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* BlackAndWhiteMorality: Ultimately [[ReconstructedTrope reconstructed]]. Although both the heroes and villains are shown to have their flaws and redeeming qualities, respectively, the Avengers themselves are still presented as unambiguously good because they ''chose'' to be the best of themselves, and the villains they go up against are plain evil because they ended up embracing evil.

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* BlackAndWhiteMorality: Ultimately [[ReconstructedTrope [[{{Reconstruction}} reconstructed]]. Although both the heroes and villains are shown to have their flaws and redeeming qualities, respectively, the Avengers themselves are still presented as unambiguously good because they ''chose'' to be the best of themselves, and the villains they go up against are plain evil because they ended up embracing evil.

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* '''Phase Four''' (2020–TBD):
** ''Series/WandaVision'' '''+''' (TBD 2020)
** ''Film/{{Black Widow|2021}}''[[/index]] (May 7, 2021)%%date per https://www.marvel.com/movies
** ''Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'' [[note]]An adaptation of ''ComicBook/ShangChi'' with director Destin Daniel Cretton, writer Dave Callaham, and starring Creator/SimuLiu (''Series/KimsConvenience'') in the title role and Creator/TonyLeung as the [[Film/IronMan3 real]] Mandarin.[[/note]] (July 9, 2021)%%date per https://www.marvel.com/movies
** ''Eternals'' [[note]]An adaptation of ''ComicBook/TheEternals'' with director Chloe Zhao and writers Matthew & Ryan Firpo. Starring Creator/RichardMadden as Ikaris, Creator/KumailNanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Creator/BrianTyreeHenry as Phastos, Creator/SalmaHayek as Ajak, Lia [=McHugh=] as Sprite, Don Lee (Ma-Dong Seok) as Gilgamesh, Creator/AngelinaJolie as Thena, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Creator/GemmaChan as Sersi, and Creator/KitHarington as [[ComicBook/BlackKnightMarvelComics Dane Whitman]].[[/note]] (Nov 5, 2021)%%date per https://www.marvel.com/movies
** ''Thor: Love and Thunder'' [[note]]Creator/TaikaWaititi returns to write and direct, and will also reprise the role of Korg. Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Creator/NataliePortman as Jane Foster taking up the role of [[ComicBook/JaneFoster Mighty Thor]], and Creator/TessaThompson as Valkyrie.[[/note]] (Feb 11, 2022)%%date per https://www.marvel.com/movies
** ''Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'' [[note]]Director Creator/SamRaimi, co-writers Jade Bartlett and Michael Waldron, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, and Elizabeth Olsen.[[/note]] (March 25, 2022)%%date per https://www.marvel.com/movies
* Not yet scheduled:
** ''Blade'' [[note]]Based on ''ComicBook/{{Blade}}'', starring Creator/MahershalaAli as the title character.[[/note]]%%per https://www.marvel.com/movies/blade
** ''The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'' '''+'''[[note]]Director Kari Skogland, head writer Malcolm Spellman, and co-writer Derek Kolstad. Starring Creator/AnthonyMackie as Sam Wilson/The Falcon taking on the role of Captain America, Creator/SebastianStan as ComicBook/BuckyBarnes, Creator/EmilyVanCamp as Sharon Carter/Agent 13, Creator/DanielBruhl as Baron Helmut Zemo, and Creator/WyattRussell as [[ComicBook/USAgent John Walker]].[[/note]]
** ''Hawkeye'' '''+'''[[note]]Directors Amber Finlayson and Katie Ellwood, writer Jonathan Igla, and starring Creator/JeremyRenner as Clint Barton/ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}}.[[/note]]
** ''Loki'' '''+'''[[note]]Director Kate Herron and writer Michael Waldron. Starring Creator/TomHiddleston as ComicBook/{{Loki}}, with Sophia Di Martino, Creator/OwenWilson, Creator/GuguMbathaRaw, Wunmi Mosaku, and Creator/RichardEGrant.[[/note]]
** ''Moon Knight'' '''+'''[[note]]Based on ''ComicBook/MoonKnight'', with writer Jeremy Slater.[[/note]]
** ''Ms. Marvel'' '''+'''[[note]]Based on the [[ComicBook/MsMarvel2014 Kamala Khan]] incarnation, with showrunner Bisha K. Ali.[[/note]]
** ''She-Hulk'' '''+'''[[note]]Based on ''ComicBook/SheHulk'', with showrunner Jessica Gao.[[/note]]%%Do not acknowledge the report that Creator/TatianaMaslany has been cast in the lead role of the series until she, her agents, or Marvel acknowledge her involvement.
** Untitled third ''Spider-Man'' film [[note]]Another co-production with Sony Pictures. Director Jon Watts, writers Chris [=McKenna=] and Erik Sommers, and starring Tom Holland.[[/note]]
** ''What If...?'' '''+'''[[note]]Animated series based on the ''ComicBook/WhatIf'' alternate universe concept, to be overseen by Kevin Feige. Not fully canon due to being an {{Elseworld}} series. Creator/JeffreyWright will voice Uatu the Watcher. Plots include a world where ComicBook/PeggyCarter received the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, and a timeline where T'Challa became known as Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill. This series will feature Creator/ChadwickBoseman's final performance as T'Challa, the voicework recorded before his death in 2020.[[/note]]

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[[folder:Tropes A to B]]
* ActionGirl: There are so many that it's more difficult to find the female characters who ''aren't'' action capable. ''Black Panther'', ''Infinity War'', and ''Endgame'' even devoted fight scenes to their resident {{Amazon Brigade}}s and had them gang up on the enemy.
* ActionizedSequel: ''The Avengers'' was designed to be one as the finale to Phase I from the beginning because it brings all the superheroes of Phase 1 together. Naturally, such a team requires a suitable threat to counter.
* AdaptationDistillation: Most of the elements are taken from the main Franchise/MarvelUniverse from comic books, but it may also include elements from alternate universes from the comics. For example, Nick Fury is similar to the one from ''ComicBook/UltimateMarvel'', and Tony Stark sports a goatee like in ''ComicBook/HeroesReborn''.
** For a number of reasons, legal and the simple timing of the mythos, the ''ComicBook/PlanetHulk'' story was boiled down to a few key elements, mixed in with a few other parts of the Marvel universe, and adapted into ''Film/ThorRagnarok''. Because much of the motivations, key players, and consequences of that story were taken out, the comic book sequel ''ComicBook/WorldWarHulk'' will probably never happen.
* AdaptationNameChange: Various cases; see the trope page.
* AdaptationalEarlyAppearance: Very common given that the storylines and versions of characters of the most recent comics have been used as the basis of the overall storyline the movies.
** ''The Avengers'' has both ComicBook/BlackWidow and ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}} as original members, even though both characters joined later rosters.
** The adventures of Henry Pym as Ant-Man are relegated to flashbacks. The protagonist of the film is Scott Lang, who becomes the new Ant-Man right off the bat.
** ComicBook/{{Ultron}} is the main villain of [[Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron the sequel]]. In comics canon Henry Pym creates Ultron, but in the movie universe Stark creates Ultron before Pym is even introduced.
** The first team of the ''ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' in comic books is ignored, and the films go directly to the modern one. [[spoiler:''Vol. 2'' does establish that the original team did once exist, but like with Ant-Man their adventures have been relegated to offscreen references.]]
* AdaptationalHeroism:
** Iron Patriot for ''Iron Man 3'', who in the comics was ComicBook/NormanOsborn and in the film is Col. Rhodes (the comics briefly changed to match the movie).
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' includes comic enemies General Talbot and "the Absorbing Man" Carl Creel; both start out antagonistic but grow into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s allies over time.
** Hope van Dyne, the villainous Red Queen in the ComicBook/MarvelComics2 universe, while estranged and distant from her father Hank is on his side against Darren Cross. She eventually takes up her mother's mantle of ComicBook/TheWasp, as well.
** Garthan Saal from ''Guardians of the Galaxy''. In the comics he went insane and became the villainous Supernova. In the movie, while he remains a bit of a JerkAss, he ultimately stays on the good side [[spoiler:and pulls a HeroicSacrifice during the event which lead to his insanity in the comics.]]
** Mordo goes from being one of Doctor Strange's arch-enemies to one of his strongest allies. [[spoiler:However, he was always destined for a FaceHeelTurn; he was specifically placed on the side of good at first in order to have more character depth as a FallenHero.]]
** Davos has the same deal as Mordo, an ''Iron Fist'' enemy adapted as his best friend. [[spoiler:And, like Mordo, subverted when he becomes an enemy later.]]
** M'Baku starts out as one of Black Panther's enemies as in the comics, but the two gain a measure of respect for one another and become allies by the end of the movie.
** In ''Captain Marvel'', [[spoiler:the Skrulls are presented as innocent victims fighting for survival as opposed to their usual AlwaysChaoticEvil characterization]].
* AdaptationOriginConnection: Many powerful relics in the Marvel universe like the Cosmic Cube/Tesseract, the gem on Vision's head, and the Eye of Agamotto all turn out to be Infinity Stones.
* 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.]]
** Thanks to the revelation that S.H.I.E.L.D. 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent), John Garrett (a colleague of Widow's), and the entirety of STRIKE (in the comics the British S.H.I.E.L.D. division, here more like the spec ops branch of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
** In the ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' comics, Yondu is a member of the year-3000 team and a straight hero. In the movie, he's an AntiHero at best; a JerkAss who has to be talked into heroic actions with promises of monetary reward.
** Yellowjacket is a super-identity used by the villainous Darren Cross here, when it was one of Hank Pym's heroic identities in the comics (albeit the one he was using at the time he had a JerkAss characterization and infamously committed spousal abuse, which is probably exactly why the movie gave the identity to a villain).
* AdaptedOut:
** Ant-Man and the Wasp were not included in the first roster of Avengers, despite being founding members of the team in comics. Likewise, Hank had no hand in Ultron's creation.
** ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'' was based on the comic book ''ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet''. However, ComicBook/AdamWarlock, a protagonist of the comic, did not take part in that film.
** Many characters from Marvel Comics that have been licenced to other studios are [[invoked]]ExiledFromContinuity. As a result, adaptions of storylines that include a character that is off-limits are rewritten to avoid it. For example, Jean Grey does not appear in the conflict between Jessica Jones and Kilgrave, Ultron is made of Vibranium instead of Adamantium (granted some of his bodies in the comics were made of an alloy of the two metals), Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch had a father who is not Magneto (which was the case in the early comics), and so on. This limitation largely applied to the Infinity Saga, prior to Marvel's partnership with Sony and Disney's acquistion of the Fox licenses with the company as a whole.
* AdvertisingByAssociation: It's pretty common for Phase 2 Marvel Studios movies to have the tag line "From the studio that brought you ''The Avengers''" at the time when that was their biggest and most successful movie.
* 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 ''The First Avenger''. The Smithsonian exhibit in ''The Winter Soldier'' lists his birth year as 1916 or 1917 in different places, while a deleted scene from ''The Avengers'' 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 ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''.
** [[ComicBook/AntMan Hank Pym]] is a contemporary of characters like Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in the comics, but is played by 70-year old Creator/MichaelDouglas in the ''Ant-Man'' movie. Going in the other direction, Scott Lang's daughter Cassie was nine when she was introduced and is 14 in the present comics, but is much younger in ''Ant-Man'' and up to 10 by ''Ant-Man and the Wasp''. [[spoiler:Thanks to ''Endgame''[='s=] TimeSkip, she now matches her comics age.]]
** Donnie Gill is an adult criminal in the comics, but is explicitly stated to be no older than 18 in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.''
** There's Eric Koenig and his "brothers". In the comics, Koenig is a veteran of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and would have to ''at least'' be in his 80's, while in the show, he and his brothers are played by 46-year-old Creator/PattonOswalt.
** While not as noticeable due to being OlderThanHeLooks, Hawkeye is played by 43-year-old Jeremy Renner, while in the comics, he's generally depicted as being rather young, at least compared to characters like Steve, who he generally looks up to as an older brother or father figure. Given Chris Evans is ten years younger than Renner, it makes this kinda ironic in retrospect.
** The comics version of Yondu is in his prime, but the ''Guardians'' movie portrays him as a grumpy old man. [[spoiler:The same applies to other classic Guardians-turned-veteran Ravagers in ''Vol. 2''.]]
** Played with for Peter Parker and Jessica Jones. In the comics, they were in high school together, but Jessica wasn't introduced until they were both several years older. The MCU is staying true to the ages each one was at their respective debuts, meaning Jessica is now several years older than Peter.
** Aunt May is normally in her 70s, but Marisa Tomei (who is in her fifties, and [[OlderThanTheyLook has aged quite well]]) plays her.
** The Owl, who is usually middle-aged in the comics, played by Bob Gunton in ''Daredevil'', who is 70. This led to a popular theory that the son he mentions a few times would become the MCU Owl, but it never happened before the series was cancelled.
** In the comics, both ComicBook/NickFury and ComicBook/BlackWidow were around during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, but are OlderThanTheyLook thanks to the [[AppliedPhlebotinum Infinity Formula]]. The movies indicate they're roughly the same age as their actors, Creator/SamuelLJackson and Creator/ScarlettJohansson, with ''Winter Soldier'' explicitly giving Black Widow's birth date as 1984 - though, Black Widow's past being what it is, it could quite easily be faked.
** ComicBook/MonicaRambeau is introduced in ''Captain Marvel'' as an 11-year-old. But given that it's a period piece in the 1990s, she'd match her comics age in the present day.
* AlliterativeName: Some of the most prominent characters, by virtue of the franchise being inspired by the comics who already included this trope plenty of times. Among the most prominent ar '''B'''ruce '''B'''anner, '''P'''eter '''P'''arker, '''B'''ucky '''B'''arnes and '''S'''tephen '''S'''trange.
* 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. Some people began to see him as a hero after the events of ''The Avengers'', but his rampage in ''Age of Ultron'' seems to have ruined that.
** 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.
** This appears to be a running theme going into Phase Three, as public fear and mistrust of superhumans has appeared in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' Seasons 3 and 4, ''Ant-Man'', ''Jessica Jones'', ''Civil War'', and ''Luke Cage''; though in Cage's case he gets at least as much public support as he does fear.
* 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.'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. (''Captain Marvel'' later invalidated this, with Fury well aware of the S.H.I.E.L.D. acronym the whole time. Of course, it would also be in Coulson's character to intentionally try to screw with Stark for some reason.)
** 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 [[ComicBook/{{Thanos}} a mysterious cosmic benefactor]] is revealed in ''Thor: The Dark World Prelude''.
** The ''Doctor Strange'' tie-in comics feature some major nuances to Kaecilius' backstory that the movie barely hints at.
* AllThereInTheStinger: A staple of the movies is that they at least have one stinger that shows a plot beat connecting it to a future film. Sometimes the stinger scene is actually repeated in that future film itself.
* AloofDarkHairedGirl: Various examples; see the trope page.
* AlternateContinuity: The movies differ a lot from their comic counterparts and in some cases outright change things, so it's best to think of them as a separate story line, or alternate universe, than comic-to-movie adaptations. 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 back story.
** This has been formalized with the MCU universe taking its place alongside the other alternate universes seen in Marvel comics. The MCU is Earth-199999; the prime universe most Marvel comics take place in is Earth-616. Traffic between the two is surprisingly limited, mostly taking the form of very subtle [[ContinuityNod continuity nods]]. When the Young Avengers of Earth-616 were thrown into the Multiverse in 2013, for example, a passport stamp indicated that Earth-199999 was one of the many universes they visited off-page.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil:
** The Frost Giants from ''Thor'' are ''not'' this trope. In fact, part of Thor's character development is learning that they are not evil monsters that he can kill without a care. Their king even tries to talk him out of doing something rash.
** The Dark Elves from ''Dark World'' are all soldiers seeking to destroy all of "light" existence, so they are indeed this trope.
** The Kree are seen as this in the ''entire galaxy'' with most of them being belligerent warmongers and zealots who seek to either destroy or conquer other planets and generally have very poor relations with the rest of the galaxy. One or two heroic Kree have been seen, but such exceptions are ''very'' rare.
** Subverted with [[spoiler:the Skrulls]], who are usually Chaotic Evil but given AdaptationalHeroism in the MCU.
* AmazingTechnicolorPopulation: Especially coming from the cosmic side of the franchise, many characters look human except for their skin tone. The Frost Giants and Loki by extension are blue skinned, the ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' movies feature the blue-skinned Kree, the green-skinned Gamora, the grey-skinned Drax, the purple-skinned Thanos, and some red-skinned citizens in the background, with ''Vol. 2'' introduced the golden-skinned Sovereigns. There is also the case of the Hulk, who is green skinned.
* 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.
** The ''Defenders'' shows were released over the course of four to five years, but take place in a span under four. They're also likely to be set some time before their releases; the first season of ''Daredevil'' is said to take place two years after ''The Avengers'', when the premiere dates of the two are much closer to ''three'' years apart. Plus, the later seasons were released after ''Infinity War'' but don't acknowledge it at all. The lack of links to the wider MCU beyond referencing "the incident" (''The Avengers''[='=] Battle of New York) means that they can take place just about anywhere between that and ''Infinity War'' without causing continuity problems.
** Phase Three starts mixing things up again, with ''Guardians Vol. 2'', ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'', and ''Black Panther'' taking place mere months after prior films (''Guardians Vol. 1'' for the former and ''Civil War'' for the latter two) and therefore before other films that were released earlier. ''Doctor Strange'' further complicates things, as it takes place over several months and ''Civil War'', ''Spider-Man'', and ''Black Panther'' occur ''during'' that time. ''Captain Marvel'' is a full-on {{Prequel}} set in the [=90s=].
** ''Black Widow'' is the first Phase Four movie, but takes place mid-Phase Three (after ''Civil War''). Meanwhile, the second movie of the phase, ''Eternals'', is said to span ''thousands'' of years, making it the earliest movie to take place chronologically.
* AnArmAndALeg: A motif in Phase Two - every movie has a character lose an arm or part of one. It's a RunningGag in tribute to ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
** ''Iron Man 3'': [[spoiler:Aldrich has an arm cut off by Tony, but regenerates it thanks to Extremis]].
** ''Thor: The Dark World'': [[spoiler:Loki cuts off Thor's hand, but it's actually an illusion.]] In addition, Malekith's [[spoiler:defeat by PortalCut starts with him losing both his arms.]]
** ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'': The Winter Soldier lost his arm before the movie, having it replaced with a cybernetic prosthetic.
** ''Guardians of the Galaxy'': Gamora chops off both of Groot's arms in their initial confrontation ([[GoodThingYouCanHeal they grow back]]) and during the prison break, Rocket has Star-Lord steal a prisoner's prosthetic leg, later revealing that he only had him do it because he thought it would be funny. Later on, [[spoiler:Nebula removes her own robot hand near the climax in order to escape the battle]].
** ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'': Ultron cuts off [[spoiler:Klaue's arm]] after the latter compares him to Tony Stark.
** Even ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' gets in on the fun in season 2, with two characters getting their hands cut off to save them from [[TakenForGranite Diviner petrification]]: [[spoiler:Izzy]] in the season premiere and [[spoiler:Coulson]] in the season finale.
* AnimatingArtifact: The Mind Stone is one of the six Infinity Stones. As its name implies, the Mind Stone has various powers involved with the mind. It possesses a core that is comparable to neurons firing in a human brain. While in Loki's Scepter, it grants the wielder the power to control others, and even imbuing them with some level of knowledge while under this thrall, as it "opened the eyes" of Clint Barton and Erik Selvig, showing them visions and granting them special knowledge they can use. On its own, it seems to be able to imbue sentience onto artificial intelligence, two notable examples being Ultron and Vision.
* AntagonistTitle: Or subtitle, in the cases of ''The Winter Soldier'' and ''Age of Ultron''.
* AntiHero: Being part of a superhero franchise, most of the films and TV shows give us certain heroes who have darker aspects, actions and motives in their personality despite their good intentions; the MCU even has [[AntiHero/MarvelCinematicUniverse its own subpage]].
* AntiVillain: Some movies give us certain villains who have honorable aspects and well-intentioned goals in their crimes:
** Loki, the antagonist from ''Film/{{Thor}}'', is continuously doing the wrong things for the right reasons. He's actually just a screwed-up WellDoneSonGuy trying to win his father's approval through pretty much the worst means possible.
** Both Wanda and Pietro Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver from ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' turn out to be this trope. At first, they antagonize the Avengers because Tony Stark created the shells that bombed their home. Later, after they realize Ultron's true motives, they join up with the Avengers.
** Killmonger from ''Film/BlackPanther2018'' turns out to be this. According to T'Challa, N'Jadaka was 80% in the right the whole time. It's only the 20% that's about conquering and killing that makes the latter a villain.
** In ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'', Thanos performs multiple genocides across multiple planets because he genuinely believes that if the planets are left unchecked, then they could suffer from an OverpopulationCrisis and leave the planet into a lifeless shell just like his own. He holds no ill will towards his enemies and fully respects their resolve regardless if they are against him or not. It's only his own hubris and hurt pride that prevents him from seeing a solution besides mass murder.
** In ''Film/AntManAndTheWasp'', Ghost goes to increasingly brutal lengths as the film progresses, but her only goal is to relieve herself of the constant agony she's suffering from as a result of her phasing powers and to prevent her inevitable and imminent death.
* ArchaicWeaponForAnAdvancedAge: Seems to be common among the MCU's higher-tier cosmic characters, with the Asgardians and Kree especially favoring melee weapons. Aside from [[DropTheHammer Thor's Mjölnir and Ronan's Universal Weapon]], {{cool sword}}s are also quite common, and several characters use knives. Partially {{justified|trope}} by the fact that the characters who prefer such weapons have SuperToughness, SuperStrength, and/or SuperReflexes and many are {{Blood Knight}}s or from {{Proud Warrior Race|Guy}}s. {{Averted|Trope}} almost almost entirely with the squishier characters. Except for [[ArcherArchetype Hawkeye]].
* 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 ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'': Team Coulson are left wondering whether they can really call themselves "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." any more, after S.H.I.E.L.D. falls to HYDRA. Coulson is quite insistent that they are not "Agents of Nothing".
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: This is very common in the cosmic side of the MCU, but can happen on Earth as well
** In ''Film/IronMan2'', the [[MechaMooks military robots]] that [[BigBad Vanko]] designed for [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Justin Hammer]] are much tougher than ordinary soldiers, but are easily defeated by Stark’s superior PoweredArmor. Vanko’s own armor, however, almost defeated Iron Man and War Machine at the same time.
** In the ''Thor'' series, Asgardians are all superhumanly strong and durable, but due to a RoyaltySuperpower, [[TopGod Odin]], his son Thor, [[spoiler:and his daughter Hela]] have immense power that allows them to defeat practically anyone in the Nine Realms.
** In ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', [[BigBad Ronan]] is much tougher than any of his subordinates. To the point where Drax can easily shred through Ronan’s army like “paper people”, but against Ronan himself, [[CurbStompBattle he loses by so much Ronan doubted he’d remember him.]]
** [[GalacticConqueror Thanos]] is the leader of a powerful galactic empire, and is the most powerful being in it, to the point where he can defeat Thor and Hulk, who likely could have stopped his invasion force in ''The Avengers'' by themselves.
* AvengersAssemble: Phase One was basically this trope spread out long-term. Four of the founding Avengers were introduced in solo movies (with Black Widow and Hawkeye guest-starring), and the stories were mostly self-contained but for the common thread of S.H.I.E.L.D. Then ''The Avengers'' brought them all together.
** The first season (the first ''two'' in ''Daredevil's'' case) of each Netflix show also qualifies, as they introduce the characters who will be relevant to ''The Defenders.''
* AwakeningTheSleepingGiant: Earth is now CrazyPrepared to defend itself by the time of the ''Avengers''. Unfortunately, this draws unwanted [[ComicBook/{{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 armor 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.
