YMMV / Marvel Cinematic Universe


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    Tropes A to D 
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Thanos, of all people, as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Seven movies since his debut (appearing in three of them), he has collected exactly zero Infinity Stones, and in fact even has one fewer Stone than he started with (as Loki's staff had the Mind Stone).
    "Thanos has become the Trix rabbit of supervillains."w
    • Another is he's The Chessmaster playing the Long Game. He may not have the Infinity Stones, but he knows where most of them are (as well as figuring out the location to the Infinity Gauntlet). In the stinger of Age of Ultron, Thanos appears tired of relying on others to bring him the Stones, and resolves to retrieve them personally.
    • Some fans speculate that the Infinity Stones have some level of sentience, similar to the One Ring. Most prominently, this would mean the Mind Stone was manipulating all sides so it could get a body. This would be similar to the original Infinity Trilogy from the comics where the Gems all have a level of sentience and a desire to be with the others.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail:
    • No superhero crossover film had ever been done beforenote , and Marvel's biggest super heroes 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 some of the films released since the Avengers. A film based on the Guardians of the Galaxy, with characters obscure even to Marvel fans, and a film based on the much-mocked Ant-Man — especially in light of its well-publicized Troubled Production — were written off as potential flops by most outlets. And yet they were both successful, outdoing expectations rather significantly. Moral of the story: Don’t bet against the House of Ideas. Or the House of Mouse.
  • Arc Fatigue: Thanos's story in Phase 1 and Phase 2 consists of him sending flunkies to bring him Infinity Stones, which ultimately causes him to lose several of the Infinity Stones he already had, along with those he nearly gained. He also does not get a lot of characterization with his few appearances in these parts, coming across as a Generic Doomsday Villain. This is set to be rectified in Phase 3, in which he takes a hands-on approach to the situation and his motivations are explained. Related to this trope, Thanos' surprise appearance at the end of The Avengers was mind-blowing to comic book fans and intriguing to general audiences. By the time he shows up again in the post credits scene for Age of Ultron, viewers are more likely to roll their eyes.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After fans objected to heroic comics characters like Alexander Pierce and Sitwell being made HYDRA agents, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed that some of the people working for HYDRA really were loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and were actually brainwashed.
    • Fans of The Mandarin were naturally pretty upset when Iron Man 3 revealed that he didn't actually exist as comic fans would recognize him, and that Adrian Killian was the MCU Mandarin with the comic-accurate depiction portrayed by Ben Kingsley just being an actor providing a front for Killian. A one-shot retconned that there is a real Mandarin after all and he's in the shadows scheming. However, this turned out to be an Aborted Arc and the whole mess is mostly ignored now.
    • After years of legal right shenanigans, Marvel and Sony finally reached an agreement to introduce Spider-Man into the MCU, with Sony co-producing films he appears in. Combined with reports that Fox and Marvel are working together to make two X-Men-related television series (since Fox want to make one, but their contract only gives them film rights, and so they would need Marvel to work with them to make it), which could easily be brought into the MCU as well, a united Marvel Cinematic Universe is closer to becoming a reality than ever.
  • With all the issues preventing a Black Widow movie from being made (whatever you think they are), her fans were thrown a bone with the tie-in novel series about her. The first book also takes the opportunity to make it clear that, whatever Joss Whedon says, the Avengers were told at some point that Coulson was still alive.
  • Phase 2 saw criticism for continuing the trend of Phase 1 with a predominantly white male cast of heroes, and weak Generic Doomsday Villains that, aside from Loki, are killed off at the end of the film. Phase 3 sought to correct both problems:
    • Black Panther and Captain Marvel are getting their own movies, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brought in Mantis and increased Gamora and Nebula's screentime, the Ant-Man sequel features the Wasp and even promotes her in the film's title, Spider-Man: Homecoming features a diverse supporting cast (with major supporting characters like Liz Allan and Flash Thompson played by non-white actors), and Thor: Ragnarok not only features the debut of Valkyrie (played by a black actress), but also that of Hela, the MCU's first leading female villain. And on the TV side, Luke Cage single-handedly at least triples the amount of black characters in the 'verse. There's also been a subtle push for behind-the-camera diversity: both Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther have non-white directors (and in the case of Black Panther the director, producer and writers are all African-American) while Captain Marvel has an all-female writing team and a female director. On the TV side Marvel has recruited non-white directors such as John Ridley and Gina Prince-Bythewood to work on its shows.
    • Phase 3's villains have been very well received in general, and a few of them get to last more than one film (or at least, they don't die, leaving a return open). Zemo and The Vulture were given sympathetic motivations and backstories to make them much more interesting, and they go to prison instead of being killed off. Karl Mordo underwent Adaptational Heroism to begin as an ally to Doctor Strange that undergoes a Face–Heel Turn in The Stinger, establishing a character arc for him that will continue with him being the primary villain of a future film. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Ego the Living Planet has been praised as one of the most fleshed-out and entertaining villains the franchise has ever had, and Ayesha acts as a secondary antagonist in the film and serves to set up Adam Warlock for the third film.
