The Avengers Were All Brought Together For Their Defiance

Defiance is a common trait shared by every member of the original Avengers. It’s been over a decade since the superhero team first formed during the events of Marvel Studios’ first crossover film, The Avengers, with the six original members coming together to stop Loki and his army from taking over the world. Even though the team were chosen because of their remarkable abilities, there’s one clear personality trait that each of them share that made them the perfect choices for the Avengers.


It’s difficult to remember a time before the Avengers since the team have been such an MCU staple since their first battle together, going through many changes with new members being added and old ones either retiring or unfortunately passing away. However, Phase 1 of the MCU proved that six misfit heroes could work together when needed, with the original team comprising Steve Rogers as Captain America, Tony Stark as Iron Man, Thor Odinson, Natasha Romanoff as Black Widow, Clint Barton as Hawkeye, and Bruce Banner as the Hulk. Having been built up over four years of Marvel Studios’ films before being brought together, viewers had a deep insight into the personality of each Avenger, and one trait seemed to stick out more than most.

While they might have been distinguished by their incredible metal suit, super-strength, or the power of the Gods, the original Avengers were all united by their shared trait as professional rule-breakers. Their defiance not only made them slightly annoying for the people in charge, namely Samuel L. Jackson’s steadfast Nick Fury, but also made them better heroes, since they often ignored orders or instructions and instead followed their hearts and did what was right. At some point in each of their careers, every member of the original Avengers team has broken the rules, here’s how.

Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America

A soldier’s duty is often seen as being to follow orders no matter what, but it’s the breaking of the rules that makes Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers the greatest soldier of the MCU. Before he was even selected by Dr. Abraham Erskine to be gifted the super-soldier serum and become Captain America, Rogers was shown in Captain America: The First Avenger to be lying several times on his enlistment card to try and blag his way into the army during WWII. Ultimately, it was this resilience and desire to help others that convinced Erskine that Rogers would be the perfect Captain America. Not too long after, Rogers exited his USO tour and went against direct orders by infiltrating the HYDRA base and saving Bucky and the other prisoners of war.

On the night before Rogers’ treatment during Project Rebirth, Erskine urged him to not forget who he was, stating that he was “not a perfect soldier, but a good man.” Perhaps it’s these words that ring in Steve Rogers’ head every time he goes against orders and instead follows his heart, something he has continued to do even after being thawed out in the modern day. Whether it be renouncing the world’s ratification of the Sokovia Accords and going up against Team Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War, or breaking the laws of space-time by creating a new timeline with a happy ending at the close of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers was notoriously defiant in doing what he thinks is right.

Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron ManTony Stark MCU Avengers Defiance

If there’s one Avenger who has broken the rules more than any other, it’s the self-proclaimed genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, Tony Stark, played perfectly by Robert Downey, Jr. Stark’s massive personality and equally sized ego go hand-in-hand with a defiant personality, demonstrated throughout his career in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Aside from going against the wishes of Stark Industries’ board of directors and becoming a vigilante hero in Iron Man, Stark has displayed a conscious willingness to break the rules, carrying on into breaking his house arrest in Iron Man 2, infiltrating SHIELD’s secret files in The Avengers, the creation of Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and ignoring the orders of General Ross in Captain America: Civil War, among many others.

Stark’s defiance of the rules makes him the perfect fit for the Avengers team, even though that very personality originally got him demoted from candidate to consultant. However, this trait in Stark has often led to not only clashes with higher authorities but also in-fighting among the other members of the Avengers which has sometimes acted to the detriment of the team, most notably during the events of Age of Ultron and Civil War which resulted in the collapse of Stark and Rogers’ relationship. So even though viewers couldn’t imagine Tony Stark being brought to life in the MCU in any other way, the character’s strong personality hasn’t always been the most helpful thing for the team.

Thor OdinsonThor Odinson Avengers MCU Defiance

Raised on Asgard under the guidance of his father, Odin, Thor had spent his entire life with the vision of becoming King of Asgard, a burden that inflated his ego and enforced his arrogance, making him feel as though the rules simply don’t apply. The events of Thor perfectly demonstrate Thor’s tendency to break the rules, as he defies his father’s orders at the start of the film, traveling to Jotunheim and attacking the Frost Giants after being told not to seek war. It was this act, however, that forced Odin to banish Thor to Earth, allowing his son to learn important values that informed his time as an Avenger.

