also not code). They all sort of stagger back to the center of the makeshift (destroyed) clearing, and Steve asks “Are we done here?” They totally are.

Back on the Helicarrier, a group of SHIELD agents walks Loki to a containment cell, straight past Bruce Banner, who Loki decides to stare penises at. I mean daggers. Fury seals Loki into the cell, showing him the button that will drop him 30,000 feet to the earth if he stares any more penises at anybody. It didn’t even occur to me that he’d be dropping the cell out of the vehicle completely. I just thought there was some kind of howling void spawned from the unholy union of science and dark sorcery inside the Helicarrier, because seriously: I LOVE THE HELICARRIER. Fury turns Loki’s own ant/boot metaphor around on him, and is like “Look, dude, you’re fucking with my planet and my people, and that shit is nowhere near on.” Loki intimates that Fury is terrified of his “real power.” Fury says to let him know if Real Power wants a magazine. I bet he’d bring him a Highlights or, like, Cosmopolitan. 69 SEXY TIPS FOR NOT GETTING DROPPED OUT OF THE SKY.

Steve, Bruce, Natasha, and Thor confer with each other about how totally crazy Loki is, and how his ultimate endgame is to lead the Chitauri in an assault on Earth, take Earth over, and then let the Chitauri have the Tesseract. The highlight of the conversation is:

Bruce: “That guy’s mind is a bag full of cats. You can smell the crazy on him.”
Thor: “Have care how you speak. Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard. And he is my brother.”
Natasha: “He killed eighty people in two days.”
Thor: “He’s adopted.”


Tony walks in, chatting with Coulson and letting everybody know that Loki needs the iridium as a stabilizing agent for the Tesseract, so it won’t collapse. He wants to show everybody some science, so he tells the SHIELD nerds on computers to do some nautical ship things from, like 1849, and they all stare at him, dumbfounded and a little judgemental. “That man is playing Galaga,” Tony announces. “He thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.” He stands up on the circular podium Fury uses when he’s being President Helicarrier, covers one eye, and looks at the screens. He inquires as to how Fury manages to see all the screens, and Agent Hill answers that he turns.

“That must be exhausting.” says Tony, and proceeds to nerd out with Bruce over some science stuff about…I don’t even know. He shake’s Bruce’s hand, telling him he’s a big fan of both his science work and his green ragemonster. I enjoy that Tony was really the first one to reach out and make friends with Bruce, it adds a nice little layer to both of their characters.

Steve guesses that Loki’s staff, though magical, seems a lot like a HYDRA weapon. Well, yeah, didn’t all of those harness the Tesseract’s power, too? Fury just wants to know how Loki managed to “turn two of the sharpest men I know into flying monkeys.” Thor’s like, whaaaat, we do not have these flying funkys on Asgard. But Steve excitedly tells everybody that he knows what Fury’s talking about and he gets the reference. SEE? ADORABLE. EVERYTHING IS ADORABLE.

Tony and Bruce leave to go play in the lab, and Agent Galaga turns his game back on. AGENT GALAGA THIS IS NOT AN EFFICIENT USE OF YOUR TIME OR RESOURCES oh wait you’re on level one million, carry on.

Lab playtime includes more talking about physics that I refuse to transcribe on the grounds of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I like hot people punching each other and explosions. Get off my nuts. Tony flutters happily around Bruce, inviting him to NYC to visit Stark Tower and peep his etchings. Bruce half-declines, politely stating that the last time he was in New York, he “broke Harlem.” Tony jabs Bruce in the side with a pointy metal thing, then stares into his eyes, waiting for the Hulk to make an appearance. Steve shows up and has about forty panic attacks, but Bruce has himself under remarkable control. Tony suggests that Bruce needs to stop tiptoeing and “strut,” and Bruce is like no thank you.

Tony and Steve have a discussion about Fury’s secretiveness re: the Tesseract’s value to SHIELD—Loki made a pointed comment about it having the potential to be a “warm light for all mankind,” and Bruce deduces that this was meant for Tony, who is “the world’s only name in clean energy.” (Tony gives him a blueberry from his bag o’ snacks for this successful deduction.) The Tesseract could provide clean energy for the planet forever, but SHIELD doesn’t seem super interested in environmentally conscious energy research. EXAMPLE 1: HELICARRIER.

