The movie, for those who don't know, is about assembling a team of superheroes to combat an unprecedented menace. To spoil the first few minutes (and only that much) what happens is this:
A glowing cube called the tesseract which holds within it the potential for unlimited power is used by Loki to open a portal to Earth through which he passes. One of the first things Loki does is mind control one of only a handful of people on Earth to have experience with portals, and one of only two people experienced with portals who can actually understand them. This person and some other people he mind controlled become his servants and the race is on.
So, to recap, antagonist comes to Earth through a portal and kidnaps one of only two people on the planet to understand portals even a little. Given that information, what would you do if you were concerned with the fate of Earth.
You'd say, "Get me Jane Foster," is what you'd do. As the only non-brainwashed portal scientist in existence, as one of the few non-brainwashed people to have first hand experience with portals, as someone who is at this very moment studying portals she is the person you want.
She's got to be at the top of your list. There's no other place for her to be.
The movie is about assembling a team of superheroes so clearly superheroes, which Jane Foster is not, must be recruited. But that can only reasonably occur after Jane Foster has been recruited, or there has been an attempt to recruit Jane Foster, because at this point in time the only thing the people doing the recruiting know for sure is, "This has something to do with portals," and if it has something to do with portals your options are Erik Selvig and Jane Foster. Erik was just brainwashed into joining the other side. Jane is all you've got left and, so far as anyone in or watching the movie knows, Earth's only hope.
Basically, as soon as you learn the premise of the movie you know, "This looks like a job Jane Foster," (said in "This looks like a job for Superman," tones) and have a reasonable expectation that Jane Foster should play a prominent role in the movie because she is basically the only character with a compelling reason to be there. That's not quite true when one considers Thor who has oodles of compelling reasons, but until Thor arrives the audience didn't know he could make it to Earth. Even so, perhaps an exception should be made.
Jane Foster is the only person on Earth with a compelling reason to appear in the movie the Avengers given its premise.
Steve Rodgers (Captain America) has a loose connection to the events going on. Bruce Banner (the Incredible Hulk) has an even looser one that didn't exist until it was introduced by a line mentioned in passing by Erik early in the movie itself. Everyone else, not so much, none of them have a reason anywhere near as important as Jane does.
The Avengers is the story of portals. This calls for Jane Foster (and Erik Selvig if he hadn't been brainwashed.)
The Avengers is the story of Loki. This calls for Jane Foster, Erik Selvig (if he hadn't been brainwashed), and Jane Foster's sidekick (Darcy Lewis.)
The Avengers is the story of the brainwashing of Erik Selvig. This calls for Jane Foster.
And that, basically, covers it. The Avengers is not the story of mechanical battle armor (which would call for Tony Stark) it is not the story of something that has a metamorphosis between forms (which would call for Bruce Banner) it is not the story of secret WWII era technology that is very advanced even by today's standards because it goes outside the bounds of currently understood science resurfacing after being lost and subsequently falling into the wrong hands (which would call for Steve Rodgers) it is not a story of spies and intrigue (which would call for Natasha Romanoff (the Black Widow)) it is not the kind of story where a special agent with a unique weapon can get the job done (which would call for Clint Barton (Hawkeye)) it's not a story that actually calls for any of these people.
All that the plot of the Avengers calls for is Jane Foster. Jane Foster, her sidekick, Thor, and any of his sidekicks if you want to be totally inclusive, but Thor and sidekicks weren't on Earth and if you're getting Jane's sidekick you'd be getting her too.
So basically, everything about the movie screams out, "GET JANE FOSTER ON THE CASE!"
Yes, the all-caps was justified.
Once you have the premise, Loki comes to earth through a portal and brainwashes people including Erik Selvig, Jane Foster is the only earthbound individual with a reason to be called in, and that reason is super fucking strong.
So, where is that giant plot hole mentioned in the title? You know who isn't in the movie? Jane Foster. The only earthbound person in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe we can honestly say has a reason to be in the movie. The only earthbound person in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe we can honestly say ought to be in the movie. The only earthbound person in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe we can honestly say should be on SHEILD's list of people to recruit.
Where is Jane Foster? On an island.
In a short, easy to miss, scene it is explained to Thor that as soon as it was discovered the fate of
For her own safety, of course.
