Since the release of Iron Man in 2008, Marvel Studios has been on a roll, creatively and commercially. And with the likes of Captain America, The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy raking in billions, it seems like the studio can do no wrong.
However, that’s not to say Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is entirely faultless. And upon closer inspection, each film features a surprising number of errors that have made it into the final cut. From conspicuous crew members to dodgy research, these embarrassing blunders are enough to put the studio to shame.
20. Crew members reflected in glass – Iron Man
With its very first cinematic outing, Iron Man, Marvel proved that it could make superhero movies beyond compare. However, while the 2008 film was undeniably great, it was also rife with gaffes. Most notably, the film crew can be seen reflected in picture frames in the movie’s post-credits scene.
19. Union Flag hanging upside down – Captain America
As a patriotic representative of the United States, Captain America should show an awareness for other nations’ customs and cultures. However, his first outing in 2011 made a grave misstep in international relations by featuring a shot of the U.K.’s Union Jack hanging upside down. And we thought he’d be an expert on flags.
18. German cops in Romania – Captain America: Civil War
While misrepresenting flags is bad enough, the Captain America films have made other glaring mistakes in depicting national identities on screen. For example, the Bucharest cops who chase Cap and Bucky in Civil War have the German word “Polizei” written on their vests instead of the Romanian word “Politia.”
17. German police cars have the wrong lights – The Avengers
Based on the previous example, Marvel seemingly has a hard time correctly identifying the German police force. Besides mistaking the Politia for the Polizei, 2012’s Avengers sees Loki attacking cop cars in Stuttgart that feature amber lights. In reality, German police vehicles use blue lights.
16. Star-Lord’s impossibly awesome mix tape – Guardians of the Galaxy
One of Guardians of the Galaxy’s most memorable features was its retro soundtrack, which came courtesy of Star-Lord’s “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” on cassette tape. Nevertheless, the prop tape used in the 2014 film illustrates a lack of research on Marvel’s part. Though given to Star-Lord in 1988, this particular brand of cassette was actually introduced in 1993.
15. Spelling error on the front cover of Forbes – Iron Man
Spelling is an important point for any publishing business. So Marvel should have known that a magazine like Forbes – which features a fictional mock cover in the original Iron Man – would have written “Tony Stark takes reins” and not “reigns.” Whoops!
14. Spelling error on a S.H.I.E.L.D. monitor – Thor
Clearly, spelling isn’t Marvel’s forte, and three years after Iron Man the company made a similar blunder in Thor. During S.H.I.E.L.D.’s reconnaissance of the title character’s hammer, the word “perimeter” is spelled as “perimiter” on a video screen. Come on, guys, spell check only takes a second.
13. Anachronistic APCs – Captain America: The First Avenger
When making a movie set in the past, filmmakers have to ensure that the period details are all present and correct. But for all their good work on the World War II-set Captain America, the producers overlooked some important details regarding military equipment. Specifically, Hydra operatives can be seen using FV432 APCs, a vehicle that first entered service some 20 years after the conflict’s end.
12. Over-armed F-35B – The Avengers
In addition to messing up bygone military vehicles, Marvel also has a habit of getting current hardware wrong. After the Hulk goes on a rampage onn board the Helicarrier in The Avengers, an F-35B fighter opens fire with two cannons. However, the real-life jet has just one gun, which is mounted underneath the aircraft.
11. Incorrect longitude – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
During the course of 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, GPS co-ordinates appear on screen whenever the film introduces a new location. But although they may look cool, these co-ordinates are often wildly inaccurate. For example, this set-up of the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters lists the building’s longitude – which refers to co-ordinates on an east/west axis – as being in a southerly direction.
10. Incorrect co-ordinates – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Likewise, this follow-up caption from The Winter Soldier lists both longitude and latitude as north. However, upon further inspection the shot features another hidden error. While pertaining to an area in the Indian Ocean, the co-ordinates actually point to a location in the Arabian Sea.
9. Bullet hole in an Air Force One window – Iron Man 3
Being the personal transport of the leader of the free world, the planes that act as Air Force One naturally come equipped with heavy protection. Bulletproof windows are just one such defensive feature. However, the producers of 2013’s Iron Man 3 ignored this real-life detail. Indeed, during a shootout on the president’s plane, a stray round actually pierces what should be impervious glass.
8. The Triskelion is missing from the D.C. skyline – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Towards the finale of 2014’s Winter Soldier, the Triskelion – a.k.a. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Washington headquarters – meets an explosive end. But eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed the building missing from the D.C. skyline earlier in the film. Specifically, when Steve Rogers goes on his morning run in the film’s opening, the structure is noticeably absent from view.
7. Driver disappears from a crashed car – The Avengers
Safety is paramount when conducting breathtaking stunts, yet sometimes this comes to the detriment of a film’s credibility. To illustrate, The Avengers’ opening scene features a gripping car chase that culminates in a vehicle being flipped. However, the effect is ultimately ruined, as a subsequent shot shows the overturned vehicle to be completely empty.
6. Steve Rogers’ wind-resistant hair – The Avengers
Of course, saving the planet is important, but looking good takes top priority among the Avengers’ ranks. Certainly, Steve Rogers puts so much care into his hairstyle that his locks remain unruffled by the wind as he rides his motorcycle at the end of the team’s first cinematic outing. Obviously, S.H.I.E.L.D. has invested in some strong hair gel.
5. Reflected light screen – Iron Man 2
By all means, film crews do a great job of ensuring that their work stays hidden behind the camera. However, there are instances when keeping a low profile isn’t possible. For instance, this scene from 2010’s Iron Man 2 is flawless except for the enormous light screen reflected in Black Widow’s car window.
4. Stunt double switcheroo – The Avengers
While Scarlett Johansson played Black Widow to a tee, most of her tougher action scenes fell on stunt double Heidi Moneymaker. And although they generally blend seamlessly into one in Marvel’s set pieces, there is a noticeable switch between the two near the beginning of The Avengers. Just look out for Black Widow’s bulkier biceps during the character’s first scene.
3. No strings attached – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Steve Rogers may be a genetically enhanced super soldier but actor Chris Evans is alas only a man. And like any fragile film star, Evans requires a little extra safety when performing his fight scenes. Indeed, when Captain America fights the Avengers: Age of Ultron’s titular villain on the back of a speeding truck, a safety cable can be seen holding the actor securely in place.
2. Bucky’s conflicting date of birth – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
One of the MCU’s most enigmatic figures, Bucky Barnes seemingly died in World War II before being resurrected as the Winter Soldier. So mysterious is this character that even Marvel gets confused about his origins. Indeed, Barnes’ Smithsonian tribute in The Winter Soldier actually lists his date of birth as being in both 1916 and 1917.
1. Tony Stark’s Arc Reactor stops glowing – The Avengers
Over the course of Marvel’s movies, Tony Stark – a.k.a. Iron Man – is notable for having a glowing Arc Reactor fixed in his chest. However, eagle-eyed viewers will note that the life-saving orb sometimes shifts around or turns off entirely. Most notably, the Reactor’s light is completely absent during Stark’s confrontation with Loki near the conclusion of The Avengers. We can only imagine that Stark is wearing an extra thick T-shirt… or is having an Arc attack.