The MCU is getting bigger every year, with more connections drawn between the various Avengerses, Iron Men and Guardians of the Galaxies.
Inevitably, the more complicated things get, the bigger the inconsistencies and plot holes will gape. There’s already a load that we just can’t ignore.
1. Broken Rainbow Bridge
The big, emotional climax of Thor involves the destruction of the Bifrost, which links Asgard to Earth. The god of thunder has been separated from his new lover, Jane Foster, and it’s very clear that he might never see her again.
Except, come Avengers, he’s back on Earth with only a hand-waving mention of “dark energy” to account for his presence. This (not to mention that he doesn’t even try to find Jane) completely undoes the ending of Thor, as getting back from Asgard turns out to be no problem whatsoever.
The Rainbow Bridge is mended in time for its sequel, The Dark World, with no explanation, and the whole mess is never mentioned ever again.
2. How do Pym Particles work again?
In Ant-Man, Hank Pym states that his Pym Particles shrink objects by reducing “the distance between atoms”. Which is all very well and good, until you start to wonder how the particles allow people to access the subatomic Quantum Realm.
If the spaces between your atoms are changing but the atoms remain the same size, you couldn’t become smaller than an atom. So much for being a “genius scientist”, Hank. Like your shrunken objects, maybe you’re just increasingly dense, right? Right?
3. The spare Infinity Gauntlet
We know it was just included as a fun Easter egg, but Marvel should have thought more carefully before including the Infinity Gauntlet – complete with its set of six Infinity Stones – as part of Odin’s collection of artifacts in the first Thor film.
Yes, Hela explained this one away in Thor: Ragnarok with a dismissive shout of “FAKE” – but that was clearly a bit of scripty Polyfilla. A filled hole is still a hole.
4. Thanos gives away his only Infinity Stone
As already mentioned, Thanos has a thing for the Infinity Stones. Indeed, in order to get his hands on the Tesseract (aka the Space Stone), he obtains the help of Loki, a villain with a history of defeat at the hands of superheroes. He must have seriously beefed up his CV, because Thanos even throws in a magical, mind-controlling sceptre to help Loki get the job done.
That sceptre just happens to contain the Mind Stone, the only Infinity Stone that Thanos has in his collection. Naturally, Loki promptly loses it.
The question is – why the hell would Thanos give his only Infinity Stone away? Don’t tell us he didn’t know that the Mind Stone was in there – if he can’t find one under his nose, how could he ever hope to acquire the other five?
(Also, if, as this deleted scene implies, the sceptre was needed to control the Chitauri invading Earth, why do they all collapse when their mothership is blown up?)
5. Drax is totally literal… except when he isn’t
Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Drax is established as being from a race who are “completely literal”. (“Metaphors are gonna go over his head.” “Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast – I would catch it.” etc.)
Of course, that doesn’t stop him from referring to Gamora as a “whore” and “witch”, and agreeing with his allies to “give a shit” – all firmly metaphorical (thank god). Drax wavers wildly between tone-deaf and wise. Which is it, Marvel, eh? EH?
6. Iron Man’s power source problem
To power his suit and prevent shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him, Tony Stark and Dr Ho Yinsen created a miniature arc reactor and placed it in his chest. This is used to power the original Iron Man suit that helps him escape from the Ten Rings terrorist group, and subsequent suits take advantage of a more powerful, updated reactor.
With a source of limitless clean energy in his chest, why does a significant chunk of Iron Man 3 involve him running around a small Tennessee town while his armour is very slowly recharged by a car battery in a garage?
7. Ego absorbs Earth… on the sly
The climax of Ego’s plot in Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 (set back in 2014/15) involves activating plants he has hidden on planets across the universe in order to assimilate them into himself. One of those planets is none other than Earth.
So why do no Avengers react to the giant wave of blue gunk that swallows a town and threatens to take the rest of the world with it? No-one shows up, and it’s never mentioned in any of the movies set later in the timeline. Superhero oversight, there.
8. Thor’s Infinity Stone quest
Remember that vision Thor had in Age of Ultron? The one that was forced on Joss Whedon, which annoyed him so much it was a factor in his decision to quit Marvel?
Yeah, that didn’t turn out to be as significant as Marvel’s Creative Committee (the group tasked with providing marketing and branding notes on all the MCU movies, the same group that was coincidentally disbanded after Ultron) thought.
Thor’s vision and his subsequent movie-ending decision to seek out the Infinity Stones was basically completely ignored in Ragnarok, aside from a passing reference that doesn’t make sense.
According to Ragnarok‘s Thor, he tried to find the stones, couldn’t, and gave up. But in Ultron, he seemed to have fairly detailed intel – to the extent that he knew exactly how many Infinity Stones were out there.
Thor states the Mind Stone is “the fourth of the Infinity Stones to show up in the last few years” in Ultron, so what gives?
Probably a calculated decision to ignore a plot dead-end and give director Taika Waititi free rein on the storyline. Which is fine by us.
9. Doctor Strange’s timeline problems
Because of some weird timey-wimey stuff, fans have dated Doctor Strange as taking place in the year 2020 – thanks to Pangborn’s x-ray being registered on December 9, 2014.
Fans have done some intricate Marvel maths and concluded it would have taken Pangborn at least six years to be able to play basketball again, allowing Strange to meet him courtside.
But even ignoring that weird blip on the timeline, dating the events of Strange as being post-2014 throws a fairly massive scalpel in the works with regards to the events of The Winter Soldier.
If Doctor Strange takes place even one year after 2014, why is the surgeon named as a person of interest in The Winter Soldier, which is also said to take place in 2014?
It’s not as if Strange’s journey to become a master of magic was part of any grand plan, it was all fairly accidental. Like, literally.
10. Spider-Man: Homecoming’s ‘eight years later’
Homecoming opens in 2012, during the post-Avengers invasion clean-up operation. Then, a title-card handily tells us it’s “eight years later”. Which means the events of Homecoming take place in 2020, which, just like Doctor Strange, completely messes with the timeline.
The MCU has already operated under the general assumption that its films are set in the present day, so shifting things into the future and stretching out the timeline could cause some serious issues with the plotting and setting of the movies.
11. Black Panther’s political rethink
In Civil War, Wakanda is fully onboard with the Sokovia accords. As King T’Chaka says shortly before he’s blown up: “Our people’s blood is spilled on foreign soil, not only because of the actions of criminals, but the indifference of those who pledged to stop them. Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all.”
Which makes it a bit confusing when, in Black Panther, T’Challa embarks on a massive fight in a casino, which spills out into an explosive car chase that almost certainly involved innocent casualties. Doesn’t really line up with the various clauses of the Sokovia accords.
Also, Black Panther’s decision to kill the Winter Soldier in Civil War aligns him more closely with Killmonger than the version of T’Challa we see in his solo movie.
Still, Black Panther‘s a great film – one that would have been a lot less thrilling if Ryan Coogler had been forced to stick to the rules established in Civil War.