  • After the theatrical release of Inhumans flopped, the next entry in the Cinematic Universe is Thor: Ragnarok, the long-awaited culmination of the Ragnarok storyline, and something that so far has generated positive buzz from audiences.
  • Award Snub: After almost ten years' worth (at the time of writing) of movies mostly extremely well-received by critics and fans, many are annoyed that the MCU still does not have a single Oscar to its name, with the most infamous snub being The Grand Budapest Hotel getting a Best Makeup award over Guardians of the Galaxy. Fuel was only added to the fire when Suicide Squad (2016) ended up winning onenote  meaning that the DCEU, in spite of only existing for less than four years and being hugely divisive managed to win an Oscar before the MCU did.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Loki. Originally an Ensemble Darkhorse and considered one of the best, if not the best villain the MCU has to offer, over time he's moved into this trope. While his fans welcome the increase in focus on him, others have grown to consider Loki a Draco in Leather Pants, highly overrated by his fangirls, or a Spotlight-Stealing Squad who appears at the expense of characters who needed more the screentime and development.
    • Agent Coulson, to a lesser extent. He was an Ensemble Darkhorse like Loki in Avengers, and his fans campaigned to save him and get him his own show. Fans who didn't like him, however, now see him as an overhyped boring everyman who gets given promotion in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. above canon comic book agents and other, more interesting Canon Foreigners.
    • Tony Stark is the most prominent figure in the MCU for obvious reasons, and his portrayal in the films is widely credited with turning Iron Man into a beloved character and rescuing him from the Scrappy Heap the comics had dug him into. However, over time he's become disliked by a significant portion of the fandom, especially comics fans, for being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad and who has a tendency to Kick the Dog due to his abrasive personality. He's also received a lot of flak for the fact that in some of the films, he plays parts of varying significance in creating the conflict in the first place and rarely acknowledges it or tries to change his Control Freak tendencies so it never happens again.
    • Many fans are unhappy that Hawkeye is a Happily Married man with kids living on a farm rather than a divorced schmuck living in an apartment with a dog, or that he's not romantically with either Black Widow or Mockingbird, as well as resenting his Ultimates-inspired backstory of being a SHIELD agent with a dark black outfit rather than a former circus performer with a purple/blue outfit. Others like the changes to his character, or like his portrayal in spite of the changes, while a third group like Hawkeye as he is but would like to see him wear a mask and/or have his backstory fleshed out to reveal his circus background.
    • Jessica Jones is either one of the strongest and most sympathetic female protagonists seen in years, a pointlessly hostile Jerk Ass who arguably does more damage to her life of her own free will than she ever did under Kilgrave's control and dampens the viewers' sympathy, or a damaged wreck of a person who keeps ruining her own life in a way that's uncomfortable to watch because of her trauma from Kilgrave's control. Some viewers even held the first and third view but gradually shifted to the second due to the Arc Fatigue of the series dragging out Jessica's character development.
    • Wanda Maximoff. Even if she is 'just a kid' who's not responsible for her actions, those actions still directly led to the Hulk going on a rampage and Tony creating Ultron, thus killing thousands of people, including her own brother and setting off Zemo. The fact that she mind raped the Avengers as a whole, willingly volunteered to be experimented on by Nazis, tried to kill Tony for spurious reasons at best, attacked Vision for no reason and never took responsibility for her part in Ultron's creation and was rewarded with membership to the Avengers galls a lot of fans especially considering how much flak is given to Loki and Tony for doing far less.
    • Steve Rogers. Post Civil War some fans have turned on the Captain (and his entire team really) due to his knowing that Howard and Maria Stark were killed by The Winter Soldier since CATWS, and harboring the secret the whole time. Some argue that his reasoning for not signing the Sokovia Accords in Civil War is contrary to his stance in CATWS where his entire arc was based on his disgust with the lack of accountability and oversight within SHIELD that allowed HYDRA to infiltrate in the first place. The massive property, civilian and government damage he does in his pursuit of protecting Bucky Barnes didn't help either.
    • The Inhuman Royal Family. Either you are happy than the original Kirby-created Inhumans have been brought to the MCU, or they are Replacement Scrappies for the X-Men, that Fox has the rights to.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Given how the MCU is more or less the Marvel Universe brought to life, there are many, many, many instances where the actors' voices can be heard when reading the comics.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Creator Worship:
    • Kevin Feige gets a lot of this from fans, some arguing that he's doing a better job with these characters than the comic writers themselves are. He's come under critical fire for unpopular decisions regarding diversity in the MCU (waffling on a Black Widow movie, the controversial casting decisions behind Doctor Strange and Iron Fist) but his reputation has slowly returned after leaked Sony emails revealed Perlmutter, rather than Feige, was responsible for a number of said controversies.
