main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Thanos, of all people, as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. After ten movies he has collected exactly zero Infinity Stones, and in fact may even have one fewer Stone than he started with (if the staff he gave Loki really did contain one.)
  • And You Thought It Would Fail:
    • No superhero crossover film had ever been done beforenote , and most of Marvel's biggest supers were in the hands of other studios. All they had were mostly B-listers. Even the Nick Fury stinger at the end of Iron Man was inserted mostly then as a Mythology Gag. Great idea in hindsight, though, right? In fact, because of the MCU (especially The Avengers), said B-listers were elevated to near-Spider-Man status.
    • This has also affected every film since the Avengers. A third Iron Man and sequels to both Thor and Captain America? And yet critical response was universally positive. Then they really took a gamble with Guardians of the Galaxy, with characters obscure even to Marvel fans, and again it turned out everyone loved it. The current projected "dud" is Ant-Man, mostly due to Edgar Wright leaving. Only time will tell how that turns out.
  • Base Breaker: A frequent complaint of most of the movies is that the villains are boring- only Loki and the Winter Soldier have avoided this due to being both heavily attractive and being masterfully acted. Guardians got hit the most of this in Phase 2, due to having to set up the five Guardians and being the start point for the Cosmic Marvel Universe, as Ronan and Korath both were called boring, with Nebula being the only real villain to have any sort of development.
  • Broken Base: There are often discussions about the movies having too much comedy or not.
    • The movies are frequently called out for having white male protagonists, with some wishing for a female solo movie. Some people point out that the series is great for POC supporting protagonists, such as Rhodey and Falcon.
    • There's some debate and discussion about if the female characters are well treated/written or not. To some viewers, they're seen as mostly plot devices and romantic leads, annoying Scrappies, or just there to be pretty. Others, however, appreciate that they're all depicted as competent contemporaries of their male counterparts, are well written and acted, and serve important roles in the plots beyond just being love interests. Jane Foster and Black Widow are the most contentious; due to her costume Widow is criticized for being a sex object, but others argue that people are just assuming that because of her costume and she's actually generally well respected, while Jane is criticized over her underdeveloped chemistry with Thor, but defended thanks to being a highly skilled scientist who might be on par with Bruce and Tony. The treatment of Wasp though is considered bad by most, though.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull, is a profound Narcissist who believes himself a god that is no longer bound by humanity's rules. The head of HYDRA, a Nazi military organization, Schmidt has turned the group into his own personal cult. He's first introduced killing the guardian of the Tesseract and ordering the entire village where it was hidden wiped out for seemingly no reason. He goes on to betray Hitler and the Nazi party to pursue his own goals and murders the three men sent to check on the status of his research. Schmidt uses the Tesseract to make fantastic new weapons for HYDRA, and has POWs torturously experimented on in order to replicate Dr. Erskine's Super Soldier Super Serum. Despite their fanatical devotion to Schmidt, he continually shows no concern for the welfare of his men, having them chomp cyanide pills when captured to avoid giving out information on him, executing one merely for surviving an attack on a HYDRA base, and activating the self-destruct sequence at another HYDRA base when the Allied forces overrun it, not caring that hundreds of his troops will be killed in the blast. Schmidt's ultimate plan is to use his new weapons to wipe out half the planet, bombing nearly every major city including his own capital, just so he can rule over what's left.
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Clairvoyant aka John Garrett is the Big Bad of the first season of the Spin-Off. Heading the Centipede Project as a powerful figure in HYDRA, the Clairvoyant has superpowered individuals abducted and experimented on, implants his soldiers with Explosive Leashes, which he utilizes should they fail him or outlive their usefulness, had Coulson tortured to reveal the secret of his revival, and frequently kidnaps and threatens the lives of the loved ones of his "employees" in order to ensure their complete loyalty. At one point he implanted a SHIELD Agent with an Explosive Leash and forced her to work for him, work that included massacring a subway train full of bank security personnel to get what they were guarding. Later he implanted an Explosive Leash in Mike Peterson as well, abducted his son, and turned Mike into the cyborg villain Deathlok against his will. Despite his cheery demeanor, the Clairvoyant has no loyalty or empathy for anyone, not even to his undyingly loyal right-hand man, Grant Ward, whom he nearly killed to further his own plans. Later, he would force Ward to attempt to murder his two friends, Fitz and Simmons, in order to prove he's not weak. Ultimately, the Clairvoyant's true interest was extending his own life, and once he'd achieved that he went on to plan world domination.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Ronan the Accuser is a genocidal Kree terrorist and renegade wholly devoted to the destruction of the planet of Xandar. Disgusted by his people signing a peace treaty, Ronan is introduced to the audience by confronting a captive member of Xandar's Nova Corps, crushing the helpless man's skull with his Universal Weapon, and then bathing in his blood. Beginning the film as a henchman of the Mad Titan Thanos, Ronan seeks to gather an item for Thanos so that he will destroy Xandar for him. Under Thanos, Ronan has committed multiple murders, including the deaths of Drax the Destroyer's wife and daughter. He later pursues the film's motley band of heroes to the space prison The Kyln, and orders a full massacre of every prisoner to leave no witnesses. When he realizes the power of the Infinity Stone he has been sent to retrieve, Ronan double crosses Thanos and vows to kill him after he's finished with Xandar. Assaulting the planet, he even orders his own men to become suicide bombers by flying their ships into Xandar, injuring and killing numerous civilians. After mocking Drax about finally remembering murdering his family, he declares Xandar "guilty" by his psychotic philosophy and attempts to purge it of all life. Brutal, violent, relentless and unforgiving, Ronan stands as an example of rage, fanaticism, unchecked hatred and utter cruelty, and really stands out in such a relatively light-hearted movie.
