[[quoteright:350:[[Film/TheAvengers http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Avengers_Circle_7902.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[Music/{{Soundgarden}} We're insane, but not alone.]]]]

->''"You think you're the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet."''
-->-- '''ComicBook/NickFury''', in {{the stinger}} to ''Film/IronMan''

The '''Marvel Cinematic Universe''' is a [[ContinuityOverlap combined setting]] produced by [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel Entertainment]]. It was distributed by Creator/{{Paramount}} and Creator/{{Universal}} from 2008-2011, followed by Creator/{{Disney}} from 2012 on. Starting with ''Film/IronMan'' in 2008, the setting has grown to include numerous film adaptations of Marvel's many comic book properties.[[note]]exceptions include the ''Film/SpiderMan'', ''Film/FantasticFour'', and ''Film/{{X-Men}}'' film franchises, due to being owned by separate studios.[[/note]] The setting also features secondary Marvel properties, such as the spy organization ComicBook/{{SHIELD}}, as common elements that tie the different films together.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Films]]
'''Released films taking place in this setting''':
[[index]]
* ''Phase One: Avengers Assembled''
** ''[[Film/IronMan1 Iron Man]]'' (May 2, 2008)
** ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' (June 13, 2008)
** ''Film/IronMan2'' (May 7, 2010)
** ''Film/{{Thor}}'' (May 6, 2011)
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' (July 22, 2011)
** ''Film/TheAvengers'' (May 4, 2012)
* ''Phase Two''
** ''Film/IronMan3'' (May 3, 2013)
** ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' (November 8, 2013)
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' (April 4, 2014)
** ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' (August 1, 2014)

'''Films officially in-development''':
* ''Phase Two''
** ''Film/TheAvengersAgeOfUltron'' (May 1, 2015)
* ''Phase Three''
** ''Film/AntMan'' (July 31, 2015)
** Untitled ''Captain America'' sequel (May 6, 2016)
** ''Film/DoctorStrange'' (July 8, 2016)
** TBA (May 5, 2017)
** Untitled ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' sequel (July 28, 2017)
** TBA (November 3, 2017)
** TBA (May 4, 2018)
** TBA (July 6, 2018)
** TBA (November 2, 2018)
** TBA (May 3, 2019)
[[/index]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tie-ins]]
'''TV Series:'''
[[index]]
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''
* ''Series/AgentCarter''
[[/index]]
* {{Netflix}} Original series (in development):
** ''Marvel's Series/{{Daredevil}}''
** Untitled ''ImmortalIronFist'' series
** Untitled ''ComicBook/JessicaJones'' series
** Untitled ''LukeCage'' series
** Untitled ''[[ComicBook/TheDefenders Defenders]]'' miniseries

'''[[Film/MarvelOneShots Marvel One-Shot]] Shorts:'''
[[index]]
%%Do not remove the second link to Marvel One Shots. This is so the page actually indexes, since it has to be linked from a bullet point to do so.%%
* ''[[Film/MarvelOneShots The Consultant]]'' - included on ''Film/{{Thor}}'' Blu-ray
[[/index]]
* ''A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer'' - included on ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' Blu-ray
* ''Item 47'' - included on ''Film/TheAvengers'' Blu-ray
* ''Agent Carter'' - included on the ''Film/IronMan3'' Blu-ray
* ''All Hail the King'' - Included on the ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' Blu-ray

'''Comic book tie-ins:'''

[-Organized by the trade paperback they're collected in. For brevity's sake, we're skipping adaptations of the movies themselves, though they're included with the collections listed.-]
* ''Film/IronMan: Security Measures'' - Set during the first movie, Fury and Coulson have to figure out whether Tony's reliable or if the Ten Rings broke him and made him TheMole.
* ''Iron Man: Fast Friends'' - A digital comic that explores the friendship between Tony Stark and James "Rhodey" Rhodes. (Not collected yet, despite what the solicit for the ''I Am Iron Man!'' trade claims.)
* ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk: The Fury Files'' - A two-part comic which details Nick Fury's first meeting with Bruce Banner and the Hulk. (Not collected yet, despite what the solicit for the ''I Am Iron Man!'' trade claims.)
* ''Nick Fury: Spies Like Us'' (Not collected yet.)
* ''Road To Film/TheAvengers'' - A collection of ''Film/IronMan2'' tie-ins, plus the one for ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''.
** ''Iron Man 2: Public Identity'' - A miniseries revealing the consequences of Tony Stark's decision to reveal himself as Iron Man at the end of his first movie, and growing friction between him and the military.
** ''Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' - Three digital comics involving Fury, Coulson, and Black Widow as they relate to Iron Man, including how Black Widow established the cover she used in ''Iron Man 2''.
** ''Captain America: First Vengeance'' - A mid-quel of sorts for the ''Captain America'' movie, detailing some backstory for each of the main characters via flashbacks.
* ''Film/TheAvengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week'' - Chronicles the events of ''Iron Man 2'', ''The Incredible Hulk'', and ''Thor'' from SHIELD's perspective and the events leading up to ''The Avengers''.
* ''Film/TheAvengers: Black Widow Strikes'' - Set before the movie; while Black Widow tracks down Ten Rings operations, she faces someone who has modeled herself after the woman she used to be - and now wants the title of "Black Widow" for herself.
* ''Film/TheAvengers Initiative'' one-shot. As a thief tries to steal SHIELD's Avenger Initiative files, we see Fury's assessment of its prospective members. Collection also includes:
** ''Captain America and Thor: Avengers'' one-shot. In Cap's story, he and the Howling Commandos raid a HYDRA base only to find a monster inside. In Thor's; he, Loki, and their friends are trying to rescue Fandral the Dashing from the Dark Elves (though made non-canon by conflicting with ''Thor: The Dark World'').
* ''Film/IronMan3 Prelude'' - Set during the events of ''The Avengers'', the mini-series chronicles [[ComicBook/WarMachine War Machine]]'s clash with the Ten Rings organization and [[AllThereInTheManual explains why he was absent during the Chitauri invasion of New York]].
* ''Iron Man: Coming of the Melter'' - Another prequel to ''Iron Man 3'', the one-shot features Iron Man and War Machine facing down the MCU version of the Melter, a classic SilverAge villain. (Not collected yet.)
* ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld Prelude'' - Follows the ''Thor'' cast during the gap between the original movie and ''The Dark World''.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier Prelude'' - Originally a digital-exclusive; with the focus on Captain America, Black Widow, and Brock Rumlow as they try to stop a terrorist cell.
* ''Captain America: Homecoming'' - A prequel focusing on Captain America and Black Widow between the events of ''The Avengers'' and ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''. The story sees the two Avengers trying to protect a scientist from a group of mercenaries who are trying to kidnap her. (Not collected yet.)
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Prelude'' - The collection includes the ''Guardians'' Infinite Comic, and they together present a series of short stories set before the movie: one on Nebula's childhood as well as her relationships with {{Thanos}}, Gamora, and Korath; one about a heist pulled off by Rocket Raccoon and Groot; and the Infinite Comic covering when and how the Collector hires Gamora to get the Orb.
[[/folder]]

Virtually every Marvel property is being considered for this franchise in some capacity, with more scripts being written than could ever be used. It should also be noted that Creator/SamuelLJackson (who plays ComicBook/NickFury) has signed an ''unprecedented'' nine-movie deal with Marvel Studios [[note]] appearing in the first two ''Iron Man'' movies, ''Thor'', the two ''Captain America'' films and ''The Avengers''leaving three to go on his current contract. [[/note]] and the contracts of other lead actors stretch even further. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, [[http://www.newsarama.com/20754-kevin-feige-says-marvel-cinematic-universe-plans-expanded-out-to-2028.html claims]] that they have MCU films planned out until ''[[CrazyPrepared 2028]]''.

The [[GenreTurningPoint runaway success of this franchise]] has managed to convince other studios over the potential of SharedUniverse elements in film series; something that had long been seen as a niche, too convoluted to maintain, or [[ViewersAreMorons too complex for audiences]] to keep track of. {{FOX}} and {{Sony}} both soon [[FollowTheLeader began expressing interest]] in incorporating similar elements in some form with their respective ''Film/{{X-Men}}'' [[note]] originally with the ''Film/FantasticFour2015'' reboot, currently with a tentative {{Deadpool}} solo-film [[/note]] and ''[[Film/TheAmazingSpiderman The Amazing Spider-Man]]'' [[note]] with a solo SinisterSix film currently in planning stages[[/note]] film series, as well as [[DuelingMovies their competitor]], Creator/DCComics, [[AlternateCompanyEquivalent attempting their own]] [[Franchise/DCCinematicUniverse counterpart]] in similar lieu.