That’s not to say that Thor stopped breaking the rules after his debut film in the MCU, such as bringing Jane Foster to Asgard during Thor: The Dark World and leaving Sakaar against the Grandmaster’s (and the Hulk’s) wishes during Thor: Ragnarok. Despite this, Thor’s status as a God in the MCU tends to mean that there aren’t many rules that he needs to play by, with people often looking at him to set the standard. Thor’s defiance throughout his MCU career is more connected to his confidence and, since Taika Waititi’s breakthrough with Thor: Ragnarok, his loveable and comedic personality.

Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black WidowNatasha Romanoff MCU Avengers Defiance

Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff broke the rules of her entire country and the Red Room organization when she first defected to SHIELD. Romanoff’s backstory with SHIELD had been touched upon throughout early films in the MCU, especially with the long-running mentions of Romanoff and Barton’s adventures in Budapest which was investigated even further during Black Widow. During her first solo film in the MCU, Romanoff explained in detail her defiance of her former masters in the KGB, particularly Dreykov, the head of the Red Room where she had been trained as a Black Widow assassin.

For the most part, Natasha Romanoff has been shown to follow orders from the higher-ups at SHIELD, especially those of Nick Fury, who assigns her to Stark Industries in Iron Man 2, lets her get captured by Russian criminals in The Avengers, and sends her on a secret mission in the opening moments of Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Despite this, her defiant personality that allowed her to defect from the USSR still pops up now and then, particularly during the events of Captain America: Civil War, where Romanoff turns on Team Iron Man and the government’s orders by letting Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes escape. Romanoff’s self-assuredness means she fits in perfectly with the rest of the Avengers, even though she might not always follow the rules to the letter.

Clint Barton, a.k.a. HawkeyeClint Barton MCU Avengers Defiance

Portrayed since 2010’s Thor by Jeremy Renner, Clint Barton became a member of the original Avengers team after being released from Loki’s mind control. While he has mostly been shown to be a loyal SHIELD agent, there have been occasions where Barton has listened to his heart and acting on faith rather than on orders. This is most notable when viewers are told about Barton being sent on a mission to kill Natasha Romanoff, but instead choosing to recruit the highly skilled spy. Even though this defied direct orders from the authorities at SHIELD, this decision by Barton turned out to be the right choice for both the future of SHIELD and the Avengers.

Although his intentions were never explained, Barton found himself on Team Cap during the events of Civil War, fighting against Team Iron Man in retaliation of the Sokovia Accords. Barton also uses his skills and resilience during the Blip to eliminate the rising forces of the criminal underworld, becoming Ronin. Even though Barton has had his defiant moments in the MCU, he’s mostly been shown to be loyal and a true family man, driven to extremes after his family are taken from him, but willing to do anything and sacrifice everything to bring them back. This strength is something that makes Barton such a valuable member of the Avengers.

Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk

It could be argued that every time Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk and goes on rampages, he’s breaking all the rules that come with being an Avenger, which would make him the most defiant member of the team. However, before the Hulk became Smart Hulk, whenever he changed, he had no control over his actions, but the human Banner himself has also displayed some defiant personality traits throughout the MCU. This is most evident back when Mark Ruffalo looked like Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk,which details Banner on the run from the US military, General Ross, and Emil Blonsky as the Abomination, in particular.

Since The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner has been shown to be the least likely Avenger to break the rules, tending to just want to get on with his work and avoid the attention falling on him and the “big guy”. He does have a hand in creating Ultron alongside Stark, but wants to shut it down as soon as he realizes the A.I. could become a problem. Banner’s defiance shows itself in his protective nature over those who he loves, including the other members of the Avengers team (particularly Romanoff and Stark) as well as the other members of his family, as he is shown to want to guide his cousin, Jennifer Walters, through the challenges of her new life after she becomes She-Hulk in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. While he is perhaps the least rebellious of the Avengers, his life as a fugitive proves that he does have the ability to break the rules.

The original Avengers team are unfortunately probably gone forever, with Stark and Romanoff tragically dying and Rogers going back to share a life with Peggy in a new timeline in Avengers: Endgame, a film that seemed to be the ending of the team for good before the 2022 San Diego Comic Con reveals of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Even so, it’s unlikely that the full original team will come back into play in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, their defiant legacies live on in the slew of new characters that have been introduced since The Avengers, each of whom share in the rule-breaking nature of the original six members, which seems to be the best and most consistent criteria to become an Avenger.

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