Summary

  • The Avengers movies have several unwritten rules that appear to have cropped upon across the course of their MCU tenure.
  • A prime example of this is that new Avengers always get new uniforms.
  • Many rules revolve around practicalities of keeping a long-term franchise running, like needing to address certain topics or ignore any that sabotage aspects of the franchise.

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As the team is massively important to the MCU’s wider narrative, there are certain unwritten rules that The Avengers must follow within the franchise. Since the very beginning of the MCU’s movie timeline, the franchise was created with Marvel’s foremost team of heroes in mind. Iron Man’s post-credits scene teased the shared universe, which linked the movies of Phase 1 leading up the The Avengers in 2012, where the eponymous team first assembled. From then on, the Avengers have been a powerful and important force within the MCU’s wider narrative, serving as the franchise’s most significant group of heroes.

Interestingly, across the many Avengersmovies of the MCU and other solo movies, certain rules have been established about the way in which the franchise approaches the team. Though these rules have remained unwritten, the narrative patterns that have emerged across the various projects of the MCU make them all too evident upon examination. Some regard specific topics or ideas that must remain unacknowledged, while others are rules regarding the formation of the team or its handling of certain heroes. With all that in mind, here are 10 unwritten rules the MCU’s Avengers movies must follow.

10 Criminal Backstories Don’t Matter (Unless You’re Scarlet Witch)

Only One Avenger Is Ever Judged On Their Past

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang in Ant-Man

Though the members of the Avengers are considered Earth’s mightiest heroes, not all of them have the cleanest of backgrounds. Many MCU heroes have found themselves on the wrong side of the law, but somehow the franchise always manages to sweep any legal wrongdoing under the rug. While Ant-Man, Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Hawkeye, and Black Widow have all faced significant legal issues, the only Avenger to be shown facing major repercussions is Wanda Maximoff. Wanda served as the villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ cast, making her criminal backstory more important as a result.

9 Everyone Gets A New Uniform

Heroes Inducted Into The Avengers Always Get A New Look

Perhaps one of the more noticeable unwritten rules of Avengers movies is that new members of the team regularly receive new costumes. Most heroes are given a new look immediately after being inducted into the team – Spider-Man, Falcon, and Wanda Maximoff, to name just a few – but others have also been given revised outfits between movies. It seems that one of the main elements of being an Avenger is signing up for a rotating wardrobe of superhero costumes, as the team’s members are constantly being given updated aesthetics.

8 Unpowered Associates Must Play Key Roles

Non-Super Heroes Are Always Equally Important

Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) taking a final shot at Loki in The Avengers

Across the spectrum of movies and TV shows in the MCU, the franchise has introduced many Avengers or related personnel who do not possess any superpowers. Not all heroes are capable of taking to the skies, using magic, or punching through a brick wall, but one of the unwritten rules is that everyone must play a part. Those non-powered associates are always given important roles in Avengers stories, keeping the team as balanced as possible while also ensuring even the less supernaturally-gifted Avengers are given some time in the spotlight.

7 Only Certain Avengers Can Be Celebrities

Mark Ruffalo as Hulk posing for a photo with children in Avengers: Endgame

After many years of committing public acts of selfless heroism, it’s only logical that the Avengers would become celebrities. However, one of the unwritten rules of the Avengers in the MCU is that this status isn’t earned through membership alone, and that some members remain relatively unknown despite having helped saved the world. For example, while Iron Man, Hulk, and later Ant-Man are all shown enjoying some modicum of public renown, heroes such as Spider-Man, Hawkeye, and Falcon are all overlooked by the world at large. It’s usually played for laughs, but it seems to be another clear rule.

6 No Swearing

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Have To Watch Their Language

Chris Evans as Captain America looking disappointed in Avengers: Age of Ultron

The MCU has been praised for continuing to push the bracket with regard to superhero cinema, but there are specific ways in which the Avengers simply do not act. A perfect example is in the language used by the heroes, as the members of the team tend to keep any swearing in check. This is briefly joked about in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it’s remained something of a rule ever since, with the Avengers keeping their words as family-friendly as possible despite the occasional F-bomb being dropped elsewhere in the MCU.

5 No Secret Identities (Mostly)

Most Avengers Don’t Need Anonymity

Although secret identities are relatively common in the comics, they’re all but non-existent among the Avengers in the MCU. In fact, most of the MCU’s Avengers have made their identities public, with some alter-egos from the comics never actually existing within the franchise. Even the heroes who attempt to maintain secret identities tend to fail, with their family, friends, and fellow heroes all knowing their secret. It’s become something of an unwritten rule that the heroes of the MCU don’t rely on secret identities, particularly when it comes to being inducted into the ranks of the Avengers.

4 Tony Stark Funds Basically Everything

Stark’s Wealth Is The Foundation Of The Team

Tony Stark speaks into a small voice recorder in Iron Man 3

One of the harsh realities of Iron Man’s MCU story is that Tony Stark seems to foot the bill for all of the franchise’s Avengers. At every turn, Stark funds practically everything the Avengers do, including the Avengers Tower, their upstate facility, most heroes’ costumes and technology, and even many of the crews who clean up after the heroes’ battles. After Stark’s death in Endgame, it may be that the Avengers will need a new benefactor in future movies, who will inherit his role as the team’s personal bank account.

3 There Can Be Only One Leader

Only One Avenger Can Take Center Stage

With so many larger than life heroes existing within one shared space in the MCU, balance can be an issue. However, the Avengers movies deal with it using a clever and simple unwritten rule: the team can only have one leader at a time. The way the characters have been written in the past meant that Iron Man organically assumed leadership of the team in most senses, while Captain America was used to set a moral example for the Avengers. In any given situation, it appears that the MCU’s Avengers only ever have one leader to look to.

2 The Government Always Call The Shots

The Avengers Are Never As Independent As They Think

William Hurt as General ThaddeusThunderbolt Ross in Captain America: Civil War in the MCU

A slightly more unpleasant rule for the heroes of the Avengers, it also appears that the MCU is filled with stories in which the government rules the roost, regardless of different heroes’ actions and opinions. Even in Civil War where several heroes refuse government oversight, they’re shown that the law is sacrosanct, and that breaking it will result in imprisonment. In other words, no matter how powerful the Avengers may be, they’ll never be considered above the law, and will always answer to the governments of Earth for their actions.

1 No Collateral Damage Goes Unpunished

Heroes Are Always Held To Account

Chris Evans' Captain America looking concerned after the battle in Laos in Captain America: Civil War

Being a hero sometimes means making tough choices fast in desperate situations, and things don’t always go exactly to plan. Every now and then, the Avengers find themselves in a battle with civilians caught in the crossfire, and even though the heroes attempt to minimize casualties, there is occasionally collateral damage. One of the MCU’s biggest unwritten rules is that the Avengers are always made to pay for any collateral damage or civilian deaths, even when they did everything possible to prevent it, meaning it seems that being one of TheAvengers in the MCU is sometimes a very thankless task.

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