Tony has put JARVIS on the task of downloading everything from SHIELD’s computers, but Steve is unimpressed, maintaining that they should trust SHIELD and follow orders.

Tony: “Following orders isn’t really my style.”
Steve: “And you’re all about style, aren’t you?”
Tony: “Of the people in this room, which one is A) wearing a spangly outfit and B) not of use?”
Steve: :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :|

Bruce intervenes, asking Steve if he really doesn’t find anything unusual about the situation. Steve just decides to leave and do some spycrafting of his own, which mostly seems to revolve around looking into boxes.

Bruce and Tony have a wonderful conversation about the Hulk, which really highlights them both as characters. Tony reaches out to him, pointing out that he’s got something terrible and beautiful inside him, too—the arc reactor, in addition to being totally sweet and potentially the greatest invention of the 21st century, only exists to keep a ball of shrapnel out of his heart. Bruce is kind of eyerolly about Tony’s insistence on talking about feelings.

Tony: “Hey. I read all about your accident. That much gamma exposure should have killed you.”
Bruce (sardonic): “So, you’re saying that the Hulk—that the other guy—saved my life? That’s nice. That’s a nice sentiment. Saved it for…what?”
Tony: “I guess we’ll find out.”
Bruce: “You may not enjoy that.”
Tony: “You just might.”

It’s a good conversation, and awesome that Tony Stark, sad drunkass of the universe, is the one to initiate it.

SECURE STORAGE 10-C is not so SECURE after all, because Steve pops the door open.

A black truck containing Selvig and an iridium cylinder drives through a tunnel, bringing us back onto the bridge of the Helicarrier, where Coulson is showing Thor a picture of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and assuring him that she’s safe, having taken a position for SHIELD away from all the action. BUT WHITHER DARCY LEWIS? She had better be in Thor 2.

Thor thanks Coulson, and says that she and Selvig were better off before he became their friend, and that Earth in general was better off without Asgardian influence. “When I first came to Earth, Loki’s rage followed me. In my youth, I courted war.” Aw, Thor :(.

Fury moves in and says that it’s not a war yet. He also just straight-up asks if Thor will torture Loki for the location of the Tesseract. Damn, dude, they’re still brothers! I wouldn’t torture any of my many, many brothers, even if they pulled all of Loki’s stunts and called me a wiener butt.

Fully willing to torture Loki is Natasha, but that’s not how it goes down when she visits him. (Scarlett Johansson plays this scene so perfectly, from her face down to her physical cues.) Natasha asks Loki what’s going to happen to Clint when he’s done with him, and Loki, smirking, asks if she’s in love with him.

“Love is for children. I owe him a debt,” she says, and it’s impossible to tell if that first bit is part of her mask or not. She tells Loki that, in the course of her spysassinating past, she ran afoul of SHIELD. Clint was sent to take her out, but he decided to make Fury adopt her ass. I mean, he made Fury hire her. (I mean Fury totally adopted her. SHIELD IS AN ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS, FOR REAL). She’s got red in her ledger for that, and she wants him alive so she can wipe it clean.

Loki, unfortunately, has picked Clint’s brain: “Drakov’s daughter, Sao Paulo, the hospital fire…your ledger is dripping.” He taunts her with her own history, visibly upsetting her, and threatens to use Clint to kill her in some super gross ways, and that he’ll wake Clint up right before she dies so he can see what he’s done, and right when Clint realizes it, he’ll split Clint’s head open, blah blah villains GET SOME NEW SHIT. He also calls her “mewling quim” which is so fucking hilarious and gross that I can’t even stand it. Loki, it’s like you don’t know her at all. She plays along, turning around with a teensy whimper and calling him a monster. Loki’s like, “But wait, you caterwauling cunt, I am not the worst monster here,” and suddenly Natasha turns around, fuck-you face back on. LIKE IT EVER EVEN WAS OFF. She calls him on wanting to release the Hulk (not code) on the Helicarrier to fuck shit up, and heads off to the lab with an order to keep Bruce there. She stops for a second to thank Loki for his cooperation. Loki’s all, this whiny vagina! This pernicious pussy! and pouts to himself.