** Peter Jason Quill is also this in ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', relying on nothing more than a blaster, his guile, and his crack piloting skills. [[spoiler:It's revealed at the end of the movie that he's not completely "Terran", which allowed him to hold the Infinity Stone longer than anyone prior, and may give him other innate abilities.]]
** The whole premise of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' is that none of the 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'". Played with when Skye eventually gains superpowers.
** Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos qualify in ''Captain America: The First Avenger''; being able to keep up with Cap and the Red Skull. In other works they're still just as badass, but disqualified from this trope on the technicality that there aren't any non-normals around to compare to.
** In ''Black Panther'', the Dora Milaje, Shuri, and Nakia all hold their own against Killmonger.
** The Avengers Tower as seen in ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'' has a statue displayed prominently at the front of the building built in honour of the many examples of this trope during the events of ''The Avengers''.
** Maria Rambeau is an AcePilot who takes part in a dogfight in ''Captain Marvel'' and wins.
** When the villain's MechaMooks corner Peter Parker's classmates in the Tower of London museum in the climax of ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'', MJ grabs a mace and bludgeons one of the drones.
* BadPresent: As always, Captain America uses shades of this, as he says "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.
* {{Bathos}}: The entire franchise is peppered with tense situations punctuated by comedy. Thor and Loki get a bit of mileage out of their status as adopted brothers, but most of the major characters have their own comedic moments.
* BetterThanABareBulb: Much of the franchise’s humor comes from pointing out and poking fun at the absurdity of the situations that the characters get into, or [[MythologyGag references to strange things that have happened in the comics]].
* BigApplesauce: Zigzagged. New York City is the most common setting, but unlike the comics is far from the ''only'' place where things happen. Even the movies that feature major scenes in NYC spend most of their time elsewhere (with ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'' being the only exception, staying entirely in the city). The first season of ''Agent Carter'' and the various ''Defenders'' shows play it straight, being mostly confined to New York; though the Netflix shows' DarkerAndEdgier take makes it the BigRottenApple.
* BigBad: Being part of a superhero franchise, most of the films have a main antagonist for the hero to fight; the MCU even has [[BigBad/MarvelCinematicUniverse its own subpage]].
* BigGood:
** Nick Fury is the Big Good to both the Avengers (individually and assembled) and S.H.I.E.L.D. If any member of either group absolutely needs his help (even if they don't necessarily ''want'' it), he'll be there.
** The Nova Corps serves this role in ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' since they are the SpacePolice.
** Whoever holds the title of Sorcerer Supreme is this in regards to mystical matters. During ''Doctor Strange'', it's the Ancient One.
** [[TopGod Odin]] is this in the ''Thor'' series. He is the king of Asgard and in charge of policing the Nine Realms.
** [[spoiler:Mar-Vell]] is treated as one in ''Captain Marvel'', being the precursor who started everything with the heroes picking up where it was left off.
** Tony Stark, [[ByronicHero of all people]], develops into one over the course of the movies. Captain America himself calls Tony the Earth's best defender, and [[spoiler:the entire world mourns his loss after his HeroicSacrifice in ''Endgame'', with various characters in the next movie, ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'', questioning on who is going to fill his place in the world.]]
* BigRottenApple: The Netflix series, where true to the comics Daredevil and Jessica Jones are set in the Manhattan neighborhood [[MeaningfulName Hell's Kitchen]] (which ironically has been more and more gentrified since the 90s, to the point Marvel had to film in parts of New York that still resemble the WretchedHive days).
* BittersweetEnding: Common across most of the movies and TV shows; see individual work pages.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: Ultimately [[ReconstructedTrope reconstructed]]. Although both the heroes and villains are shown to have their flaws and redeeming qualities, respectively, the Avengers themselves are still presented as unambiguously good because they ''chose'' to be the best of themselves, and the villains they go up against are plain evil because they ended up embracing evil.
* BloodierAndGorier: The ''Defenders'' shows display a great deal more blood than any MCU movie. ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D'' has also shifted in this direction after moving to a UsefulNotes/SafeHarbor timeslot in Season 4.
* BreakoutCharacter:
** Agent Phil Coulson was a CanonForeigner who debuted as a minor character in the first ''Iron Man'' film. His role expanded further in ''Iron Man 2'' and ''Thor'', and starred in a couple of the Film/MarvelOneShots that solidified his reputation as a BadassNormal. This led to a major role in ''The Avengers'' culminating in a HeroicSacrifice. The outcry at 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, ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.''.
** Unlike Coulson, ComicBook/PeggyCarter was from the comics, created to be a TemporaryLoveInterest for Captain America during UsefulNotes/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. Since 99% of ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' 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 Film/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, ''Agent Carter''. She went from being a SatelliteLoveInterest in the comics to the first female lead in the MCU. It's worth noting that the filmmakers have tried to use Peggy in every single (Earth-bound) Phase Two movie after ''The First Avenger''. Creator/JossWhedon wrote an unused scene for her in ''The Avengers'', and she has cameos in ''The Winter Soldier'', ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', ''Age of Ultron'', ''Ant-Man'', and ''Endgame''. This character has ''seriously'' resonated with her audience.
** While Iron Man was already fairly popular, his movie was the catalyst which rocketed him to Batman/Spider-Man levels of popularity.
** In the wake of their 2014 movie, the Guardians of the Galaxy are quickly went from a group of B or C-listers to becoming one of Marvel's most popular teams.
** Cap's popularity '''exploded''' after ''Winter Soldier'', to the point that the marketing department moved him (and Chris Evans' name) front and center for ''Age of Ultron'' promotional material (though this meant that Evans went from second to fourth in the film's credits). Not bad for someone whose appearance in the first Avengers film official poster is in the background behind Iron Man and Thor.
** Claire Temple, originally little more than a love interest for Luke Cage in the comics, has essentially become the equivalent of Coulson for the Netflix shows, having become a CompositeCharacter with Night Nurse and appearing in them all as New York's go-to superhero hospital.
** Black Panther seems poised for this, considering the runaway success of his own movie.
* BreakoutVillain:
** Loki has played a major part in four movies (all three ''Thor'' movies, plus ''The Avengers'') when most other villains don't even ''survive'' their films. Hiddleston even made an appearance as him in-character during Marvel's Comic-Con panel in 2013, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R9g_VABesA which proves plenty of humans would gladly let him take over the planet]]. This led to him getting his own solo comic series, and upgraded to a much larger presence in the overall Marvel universe.
** [[spoiler:Ward]] becomes this in ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD''. The creators hint 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. He was finally killed midway through Season 3, and even then his actor stayed on for a while longer thanks to the corpse being claimed by a body-snatcher. ''And'' he came back again for an extended arc in Season 4.
* BrieferThanTheyThink: Samuel L. Jackson's role as Nick Fury is one of the more famous roles in the MCU as he has appeared in many of the movies and in a few episodes of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D''. Despite this, he usually appears in a single scene, sometimes TheStinger for those films. He likely only has about one hour of screentime spread out throughout Phases 1 and 2, and doesn't get what could be considered a lead role until ''Captain Marvel''.
* BroadStrokes: The exact continuity between the Netflix shows and the broader cinematic universe:
** Events and characters from Phases I and II have been referenced. However, the [[Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar Sokovia Accords]] have yet to be acknowledged, though the Raft prison has been mentioned. It remains to be seen which is the exact timeline of events, especially in the wake of [[spoiler:half of humanity being destroyed in ''Infinity War'']], which the second season of ''Luke Cage'' (released afterward) made no mention of.
** ''Series/Runaways2017'' hasn't acknowledged any other MCU production, unlike ''Series/CloakAndDagger2018'', in which O'Reilly is mentioned as a transfer from Harlem, which is also referenced in ''Luke Cage''.
* TheBusCameBack:
** After appearing as a main character in the whole ''Iron Man'' trilogy, as well as a cameo in ''The Avengers'', Pepper Pots was absent for ''Age of Ultron'' and ''Civil War''. The latter film specified that she and Tony Stark had "taken a break" due to Tony's insistence on continuing developing Iron Man suits. She returned for a cameo toward the end of ''Spider-Man Homecoming'', where [[spoiler:she and Tony get engaged]]; which is then followed up on in ''Infinity War'' and ''Endgame''.
** ''Avengers: Infinity War'' has a surprise reappearance of [[spoiler:the Red Skull, last seen getting teleported away by the Tesseract in ''Captain America: The First Avenger''. As it turns out, he ended up in the distant planet Vormir, where he is then made into the keeper of the previously unseen Soul Stone for over 70 years.]]
** ''Endgame''[='s=] plot allows a number of cameos from characters that haven't been seen in a while, including [[spoiler:Brock Rumlow, Jasper Sitwell, Alexander Pierce, the Ancient One, Jane Foster, Frigga, Howard Stark, Edwin Jarvis (who prior to this had only been seen on TV), Peggy Carter, and Harley Keener (the kid from ''Iron Man 3'')]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tropes C to F]]
* CainAndAbel: Along with DaddyIssues, this is one of the prevalent themes the franchise explores, usually between people who aren't really related by blood and are/were BashBrothers. Five movies of the Thor and Loki dynamic, one with Dr. Strange and Mordo, one between Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers [[spoiler:before the former's brainwashing is removed]], two movie subplots' worth between Gamora and Nebula, the entire raison d'etre of ''Inhumans'' thanks to Black Bolt and Maximus, a half-season of Luke Cage and Diamondback, a problem between Danny Rand and Davos in ''Iron Fist'', and between Frank Castle and Billy Russo in ''The Punisher''.
%%% Please do not group the cameo tropes. That is a violation of example indentation.
* 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'', ''Captain America'', and ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'').
** This also happens with the Netflix series. There are a couple of characters who appear in most or all of them (including Claire Temple (with the exception of ''The Punisher'') and Turk Barrett, though Claire has more than a minor role in most of them). Then there are several more from one show who make brief appearances in another: Foggy Nelson from ''Daredevil'' briefly appears in ''Jessica Jones'' and ''Luke Cage''; Jeri Hogarth from ''Jessica Jones'' and Misty Knight from ''Luke Cage'' show up in ''Iron Fist'' (though for more than just cameos); Danny Rand and Colleen Wing from ''Iron Fist'' appear in ''Luke Cage''; and Karen Page from ''Daredevil'' is in ''The Punisher''.
** There are minor crossovers of content that would eventually be realized in this universe and the properties Marvel Studios didn't hold at the time. ''Film/SpiderMan2'', for instance, had J. Jonah Jameson mention that the name "Doctor Strange" was taken while trying to come up for a name for Doctor Octopus. 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, it was speculated that the cranes in ''The Amazing Spider-Man'' that were 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 [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier military contract]] for a [[ComicBook/TheFalcon flying harness]] to a "[[Film/IronMan1 Los Angeles-based conglomerate with offices in Manhattan]]", and implies that the lead engineer on the project, Adrian Toomes (the Vulture), is on the chopping block because of it. Ultimately, any connection between the settings was rendered moot once Marvel Studios decided to reboot the franchise in a way that better suited the setting.
* CanonCharacterAllAlong:
** In ''The Incredible Hulk'', Martin Starr appears as a random student at Culver University who offers Bruce Banner some pizza. Fourteen movies and nine real-world years later, he reappears in ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'', identified as Peter Parker's teacher Roger Harrington.
** In ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'', {{Canon Foreigner}} J.A.R.V.I.S. becomes a canon character when he is converted into ComicBook/TheVision.
** Florence Kasumba had a very brief scene in ''Captain America: Civil War'', and the credits listed her as simply "Security Chief". When she returns in ''Black Panther'', she's identified as Ayo from Ta-Nehisi Coates's run on the ''Black Panther'' comics. That said, she has very little screentime in ''Panther'' as well and doesn't seem to be much like her comic book counterpart. (In the comics, Ayo is a lesbian and opposes T'Challa as the Wakandan ruler; if these things are also true of Ayo in the films, they remain to be seen.)
** In ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'', Peter Parker has a classmate named Michelle. In her final scene in the movie, she admits that she prefers to be called MJ, evocative of Spider-Man's longtime love interest ComicBook/MaryJaneWatson. While Michelle Jones is meant to be a composite of multiple Spider-Man supporting characters with no real one-to-one comics equivalent, her commonalities with her namesake become more visible in ''Spider-Man: Far From Home''.
** In ''Avengers: Infinity War'', Thanos and Gamora meet the Stonekeeper, a mysterious being who guards the Soul Stone on the distant planet of Vormir. Once the Stonekeeper lifts his cloak, he's immediately recognizable as [[spoiler:the ComicBook/RedSkull, banished to Vormir for his [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger Tesseract-related war crimes]] and [[TheSociopath general inhumanity]].]] Admittedly, Thanos and Gamora (and in ''Avengers: Endgame'', [[spoiler:Hawkeye and Black Widow]]) have no way of knowing this.
** in ''Captain Marvel'', Carol's commander and mentor is never called by name until after Carol finds a major clue that indicates he's hiding something from her. [[spoiler:He's Yon-Rogg, and as is the case in the comics, he is the villain indirectly responsible for Carol getting her powers.]]
* CanonDiscontinuity: While most non-movie content is at least indirectly referenced in some way, the events of the video games (which seem to only have been made as part of an obligation to release tie-ins of questionable quality, which has since become [[SocietyMarchesOn a model that game developers have learned to avoid]]) are completely ignored. Figures such as Baron Strucker and Surtur appeared to round out antagonists in the games, yet their portrayals in the MCU completely ignore how they were featured in those titles.
* CanonForeigner: S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, and most of the human supporting cast in the ''Thor'' and ''Ant-Man'' franchises. For ''Thor'', this includes Jane's associates Dr. Erik Selvig, Darcy Lewis, Richard and Ian. ''Ant-Man'' features Paxton, the husband of Scott Lang's ex, as well as Luis, Kurt and Dave, Scott's prison friends who assist him in his heist. All the members of the lead cast of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.''[='=]s first season are also original to the cinematic universe. Subverted with Skye, who is eventually [[CanonCharacterAllAlong revealed to be the comics character]] ComicBook/DaisyJohnson AKA Quake.
* CanonImmigrant:
** Agent Coulson made his comics debut in the ''Battle Scars'' miniseries, which came right before the ''Avengers'' movie. The rest of the Season One cast of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' were added in ''ComicBook/SHIELD2014'' (Agents May, Fitz and Simmons at launch, Grant Ward after a retitle to ''ComicBook/AgentsOfSHIELD''). The exception is Skye, who didn't carry over into the comics since she was already there; she's ComicBook/DaisyJohnson.
** ''Thor'''s Dr. Selvig was added to the comics universe in ''ComicBook/AvengersStandoff''.
** Wesley, the close friend and right-hand of Kingpin in the first season of ''Series/Daredevil2015'', made his way to the Daredevil comics as well.
** Nick Fury is a special case. The original is caucasian, but he was reimagined in the ComicBook/UltimateMarvel universe as a BaldBlackLeaderGuy with a BadassLongcoat, and with a face modeled after Samuel Jackson. The MCU Nick Fury is based on the Ultimate one, not the original one. Eventually Marvel retired the original Nick Fury in its main universe and replaced him with his son, with the same name and the visual style that everybody became familiar with by then. Wich mean that the current 616-Nick Fury is '''both''' a canon immigrant from the Ultimate Marvel universe and from the MCU.
** Sometimes when the movie version of a character is sufficiently different enough from the comics, the comics will bring over the new version with a connection to the original. These include the JARVIS AI (modeled on the human character), Yondu (distant ancestor to the year-3000 Yondu), and Wasp (daughter of Pym and step-daughter of the original Wasp).
* {{Capepunk}}: MCU {{deconstruct|ion}}s and {{reconstruct|ion}}s the superhero genre by applying its stock tropes in the context that is closer to "real-world".
* CelebrityParadox: The sheer ''number'' of actors involved with MCU at some point or another makes it almost impossible to include a pop-culture reference without invoking this trope in relation to ''someone''. Examples can be found on [[CelebrityParadox/MarvelCinematicUniverse its own subpage]].
* CentralTheme: The at times extreme [[ShellShockedVeteran mental]], [[HeroicBSOD emotional]] and [[HeroicSacrifice physical]] cost of being a hero and the question of whether that cost is a price worth paying.
* CityOfAdventure: A large chunk of the MCU takes place in New York City (largely Manhattan).
* CivvieSpandex: 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 (though both outfits do have comic roots) and the Vulture's design is similarly militaristic, 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.
** However while such a bridge can be made with science, the Bifrost energy can be utilized with magic, specifically dark magic as demostrated by Heimdall and can be utilized by certain magic-imbued weapons like Stormbreaker, something which the scientific method alone would not be able to achieve. Also this Law cannot explain Odin's enchantment on Mjolnir, nor Loki's illusion, shapeshifting and conjuring powers that he shows in this and later films and cannot be replicated using the scientific method. Later in the Doctor Strange 2016 film establishes a clear distinction between science and magic in the MCU when the Ancient One explains to Strange how magic works (shaping and altering reality by drawing upon the energies of infinite dimensions and other universes with one's thoughts, something that has no basis in science and cannot be replicated by it) and how not everything makes logical sense nor does it have to.
* ColorCodedCharacters: Many characters prefer specific colors in their clothing and abilities. Thus, Iron Man's, Spider-Man's and Wanda's signature color is red, Captain America's and Captain Marvel's classic costumes are mostly blue, Loki, Hela and Mantis favor green, Yellowjacket's costume has (surprise) yellow elements and Thanos is associated with purple.
* ColorCodedWizardry: Masters of Mystical Arts (Ancient One, Doctor Strange, Wong etc) are {{Reality Warper}}s and their basic spells are orange, Scarlet Witch has PsychicPowers, and her spells are red, while Loki and Mysterio are [[MasterOfIllusion Masters Of Illusion]], and their spells are green.
* ComicBookTime: Averted. From ''Iron Man'' to ''Infinity War'', the timeline is identical with the theatrical releases of each individual film (other than some AnachronicOrder in Phases One and Three, but that's still not an example of Comic Book Time). Even when the setting [[spoiler:jumps [[NextSundayAD five years into the future]]]] in ''Endgame'', the timeline still stays relatively consistent. Which is part of the reason why the MCU is so beloved, you get the chance of seeing real change and development, [[StatusQuoIsGod in contrast to]] the 616-verse.
* CompositeCharacter: [[CompositeCharacter/MarvelCinematicUniverse Among various examples across the franchise,]] there's a notable ''inanimate'' example: as we learn in ''The Dark World'', the Tesseract is not only the comics' Cosmic Cube, but also one of the Infinity Stones. In ''Age of Ultron'' and ''Doctor Strange'', the same treatment is applied to The Vision's Solar Gem and the Eye of Agamotto, which are the Mind and Time Stones, respectively.
* ConceptArtGallery: Several movies and TV series have exclusive released concept art books.
* ConflictKiller: After a bitter division in Phase 3 following the events of ''[[Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar Civil War]]'', [[EnemyMine Thanos ends up being the threat that forces the Avengers to come back together in]] ''[[Film/AvengersInfinityWar Infinity War]]'' and bury the hatchet for good in ''Endgame''.
* ContinuityLockout:
** This has naturally become an increasing possibility as the franchise goes on, though pains are typically taken to keep each character's series largely watchable on their own beyond the odd ContinuityNod. ''Civil War'' is the first place where it really comes into play, as Hawkeye and Ant-Man show up midway through with little-to-no introduction and audiences are expected to already know who they are.
** Taken UpToEleven in ''Infinity War'', as the sheer number of named characters involved results in the creators spending no time whatsoever explaining to newcomers who these characters are or why they are important. And ''Endgame'' is even ''worse''.
** Joss Whedon has said this would likely preclude Phil Coulson from returning to the mainstream MCU (except for prequels like ''Captain Marvel''), since time devoted to explaining why he's still alive for anyone unfamiliar with his TV show would detract from the film itself. Likewise, the Defenders appearing in a film is unlikely for the same reasons, since time devoted to explaining who they are would slow the movie down as a whole.
* ContinuityOverlap: See below.
** One example of a ContinuityNod starts with ''Iron Man''; 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 ''The Incredible Hulk'', 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.
** Not surprisingly, the events of ''The Winter Soldier'' impacted ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' '''very hard,''' since the former resulted in S.H.I.E.L.D. being disbanded due to internal corruption by HYDRA. ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' returned the favor in its second season, with a mid-season cliffhanger involving the release of the Terrigen Mists, and ties into the then-announced ''Inhumans'' movie.
** It's subtly implied that Tony's father created the designs for the original arc reactor based on his studies of the Tesseract, which he had a chance to study once it was captured from HYDRA.
** Saint Agnes Orphanage in New York, where both Skye and Matt Murdock lived for a time (though likely not the same time).
* ContinuityPorn:
** ''The Avengers'' is naturally this with references made to the past five films that preceded it!
** Phase Two has shades of this as well with Tony having PTSD-like flashbacks in ''Iron Man 3'' to his HeroicSacrifice in ''Avengers'', ''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, and the Tesseract from ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' and ''The Avengers'' turns out to be an Infinity Stone in TheStinger and ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' has S.H.I.E.L.D. stepping up their defensive game as a response to what happened in ''Avengers''!
** The web-series ''[=WHiH=] Newsfront'' even has ContinuityPorn in the form of InUniverse's ''news ticker''.
** ''Endgame'' trumps all of these, thanks to [[spoiler:a time-travel plot sending the heroes back into prior movies]].
* ContinuityReboot: The MCU generally ignores any and all previous adaptations of the characters it uses.
** ''The Incredible Hulk'' ignores the events of Creator/AngLee's ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' (outside of Bruce being located in South America at the end).
** ''Daredevil'' ignores the events of the Fox ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'' and ''Film/{{Elektra}}'' movies.
** Sony abandoned ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderManSeries'' so that the MCU's Spider-Man has no connection to it. And of course, the ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'' is ignored as well. However, the MCU does bring one prior actor back to [[RoleReprise play the character again]]: [[spoiler:Creator/JKSimmons as J. Jonah Jameson]].
** The character of Frank Castle / The Punisher is introduced in ''Daredevil'', rebooting the character from any of the previous three film adaptations (''Film/ThePunisher1989'', ''Film/ThePunisher2004'', ''Film/PunisherWarZone'').
** The use of the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' appears to rule out the Johnny Blaze version played by Creator/NicolasCage from ''Film/GhostRider'' and ''Film/GhostRiderSpiritOfVengeance''. [[spoiler:However, the appearance of a Johnny Blaze-like Rider in Robbie's backstory opens the possibility that the Nic Cage films could, in theory, be canon.]]
** After the buyout of Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox, Marvel, the employees of the post-merger Fox, Disney and Feige himself all made it clear that the ''X-Men'' and ''Fantastic Four'' properties will be rebooted in a completely fresh take within the MCU divorced from the previous continuities. This notably brings an end to the long-running ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'' after two decades, whereas this is a more seamless transition for the ''Fantastic Four'' due to Fox's notorious mishandling of the property.
** The MCU's version of ''Blade'' is unrelated to Creator/WesleySnipes' ''Film/BladeTrilogy''.
* ContinuitySnarl: An interesting case involving ComicBookTime. While none of the events that happen over the course of the movies explicitly contradict each other, what dates certain events occur is a point of contention. The most infamous mishap in this case was the claim that ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'' took place '''eight years''' after ''The Avengers'' (which occurred in 2012), which made no logical sense with the timeline of the other films. ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'' makes an easy fix by stating that the first ''Avengers'' took place 6 years before Thanos showed up, which subsequently implies that ''Homecoming'' did take place in 2016 and not 2020 as was implied.
* CoolCar:
** The Red Skull's coupe from ''The First Avenger''. Gaze upon [[http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Johann_Schmidt%27s_Coupe the HYDRAmobile]] and despair!