You can vote for your favorite film [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/BestEpisode/MarvelCinematicUniverse here]].
----
!!Tropes present across the various movies:

* ActionGirl: Gets to the point where it's more difficult to list the female characters who ''aren't'' this. A full list of examples can be found below.
** ComicBook/{{SHIELD}} agents Natasha Romanoff ([[RedBaron Black Widow]]), Maria Hill, [[Series/AgentCarter Peggy]] and Sharon Carter, [[Series/AgentsOfSHIELD Melinda May, and Bobbi Morse (Mockingbird)]]. [[Series/AgentsOfSHIELD Skye]] also gets in on the act from ''Agents'' Season 2.
** [[Film/{{Thor}} Lady Sif]]. In ''[[Film/ThorTheDarkWorld Dark World]]'', Queen Frigga also shows that she can be a LadyOfWar when she needs to.
** [[Film/IronMan3 Ellen Brant]] and other [[DarkActionGirl female Extremis soldiers]]. In the same film, [[spoiler:Pepper Potts]] takes a go at it after [[spoiler:getting injected with Extremis]], but after the fight she makes clear it's only temporary.
** [[Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Gamora and Nebula]].
* ActionizedSequel: ''The Avengers'' was designed to be one as the finale to Phase I from the beginning.
* AdaptationDistillation: Takes elements from both the classic [[Franchise/MarvelUniverse 616 universe]] and the [[UltimateMarvel Ultimate]] one. For example, Film/TheAvengers are formed by SHIELD like the [[TheUltimates Ultimate version]], to battle Loki like the [[ComicBook/TheAvengers 616 version]].
* AdaptationalHeroism: Iron Patriot for ''Iron Man 3'', who in the comics was ComicBook/NormanOsborn and in the film is Col. Rhodes (the comics have since changed to match the movie). Garthaan Saul in ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', who is a Nova Corps officer in the film and a supervillain in the comics.
* AdaptationalVillainy: A good few cases from Phase 2:
** Aldrich Killian was a humble scientist in the comics who killed himself out of guilt over selling Extremist to terrorists. [[spoiler: Here, he's the one behind the terrorists using Extremis, and he's stolen the Mandarin's mantle for his own purposes.]]
** Kurse was a manipulated AntiVillain who eventually repented and became the guardian of Asgurdian children in the comics. In the films, he's Malekith's loyal [[TheDragon dragon]], is responsible for leading the attack that [[spoiler: lead to Frigga's death and Odin's DespairEventHorizon]] and is willing to end all life in the universe.
** Thanks to the [[spoiler: revelation that SHIELD has been corrupted, many characters who were heroes are now members of HYDRA. This includes Alexander Pierce (who was one of Fury's comrades in the comics), Jasper Sitwell (a loyal and optimistic SHIELD agent), John Garrett (a colleague of Widow's), and the entirety of STRIKE (essentially the British SHIELD division)]].
* AdaptedOut: Mixed with PragmaticAdaptation, but thanks to the order the films were made, certain characters had to be left out. Notably, ComicBook/AntMan and TheWasp were omitted as founding members of the Avengers. Hardcore fans were upset. Most either didn't care, didn't know, or [[TheUnfavorite thought the film was better off for it]].
** The announcement of an Ant Man movie has fixed this, though not with out its controversy since Ant-Man is an incredible base breaker while Wasp, who is almost always a Fan Favorite, was announced as not only not being in the film, but [[spoiler: that she would dead and Hank Pym would be an old man training the new Ant Man.]]
* AgeLift: A number of characters have had their ages changed from the comics, usually for pragmatic reasons.
** Steve Rogers' year of birth in the comics is usually circa 1922, DependingOnTheWriter, making him about 20 years old at the start of WWII and 23 by the time he's frozen. The movies push it back to 1918, so that he's about 24 at the start of the film and 26 or 27 by the end.
** ComicBook/BuckyBarnes, a ComicBook/{{Robin}}-style KidHero in the comics, is depicted as a twenty-something soldier in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''. The Smithsonian exhibit in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' lists his birth year as 1916 or 1917 in different places, while a deleted scene from ''Film/TheAvengers'' has it as 1922 in his [=SSR=] file. So either he's a year or two older than Steve or (like their comic book counterparts) four years younger, but in both cases, he's depicted as an adult rather than a KidSidekick.
** Alexander Pierce, who was in his 30's-40's at the ''oldest'' in the comics, is played by 76-year old Creator/RobertRedford in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
** [[ComicBook/AntMan Hank Pym]] is a contemporary of characters like Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in the comics, but will be played by 70-year old MichaelDouglas in the ''Film/AntMan'' movie.
** Donnie Gill is an adult criminal in the comics, but is played by 17-year old Dylan Minnette in ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' He's also explicitly stated to be no older than 18 in the actual series.
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: The movie franchise as a whole plays with this:
** Averted with Iron Man and Thor, who are celebrities and have ways of attracting every woman within their radius (except for during Thor's original exile to Earth, when he was seen as insane and probably homeless - but still hot).
** The Hulk generally gets as much hate and fear as his status as a giant rampaging monster would logically warrant. Though the ending of ''The Avengers'' shows that some people now see him as a hero.
** As for Captain America, he struggled to gain respect even after becoming the pinnacle of human perfection. While things changed for him, he now has to struggle as a FishOutOfTemporalWater.
* AllThereInTheManual: Some details that the movies neglect to explain are addressed in the comics or One-Shots:
** The ''Security Measures'' comic gives a reason why Coulson kept using SHIELD's full name in ''Iron Man 1'' instead of the acronym: Fury had apparently always used the full name, so Coulson thought Fury preferred it that way. Fury, for his part, was annoyed to find there was a perfectly good acronym he had been unaware of all this time. (Or course, it would also be in Coulson's character to intentionally try to screw with Stark for some reason, so take your pick.)
** TheStinger from the end of ''The Incredible Hulk'' (which was otherwise LeftHanging) is resolved in ''The Consultant''.
** Samuel Sterns' fate from ''The Incredible Hulk'' is revealed in ''Fury's Big Week''.
** War Machine's absence during ''The Avengers'' is explained in ''Iron Man 3 Prelude''. The book also shows where he got his new armor from, as well as what happened to the bulkier suit he wore in ''Film/IronMan2''.
** How exactly the Asgardians learned that Loki was still alive and working for [[{{Thanos}} a mysterious cosmic benefactor]] is revealed in ''Thor: The Dark World Prelude''.
* AMythologyIsTrue: The ''Thor'' film series established that the gods of Norse myths were actually AncientAstronauts, who met the vikings and were worshipped as gods. AllMythsAreTrue at the Marvel comics, such as the Greek gods as well (and Hercules is a regular character), but so far the only mention of other mythologies in the Cinematic Universe came when Skye pitched the idea in ''Agents of SHIELD''.
* AlternateContinuity: The movies differ a lot from their comic counter parts and in some cases out right change things, so its best to think of them as a separate story line, or alternate universe, then actual comic-to-movie adaptations. That said they are close enough to their comics, with plenty of references and cameos only they will get, that comic fans will have plenty to enjoy about them, while regular fans will also be able to enjoy the movies without knowing all the backstory.
* AnachronicOrder: In Phase One, ''The Incredible Hulk'' takes place sometime during ''Iron Man 2'' (a news report of Hulk's rampage appears at ''[=IM2=]'''s end), and during ''Thor'', (the first half of which is occurring concurrently with the second half of ''Iron Man 2'' -- the overlap ending when [[TheStinger Coulson arrives in New Mexico]], and a freak thunderstorm is mentioned in ''Hulk''). The overlap is confirmed in ''Fury's Big Week'', which follows Fury, Black Widow and Hawkeye during the events of all three films.
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: After nine consecutive films focusing on the Avengers, either as a team or individually, the tenth entry into the Cinematic Universe is ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', a SpaceOpera about a RagTagBunchOfMisfits which includes a talking raccoon. Voiced by Bradley Cooper. ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' also has the distinction of being the first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be based on the creations of writers and artists other than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The original comic was created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan.
** Same goes for the announcement of the {{Netflix}} shows, which will focus on street-level superheroes operating out of New York City. This is in especially sharp contrast to the previous MCU show, ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', which is light on superheroes and tends to feature a lot of globetrotting.
* ArtifactTitle: Increasingly becoming this as TV shows (as well as short films and comic book tie-ins) start to be included within the franchise, thus not making it exclusively ''Cinematic''. On the other hand, film is still the ''primary'' medium.