    • Joss Whedon as well for the first two Avengers movies and his involvement with the franchise as a whole, but that's par the course for Whedon. However, he did get a bit of flak for Age Of Ultron after its release.
    • The Russo brothers, for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and their involvement in Phase 3.
    • Black Panther directer Ryan Coogler gets a huge amount of pre-emptive worship for his genuine talent and his casting choices.
    • There's also a lot of pre-emptive excitement for Taika Waititi's directing of Thor: Ragnarok, once again because he's a really good director.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • Inverted, as some viewers find the MCU so light and humorous that it reduces the sense of stakes or drama, coupled with Contractual Immortality that ensures most of the big characters that are in supposed "danger" will live.
    • Played straight with the Netflix shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been seen as being too dark for some due to their tone, the ugly subject matters they explore, flawed characters and the Trauma Conga Line both shows put their protagonists through.
    • Played with in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where the show's initial light tone earned it a lot of ridicule compared to DC's Arrow, but gained significant critical praise as it got darker. However, some tend to complain that the show is too dark, particularly during the second season. Things improved after that, however.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Loki, a villain of three films, is adored by a certain section of the fan base. This has been acknowledged by Tom Hiddleston, who appeared in character at a convention and immediately had the entire room cheering for him. "It appears that I have an army."

    Tropes E to H 
  • Ending Fatigue: Barring Daredevil season 1, every season of the franchise's Netflix shows has been accused of not having enough story to fill their thirteen episodes, resulting in a good first half followed by the second half dragging as the characters run around not accomplishing much until the running time is filled. Daredevil season 2, meanwhile, had too many plots it juggled at the same time (Punisher, Elektra, the Hand, Karen becoming a journalist and Matt's straining friendship with Foggy). The news that The Defenders would be only eight episodes was met with a lot of relief, though there are still those arguing that with its having to juggle four heroes and all their supporting casts, a larger episode count would be far more reasonable.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Listed here
  • Epileptic Trees: Some popular fan theories include:
    • Clark Gregg himself endorses the theory that Coulson is actually his character FBI Special Agent Michael Casper from The West Wing, having taken a new identity upon being recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • A popular, half-joking theory is that Stan Lee's recurring cameos are actually the MCU version of Uatu the Watcher, taking a human form/avatar to observe the events of the films. It eventually became Ascended Fanon with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Loki, Grant Ward, Raina (not so much after her Karmic Transformation), Alrich Killian, Lorelei, Nebula and Dottie Underwood. Note that only Nebula and Killian are intended to be (downplayed) fanservice in the context of the movie, while Lorelei is outright Fan Disservice.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Has its own page.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • With the DC Extended Universe (and previous DC films like the The Dark Knight Trilogy), continuing the Marvel Comics/DC Comics rivalry. The two franchises are currently as different as night and day (unlike, however, the Marvel and DC comics themselves, which are much the same in tone).
      • It should be noted that the "differences" have effective been blurred, with the Netflix shows bringing "night" into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Wonder Woman bringing "day" into the DC Extended Universe.
    • With Marvel movies not made by Marvel Studios, such as Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man Series and Fox's X-Men Film Series. A lot of MCU fans wish these franchises would revert to Marvel, and films made after Iron Man, like The Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men: First Class are often dismissed as cash grabs made to keep the rights from Marvel Studios. Conversely, some argue that Fox's movies work better than Marvel's in-house movies (a phenomenon referred to as "Foxholm Syndrome" by MCU fans).
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Because there are so many movies and such a large fandom, which ones are the FPC often varies depending on whether the viewer has seen the solo films, the The Avengers movies, or both. For example: if people only watch the Captain America solo movies, the FPC would be Steve/Bucky, Steve/Natasha, and Steve/Sam. But if they only watch The Avengers, the FPC would be Steve/Tony and Steve/The Waitress. The only real exception among the multiple franchise characters is Thor, whom people prefer to pair up with either Loki or Sif (who is Thor's love interest in both the comics and the original Norse myths) due to Jane being rather... ill-received.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • A lot of the problems people pick on the later movies for (too many White Male Leads, flat villains, too many characters to keep track of, too much emphasis on setting up future movies) were there from the beginning, and can even be seen in the best received installments like Iron Man and The Avengers.
  • First Installment Wins: With the exception of the Captain America films and sequels, it's generally acknowledged that most Marvel movies lose their novelty after the first film of the run and the sequels (Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Thor The Dark World) tend to be weaker. This even applies to the The Avengers where Ultron was seen as falling short of the first film, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Some have argued that the extended universe nature of these films prevents sequels from really having stakes, and flattens it into Comic-Book Time where characters can't truly grow, change or experience Character Development significantly.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • Shockingly, at least for now, there seems to be one between MCU fans and the soon to be Legendary Pictures's MonsterVerse. Perhaps it's because both franchises share the same actors such as Aaron Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen for Godzilla (2014) and Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson for Kong: Skull Island. It could also be fact that Marvel had produced a Godzilla comic book line in the 80's, therefore some Marvel fans consider Godzilla an honorary Marvel character. Either way, both fandoms appear to be on much friendlier terms as opposed to the DC Extended Universe fans (which can get heated). So much so that both fandoms would like to see a crossover with The Avengers fighting Godzilla or other famous Kaiju.