** In ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', Phil Coulson has Lola. Not only is it a red '62 corvette, but it can also fly...just [[RunningGag don't touch Lola]]. Later, in Season 4, we're introduced to the Hellcharger, a '69 Dodge Charger. That's pretty cool on its own, but this one has {{Hellfire}} spewing out of it.
* CorruptPolitician: The United States government seems to be full of them. Vice President Rodriguez allies with A.I.M. to assassinate the president. Secretary of Defense Alexander Pierce is also the leader of [=HYDRA=] and plans to assassinate, among thousands of others, the president and the Avengers in order to subjugate the world. Senator Stern of Pennsylvania is also an agent of [=HYDRA=]. Senator Christian Ward of Massachusetts is an [[AbusiveParents Abusive Parent]]. Senator Randolph Cherryh of New York is a member of Wilson Fisk’s crime ring. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross previously attempted to capture Bruce Banner in order to weaponize the Hulk, and has no compunctions about imprisoning a number of the Avengers. Councilwoman Mariah Dillard of Harlem, New York has deals with her cousin Cornell Stokes and ''his'' crime ring. Senator Ellen Nadeer of New York has ties to a RightWingMilitiaFanatic group out of a shared hatred of Inhumans.
* CrapsaccharineWorld: Not so much Earth, but the larger universe qualifies. At first glance, you have a vibrant and exciting universe filled with myriads of different races, where all the major conflicts are over and adventure always just around the corner. Except if you dig a little deeper, that "adventure" turns out to be [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed some universal-scale threat to civilization]], the supposed protectors of the peace are largely helpless before all sorts of {{Galactic Conqueror}}s and {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, and those conflicts? Not only are they not over, but they were bloodier than you could ever imagine, and what peace there is is either hanging by a thread or in active danger.
* CreativeClosingCredits: Each movie has either this, or an ArtisticTitle sequence.
* CreatorCameo:
** As is standard procedure for Marvel productions, Creator/StanLee made cameos in all works throughout Phases 1-3, only ending after his death (even in the TV shows, though in the ''Defenders'' shows and ''Cloak and Dagger'' it's only as background pictures; the only show he missed completely was ''Inhumans'').
** Other creators appear in films starring their characters as well: J. Michael Straczynski appears in ''Thor'' and Creator/EdBrubaker appears in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', each of them having served as a script consultant on their respective films. Creator/WaltSimonson, perhaps the best-known writer of the comic, also appears in ''Thor''. Thanos' creator Jim Starlin appears in ''Infinity War'' and ''Endgame'', and Creator/KellySueDeConnick in ''Captain Marvel''.
* CrisisCrossover: ''The Avengers'' for the movies; ''The Defenders'' for the Netflix series.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The Netflix shows take a far grittier and down-to-earth tone than any other entry in the MCU.
** ''Daredevil'' greatly plays up Matt's AntiHero traits, emphasizing the BlackAndGrayMorality of the series. At times it feels more like a CriminalProcedural with a definite FilmNoir influence, [[BloodierAndGorier and the violence]] is [[ViolenceIsDisturbing relentlessly brutal and horrific]]. The creators stated that along with the comics, the biggest influence was ''Series/TheWire''.
** ''Jessica Jones'' goes even ''darker'', with Kilgrave's CompellingVoice power explicitly compared to rape (and sometimes used for ''literal'' rape).
** ''Luke Cage'' not only expands on the frustrations of cops dealing with superpowered threats, but season one has the darkest ending of the Netflix shows, with [[spoiler:the criminals largely escaping with their crimes and Cage sent off to jail for ''breaking out'' of jail, in spite of his innocence in all other crimes being proven.]]
** Even if you don't take into account the Netflix shows, the ''Captain America'' films (excluding ''The First Avenger'') and ''Black Panther'' are both noticeably heavier than other films in the MCU, with their sociopolitical commentary and exploration of the effect superheroes can have on a world stage. As such, they're generally seen as pretty thought-provoking and mature by both fans ''and'' critics.
** ''Infinity War'' also falls under this, being the DarkestHour for the MCU at large.
* DeadpanSnarker: Marvel ''really'' likes dry humor.
** Tony Stark, who snarks enough to make up for the characters that don't.
** While only slightly snarky in ''Thor'', Loki spends much of ''The Avengers'' playing catch-up, and takes it UpToEleven in ''The Dark World''.
** Peter Quill and Rocket could both give Tony a run for his money with their levels of snark. Gamora certainly has her moments as well.
** It's practically a job requirement to become a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. Just for fun, try to find a part in ''any'' film where S.H.I.E.L.D. ''don't'' take a moment to snark in the face of someone.
** The final battle against the Clairvoyant in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'''s first season deserves note. 90% of it is Coulson and Fury snarking to each other while the BigBad gives his speech.
--->'''Fury:''' You didn't tell me he'd gone ''this'' crazy.\\
'''Coulson:''' He's really stepped it up a notch.
** Ultron in ''Age of Ultron,'' inherited directly from Tony Stark. Steve Rogers visibly groans when Stark and Ultron trade snark, and one exchange yields this gem:
--->'''Thor: ''' Nobody is going to break anything.\\
'''Ultron:''' Clearly you've never made an omelette.\\
'''Tony:''' He beat me by ''one'' second.
** This seems to be Foggy Nelson's natural state of being. He drops it only when things get really serious. Mostly.
** Jessica Jones thrives off of this trope.
--->'''Malcolm:''' You use sarcasm to distance people.\\
'''Jessica:''' And yet, you're still here.
** On the commentary track for ''The Avengers'', Joss Whedon mentions this as a problem in the writing of the script: almost all the main characters had a wit that was very dry, potentially making their interactions very one-note. He mentions that Coulson was a character he was grateful for in breaking this up, since he provides a humor that is based more on geeky relatability.
* DeathByOriginStory: Several, many of which overlap with the MentorOccupationalHazard.
** After mentoring Tony Stark and helping him build the first Iron Man suit, Dr. Yinsen sacrifices himself so Tony can escape.
** The original plan was for Dr. Erskine's super serum to be used on several soldiers, resulting in a unit of {{Super Soldier}}s to defeat the Nazis. When Erskine is killed, the formula dies with him, and Steve Rogers becomes the world's first (and at the time, only) superhero.
** King T'Chaka is killed in ''Civil War'', causing his son T'Challa to take up the mantle of Black Panther and go after Bucky, whom he believes to be his father's killer. Likewise, Killmonger's StartOfDarkness began with his father's murder [[spoiler:at T'Chaka's hands]].
** Uncle Ben Parker, as always, but given that his death had already been seen twice on the big screen, he's only ever alluded to indirectly.
** After [[spoiler:Mar-Vell]] is gunned down by [[spoiler:Yon-Rogg]], Carol Danvers gets her powers trying to finish what her mentor started by destroying the faster-than-light engine, accidentally imbuing herself with its power in the process.
* DebutQueue: In Phase 1, the main characters each debut in their own movie before at last banding together in ''The Avengers'' -- though Black Widow had to make do with getting introduced in Iron Man's second movie and Hawkeye in ''Thor''. In ''The Avengers'' itself, they're also introduced in this manner with different S.H.I.E.L.D. agents going out to recruit them.
* DecompositeCharacter:
** Nick Fury's many roles in the comics so far has been given to three different characters: Himself (Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., morally grey overseer of superhero activity, Maria Hill's boss), Coulson (also Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy Johnson's surrogate father figure and the overseer of the Secret Warriors, fights a personal war against HYDRA), and Peggy Carter (leader of the Howling Commandos and drinking buddy of Dum Dum Dugan, secret agent following War who eventually co-founds S.H.I.E.L.D.).
** From the ''Comicbook/SecretWarriors'' comic, we have JT Slade's role which seems to have been split into three characters over in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'': Grant Ward (romantically linked to Daisy Johnson, [[spoiler:TheMole who betrays her team]], eventually [[spoiler:killed by her father figure]]), Lincoln Campbell (superpowered member of the Secret Warriors, doesn't actually ''like'' working as a spy, and as above, romantically linked to Daisy Johnson), and James (has fire-based powers and the character's first name (possibly full name) and codename).
** With Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four not available on account of rights issues, his and the group's role in the Marvel Universe is divided between multiple characters. Tony Stark by and large takes over Reed's role as the main scientific genius of the MCU. In the comics, before the movies at least, he was a brilliant engineer and inventor but Reed was acknowledged in general as the superior scientist, especially in theoretical physics. In the MCU, Tony is able to become an expert in astrophysics overnight as in ''The Avengers'' and where young Peter Parker in the 616 Continuity was a HeroWorshipper of Reed Richards and wanted to join the first family, here he's one for Stark and wants to join the Avengers.
** ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' likewise takes on the function of the Fantastic Four in the sense that they are a team of RagtagBunchOfMisfits who often fight and bicker while having crazy adventures, and whose stories serve as a gateway to the weirder and more esoteric parts of the Marvel Universe. Their stories have the same aesop of the Fantastic Four, namely the importance of family.
** Tony Stark's butler Jarvis was split into two; the JARVIS AI assists Tony in the ''Iron Man'' movies while Edwin Jarvis is a regular human butler who serves ''Howard'' Stark in ''Agent Carter''. Harold "Happy" Hogan, Tony's long-suffering chauffeur turned Head of Security, also draws on some elements of Jarvis, such as his BodyguardingABadass status, acting as a connecting character between Iron Man and other superheroes, and even a romance with Spider-Man's Aunt May.
** According to ''Iron Man 3'' and ''All Hail the King'', [[spoiler:there are at least three people calling themselves the Mandarin. The first was a warrior-king whose influence dates back to the Middle Ages. In the present, Aldrich Killian assumes the identity of the Mandarin, and then has actor Trevor Slattery pretend to be the Mandarin and take credit for the Extremis explosions.]]
** Hawkeye also has some traits split off into another character, with Lance Hunter in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' getting his relationship with Mockingbird and being even more of a rebellious snarker than the movie Hawkeye is.
** The Netflix series were originally written to involve Night Nurse as someone who gave medical aid to superheroes, but then the movies called dibs on the character. So the Netflix shows instead used Claire Temple and had her ''act'' like Night Nurse, while ''Doctor Strange'' included the comics' Night Nurse Christine Palmer as one of Strange's medical associates.
* DenouementEpisode: ''Ant-Man'' is this to Phase Two and ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'' to Phase Three and the Infinity Saga as a whole, respectively. They each come immediately after a flagship ''Avengers'' film, but feature a lesser-known character[[note]]okay, Spider-Man's not really "lesser-known"...[[/note]] in a comparatively smaller-stakes situation.
* DependingOnTheWriter: One of the catches of the MCU being true to comics is that it also borrows from the comics medium and brings to live-action cinema - the occasionally diverging, and sharply contrasting characterizations that result when different creators take on the character. The major exception is Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man where the actor was allowed a lot of input and say in maintaining his character consistently across all his appearances:
** After his first solo origin film by Joe Johnston, Captain America was directed mainly by the Russos (in four films) and Joss Whedon (two films). Whedon emphasizes Steve Rogers as a "man-out-of-time" and a little old-fashioned who struggles with references (''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'') and otherwise has issues with swearing (''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''), while the Russos portray Steve as a man willing to adapt and change and fit in with the times. Ultimately, [[spoiler:''Endgame'' applies ArcWelding and merges Whedon's idea of Steve as a man permanently rooted in the period that he was taken apart from, with Steve as a man willing to adapt and change, by giving him a conclusion in ''Endgame'' where Steve is able to live out a full life with an alternate version of Peggy in the past and return eventually to the present having aged in real time into an old man]].
** Thor, Asgard, and Norse Myth were downplayed from their actual myths into advanced aliens, and treated and referred to that way in the first Avengers film and the two Thor sequels. Loki's attempt to play himself as a god is treated by Thor with contempt, while Odin tells Loki in ''Thor: The Dark World'' that AGodIAmNot. In general, the Avengers wavered in disbelief and skepticism about Thor's connections to an actual real-world mythology, with Hawkeye in ''Age of Ultron'' scoffing at it, and Steve insisting to Black Widow that "[[RealMenLoveJesus There's only one God, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that]]." This changes with Creator/TaikaWaititi's ''Film/ThorRagnarok'' where the Asgardians are explicitly identified and defined as gods, albeit true to Norse myths, as especially vulnerable, mortal, and flawed gods.
** The Guardians of the Galaxy under James Gunn generally showed Rocket Raccoon as a ChaoticGood SpannerInTheWorks, while the Russos show Rocket as a more capable, experienced, and competent figure. Gunn shows Peter Quill as a flawed but capable leader while the Russos show him as immature and insecure, filled with TestosteronePoisoning.
** Bruce Banner and the Hulk are practically different characters in each appearance. The relations between Banner and Hulk, and whether Hulk is an extension of Banner or a separate personality wavers. Whedon showed that Banner is the Hulk because, "I'm always angry", however Taika Waititi showed the Hulk developing as a separate personality in his time at Sakaar, and someone who seems to dislike and oppose Bruce Banner, who actively fears a SplitPersonalityTakeover. When the Russos get hold of Banner/Hulk, Hulk is downplayed and weakened [[spoiler:and in ''Endgame'', Banner has successfully integrated himself and the Hulk into the "Professor Hulk"]].
** The Russos who cast and introduced Spider-Man into the MCU, showed Peter as a good deal more agile and capable, and even someone with a decent sense of battle strategy that Iron Man openly consults and listens to, prefaced by Peter's dorky "You ever saw this old movie?" remark. Jon Watts however, shows Peter as younger, more inexperienced, and someone who Tony still keeps at arm's length.
* DescendedCreator: Several of the directors play characters within the universe. Jon Favreau plays Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's head of security and thus gets to appear in the movies several times. Likewise, Taika Waititi, the director of ''Thor: Ragnarok'', plays the rock alien Korg and appears in several films. Finally Joe Russo sometimes appears as a nameless character in the movies he and Anthony Russo direct.
* DidntThinkThisThrough:
** This frequently happens to Tony Stark, and it just as frequently comes back to bite him. Things he didn't consider the consequences of include effectively shutting down his company when he saw terrorists with his weapons, his reckless actions when he was dying by palladium poisoning, arranging for the government to handle Chitauri cleanup (with no regard to those already doing the job), dabbling in artificial intelligence, bringing a kid to help fight Captain America, preparing to announce said kid as the newest Avenger and not having a backup plan in case he said "no"...
** Scott Lang has impulsiveness as a defining trait, and it's landed himself in trouble with the law more than once.
** Danny Rand also has an alarming tendency to charge into situations without considering the consequences. The other Defenders even have to ''take him prisoner'' at one point before he goes off and does something stupid again.
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' shows the fallout from actions taken in one of the movies: 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. That doesn't even go into the fact that there's more than one faction of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents claiming to be the true successor to the organization while being severely at odds with one another.
* DifferentlyPoweredIndividual: In the main comic reality of Earth-616, humans with superpowers are either "Mutants", born with them, or "Mutates", developed them through some sort of outside stimuli, i.e. Gamma radiation, or a radioactive spider. The MCU doesn't use this terminology,[[note]]Marvel Studios not owning the rights to the ''X-Men'' until 2019 likely being a factor.[[/note]] instead referring to them as "gifted" or "enhanced" humans. Though, with the ''X-Men'' coming to the MCU, mutants and mutates are free to use now. In the ABC shows, a specific type of powered people, who had latent potential for powers that has since been unlocked by a specific trigger, are "Inhuman".
* DisneyDeath: There's usually [[OncePerEpisode at least one fakeout death per movie]].
* DoingInTheScientist: Due to the general science-fiction nature of the setting, some characters assume that science is in place when it is actually magic. Ghost Rider was thought to be an Inhuman until a literal spirit of vengeance possessed someone else, and ''Thor Ragnarok'' is more explicit about the royal family being {{Physical God}}s, not {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s; Thor being the ''god'' of Lightning is a plot point because his ShockAndAwe abilities do not come from a hammer. Scientific metaphors are used to explain the Mystic Arts to the uninitiated before going into genuine magic stuff.
* DoingInTheWizard: The main movies of the setting in general take a more scientific approach to certain characters, powersets, and artifacts. Asgard is presented as a society of {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s whose purported godly power comes from applications of superscience (at first, anyway; ''Ragnarok'' leans more towards the "god" side), the origins of certain characters are grounded in more theoretical scientific principles (such as Ego The Living Planet essentially being a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boltzmann_brain Boltzmann Brain]]), and as a whole relies more heavily on technology to explain equipment and abilities rather than HandWave explanations. However, this gets notably [[AvertedTrope averted]] in the case of the Mystic Arts (which are explicitly supernatural) and the nature of entities like the Ghost Riders (being an example of demonic possession).
* TheDragon: Many of the supporting villains play this role to the main villain including:
** Emil Blonsky spends most of ''The Incredible Hulk'' as General Ross' right hand man before going mad with power.
** Ivan Vanko is hired to be this to Justin Hammer, but he ends up being a DragonWithAnAgenda.
** The Other is Thanos' representative and acts as his go-between for lower ranking villains like Loki and the Chitauri. In ''Infinity War'', he's represented by the [[CoDragons Children of Thanos]].
** Wesley's job title is likely "Administrative Assistant" for Kingpin Wilson Fisk because he is always at the man's side, translating, giving advice or fixing his bowtie.
** Shades acts as an aide to ''multiple'' crime lords in ''Luke Cage''; officially he works for Diamondback but was assigned to assist Cottonmouth and he gives some help to Mariah Dillard as well.
** In ''The Defenders'', Elektra becomes the Dragon to Alexandra. [[spoiler:And ultimately, [[DragonWithAnAgenda kills her and takes over the Hand]].]]
** In ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'', the role is filled by [[spoiler:the scientist from ''Film/IronMan1'', returning from the [[LongBusTrip longest bus ride]] in the franchise. His weaponized drones allow Mysterio to fool the world into thinking it is actually under siege by the Elementals.]]
* DrunkWithPower: The nature of power and who is fit to wield it has been one of the consistent questions throughout the MCU movies. This applies even to the good guys: ''The Winter Soldier'' points just how powerful and all-seeing S.H.I.E.L.D. is becoming. Sure, as it turns out, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been thoroughly infiltrated by HYDRA, but as other characters point out, Nick Fury's obsession with secrecy and crafting S.H.I.E.L.D. into an all-powerful agency shielded from oversight by outside entities, however well-intentioned, greatly aided HYDRA's efforts.
* EarlyBirdCameo:
** Often done to hype a future movie: Nick Fury in ''Iron Man'', Thor's hammer in ''Iron Man 2'', Hawkeye and the Tesseract in ''Thor'', Thanos in ''The Avengers'' and ''Age of Ultron'', The Collector in ''Thor: The Dark World'', Baron von Strucker, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch - plus a NameDrop for Doctor Strange - in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', Ulysses Klaue along with mentions of Wakanda in ''Age of Ultron''. Black Panther and Spider-Man also appeared in ''Civil War'' before they got their own movies, though their roles were larger than just cameos.
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' did this to a place, name-dropping the Triskelion several months before it appeared in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''. There's also an appearance and name drop of the Kree, not to mention the entire Inhumans subplot.
** Colleen Wing's dojo is introduced via a poster shown in an earlier Netflix show; ironically, when Danny first meets her she's hanging up more posters.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** The first two films weren't quite made to share a universe in the same way that the other entries have been once they proved successful, so a few things stand out, like S.H.I.E.L.D. being treated as a brand new organization in ''Iron Man''. Though the others were mostly subjected to various patch jobs, like a One-Shot showing that Tony Stark was sent to General Ross to deliberately fail to get his approval for the Abomination at the end of ''The Incredible Hulk''.
** Also, the earlier movies took more influence from ComicBook/UltimateMarvel than the later, largely 616-influenced movies that make up the franchise overall. They had a darker feel, aimed for more scientific and realistic approach over the fantastic, and tried to [[DoingInTheWizard do away with the comic tropes]] the later movies take in stride. Not to mention the Ultimate-influenced costumes and S.H.I.E.L.D. forming the Avengers as a government entity. Ultimate Marvel was made to be an adaptation-friendly version of Marvel to begin with, as a point where future movies could easily adapt, without all the fantastic themes that would seem weird back then. For later movies, they changed their focus to the more comic-like and FantasyKitchenSink [[Franchise/MarvelUniverse 616 universe]] with increasingly fantastic themes, magic and the supernatural, talking animals and plants, over-the-top powers and super science, and tropes like StupidJetpackHitler and CrystalSpiresAndTogas, among others, that gave us the MCU we know today.
** On top of that, you can now be forgiven for not remembering Creator/EdwardNorton as Bruce Banner and Terrence Howard as Lt. Colonel Rhodes.
* EarthIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse: While there are a few important characters and events that take place in the cosmic side of the MCU (i.e: Thor and the Asgardians, Captain Marvel, the Kree, and the Skrulls, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Ravagers, and Ego), the majority of the movies take place on Earth. Eventually most of those factions end up involved with Earth matters by the time Phase 3 rolls around, with Rocket and Nebula spending time there, Thor migrating with his people from Asgard, and Captain Marvel returning on a few occasions. Taken UpToEleven in ''Film/AvengersEndgame'', where the final battle takes place entirely on Earth, where entire armies of aliens and their factions from other galaxies and planets join the Avengers and their allies to defeat Thanos, the ultimate threat to the universe itself.
* EndOfAnAge: Creator/KevinFeige has described the MCU as being in two distinct eras: one made up of ''Film/AvengersEndgame'' and everything that precedes it, and one made up of all the movies made after ''Avengers: Endgame''. So ''Avengers: Endgame'' itself represents the end of one part of the MCU, but not the MCU as a whole.
* 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 listed off the properties they couldn't use at the time (''Franchise/SpiderMan'', ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'', ''Film/{{The Punisher|2004}}'', ''Film/GhostRider'', ''Film/FantasticFour'', ''[[Film/XMenFilmSeries X-Men]]'', ''Film/{{Blade|Trilogy}}''...), they slowly realized they still had the rights to most of the various characters who formed ComicBook/TheAvengers.
* EventTitle:
** ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'' - The age being the titular Ultron's EvilPlan.
** ''Captain America: Civil War'' - The civil war refers to TheTeam being divided over the SuperRegistrationAct.
** ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'' - Part of the film takes place during the high school Homecoming dance of the eponymous hero. [[spoiler:Ironically, Peter ditches Homecoming to pursue the Vulture.]]
*** This itself is a meta-reference to the fact that this is the first ''Spider-Man'' film under the MCU, as stated by Sony's executives. The point of the title is to emphasize that Spider-Man is finally ''coming home''.
* EvilAllAlong: Granted, it often [[LateArrivalSpoiler isn't a surprise]] to those familiar with the comics, but it certainly catches the heroes off-guard. Examples include [[Film/IronMan1 Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger]], [[Film/{{Thor}} Loki]] (in the first ''Thor'' at least, it gets [[FaceHeelRevolvingDoor messier]] from there), [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier S.H.I.E.L.D. as a whole]], [[Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2 Ego the Living Planet]], the [[Film/CaptainMarvel2019 Kree Empire]] (though this one is a [[InternalReveal reveal only for the heroes]]; movie-goers have already met the Kree through [[JudgeJuryAndExecutioner Ronan]] in the first ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', immediately casting doubt on Carol's assertion that the Kree are inherently heroic), and [[Film/SpiderManFarFromHome Quentin Beck/Mysterio]].
* EvilCounterpart: Many of the heroes go up against people that have similar powers [[AC:but are evil!]] Examples include Iron Man and Iron Monger, Hulk and Abomination, Captain America and both Red Skull and Winter Soldier, Ant-Man and Yellowjacket, Doctor Strange and Kaecilius [[spoiler:and Mordo in future films]], and Black Panther and Killmonger.
