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The Worst Decision Made By Every Avenger

The Marvel Cinematic Universe managed to do what years of "Batman" and "Superman" movies couldn't: it established not just one or two superhero movie franchises, but an entire library's worth of content about characters ranging from super soldiers and sorcerers to straight-up gods who live side-by-side and save the world from innumerable threats. 

A big reason for the success of the MCU is that, much like in Marvel Comics, the "mythical" aspect of the superheroes is played down. Instead, the characters are shown dealing with and behaving like regular humans most of the time, as we see with Thor's preoccupation with his troubled family life or Tony Stark's struggles with PTSD and alcoholism. Continuing with this narrative of "godlike beings that feel human," the superheroes of the MCU are far from perfect. 

They mess up from time to time. And because they're superheroes, their mistakes tend to have pretty far-reaching consequences. Here are 14 of the worst decisions that the main characters have taken so far within the MCU, with a special focus on the members of the Avengers superhero team. Note that we won't be talking about people like Star-Lord or Ikaris since despite being in the MCU and making major mistakes, they are not part of the Avengers.     

Iron Man lets Peter Parker control a bunch of killer drones

Most people have come into contact with a "fun" uncle in their youths. He's the guy who will let you stay up late at night and eat junk food for dinner, giving you a sip of beer or letting you drive a car for a bit even though you're underage. In the MCU, Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is that fun uncle for Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland). 

Many eyebrows were raised within the superhero community when Tony decided to bring Peter along to fight Captain America and his allies in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." But throwing a high-schooler into the middle of a pitched battle against a literal witch and two super soldiers wasn't the most irresponsible thing Tony did for Peter. 

In 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home," it is revealed that before his death, Tony had bequeathed an army of killer drones to Peter. You could blame everything that happens next on Peter, like when he almost blows up his school bus using the drones, or unwittingly gives control of them to the supervillain Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). But the truth is, there was no earthly justification for Tony to give such dangerous technology to a teenager.   

Captain America hid the truth about the death of Tony's parents

The popular theory is that Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) was always worthy of Thor's hammer, but he never picked it up just to spare Thor's feelings. But some fans argue that Steve wasn't truly worthy for a period when he was deliberately withholding the truth about the death of Howard Stark and his wife from their son Tony.

It is revealed at the end of "Captain America: Civil War" that Steve knew Bucky had killed Tony's parents for quite some time, but choose to keep that knowledge to himself. When Tony finally finds out the truth, he's understandably furious. The resulting brawl between Tony and Steve not only nearly gets them killed, but also irrevocably fractures the unity of the Avengers. 

Years later, the wound had still not healed. Even though Tony and Steve eventually joined forces to stop Thanos, it was clear that things could never be the same between them again. So much pain could have been avoided if Steve had decided to trust Tony with the truth about Bucky's hand in the murder of his parents. As it is, despite Steve trying to suppress the information, the truth came out eventually, and in the worst possible manner.   

Thor should have gone for the head

By now, the fact that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) didn't go for Thanos' (Josh Brolin) head while trying to stop him at the end of 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War" has become a legendary meme. But despite the countless jokes made about the moment by the audience, it's clear the fact that he did not put Thanos down quicker, preventing the decimation of half the universe's population, had a deep and debilitating effect on Thor's mind. 

In the sequel, "Avengers: Endgame," we see that Thor has gone completely to pieces obsessing over his mistake. He's unable to get over his regret at not being able to stop Thanos. When the Avengers track Thanos down on a distant planet, Thor tries to make up for his past slip-up by slicing off Thanos' head right in front of his shocked teammates.

Yet even that attempt at redemption isn't enough to save Thor, and he spirals even further. Over the next five years, the God of Thunder becomes a shut-in, ignores his duties as a hero and king, gains a bunch of weight, and tries to avoid the real world by taking refuge in video games. Even though Thor is shown to be thousands of years old, this was the one mistake of his very long-lived life that he could not shrug off.

Hulk tried to escape his problems by leaving Earth

Few figures in the MCU are as tragic as Bruce Banner aka The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). The distinguished scientist had a lifetime of research and accolades to look forward to until he was hit by ill-fated gamma beams which caused his transformation into a green, rampaging behemoth. 

Over the next few years, every time Bruce felt he was gaining the upper hand over his destructive alter-ego, another "Hulk" incident would occur that left the world devastated and Bruce traumatized. Finally, at the end of 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Bruce had enough. He left Earth for distant spaces unknown, hoping he could finally find peace in some other corner of the universe.

But as 2017's "Thor: Ragnarok" showed, that hope was in vain. Bruce spent the next few years permanently transformed into the Hulk and causing yet more death and destruction as the Grandmaster's (Jeff Goldblum) chief gladiator. The "Bruce Banner" persona was in danger of being entirely forgotten if Thor had not stepped in to remind Hulk of his Earthly past. If Bruce had remained on Earth, there was a chance he could have arrived earlier at the solution to his condition that was revealed in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame," when Bruce fused with Hulk to become a stable combination of both.  