MEWLING QUIM seriously.

Fury stomps into the Lab of Sad Nerdlings, all like “Hey, you silly snatches, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY COMPUTERS???? Agent Galaga was almost done with Galaga!”

Tony asks what Phase 2 is, just in time for Steve to stomp in and drop a serious-looking piece of equipment on the table (not code). Phase 2 is, apparently, next-gen weapons run on Tesseract power. Fury’s like, damn, you science people are assholes. Things are getting tense. Natasha comes in and asks Bruce if he might want to remove himself from the situation because Loki’s about to manipulate him into some serious problems, and they snipe back and forth at each other while Steve looks betrayed at everything in his life right now. Don’t trust people with eyepatches, guys! I’ve made too many carnie-adjacent mistakes to not know what I’m talking about.

Bruce asks why the hell there’s a Phase 2 in the first place. Fury points at Thor. “It’s because of him.” Thor’s all, me? YES YOU. SHIELD became interested in the Destroyer’s (miniboss from Thor) sheer town-levelling power as a preemptive defense against all the scary aliens in the universe who might want to attack Earth. Everybody starts arguing in earnest, Steve getting personal on Tony (not code) immediately with an “I’m sure if Stark still made weapons, he’d be neck-deep in this.” Oooh, sick burn. Thor’s disappointed in how petty and reactionary humans are, Natasha is amazed that a nuclear option could be considered a bad idea, and Tony’s like “WHY ARE YOU BEING SUCH A DICK TO ME, STEVE.” Loki’s spear-staff buzzes and glows in the background.

Thor says that Fury/SHIELD claim to want peace, but totally do not. Bruce, slightly bitter, says they’re not a team, they’re “a chemical mixture that courts chaos. We’re a timebomb.”

Fury tells Bruce he needs to calm his tits. Tony disagrees, clapping his hand onto Steve’s shoulder and saying that he thinks Bruce needs to blow off a little steam. Steve shoves his hand away and tells him to back off, and Tony says, “I’m starting to want you to make me.” (Maybe code? There’s a lot of tension flying around this room between everybody, and probably a good 218% of it is sexual.)

Steve: “Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off and what are you?”
Tony: “Wearing flared yoga pants, double durrburger with jeez, Steven.”

OKAY NO HE ACTUALLY SAYS “Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist” and everybody knows that because it was the entire trailer.

Steve: “I know guys with none of that worth ten of you. I’ve seen the footage. The only thing you really fight for is yourself.”
Tony: :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(
Steve: “You’re not the guy to make the sacrifice play. To lay down on the wire and let the other guy crawl over you.”
Tony: “I think I would just cut the wire.”
Steve: “Always a way out. You know, you may not be a threat, but you’d better stop pretending to be a hero.”
Tony: “A hero? Like you? You’re a laboratory experiment, Rogers. Everything special about you came out of a bottle.”

(hair included???)

Clint and his plane of mercenaries approaches the Helicarrier and prepares to board. Clint’s looking pretty fucked-up and dead in the face. He puts an explosive arrow into the hull.

Inside, Steve asks Tony to put on the suit so they can fight it out like men. Thor laughs. “You people are so petty. And tiny.”

Fury orders Natasha to take Bruce away, and Bruce says it can’t be to his cell, because it’s occupado. Fury’s like “That murder prison was just in case!!! Gosh!!!” and Bruce slams us with the revelation that he probably can’t die, and he knows, because he tried to eat a bullet. “But the other guy spit it out.” So he devoted his time and energy to helping people, and was just dandy until SHIELD dragged him into this. “Do you want to see how I stay calm?” he asks, and we see that he’s holding Loki’s spear without even realizing it. The Tesseract locator starts beeping, and he immediately fauxpologizes for not getting to show them his “party trick.” Damn. I kind of love Bruce Banner.