** Iron Man is also opposed by Justin Hammer who is his EvilCounterpart in business rather than superpowers; Loki is this to Thor as gods.
** ''The Defenders'' portrays the "Black Sky" ([[spoiler:Elektra]]) as one to the Iron Fist, as both are {{Human Weapon}}s meant to destroy the faction the other belongs to.
* EvilPowerVacuum: Something that has become a theme in ''The Defenders'' subfranchise: when Daredevil took down Wilson Fisk, it created a power vacuum in the New York underworld. Later crime bosses would try to fill it, but the continued efforts of vigilantes such as Daredevil, the Punisher, and Luke Cage would end up taking down even more crime bosses. Unfortunately, these in turn allowed the Hand to become the dominant criminal organization in New York. [[spoiler:With the Hand's downfall in ''The Defenders'', it's looking like Wilson Fisk, who is regaining power in prison, is set to take over again.]]
* EvolvingCredits: The Marvel Studios plate beginning with ''Doctor Strange'' shows clips from previous films. As new films are released, the plate subtly changes to include recent entries. ''Avengers: Endgame'' has noticeable blank gaps in the clips in which the dusted heroes were previously located.
* ExpandedUniverse: The TV shows largely have this status with the movies. The movies never explicitly acknowledge anything that happens in the shows, while shows often use and reference the events of the movies.
* 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, although the discovery of Cap in the ice ''also'' takes place during the Big Week.
** Phases Two and onward have largely averted this, with events occurring in roughly the same time span that the movies are released. However, in cases where a later film's plot is directly related to or affected by a previous film this trope still applies. ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'' takes place just a few months after ''Captain America: Civil War'' despite being released over a year later, and ''Black Panther'' is a ''week'' after ''Civil War'' despite being released nearly ''two'' years later. Similarly, ''Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2'' takes place two months after ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' despite being released two and half years later.
** The Netflix shows are a {{downplayed|trope}} example. The events of the shows take place over several (sometimes overlapping) periods of a few weeks each. So shows released months apart (for example, ''Daredevil'' Season 2 and ''Luke Cage'' Season 1) can have events happening at the same time. ''The Defenders'' is a more straightforward example, with the whole series taking place in just a few days.
* {{Fanservice}}: The franchise tends to find excuses to portray its male heroes shirtless at least [[OnceAnEpisode once a film]]. Ironically, Black Widow, whose powers arguably include "[[FemmeFatale being sexy]]", is possibly the ''least'' sexualized Avenger, doubly so given that [[Creator/ScarlettJohansson her actress]] is generally accepted as being one of the most attractive women in the world.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** Asgard, despite the Myth/NorseMythology aesthetic, is actually more similar to the present day United Kingdom, with a backstory not dissimilar to the British Empire. Asgard itself is physically small but controls several client states across the universe, and it's made clear in ''Ragnarok'' that it got that way through a period of brutal conquest that it is now ashamed of (though unlike Odin, the UK doesn't just pretend it never happened).
** The fashions and aesthetics of Wakanda were purposefully designed to resemble a variety of cultures from all over Africa, but in terms of its culture it's most similar to [[{{UsefulNotes/Mali}} the Mali Empire]]: A nation founded by an alliance of several tribes, with an economy founded on an absurd wealth of a resource that is rare in the rest of the world (Gold for Mali, Vibranium for Wakanda).
*** Wakanda is also NotSoDifferent from the United States of America. It's a global superpower that was founded by immigrants from various cultures, and in the present day has been forced to realize that [[ComesGreatResponsibility it should be doing more with its power and wealth]] and is now forced to decide between helping the outside world or outright controlling it. In this metaphor, T'Challa loosely stands in for UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt, who broke the United States' isolationists policies and turned it into a major diplomatic player. Discussing this parallel makes up a lot of the running time of ''Black Panther''.
* FantasyKitchenSink: The MCU has gradually evolved into this, with fantastic beings and items from all genres. Science-fiction is the most prominently featured with such things like PoweredArmor, superbots, aliens and spaceships of all sorts, incredible technology that [[IncredibleShrinkingMan allow people to shrink to subatomic levels]], and as of ''Endgame'', [[spoiler:time travel]]. On the other side, we get Norse Gods that use magic, as well as secret societies of wizards protecting earth from supernatural threats and spiritual planes where the King of Wakanda can visit his dead ancestors.
* FantasyMetals: The movies feature Vibranium, a super-durable and exceptionally versatile metal only found in Wakanda. Season Five of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' also involves a separate metal called Gravitonium that can warp gravity.
* FasterThanLightTravel: Of a variant. Rather than simply jumping into hyperspace ala ''Franchise/StarWars'', the MCU uses the [[PortalNetwork Universal Neural Teleportation Network]] that allows spaceships to travel across the universe by using jump points to more-or-less teleport across the universe. Destinations are measured using the number of jumps one makes to reach it, with no more than 50 jumps being safe for occupants. The actual speed that spaceships have to be going at to make the jumps is unclear however.
* FatalMacGuffin: The Infinity Stones often have this in spades:
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'': The Tesseract is too hot to touch with your bare hands and if it feels you are a bad person, it can have devestating effects as seen when the Red Skull picked it up.
** ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'': The Aether inhabits Jane Foster and slowly kills her. It's shown that you have to be a very powerful person to use it as Malekith eventually harnesses the Stone.
** ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'': The Orb's energy is so intense that anyone who tries to hold it in their bare hands ends up getting vaporised. Ronan is able to work around this by embedding the stone in his hammer, providing a safe medium to channel its powers into himself.
** 'Film/DoctorStrange2016': Using the Eye of Agamotto in a careless manner can potentially break all of reality. The Masters of the Mystic Arts keep the Eye under close guard, and Doctor Strange himself uses it sparingly since his first movie.
** ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'' and ''Film/AvengersEndGame'': The Soul Stone is safe to touch but first, you have to sacrifice someone you love, making it unsafe for them.
*** When the Infinity Stones are all gathered together into the Infinity Gauntlet, the process is dangerous enough that even Thanos has trouble containing the energy and nearly kills himself using the Stones more than once. Later, the Hulk uses the Gauntlet and almost loses his arm. Unfortunately, Tony Stark does not survive his usage of the Gauntlet.
* FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence: There are a number of people with ''and'' without superpowers who feel discriminated. Those without powers feel as though powered people are taking the world from beneath them, making them feel subhuman, and the reason otherworldly threats are suddenly drawn to Earth. Some like the Watchdogs go as far to believe that a species is supposed to evolve as a whole instead of individually or enhanced people don't deserve their power because they did nothing to ''earn'' it, so those like the Inhumans are abominations and crimes against nature that must be controlled or eradicated to restore the status quo before ''the other'' takes over and reduces the value of "normal" people. Powered people feel that some of those without powers are prejudiced towards them simply for being different, whether or not it's by choice, and are seen and referred to as things instead of people. They also feel devalued by the notion of being placed on a watch-list similar to "FBI's Most Wanted" as though people don't trust them and expect them to go bad, especially after the Sokovia Accords go into effect, forcing enhanced people to either sign themselves over to governmental power or be labelled criminals and face imprisonment.
* FemaleGaze: Tying into the {{fanservice}} entry above, the franchise employs a lot of {{Shirtless Scene}}s for the male leads, spending a lot of camera time on their chests and bodies, from ass shots and crotch shots (''The Avengers'' is particularly filled with this). It's been semi-jokingly, semi-seriously suggested that this aspect is a major reason why the films are especially popular with women.
** Even the television shows aren't exempt from this, see Grant Ward from ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', Matt Murdock from ''Daredevil'', and try to find a scene where a woman doesn't drool over Luke Cage.
* FiveSecondForeshadowing: The moment Rhodey says "let's synch up" to Nebula after being handed the Orb, They prepare to transport back. Rhodey leaves, Nebula is frozen and "synchs up" with her 2014 self opening up the remaining information to Thanos.
* FlatCharacter:
** A common criticism of Phases One and Two is that their villains are often underdeveloped, with the exception of Loki who is given almost as much screen time as Thor. The ''Defenders'' shows are other major exceptions since they focus on their villains as much as the heroes. ''Doctor Strange'' attempted to avert this with [[spoiler:Mordo]], deliberately developing his character ''before'' turning him villainous for future films. Kevin Feige as much as admitted it while promoting ''Guardians Vol. 2'', saying that the movies tell the heroes' stories and the villains are a means to that end; though in retrospect he was lying at the time.[[note]]He was justifying Ayesha being flat, while hiding the fact that she wasn't actually the main villain of the film.[[/note]] Phase Three, on the whole, has averted this with more fleshed-out villains.
** Agent 13 usually gets called out for being this due to how OutOfFocus her character has been in the two latter ''Captain America'' movies that she's appeared in. As a result, some find that her romance with Steve Rogers in ''Civil War'' doesn't come off all that natural.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: There's been a bit of a trend of alluding to future Marvel heroes before they debut:
** In ''Iron Man'', Rhodey looks at one of the Iron Man armors and says "Next time, baby." He did indeed get to become War Machine in the sequel. You can get a glimpse of Captain America's shield in Tony's workshop, too.
** ''Iron Man 2'' has a brief scene where Nick Fury shows Tony a map of metahuman activity throughout the world. One of the markers is located in the Arctic, where Captain America was frozen - speaking of which, a box of S.H.I.E.L.D. gear given to Tony (which originally belongs to his father Howard) includes a sketch of Tesseract and a copy of Captain America comics. Moreover, the prototype shield which made a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' appearance in the first movie is used by Tony to balance his makeshift particle accelerator and Coulson frowns at the scene. Another spot on the map is in Africa, which was later confirmed to be a nod to Black Panther, who joined the MCU years later.
** ''Thor'' had a line where Selvig mentioned that he had a friend named Hank Pym who had a run-in with S.H.I.E.L.D. years earlier, though the name was omitted from the final release.
** ''The Avengers'' has a deleted scene where the guard that Banner encounters asks him if he's a big guy who shrinks, alluding to Ant-Man.
** In ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', Sitwell name-drops Stephen Strange as one of the potential threats HYDRA plans to eliminate.
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' incorporated subplots involving Inhumans since day one[[note]]though they didn't reveal they ''were'' about the Inhumans until a season and a half in[[/note]], a whole year before an ''Inhumans'' movie was even announced and ''five'' before its original planned release date.
** ''Age of Ultron'' briefly visits Africa and introduces Ulysses Klaue, heralding the Black Panther, while Thor's visions warn of something terrible befalling Asgard in ''Thor: Ragnarok.''
** ''Doctor Strange'' features an appearance by Tina Minoru, wielding The Staff of One, hinting at her daughter Nico's involvement in the planned ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'' adaptation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tropes G to R]]
* GenreBusting: The franchise changed what movie-goers and movie-makers alike thought was possible with crossover films and established genres, and along with ''Film/TheDarkKnightTrilogy'' redefined what the superhero genre could do, by mixing elements from science fiction, fantasy, thrillers and whatnot.
* GenreRoulette: Though collectively under the "superhero" and ScienceFiction genres, each hero's movies skew towards their own genre:
** Marvel Studios:
*** ''Iron Man 1'' and ''2'' are relatively [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness hard-scale]] MilitaryScienceFiction, plus Tony and Pepper's relationship in the first was noted to resemble a ScrewballComedy. The third movie [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/03/05/kevin-feige-talks-marvels-phase-2-movies has been described as]] a Political Thriller.
*** ''The Incredible Hulk'' is a [[AttackOfTheKillerWhatever Monster Movie]].
*** ''Thor'' is a FishOutOfWater UrbanFantasy, while ''The Dark World'' adds SpaceOpera elements. ''Ragnarok'' mixes in PlanetaryRomance with elements of a BuddyPicture and a heaping helping of outright {{Comedy}}, and then funnels ''all'' of this [[GenreThrowback through the 1980s.]]
*** ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' is a [[MilitaryAndWarfareFilms War Movie]], while ''The Winter Soldier'' is a ConspiracyThriller and ''Civil War'' is a different style of Political Thriller.
*** Each of the ''Avengers'' movies fall under ScienceFantasy.
*** ''Avengers: Infinity War'' and ''Avengers: Endgame'' fall under EpicMovie as well.
*** The ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' films are a combination of SpaceOpera and SpaceWestern, with a large [[{{Comedy}} comedic]] streak.
*** Both ''Ant-Man'' movies are {{Criminal Procedural}}s, with the first specifically being a [[TheCaper heist movie]]. Surprisingly, [[spoiler:''Avengers: Endgame'']] also features a heist.
*** ''Doctor Strange'' is an UrbanFantasy. Unlike ''Thor''[='s=] HeroicFantasy, ''Strange''[='s=] fantasy elements are LovecraftLite. ''Multiverse of Madness'' was immediately described as the first {{Horror}} movie in the MCU.
*** ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'' is more lighthearted than the rest of the franchise, focusing on HighSchool and {{Comedy}} aspects - essentially the movie equivalent of a KidCom. ''Far From Home'' combines those aspects with those of a [[SpyFiction spy film not unlike]] ''Franchise/JamesBond'' and a teen RomanticComedy.
*** ''Black Panther'' is another mashup - {{Afrofuturism}}, FeudalFuture, SpyFiction, ScienceFantasy - as it attempts to analyze what an AdvancedAncientAcropolis would actually be like.
*** ''Captain Marvel'' is MilitaryScienceFiction, but with a greater emphasis on cosmic elements.
*** ''[=WandaVision=]'' is an interesting case of it being its own Genre Roulette. It's a {{Sitcom}}--but the catch is that [[GenreThrowback the show actually channels sitcoms throughout the past few decades!]] These include ''Series/ILoveLucy'', ''Series/TheBradyBunch'', ''Series/FamilyTies'', and ''Series/{{Bewitched}}''.
*** ''Black Widow'' is SpyFiction of the Stale Beer variety.
*** ''Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'' will be Marvel Studios's attempt at a MartialArtsMovie--with some {{Wuxia}} elements thrown in as well.
*** ''What If...?'' is an animated {{Elseworld}} anthology series.
*** ''Blade'', like ''Doctor Strange'', is an UrbanFantasy. This time, however, it's flavored with vampires.
** Marvel Television:
*** Both ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' and ''Agent Carter'' are Martini-flavored SpyFiction. A proposed spin-off of the former called ''Marvel's Most Wanted'' was being set up to be more of the Stale Beer flavor, with two ex-agents actively hunted and without support. ''Agent Carter'' also had some Stale Beer mixed into its first season, due to the constant sexism Peggy deals with.
*** ''Daredevil'' is some combination of CityNoir and FantasticNoir.
*** ''Jessica Jones'' is a PsychologicalThriller.
*** ''Luke Cage'' is a modernized, less racially offensive take on {{Blaxploitation}}.
*** ''Iron Fist'' is a modern-day {{Wuxia}}.
*** ''The Defenders'' is a [[CrimeFiction Crime Drama]] with Supernatural elements.
*** ''The Punisher'' is a ConspiracyThriller.
*** ''Runaways'' is a TeenDrama.
*** ''Cloak & Dagger'' is a {{Romance}}.
*** ''Helstrom'' is likely to be Supernatural {{Horror}} (the show pitch makes no mention of the supernatural, but in the comics the Helstrom siblings are tied to demonic forces and the show was originally announced alongside one for a similarly-themed hero, ''Ghost Rider'', before the Rider's show fell through).
*** ''New Warriors'' (should it ever escape DevelopmentHell) is a {{Sitcom}}. A proposed TV series adaptation of ''ComicBook/DamageControl'' would also have been one; specifically a WorkCom.
* GrayingMorality: The ''Captain America'' movies received this treatment especially hard. The first movie, ''The First Avenger'' starts off as a straightforward BlackAndWhiteMorality World War II period flick with the title character fighting HYDRA -- ANaziByAnyOtherName. The first sequel, ''The Winter Soldier'' has the hero fighting the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. (infiltrated by HYDRA ever since its creation) but the antagonists raise valid points about security vs. free will in a world of superheroes. Come to full blown in the third movie, ''Civil War'', the secondary antagonist this time is Steve's own former Avengers teammates and the government over whether or not superheroes should work with the government, making it dip into GrayAndGreyMorality. Although Steve's side is still presented as [[ALighterShadeOfGrey the more right of the two]].
* GlobalCurrency: Outside of Earth, the "unit" is the universally accepted currency across the galaxy.
* TheGodsMustBeLazy: Usually averted for the Asgardians, who help to end conflicts in the Nine Realms.
* GreaterScopeVillain:
** ComicBook/{{Thanos}} is involved in three of the four ''Avengers'' movies and in ''Guardians of the Galaxy''. He is more powerful and more dangerous than the {{Big Bad}}s of ''Avengers'' and ''Guardians'' (Loki and Ronan, respectively) but he does not take direct action until ''Infinity War'' and ''Endgame''. By extension, he is this for the entire Infinity Saga given the scale of his villainy (galaxy wide).
** The Ten Rings in the ''Film/IronMan'' films are present in ''1'' and ''3'' ([[spoiler:though the Ten Rings from ''3'' are revealed to be impostors]]). A deleted scene from ''2'' shows the Ten Rings helping Whiplash get to Monaco. They are a big threat and provide support to the {{Big Bad}}s (Iron Monger and Whiplash) but they are not directly involved. They finally become the main villains in ''Shang-Chi''.
** 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.'', but have had an effect on ''Iron Man'' as well since they're the ones who killed Tony's parents. (They also appear in ''Ant-Man'', but only to establish Darren Cross' villainy by his association with them.) ''Agents'' later reveals that [[spoiler:HYDRA is just the most modern incarnation of a much older AncientConspiracy]], making them an even greater evil than we first thought. However, they've sustained numerous losses since their exposure and were supposedly wiped out shortly before ''Civil War''. Even so, their VillainousLegacy lives on.
** The Hand in the ''Defenders'' shows. While they haven't directly appeared in ''Jessica Jones'' and ''Luke Cage'' (that we know of), ''Daredevil'' and ''Iron Fist'' show that they've wormed their way into several corporate, governmental, and criminal positions in New York, they're quietly working behind the scenes to set up ''[[HiddenAgendaVillain something]]'' big, and both heroes were trained specifically to fight them.
*** Within that group, [[spoiler:Madame Gao]]. Never the main villain of any show, but often comes off as more cunning and menacing than the one who is. They also have a tendency to make clean getaways where other villains get killed.
** [[spoiler:Dormammu]] in ''Doctor Strange''. While Kaecilius is set up as the big bad who seeks to draw mystical energy from the Dark Dimension to achieve eternal life, [[spoiler:Dormammu uses him and his zealots to open a gateway allowing him to consume our dimension and subject whatever remains to unending suffering]].
* AGodIAmNot: PlayedWith in various instances.
** 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. ''Thor: Ragnarok'' strays closer to the comics, as the Asgardians refer to themselves as gods.
** Ego similarly downplays his power when asked if he's a god, though he does say that he'll admit to be a "small-g" god when he's feeling boastful. [[spoiler:Subverted when Ego ''does'' claim godhood by the end of the film. Instead, it's Peter who rejects being one.]]
* GoodAllAlong: Often, villains will turn out to be not as dark as they were initially perceived:
** The Winter Soldier is an innocent man -- specifically, [[spoiler:Bucky Barnes]] -- who was kidnapped, [[UnwillingRoboticisation modified]], and [[BrainwashedAndCrazy brainwashed]] into a HYDRA assassin.
** Yondu genuinely cares about Peter Quill and raised him as a Ravager specifically to protect the boy from his [[BlackAndGrayMorality far worse]] biological father. His threats of [[ImAHumanitarian cannibalism]] are just failed attempts at joking. [[spoiler:Quill eventually realizes this and Yondu dies a hero protecting Quill; at the funeral, Quill identifies Yondu as his true parent.]]
** Aaron Davis bears no ill will to Spider-Man and he doesn't want the Vulture's weapons in New York either; he is also protective of his loved ones, especially his brother's [[ComicBook/MilesMorales young son]].
** Ava Starr / Ghost's [[IntangibleMan powers]] cause her daily pain and are [[BlessedWithSuck slowly killing her]]; everything she does comes from sheer desperation to keep herself alive.
** [[spoiler:The Skrulls]] are a relatively small group of refugees at the receiving end of an attempted FinalSolution. Carol is rightly [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone horrified]] when she learns the whole truth.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: S.H.I.E.L.D. in all the movies, and before their time during WWII, there was the Strategic Scientific Reserve, which is essentially the OSS to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s CIA.
* HallwayFight: Every season of the Netflix shows feature at least one of these, sometimes two.
* {{Hammerspace}}:
** ''Iron Man 2'': We all love the Mark V suitcase suit, but let's face it, this is where it ''really'' comes from. There's no way that suit could fold down into a suitcase-sized package that's light enough to carry in one hand.
** ''Thor'' and later entries: Loki possesses this ability in-universe thanks to his power to create and cast illusions. He often summons his battle outfit (horned helmet and all) out of nowhere, as well as knives. He's also seen retrieving the Casket of Ancient Winters from who-knows-where and later stowing it with a single hand movement after attacking Heimdall with it.
** ''Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'' and ''Infinity War'': Rocket's [[{{BFG}} giant space rifle]] tends to conveniently disappear until the moment he needs it.
* HeavenAbove: The Marvel Cinematic Universe repurposes Asgard, city of the gods, as a distant galaxy far from Earth and the other realms, with the Bifrost acting as a wormhole that links them. Due to this sci-fi twist, the Bifrost invariably drops off and picks up Asgardian "gods" from a skyward direction (towards space).
* 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 Phase One film, Hawkeye appears as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in ''Thor'', etc.
** ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' features a blink and you'll miss it appearance by the original Human Torch at Stark's expo (doubles as a MythologyGag and ActorAllusion).
** Rhodey as War Machine is doing his own heroing separate from the Avengers. He has stories that are loved by civilians, but the Avengers don't find them impressive.
** Hank Pym and his wife Janet (née Van Dyne) spent up to twenty years fighting Soviets during the Cold War as Ant-Man and the Wasp, but the audience only sees brief snippets of these missions.
** In ''Guardians Vol. 2'', we find that [[spoiler:the '70s comic incarnation of the Guardians were active as a Ravager crew in the actual '70s, and the team reunites to start going adventuring again at the end.]]
** Captain Marvel hasn't been on Earth since 1995 because she's protecting planets which aren't lucky enough to have their own superheroes, let alone entire ''teams'' of them.
* HisOwnWorstEnemy: While not evil around half the time, it seems like the biggest threat to Earth's peace in the MCU is from ''Humanity'' itself. With the exception of movies that primarily feature Thor, every single MCU movie has humanity at large either directly or indirectly responsible and if not that then actively hindering the attempts of the heroes to save Earth.
* HumansAreWarriors: After repelling the Chitauri invasion, even their leader admits fighting them is "to court death." Seeing how multiple humans, from the Avengers to Peter Quill, manage to thwart his plans, Thanos gets really annoyed at Earth in ''Endgame'' and promises to destroy Earth just to spite its heroes.
* HyperlinkStory: The ''film franchise'' is set to come together for ''Infinity War'' and ''Endgame''.
* IHaveManyNames: The planet Earth is known by many designations across the universe: "Midgard" by the Asgardians, "Planet C-53" by the Kree, and "Terra" by everyone else.
* ILoveNuclearPower: While radiation does come up with other heroes, it's mainly exclusive to the ''Hulk'' franchise as its unique shtick.
* IconicSequelCharacter: ''[[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters Several]]''. For easier context, the only characters who have been there since the very beginning are Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, James Rhodes[[note]]and he was played by a different actor then[[/note]], Phil Coulson, J.A.R.V.I.S., and Nick Fury.
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum:
** The Infinity Stones manage to qualify as this even in settings that are alien to begin with. Besides the movies where they directly appear, it's also implied that Iron Man's Arc Reactor was reverse-engineered from [[spoiler:the Tesseract]] by Howard Stark.