Black Widow ignored the existence of Yelena

Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow's (Scarlett Johansson) entire arc through the MCU was as a lost soul searching for the family she never had. The reason Natasha treasured her place in the Avengers and was willing to sacrifice her life for her teammate Hawkeye was because she saw the group as her foster family.

But as we see in 2021's "Black Widow," Natasha already had an entire family that she had forced herself to forget about. After being abducted and put into service by a covert Russian spy program, a young Natasha was made part of a fake American family that included a mother and a father, and her little sister Yelena (Florence Pugh). 

Although Natasha moved on once her fake family was disbanded, it transpired that Yelena never forgot about Nat being her big sister. Even though Yelena was brainwashed and turned into a merciless killer, Natasha was the one she turned to once she broke free of her programming. If only Nat had sought Yelena out years ago, she could've held on to a part of the "family life" she always wanted.

Hawkeye thought he could simply retire

Of all the Avengers, no one is mocked more than Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Many question the point of having a dude that fires arrows alongside a literal Asgardian God, a super-soldier, and a rampaging green behemoth. You would think that the absence of Hawkeye would have little impact on the performance of the superhero team. 

And yet, every time Hawkeye thought of retiring, his presence was deeply felt by the Avengers. First, it was in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" that Clint was called back in from retirement to help Steve Rogers and his allies fight against Iron Man's team. Then Hawkeye took another stab at retiring, and the next thing he knew, Thanos had wiped out half of all life in the universe, including Clint's family.

So Clint had to learn the hard truth again and again that there is no "retirement" from your duties as a superhero. Every time he decided to retire, things ended badly for the Avengers and humanity in general. Despite being the butt of so many jokes, Hawkeye must resign himself to forever keeping his bow and arrow on standby on the off-chance that he would be required to save the world once again. Like in his new Disney+ show.  

War Machine gave Iron Man tech to the wrong people

Colonel James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle) is the best wingman you could ever hope to have. He has been a loyal friend to Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) over the years, and never backed down from a fight, whether against street-level terrorists or the Mad Titan Thanos himself. 

Unfortunately, this willingness to get into a fight also means that Rhodey has clashed with Tony on more than one occasion. The worst of such exchanges occurred in 2010's "Iron Man 2," when the two friends got into a physical fight using Iron Man armor. Deciding that Tony wasn't responsible enough to handle the tech, Rhodey took a copy of the armor to the military and handed it over to the film's villain Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell).

This was in complete defiance of Tony's wishes, and the result was as bad as Tony had feared. Instead of the Iron Man armor being one of a kind, Hammer immediately started mass-producing even more dangerous versions of the armor. Some of the new armor variants fell into the hands of another villain Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash (Mickey Rourke), who nearly succeeded in mowing down crowds of innocent civilians with them.

Vision's miscalculation cost Rhodey his legs

The android Vision (Paul Bettany) has always been the odd one out in a franchise filled with gods and aliens and sorcerers. Vision is the brainchild of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, and contains the most sophisticated AI brain on the planet. So sophisticated that Vision is even capable of feeling intense love. And intense rage. 

A glimpse of that rage is seen in the airport battle scene in "Captain America: Civil War." It had already been established that Vision had started to develop romantic feelings towards Wanda. When Vision sees War Machine hurting Wanda during the battle, it seems to have turned the android against Rhodey. Vision is asked to shoot an energy beam at The Falcon. But the beam misses Falcon (on purpose?) and hits War Machine instead. 

As a result, War Machine plummets in a free fall towards Earth and very nearly dies. Although he eventually recovers, the incident takes its toll on Rhodey and he loses the use of his legs. Thanks to the actions of Vision, Rhodey is permanently incapacitated, requiring leg braces in order to walk.  

The Winter Soldier did not turn himself in

The events of "Captain America: Civil War" all revolve around Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Bucky spent decades working as a brainwashed assassin for Hydra. When Steve finally manages to break through his conditioning, Bucky escapes from his nightmarish reality and tries to live off the grid despite being a wanted man.

Bucky's efforts to keep away are useful to Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl), who makes it seem as though Bucky had killed the King of Wakanda. That leads to the main plot of the film where Iron Man, his team, and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) are all in conflict with Bucky. Meanwhile, Steve Rogers goes against all his friends and even the government in his efforts to help Bucky and clear his name. But what if Bucky had turned himself in immediately instead of trying to run away from the law?

Once Bucky stops running, his name gets cleared thanks to Cap's efforts, and he is allowed to live a life of peace in Wakanda. Even better, in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," we see that the US government understands that Bucky had been brainwashed into becoming an assassin by Hydra. Instead of punishing Bucky, the government actually helped him make amends to relatives of his past victims, and start a new career as a government operative.  

