The event known as the "Battle of New York" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a moment that changed everything. For those who live in the MCU, it was proof that humans weren't just alone in the galaxy, but at the bottom of the food chain. It was only thanks to the Avengers that Earth wasn't conquered by Loki.
But were the Avengers really Earth's mightiest heroes that day? A resurfaced deleted scene from Avengers: Endgame reveals that the Avengers maybe aren't that great at their jobs.
What Happened? — On Reddit's r/MarvelStudios, a deleted scene — titled "Tony Shaves Rocket" — from Avengers: Endgame returned to the top of the popular Marvel movie subreddit.
In the clip, Rocket recaps the Battle of New York (the climax of 2012's The Avengers) with the surviving, post-snap Avengers. "How long did you fight these guys?" Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) asks. When Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) tells him, "about two or three hours," Rocket is shocked.
"Hours?" a flabbergasted Rocket says. "The Chitauri are the suckiest army in the galaxy. Why didn't you just blow up the mothership?" When Captain America (Chris Evans) says they didn't know, Rocket howls. "You didn't know that was a thing?!"
Before Rocket could say "everyone knows," Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) shaves Rocket's head.
You can see the Reddit post in the embed below.
The scene is less than twenty seconds long, yet it encapsulates the magic of the MCU. While fans no doubt love the epic superhero action, it's when the Avengers chill over Chinese food that the real secret sauce of the franchise lies. When a talking space raccoon roasts a Russian super spy, a 90-year-old World War II veteran, and a billionaire tech genius, all beside a Norse god stuffing his face on chow mein, that's when you know your franchise is special.
The scene itself isn't new; it was previously included as a bonus feature on the home video release of Avengers: Endgame back in the summer of 2019, where Reddit raved about the scene multiple times before. (Also explains why the VFX of Rocket isn't complete.) But after a long absence, the MCU has finally returned through the trippy Disney+ series WandaVision, which is reigniting interest in some of the franchise's most eccentric moments.
But who Avengers the Avengers? — The popularity of the clip is time to bring up something about it that fans have shrugged off: What does the Avengers' inability to defeat the "suckiest army in the galaxy" say about them? As a matter of fact, not much. There's a reason Rocket shouldn't laugh at them.
First, there's a lot of slack to cut them. When the Avengers took on the Chitauri, it was literally the first time they'd ever assembled. And that was after hours of bickering and not getting along. Still one of the most interesting scenes in the entire MCU were the Avengers confronting Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) about "Phase Two," a secret plan for S.H.I.E.L.D. to weaponize alien tech. The scene inspired a few delicious minutes of in-fighting, especially between Steve and Tony — seeds planted for what would become 2016's Captain America: Civil War.
Simply put, the Avengers had never fought together before and improvised their battle on the fly. It's not wise to go into battle not knowing how the enemy thinks or how to defeat them. The Avengers had an impossible task, and the mere fact they succeeded is a miracle. On top of that, Captain America was freshly-thawed; to him, the biggest threat to humanity were Nazis. Now there's aliens. That's a hell of an adjustment, even for a super soldier.
The Inverse Analysis — There's a good chance you've seen this clip before. But isn't it nice to watch it again? It's been a bit too long since we've seen a new Marvel movie, which explains why even a bizarre show like WandaVision is being welcomed by fans: They're just happy to see these characters again.
Avengers: Endgame is streaming now on Disney+.