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' has ongoing plots related to the alien Kree civilization. Asgardian and Chitauri objects have also popped up on Earth occasionally.
** The Vulture and Shocker use advanced technology, though not ''all'' of it is alien in origin.
** In ''The Defenders'', the secret behind the Hand's resurrection process is revealed to be [[spoiler:dragon bone]].
** The Pym Particles of ''Ant-Man'' are of the "completely redefine the laws of physics" variety.
** ''Black Panther'' has the extra-durable and versatile vibranium, which is said to have come from space.
** As of Phase Three, magic and the paranormal is starting to be introduced, though SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic is present, grouping all magics under energies from other dimensions where things work differently. Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and Iron Fist are three such heroes with these powers.
** Season One of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' combines multiple Phlebotinum sources in Centipede's formula: alien (possibly Chitauri) tech, gamma radiation, knock-off super soldier serum ''and'' Extremis. And then they throw in [[HollywoodCyborg cybernetics]] as well to make Deathlok. Season Two introduces another combo Phlebotinum with the Inhumans, which is Imported Alien Genetic Engineering.
* InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt: Beginning to be enforced as of the end of Phase One, with ''"Marvel's The Avengers"'', ''"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."'', and ''"Marvel's Agent Carter"''. Sometimes it can get awkward, for instance the comic book tie-in collection ''"Road to Marvel's The Avengers"'', or when ABC does the same thing and advertises "ABC's ''Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.''"
* InnocuouslyImportantEpisode:
** ''Age of Ultron'' is largely self-contained in terms of the story and how it effects the overall narrative of the universe, the only real wide ranging impact present being the team dealing with HYDRA and a roster change. But several seeds are planted which go on to inform the majority of the overarching narrative in Phase Three. These are as follows:
*** Ultron's actions ultimately lead to both the Sokovia Accords and Zemo wanting revenge on the Avengers, which form the plot of ''Civil War'', which in turn serves as an even bigger WhamEpisode than ''The Winter Soldier''.
*** Tony becomes TheAtoner because of his role in creating Ultron, which goes on to inform his actions in ''Civil War'' and later ''Spider-Man: Homecoming''.
*** Thor is driven to search for the Infinity Stones and Hulk is driven to leave the team because of events in the film, which sets up their role in ''Ragnarok''.
*** The vibranium that Ultron obtains from Klaue leads to Wakanda's presence in ''Civil War'' which combines with Klaue's possession of it to begin with to set up the plot of ''Black Panther''.
*** The Ultron-inspired ban on A.I. influences the LMD arc of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.''
** ''Ant-Man'' introduces two key concepts [[spoiler:that will ultimately play out in ''Endgame''. The first is introducing the Quantum Realm and establishing that is possible to travel to and back from it, which serves to enable the Time Heist that the plot centers on. The second is giving Scott a connection to the Avengers when he has break into their compound. This ultimately leads to him reaching out to them to offer the Quantum technology he has access to to enable the Time Heist.]]
** ''Ant-Man and the Wasp'' was sold as a BreatherEpisode and a LowerDeckEpisode to contrast ''Infinity War'' (taking place at roughly the same time) and yet [[spoiler:it provided the major plot mechanics for ''Endgame'', chiefly the Quantum Tunnel, Pym Particles, and Time Vortices, as well as Scott Lang himself, which the Avengers use to undo Thanos' snap]].
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: While Earth is the main setting of the franchise, it is mostly known as a backwater planet of [[PunyEarthlings weak humans]] and the galaxy at large has a more advanced technology than Earth, or has more powerful aliens. Nicky Fury and Tony Stark are perhaps the most aware about this, hence their efforts to secure the worlds by multiple means such as creating the Avengers for Fury, or creating Ultron for Tony (the latter backfired on him though).
* IntercontinuityCrossover: Sony made several attempts to tie ''The Amazing Spider-Man'' film series (which they hold the rights to, rather than Marvel Studios) into the MCU. First they tried to get the Oscorp building in the background of ''The Avengers'' (which was scrapped due to how late into production they were) and in 2015 offered to allow the character (or at least Peter Parker) to appear in ''Captain America: Civil War''. Ultimately averted, as Spidey in the MCU has no connection to the ''Amazing'' continuity (although Marvel initially considered it).
* JobTitle: ''Agent Carter'', ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', ''Doctor Strange'', ''Captain America: First Avenger'', and ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', and ''Black Panther''. Technically, any film/show that has their superhero/team name in the title counts since being a hero is their job, but the ones listed above have the eponymous characters' ''actual'' profession(s) in the title.
* KilledOffForReal: While there are quite a few {{Disney Death}}s in the franchise, with the vast majority of the [[BigBad villains]] not surviving past their first appearance despite [[SuperheroMovieVillainsDie some exceptions]], there are also certain {{Character Death}}s that do stick.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: Some later entries in the franchise become hard to discuss without bringing up spoilers. The ones that this page has stopped trying to hide are:
** S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by HYDRA since its inception, and the organization was dismantled in ''The Winter Soldier''.
** In ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', Skye is actually the MCU version of ComicBook/DaisyJohnson.
** Phases One through Three have an ongoing subplot involving the Infinity Stones, leading into an adaptation of ''ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet''.
** In the Netflix shows, the Hand is involved in Season Two of ''Daredevil'', Season One of ''Iron Fist'', and ''The Defenders''.
* LegacyCharacter: Several superheroes have predecessors and take up their names. For instance, Scott Lang is the second Ant-Man after Hank Pym, who is downgraded to a side character. Hank's daughter, Hope van Dyne, also took the mantle of the Wasp after her mother Janet. Meanwhile, Wakanda has the Black Panthers, a lineage of warrior kings and the latest of whom is T'Challa. Finally in ''Endgame'', [[spoiler:Steve Rogers designates Sam Wilson as his successor as Captain America]].
* 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 for countless extrasolar superpowers. It even gets the point where ''[[spoiler:Thanos]]'' takes an interest.
--->'''Director:''' Was that the whole point of this? To make a statement?\\
'''Nick Fury:''' [[HumansAreWarriors A]] ''[[HumansAreWarriors promise]]''.
** On a smaller scale example, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in ''Age of Ultron'' began as nobodies living in a war-torn Eastern European country before getting enhanced by Loki's scepter and then receiving a DareToBeBadass speech from Hawkeye.
* LetsYouAndHimFight: A surprising number of the action scenes in the shared universe have the heroes fighting each other:
** The first one was in ''Iron Man 2'' where Rhodes steals one of the Iron Man suits to try and rein in a drunken Tony. After the suit gets upgraded and Rhodes becomes War Machine, Vanko hacks the suit and forces another fight.
** In ''The Avengers'', a MeleeATrois broke out between Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor in their first meeting; and then later between Hulk, Black Widow and Thor. Hulk and Thor continue their HeadbuttingHeroes dynamic during the Chitauri invasion where the Green Giant punches Thor out for no reason. ''Thor: Ragnarok'' features [[HereWeGoAgain a gladiator match between these two]].
** When Scarlet Witch possessed the team in South Africa, she turned the team against one another leading Hulk to go on another rampage with Iron Man summoning the Hulkbuster armor (that Bruce Banner made with him). Then Captain America and his team try and stop Iron Man from summoning the Vision only for Thor to show up.
** Even ''Ant-Man'' had a fight between Scott Lang and The Falcon. While the follow-up, ''Captain America: Civil War'' entirely revolved around GoodVersusGood action sequences and the end result of [[RealityEnsues the dysfunctional dynamic]] is the entire Avengers breaking up.
** In ''Infinity War'', half the Guardians of the Galaxy (namely Star-Lord, Drax, and Mantis) arrive on Titan shortly after the party of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange also arrive there. Each group assumes the other are minions of Thanos, and a fight breaks out between the two teams until they're able to establish that they're all on the same side.
** ''Endgame'' includes a brief scuffle between Captain America and [[spoiler:Captain America (circa 2012), thanks to time-travel]]. Hawkeye and Black Widow also come to blows over [[spoiler:who gets to make the HeroicSacrifice for the Soul Stone]].
* LighterAndSofter:
** The MCU movies were and are still considered to be this in comparison to previous and concurrent non-Disney Marvel properties like the the ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'' or even DarkerAndEdgier R-rated adaptations like ''Film/ThePunisher2004'', the ''Film/BladeTrilogy'', ''Film/{{Deadpool|2016}}'', or ''Film/{{Logan}}'' due to having less violence, gore, bad language and sexuality.
** Phase 1 adapts a few elements from the ComicBook/UltimateMarvel line (Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. being the linchpin of the Avengers, an alien invasion led by an InNameOnly Chitauri), but leaves outside the AdaptationalVillainy and greater violence of the Ultimate comics.
** ''Ant-Man'', ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'', ''Ant-Man and the Wasp'', and ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'' are noticeably lighter than the rest of the films; focusing on far smaller stakes than most films and playing Peter's and Scott's antics for laughs a lot of the time. [[spoiler:However, the latter two both have some darker themes and {{Cruel Twist Ending}}s.]]
* LiveActionAdaptation: Of [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]]'s super hero comics, with certain films focusing on specific stories (for example, ''Captain America: Civil War'' adapts the ''ComicBook/CivilWar'' CrisisCrossover).
* 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. In an October 2017 photoshoot for [[https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/11/marvel-cover-story Vanity Fair]], ''83'' of the actors involved in the MCU got together expressly to show just [[https://pmcdeadline2.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/marvel-class-photo.jpg how many characters there are]] - and that ''still'' wasn't everyone.
** A specific example: ''The Avengers'' has ten of the main characters from various parts of the franchise in the film (six Avengers, three high-ranked S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and Loki), plus minor characters. And ''Age of Ultron'' has even ''more''.
** Within the individual franchises, both ''Thor'' and Captain America have literal armies among the main cast, especially when you look at the number of actors with roles considered important enough to receive billing in the main credits sequence. Both ''Thor'' and ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' had 14 actors billed in their credit sequences, which is one more than ''The Avengers'' had with a "mere" 13 actors billed there. This was escalated in the sequels, where ''Thor: The Dark World'' had 16 actors billed in the end credits, while ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' had ''18'' actors billed, ''Age of Ultron'' had ''20'', ''Infinity War'' had '''35,''' and ''Endgame'' had '''''54'''''.
* MacGuffinTurnedHuman: The Vision is, in a sense, one of the [[CosmicKeystone Infinity Stones]] given physical form by a roundabout process.
* MagneticPlotDevice: The Infinity Stones gradually took on their own subplot between the various films, being responsible for the events of multiple films or fueling the strange powers and MadScience of the individual BigBad, leading into ''Avengers: Infinity War'' and ''Endgame''.
* MalignantPlotTumor: The Infinity Stones have been slowly growing in importance as time goes on, which came to a head in Phase Three.
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover: The ''Avengers'' films act as this. The ''Defenders'' miniseries does the same for the TV shows aired on Netflix.
* MayflyDecemberFriendship:
** While it is never mentioned, unlike his MayflyDecemberRomance with Jane Foster, Thor ''will'' eventually outlive (most of) his fellow Avengers.
** At the other end of the scale, Rocket bitterly snarks that his lifespan is likely to be shorter than other species' in ''Guardians of the Galaxy''.
** Played with in the case of Vision, who's simultaneously the youngest Avenger ''and'' potentially ageless, hence likely to outlive even Thor. ([[spoiler:Though the point is rendered moot since Thanos killed him.]])
* MegaCorp: The Roxxon Corporation, a massive conglomerate with interests in multiple industries. It is also deeply corrupt and has had its fingers in criminal and nefarious plots for decades, from helping engineer the Great Depression in the 1920s to being a front company for the Hand in the 2010s. Even with the general separation between the films and the different TV subdivisions, it's one of the few elements that's crept into every arm of the franchise; including the ''Iron Man'' films, ''Agent Carter'', ''Daredevil'', and ''Cloak and Dagger''.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: It's dangerous to be a mentor in this franchise. Once the student no longer needs you, something will kill you. [[spoiler:Yinsen for Iron Man, Dr. Erskine for Captain America, The Ancient One for Doctor Strange, Yondu for Star-Lord, Odin for Thor, Zuri for Black Panther, Stick for Daredevil, Pop for Luke Cage, Mar-Vell / Dr. Wendy Lawson for Captain Marvel and Tony "Iron Man" Stark for Peter "Spider-Man" Parker]] definitely count; as do, arguably, [[spoiler:Frigga (who taught at least Loki some of his powers) and Coulson (though he doesn't stay dead) for Skye/Daisy]].
* MerchandiseDriven: While not nearly as much as the Saturday morning half-hour toy commercial TV shows, the movies do move a ton of merchandise and occasionally there will be something in the movies that plays to that. One of the most obvious is that characters' outfits will usually be redesigned in every new movie, which may or may not be justified in-story but can be turned into new action figures and collectibles. Some of the more blatant toyetic costume changes include "Iron Patriot" in ''Iron Man 3'', Hulkbuster Iron Man in ''Age of Ultron'' and ''Infinity War'', "Iron Spider" in ''Infinity War'', and the white "team suits" in ''Endgame''.
* 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]], similar to the "Ultimate" comic line.
** ''Thor: The Dark World'' reveals that the Tesseract contains 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''. Loki's scepter has also been stated to be connected to the Tesseract, later revealed to contain the Mind Gem in ''Age of Ultron''. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch's powers have also been tied to this origin, having come from the scepter; as do the origins of Ultron and the Vision, granted sentience by the Mind Gem's power. Doctor Strange is also connected to the Infinity Stones, as the Eye of Agamotto holds the Time Stone; as is [[spoiler:Captain Marvel, who absorbed a massive dose of Tesseract energy]].
** 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.
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' ties together several superhumans' powers as coming from being Inhuman. Subverted with [[spoiler:Jeffrey Mace]], who was first presented as an Inhuman, but a later plot twist reveals that his powers actually come from a source resembling the one from the comics.
** The ''Defenders'' shows tie the Hand, and by proxy Daredevil, together with the history of the Iron Fist.
* MilitarySuperhero: Captain America, the Falcon, War Machine, the Punisher, and Captain Marvel all have military experience. Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the original Ant-Man are variants as they are/were secret agents.
* MoleInCharge:
** This was a great problem for Daredevil. He can not count with the police in his fight against the mafia overlord Wilson Fisk, because Fisk already has dozens of loyal cops within the force.
** It is also the big reveal in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''. HYDRA has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., and ''Fury'''s boss is one of their agents.
* MonochromeCasting:
** A frequent complaint, even from many fans of the MCU, is the abundance of {{White Male Lead}}s. Marvel released 17 films before they had one with a non-white or female lead. This had become even more pronounced when initial Phase Three movie announcements only showed ''Doctor Strange'' and ''Ant-Man'' as new properties, while many were hoping for more diverse characters like ComicBook/BlackPanther, [[ComicBook/CarolDanvers Captain Marvel]], or ComicBook/BlackWidow. ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' also took some flack for not including Mantis, Phyla-Vell, and/or Moondragon; who are all not only women but [[TwoferTokenMinority twofers]] as well: Mantis is Asian (or rather, an Asian-like alien) and the latter two are non-heterosexual. Things have been getting better, as Black Panther and Captain Marvel got their own movies in Phase Three, the Wasp was promoted to the title credits of the ''Ant-Man'' sequel, Mantis joined the Guardians in ''Vol. 2'', and Feige unofficially committed to doing a Black Widow movie before finally announcing it for Phase Four.
** Semi-averted with ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', which starred Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet (who's Chinese-American) from day one. However, the series didn't get an African-American lead until B.J. Britt joined halfway through the first season. Furthering averting this is the introduction of Mack in the second season.
** Averted with the ''Defenders'' shows, as only three of the five title heroes are white men.
** Zigzagged with ''Luke Cage'' and ''Black Panther''. They add some extra diversity to the overall franchise, but on their own they're monochrome in the sense that the casts are almost all black. Likewise, ''Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'' features a predominantly Asian cast.
** Averted in an amusing way in ''Guardians of the Galaxy''; Drax's and Mantis' skin tones were changed from the comics so the team wouldn't have ''three'' green people on it (Gamora being the third).
* MoodWhiplash: Marathoning the various entries in the franchise can definitely lead to it with some properties having vastly different tones. Just try to comprehend that the goofy Guardians of the Galaxy are blasting around the other end of the universe while Daredevil is coldly beating the tar out of a guy who raped his own daughter.
* MoreDiverseSequel: The main films focusing on the founding members of Franchise/TheAvengers had mostly white casts led by men, with a TokenMinority or [[TheSmurfettePrinciple lone woman]] occasionally present. The franchise has started to shift away from this in Phase Three, with ''Film/BlackPanther2018'' (starring a mostly-black cast) and ''Film/CaptainMarvel2019'' (the franchise's first female-led superhero film).
* MovieSuperheroesWearBlack: Generally averted; the heroes that wear black are generally the ones that already did so in the comics to begin with: Black Widow, Black Panther, War Machine (barring his "Iron Patriot" paintjob in ''Iron Man 3''), the Punisher, and Ghost Rider.
** The Falcon is one of the heroes to play the trope relatively straight. His comics costume features red-and-white tights, but in ''The Winter Soldier'' he draws on his Ultimate version that has metal wings over civilian clothes. Later movies skew closer to the mainstream comics, but it's still red and white on a black bodysuit.
** Daredevil splits the difference: his first homemade suit is based on Frank Miller's black redesign of his outfit, but at the end of the first season he gets a more professional-looking red one. He even calls the first one "A work in progress". In the second season, Elektra's red comics outfit is exchanged for black with red accents, but it's then averted when she gets the red outfit in ''The Defenders''.
** Spider-Man's outfits in ''Civil War'', ''Homecoming'', and ''Infinity War'' are pretty true to the source (being a mix of bright red and blue). The ''Infinity War'' outfit is decidedly darker than usual but still has the traditional color scheme intact. However in ''Far From Home'', Spidey dons a red and black outfit, which is more evocative of the original design by Creator/SteveDitko or Miles Morales' Spider Suit (though patterned in the more traditional layout with the red on the chest and the black replacing the blue highlights of his usual look).
* TheMultiverse: Multiple dimensions have been seen in the MCU. ''Doctor Strange'' explains that magic involves manipulating energies from other worlds like these. So far, there haven't been any IntercontinuityCrossover with non-MCU live-action continuities
** The Quantum Realm, reached by shrinking smaller than an atom.
** The Mirror Dimension, which reflects the main universe but can't affect it. Sorcerers use it as both a training ground and a prison.
** The Dark Dimension, a hellish realm without time under the control of [[spoiler:Dormammu]].
** The dimension where K'un-Lun is situated.
** The Hell-dimension that Ghost Rider and the Darkhold originate from (which may or may not be the same as the Norse Hel, or a Hell-dimension referenced in a separate earlier episode of ''Agents'').
** Sakaar is a PortalCrossroadWorld, surrounded by wormholes that pick up detritus from other realms. As with the Nine Realms, it may just be another planet.
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' Seasons 5 and 6 involve a "fear dimension" that's [[RealityBleed seeping into Earth]] and causing worst fears to come to life.
** [[spoiler:''Endgame'']] establishes parallel timelines that can be traversed through the Quantum Realm.
** The home dimension of Mysterio and the Elementals, which he calls "Earth, Dimension-833". [[spoiler:He's [[ConsummateLiar lying about everything]], and is just from the regular MCU Earth. He made it all up as part of giving himself a cool sci-fi backstory.]]
** The title of ''Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'' is pretty telling.
* MythArc: It has quite a few working simultaneously, either by AdaptationOriginConnection or CerebusRetcon:
** Like ''ComicBook/UltimateMarvel'', The Hulk's origin is rooted in an attempt at recreating the same super soldier experiment that transformed Steve Rogers into Captain America. It was also the origin of both the Red Skull and the Winter Soldier.
** The other MythArc is the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the resurrection of HYDRA inside S.H.I.E.L.D., which provides the background for Howard Stark's estrangement from his son Tony, as well as provide the cause for [[spoiler:his and his wife's death at the hands of a brainwashed Bucky Barnes]]. HYDRA also provides the background in ''Ant-Man'' and ''Civil War'' and provides the origins for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
** The biggest myth-arc is the Infinity Stones and Thanos' quest to find it to form ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet. {{McGuffin}}s such as the Tesseract (the Cosmic Cube from the comics), the Aether, the Orb, and the Eye of Agamotto are all revealed to be Infinity Stones, while the Mind Gem provides the origins for both Ulton and Vision.
** The invasion of New York by the Chitauri and the DestructiveSaviour tendencies of ''The Avengers'' likewise forms the MythArc of Marvel's TV Shows, such as ''Daredevil'' (where the destructive of Manhattan allows Wilson Fisk to build a criminal empire in the rubble) and ''Spider-Man: Homecoming''.
* MythologyGag: Bound to be several considering their comic book origins. Details can be found on the individual works pages.
* AMythologyIsTrue: While the comic books take the stance that AllMythsAreTrue (and Hercules is just as involved in superheroics as Thor is), in the MCU only the Norse myths are known to have any validity to them. (This may change with the introduction of the Eternals, who in the comics are basically space gods.)
** Other mythologies are mentioned from time to time, but there's no telling whether they actually exist: Skye pitched the idea of other pantheons being real in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', and ''Black Panther'' mentions Wakanda's god-myths. In an ''Age of Ultron'' deleted scene, Thor outright dismissed Greek mythology as completely false.
** In ''Far From Home'', world myths about elemental creatures are cited as precedent for the existence of the Elementals. [[spoiler:This is all a ruse designed to take advantage of what a FantasyKitchenSink the world has become that the general populace ''would'' believe it to be true.]]
** The TV side is a little looser when it comes to incorporating other mythologies, as the Light and Darkforces in ''Cloak & Dagger'' are tied to Voodoo deities, and ''Agents of SHIELD'' includes an interdimentional being who was mentioned to be worshipped by the Inca as one of their goddesses.
* NextSundayAD: As of ''Film/AvengersEndgame'', every MCU movie onwards that isn't a prequel movie is this. Since ''Endgame'' takes place [[spoiler:a whopping five years after the events of 2018's ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'', every film following it takes places during or after 2023]]. That being said, culture on Earth hasn't significantly advanced all that much, with familiar brands such as CNN, United Airlines, and even ''{{VideoGame/Fortnite}}'' still proving relevant in the future years.
* NoEndorHolocaust: Generally zig-zagged across the franchise.
** Averted with the Battle of New York from ''The Avengers''. While no bodies or civilian deaths are seen and Captain America specifically tells the cops to get the civvies to safety, a news report afterwards shows a bunch of grieving people in front of wall covered in memorials for innocents killed by the Chitauri, and a senator demanding that the Avengers pay for the massive amount of damage to the city. The Netflix shows, ''Agents of [=S.H.I.E.L.D.=]'', and ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'' all in part focus on how the Battle of New York has affected everyday life in [=NYC=].
** Played with in ''Avengers: Endgame''. On the one hand, it's averted in the sense that [[spoiler:even '''five years''' after the Decimation Earth is still a JustBeforeTheEnd CrapsackWorld only barely holding itself together through the efforts of the Avengers]]. However, it's also played straight in that the numerous mass-extinctions that would've resulted due to Thanos snapping half of all life out of existence have either not happened or were minor enough that they weren't worth mentioning in the film. Hell, if anything the Decimation apparently ''improved'' things for nature, with Captain America mentioning to Black Widow seeing pods of whales in the East River, and how San Fracisco is shown to have entire neighborhoods swallowed up by encroaching trees.
* NoSell: Happens a lot. Perhaps the most startling example is when [[PhysicalGod Thor]] attacks [[HeroKiller Thanos]] with a pipe. It does nothing.