He realizes rapidly that the Tesseract is really fucking close, like inside Clint’s plane. The arrow blows up what seems like half the Helicarrier, but what is actually the third engine, according to Agent Hill. Everyone is blown in different directions, and Steve and Tony immediately go into crisis mode and scramble to find the Iron Man suit. Fury sends Tony out to fix the engine, then tells Coulson to initiate the defense. Clint and his guys get on the Helicarrier, and I find it delightful that they’re all in combat clothes, and he’s in a skintight outfit with half-sleeves:


Natasha and Bruce got blasted one floor down, and a beam has trapped Natasha’s leg. Bruce is…not doing so well, and Natasha gets nervous. Man, I knew I was going to get bummed out about Whedon’s involvement at some point, and it was okay up until now. Like, seriously? Four other dudes and one lady in that room, and the lady is the one who ends up pinned under a giant phallic object and forced to deal with the embodiment of uncontrollable violence, only to end up shaking in a corner while one of the dudes—who easily could have been the one who fell with Bruce in the first place—fights the Hulk anyway. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. I mean, Thor should have been fighting him from the get-go, and Natasha could have come in and helped out from a distance during that fight, if we had to establish that only a demigod is capable of taking the Hulk on. Ugh. Things were going so well.

There’s mass panic. Natasha shoos away two mechanics who stumble in on her and Bruce, and tries to talk him down. He’s too far gone, though, and she watches in horror as he turns into the Hulk. She manages to free herself and run, the Hulk tearing down her exit path as she makes her way up the stairs and over scaffolding.

Steve and Tony end up near the wreckage of the third engine, and Tony mutters a plan to himself, enlisting Steve to check some levels. Steve says, sadly: “It appears to run on electricity” because the technology would be advanced even if he hadn’t been frozen for seventy years. Tony answers ,”You’re not wrong.”

The Hulk chases Natasha in slow motion as stuff explodes, then knocks her into a wall. He prepares to backhand her to death when Thor tackles him through another wall, also trying to convince him to calm his tits. The Hulk’s tits will not be calmed, even when he raises his arm with Thor adorably dangling off of it, and he punches Thor through some more stuff. I think it has been determined that the only way to make something seem bigger than Chris Hemsworth is to computer-animate it.

Outside, Tony determines that he’s going to have to manually restart the rotor. Steve correctly surmises that this could end with tiny chunks of Iron Man, but Tony points out a red lever that Steve can pull that will ~reverse the polarity~ and give Tony a chance to get out of the rotor before it gets up to speed.

Thor lands and waits for the Hulk to come for him, smiling and holding his hand out for Mjolnir. It gets to him just as the Hulk does, and he hammers the Hulk right in the face, then throws it at him. The Hulk gets pissed when he can’t pick it up (only the worthy can), and Thor hops onto his back.

Up on the bridge, one of Clint’s guys tosses a grenade into the room. Hill shouts out a warning and tackles another SHIELD agent over the railing and out of the way. Mercenaries come in, Fury taking out two via pistol-whip and Hill taking out the third via pistol-shot. As more mercenaries pour in, someone loudspeakers that Thor and the Hulk are fighting on the research floor. Hill tells Fury that the Hulk will destroy the ship, and he tells her to give him a distraction. She orders a plane to fire on the Hulk, warning the pilot not to get too close. I WONDER WHAT HE’S GOING TO DO.



He fires on the Hulk, who’s like “Fuck you” and leaps onto the plane as the pilot yells “Target angry TARGET ANGRY!” over the radio. The Hulk rips the plane apart, grabbing the pilot when he ejects and tossing him away. His parachute deploys in the distance, so I hope he made it. The Hulk, meanwhile, goes down with the plane.

Out by the busted engine, Tony gets himself into the works and Steve plays X-TREME grenade handball with a couple of Clint’s dudes, eventually getting his hands on one of their machine guns to hold them off. On the bridge, Clint is firing arrows into the computer systems, and they’re shutting down the engines. He darts off as Fury fires on him. Fury gives Clint’s location over the radio, and Natasha responds and rushes off to meet him.

Outside, Steve gets knocked off of the Helicarrier, only hanging on by a dangling wire. Tony flies the rotors around, trying to start them up again. Inside, Clint and Natasha have a fucking awesomely brutal fight, where he’s trying to kill her and she’s trying to keep him alive. Words cannot do it justice, but it uses both actors’ bodies in the best ways possible. Natasha wins after fully slamming Clint’s skull into the railing. He tries to get up, dazed, and she knocks him out.