  • Creator Worship: Kevin Feige gets a lot of this from fans, some of whom have even argued that he's doing a better job with these characters than the comic writers themselves are. Though he's recently been taking heat from the reveal that the Wasp is getting Stuffed into the Fridge in Ant-Man.
    • Joss Whedon as well, but that's par the course for Whedon.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Loki, so freaking much.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson, aka "SON OF COUL!" So far he's gotten two separate one-shot short films starring him as features on two of the movie DVDs, his own digital comic spotlight issue, and an Earth-616 counterpart. Even when he was killed in ''The Avengers, fan demand for him was so high that Coulson was brought back to life and given his own TV show.
    • Darcy from Thor.
    • Hawkeye following his cameo in Thor & role as one of the Avengers. Especially considering his lack of screentime compared to the rest of the group.
    • Falcon, as of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • Despite not even appearing yet (or even being cast yet), Mockingbird has gained a lot of hype after she was revealed to be joining the cast of Agents of SHIELD. CBR's SDCC announcement poll actually has her announcement as the highest rated announcement of the second day, even beating Sam Raimi's Evil Dead TV series announcement, The Walking Dead season 5 trailer reveal, and Guardians of the Galaxy sequel announcements.
  • Epileptic Trees: Some popular fan theories include:
    • Tony's Arc Reactor being a reverse-engineered Tesseract. Possibly confirmed as of Captain America, due to Howard Stark, one of the original inventors of the Arc Reactor, being shown recovering the Tesseract at the end of the film.
    • Loki letting himself be defeated at the end of The Avengers so he could be taken to Asgard and steal the Infinity Gauntlet for Thanos. Could possibly happen given how Thor: The Dark World ends with Loki seemingly usurping the throne from Odin.
    • Coulson returning in Avengers 2 resurrected as the Vision. Coulson was brought back from the dead via Project T.A.H.I.T.I. following Avengers but before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but the Vision has since been confirmed to be JARVIS.
    • With Clint's absence during the bulk of Phase 2, a popular theory from non-Clintasha shippers is that he spent the time with Mockingbird, either having solo adventures or just relaxing and recovering. A slightly less-serious one is that he had to take time off following the Loki mind control thing and the subsequent breakdown he likely had, just as Selvig did (complete with naked Hawkeye).
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • With The Dark Knight Saga, continuing the Marvel Comics/DC Comics rivalry. The two franchises are as different as night and day (unlike, however, the Marvel and DC comics themselves which are much the same in tone).
      • With the DC films meant to comprise a "DC Cinematic Universe", made in direct competition with the MCU. This includes Green Lantern and Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which is currently in production. Warner Bros. hopes this will result in a Justice League movie to parallel The Avengers.
      • A lot of this from the DC side tends to cross into Scifi Ghetto and Hate Dumb too. A lot of people have expressed the view that the MCU is for stupid children while The Dark Knight Saga, Man of Steel, and Arrow are 'dark realism', and as such are better/for smarter people. While this ignores that the MCU can be rather dark at times and has plenty of content that isn't really that kid-friendly (the fact there's a sex scene in the first twenty minutes of the first film in the MCU seems to be ignored and forgotten), it also ignores that the DC films are also still rather popular with kids despite their perceived maturity, that DC have had a lot of films with a similar tone to Marvel's current films, or, you know, that there's a difference between tone and quality.
    • With Marvel movies not made by Marvel Studios, such as Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man Series and Fox's X-Men and Fantastic Four (2015) series. A lot of MCU fans wish these franchises would revert to Marvel, so such films made after Iron Man (not before), like The Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men: First Class are often dismissed as mere cash grabs made just to keep the rights from Marvel Studios. On the other hand, there are fans who believe that Marvel Studios simply doesn't care enough to buy the rights back (which is an option for them), since they make money off Sony and Fox's movies anyway and Marvel's in-house movies are performing spectacularly on their own.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • A few fans seemed to favour Ashley Johnson's character (the blonde woman who appears several times during the Chitauri invasion) as a potential love interest for Captain America.