* NotWearingTights: The general aesthetic of the ''Defenders'' shows, in comparison to the movies, is a lack of costumes. All the superhero spectacle is downplayed, and few characters (like Daredevil and [[spoiler:Diamondback]]) have any sort of traditional aspects like a costume (which they only get at the end of their respective seasons). Both suits even get some comments thrown their way for it; [[spoiler:Diamondback]] is described as a "pimp stormtrooper" and Jessica Jones snarks at Daredevil's costume a couple times in ''The Defenders''. She herself refused a costume that her foster sister made for her.
* 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. and the WSC 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'', S.H.I.E.L.D. was corrupted by HYDRA from its conception. HYDRA is still out there in some fashion, and Phil Coulson is tasked with rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D.
** ''Age of Ultron'' ends with the dissolution of the existing Avengers and formation of a new team consisting of Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, and The Vision.
** As of ''Captain America: Civil War'', [[spoiler:only Iron Man and the Vision remain at the Avengers compound, with War Machine also there but severely injured. Captain America, Falcon, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch are all fugitives from the United Nations; Hawkeye and Ant-Man are under house arrest; and Winter Soldier (also a fugitive, but that's long been the case) is in cryostasis in Wakanda, inviting a war on Black Panther's people if discovered.]]
** As of ''Thor: Ragnarok'', [[spoiler:Asgard has been completely destroyed, leaving Thor as the ''de facto'' king of its refugees since the death of Odin, and they are all looking for a new home.]]
** After ''Infinity War'', [[spoiler:the population of the universe is halved, and Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy (with the exception of Rocket), Bucky and Falcon all bit the dust.]] ''Endgame'' [[spoiler:restores the missing half, but does ''not'' reverse other deaths (like Loki or Vision) or the five years lost. On top of that, the Avengers compound is wrecked, Black Widow and Iron Man sacrifice their own lives to save the universe, Thor leaves to travel with the Guardians of the Galaxy while Valkyrie stays to look after New Asgard, and Steve Rogers goes back in time to stay and live with Peggy to the point where when he's seen back in the present, he's a withered old man who passes along his shield to Sam Wilson]].
** As of ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'', [[spoiler:Spider-Man's true identity is exposed and he has been framed for murder and various terrorist acts by the true culprit, who has arranged the situation such that he is [[VillainWithGoodPublicity remembered as a hero]].]]
* OfficialCosplayGear: The films of the MCU have this in spades. Creator/{{Hasbro}} has made toys of Iron Man and War Machine's repulor gloves and helmets, Captain America's shield, Thor's hammer, Spider-Man's web-shooters, Black Panther's claws, Star-Lord's helmet and blasters, Black Widow's bracelets and batons, Hawkeye's bow, and even the Hulk's fists. And that's not even counting the more high end stuff aimed at adults...
* OfficialCouple:
** Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, with them finally following through with the relationship after ''Spider-Man: Homecoming''.
--->'''Tony:''' (paraphrased) Do you still have that [[spoiler:engagement ring]] [for Pepper]?\\
'''Happy:''' [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall I've been carrying this thing around since 2008!]]
** Surprisingly, one of the healthiest and most stable romantic relationships out there belongs to Wilson Fisk and Vanessa Mariana in ''Daredevil''.
** In ''Age of Ultron'', Hawkeye reveals that he has been married for years.
** In ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', Fitz and Simmons. They finally marry in Season Five.
** Star-Lord and Gamora as of ''Infinity War''. Although Peter doesn't consider himself Gamora's boyfriend, and more like "a Titan killing long-term booty call".
** After considerable ShipTease in ''Age of Ultron'' and ''Civil War'', Wanda Maximoff and Vision are together in ''Infinity War''; and get a whole spinoff series devoted to them in ''[=WandaVision=]''.
** They weren't considered as such for most of their screentime due to them (and the audience) writing the pairing off as physically impossible after their debut movie, but after ''Endgame'', [[spoiler:Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter]] finally get their happy ending.
** By the end of ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'', [[spoiler:Peter and MJ]] are dating.
* OfficialCoupleOrdealSyndrome: Unfortunately, most of the above couples suffer through this. [[spoiler:Steve and Peggy]] go through ''years'' where each is convinced the other is lost to them, and they both struggle with moving on. Tony and Pepper also break up for a while, though it's mostly offscreen. Vision and Gamora [[spoiler:''die'']], and the latter is [[spoiler:replaced with a version that had never met Peter]]. And don't even get us started on all the crap [=FitzSimmons=] have had to go through -- the two are separated for a time, physically and/or emotionally, ''every'' season.
* OminousCube: The Tesseract, one of the six Infinity Stones, generates essentially limitless amounts of energy and has been used to open portals to other worlds. It is also extremely volatile, the first of the aforementioned portals was completely accidental, which (seemingly) killed the BigBad of the [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger first Captain America film]].
* OneDegreeOfSeparation:
** {{Invoked|Trope}} by Comicbook/NickFury, who makes it a point to ''be'' that one degree. Of course, it is literally his job to track down and keep tabs on the most powerful/dangerous superpowered individuals.
** Despite living in one of the largest and most anonymous cities in the world, all the Defenders seem to have the same circle of acquaintances, although except for Luke and Jessica they themselves have never met each other.
* PeriodPiece:
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'': Set from [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII 1942 to 1945]].
** ''Film/CaptainMarvel2019'': Set in [[TheNineties 1995]].
* PerspectiveReversal: Early in the series, Steve Rogers wants to sign up and serve his country, and Tony Stark is quite disdainful and dismissive toward any higher authority. By the time of ''Civil War'', Steve has become far more skeptical about trusting people in power while Tony has been sufficiently burned by the consequences of his actions to feel the need for strong government oversight.
* PlotCoupon: Several are established, and they often make return appearances throughout the MCU. [[spoiler:And they're all houses for Infinity Stones, which are Thanos' ultimate goal across the whole franchise.]]
** The Tesseract, central to ''Thor'', ''Captain America: The First Avenger'', ''The Avengers'', and ''[[spoiler:Captain Marvel]]''. [[spoiler:Actually the Space Stone.]]
** Loki's Chitauri Scepter, central to ''The Avengers'' and ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'' (with a cameo in ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier''). [[spoiler:Actually contained the Mind Stone.]]
** The Aether, central to ''Thor: The Dark World''. [[spoiler:Actually the Reality Stone.]]
** The Orb, central to ''Guardians of the Galaxy''. [[spoiler:Actually the Power Stone.]]
** The Eye of Agamotto, central to ''Doctor Strange''. [[spoiler:Actually contains the Time Stone.]]
** ''Infinity War'' finally reveals that hidden on a planet called [[spoiler:Vormir]] is [[spoiler:the Soul Stone.]]
* PortalNetwork: This is how FTL travel works in the MCU. ''Guardians Vol. 2'' shows that there are jump points in space that allow to quickly travel via "jumps." According to Yondu, making too many of those in quick succession is inadvisable and hazardous to organic beings (which does not stop him and Rocket from doing 700 jumps in a row). In the beginning of ''Infinity War,'' the Asgardian who sends a distress signal mentions that they are "22 jump points out of Asgard". In ''Captain Marvel'', the MacGuffin is [[spoiler:an FTL engine capable of circumventing the portal system]].
* PowerCrystal: The Infinity Stones, the recurring {{Plot Coupon}}s of the Infinity Saga. Created after the Big Bang, these six Stone each can control one aspect of reality (Power, Space, Time, Mind, Soul and Reality) and their powers have been harnessed through different artifacts that served as containers. Introduced separately, they became the focus of the story when Thanos finally made his move to gather them all.
* 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.
*** Though to be fair, [[http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/burger-king-helped-beat-addiction-robert-downey-jr-article-1.294756 there's a story behind the latter.]]
** 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. Tony Stark uses special limited edition of Colantotte magnetic bracelet to activate his new Iron Man armor in the climax.
** ''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.
** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' has had some product placement for Lexus.
** ''Age of Ultron'' continues to place some of the above (Beats, Audi) while adding some more. The tractor in Hawkeye's barn is a vintage John Deere; several Korean Air advertisements appear in the South Korea scenes; Under Armor provides custom "off duty" clothing for most of the Avengers; Quicksilver wears primarily Adidas clothing and shoes with a Hummel jacket.
** ''Ant-Man'' features Scott trying to get a job at Baskin-Robbins and a Thomas the Tank Engine toy features heavily in the climax. Additionally, every major character sports a Samsung smartphone, of which there are many lingering shots (except for the villain, who carries an iPhone in his briefcase. Natch.)
** ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'' promotes Audis (complete with MythologyGag license plates), Synchrony, United Airlines, and the Salvation Army.
* ProtagonistTitle: Majority of the films and shows. The ''Iron Man'' film series, ''The Incredible Hulk'', ''Thor'', ''Captain America'', ''Agent Carter'', ''Daredevil'', ''Ant-Man'', ''Jessica Jones'', ''Luke Cage'', ''Doctor Strange'', ''Iron Fist'', ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'', and ''Black Panther''.
* RaceLift:
** Creator/SamuelLJackson as Nick Fury, who was originally white in the comics. However, this is largely based on Fury's ComicBook/UltimateMarvel incarnation, who was based on Jackson in the first place.
** In ''Thor'', the Norse God Heimdall is played by Creator/IdrisElba, an Afro-British actor.
** S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell (who is a blonde white guy in the comics) is played by bald Latino actor Maximiliano Hernández.
** Daisy Johnson/Quake was originally presented as Anglo in the comics, but is half-Chinese in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' The comics have since adopted this aspect from the show.
** Ben Urich from ''Daredevil'' is Caucasian in the comics but African-American in the series, as is Malcolm Ducasse from ''Jessica Jones''.
** Mordo from ''Doctor Strange'' is another character that went from Caucasian (specifically Transylvanian) to black, though it's not clear what part of the world he comes from now so he may not be African-''American''.
** Most of Spider-Man's classmates were revised to be various ethnicities other than Caucasian.
** In ''Thor: Ragnarok'', Valkyrie (who is white and blonde in the comics) is played by Creator/TessaThompson, who is African-American. In the film, she's the sole survivor of the Valkyrie Corps, and another Valkyrie shown appears very almost identical to the comic Valkyrie.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: This is the cinematic version of the "heroes with issues". What do you expect?
** The Avengers: The founding members are a time lost living legend, a billionaire playboy who doesn't work well with others, a brilliant scientist who could level a city if he ever lost control, a PhysicalGod alien with family issues, a former assassin with guilt over her past actions, and a surprisingly well grounded secret agent who uses a bow and arrow. Later members include a pair of severely traumatized twins with super powers and a robot, with allies including a reforming criminal, a high school student with a guilt complex, a brilliant but smug wizard, the royal family of the richest country on Earth, and a strong-willed soldier from outer space. You would think this is a recipe for disaster, but they have managed to save the world on their own, and together they are virtually unstoppable.
** The Guardians of the Galaxy: a human abducted as a child and raised by {{Space Pirate}}s, a former assassin of an intergalactic warlord, a LiteralMinded warrior seeking revenge, a science experiment with a penchant for blowing things up, and a talking plant. Later members include the space pirate who raised the human, the sister of the former assassin, and an empath who was used as a pet her whole life. Yet they managed to do what the Nova Corps could not: stop Ronan the Accuser, when he had an Infinity Stone.
** Team Coulson: The founding members are a major Captain America/S.H.I.E.L.D. fanboy, a BrokenAce who quit being a field agent to go to a desk job, an anti-social field agent from an abusive home, a civilian hacker who was moved around foster care her whole life, a biochemist who considers dissecting people while they're standing right beside her, and an engineer who is awkward outside the lab and cannot admit his feelings for the aforementioned biochemist. Later members include a major Howling Commandoes fanboy, an ace field agent who is too skilled at lying for her own good, a mercenary who believes ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption, a doctor with serious anger management issues, a construction Forman who is not cut out for the spy life, and a woman whose life growing up under a corrupt government has left her. Yet they almost singlehandedly save S.H.I.E.L.D. from being destroyed after HYDRA's infiltration was revealed, even when one of their very own was a member of HYDRA.
** The Defenders: A blind lawyer with a strong BloodKnight tendencies and amassive guilt complex, a severely traumatized alcoholic, a man who was experimented on in prison who still mourns his dead wife, and an orphaned heir to a massive fortune who was raised in an alternate dimension with serious emotional self-control issues. Major allies include a [[BackAlleyDoctor Back Alley Nurse]] who tries to keep them on the straight-and-narrow with varying success, an ex-Marine who shoots first and asks questions never, a sword maiden with strong BloodKnight tendencies [[spoiler:who was recruiting for a {{Cult}} without realizing it]], a ruthless KnightTemplar who espouses TheSpartanWay, a secretary who obsessively searches for the truth no matter who gets hurt, a CowboyCop who has lost faith in the system, and a former child star who is too eager to jump into the hero life. Yet this group managed to succeed where no else had in centuries: stop the Hand from destroying a city in pursuit of [[spoiler:dragon bones, even confirmed killing three of their founders.]]
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Seen in ''Spider-Man'':
** Right after Tom Holland was casted as the MCU's Spider-Man, a portion of fans and detractors denounced him as too young for the role, despite Holland was 19 and would play a 15-year-old Peter Parker.
** Marisa Tomei was cast as Aunt May and Despite the actress being 50 at the time of her casting, thus perfectly possible to be an elder aunt to a 15-year-old, the image of an elderly Aunt May has became so ingrained in the mind of fans that she too was denounced as too young for the job.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure:
** S.H.I.E.L.D., especially its director Nick Fury, stand above regional politics and screen the World Security Council's extremism. Until we find out that they've been infiltrated by HYDRA, anyway.
** 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.
** The Ancient One is willing to bend the rules occasionally as well, though this disillusions some of her followers.
* RedGreenContrast: The most prominent color on Thor's outfit is his flowing red cape, a color scheme that carries over into his gladiatorial design in ''Ragnarok''. To contrast against him, many of his opponents possess a prominently green color scheme, including Loki, Hela and the Hulk.
* ReedRichardsIsUseless: While the trope naming family isn't in this Marvel continuity, the trope is played with a bit.
** Tony invokes this in regards to the Iron Man armor since he doesn't want that readily available, but he averts with his arc reactor technology and wants it widespread.
** Hank also invokes this trope, as he doesn't trust anyone ''but'' himself and those he works with in regards to handling the Pym Particle, having been left bitter after S.H.I.E.L..D. tries to duplicate it without his permission.
** In ''Black Panther'', Wakanda has historically kept its advanced technology to itself in order to avoid being a target of rival nations. Killmonger gives them a WhatTheHellHero for this. [[spoiler:T'Challa takes this to heart and defies the trope at the end, exposing Wakanda's secrets and sharing their discoveries with the world.]]
* ReformedCriminal: Quite a few.
** Most of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Peter Quill was a former {{Space Pirate|s}} and a notorious outlaw and scavenger when introduced, Gamora and Nebula were originally CoDragons of [[BigBad Thanos]], Drax is introduced as an inmate, Mantis is technically an accomplice to a genocidal living planet, and Yondu Odanta was TheLeader of the SpacePirates Peter was a member of.
** Bucky Barnes spent most of his reawakened life as an amnesiac assassin for H.Y.D.R.A.
** Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were heavily implied to be lapdogs of H.Y.D.R.A. prior to their alliance with Ultron.
** Scott Lang and his friends were con-artists.
** Loki eventually reforms in ''Thor: Ragnarok'' and became a genuine ally to his adoptive brother.
** Carol Danvers was an amnesiac member of the elite special force of a GalacticConqueror alien race.
* ReimaginingTheArtifact: A number of updates are made to the comics mythos to ground the characters in present day sensibilities:
** The uneasy moral conundrum of Bucky as a KidHero is circumvented by making him Steve's age and a proper soldier.
** Steve Rogers properly earns the military rank of "Captain", rather than it just being his codename. The same is true of Carol Danvers, who in the comics has the rank of "Major" or "Colonel" DependingOnTheWriter. Here, her rank and her codename align, justified by the fact that she was in the US Military in TheEighties when options were much more limited for women.
** The Mandarin has his roots in YellowPeril ideas about evil foreigners bent on destroying American democracy. This version of the villain is aware of the ingrained racism, and uses the prejudice factor to his advantage. [[spoiler:The "scary foreign terrorist" Mandarin is just a red herring played by a very drunk and confused actor. The true mastermind is Aldrich Killian, an angry white man who managed to slip under the radar.]]
** Doctor Strange's OriginStory is layered in some anti-Asian stereotypes. For this reason, the Ancient One was changed from a mystical old Asian man to a mystical [[RaceLift white]] [[GenderFlip woman]] of ambiguous age, and Wong, Doctor Strange's [[EthnicMenialLabor loyal servant]], becomes a gruff ScaryLibrarian whose respect and friendship Strange gradually earns.
** These are extensive in ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'' and ''Film/SpiderManFarFromHome'', as elements from Peter Parker's high school and young adult life in the 1960s and 1970s is placed in the 21st century:
*** Due to gentrification, Manhattan no longer works as a low-income neighborhood; Peter Parker and Aunt May's house there is replaced with a small apartment in Queens.
*** Midtown High School is now Midtown School of Science and Technology, one of New York's specialized magnet schools for high-achieving students, which would be a better fit for Peter's intellect in the present day.
*** Eugene "Flash" Thompson has been reworked to reflect more modern notions of bullying. In place of a JerkJock who physically bullies Peter, Flash is a self-absorbed and entitled rich kid who is envious of the much brighter [[WorkingClassHero Peter]], and his bullying is primarily verbal and social. Additionally, while Peter is as nerdy as ever, it doesn't play into IntelligenceEqualsIsolation. His best friend Ned shares his interests, and he's on good social terms with most of his classmates.
*** Mary Jane "MJ" Watson was famously a "modern" character for Spider-Man comics, which led to her popularity with readers. She reflected several elements of the then-ongoing women's liberation movement, by being more outspoken and confident in her own body. Her counterpart in the film, Michelle Jones, fits this into a Post-Millennial mold; MJ is as bold and opinionated as ever, but her feminism reflects the movement's current wave. She attends protests in her spare time and regularly questions authority to the point that she sometimes comes across as abrasive or mean-spirited. But as always, she has a HiddenHeartOfGold beneath the snark.
*** The ''Daily Bugle'' is now ''[=TheDailyBugle.net=]'', a news site controversial for its sensationalist and unreliable reporting, as opposed to a traditional newspaper generally considered trustworthy. The biggest bombshell the ''Bugle'' has ever published - [[spoiler:the circumstances of Mysterio's death and Spider-Man's real identity]] - is only taken seriously due to the dearth of information from any other source.
** In the comics, the Dora Millaje AmazonBrigade consists of teenage girls and are [[WifeHusbandry ceremonial wives-in-training]] to the Wakandan king. In the MCU, they are all adults and simply act as the royal guard.
** M'Baku is never called "Man-Ape", but he keeps the motif because his tribe worships a gorilla deity, and he is respectfully called "Great Gorilla M'Baku" as an honorific. Building on this, the gorilla motif is patterned after an improved understanding of the actual animal - namely, that they are generally peaceful and only attack when provoked.
** For decades, Carol Danvers' OriginStory has been criticized on the grounds that since she gained her powers against her will and that they are a copy of her male LoveInterest's powers, it sends the message that these powers are not truly hers, and that the most important experience of her life depended completely on a man. An important plot point in her movie is Carol realizing that her powers ''are'' her own, and that she must trust herself as the authority on how to use them. Her powers stem directly from a choice she made, and Mar-Vell (the above-mentioned love interest) is reworked into a radically different character. [[spoiler:This version of Mar-Vell is a woman, has no powers besides standard Kree physiology, and is Carol's mentor and ParentalSubstitute. She was sent to Earth to study the planet's resident Infinity Stone, the Tesseract, in hopes of weaponizing it for the Kree. When she learned that she was on the wrong side of an unjust war, she converted her space ship into a haven for refugees and enlisted Carol to help her destroy the Tesseract-based engine. This led to [[MentorOccupationalHazard Mar-Vell's death]] and Carol getting imbued with the engine's power as she destroys it.]]
** The Skrulls were created in the 1960s and reflect Cold War paranoia of a Communist infiltration hiding in plain sight. The Skrulls of the MCU primarily draw on UsefulNotes/TheWarOnTerror: [[spoiler:they are refugees from a war-torn planet whose physical traits and culture are easily demonized by those in power, namely the Kree Empire. While the Skrulls admit that they have done unsavory things in the past, absolutely nothing justifies the intensity of the war that the Kree are waging. All they want is to reunite with their loved ones and find someplace to live in peace.]]
* RemakeCameo: Creator/LouFerrigno 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."
* ResetButton: Critics have accused ''Age of Ultron'' of being this for the entirety of Phase Two. For example, [[spoiler:Iron Man is back to using the Iron Legion and has plenty of new suits. Though ''Winter Soldier'' dissolved S.H.I.E.L.D. and established an extremely powerful HYDRA, by the end of ''Age of Ultron'', Nick Fury has established a new S.H.I.E.L.D.-esque organization in the form of The Avengers and HYDRA has been knocked right back down several pegs. While it has regressed back to using older Helicarriers, the newer models were only introduced in Phase Two to begin with, so it's still like those earlier events never happened.]] [[note]]''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' makes things a lot more complex than this.[[/note]]
** ''Infinity War'' faced similar criticisms regarding the character of Thor. In ''Ragnarok'', [[spoiler:Thor loses his hammer. His character arc revolves around him realizing that his power is not synonymous with his weapon, and he becomes a stronger fighter for it. He loses one of his eyes in a fight with Hela, connecting him to his father's quest for wisdom. Finally, he takes on new responsibilities as the king of the remaining Asgardians.]] Then in ''Infinity War'', [[spoiler:Thanos and his forces slaughter half the Asgardian refugees, separating Thor from his people. This causes Thor to realize that he needs a new weapon to kill Thanos, and on the way there, Rocket Raccoon gives him a new prosthetic eye.]] The only visual reminder of Thor's character growth from ''Ragnarok'' is his haircut and mismatched eye. Then in ''Endgame'', [[spoiler:he even loses the haircut ''and'' gets his original hammer back (if temporarily). He even turns down the throne of New Asgard by the end, giving it to Valkyrie instead, in favor of joining the Guardians of the Galaxy.]]
* RestrictedExpandedUniverse: As of yet, the TV shows and other tie-ins have had no major impact on the movie continuity - the closest things have come is that ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' filled in some non-essential gaps for ''Age of Ultron''. While Marvel is interested in bringing TV elements to the movies, they've given a couple explanations as to why it hasn't really happened yet:
** Movie audiences haven't necessarily watched the shows and will need to be brought up to speed, which could necessitate an InfoDump that may disrupt the story.
** TV production is much faster than movie production; either a movie has to make a guess at where the shows' plots will be when it releases, or the TV writers could be constrained by what a movie script has already established. Some examples of these continuity issues:
*** ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' was considered to have been in a rut and stalling for time while waiting for the ''Winter Soldier'' plot twist to hit. Years later, Season 5 had wrapped up, complete with its plot tying into ''Infinity War'', when it received a surprise renewal; and [[https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/05/10/agents-of-shield-season-6-before-avengers-endgame-after the showrunners had no idea when the next season would air]]. Since they couldn't risk the possibility of spoiling ''Endgame'' should the series air first, they had to ignore the ''Infinity War'' references and claim that Season 6 was still set prior to Thanos' attack.
*** Any series not featuring movie characters is plagued with questions of "how does this tie in with the latest movie events?" For the ''Defenders'' shows, the answer always ended up being "this is a little ways into the past, and the movie hasn't happened yet"; and they ended before they caught up with the unavoidable impact of ''Infinity War''. ''Runaways'' and ''Cloak and Dagger'' still haven't given answers as to why the events of ''Infinity War'' haven't been seen yet, though in the former's case an ExtremelyShortTimespan can account for not yet catching up to that point.