Black Panther vowed not to interfere in the outside world

The nation of Wakanda as shown in 2018's "Black Panther" is one of the most advanced civilizations in the MCU, capable of producing medicine and technology unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Yet, very little is known about Wakanda by the outside world, and the rulers of the nation have long held to a policy of having nothing to do with other countries.

When T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) became the new King of Wakanda, he was fully committed to sticking to this age-old policy. When Erik Stevens aka Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) arrived at Wakanda, he told T'Challa about the many oppressed people all over the world who need Wakanda's guidance to rise up and break the chains of servitude. But T'Challa refused to consider it, citing Wakanda's policy of non-interference in matters of the outside world.  

The rest of the movie is about T'Challa realizing that keeping Wakanda apart from the rest of the world is the wrong thing to do. In the end, despite being his enemy, Killmonger succeeds in convincing T'Challa to open up Wakanda and offer its knowledge and resources to other countries. 

Wanda kept a whole town hostage

When we talk of mistakes made by MCU superheroes, Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) is a serial offender. She started off her career by blindly hating Tony Stark, and plotting to kill the Avengers and (inadvertently) the rest of humanity by aiding the machinations of the genocidal robot Ultron.

Even after becoming one of the good guys, Wanda blew up a building filled with innocent civilians in "Captain America: Civil War," which in turn led to the Sokovia Accords and the breaking up of the Avengers into warring factions. But all those past mistakes pale in comparison to what Wanda was up to in "WandaVision." Wracked with grief over losing Vision, Wanda created her own sitcom reality in which the entire town of Westview was held hostage and forced to playact as window dressing for Wanda and Vision's blissful married life in the suburbs. 

By the end of "WandaVision," Wanda allows the residents of Westview to regain their memories and former lives and leaves the town. But the emotional scars of Wanda's actions will not fade away from the people of Westview any time soon. We also saw at the end of the show that Wanda has begun to dabble in dangerous and forbidden magic. So brace yourself for even more future missteps by the Scarlet Witch that once again endanger the lives of those around her.     

Doctor Strange did not join the Avengers

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the Sorcerer Supreme of the MCU. That means he is in charge of battling all magic-related threats that Earth faces. While there are other sorcerers on the planet, Strange usually takes center stage when it comes to managing the magical problems directly. 

The good doctor has a tendency to deal with trouble once it arrives. That is what happens in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War." After Bruce Banner reveals that Thanos' forces are on their way to Earth to capture the Time Stone, Strange reaches out to Tony Stark and the other Avengers to get their help in keeping the stone safe. Since Tony and the other heroes are caught unawares, they fail to retain the stone, and Thanos is able to complete his infinity gauntlet.

Now imagine how differently things could have gone if Strange had the foresight to get in touch with the Avengers before the threat of Thanos arose. If Strange had taken the time years ago to sit with Tony and his teammates to explain his new role as the Sorcerer Supreme, and the importance of the Time Stone that he is charged with protecting, the Avengers could have had a plan in place to more effectively deal with any threats to the stone. As it is, Strange's penchant for secrecy and lone-wolfing it ended up costing the universe half of all life.     

Sam Wilson gave up the shield

At the end of "Avengers: Infinity War," Steve Rogers passed on his Captain America shield to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). The implication was clear, that Steve wanted Sam to become the new Captain America, a decision that had the full support of Bucky as well. 

Unfortunately, we see in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" that Sam has handed the shield off to the US government, and has no intention of becoming Captain America. As the show progressed, audiences got to see the many valid and painful reasons why Sam felt the country was not ready for a Black Captain America. Meanwhile, the shield was given to John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as the new Captain America, who quickly proved that he is not pure-hearted enough to be worthy of the title.

In the end, Sam puts his doubts aside and assumes the mantle of Captain America. But by then, it is too late to save Walker, who has become warped by his time as Captain America and gone from being an anti-hero to a full-blown villain. As understandable as Sam's inner conflict over taking up the shield was, his hesitation did end up raising quite a few problems for himself, Walker, and also Bucky.  

Spider-Man tore up the multiverse

After being outed as Spider-Man by Mysterio at the end of "Spider-Man: Far From Home," Peter opens "Spider-Man: No Way Home" by reaching out to Doctor Strange in an effort to make the world magically forget about his secret identity. Strange agrees, and whips up an incantation to help Peter. Unfortunately, Peter won't stop panicking in the middle of the incantation, and that tears holes in the universe which in turn opens up their world to other corners of the multiverse. We have already caught glimpses of how the broken state of the multiverse will unleash fresh horrors on the MCU.

Like the arrival of Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Sandman, Venom, and Green Goblin, for instance. Even if Peter does manage to fix the problem he created, the road to getting the multiverse back on track will not be an easy one.