** In-universe, this becomes a DiscussedTrope after the ReTool midway through Season 1 of ''AgentsOfSHIELD'': Team Coulson are left wondering whether they can really call themselves "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." any more, after [[spoiler:S.H.I.E.L.D. falls to HYDRA]].
* AwakeningTheSleepingGiant: Earth is now CrazyPrepared to defend itself by the time of the ''Avengers''. Unfortunately, this draws unwanted [[{{Thanos}} attention]].
* BadassNormal: Despite the MCU being understandably superhero-heavy, this comes up surprisingly often:
** ''Iron Man 3'' has Tony and Rhodey unable to use their armour for much of the film, allowing them to demonstrate that they both (but especially Rhodey) have this in spades.
** Nick Fury has no superpowers, but still manages to run rings around anyone and everyone who does. Maria Hill gets this treatment later, too.
** Black Widow and Hawkeye are not innately super-powered, just very agile and highly capable fighters, though some of the tech they use to enhance their skills might mean they still qualify.
** The whole premise of the TV spin-off ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' is that none of the six main characters have superhuman powers, but frequently have to work with those who do. Early trailers for the show even used the tag-line "Not all heroes are 'super'".
* BadPresent: As always, Captain America uses shades of this.
-->'''Captain America:''' When I went under, the world was at war. When I woke, they said we won. They didn't say what we lost.
** It becomes more nuanced in ''Winter Soldier'' when he admits that the food is better in the present, and that medical advances and the internet have made things much better.
* BigApplesauce:
** Deliberately averted (which is notable, considering how much the mainstream MarvelUniverse uses it). Though [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger Steve Rogers]] and [[Film/TheIncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]] apparently live in New York City (and even then, films with the Hulk open with Bruce having gone into hiding abroad), their solo movies take place all over the world, with ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' and the ''Film/TheAvengers'' being the only movies in the canon to feature big action scenes in the city. By contrast, [[Film/IronMan Tony Stark's]] main residence is in Los Angeles (where he lived for a few years in the comics of the Eighties), the portions of ''Film/{{Thor}}'' set on Earth take place entirely in New Mexico in the first movie and London in the second, ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' takes place in Washington D.C., and much of ''Film/IronMan3'' takes place in Tennessee and Miami.
** Played straight by the Netflix series because it's about smaller scale street level heroes that happen to be in New York.
* BigBad: Being part of a superhero franchise, most of the films have a main antagonist for the hero to fight.
** Obadiah Stane aka The Iron Monger for ''Iron Man''.
** Emil Blonsky aka The Abomination [[DragonAscendant stole this role]] from Thunderbolt Ross in ''The Incredible Hulk''.
** Ivan Vanko in ''Iron Man 2''.
** Johann Schmidt aka The Red Skull for ''Captain America: The First Avenger''.
** Loki for ''Thor''--he becomes TheHeavy in ''The Avengers''.
** The Mandarin in ''Iron Man 3''. [[spoiler: Turns out the Mandarin we see in the trailers is the MouthOfSauron for the true villain: Aldrich Killian.]]
** Malekith the Accursed in ''Thor: The Dark World''.
** [[spoiler: Alexander Pierce]] in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''.
** [[spoiler:Agent John Garrett]] aka the Clairvoyant in ''Agents of SHIELD'' Season 1; Daniel Whitehall aka Kraken in Season 2.
** Ronan the Accuser in ''Guardians of the Galaxy''.
** Ultron in ''The Avengers: Age of Ultron''.
* BiggerBad:
** [[spoiler: Thanos]] in ''The Avengers'' and ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', and by extension the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
** The Ten Rings in the ''Film/IronMan'' films, who are present in ''1'' and ''3'' and WordOfGod says they played a small part in ''2'''s events. [[spoiler: And according to ''All Hail The King'', the Ten Rings from ''3'' are impostors and the real organization, including their leader the Mandarin, is still out there.]]
** [[spoiler: HYDRA the organization, independent of any leader. [[HydraProblem "Cut off one head, two more will take its place."]]]] They're primarily in the ''Captain America'' films and ''Agents of SHIELD'', but have had an effect on ''Iron Man'' as well.
* BigGood: Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. provide one for the whole [=MCU=]. Even after S.H.I.E.L.D. [[spoiler:is dismantled]] Nick Fury continues to fulfill this role, [[spoiler:albeit while FakingTheDead.]]
** Following the events of ''Winter Soldier'', Tony and Pepper at Stark Industries seem to be moving into this role off-screen, providing work and legal protection for Maria Hill, and (according to Hill) happy to do so for other innocent S.H.I.E.L.D. agents likewise caught in the crossfire, including Coulson's team. Hill even justifies her career change by stating that Stark is in the best position to [[spoiler:take over S.H.I.E.L.D.'s job of protecting people]].
** The Nova Corps serves this role in ''Guardians of the Galaxy''.
* BittersweetEnding: So far, six movies and the TV series have this...
** ''The Incredible Hulk'': [[spoiler:Bruce defeats the Abomination and saves both Betty and General Ross. But in the process, he becomes a fugitive living somewhere in British Columbia, away from his loved one. And Dr. Sterns is on his way to become Leader soon.]]
** ''Thor'': [[spoiler:Thor stops his adopted brother Loki from destroying Jotunheim and makes amends with his father, but Loki falls off the bridge, and with the Bifröst gone, he remains separated from Jane until she can find a way to be reunited with him. Also, Loki is alive and well, about to grab ahold of the Cosmic Cube and become one of the major antagonists in ''The Avengers''.]]
** ''Captain America: The First Avenger'': [[spoiler:Steve stops the Red Skull from obliterating the U.S. using the Cosmic Cube's power but he goes missing for 70 years. When he wakes up, he finds himself in modern times, with Peggy and everyone else presumably long gone or at least very old. His first reaction upon realizing that? "I had a date."]]
** ''The Avengers'' has a more mild version of this: [[spoiler: The day is saved and the world is celebrating the victory, but the fact remains that many people died during the fight in Manhattan, and the team is at least temporarily disbanding, partially so that they and SHIELD won't have to deal with all of the political and legal questions surrounding the incident. All of this is small potatoes, though, to the big thing that makes this bittersweet, although they don't know it yet: '''{{Thanos}} [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant has become interested in Earth.]]''']]
** ''Thor: The Dark World'': [[spoiler:Thor stops Malekith from destroying the universe and the Dark Elves are eliminated once and for all, and Thor chooses to return to Midgard and be with Jane for good rather than taking his father's throne in Asgard. But, Frigga died at Malekith's hands and, unbeknownst to Thor, Loki has once again usurped Asgard's throne after [[FakingTheDead faking his]] HeroicSacrifice, with Odin's fate unknown.]]
** ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'': [[spoiler:Project Insight is stopped, but S.H.I.E.L.D. is dissolved due to HYDRA's internal corruption of the organisation coming to light; Nick Fury continues to fake his death following every S.H.I.E.L.D. secret being leaked onto the internet, and goes underground to combat HYDRA. Black Widow's past is out in the open, but she faces no charges for her past crimes and goes away to form a new identity. The Winter Soldier saves Captain America from drowning, but remains amnesiac and begins looking to find out the answers to his former life as Bucky Barnes, with Cap and Falcon setting out to track him down.]]
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' Season One: [[spoiler:All six[[note]]''actual''[[/note]] protagonists survive the final face-off with Garrett, who is ''thoroughly'' killed, while Ward is captured and sent off to the punishment he wholly deserves. Ace Peterson is freed from his kidnappers, in turn freeing his father Mike from HYDRA's control, along with the other super-soldiers, press-ganged support workers and their kidnapped families. Fury appoints Coulson as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., giving him and his team a new base of operations from which to rebuild the organisation from the ground up, this time without HYDRA's malign influence. However, Mike can't face his son after the terrible things he had to do under Garrett's control, and instead lets the boy leave with his sister while he becomes TheAtoner; Raina and Quinn are still at large with the Gravitonium, and furthermore seem to be setting out to unleash whatever hidden "darkness" Skye has inherited from her monstrous parents; Fitz is in a coma and may have suffered permanent brain damage after pulling a HeroicSacrifice to save Simmons; and Coulson himself is beginning to display the same mysterious visions and obsessive behaviours that Garrett did after the T.A.H.I.T.I. serum sent him off the deep end.]]