A series of very terrible things happen in the Hulk-cell room. First, Loki gets Thor into the cell with his cloning illusion (TRICKS ARE SOMETHING A THOR DOES FOR MONEY) (I’m really glad this Thermos full of bear vodka and Kool-Aid makes me so funny!). Second, Loki threatens to drop Thor, but Third, Loki is interrupted by Coulson, who is carrying a huge weapon. Phase 2. He explains that it’s based on the Destroyer tech from Thor, and that he’s not entirely sure what it does. He asks if Loki would like to find out.

Fourth, Loki runs Coulson through with the spear, and Fifth, Loki drops Thor into the sky.

me: :( :( :( :( :( :(

Loki is flippant about the possibility that he just murdered his brother. Coulson, bleeding on the floor, says Loki won’t win because he lacks conviction. Loki’s like, HOW DARE YOU I EAT CONVICTION FOR BREAKFAST and then gets fucking blasted through a wall with the Destroyer weapon. He lays there, kind of embarrassed and on fire at the same time, and Coulson says, “So that’s what it does.”

Fury concernedly watches the altimeter tick down as Tony flies around outside, finally getting the rotor moving on its own. He tells Steve to pull the lever, but Steve is getting sort of shot at. The rotor outpaces Tony, and he gets dragged underneath it until Steve finally manages to pull the lever down, freeing Tony up to escape and fly into the dude who’s trying to kill Steve. Dude successfully tackled, Tony lies back and probably considers taking up recreational whiskey as a hobby.

Fury finds Coulson and kneels down, pulling the weapon away from him, telling him to hold on. Coulson says he’s clocking out, and Fury’s like “Nope. Nope. Nope. [eyepatch fills with tears].”

Fury: .( .( .(

Coulson tries to smile. “It’s okay, Boss. This was never gonna work if they didn’t have something to…” He trails off, looks down, and dies.

Fury steps back to let the paramedics in, and announces over the radio that Coulson is down and the medics have called it. He was in six movies, guys. Four features and two shorts. Everything is sad, except for the glimmer of hope inherent in the fact that we didn’t really see a body after Fury said he was dead, and what Fury does next is shady as fucking hell: he goes to where Tony and Steve are sitting dejectedly at a table and throws Coulson’s cards, stained with blood, down onto the table in front of Steve, remarking that Coulson never got them signed. He starts a little pity-party speech about how Thor and Bruce are missing, Loki’s escaped, and that Fury himself “lost [his] one good eye. Maybe I had that coming. Yes, we were going to build an arsenal with the Tesseract. I never put all my chips on that number though, because I was playing something even riskier. There was an idea—and Stark knows this—called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles that we never could. Phil Coulson died still believing in that idea. In heroes.

Tony stands up and walks away without a word. “Well,” Fury finishes. “It’s an old-fashioned notion.”

Thor walks through a field of daisies to find Mjolnir. The hammer doesn’t jump to his hand. :(

Bruce wakes up buck-ass naked in a pile of rubble in a warehouse, a security guard filling him in on the last few hours in his naked life. The guard gives him clothes and asks if he’s an alien, and Bruce answers in the negative. “Well, son, you’ve got a condition.”

Clint, restrained in the infirmary, struggles only a little with slightly hypersaturated hallucinations, muttering about flushing Loki out. He evens out eventually, taking a glass of water from Natasha. “Do you know what it’s like to have someone take your brain and play? To pull you out and stuff something else in? To be unmade?” Natasha looks at him for a moment, quietly saying “You know I do.” I need their movies right about now, please.

Natasha informs him that she got Loki out with “cognitive recalibration—I hit you really hard in the head.” Clint starts to ask how many people he killed, but she snaps at him that he can’t do that to himself. “It was Loki. This is monsters and magic—nothing we were ever trained for.” She wants to go after Loki with whomever remains. Clint agrees that he’d feel a little bit better if he could put an arrow through Loki’s eye. He asks her why, as she’s a spy and not a soldier, she’s willing to go to war against Loki. “What’d he do to you?” She’s all HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO ME LA LA LA SHUT UP DENIAL because Loki taking Clint and using him against her was the worst thing he could do to her, probably, and he didn’t even realize it. Clint and I both gently whisper “Natasha” at the same time.

“I’ve been compromised. I got red in my ledger. I have to wipe it out,” she answers.

Empty Hulk-cell room. Steve asks Tony if Coulson was married. “No. There was a cellist, I think,” Tony answers dully. Steve says he seemed like a good man. Tony calls him an idiot.

Steve: “Why, for believing?”
Tony: “For taking on Loki alone. He should have waited.”

Tony gets progressively more agitated, until Steve asks if this was the first time he’s lost a soldier. Tony snaps that they’re not soldiers, and he’s not going to be fighting for Fury. Steve agrees, saying Fury has the same blood on his hands as Loki, but that Loki has to be stopped. Tony sees Coulson’s blood on the wall, looks sick, and suddenly starts working things out—that Loki made it personal on purpose, to bring them together and force them to fight him somewhere where the world could see them lose. “He’s full-tilt diva on opening night—he wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built to the skies with his name plastered—son of a bitch.”


Everybody suits up and heads to a plane. Hill confronts Fury about Coulson’s cards: “They were in his locker, not his jacket.” Fury admits to wanting to give them a push. The plane carrying the Avengers takes off, and Fury, heartened, orders all energy toward making the Helicarrier operational again.

Tony gets to Stark Tower, where Selvig has already made the device self-sustaining. Tony can’t shoot through it, so he decides to have a chat with Loki, who’s lurking in his house. He subtly slips on a set of homing bracelets as he pours a drink for himself, asking if Loki wants one, then telling Loki he’s about to threaten him. And he does, naming off each Avenger—”Your brother, the demigod; legendary supersoldier who kind of lives up to the legend; a man with breathtaking anger-management issues; and a couple of master assassins. And you have managed to piss off every single one of them.” Loki says that was the plan. That was kind of a shitty plan though.

Tony gives good threat, countering every one of Loki’s arguments until Loki says, “How will they have time to fight me when they’re busy fighting you?” and tries to take over his mind. The spear clinks on the arc reactor. Loki does it again, and says, “That usually works.”

Tony pulls a face. “You know, performance issues…” and gets mafia-tossed through his own window, yelling “DEPLOY” on the way out. A spare Iron Man suit shoots out of the wall, zeroes in on his beepy bracelets, and gets onto him just in time. He flies back up to his window. “And there’s one other person you pissed off. His name’s Phil.” Tony shoots at Loki just as the portal opens above, and Chitauri start flying through it. Ruh roh. They have hovercrafts with lasers and basically start with the collateral damage pornography as soon as they get through, nailing buildings and cars and ripping up the streets with their lasers. It rules.

Loki puts on his dorky helmet and surveys the burgeoning lasers-on-parked-cars battle. Thor drops out of the sky to yell at him a little bit, and Loki yells back, and they fight.

The non-flying team members finally get to the city on the Quinjet, and Tony asks if they stopped for drive-thru on the way there. HEY MAN WHEN YOU WANT CHICKEN NUGGETS, YOU WANT CHICKEN NUGGETS. The heart knows not of reason. Tony sends them up ahead to take out some Chitauri, but one of the aliens shoots the wing of the plane and it goes down hard, probably on top of some people. Natasha, Steve, and Clint get out of the plane and wonder at how they’re going to participate in an aerial battle. As if Space Satan heard their concerns, a giant metal turtle-faced centipede fishmonster thing scoots out of the portal, deploying a bunch of climby Chitauri soldiers. Everyone’s like “Eeeeeeeehhhh bad.”

Loki and Thor continue to fight. Thor’s like “Look at all this shit blowing up! This is your fault! But we can stop it togetherrrrrr.” Loki’s all “Aaw no Thor I can’t even though I totally am sad NO WAIT PSYCH HERE’S A KNIFE I HOPE YOU LIKE IT BETWEEN YOUR RIBS.” Thor slams Loki down, and Loki rolls off of the roof, onto one of the flying vehicles. Thor pulls the knife out of his side and tosses it down, unfathomably sad.

Natasha, Steve, and Clint realize that people are in the buildings, and they’re going to run around and get in the way. Chitauri ground forces appear, and Natasha and Clint send Steve up the road to help the cops. I was genuinely upset by the trailers and promotional pictures that showed Natasha with two little handguns in this big alien battle (GIVE THE WOMAN A GRENADE LAUNCHER, JESUS), but she does okay.

She says, “This is just like Budapest.”

“You and me remember Budapest very differently,” answers Clint. They help a bunch of people off a bus as Steve outruns like twenty explosions to get to the police. He tells the police to get men in the buildings and lead people to the basements or the subway, and to keep them off the streets and out of the line of fire. The head cop is like “Who are you?” And instead of answering, Steve kills like three aliens with his shield. The cop immediately implements Steve’s plan.

Tony shoots some missiles at the big turtle bug fish thingy, and it knocks half a building down onto a hotdog stand. Why were there people at the hotdog stand? New Yorkers, do you really like hotdogs so much you would ignore an alien attack to get some of that sweet dirty street meat? I applaud you.

Natasha and Clint kill the shit out of some Chitauri, Natasha using some of their own weapons against them. Steve appears again to help out, and Thor comes down with a few lightning strikes, telling them that the shield around the Tesseract is impenetrable. Steve says they have to fight off the attack “as a team.” Thor says he has unfinished business with Loki, and Clint fingers his arrows like they’re his prom date when he says, “Get in line.” THERE’S NO TIME FOR THAT, BECAUSE BRUCE HAS RETURNED ON A TINY MOTORCYCLE. Like he just rode this little motorcycle through blocks and blocks of aliens with no problem. That’s adorable.

“So this seems…horrible,” he greets them. Natasha says she’s seen worse, and Bruce immediately apologizes.

“No, we could use worse,” she assures him, still looking a little unassured herself.

Steve tells Tony that Bruce has arrived, because Tony was worried. Tony’s like “Tell him to suit up. I’m bringing the party to you.” He leads the fish bug turtle around a building to where they’re standing.

Natasha, deadpan: “I don’t see how that’s a party.”

Bruce walks toward it as it gets closer. Steve says, “Doctor Banner, now might be a good time for you to get angry.”

Bruce turns back for a second. “That’s my secret. I’m always angry.” And he Hulks out on purpose. So many emotions. I may barf.

The Hulk punches the big thing in the face, and Tony shoots some missiles into it to explode its ass. It busts apart, and the climby walky Chitauri flip out. The Avengers do the back-to-back circle from the trailers until Loki orders the rest of his army to come through the portal, including like a billion more giant things. Steve starts handing down orders—Clint’s up high, and Tony controls the perimeter.

“Give me a lift?” Clint asks.
“Right,” Tony says. “Better clench up, Legolas.” He flies Clint up to the roof and leaves him there. Thor is charged with bottlenecking the portal by exploding everything that comes through it with lightning. Steve tells Natasha to stay with him to keep the fighting on the ground, and turns to the Hulk.

“Hulk?” The Hulk looks at him. “Smash.” The Hulk grins and leaps up onto the nearest building, flinging aliens around with reckless abandon, beating Chitauri with other Chitauri, and generally has a really good time.

Sort of a teamy montage of wanton destruction happens now. Everybody helps each other while ass-kicking, up to and including Steve tossing Natasha onto a flying Chitauri craft with his shield so she can get up to the Tesseract, hopefully to figure out how to close it. Thor and the Hulk ride a giant fish thing into a building, and the Hulk maybe punches Thor across the room. Which is sad, because Thor looked like he wanted a high-five.

Selvig wakes up on the roof, no longer enLoki’d. He’s horrified when he realizes what’s happened, both to him and in general.

Inside a building, some Chitauri are planning on blowing up a bunch of civilians. Steve fights them off, but doesn’t get to the bomb in time to get it out of the building. He does this awesome move where he jumps and curls up behind his shield when the blast goes off, and it knocks him back out to the street.

Helicarrier. Fury talks to his bosses (the Council) who want to just fucking nuke New York to contain the threat. Fury’s like, nope! We’re Avengin’ shit, assholes! and peaces.

Loki chases Natasha down, and she’s amusingly blasé with an “Oh, you,” as he starts shooting lasers at her. Clint is concerned for her wellbeing, and when she asks for a little help, he fires an arrow at Loki…who catches it and gives Clint the worst look. THEN IT BLOWS UP YESSSS. Natasha and Loki land on the roof of Stark Tower, and Loki’s about to attack her when the Hulk appears, knocking Loki into the building.

Loki gets up and yells “ENOUGH!” The Hulk stops. “I am a god, you dull creature! I will not be bullied by a—” and suddenly the Hulk is holding him by the foot and slapping him into the ground repeatedly, making Loki-shaped craters all over the place. He leaves Loki lying in one of them, stunned, and grunts a “Puny god,” as he leaves the building. I laughed so. hard.

Selvig tells Natasha that, even though he was under Loki’s control, he had enough presence of mind to build a way to cut the power source—Loki’s staff, and it happens to just be laying around.

Things start to not look so good for our other heroes—they’re getting outnumbered as long as the portal’s open. Steve takes a shot to the stomach and rallies with Thor for Round 2043028402. The Hulk is surrounded and shot about a billion times. Clint, out of arrows and also surrounded, repurposes one of them into a grappling hook and swings through a window, lying on the floor in pain. Tony, slightly outgunned as well, is depleting his power reserves.

On the Helicarrier, the Council has overrun Fury’s command and is trying to scramble planes to deliver nukes to Manhattan. Fury manages to shoot the first one down with an RPG, but the second one takes off. Fury tells Tony that he’s got less than three minutes to stop a nuclear bomb. Tony has an idea—he chases the bomb down, grabs it, and flies it toward the portal with his last remaining power reserves. On the way, JARVIS asks if he’d like to call Pepper. He tries, but she’s on the plane, so intent on the footage out of New York that she doesn’t hear it ringing. NOOO THIS IS TOO SAD :( Pepper’s picture remains on his helmet screen like Steve’s picture of Peggy stayed on the dash of the HYDRA plane he flew into the ocean, but it fizzles out when JARVIS gives up the ghost. Tony watches in a daze as the nuke soars up to the Chitauri mothership, blowing the living hell out of it and killing every single Chitauri left standing. Tony passes out and falls as Natasha finishes closing the portal, just barely making it through. Everyone’s relieved for about three seconds before they realize he’s not so much flying as he is dropping, and Thor prepares to retrieve him before he hits the ground.

The Hulk appears out of nowhere to grab him, slowing the fall with a building and then breaking the fall with his own body. He pushes Tony off of him, and Thor yanks the Iron Man mask off. They stare at him, unsure of what to do, when the Hulk yells at him and scares him awake again. “What the hell? What just happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me,” Tony grumbles. YAY EVERYTHING IS HAPPY AGAIN FOREVER. Steve tells him that they won. He rambles about how they should all go get shawarma and take the next day off. Sounds like a plan, but they’ve got one thing to do. And then shawarma after.

Loki manages to drag himself out of the crater that the Hulk made with his body, and turns directly into one of Clint’s arrows in his face. He sighs and says maybe he’ll have that drink now.

Newsreel ending, lots of people getting tattoos and Stark beards and yelling I LOVE YOU THOR. Stan Lee’s cameo is here, too.

The Council grills Fury on where the Avengers are. They are, respectively: headed back to Asgard (Thor and a bizarrely muzzled Loki); on what is assuredly going to be the most dorky and awful and amazing roadtrip in history (Tony and Bruce); on a motorcycle journey (Steve); and unspecified but probably to blow off some steam by killing people and not talking about their feelings (Natasha and/or Clint). The Council asks if this was all meant to be a message. Fury’s like, yeah, idiots, who’s gonna mess with us now? He does not do a mic drop as he leaves the room, but the implication is there. Hill asks him what will happen if Earth is attacked again. Fury says, completely confident, that the Avengers will come back, “Because we’ll need them.”

Tony and Pepper look over plans for rebuilding Stark Tower. As we pull out on them, we see that the letters on the outside have all fallen away.

All except for the A.

POST-CREDITS: In the American release, there’s a scene mid-credits of what I’m told is Thanos, who may or may not be the next baddie. Post-credits is a scene of the Avengers all eating shawarma in a shop. It is my favorite thing.