    • MCU fans have a much healthier relationship with fans of Deadpool than the other Marvel movies made by FOX, mostly due to how a comics-faithful, R-rated Deadpool movie would be incompatible with the (relatively) family-friendly MCU films. It doesn't hurt that Deadpool made a couple of friendly nods towards the MCU itself, has been praised by a number of the MCU's actors and directors, and even got approval and help from Kevin Feige himself.
  • Friendly Rivalry: For all the acrimony between their fandoms, creators in the MCU and DCEU have been fairly amiable towards one anothernote  James Gunn and Patty Jenkins expressed excitement for each other's films, while Scott Derrickson tweeted support to David Ayers over Suicide Squad.
  • Genre Turning Point: The franchise as a while served as the major turning point in not only the superhero genre but for blockbuster films in general:
    • They are the Trope Codifier in the 21st Century for the Shared Universe. Before Iron Man and before The Avengers, the idea of a superhero team-up was considered a pipe dream among comic book fans. Earlier superhero films, despite the odd Mythology Gag and in-joke, had heroes existing in the world as the only beings of their kind, be it Batman, Superman, or even Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy and the X-Men Film Series. The MCU changed the game and The Avengers proved that a big-budget live-action superhero ensemble film could and would work and be phenomenally successful, and it wouldn't be overcrowded with too many heroes or characters. It led to a renewal and modification of the blockbuster franchise mode and it directly spurred the creation of the DC Extended Universe as well as myriad other attempts at a shared continuity in non-superhero genres.
    • Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Guardians of the Galaxy in particular, changed the dominant aesthetic of superhero films away from Movie Superheroes Wear Black, Real Is Brown and Doing In the Wizard, opening the doors for bringing in most of the fantastical and science-fiction pulp elements that were there in the comics but were always reimagined in earlier movies (such as Christopher Nolan making Ra's Al Ghul into a title passed down in a Master-Apprentice Chain rather than an immortal being who dips into Lazarus Pits, while movie Superman hardly ever faces the more outlandish and cosmic parts of his Rogues Gallery). These films respectively allowed for Crystal Spires and Togas, Stupid Jetpack Hitler Nazis and talking animals, and made them dramatically and emotionally compelling, while also blending superhero genres with Historical Fiction, Alternate History, High Fantasy and Space Opera, and opening the floodgates for almost any kind of comic book character and story, and so any kind of movie, to be conceivable in live-action, no matter how outlandish the concept seemed on paper.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Starting in 2016, it seems the universe really has it out for actors who played HYDRA agents with the untimely deaths of Garry Shandling, Bill Paxton, and Powers Boothe within a year.
  • He's Just Hiding:
    • Coulson was this after his death in The Avengers. Turns out he was hiding, and it was in Tahiti. It's a magical place.
    • Janet van Dyne, after it was confirmed she was going to be a hero in the 60s who'd passed away, has been getting this. Fans were hoping that, instead of turning Hope van Dyne into an expy of her, they'll instead reveal that the real Jan is still trapped in the Microverse, like she was in the comics. This has also proven true after she was confirmed to appear in Ant-Man & The Wasp.
    • Red Skull. Even after [1] proved that most mortals can't survive direct contact with an Infinity Stones, fans are still convinced that he somehow survived (Fridge Logic and that old age has also been unable to kill him).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The fan theory of "Hawkeye was absent for most of Phase 2 because he was having adventures with Mockingbird" is this thanks to Mockingbird joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2. While the two aren't in a relationship, it is at least canon they knew each other, and she was definitely doing something before Coulson had her spy on HYDRA for him.
    • After the big deal that was made over the MCU not being able to use the word "mutant", Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed that Skye is Daisy Johnson, who was portrayed as a mutant for a while before the reveal that her powers had a different source.
    • The final moments of Ant-Man feature a vague reference to Spider-Man that was intended to just be a throwaway meta-joke, but by the time the film was released Marvel had reached an agreement with Sony to share the character and he was set to make his debut in Civil War, leading many fans to assume it was a deliberate piece of foreshadowing.
    • Speaking of Spider-Man, there was a planned appearance by the Oscorp tower from The Amazing Spider-Man to supposedly tie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Sony's rebooted Spider-Man series, but it was scrapped due to the virtual Manhattan for the movie being completed and with time constraints, the plan was scrapped. Four years later, the MCU finally did get Spider-Man to join, but not the same one Sony had at the time, due to the poor reception of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
    • It was already funny enough that Chris Evans had previously played the Human Torch before becoming Captain America, and then the other Human Torch Michael B. Jordan joined the cast of Black Panther.
    • After a while of playing Claire Temple, a character who meets multiple superheroes and eventually helps them become a far stronger team, Rosario Dawson crossed to DC and voiced Barbara Gordon in The LEGO Batman Movie, where she does the same thing for super villains.
