The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its tightly connected storytelling and in-universe explanations for just about everything we see on-screen. However, across a franchise of over twenty movies and several television shows, there are bound to be a few head-scratching plot holes.
Today, we’re looking at a few of the biggest discrepancies between what the films tell us and what they show us. And, naturally, spoiler warnings for pretty much the entire MCU to follow after the break.
In Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark’s best friend, James Rhodes, is badly injured by Vision. His injury is so bad, in fact, that it paralyzes him from the waist down. While Tony builds Rhodey an exosuit for his legs to allow him to move about, this injury is extremely weird when we consider some of the technology available to Marvel’s superheroes.
For instance, in Black Panther, we see a man who takes a bullet to the spine taken to Wakanda for treatment. There, Shuri is able to use Wakandan tech to completely repair the injury. It’s hard to believe that T’Challa wouldn’t extend similar treatment to Rhodey to get him back to walking without the aid of his exosuit.
In Ant-Man, Hank Pym insists that the size-changing tech that makes his Pym Particles work doesn’t change the mass of the objects that are manipulated. However, the films are extremely inconsistent in how they show this. Sometimes, the characters carry around shrunk-down buildings and tanks, despite those structures weighing several tons and being impossible for a normal human to move.
Other times, Scott Lang in his small form will land on a bathroom tile and shatter it as though he still weighed what a normal man would weigh. Suffice it to say, Hank Pym is either lying about how his technology works or the films are uninterested in the boring work of “real” science.
In the Spider-Man films, Peter Parker has been Spider-Man since the year 2016 (well, kind of; we’ll get to this little timeline discrepancy). This is the same time that the Sokovia Accords were signed, which made it impossible for a superhero to keep operating outside the auspices of a government agency. And, as much as the Accords play into the plot of films like Black Widow, they’re not even mentioned in the Spider-Man movies.
This is in spite of Tony Stark giving Peter a full suit of lethal superhero armor and letting the kid loose on New York. Clearly, Thunderbolt Ross would find out about a masked superhero rampaging around New York, right?
8 Years Later
The biggest, ugliest, and most unfortunate plot hole to appear in the MCU is the straight-up incorrect “flash-forward” card at the start of Spider-Man: Homecoming. After the Battle of New York, which takes place in 2012, the film jumps ahead to “8 Years Later,” according to a title card. That’s just explicitly wrong. Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place in 2016, months after Captain America: Civil War, meaning that only 4 years had passed since the Battle of New York.
There is no in-universe explanation for this erroneous title card. What likely happened is that Sony, the studio that co-produced Homecoming, just had the MCU timeline all mixed up. While this little discrepancy isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, it’s extremely glaring because of the title card’s massive font and placement at the front of the movie, adding a lot of unnecessary confusion about the MCU’s timeline.
This all could have been avoided if the film’s editors had just used “Present Day” or “Now” as the title card.