* BreakoutCharacter: So far, there've been two:
** Agent Phil Coulson was a CanonForeigner who debuted as a minor character in [[Film/IronMan1 the first Iron Man film]]. His role expanded further in ''Film/IronMan2'' and ''Film/{{Thor}}'', starred in a couple of the MarvelOneShots that solidified his reputation as a BadassNormal. This led to a major role in ''Film/TheAvengers'' culminating in a HeroicSacrifice. The outcry of his demise was just what the studio was hoping for, leading Phil to come BackFromTheDead to be the star of the MCU's first tv series, ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''.
** Unlike Coulson, Peggy Carter was from the comics, created to be a TemporaryLoveInterest for Captain America during WorldWarII... but she debuted in TheSixties, [[RetCon long after Cap's wartime comics were over,]] ''and'' defrosted Cap got together with her younger relative, Sharon. As a result, she'd rarely been anything more than a SatelliteCharacter to Steve and Sharon in the comics. But since 99% of ''CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' takes place during the war, she had a much [[AscendedExtra bigger role]] in that film than she ever did in the comics. This led to her starring in one of the MarvelOneShots set shortly after the war, where she fought not just the bad guys, but [[DeliberateValuesDissonance the institutionalized sexism of the time.]] The popularity of that short led to her starring in her own tv show, ''Series/AgentCarter''. She went from being a SatelliteLoveInterest in the comics to the first female lead in the MCU.
* BreakoutVillain: Loki, having played a major part in three movies when most other villains don't even ''survive'' their films.
** [[spoiler:Ward]] becomes this in ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''. WordOfGod hints that the original plan was to kill him off in the Season 1 finale, but because he was more popular [[spoiler:as a villain than he was as a hero]], and because the writers were having so much fun with his character, he was given a reprieve.
* CaliforniaDoubling: Played straight in many occasions (such as having Cleveland double for New York City in ''The Avengers'' and Washington, D.C. in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''), but averted in the four Netflix shows, each of which will be shot in New York.
* TheCameo: Often, and it helps to establish a connected universe (such as Tony Stark appearing in ''Incredible Hulk'' and Nick Fury's brief scenes in ''Thor'' and ''Captain America''.
** EarlyBirdCameo: Often done to hype the next movie in the queue or at least a future one: Nick Fury in ''Iron Man'', Thor's hammer in ''Iron Man 2'', Hawkeye and the Tesseract in ''Thor'', Thanos in ''The Avengers'', The Collector in ''Thor: The Dark World'' and Baron von Strucker, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch - plus a NameDrop for ComicBook/DoctorStrange - in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''.
*** A very sneaky one in the Collector's room in ''Thor: The Dark World'' and ''Guardians'', but given the apparent build up for an adaptation of ''ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet'', [[spoiler: ComicBook/AdamWarlock's regenerative cocoon]] most likely counts as this. [[spoiler: As of the post-credits scene in ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', the cocoon has hatched.]]
** CreatorCameo: Plus, as is standard procedure for Marvel productions, Creator/StanLee always makes a cameo (even in ''Agents of SHIELD''). J. Michael Straczynski appears in ''Thor'' and EdBrubaker appears in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', each of them having served as a script consultant on their respective films.
** RemakeCameo: Lou Ferrigno makes another Hulk-related cameo, and in the same film, Bill Bixby makes a pseudo-cameo when Bruce is watching "The Courtship of Eddie's Father."
** Despite being ExiledFromContinuity, there are minor cameos between this universe and the properties Marvel Studios doesn't hold; for example, there are Stark Industries-made machines in ''X-Men 2''. There were also talks of having the Oscorp building from ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'' appearing in ''The Avengers'', but the latter was too close to completion by the time the idea was proposed.
*** At one point, one of the people working on ''Amazing Spider-Man'' claimed the cranes that lined up to help Peter reach Oscorp faster were repairing the destruction caused in ''The Avengers''.
*** Similarly, Sony's pre-release marketing for ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'' included a [[http://thedailybugle.tumblr.com/post/81695364626/by-ken-ellis-in-an-unexpected-setback-oscorp ''Daily Bugle'' Tumblr feed]] to establish some minor aspects of the franchise and set up future films. One story states that Oscorp lost a contract for a [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier military]] [[TheFalcon flying harness]] to a "[[Film/IronMan Los Angeles-based conglomerate with offices in Manhattan]]", and implies that the lead engineer on the project, Adrian Toomes (the man who becomes the Vulture in the comics), is on the chopping block because if it. Clever way to tie in their own future film through back door crossovers at the least, and a way for Sony to make sure that they don't outright contradict the MCU in case future deals are struck.
** ''Guardians'' features two very noticeable ones. First being Cosmo, who served as the team's MissionControl in the comics. The second was [[spoiler:ComicBook/HowardTheDuck]].
* CanonForeigner: SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson, Dr. Erik Selvig, and Darcy Lewis.
** All the members of the lead cast of ''Agents of SHIELD'' are original to the cinematic universe.
* CanonImmigrant: The JARVIS AI, which has since appeared in the comics as well as ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' and ''WesternAnimation/{{Ultimate Spider-Man}}''.
** Also Agent Coulson, as of the ''Battle Scars'' miniseries, which came right before the ''Avengers'' movie. That same miniseries also debuted the 616-verse version of the Jackson-inspired Nick Fury (here Nick Fury Jr., to differentiate him from the original).
** The rest of Coulson's team from ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' are confirmed to have 616-verse versions debuting in December 2014.
* CivvieSpandex / NotWearingTights: Both averted and played straight. Many of the characters wear something resembling their iconic comic book outfits, but there are exceptions. ComicBook/BuckyBarnes and ComicBook/TheFalcon wear military gear rather than a costume or DominoMask, while Whiplash doesn't wear anything resembling his comic outfit.
* ClarkesThirdLaw: The films seem to be heading in a generally Sci-Fi direction, though ClarkesThirdLaw is quoted and specifically referenced in ''Thor'', with Thor saying that in Asgard science and magic are the same thing, rather than sufficiently advanced science passing as magic or magic taking the form of a complex science. Furthermore, the semi-magical Bifröst of Asgard is an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wormhole#Schwarzschild_wormholes Einstein-Rosen Bridge]] that Jane and her team are studying at the beginning of the film. Loki on the other hand is referred to as "a master of magic" by an Asgardian, so the whole matter is rather unclear.
* ComicbookMoviesDontUseCodenames: Most characters don't have them. Iron Monger, Abomination, Black Widow, Whiplash, Hawkeye, Red Skull... all of their codenames have been referenced only a few times or not at all. The Cosmic Cube is also given the much more scientific-sounding moniker of "The Tesseract".
** Averted for Captain America and Iron Man. ("Captain America" is Steve Rogers's USO character name that was later upgraded to his heroic identity thanks to comic books released after his disappearance and "Iron Man" is the identity Tony Stark gives to his armor after the press dubs it as such). Also while "War Machine" isn't the actual Air Force designation for the armor James Rhodes wears, he likes the name himself and refers to it as such privately (the Air Force also upgrades his armor in ''3'' and officially designates it the "Iron Patriot" armor).
** Star-Lord does his best to avert this, though everyone around him constantly lampshades how silly he sounds, insisting on a code name.
* CompositeCharacter: An inanimate example. As we learn in ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', [[spoiler:the Tesseract is not only the comics' Cosmic Cube, but also one of the Infinity Gems]].
* ContinuityOverlap[=/=]CharacterOverlap: See below.
** One example of a ContinuityNod starts with ''Film/IronMan1''; Stane uses a portable device that, apparently, paralyzes via soundwaves, but was rejected by the military for some unspecified reason. It lasted for fifteen minutes, but could probably easily be scaled up somehow, for the new, heavier threats. And sure enough, they ''did'' have a similar Stark Industries device in ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'', big enough to be car-mounted. Two of them stunned the Hulk for a while, but ultimately he was strong enough to get back on his feet and smash them both.
* ContinuityPorn: ''The Avengers'' is naturally this with references made to the past 5 films that preceded it! Also Phase Two has shades of this with Tony having PTSD-like flashbacks to his HeroicSacrifice in ''Avengers'' in ''Iron Man 3'', ''Thor: The Dark World'' has Loki shapeshift into Captain America while talking about Thor's "new friends" and Jane hits Loki for his involvement in the Chitauri invasion when they meet, [[spoiler:and the Tesseract from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' and ''Film/TheAvengers'' turns out to be an Infinity Gem/Stone in TheStinger]] and ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' has SHIELD stepping up their defensive game as a response to what happened in ''Avengers''!
* ContinuityReboot: ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' ignores the events of Creator/AngLee's ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' (outside of Bruce being located in South America at the end), while the upcoming ''Daredevil'' TV show will ignore the events of the Fox ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'' movie.
* CreativeClosingCredits: Each movie has either this, or an ArtisticTitle sequence.
* CrisisCrossover: ''The Avengers'' for the movies; ''The Defenders'' for the Netflix series.
* DidntThinkThisThrough: [[spoiler: Steve, Nick, and Natasha's decision to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. in ''Winter Soldier''. Sure it exposed HYDRA but it made life hell for all the other agents, if they weren't killed by the HYDRA sleeper agents, they ended being hunted down by the USA military and various intelligence agencies for interrogation (and possible incarceration) and if they don't give themselves up they go into hiding instead.]]
* DifferentlyPoweredIndividual: Due to reasons that can be found in the ExiledFromContinuity example below, none of the characters are called mutants, instead being referred to "gifted" (on ''Agents of SHIELD'') and "miracles" (in the ''Winter Soldier'' Stinger).
* EurekaMoment: According to the ''Building a Cinematic Universe'' documentary, when Marvel Studios was first created, one of the first meetings featured a discussion of which properties they still had the rights to. As they [[Film/SpiderMan listed]] [[Film/{{Daredevil}} off]] [[Film/ThePunisher2004 the]] [[Film/GhostRider properties]] [[Film/FantasticFour they]] [[Film/{{X-Men}} couldn't]] [[Film/{{Blade}} use]] at the time, they slowly realised they still had the rights to most of the various characters who formed ComicBook/TheAvengers.
* ExiledFromContinuity: Due to rights, ''Film/{{Spider-Man}}'', ''Film/FantasticFour'', ''{{Namor}}'' and ''Film/{{X-Men}}'' characters cannot appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe as of now. So, while we can't see the Hulk fight Juggernaut anytime soon, there are gray areas. Some characters who are known to these groups, such as ComicBook/{{Cable}}, ComicBook/{{Dazzler}}, {{Quicksilver}}, ScarletWitch and Kingpin, are still usable, but they cannot mention their connection to those groups... which would be interesting to see, given Cable's [[TangledFamilyTree tenuous]] relationship with the Summers line and Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch being the children of {{Magneto}}.
** And Phase Two is going to run into this head-on with Quicksilver (if you'll pardon the pun), as different versions of him are going to be in both ''[[Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast X-Men: Days of Future Past]]'' and ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'' within a year of each other.
** Per interviews given about ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', it's now confirmed that the MCU cannot use the word "Mutant", so they often use other nomenclature, such as "Gifted", for the mutant-like beings that show up on that show. Whether this is because of some sort of written agreement or just an over-abundance of caution about possible legal issues (as mutants and mutation are actual scientific concepts and are more-or-less generic terms) with FOX is unknown.
** Director James Gunn has confirmed that a similar joint rights agreement exists for the Skrulls, who are a general Marvel Universe threat but nonetheless debuted in the Fantastic Four. The alien race known as the Badoon are owned by Fox and off-limits to Marvel, which led to them being barred from appearing in the ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' movie (but not from making a cameo in [[AllThereInTheManual one of the prelude comics]]).
** [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/15/a-spider-manavengers-crossover-almost-happened Sony struck a deal]] to have Oscorp Tower from ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'' appear in ''The Avengers'', but the special effects crew was too far along to insert the building into the NYC skyline.
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: In Phase One, most of the movies take place almost at the same time even though they were all made years apart; in fact the tie-in comic ''Fury's Big Week'' specifies that ''Iron Man 2'', ''Thor'' and ''The Incredible Hulk'' all happened the same ''week''. Tony and Rhodey's fight took place the same day Bruce Banner crossed the border into the United States, which was also the same day Agent Coulson reported electro-magnetic disturbances in New Mexico to Nick Fury. Thor and Mjolnir arrived in New Mexico the day after the Stark Expo battle, while Hulk's fight at Culver University took place on the same day as Tony and Fury's conversation at the end of ''Iron Man 2'', which was ''also'' the same day Thor got his powers back. In relation, ''Iron Man 1'' was stated to have taken place six months earlier, ''Captain America'' took place mainly 70 years ago during WWII, and Cap's revival and ''The Avengers'' takes place at least a year later. Phase Two has averted this so far, with their events occurring in roughly the same time span that the movies are released.
* FollowTheLeader: Before 2008 and ''Iron Man'', crossover films were thought to be a novelty, and the idea of a series of separate films with different writers and directors sharing a continuity and ongoing story was seen as impossible. Now, ''everyone'' wants to repeat the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and try to create their own franchise of inter-connected blockbusters. Fox wants to expand their ''X-Men'' and ''Fantastic Four'' franchises into one, Sony is looking to do the same with ''Spider-Man'', and DC is looking to turn ''Man of Steel'' into the first film in a DC Cinematic Universe.
* GenreRoulette: Though collectively under the "superhero" genre, each hero's movies skew towards their own genre:
** ''Iron Man 1'' and ''2'' are ScienceFiction.
** ''The Incredible Hulk'' is a [[AttackOfTheKillerWhatever Monster Movie]].
** ''Thor'' is {{Fantasy}}. ''The Dark World'' opts for more ScienceFiction with a dab of SpaceOpera.
** ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' is a [[MilitaryAndWarfareFilms War Movie]] with a teaspoon of ScienceFiction.
** ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' is a ConspiracyThriller. ''Iron Man 3'' [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/03/05/kevin-feige-talks-marvels-phase-2-movies has similarly been described as]] a Political Thriller.
** ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' is a SpaceOpera and SpaceWestern.
** The latest reports on ''Ant-Man'' are that it will be, of all things, a [[TheCaper Heist Movie]].
** ''The Avengers'', throwing everybody together, falls under ScienceFantasy.
* AGodIAmNot: Though Loki would dispute the claim, most appearances by Asgardians are accompanied by at least a line or two reminding the audience that they are HumanAliens and ''not'' gods.
* GodzillaThreshold: Best summed up by Tony Stark in four simple words:
--> '''Tony''': We have a ''' ''Hulk!'' '''
** And Captain America in three:
---> '''Cap''': And Hulk? ''Smash!''
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: SHIELD in all the movies, and before their time during WWII, there was the Strategic Scientific Reserve, which is essentially the OSS to SHIELD's CIA.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Many of the movies tease that there are other superheroes out there, Tony Stark pops up in ''The Incredible Hulk'', Nick Fury has appeared at least by name in every film so far, Hawkeye as an Agent of SHIELD in ''Thor'', etc.
** ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' features a blink and you'll miss it appearance by the original Human Torch as a statue at Stark's expo (doubles as a MythologyGag and ActorAllusion).
** ''The Winter Soldier'' offhandedly references [[ComicBook/DoctorStrange Stephen Strange]].
* HumansAreWarriors: After repelling the Chitauri invasion, even their leader admits fighting them is "to court death."
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: The Tesseract, a tool of Asgardian (maybe) origin, directly impacts the plot of ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' as the means by which HYDRA powers their weapons, and indirectly impacts both ''Iron Man'' films thanks to Howard Stark's research into it, which led to the Arc Reactor's development. It also becomes the centerpoint of the first ''Avengers'' movie. The Destroyer's remains, left behind on Earth at the end of the first ''Thor'' movie, also count, considering [[spoiler: S.H.I.E.L.D. reverse-engineered a weapon capable of actually slowing down someone with Asgard/Jotun physiology using it.]]
* InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt: Beginning to be enforced as of the end of Phase One, with ''"Marvel's The Avengers"'' and ''"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD"''. Sometimes it can get awkward; for instance the comic book tie-in collection ''"Road to Marvel's The Avengers"''.
* KilledOffForReal:
** [[spoiler: Dr. Erskine]] in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', courtesy of Heinz Kruger.
** After being deemed no longer useful by [[spoiler: Obidiah Stane]], [[spoiler: Raza]], the leader of the Ten Rings, is disposed of by [[spoiler: Stane]].
** In Film/{{Thor}}, [[spoiler: Laufey]] is killed by Loki, so that Loki would become Odin's favorite son, and be able to be the true heir to the throne.
** [[spoiler: Maya Hansen]] from ''Film/IronMan3'' is also killed off, courtesy of [[spoiler: Aldrich Killian]].
** In ''Thor: The Dark World'', [[spoiler:Queen Frigga]].
** In ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', [[spoiler:Arnim Zola's body has decayed but he [[BrainUploading uploaded his mind]] to a computer system, allowing him to survive into the modern day. However, the bunker housing the computer with his mind is destroyed by a SHIELD missile.]]
** In ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', [[spoiler: Nova Corps Denerian Garthaan Saul]] is killed when [[spoiler: Ronan the Accuser's flagship crushes him while Garthaan attempts to slow his advance towards Xandar. Ronan himself would later be killed by Star-Lord using the Infinity Gem]].
* LetsGetDangerous: Over the course of ''Thor'' and ''The Avengers'', Earth goes from being an insignificant backwater planet to being a [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant potential rival]] on the galactic stage. It even gets [[GodzillaThreshold the point]] where ''[[spoiler:Thanos]]'' takes an interest.
--> '''Director''': Was that the whole point of this? To make a statement?
--> '''Nick Fury''': [[HumansAreWarriors A]] ''[[BewareTheNiceOnes promise]]''.
* LiveActionAdaptation: Obviously.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: When you take into account the various films, TV episodes, and tie-in materials, the main cast alone for the whole [=MCU=] is well into the dozens; counting supporting/recurring characters pushes it way higher.
** A specific example: it's been observed that ''TheAvengersAgeOfUltron'' already has eleven of the main characters from various parts of the franchise confirmed to be in the film (even if some are minor or cameo roles), and the full cast list hasn't even been confirmed yet.
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover: The ''Avengers'' films act as this. The announced ''Defenders'' miniseries will do the same for the TV shows aired on Netflix.
* MetaOrigin: The films change the Hulk's origin so that the accident that created him was caused by an attempt to recreate the [[SuperSerum Super-Soldier Serum]].
** ''Thor: The Dark World'' reveals that the Tesseract [[spoiler:is one of the [[ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet Infinity Stones]]. In the comics, the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gems are completely unconnected. The Aether from that movie is considered another "Infinity Stone", as is the Orb - or rather, what's ''in'' the Orb - from ''Guardians of the Galaxy''.]]
** The [[AllThereInTheManual supplementary materials]] for ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' heavily suggest that Sam Wilson's EXO-7 Falcon suit was designed by Stark Industries, presumably incorporating similar technology to what is found in the Iron Man armors.
* MilitarySuperhero: Captain America, TheFalcon, and [[Comicbook/WarMachine War Machine / Iron Patriot]].
* MonochromeCasting: a frequent complaint, even from many fans of the MCU, is the abundance of {{White Male Lead}}s. This has gotten even more pronounced with the only confirmed new Phase 3 movies being Doctor Strange and Ant-Man, while many were hoping for movies for more diverse characters like BlackPanther, [[MsMarvel Carol Danvers]] or Black Widow. Guardians of the Galaxy also took some flack for not including Phyla-Vell and Moondragon, who are not only women, but non-heterosexual as well. Mantis, the lone non-white human member of the team, was also omitted.
* MovieSuperheroesWearBlack: Both averted and played straight. Captain America uses his classic red, white and blue color scheme (albeit with a more armored look and the buccaneer boots and head wings removed), but Hawkeye wears an [[UltimateMarvel Ultimate]]-style leather outfit instead of his iconic purple costume. The HYDRA soldiers also have black body armor instead of their green and yellow costumes from the comics.
** Cap dons a much more muted color scheme in ''The Winter Soldier'', harkening to his comic counterpart's time as SHIELD's director where he wore a similar outfit. [[spoiler:Approaching the climax of the movie he breaks into the Smithsonian Museum to steal his World War II outfit, since his SHIELD outfit is now stuck with them and he's on the lam]], allowing him to go back to a more vibrant color scheme.
** Thor's armor is a mix of black, gun metal gray, and a red cape typically. While his comic book equivalent at one point wore an outfit that was blue with gold trim, in more recent years he's had a similar color scheme so the movies just follow with that.
** Iron Man has for the most part stayed consistent (since the color scheme is fairly iconic to the character), always wearing red on some piece of armor and typically with a splash of gold somewhere too. In fact ComicBook/WarMachine's armor started off with a gun metal gray and then was upgraded to a patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme in ''3''.
** The Falcon wears combat fatigues with gunmetal wings like his Ultimate version rather than the red-and-white tights of the original.
* MythArc: The series has been developing two major ones that each adapt a famous comics storyline: On the cosmic scale, the presence of [[spoiler:Thanos and the Infinity Stones is building to ''ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet'']]. Meanwhile at more of a street level, the politics of an UnmasquedWorld is leading to [[spoiler:a SuperhumanRegistrationAct and ''ComicBook/CivilWar'']].
* MythologyGag: Bound to be several considering their comic book origins. A few in particular come to mind:
** Tony considers making the Mk III armor completely gold, but then decides it's "a little ostentatious" before throwing the red in.
** A student being interviewed about the Hulk's rampage is named Jack [=McGee=] after the reporter from the 70s TV series. His friend is named Jim Wilson, TheFalcon's nephew and an old side character from the comics.
** A billboard in New Mexico advertises a "Journey Into Mystery," the title of the series Thor debuted in.
** Agent Coulson gets gas from Roxxon Oil in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer."
* NotSoDifferent: S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA: [[spoiler: In ''The Winter Soldier'', Pierce seems to honestly believe he's doing the Earth a favor by using HYDRA to bring about peace, using Fury's Military Maverick strategies. The stinger shows that HYDRA are experimenting on Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. In ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' we learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. also experiments in any rogue supers it has in custody.]]
** [[spoiler:Although, given what we know, that last bit may have ''also'' been HYDRA, just masquerading as S.H.I.E.L.D., or with S.H.I.E.L.D. acting as a HYDRA puppet.]]
* NothingIsTheSameAnymore:
** While all four of the main heroes made big splashes, the coming of Thor made Earth aware of intelligent life on other worlds and made SHIELD and the WCS realize how technologically outmatched Earth is.
-->'''Aldrich Killian''': Ever since the big dude with the hammer fell out of the sky, subtlety's had its day.
** As of ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', [[spoiler:SHIELD was corrupted by HYDRA from its conception. HYDRA is still out there in some fashion, and SHIELD no longer exists.]]
* OfficialCouple: Tony Stark and Pepper Potts from the end of ''IronMan2'' onward. They are also the Official Couple in ''Film/TheAvengers''.
** Thor and Jane Foster become one at the end of ''ThorTheDarkWorld'', when Thor [[spoiler:decides to stay on Earth with Jane rather than return to Asgard.]]
* OneSteveLimit: {{Averted}}, unsurprisingly, as this franchise has LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. Notably, Tony Stark's mother and Nick Fury's right-hand woman are both named Maria.
** Also Howard Stark and [[spoiler: Howard the Duck.]]
** On a meta level, the franchise features Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pratt. The first two appear in the ''Avengers'' movies together. As of ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', 6 out of 10 Marvel films have starred blonde white guys named Chris. Presumably someone at Disney is starting a collection.
* PhlebotinumDuJour: The entire Verse invokes three versions:
** GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke: Captain America and the SuperSerum which made him who he is has been coveted ever since WorldWarII, and partially reproduced in modern times. However, as its effects are [[PersonalityPowers personality-based]], Cap is more or less unique. Cap himself, The Hulk, The ComicBook/RedSkull, the Abomination, and the Winter Soldier are all byproducts of this form of phlebotinum. ''Iron Man 3'' introduces an unrelated one, Extremis.
** ILoveNuclearPower: While radiation does come up with other heroes, it's mainly exclusive to the ''Hulk'' franchise as its unique shtick.
** ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: Asgardian tech, specifically the Tesseract. Besides all the Asgardian gear in ''Thor'' and the use of the Tesseract in ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' and ''The Avengers'', it's also implied that Iron Man's Arc Reactor was reverse-engineered from the Tesseract by Howard Stark. [[spoiler:Assuming the Tesseract was Asgardian to begin with. It's been revealed to be an Infinity Stone, meaning it may have been imported Phlebotinum even from Asgard's perspective. The other Infinity Stones qualify here as well.]]
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' combines all of three with Centipede's formula: alien (possibly Chitauri) tech, gamma radiation, knock-off super soldier serum ''and'' Extremis. And then they throw in [[HollywoodCyborg cybernetics]] for flavor.
* ProductPlacement:
** All three ''Iron Man'' films contain plugs for Audi cars. The first movie also has a very blatant scene where Tony munches on a sandwich from Burger King.
** The first ''Thor'' movie has some lingering shots of the local 7-Eleven during the Destroyer's rampage. Darcy also bemoans how the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents confiscated her [=iPod=].
** ''The Avengers'' is littered with plugs for Acura, and a Bank of America sign can clearly be seen during the Battle of New York.
** ''Iron Man 3'' has some very blatant plugs for Sun Oracle, Verizon [=FiOS=], and the Chinese electronics brand TCL. The special Chinese cut contains some additional shilling for Yili milk and the Zoomlion corporation.
** ''Thor: The Dark World'', a lot of it taking place in London, features real products from the United Kingdom such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shreddies Shreddies]], and a child throws a discarded [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vimto Vimto]] can into a portal.
** ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' has Cap riding a new Harley-Davidson and Black Widow driving a 2014 C7 Corvette. Both vehicles received some pretty heavy ''Winter Soldier''-themed promotion in the lead-up to the film's release.
* RaceLift: SamuelLJackson as Nick Fury, who was originally white in the comics, though recent publications have altered his appearance to more closely resemble Jackson's.
** In ''Thor'', the Norse God Heimdall is played by Creator/IdrisElba, an Afro-British actor.
** Hogun in the ''Thor'' comics seems to be Mongolian (with possibly some white ancestry thrown in), and is played by Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano in the films.
** SHIELD agent Jasper Sitwell (who is a blonde white guy in the comics) is played by bald Latino actor Maximiliano Hernández.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure:
** SHIELD, especially its director Nick Fury. [[spoiler:Or not so much, given ''Winter Soldier'''s reveal, though Fury still qualifies.]]
** At the galactic level, the Nova Corps. When they get a message that a madman with a superweapon is on his way and an ArmyOfThievesAndWhores intends to help stop him, they're willing to listen.
* RunningGag:
** As with all Marvel productions, Creator/MarvelComics co-creator Creator/StanLee being featured in most of the films in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it CreatorCameo. And Tony Stark never gets his name right.
** It's not a good idea for Asgardians like Thor and Loki to boast how powerful they are. They're not even going to finish the sentence. In the commentary on ''Film/TheAvengers'', Creator/JossWhedon commented on how he found Norse guys getting knocked out of the frame hilarious.
** Thor has had his own [[ShockandAwe electric powers]] used on him twice: Darcy takes him down with a Tazer in ''Film/{{Thor}}'', and his lightning attack on Iron Man in ''The Avengers'' merely [[AttackBackfire supercharges]] Stark's suit.
** Women noticing how incredibly hot Thor is. Or Captain America, at least in the first movie.
** In the Phase 2 films, a motif is emerging of running gags that eventually turn out to have a dramatic reveal.
*** Black Widow constantly bringing up eligible single women that Steve Rogers could date. One of them turns out to be [[spoiler:Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter's niece.]]
*** Groot saying nothing but "I am Groot" over and over, [[spoiler:until his HeroicSacrifice, when he tells his friends "We are Groot."]]
*** Peter Quill insisting people call him "Star-Lord", [[spoiler:which turns out to be a pet name his deceased mother gave him.]]
* ScienceFantasy: Given that it's a full-on superhero universe, this was a given.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Generally trending strongly to the idealistic side.
** A major part of the conflict in the Avengers' team stems from Steve Rogers' "outdated and irrelevant" idealism clashing head on with Tony Stark's hedonistic and materialistic cynicism. Ironic, considering how Steve and Howard (Tony's father) got-along quite well in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. (At one point in ''The Avengers'', Steve says that Tony "isn't the man his father was" to Tony's ''face''. It doesn't go over well.)
* SecretIdentity:
** Black Widow and, to a certain extent, Bruce Banner are the only heroes who have them. [[spoiler:Widow abandons hers in ''Winter Soldier''.]]
** Tony Stark had one for a few hours.
** Played with in regards to Thor, whose friends make an attempt at disguising him as a Dr. Donald Blake in order to fool SHIELD agents. It doesn't work.
** Steve may have had one as regards the general public - it's never made clear if he was ever known as 'Steve Rogers' during his USO days unless you worked with him. It's absolutely gone in the modern day, though; he even visits a Smithsonian exhibit about himself.
* SmugSnake: Loki straddles the line between this and MagnificentBastard. While he's far from incompetent, he is nowhere ''near'' as good as he thinks he is and ultimately, his arrogance is what leads to his downfall
* SpyCatsuit: Black Widow, Maria Hill, and Melinda May; probably goes for all the female SHIELD agents. Hawkeye seems to have a variation of one as well. All of the bridge crew of the helicarrier also wear them, though Coulson, his team (barring May), and several other agents don't.
* StateSec: S.H.I.E.L.D. With it's secret agents, myriad military forces, and various research labs.
* TheStinger: Most of the movies have had one, so far. ''The Incredible Hulk'' and ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' are exceptions: The one originally planned for the Hulk (the Tony Stark scene) was edited into the film proper instead, and ''Captain America'''s stinger was more like a teaser trailer for the ''Avengers'' movie. ''The Avengers'', ''Thor: The Dark World'' ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' had two stingers; one mid-credits and one afterward.
* {{Superhero}}: *ahem*
* SuperheroMovieVillainsDie: [[spoiler: Stane, Vanko, Killian, Malekith, Pierce and Ronan are all dead by the end of their movies, while the Red Skull is a textbook case of NeverFoundTheBody. Averted by Loki who survives all his three appearances so far, and Blonsky who is spared from being choked to death by Betty's intervention. Played with by Trevor Slattery, the fake Mandarin, who survived ''Iron Man 3'' but is marked for death by an unseen ''real'' Mandarin as of the ''All Hail the King'' One-Shot.]]
* SuperheroPackingHeat:
** Captain America. But while Steve knows how to fire a gun and won't hesitate to use on if there's any need to, he still prefers not to as much as possible, preferring to use his shield over his [[CoolGuns/{{Handguns}} M1911A1]].
** ComicBook/TheFalcon plays this straight. [[GunsAkimbo With two of them, even!]]
* SuperSoldier: About half of the superhuman origins in this 'verse have their roots in trying to either bioengineer better soldiers or just give them better equipment; most obviously Captain America but also Iron Monger, Hulk, Abomination, the Hammer drones, Red Skull, Extremis soldiers, the "Centipede"/Deathlok project, the Falcon, and the Winter Soldier. Most of the rest are tied to Asgardian tech, specifically the Tesseract (see ImportedAlienPhlebotinum above).
** The Kursed are these for the Dark Elves. Being super soldiers among a race of super beings, this makes them ridiculously powerful.
* SuperWeight:
** Type -1: Steve Rogers pre-treatment, Armin Zola, [[spoiler:Trevor Slattery]], [[spoiler:Fitz post-brain damage]].
** Type 0: Thunderbolt Ross, Howard Stark, Tony Stark, Obadiah Stane, Pepper Potts [[spoiler:without Extremis]], Jane Foster, Erik Selvig, Darcy Lewis, Fitz-Simmons, Skye, Eric [[spoiler:and Billy and Sam]] Koenig, Rocket Racoon.
** Type 1: James Rhodes (sans armor), Agent Coulson, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor ([[BroughtDownToBadass as a human]]), Nick Fury, Maria Hill, the Howling Commandos, SSR soldiers, Emil Blonsky (pre serum), [[TookALevelInBadass Tony Stark]] in ''Iron Man 3'', Peggy Carter, Chester Phillips, Heinz Kruger, Grant Ward, Melinda May, Antoine Triplett, Batroc the leaper, Crossbones, Star-Lord.
** Type 2: Captain America, Red Skull, Emil Blonsky (after serum), anyone armed with HYDRA weaponry, Whiplash (first suit), Chitauri soldiers, [[spoiler:Simmons (while infected with the Chitauri virus)]], [[spoiler:Ward and May when handling the Berserker staff]], Falcon (with wings), The Winter Soldier, Mike Peterson [[spoiler:pre-Deathlok]], Gamora, Nebula.
** Type 3: Iron Man, War Machine, Iron Monger, Whiplash (second suit), Hammeroids, Most Asgardians, Loki (during ''Thor''), Frost Giants, Extremis soldiers, [[spoiler: Pepper Potts with Extremis]], [[spoiler: Aldrich Killian]], Malekith [[spoiler: without the Aether]], both Deathloks: [[spoiler: John Garrett and Mike Peterson]], Drax the Destroyer, Korath the Pursuer.
** Type 4: The Hulk, the Abomination, Thor, Odin, Loki (during ''The Avengers''), the Destroyer, Heimdall, [[AwesomePersonnelCarrier The Leviathans]], Kurse, Groot, Ronan the Accuser.
** Type 5: The Bifrost, Ronan [[spoiler:empowered by the Orb]], Thanos.
** Type 6: The Tesseract, the Aether, the Orb, [[spoiler: and presumably the other 3 Infinity Stones]], The Celestials.
* ThouShaltNotKill: Largely averted. While the various heroes portrayed to date have different rules of engagement, none of them follow the classic super hero idea of never ever using deadly force, nor are they portrayed as being unheroic for doing so.
** Iron Man is perfectly willing to incinerate terrorists with flamethrowers, blow them away with rockets, put smart bullets between their eyes, pulp them with repulsors, or even just his armored hands. He makes the best weapons on Earth, and you'd better remember that.
** Thor is [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman quite willing to kill Frost Giants, Chitauri, and Dark Elves]], but has not, to date, used lethal force against any humans, managing to take down a whole SHIELD security team without seriously harming any of them. It's worth noting, though, that all the aliens were armed while he had superpowers, and the humans he fought were unarmed while he was depowered.
** Captain America blows up, shield strikes and shoots up Nazis real good. He'll drop that to save a buddy.
** Oddly enough, the Hulk so far is the only hero who restrained himself from using lethal force against a clearly evil opponent - he spared Blonsky at [[MoralityPet Betty's plea]].
** The Black Widow and Hawkeye are referred to as "master assassins", and Natasha admits that there is a lot of "red in my ledger". Occasionally they've been spotted shooting guards, electrocuting them, or hanging them with wires.
** While ''Agents of SHIELD'' doesn't explicitly have a no-kill rule, Coulson's team regularly uses "Night-Night"/"[=ICEr=]" tranquilizer guns that keep casualties to a minimum.
*** Coulson reminds everyone near the end of the season that, funny TeamDad or not, he's still a trained agent when he [[spoiler:coldly kills John Garret without a second thought, with nothing more than a quick one-liner afterwards.]]
** Being criminals, and including an assassin and a rampaging psychopath in their team (Drax), the Guardians of the Galaxy have little reservations about killing- but Peter at least chooses to knock out guards in some places.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: In-universe with the Iron Man suit. In the first film, Stark isn't the most graceful flyer, and assumes an awkward looking pose before liftoff to maximize thrust. In ''Iron Man 2'', when Rhodey "steals" the Mark 2 suit, he assumes the same awkward stance and his flight is noticeably less agile than Stark's Mark 5 and later Mark 6 suit. In ''The Avengers'', Stark is incredible agile, fast, and confident while flying, even to the point of making his malfunctions look good. The weapons also progress similarly: he introduces the wrist-mounted laser in the Mark 6 suit, but it can only be used once before burning out, while the Mark 7 suit has reusable and functionally more powerful lasers (that also draw more power). By the time ''Iron Man 3'' rolls around, Tony had over forty different Iron Man suits, each with specific purposes and unique capabilities. His most recent is one that [[spoiler:he can pilot with just a head-piece interface, while doing other things -- like working out. He also appears to have upgraded J.A.R.V.I.S. to the point that the AI can pilot multiple suits without Tony's help, though they are not as effective as when Tony is in direct control.]]
* TruerToTheText: ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' is significantly more faithful to the source material than ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'' was, to say nothing of the 1979 films starring Creator/RebBrown.
* UnexpectedCharacter: The series is quite fond of these.
** Both the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man to the series overall. Did anyone ever expect the flippin' Guardians of the Galaxy (who mostly consist of C-listers and below, none of whom have ever been able to hold down a solo series, and have only existed as a team for about five years), or even Ant-Man for that matter, to get a multi-million dollar movie?
** There are also some unexpected characters that show up in each more. ComicBook/NickFury in ''Film/{{Iron Man|1}}'', [[spoiler:ComicBook/{{Thanos}}]] in ''Film/TheAvengers'', [[spoiler:ComicBook/HowardTheDuck]] in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''.
** The same could also be said of the Jessica Jones Netflix series. Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are all fan favorites with decades of history, while Jones is a comparatively recent character.
** Kevin Feige has this to say:
--->'''Feige:''' I don't believe in the tiers. I don't believe in A-tier, B-tier, C-tier. It's up to us to make them all A. Because in the comics they are. You have characters that have been around 45-50 years that's an A character. That's an A-frachise and it's our burden to convince the rest of the movie-going public that that's the case.
* TheUnmasquedWorld: Phase Two seems to have this as a theme, as ''The Avengers'' was the big unmasking. Killian mentions that "subtle" is a thing of the past, students eagerly take photos and videos of Thor's fight with Malekith, and Coulson's team regularly deals with supernatural or super-science items that have fallen into the wrong hands. To take it even further, ''The Winter Soldier'' ends with [[spoiler:Natasha having released every single S.H.I.E.L.D. secret onto the internet. Whatever S.H.I.E.L.D. knew, the whole world knows now.]]
* TheVerse: The MCU is designated Earth-199999 in the overall Marvel Multiverse.
* ViewerFriendlyInterface: Tony Stark's computers all use big, gesture-controlled holograms.
* WhamEpisode: ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', with [[spoiler:the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to HYDRA's corruption of the organisation being made public knowledge, Nick Fury faking his death and going underground in Europe, and the reveal that HYDRA recovered Loki's staff and have begun studying it's power]].
** ''Guardians Of The Galaxy'' [[spoiler:explains the importance of the Infinity Stones, and properly introduces Thanos after his brief appearance in the credits of ''The Avengers'']].
* WhamLine: Believe it or not, the biggest ones are delivered in TheStinger:
** The first one was all the way back in ''Iron Man''. Whilst there had been talk of Marvel ''wanting'' to make an Avengers movie at some point, this was the moment that it became a reality.
---> '''Nick Fury:''' I'm here to talk to you about [[Comicbook/TheAvengers the Avenger Initiative]].
** ''The Avengers'' has the second big Wham Line of the MCU; not so much for what's being said as who it's said ''to'':
---> [[spoiler:'''The Other:''' To challenge them is to court death... ''[cue [[{{Thanos}} the guy who does this literally]]]'']]
** And then ''Thor: The Dark World'' reveals the MythArc:
---> [[spoiler: '''Sif:''' With the Tesseract in Asgard, having two Infinity Stones in one place could prove dangerous.]]
---> [[spoiler: '''The Collector:''' One down... [[InfinityGauntlet five to go...]]]]
* WhereDoesHeGetAllThoseWonderfulToys: Averted. Everyone with gadgets has a good explanation for where they got them. More often than not, these weapons are built by a member of the Stark family or designed by SHIELD.
** To the point when the WrongGenreSavvy SHIELD agents suspect the same of the [[{{Magitek}} Asgardian Destroyer]] in ''Thor''.
--> '''Agent Sitwell:''' Is this one of Stark's?
--> '''Agent Coulson:''' I don't know. That guy never tells me anything.
* WorldOfBadass: ''The Avengers''. Thor warns Nick Fury that SHIELD'S research on the Tesseract [[spoiler:to create a new generation of superweapons]] is letting extra-dimensional and extra-terrestrial beings know Earth is ready for a higher level of warfare, but Fury points out they felt they ''had'' to do it, because Earth is on the precipice of discovering at large they are not alone in the cosmos, and aside from anomalies such as the titular heroes, the rest of the human race is fairly freaked out at learning that, "Not only are [[UsefulNotes/FermiParadox we not alone]], but we are [[PunyEarthlings hopelessly, hilariously, outgunned]]."
* WorldOfHam: From a billionaire superhero who built his suit [[MemeticMutation in a cave with a box of scraps]] to some major HamToHamCombat between [[NorseMythology Norse gods]], there's plenty of ham to offer.
* WorldOfSnark: Practically ''everyone'', but especially Tony who snarks enough to make up for the characters that don't. While not very snarky in ''Thor'', Loki spends much of ''The Avengers'' playing catch-up, and takes it UpToEleven in ''The Dark World''.
** It's practically a job requirement to become a SHIELD Agent. Just for fun, try to find a part in ''any'' film where SHIELD ''don't'' take a moment to snark in the face of someone?
* WritingAroundTrademarks: As mentioned above, the ''S.H.I.E.L.D.'' writers developed the term "Gifted" to compensate for not being allowed to use the term "mutant" thanks to the ''Film/XMen'' movies. [[spoiler:TheStinger to ''The Winter Soldier'' appears to use "Miracle" this way instead.]]
** Similarly, the telepaths and telepathy are never mentioned in ''Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', with the term Clairvoyant employed instead. [[spoiler: And even then, it turns out the the Clairvoyant isn't even a telepath anyway.]]
* YouLookFamiliar: All the characters played by Creator/StanLee ([[EpilepticTrees assuming they're not the same guy]].)
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