    • In the wake of Age of Ultron's Hype Backlash against the movie and Joss Whedon, many DCEU fans smugly insisted that at least their franchise would never hire him. Fast-forward to 2017, when DC announced that Whedon would write and direct Batgirl...
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Hype Backlash: After years of being built up as the pinnacle of live-action superhero films, this set in during Phase 2. Some viewers claim the films aren't as faithful to the comics as claimed, are too similar in plot and tone, and controversial cases of Executive Meddling have taken some of the luster off the studio.
  • Hypocritical Fandom: After the negative reviews ended up showing up for Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad from DC Cinematic Universe, some of the more immature MCU fans ended up stating that those movies suck even before they had a chance to watch it due to the Fandom Rivalry between the DCCU and the MCU. However, after the negative reviews for Iron Fist (2017) started showing up, those MCU fans decided to give that show a chance and asked people to make up their own mind when watching the show.

    Tropes I to L 
  • Internet Backdraft: Enough instances to have its own page.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks:
    • Many fans feel that the post-Phase One films are getting a bit formulaic. The exceptions that stand out are usually Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, the former of which gets major praise for strong writing and being a huge Wham Episode while the latter is appreciated for being a break from all the events happening back on Earth.
    • Some people have claimed this about the ABC shows (both spy shows with a balance of comedy and drama, focusing primarily on non-powered individuals fighting against terror groups), and the Netflix shows (which deal with a dark Anti-Hero suffering depression with tragic backstories). The similarities are limited, but some still call foul on them.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks: After The Avengers became the 3rd highest grossing film of all time, 2014 being a huge year for comic book movies and the rise of proposed movie Shared Universes including but not limited to a revival of Universal Horror, a Sony-led Ghostbusters/Men in Black/21 Jump Street universe, and Paramount's Transformers/G.I. Joe universe, a lot of people are now over the novelty of shared franchise universes and frequently complain about the lack of original properties being made into films.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Everyone. See the main page for reasons and details. A few more specific examples include:
    • Type 1: Tony Stark, Mockingbird and Loki. The first two "specialty" are Ho Yay and the latter is Foe Yay.
    • Type 2: Darcy Lewis (whose specialty is Crack Ship), Adorkable Jemma Simmons, Black Widow (due to the sheer amount of Ship Tease with both male and female characters), Captain America (a lot of Ho Yay - especially after Winter Soldier, being the Token Good Teammate in the Avengers, a healthy Ship Tease with Widow and the whole case with Peggy, two of the more popular heroines) and Wanda Maximoff (for being such a massive Woobie even comparing to the rest of the Avengers that people just want something goes right in her life for once).
  • Like You Would Really Do It: A recurring element in any Marvel-based trailer is to drop hints that a major character is going to die, only to reveal that said character survives. i.e. Captain America's torn shield, Iron Man and War Machine's reactors flickering etc. Subverted in Age of Ultron, where Quicksilver actually is killed off and any hints that the other characters might die are just red herrings.

    Tropes M to P 
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Loki thinks circles around everyone, and the only reason he didn't conquer the Earth was down to the the staff Thanos gave to him wasn't as powerful as he was lead to believe. At the end of Dark World, he convinces Thor that he died a heroic death and then takes over Asgard by impersonating his father.
    • Helmut Zemo, the man whose scheme in Civil War nearly destroyed the Avengers from within and successfully divided the team by the end of the movie.
    • HYDRA leaders in general seem to be this:
      • The Red Skull wants to overthrow HITLER and create his own empire, and WOULD HAVE had Cap not stopped him. For reference, Hitler sent him away after his face was ruined, which Skull turned as an opportunity to privately develop weapons that would undermine the Nazis and overpower anything the allies could throw at him.
      • The Skull was upstaged by his own henchman, Dr. Zola, who secretly rebuilt HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D., and just seconds away from conquest of the world.
      • Garret, AKA the Clairvoyant, is able to divert resources from SHIELD and gather groups who serve him under the illusion he's a psychic, while Gideon Mallick is able to manipulate Grant Ward, himself a gifted Manipulative Bastard, into abandoning his own revenge plan and work under him through a pep talk to inflate his ego and trick him into buying into a greater purpose, and that's without getting into how he was able to corrupt the agency designed to replace SHIELD by just being friends with the person in charge of overseeing it. As HYDRA is revealed to be a centuries old death-cult who worship a body-jacking Inhuman monster, its likely that there's been many of these leading them, and that said body-jacking Inhuman monster himself proves to be pretty effective at this, being able to completely steal HYDRA out from under the previous leadership and almost getting away with turning the world into a slave army of Primitives.
    • Thanos, considering he's the one behind all the other villains. One could argue that Loki was his Unwitting Pawn.
    • Nick Fury is a heroic example; he constantly lies and manipulates everyone around him, and he's good enough at it that even when they don't like working with him, they still end up helping him in the way he wants them to.