Thor appreciates this because he cares about Jane being safe. The people of Earth, if they were let in on this, probably wouldn't appreciate it because while they doubtless care that people stay safe as well, they'd probably be a little peeved that the person who, all available evidence says, was most likely to be able to save the planet was shoved out of the picture while they were left in harm's way.
In real life the reason for Jane not appearing is that Whedon didn't want any secondary characters from any of the other movies showing up. Erik, who was working on the glowy cube, and Loki, who was the antagonist, he was presumably stuck with. Robert John Downey, Jr. insisted that Pepper Potts be included and managed to convince Whedon, other than that secondary characters do not appear. Title characters do. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk. Hawkeye, the Black Widow, Coulson, Fury and such aren't really attached to any movies, they just sort of are. Floating out there in the space between single hero movies.
The trouble here is that real life doesn't change the plot. The plot is one that calls, first and foremost, for Jane Foster. Any realistic recruitment starts with her.
This is a believable way for things to go down:
"Get me Jane Foster!"
"On it, Sir!"
Musing to self, "Who else could be helpful? Steve Rodgers did have some contact with the cube more than 50 years ago, even if it was very limited. I suppose we could get him.
"Shortly before everything went kaplouee the cube started putting off very low levels of gamma radiation, but our people haven't been able to make any sense of the data, maybe we need a gamma radiation expert. So Bruce Banner."
"Who else? There must be more than three people who could be useful here. Well if Foster and Banner come up with something then there's a possibility we'll need to build something. We could use an inventor who works well under pressure and can make do with limited resources since we might not have time to have all the best stuff shipped in. So Tony Stark.
"Stark, Banner, and Rodgers in one room is a powder keg. We should have one of our agents involved so things can't get too out of hand. Romanoff has had experience with Stark."And then you've got the team as it's assembled in the movie, but it only makes sense because we start with the one person most called for and then, with her out of the way, can move on to assembling the B-team who will end up stealing the show for themselves.
This is not a believable way for things to go down:
Fury: A portal between worlds. Who ever heard of such a thing?Which is what appears to have happened in the movie. Except I forgot to sneak Jane being sent off to an out of the way island in there, and her name should probably be brought up as, "This is the person we really need," a lot more than I did in the above.
Coulson: Jane Foster.
Fury: With Selvig taken by the other side we don't have anyone who can approach this from a scientific side of things.
Coulson: Well actually Jane Foster has been working on this exact area, with our full support, since the last time one of these things happened.
Fury: Right, the last time, that was Loki too, wasn't it?
Fury: Who do we have who knows about Loki?
Coulson: Jane Foster.
Fury: Maybe science can help us with this.
Coulson: Well Jane Foster is-
Fury: I like stuff that goes boom. That's what science is for. We should get Tony Stark in on this.
Coulson: Ok, but I really think you should consider a scientist like Jane-
Fury: I like scientists who turn into unstoppable green monsters when they get angry. Get me Bruce Banner.
Coulson: I'll get agent Romanoff right on it, Sir, but I think you should consider bringing in someone with past experience with-
Fury: Past? Blast from the past. You're right! Captain America had contact with the cube, he's got just the past experience we we need.
Coulson: I do so like Captain America.
Fury: You get Stark, I'll get Rodgers.
Coulson: Do you think he'll sign my cards?
Assembling a team should have the answer to, "Who should we get?" be, "Jane Foster, Jane Foster, Jane Foster, Jane Foster..." until either she's recruited or it becomes repeated so often that it eventually becomes a part of the background noise of the universe to the point that, "I think therefore I am," is considered to be at best a second principle with, "Jane Foster should be called in to work on this," superseding it as an absolutely true and undeniable facet of reality.
Gravity is less self evident than the fact that Jane Foster should have been called.
And yet, she was sent to an island.
And that is the giant plot hole in the Avengers. The 800 ton Cthulhu in the room that threatens to drive you from this thing called sanity. They should have called Jane Foster They should have called Jane Foster They should have called Jane foster... Gurl fubhyq unir pnyyrq Wnar Sbfgre -- or is that Wnar Sbfgre fuhtine?
I can never quite remember 'cause I'm not in my right mind
Since I met you
No one corrupts the way you do.
You know it's true