** The TV side of the universe finally gets recognized in ''Endgame'', as [[spoiler:Edwin Jarvis]] from [[spoiler:''Agent Carter'']] makes a cameo. It helps that his show was [[spoiler:already over, and a period piece to begin with]] so nobody has to worry about the appearance affecting TV continuity.
* {{Retcanon}}: The films have become popular enough to influence the comics that inspired them. Examples include:
** The Hulk's prominence in the ''Avengers'' movie got him added to the roster of the ''[[ComicBook/JonathanHickmansAvengers Avengers]]'' comic that was being published at the time. Originally, the Hulk quit the Avengers way back in the ''second issue'' during the 1960's, and had at best been an infrequent guest star in the ensuing years.
** Hawkeye was given a black tactical outfit inspired by the one he wore in the ''Avengers'' movie, which ironically enough, was already based on his ComicBook/UltimateMarvel design.
** For a brief period, the ''Comicbook/SecretAvengers'' comic had Rhodey adopt the Iron Patriot identity in order to match up with ''Iron Man 3''.
** Daisy Johnson/Quake was white in the original comics, and her powers came from her father. After ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' made her half-Chinese and established that she got her powers from her [[Comicbook/TheInhumans Inhuman]] mother, the comics imported both of those aspects to her backstory.
** Tony Stark's friendship with Bruce Banner was made canon in the comics as well, even though the characters were originally bitter rivals. This seems to be a case of DependingOnTheWriter, though.
** Ever since ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' came out, the comics and every adaptation has featured the five Guardians used in the film near-exclusively.
** When Sam Wilson became the new Captain America, he was given a new costume that incorporated a pair of red goggles, similar to the ones he wears in the movies.
** Darren Cross was a minor StarterVillain in the comics, and instead of having the power to change size, he was basically a very ugly, pink version of the Hulk. The ''Ant-Man'' movie got him resurrected, and Nick Spencer eventually gave him shrinking abilities and a suit of Yellowjacket armor, just like he has in the film.
** Jessica Jones and Trish Walker formed such a duo that the next Comicbook/PatsyWalker [[Comicbook/PatsyWalkerAKAHellcat series]] [[http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/c2e2-exclusive-leth-brings-patsy-walker-jessica-jones-together-for-the-first-time had to include them teaming up.]] However, the comics did ''not'' incorporate the show's [[RelatedInTheAdaptation revelation that Jessica is Trish's adopted sister]].
** Black Mariah's real name, Mariah Dillard, was created for the ''Luke Cage'' TV show, before being made canon in David F. Walker's ''Power Man and Iron Fist'' series.
* RetroactiveIdiotBall:
** ''Film/TheAvengers2012'' has Loki allowing himself to be captured so that he can be led to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier, where he uses his powers to mess with people's minds in various ways. Except that, a year later, ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' shows that Loki's powers go beyond simple mind manipulation/reading, and include shapeshifting, of himself, his surrounding, and/or other people if he wishes to, which makes his attempts at messing with the good guys in the former movie come across as him not really trying very hard.
** ''Film/CaptainMarvel'' introduces the titular hero, who is more or less a PhysicalGod, and establishes that [[spoiler:Nick Fury knew how to contact her ever since 1995. Which really begs the question as to why he didn't try to contact her [[Film/TheAvengers2012 when an alien invasion threatened Earth]], or [[Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron when a genocidal AI threatened Earth]], and why he waited until [[Film/AvengersInfinityWar half of the entirety of humanity started turning to dust, himself included,]] to ''finally'' call for her help. Extracanonical materials suggest that he considered calling for her aid to be an absolute last resort, considering how much she handles on her own in the vast reaches of space]].
* TheReveal: Being a long-running franchise of interconnected movies there are a number of questions raised in certain entries that get answered later down the road. See individual film pages for reveals pertinent to those movies’ plots.
** ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'': [[spoiler:The Aether is an Infinity Stone, as is the Tesseract, which was stored on Asgard at the end of ''Film/TheAvengers2012''.]]
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'': [[spoiler:HYDRA has been a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. since its formation, shaping history to suit its needs since WWII. On a smaller note, Howard and Maria Stark were assassinated by HYDRA instead of dying in a car crash as originally believed.]]
** ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'': [[spoiler:Loki’s scepter was an Infinity Stone all along, the Mind Stone to be exact.]]
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'': [[spoiler:Following up on a ''Winter Soldier'' revalation, the Starks’ assassin was Bucky as the Winter Soldier.]]
** ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'': [[spoiler:Peter Quill’s father is Ego, a Celestial. More distressingly, it was Ego who killed Meredith Quill by planting the terminal tumor in her brain.]]
** ''Film/ThorRagnarok'': [[spoiler:Odin’s empire was founded through bloody conquest, with his savage daughter Hela being locked away to prevent further bloodshed.]]
** ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'': [[spoiler:Gamora knew where the Soul Stone was all along, and its protector is the long-thought-dead Red Skull, having been punished for tampering with the Space Stone.]]
** ''[[Film/CaptainMarvel2019 Captain Marvel]]'': [[spoiler:A more humorous example than others, but the truth behind Nick Fury’s scarred eye is revealed - It was clawed by Goose, the BadassAdorable Flerken.]]
** ''Film/SpiderManFarFromHome'': [[spoiler:Tony Stark did not invent the B.A.R.F. technology seen in ''Civil War''; rather, it was invented by jaded ex-employee Quentin Beck, who in turn used that technology to invent the threat of the Elementals so he could pretend to be a superhero.]]
* RideTheRainbow: The Bifrost is a dimensional energy harnessed by the Asgardian people through a crystalline, prismatic "rainbow bridge" that Asgardians use as a means of traveling across the universe. It is harnessed and controlled through Heimdall's Observatory, and Heimdall himself capable of using this power in short intervals, such as when he sent the Hulk back to Earth after Thanos defeats him in ''Infinity War''. Should the Bifrost be left open for too long, the energy becomes destructive and is capable of destroying planets, as was what almost happened to Jotunheim in ''Thor''.
* RoguesGalleryTransplant:
** Several heroes in the movie get villains that aren't supposed to be theirs in the comics. For instance, Ant-Man fights Ghost (originally an Iron Man villain) in ''Ant-Man and the Wasp'', while the Guardians of the Galaxy fight Ego (a ComicBook/SilverSurfer villain).
** Then there's the situation with the Mandarin. While Iron Man did fight someone using the Mandarin name, it turns out they weren't the real Mandarin. The real Mandarin never got into conflict with Iron Man, and instead will be part of the ''ComicBook/ShangChi'' movie.
** ''Black Widow'' has Taskmaster as the main villain. Taskmaster is a general utility villain and debuted in in an ''Avengers'' comic. He generally tangles with the Avengers as a group, and individuals like Captain America, Ant-Man, Iron Man, and others like Spider-Man, and even characters like Deadpool or the various X-Men (who have yet to debut). However, he has never personally menaced Black Widow, yet here he is as the BigBad.
* RunningGag:
** As with all Marvel productions until his death, Creator/MarvelComics co-creator Creator/StanLee being featured in the Infinity Saga films in a CreatorCameo. And Tony Stark never gets his name right (and in ''Civil War'', vice-versa).
** 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 ''The Avengers'', Creator/JossWhedon commented on how he found Norse guys getting knocked out of the frame hilarious.
** Thor has had [[ShockandAwe electricity]], one of his own powers, [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard used against him multiple times]]: Darcy takes him down with a taser in ''Thor'', his lightning attack on Iron Man in ''The Avengers'' merely [[AttackBackfire supercharges]] Stark's suit, and he's almost instantly knocked out by a "taser-net" when he lands on Sakaar during ''Thor: Ragnarok''.
** Women EatingTheEyeCandy when they notice how incredibly hot [[MrFanservice Thor]] is. Or Captain America, at least in his first movie.
** In the Phase 2 films, a motif is emerging of {{Running Gag}}s [[CerebusCallback that eventually turn out to have a dramatic reveal]].
*** People telling Loki, "If you betray him, I'll kill you." At first it seems like a humorous way to express that Loki is [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating now the least popular character in all the Nine Realms]]. Once Loki seemingly sacrifices himself to give Thor and Jane the chance to return to Midgard, while sneaking off to steal the throne from Odin, it becomes clear that he fully planned on betraying Thor no matter what without anyone else being the wiser.
*** 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.]]
** {{Noodle Incident}}s occurring in Budapest. Black Widow and Hawkeye had an assignment there that they remember ''very'' differently, Isabelle and her team were there on merc duty once, Edwin Jarvis met his wife there during the Second World War, and Nick Fury spent time there before transitioning over to [=S.H.I.E.L.D.=].
** References to ''Film/PulpFiction'':
*** Nick Fury's fake grave in ''The Winter Soldier'' has "Ezekiel 25:17 - The path of the righteous man..." inscribed on it (an ActorAllusion to Samuel L. Jackson).
*** A Season 2 episode of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' opens with a restaurant scene almost identical to the opening scene of the film.
*** The ''Daredevil'' episode "Cut Man" has Jack Murdock being told to "go down in the fifth" in a flashback. In the final episode of ''Daredevil'' season 1, Wilson Fisk realizes that he has misunderstood his role in his favorite biblical story, much like Jules Winfield's realization in the final act of the film.
*** In ''Captain Marvel'', Talos takes a long sip from a milkshake after announcing his presence in the Rambeau household to Carol, Fury, and Maria, another allusion to Samuel L. Jackson's character doing the same in ''Pulp Fiction''.
** Every Phase Two movie involves someone losing an arm or hand at some point; see AnArmAndALeg above. Kevin Feige considers it an ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' reference. This is rarely played for humor though.
** Whenever a superhero has to go undercover, they usually disguise themselves with some combination of sunglasses, hoodies, or baseball caps. The fandom has dubbed this [[http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/070/169/c2e.jpg "the 'I'm Just a Civilian' starter pack"]].
** Each of the Netflix series has included car doors being misused in a variety of ways:
*** ''Daredevil'': Wilson Fisk uses a car door to [[spoiler:crush Anatoly's head into a fine paste.]]
*** ''Jessica Jones'': Jessica rips a car door off of a police car to use as a makeshift shield against [[spoiler:a mind-controlled Luke Cage.]]
*** ''Luke Cage'': Luke uses a car door as a battering ram to break into a building, and later crumples it around a hapless mook.
*** ''Iron Fist'': Ward Meachum [[spoiler:deliberately crushes his own hand in a car door in order to get painkillers.]]
** An out of universe running gag from the actors when they give interviews are [[http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=236622423#post236622423 the "Marvel snipers"]] who [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade will take out the stars if they give away too much information]].
** Relatedly, after the Russo Brothers became major directors in this franchise, there seems to be a minor meta-textual RunningGag of ''Series/{{Community}}'' actors having cameos/starring roles in the MCU; such as with Danny Pudi as a [=S.H.I.E.L.D.=] communications techie in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', Jim Rash as the Dean of [=M.I.T.=] in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'', [[Music/ChildishGambino Donald Glover]] as the uncle of Miles Morales in ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'', Creator/BrieLarson becoming the titular star of ''Film/{{Captain Marvel|2019}}'', and both Creator/KenJeong and Creator/YvetteNicoleBrown appearing in ''Film/AvengersEndgame'' (the former as a security guard at the Avengers Compound and the latter as a S.H.I.E.L.D. secretary [[spoiler:for a military base in the 1970s]]).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tropes S to Z]]
* SceneryGorn: The climactic battles of several films usually results in the city where the battles take place getting put through the wringer. Manhattan, in particular, took a massive beating in the first ''Avengers'' film, as does Sokovia in ''Age of Ultron'' and [[spoiler:the Avengers compound]] in ''Endgame''. ''Infinity War'' shows the wrecks remaining of Knowhere and Titan. Inverted in ''Doctor Strange'', where Hong Kong ''starts out'' in ruins but it gets repaired during the battle via time magic.
* SchizoTech: As expected for a superhero universe, the technology is all over the place. Geniuses with the right resources like Tony Stark can build highly-advanced PoweredArmor, AppliedPhlebotinum existed since the '60s that allowed people like Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne to shrink down to tiny sizes at will, and SuperSoldier serums existed back in the '40s which powered the legendary Captain America. Street-level criminal syndicates sell ImportedAlienPhlebotinum to black markets, [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke genetic engineering]] giving people superpowers is abound, {{Cool Airship}}s are available courtesy of S.H.I.E.L.D., robots (both fully robotic and human-like) are common, advanced A.I.s are used to handle such technology, and there's a HiddenElfVillage in the form of Wakanda that is ''even more'' advanced than everything else, while pairing it with that of an ancient African aesthetic. This isn't even close to everything. However, [[ReedRichardsIsUseless consumer products and government weaponry is often mundane and at parity with real life]].
* ScienceFantasy: Thor says that Asgard considers science and magic the same thing. Is it a "Quantum Field Generator" or a "Soul Forge"? ''Yes.''
* SecretIdentity: Generally averted, as most heroes don't actively try to hide their powers. The trend began with ''Iron Man'' when Creator/RobertDowneyJr ad-libbing Stark's public reveal of his superhero identity, which Creator/KevinFeige liked and other superheroes were then adapted without their secret identities. Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider are three of the few that do (Matt so he doesn't jeopardize his law career, Peter so Aunt May doesn't find out what he's doing and ground him, and Robbie so his little brother doesn't learn what he's doing).
** The aversion is subjected to a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]] in ''The Defenders''. Luke Cage publicly operates as a vigilante in Harlem, while Jessica Jones is a private detective who doesn't hide the fact that she has powers, and Danny Rand, in the words of his own girlfriend Colleen Wing, will tell "anyone who will listen" that he's the Iron Fist. Matt Murdock is the only one who bothers to hide his secret identity, and he's frequently portrayed as the odd one out for it. Unfortunately, because the other Defenders don't bother with secret identities, it's not long before the Hand learn the identities of their loved ones and begin targeting them. Colleen ends up injured during an attempt on Claire Temple's life, while Jessica is nearly killed during an attempt on Trish Walker's life.
** Spider-Man, true to the old Parker luck, messes up the "secret" part repeatedly. He blows his cover in front of both Ned and May in ''Homecoming'', Vulture manages to figure it out in the same film, and MJ deduces it in ''Far From Home'' (though she admits afterward it was an educated guess). [[spoiler:And then his identity goes public in TheStinger, courtesy of footage leaked to JJ Jameson.]]
* SequelLogoInRuins
** The title image for ''Iron Man 3'' in the trailer is a sparking, incomplete, and generally broken-looking version of the ''Iron Man 2'' logo.
** The ''Avengers: Endgame'' logo is a pieced together version of the previous films' logo, juxtaposed on a disintegrating version of the logo of Franchise/TheAvengers' "A" logo.
* SerialEscalation: Each phase gets progressively larger and more complex than the last one.
* SeriesContinuityError:
** Starting with the episode "A Fractured House" from the second season of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', every single MCU TV show has omitted Avengers Tower, instead keeping the [=MetLife=] Building in its original position.
** ''Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'' features Stan Lee telling [[spoiler:a group of Watchers]] about his time as a [=FedEx=] deliveryman. This is a reference to his cameo in ''Civil War'', which is chronologically later than this movie. Creator/JamesGunn admitted that it was a mistake, and {{Handwave}}d that Stan was probably describing some ''other'' deliveryman experience.
** ''Spider-Man: Homecoming'' also stated that the Battle of New York was 8 years before the events of the movie. This causes problems, since it's set shortly after ''Civil War'' (in 2016) in which it was stated that the first ''Iron Man'' was 8 years ago. Also in ''Civil War'', Ross mentions that the Avengers have been active for four years, in agreement with ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' where Talbot also specifically states that the battle took place in 2012 and not 2009.
* SettingUpdate: The universe takes early-ish origin stories and places them firmly in the 21st century. As a result, several things are modernized.
* TheShangriLa: ''Three'' of them:
** Lai Shi (a.k.a. "Afterlife"), a refuge for Inhumans in ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' Not even they are sure where it is.
** K'un L'un in ''Iron Fist''.
** Kamar-Taj in ''Doctor Strange''.[[note]]Unlike the other two examples, Kamar-Taj isn't some vague place in the Himalayas, but rather a monastery in the very real city of Kathmandu, Nepal.[[/note]]
* ShirtlessScene: Male leads often take their shirts off at least once during the movie or season.
* 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. It's 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''. Those are fighting words.)
** Lampshaded in the first-season finale of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', when Nick Fury appoints Phil Coulson as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. because of his unwavering idealism.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: The official original rosters of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Defenders all play this straight, with the Avengers having one woman out of six (Black Widow), the Guardians having one out of five (Gamora), and the Defenders having one out of four (Jessica Jones). As more members are added to the former two groups, this changes; see TwoGirlsToATeam below.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent:
** 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, among others, a [[Creator/BradleyCooper talking raccoon]], a GentleGiant [[Creator/VinDiesel tree creature]] who can only say five words to express himself, and a warrior with zero understanding of metaphors. ''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 {{Creator/Netflix}} shows, which 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.
* SpaceIsCold: Starting in ''Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'', unless one can actually survive in vacuum, being exposed to open space was a good way to quickly freeze to death. This pops up again in ''Avengers: Infinity War''.
* SpannerInTheWorks: This might as well be the Earth's hat. Whenever a nefarious plan is set in motion by cosmic players across the universe, a Terran can be counted upon to butt in and bring the whole thing crashing down, as [[spoiler:the Supreme Intelligence, the Dark Elves, Ego, Dormammu and Thanos himself]] find out to their sorrow. So much so that by the time of ''Endgame'', the Mad Titan has developed a [[ItsPersonal very personal]] antipathy towards the "stubborn, annoying little planet".
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ComicBook/UltimateMarvel. Both the MCU and Ultimate Marvel are modern takes of the classic Marvel Comics and some of the MCU's concepts were inspired of the Ultimate Marvel Universe such as a race lifted Nick Fury. However, the MCU takes their characters into a more idealistic approach rather than following the more cynical standards of Ultimate Marvel.
* SpyCatsuit: A number of female S.H.I.E.L.D. agents wear them when out on combat ops: Black Widow, Maria Hill, Melinda May, Mockingbird; even Skye gets one in Season 2 of ''Agents''. Hawkeye seems to have a variation of one as well. All of the bridge crew of the helicarrier also wear them, though most other agents don't.
* StateSec: S.H.I.E.L.D with its secret agents, myriad military forces, and various research labs fits the trope.
* TheStinger: Most of the movies have had one. Notable examples and exceptions are listed below.
** ''The Incredible Hulk'' had its intended post-credits scene placed just before the credits to capitalize on the success of ''Iron Man'', although it still fits this purpose.
** ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' had a different approach to the trope by having a teaser trailer for ''The Avengers'' movie.
** ''Avengers: Age of Ultron'' has one mid-credits scene, but no post-credits scene.
** ''Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2'' has '''five''' extra scenes after the final shot of the movie.
** Averted by ''Avengers: Endgame'', which has absolutely no mid-credits or post-credits scenes.
* StrongAsTheyNeedToBe: Like most superhero franchises, the MCU is guilty of this more often than not, largely due to the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters and intricate PowerLevels they have to manage from movie to movie:
** ''Avengers: Infinity War'':
*** The movie opens with Thanos making his debut by dragging out a post-''Ragnarok'' Thor by the head and beating an enraged Hulk to a pulp. Fast forward an hour and a half, and Thanos is having trouble with Iron Man and Dr. Strange, despite having twice the number of Infinity Stones he had when he fought Thor and Hulk. It's taken UpToEleven a few minutes later when Captain America is able to pull a PunchCatch on Thanos during the Battle of Wakanda.
*** When the Black Order attacks Scarlet Witch and Vision in Edinburg, they almost get the best of them, and succeed early on in critically wounding Vision. However, later on, Okoye and Black Widow will be enough to match Proxima Midnight during the Battle of Wakanda, and Cap will be able to handle Corvus Glaive with minimal assistance from Vision.
*** During the fight in New York, Dr. Strange is defeated by Ebony Maw in a direct confrontation, and Iron Man needs the assistance of both Spider-Man and Wong to defeat Cull Obsidian. However, both will go on to match and even get the best of Thanos during the Battle of Titan without any outside help.
*** In ''Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2'', Mantis's powers are potent enough to put an entire planet to sleep. In ''Infinity War'', she struggles to put Thanos under for even a few minutes.
** ''Captain America: Civil War'':
*** During the airport battle in Leipzig, Captain America is able to match Spider-Man in a direct contest of strength, despite the fact that only a few minutes prior, Spider-Man pulled a PunchCatch on the Winter Soldier's metal arm--the same metal arm that Cap could barely stand up to in ''The Winter Soldier'' with both hands and his shield.
*** In the final showdown between Tony, Steve, and Bucky, both Bucky and Steve are able to damage Tony's armor, despite the fact that the lesser versions of that armor were capable of stonewalling tanks and blows from Thor without breaking. Similarly, Tony is able to hold his own against both Bucky and Steve in hand-to-hand combat, despite only taking up martial arts a few years ago.
*** In ''Age of Ultron'', Wanda has enough control over her powers to hypnotize an entire city and stop a runaway train. However, in ''Civil War'', she struggles to contain a suicide bomb and needs Hawkeye to provide distractions to her opponents in order to use her powers effectively.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAlien: Aside from the Asgardians and other races from the Nine Realms, the Kree were regarded by early Earth peoples as "blue angels". The Celestials and [[spoiler:Dormammu]] are so powerful that it seems even cosmic and magic characters aren't certain whether they're gods or simply powerful beings.
* {{Superhero}}: From the BadassNormal assassins to the guys in powered armor, to the heroic aliens, they fight against evil ForGreatJustice.
* SuperheroMovieVillainsDie: Generally played straight, with most major villains dying. But not always; sometimes they suffer a FateWorseThanDeath, are only captured, get away, or some other fate. See the trope page for all the individual examples.
* SuperheroPackingHeat:
** Captain America. But while Steve knows how to fire a gun and won't hesitate to use one 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]].
** The more militarized heroes such as Black Widow and Falcon play this straight. Hawkeye does as well, even if he prefers a more old-school weapon, and War Machine takes it to an extreme with a bunch of guns built into his armor.
** Star-Lord and ''especially'' Rocket Raccoon frequently use firearms. Gamora will also use them occasionally, depending on the situation (with Star-Lord lampshading that guns are usually ''his'' "thing", not hers).
* SuperheroParadox: A key element of the franchise, often stated clearly in ensemble pieces.
** The idea that the presence of superheroes encourages or creates super-threats is invoked in ''The Avengers''. Thor warns Nick Fury that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s experiments with the Tesseract [[spoiler:to create a new generation of superweapons]] is "a signal to all the realms that the Earth is ready for a higher form of war" -- something gods, aliens and godlike aliens alike will respond to the same way first-world nations would to undeveloped powers engaging in ''nuclear testing'' -- 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]]."
** ''Civil War'' tackles the issue head-on, as it deals with the fallout of Stark and Banner directly creating a supervillain in ''Age of Ultron''. Vision specifically mentions it as a reason that he is pro-accords.
** The Netflix shows get hit hard with this trope in general, due to their dark and morally-ambiguous subject matter. The Battle of New York gave way to the rise of corruption and criminal activity in Hell's Kitchen, and the main characters' attempts to fight crime actively make things worse in many ways. For instance, Fisk's and Cottonmouth's criminal syndicates get thrown into chaos, and both ''specifically'' begin harming and involving innocent people in their attempts to bring down their enemies. In ''Daredevil'' Season 2, Fisk's fall left an EvilPowerVacuum; and characters wonder if Daredevil's heroics opened the door for more hardcore vigilantes like the Punisher. In ''Jessica Jones'', the fact that trying to catch Kilgrave will potentially kill lots of innocents is discussed, but rationalized by the fact that if left to his own devices, Kilgrave will ruin a lot more. In ''Luke Cage'', Mariah Dillard tries to stir up anti-superhuman sentiment and equip the police with more powerful weapons to fight them, but some on the force are concerned since police gear will inevitably find its way into the hands of criminals.
* SuperheroPrevalenceStages: Phase One is an early stage, with each hero treated as though they are the only ones of their kind, the villains never win, and the heroes are uncompromising in their morals and convictions. Phase Two is a middle stage, with groups of heroes now forming, along with groups of villains to counter them. Phase Three is the later stage, with heroes now policing one another, villains becoming competent enough to score real and permanent victories, and heroes begin dying or suffering other permanent harm while others compromise their convictions when faced with possible disaster.
* SuperheroSobriquets:
** Following the release of ''Captain America: The First Avenger'', it became popular to begin giving the other Avengers a similar sobriquet. With Captain America as "the First Avenger", Thor became "the Mighty Avenger" while Iron Man became "the Armored Avenger". InUniverse, Bruce Banner got the title "the Strongest Avenger", since Tony made a rare-concession of admitting Bruce was smarter than him (much to Thor's ire).
** As established in ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', Thanos retains his comic book sobriquet "the Mad Titan".
** In ''Daredevil'' Season One, before the eponymous hero gained the moniker "Daredevil", he was known as "the Man in the (Black) Mask". After Wilson Fisk framed him as a cop killer, he got hit with the nickname "the Devil of Hell's Kitchen". Come Season Two, people alternate between calling Matt's costumed identity "Daredevil" and "the Devil of Hell's Kitchen".
** In ''Luke Cage'', Luke's public vigilantism gained him the nickname "the Hero of Harlem".
** In ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' Season Five, Daisy Johnson, who had already gained the nickname "Quake", gained a new sobriquet: [[spoiler:"the Destroyer of Worlds", since she was blamed for destroying the world in the BadFuture the team was sent to]].
* SuperheroesInSpace:
** Although many of Thor's adventures have taken place on Earth, he has also done some superheroics on other planets both with his friends and on his lonesome.
** The Guardians of the Galaxy are a RagtagBunchOfMisfits from different parts of the universe who have been active since 2014. Their hijinks in that year alone included stopping a genocidal warlord from destroying an entire planet using an Infinity Stone, and stopping Ego the Living Planet from terraforming all the planets in the universe and remaking them in his image. Unlike with Thor however, the Guardians very rarely get involved with Earth matters, not only because the universe is a huge place, but because de facto leader Peter Quill / Star-Lord has a traumatic history with his home planet, and avoids going there at all costs.
** Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel is another example. Although she's also a native of Earth like Star-Lord, she also spends most of her time helping out other places in the galaxy, since most of them don't have the likes of the Avengers to rely on. There's also the fact that most of her memories of Earth were wiped by the Kree, and she has since spent most of her new life going on space missions, so it's likely that Carol's home planet doesn't hold as much meaning to her anymore.
* SuperSoldier:
** About half of the superhuman origins in this 'verse have their roots in trying to make better soldiers, peacekeepers, and enforcers; whether it's by bioengineering (Captain America, Red Skull, Winter Soldier, Hulk, Abomination, Extremis soldiers, Deathlok, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Jessica Jones, Will Simpson), special equipment (Iron Man, Iron Monger, War Machine, Falcon), robotics (the Hammer drones, Deathlok again, the Iron Legion, Ultron, Vision), or just good old-fashioned TrainingFromHell (the Black Widow program, most high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Iron Fist, the Hand and the Chaste including Daredevil and Elektra). Many alien species are innately superhuman, but even among those we have people like Ronan, Thor, and the Children of Thanos.
** The Kursed are these for the Dark Elves. Being super soldiers among a race of super beings, this makes them ridiculously powerful. The Inhumans likewise originated as an alien supersoldier project.
* SuperTeam: The Avengers are this to a point they've ultimately become the main protagonists of the MCU. Initiated by Nick Fury, the Avengers at first assembled a genius billionaire in powered armor, a super soldier from the 1940s, two secret agents, a scientist that turns into a wrathful giant because of gamma radiation and a Norse god, whose explicit goal is to protect Earth. The team inflated through reinforcements from diverse horizons, broke, and then reassembled. At the end of the Infinity Saga, the Avengers have become household names and popular celebrities who've managed to tackle Earth-threatening to Universe-threatening villains such as Loki, Ultron or HYDRA. [[spoiler:In ''Endgame'', they even manage to bring back all life that Thanos had erased from existence through the Decimation.]]
* {{Superweapon}}: The Infinity Gauntlet, an armored gauntlet designed to harness the energies of the six [[CosmicKeystone Infinity Gems]]. While the individual infinity gems that power it are powerful, none of them are insurmountable in a {{Superhero}} setting -- but the gauntlet can harness all six ''at once'' for ''universe''-spanning effects with absolutely no means of defending against it - the wielder, in essence, becomes TheOmnipotent. Once the gauntlet enters play, the goals of everyone else become "Keep the infinity gems far away from it", and once it [[spoiler:is [[Film/AvergersInfinityWar used to wipe out fully half of all sentient life]], the goal [[Film/AvengersEndgame immediately shifts to using it to undo the devastation]].]]
* SuperWeight: The franchise goes all over the scale; see entries on the trope's SuperWeight/{{Film}} and SuperWeight/LiveActionTV pages.
* TeamTitle: ''The Avengers'', ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', ''The Defenders'', ''New Warriors'', and ''Inhumans''.
* 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. The Mark 42 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.]] Stark then takes it UpToEleven with his Hulkbuster armor in ''Age of Ultron,'' which is deployed from orbit and includes lots of replacement parts to account for Hulk tearing bits off.
* ThereAreNoGlobalConsequences: Generally averted, as aftereffects of any one film can usually be seen in others.
** S.H.I.E.L.D. already knew some things, such as [[AliensInCardiff the events in New Mexico]] during ''Thor'', and Iron Man was already a celebrity, but the great [[TheUnmasquedWorld unmasking]] took place in the first ''The Avengers''. There is an alien invasion for all the world to see, [[AMythologyIsTrue Norse gods such as Thor and Loki are real]], Captain America [[HesBack is back]], there's a superhero group in New York, etc. Yet, the only serious government attempt to manage any of that was with three helicarriers to keep all potential menaces under track (which ended up becoming a menace itself).
** The third season of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' shows a number of global consequences, such as Terrigen spreading to cover all the world's oceans (at least) in seventeen months and Inhumans sprouting up all over the place. America created a new agency to deal with them.
* TimeyWimeyBall: As of the end of ''Film/AvengersEndgame'' [[spoiler:there are multiple alternate timelines; one in which Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter lived out their lives together; one in which Loki escaped with the Teseract after the Battle of New York (presumably setting up his Disney+ series); and one in which Thanos left the year 2014 to travel to the future, causing the first snap to never have happened. The fact that old Steve Rogers appears before his friends immediately after young Steve Rogers leaves suggests that all of these altered timelines apparently somehow coexist in the same universe, which remains unaltered.]] Also in the season 5 finale of ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' [[spoiler:the team broke the StableTimeLoop, which did not affect the existence or memories of Fitzsimmons's stowaway time traveler grandson]]. While on the series finale of ''Series/{{Runaways|2017}}'' [[spoiler:the team went back in time and changed events, causing the time-displaced future selves to be erased from existence, though the erasure did not affect the results of their actions or the memories of anyone who encountered them]].
* ToBeContinued: Most movies include the message "[The hero] will return" at the end of the credits.
* TopGod: Odin, King of the Asgardians. Thor was about to be one in the begining of his film, but stayed as a free warrior. [[spoiler:Loki impersonated Odin for a few years, but as of ''Avengers: Endgame'' Odin and Loki are both dead and Thor has abdicated the throne, leaving Valkyrie in charge of New Asgard.]] The Marvel Universe has other similar gods (such as Zeus), but in the Cinematic Universe [[AMythologyIsTrue only the Asgardians seem to exist]].
* TrilogyCreep: Regarding the Phases:
** Inverted with Phase 1, which was originally meant to go on a while longer before culminating in ''The Avengers''. However, due to the Disney acquisition, plans changed and certain movies (such as ''Ant-Man'') were pushed back, leaving Phase 1 comprised of six films instead of one that encompassed at least seven or eight films.
** Phase 2 was originally five films long. However, ''Ant-Man'' was shifted over from Phase 3 to Phase 2, meaning that Phase 2 comprised six movies.
** Phase 3 is an interesting case. The original plan was for there to be nine films, but the total was bumped up to ten when Marvel Studios worked out an agreement with Sony Pictures to share the ''Spider-Man'' property and add a new movie to the schedule. Then ''Ant-Man and the Wasp'' was added to the schedule after ''Ant-Man'' did well enough to warrant a sequel, bumping the total up to eleven. Later on, ''Inhumans'' was taken off the Phase 3 schedule and eventually cancelled altogether, meaning that the slate would consist of ten films.
** With regards to the series within the franchise, Thor will be the first character to have a fourth solo film in ''Thor: Love and Thunder'' while everyone before him had only trilogies (''Endgame'' is the fourth Avengers movie but was always intended to be part two of the MovieMultipack with ''Infinity War'').
* TruerToTheText: ''Captain America: The First Avenger'' is significantly more faithful to the source material than ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'' was, to say nothing of the [[Film/CaptainAmerica1979 1979 films]] starring Creator/RebBrown.
* TwoGirlsToATeam: This becomes the case for both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy as they add more members to their rosters in the sequels:
** The Avengers gained Scarlet Witch as their second woman after Black Widow.
** The Guardians briefly had ''three'' girls on their team during the final fight of ''Vol. 2'', but Nebula left (albeit on good terms) after the battle on her own personal mission, leaving Gamora and Mantis as the two women for the group. As of ''Endgame'', it's still two, but now it's [[spoiler:''Nebula'' and Mantis. Gamora's situation is complicated.]]
* UltimateUniverse: Apart from borrowing a few continuity snippets from the TropeNamer, the Cinematic Universe attempts in several ways to be modernize antiquated elements in its portrayal (though as the films progress the whole thing becomes a lot more like a typical comic book universe, with cosmic artifacts and genocidal robots worming their way in). It also attempts to be more contemporary than The Ultimates which was already a decade old by the time the MCU started. For example:
** Where the earliest Marvel comics were written in a political climate influenced by World War II or the Cold War, the MCU takes cues from UsefulNotes/TheWarOnTerror; ''Iron Man'' has Tony get abducted in the Middle East rather than southeast Asia, a Mandarin initially similar to Osama [[spoiler:who turns out to be a spoof and parody of Islamophobia]], and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who evoke Homeland Security as well as fears about NSA[=/=]PRISM.
** Luke Cage was originally influenced by the jive movement and Blaxploitation flicks of the 70s. The MCU series tones the cheesier elements of that flavor way down, and throws a little bit of hip-hop/rap for flavor (although they include plenty of traditional jazz as well).
** Peter Parker's high school is updated to a modern, ethnically-diverse school for the gifted; Flash is a snobby and arrogant dweeb rather than a jock in a letterman, and Michelle "MJ" Jones has something of a "sullen social activist" streak. The focus also tries to update as much as possible the notion of a WorkingClassHero in a very gentrified New York City with much of the action taking place in Queens and not Manhattan.
** The ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' are likewise elevated from D-List heroes to a central pillar of the Cosmic side of the MCU, with their films providing important CanonWelding between different outer space factions (Celestials, Elders, Thanos, Nova, Ravagers) taking the role that the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' would likely have played had Marvel still had their rights at the time.
** In general though the films do retain most of the mainline elements in characterization and ''Captain America'', ''Thor'' and ''Doctor Strange'' in particular are more or less similar to their comics origins with very little in the way of modernization, with StupidJetpackHitler, CrystalSpiresAndTogas and MageInManhattan played straight.
* {{Understatement}}: The people of New York City refer to the full-scale alien invasion their city suffered simply as ''"the incident"''. The [[spoiler:disappearance and return of half the population]] becomes "the Blip".
%% UnexpectedCharacter is based on AudienceReactions, so put entries for that on the YMMV page.
* UniquenessDecay: The Asgardians were the premier SuperiorSpecies of the MCU for the first three phases, and was largely treated as very unique in the setting because of it. Outside of them, the movies were oriented largely on humans, and no other race held such a status. However, Phases 4 and 5 see the introduction of the [[ComicBook/TheEternals Eternals]], [[ComicBook/{{Blade}} Vampires]] and [[ComicBook/XMen Mutants]], all of whom are species with superpowers and could fill the role of being a SuperiorSpecies. Thus, the Asgardians are no longer ''the'' super race, just one of them.
* 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.]]
* {{Unobtainium}}: Vibranium is a very rare material that can absorb vibrations in shields or catsuits, power vehicles, propel technological progress centuries ahead of the rest of the world, and influence plant life so that consuming it would heighten strength, speed, and reflexes.
* TheVerse:
** The MCU is designated Earth-199999 in the overall Marvel Multiverse, though Mysterio refers to it as Earth-616 (which in the comics is assigned to the main universe there - [[spoiler:a sign that Mysterio is making stuff up]]).
** The animated series ''WesternAnimation/AvengersAssemble'' and ''WesternAnimation/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy2015'' have the same main cast and tone of the films ''The Avengers'' and ''Guardians of the Galaxy'', and their events are referenced in BroadStrokes or with some MythologyGag here and there. However, those animated series are '''not''' part of the MCU, and new characters or plot twists may be completely unrelated to the way those characters are depicted in the MCU or the plot of the sequels.
* ViewerFriendlyInterface: Tony Stark's computers all use big, gesture-controlled holograms.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The crux of the films' arc-heavy success is trust that viewers can handle a lot of plot threads and cross-pollinating. Before the MCU, a superhero series focused on one hero and a rotating pick of their traditional rogues gallery. With criss-crossing arcs, continuity nods, and eventually crossovers, the MCU proved the audience can not only handle juggling a vast superhero mythology spanning LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters but embrace it.
* VillainDecay:
** HYDRA. They're a serious threat in ''The Winter Soldier'', but they were dealt severe blows in ''The Winter Soldier'', ''Age of Ultron'' and the ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', due to the failure of Project Insight, the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the outing of HYDRA, with things going only downhill for them until, [[Recap/AgentsofSHIELDS3E18TheSingularity thanks to Malick's intel]], the ATCU is able to simultaneously and off-screen, destroy all of their remaining facilities in a matter of seconds. They still find a way to return under the leadership of Hale, a General in the US Air Force, but her plans are stopped and she is killed, seemingly ending HYDRA again.
** The Hand. Originally seen as a powerful organisation that have wormed their way into several corporate, governmental, and criminal positions within New York City, numerous coups and EnemyCivilWar's, as well as their confrontations with Daredevil and Iron Fist has left them significantly crippled, until the events of [[Series/TheDefenders2017 The Defenders]], which results in Midland Circle getting destroyed, both their {{mook}}s and the leadership [[spoiler:except perhaps Madame Gao]] getting KilledOffForReal, and the Hand seemingly defeated (for now).
* VillainRevealsTheSecret
** In ''The Winter Soldier'', Armin Zola gleefully admits that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by HYDRA, all to rub it in Captain America's face seventy years after they first met. [[TakingYouWithMe This also serves to distract him and Black Widow from a HYDRA missile that is intended to take out everyone present]].
** In ''Civil War'', after striking a truce after a misunderstanding, Iron Man, Captain America, and Bucky work together to stop Helmut Zemo from releasing the other Winter Soldiers. But when they get to the room, Zemo reveals that he never intended to release the soldiers and killed them all. His ''real'' plan was to get them in the same room together so he can show them a footage of Bucky killing Stark's parents in 1991. Rogers is forced to reveal to Stark that he knew about his parents' death and kept it a secret, which results in Tony trying to kill Bucky and a near-lethal fight between Cap and Iron Man. The end result is the Avengers being disbanded, [[Film/AvengersEndgame seemingly]] for good.
** In ''Spider-Man: Far From Home'', [[spoiler:Mysterio retaliates against Spider-Man defeating him by leaking Peter Parker's true identity, along with various lies that present Peter as a killer. Controversial news website [=TheDailyBugle.net=] and its [[Creator/JKSimmons familiar-looking anchor]] eagerly begin [[HeroWithBadPublicity an anti-Spider-Man campaign]] that is broadcast from Broadway's [=MegaVision=].]]
* WhamEpisode:
** "T.A.H.I.T.I.", the episode of ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' that revealed how Phil Coulson was resurrected: [[spoiler:with Kree blood.]]
** ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'', with 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.
*** The subsequent ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'' episode that tied into the movie, "Turn, Turn, Turn", applied the movie's big plot twist onto Phil Coulson and his team. [[spoiler:Phil's old friend is the enemy that his team has been tracking all season, and Grant Ward is TheMole that works for him.]]
** A meta example would be the announcement of ComicBook/SpiderMan officially joining the MCU, which is something that nobody thought would happen while Sony had the character rights. That two major film companies decided to ''share'' is quite frankly remarkable.
** ''Civil War'' ends with only two healthy Avengers still on duty [[spoiler:Iron Man and the Vision]], while one is crippled [[spoiler:War Machine]], and the rest [[spoiler:Captain America, Falcon, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch, and Black Widow]] are all fugitives on the run.
** ''Thor: Ragnarok'' ends with [[spoiler:Asgard being completely destroyed by Surtur, with the surviving Asgardians reduced to refugees]].
** ''Avengers: Infinity War'' ends with [[spoiler:[[TheBadGuyWins Thanos succeeding in completing the Infinity Gauntlet, wiping out half of the universe.]] The only heroes still alive at the end of the movie are Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, War Machine, Rocket, Nebula, Okoye and M'Baku.]]
** ''Avengers: Endgame'' marks the conclusion of the "Infinity Saga" and the transition to what comes after, and it definitely qualifies: [[spoiler:Thanos -- who has been the driving force behind the majority of the villains so far -- is finally defeated and those killed in ''Infinity War'' are brought back, but Tony Stark and Black Widow are both KilledOffForReal (apparently irreversibly), non-Snap fatalities like Gamora and Vision are still dead, Steve Rogers permanently retires, and the five year TimeSkip is ''not'' undone or erased, meaning the consequences from the Snap will presumably still be felt throughout all future movies]].
* 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'':
--->'''The Other:''' To challenge [humanity] is to court death... ''[cue [[spoiler:ComicBook/{{Thanos}}, the guy who "courts death" '''literally''' in the comics]]]''
** And then ''Thor: The Dark World'' reveals the MythArc:
--->'''Volstagg:''' The Tesseract is already on Asgard. It would be unwise to put two Infinity Stones so close together.\\
'''The Collector:''' One down... [[ComicBook/TheInfinityGauntlet five to go...]]
* WhatOtherGalaxies: The MCU has a complicated relationship with the scale of its universe, but for the most part uses a {{downplayed|Trope}} and {{justified|Trope}} version of this trope. In general, no worlds or galaxies outside of the Andromeda Galaxy and the Nine Realms (including Earth) are ever mentioned.
** The [[Film/{{Thor}} World Tree, Yggdrasil,]] connects nine disparate and far-removed worlds, each in a different galaxy, which happen to all be cosmologically linked and uniquely important. It's never explicitly stated ''how'' far apart the Nine Realms are. However, no races not part of the Nine Realms are ever seen visiting any of the Realms (with the exception of Earth), so presumably they're far enough from each other and from other planets as to preclude conventional travel between them.[[note]]Asgardians are shown to be able to travel to the Andromeda Galaxy (see below), but they're SufficientlyAdvancedAliens even to the other aliens.[[/note]] This is reinforced in ''Thor: Ragnarok'' when Valkyrie points out that it would take ''18 months'' of travel to reach Asgard from the vicinity of Xandar without the Bifrost, implying a truly outrageous distance.
** ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' takes place in the ''Andromeda'' Galaxy, not the Milky Way. The sequel reveals that interstellar travel is accomplished through the use of fixed "jump points", explaining why [[TheMilkyWayIsTheOnlyWay all the action takes place within one galaxy]]. While travel to the Milky Way is shown to be possible, no inhabited planets except for Earth are ever shown or even mentioned; this may imply that Earth is the ''only'' inhabited planet in the Milky Way. "Galaxy" and "Universe" are also used interchangeably, with no mention of anything beyond the Local Group.
** And of course, [[EarthIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse most of the films are set on Earth]].
* 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.
** To the point when the S.H.I.E.L.D. 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.
* WillReturnCaption: Common starting with ''Iron Man 3''
** ''Iron Man 3'' ended with a "Tony Stark will return" caption, to explain to the audience that the film's ending with Tony seemingly retiring permanently from superheroing wouldn't stick, and that Tony-only fans should still go and see ''Avengers: Age of Ultron''.
** ''Avengers: Infinity War'' ends with a [[spoiler:"Thanos will return" caption, lampshading the film's TheBadGuyWins ending]].
** Played with again in ''Ant-Man and the Wasp'', where the caption reads [[spoiler:"Ant-Man and The Wasp will return." Then two seconds later, before the screen completely fades to black, the period changes to a question mark, lampshading the {{Cliffhanger}} fates of [[NoBodyLeftBehind Hope Van Dyne/Wasp]] and [[TrappedInAnotherWorld Scott Lang/Ant-Man]].]]
* WithholdingTheBigGood: ZigZagged in the MCU in general. ComicBook/CaptainAmerica was the last hero to get a solo movie in Phase One, but it established him as the first superhero in the MCU (discounting the Asgardians who visited Earth centuries prior). Still, the Big Good was withheld for sixty years due to [[HumanPopsicle "doing time as a Cap-sicle."]]
* WolverinePublicity: The Avengers, or, more accurately, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor. They're essentially the FaceOfTheBand of the MCU, and are sometimes used to promote movies or shows starring lesser known characters. This was particularly notable with ''Ant-Man'' and ''Doctor Strange'', both of which used recycled footage of the Avengers in TV spots.
* TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed: Zigzagged. There are constant threats, but not all of them are big enough to put the entire world in danger.
* WorldOfActionGirls: See ActionGirl above. The list of ass kicking female characters is very long.
* WorldOfHam: From a billionaire superhero who built his suit "in a cave, '''with a box of scraps'''!" to some major HamToHamCombat between [[Myth/NorseMythology Norse gods]], there's plenty of ham to offer.
* WorldOfSnark: To say that snarky exchanges and witty one-liners are commonplace here would be a massive understatement. Joss Whedon described ''The Avengers'' as "a desert of wit".
* WretchedHive: New York became one after "The Incident", particularly Hell's Kitchen and Harlem. The reason for this is that the alien invasion greatly damaged New York, leading to an increase in organized crime.
* WritingAroundTrademarks: As mentioned above, the writers developed the terms "gifted", "miracle", and "enhanced" to compensate for not being allowed to use the term "mutant" thanks to the ''Film/XMenFilmSeries''. In ''Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'', the Inhumans were used as a substitute: anyone may have dormant Inhuman genes and get them unlocked without warning, revealing unexpected superhuman powers; and also for the FantasticRacism thing.
* YouCantThwartStageOne:
** Averted in the series as a whole in that the heroes in the various film have been able so far to thwart [[spoiler:Thanos']] schemes of collecting the Infinity Stones through minions, to the point where he has to ditch that approach and collect them himself.
** Played straight in most of the films, where the heroes aren't able to stop the start-up phases to the villain's plan.
** Averted in ''Age of Ultron'', where the heroes not only stop Ultron's initial plan to [[spoiler:put himself in a new, synthetic body with the Mind Stone]], but turn it around into a way to defeat him.
** Also averted in ''Civil War'', where an ex-HYDRA agent is uncooperative with Zemo and forces him to come up with a much more complicated plan to get what he wants.
[[/folder]]

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