    • Coulson also proves to be effective at this. For starters, after the collapse of SHIELD and being left with only a fraction of its former resources, he wages war against a much larger HYDRA force, and proceeds to slowly and surely dismantle them cell-by-cell, at one point tricking several of the biggest to utterly destroy themselves. Likewise, he's shown to be really good at getting people to do what he wants when interrogating them, skills which he evidently teaches Daisy.
  • Memetic Badass: Nick Fury and Heimdall. Agent May, Black Widow, and Captain America seem to be In-Universe ones.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now with its own page.
  • Misblamed:
    • A lot of people were mad at Marvel Studios for not announcing a Hulk movie for either Phase 2 or Phase 3. However, the character's film rights are tangled up with Universal; while Marvel Studios owns the character and can freely use him, Universal still owns the distribution rights for any solo film that the character appears in. Therefore, Marvel Studios and Universal are at an impasse with the Hulk unless a cross-studio deal is reached in time for Phase 4.
    • Thanks to his status as the "face" of Marvel Studios, Feige's something of a Scapegoat Creator for fans displeased with the direction of the MCU:
      • Feige’s frequently the biggest target for criticisms of the MCU's lack of diversity, but the Sony email leaks, as well as subsequent articles from sites like Bleeding Cool, revealed Perlmutter to be responsible for much of the foot-dragging in this arena.note 
      • Fans also held Feige responsible for the Executive Meddling that led to Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man and Joss Whedon being unsatisfied with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Again, it turned out Perlmutter was responsible.
    • Channing Dungey got a lot of hatred for, among other things nixing the Most Wanted series in its crib upon being promoted to the head of ABC. Kevin Feige later clarified that it was a mutual decision between ABC and Marvel after the series pilot ended up severely underwhelming them all. Fans also act like Dungey is a monster for canceling Agent Carter and moving Agents of SHIELD to a later time slot, but the fact is that SHIELD wasn't getting good ratings in its current time slot (and had been losing viewers for quite some time), while Agent Carter wasn’t do any better.
    • As mentioned in the Internet Backdraft section, there are a number of fans who complain about favoritism towards the movie characters as opposed to the TV ones, particularly where merchandising is concerned. While it is true that the movie heroes get way more merchandise than the TV ones, Marvel generally does not make its own toys. The vast majority of the MCU products are made by other companies that have licensed the properties from Marvel, usually meaning they are the ones deciding who gets a toy and who doesn't. Additionally, a major reason why the movies have so many toys is because a significant portion of their audience consists of children, while the TV shows (especially the Netflix ones) are generally aimed at older, more adult viewers. Compounding the issue even further is that toy companies have a noted tendency to prefer characters with distinctive, eye-catching costumes, while, with the exception of Daredevil, the TV shows usually tend to eschew traditional superhero costumes.
  • More Popular Spin-off: More like More Acclaimed Spin-Off, but the near-universal praise given to Netflix series so far has started to cause this, with many finding them to be the best works in the MCU.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Some fans feel that every Marvel comic book should be adapted by Marvel Studios, as they feel Marvel would treat the characters better. The actual evidence of this is mixed:
    • While The Amazing Spider-Man Series is considered worse than almost everything the MCU has produced (specially the second film), the Spider-Man Trilogy (particularly, again, the second film) is considered just as good as what the best the MCU has produced and one of the best superhero films. The success of Sam Raimi's films in particular played a major role in reviving Marvel from bankruptcy and more or less making the cinematic universe more than a pipe dream.
    • The X-Men Film Series is itself a mixed bag, with a few poor movies, but others that are considered among the best movies based on Marvel characters, with Logan in particular considered by some the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight.
    • The poor critical and public reception Fantastic Four (2015) (as well as that for the Tim Story adaptations) has had fans calling for Marvel's First Family to be put back into its parents' hands. These franchises aside, the MCU has indeed generally produced adaptations considered better than previous attempts at the characters (such as Captain America, Hulk or Daredevil).
    • On another note, most fans consider producer Kevin Feige to be the true overall visionary of the movie franchise and generally only consider the Marvel works under his watch to be worthwhile. This also feeds in the rivalry between the Cinematic and Television universes which have so far never crossed over, and which the movie-side largely treats as Expanded Universe and not true canon. On another note, fans feel that the Russo brothers handled Spider-Man better in terms of combat and agility in Civil War and the upcoming Infinity War (which features his Spider-sense) than Joe Watts. The Russos were the ones who introduced Spider-Man into the Cinematic Universe after all.

    Tropes R to T 
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Has its own page.
  • Scapegoat Creator: So far the only MCU entries with an unanimous negative reception are Iron Fist (2017) and Inhumans. Both shows had Scott Buck as the showrunner and the fan consensus seems to point to him as the source of all problems, whether accurately or not.
  • 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. Then Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came and gave Mockingbird a lot of ship teasing with Lance Hunter, including making him the ex-husband she has unresolved issues with, instead of Clint. Now, Huntingbird has gained support, and detraction, because of this. Further complicated when Age of Ultron revealed that Clint is actually Happily Married to a civilian woman, and Natasha is his kids' honorary aunt.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night:
    • Hawkeye and Coulson have never interacted outside of a single brief exchange in Thor, but somehow spawned an enormous following with over 9000 fanfics on Archive of Our Own alone.
    • Scott Lang/Peter Quill is a surprisingly popular ship in Asia even though the two have never met and don't even live in the same solar system. May have to do with both actors appearing on Parks and Recreation beforehand.
    • Despite their not having met yet, Stephen Strange and Tony Stark quickly became a popular pairing due to their similar story arcs across their respective first films. It also helps that both actors have played Sherlock Holmes, one of the oldest gay ship fandoms.
    • On a similar note there’s also Stephen Strange and Everett K. Ross, due to the latter being played by Martin Freeman.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • Some people object to the race changing of Heimdall and Nick Fury. This mostly stopped when the films came out and the two became Memetic Badasses.
    • Generally averted by many cases of Adaptation Personality Change that many characters, specifically minor S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, go through in the MCU. Pierce, Sitwell, Koenig, Hunter, Mack, and many others are largely minor Nick Fury supporting characters, so for the most part the general audience has no idea they're even a case of this.
  • Tough Act to Follow:

    Tropes U to Z 
  • Unexpected Character: The series is quite fond of these.
    • The Guardians of the Galaxy 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)?
    • Even the choice of characters for Ant-Man itself is bizarre. Instead of Hank Pym, a long-serving Avenger with a rich historical background, the movie stars Scott Lang, who is not as controversial but also a lot less famous. The beloved Janet van Dyne is nowhere to be seen, instead replaced by Hope, an obscure, evil Alternate Universe daughter of Janet's. Darren Cross, who boasts a single-digit count of comic book appearances, serves as the movie's Big Bad.
    • There are also some unexpected characters that show up in each movie. Nick Fury in Iron Man, Thanos in The Avengers, Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • 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-franchise and it's our burden to convince the rest of the movie-going public that that's the case.
    • Since the introduction of Skye in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, there were a lot of theories tossed around about which Marvel Comics character she would turn out to be. Daisy Johnson/Quake probably wasn't at the top of most people's lists.
    • Spider-Man was an unexpected addition to the franchise due to the tangled web of legal rights that a deal with Sony would necessitate. Nonetheless, Marvel Studios pulled it off.
    • Helen Cho is a footnote in the comics, but gets some screen time in Age of Ultron as the one providing medical support to the Avengers for the injuries they take and is heavily involved in creating The Vision.
    • Agent Carter reveals that Kid Colt, from a Golden Age western series that was never made part of the larger Marvel Universe in the comics, was a real person in the MCU and even has his own comic book series like Captain America.
    • While Marvel Studios technically has always had the rights to use the Skrull Empire itself, the fact that all the specific characters associated with it are owned by Fox as part of the Fantastic Four license made it seem impossible that they'd appear in the MCU until they were announced as the villains of Captain Marvel.
    • The ORIGINAL Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, has been confirmed to appear in Captain Marvel. The character is mostly eclipsed in adaptations by Carol Danvers, so few people expected him to actually be in the movie (especially considering they were reports of him being Adapted Out due to Carol's origin supposedly resembling Hal Jordan.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In the MCU, the Hulk in general and Bruce Banner are treated as Person of Mass Destruction and walking time bombs with their very arrival treated as a Godzilla Threshold. Out of universe, Mark Ruffalo's Banner/Hulk is a truly beloved character, the Breakout Character of The Avengers (getting the film's iconic Signature Scene where he smashes Loki), and the scene-stealer for Thor: Ragnarok.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Unlike the movies the Netflix series are not family-friendly in the slightest. They are both extremely violent and deal with very heavy themes such as moral boundaries, alcoholism, PTSD, rape, and racism. A Lego Avengers game based on the MCU actually left Daredevil and Jessica Jones out due to their adult content, while Disney Infinity wasn't allowed to use Daredevil or Jessica because the higher-ups didn't think either of their shows were appropriate for the game's family audience.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • After the disappointing performance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Marvel has to work in order to renew faith in the film franchise with the solo Spider-Man movie, along with whatever movie the character appears in beforehand. Judging by fan reactions to his role in Civil War, they're off to an amazing start.
    • Thor: The Dark World generally got mediocre reception and earned far less money than the film that it followed (which itself was rather divisive with audiences), so Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy won back a lot of fans cynical about the franchise's continued success. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also contributed to this, as the first half of the first season was similarly divisive, while what followed on the show has solidified a fanbase for itself.
    • A lot of the casting and character announcements for the Phase 3 films have won over some fans who had grown disillusioned with the lack of diversity in the MCU.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Robert Downey, Jr..'s well-publicized history with drug abuse, making him a liability on-set and box-office poison once his films were released, was still fresh in everyone's minds when he was cast as Tony Stark. It was assumed his drug-fueled antics on- and off-screen would continue.
    • Chris Evans was considered too silly to play Captain America, and his base-breaking previous stint as the Human Torch in the poorly received Fantastic Four (2005) movies (a franchise outside the MCU) was still a fairly recent memory when he was first announced.
    • Chris Hemsworth was either not big enough for Thor (he's 6'6"note , while Hemsworth is a measly 6'4"note ) or a no-name outside of Australia. Tom Hiddleston was seen as similarly random. See here.
    • People were initially opposed to Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner due to not being Edward Norton or looking anything like him, and being more famous for serious dramas than blockbuster films.
    • Samuel L. Jackson and Idris Elba were black actors playing traditionally white characters, the latter of whom is based on a Norse deity described in one poem as "the whitest of the gods". However, Ultimate Nick Fury is black and explicitly based on Jackson, while the Norse gods in the MCU are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
    • Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye disappointed many fans hoping for Josh Holloway. Others considered him too old or ugly for the role and not looking anything like the character from the comics.
    • Charlie Cox as Daredevil disappointed those who wanted Michael C. Hall. Others were skeptical as he was fairly unknown, and those who did know him knew him best as pretty-boy Tristan Thorn in Stardust.
    • Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones originally got this reaction for not looking much like the character and being considered too skinny and unimposing to play a superheroine.
    • Not as extreme as the other examples, but there was some backlash against Chadwick Boseman being cast as Black Panther, as Chiwetel Ejiofor was an extremely popular fan pick for the role. Others thought Boseman was too obscure, didn't look regal enough, or was too young to play the character, even though he was approaching 40 at the time he was cast.
    • In addition to the aforementioned Broken Base over whether Iron Fist should've undergone a Race Lift or not, Finn Jones' most famous role is as the controversially Camp Gay Dandy Loras Tyrell on Game of Thrones. There's also the question of whether he has the necessary martial arts and multilingual backgrounds expected for such a role.
    • The public has become so used to Dawson Casting that when Tom Holland was cast as Peter Parker many people complained about him looking too young and wanting someone more mature-looking, even though at 19 he's still older than Peter is supposed to be.
    • Ironically flipped on its head with Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, with people complaining that Cumberbatch is too conventional and that Marvel is playing it too safe rather than taking any risks with the casting (in particular going with yet another White Male Lead).
    • The notoriously controversial decision to cast the white Tilda Swinton as the Asian Ancient One.
    • Brie Larson is significantly younger than Captain Marvel is portrayed as being in the comics, leading some fans to accuse Marvel of ageism. Like Boseman as Black Panther, Larson was also chosen over some popular Internet fan choices like Katee Sackhoff, Ali Larter and Charlize Theron (none of whom were officially in the running with Marvel to begin with).
    • The casting of Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther is a highly controversial choice given how he is much smaller and slimmer than how Killmonger is usually depicted in the comics. His previous portrayal of Johnny Storm in infamous Fantastic Four (2015) has only heated arguments about his acting ability. However, Jordan's defenders have argued that he is a very talented performer despite not resembling the character with many citing his performance in Creed, and that the MCU has a reputation for redeeming actors from bad comic book adaptations. note 
  • The Woobie: Has its own page here.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • With the sole exception of his suit in the first film, Captain America's various costumes have drawn criticism from some areas of the internet, either for being too camp and colorful, or for the cowl looking odd (The Avengers), abandoning the traditional stars and stripes (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), or for just looking ugly (Age of Ultron). Obviously, many disagree (in particular, pointing out that Cap's SHIELD-ized uniform in TWS was a subtle indicator that something was seriously wrong at the start of the film), but it's a popular sentiment.
    • Hawkeye's suit in The Avengers drew criticism for looking more like his Ultimate Marvel incarnation's uniform (which is largely considered 'pragmatic but boring'). The creators listened and in the second film he's gotten an awesome new outfit that's a mishmash of his various costumes from the comics, complete with Badass Longcoat. Then, for Captain America: Civil War, his look has been revamped to what can best be described as his classic outfit with MCU aesthetics, with the only detail missing being his mask.
    • Deathlok and Mockingbird also got criticism for their suits in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The problem with Deathlok was mainly that his cybernetics are internalized rather than on the outside like his mainstream counterpart, with the result that his armor looks cheap rather than intimidating. Mockingbird got complaints just for not initially looking like her comic self, though this was corrected by her second appearance (her hair is shown to be blonde like in the comics and her outfit is a more muted version of her normal costume with the same kind of extra armor and padding that Black Widow and Captain America had for their costumes).
    • Daredevil's costume got some wary comments though in his case it's justified; the black ninja-esque outfit is the one he starts out with before upgrading to his actual costume. Though now there are fans who complain about his red suit and wish he'd go back to his homemade black one, in large part because they feel it looks too much like Captain America and other MCU heroes.
    • Few people were receptiuve of the costumes of the Inhuman Royal Family.

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