    • Some fans feel that Captain America had a lot more chemistry with Black Widow in Winter Soldier than he did with Sharon Carter (who shares one scene with him), and that it ultimately went to waste.
    • Hawkeye and Widow are pretty popular, but are as of yet not in a relationship as far as we can tell. Widow denies any feelings for him, and while the two are friends, they don't have any obvious romantic intentions.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Iron Woobie: Bruce Banner and Tony Stark.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Loki. He may be a homicidal, Axe Crazy megalomaniac, but it's very hard not to feel some sympathy for him, especially in Thor.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Loki, Big Time.
    • Whiplash is good at it in Iron Man 2 as well.
    • The Red Skull might count as well. The guy wants to overthrow HITLER and create his own empire, and probably WOULD HAVE had Cap not stopped him.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Fans apparently think the story in Norse Mythology about Loki shape-shifting into a horse and ending up pregnant is hilarious, and has become an endless source of fanart jokes.
    • Nick Fury = Demoman. Both are badass black men with eyepatches.
    • Ivan Vanko's "Vhere ees my burd? I vant my burd." from Iron Man 2.
    • ...He's adopted.
    • Loki's brain is a bag of cats.
    • It's normal for fans (especially fans of Loki) to refer to each other as ''mewling quims'', whether jokingly or as an insult.
    • "I am burdened with glorious ________ (insert substitute for "purpose" here)."
    • "Enormous, Green Rage Monster" is pretty much the default description for the Hulk now.
    • "Fondue".
    • "This ________ (substitute "drink" here). I like it. ANOTHER!!!"
    • Darcy being the fandom bicycle.
    • Looking around on the WMG pages for movies after Iron Man 3, you may notice many tropers theorizing that they'll have the same kind of reveal.
    • "I understood that reference".
    • Images of someone whispering "Hail Hydra" to another person.
    • Tony and Bruce are now known as the Science Bros.
  • Never Live It Down: The MCU has a bad reputation for having underwhelming villains (Loki being a notable exception, and even he was considered to be a weak villain in Thor when that movie was first released) with Malekith from Thor: The Dark World, the real Mandarin from Iron Man 3, and Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy, being the worst offenders. It doesn't help that their actors could have easily done great work if they had more material to work with. The Clairvoyant from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be an exception, owing to the more protracted format of TV versus film and the fact that he is played by Bill Paxton. The Clairvoyant's right-hand Grant Ward may count as well.
  • Older Than They Think: This is often the first example people think of for Clarke's Third Law, even though Marvel has used it before (Doctor Doom's appearance in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, the Mandarin's Rings, or Earth X).
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: Disney's films made under Marvel Studios almost always receive better reception from fans and critics alike over Marvel movies made by other studios after the beginning of the MCU. The sole exceptions seem to be the critically-acclaimed X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past (particularly the latter), both of which were made by Fox.
  • Possession Sue: Both Widow and Darcy get this a bit; Darcy is pretty much shipped with everyone because she works well as a stand-in for the shipper, while Widow, as the only girl on the team, tends to have her uniqueness stripped away and used as a placeholder for some female fans to get together with the other Avengers...but mostly with Hawkeye. Sad, considering how well Widow was written in the films. That said, it is possibly due to how well Widow was written that the phenomenon isn't as prevalent as it might be.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • All the corners of the slash shipping tend to argue quite a bit. Tony/Bruce, Tony/Steve, Tony/Loki, Tony/Coulson, Tony/Rhodey, Steve/Bucky, Steve/Sam, Steve/Clint, Clint/Coulson, Clint/Loki, Thor/Loki, etc. Any two of these that aren't compatible with one-another tend to argue a LOT. Then there's the inclusion of their respective lady friends...
    • Since even before she was cast and brought in, Mockingbird has been in one with Natasha over Clint. As Clint's most prominent relationship in the comics, Clintasha shippers who've read up on the comics knew Bobbi would come in between Clintasha, and so have made a frequent point to argue over her, while Bobbi/Clint shippers from the comics have responded in kind. With Bucky being present, it leads to a three-way shipping war between Hawkingbird, Clintasha, and Bucktasha.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some people object to the race changing of Heimdall and Nick Fury. Though the former caused by far the largest outcry, considering Fury's look in the Ultimate comics was actually specifically based off Samuel L. Jackson. Some of them shut up when the two became Memetic Badasses. This is also happening towards Henry Pym, as he will be older (in his 70s - played by Michael Douglas) and won't be the main Ant-Man.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The magnum opus of the series is considered to be either Iron Man (the first to be released) or The Avengers (which tied all of them together). What is generally agreed upon is that no movie in the 'verse could compare to either of them until Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy came out.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy