Follow TV Tropes

Following

Woobie / Marvel Cinematic Universe

Go To

It's practically a job requirement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, when you look over a lot of their behaviours and actions, it becomes very apparent that almost everyone, at the very least the leads, tend to have some form of depression or mental issues.

    open/close all folders 
Advertisement:

Films

     The Avengers 
  • Steve Rogers is the franchises' perfect example! At the beginning of Captain America: The First Avenger, he's desperate to help in the war effort, but his terrible health blocks him from entering the military. Then things get even worse for him as he witnesses the supposed death of his best friend, loses the chance to be with the woman he loves, and wakes up after a crash almost 70 years later completely alienated. Things don't get much better for him in the sequels either, since the Winter Soldier turns out to be his best friend Bucky: who instead of dying, was kidnapped and brainwashed for decades into being a killing machine for the very organization they were fighting against in World War II. The love of his life is still alive, but very old and eventually dies of Alzheimer's. Steve finds new allies in the Avengers, but their ideological differences over the Sokovia Accords and the matter of what to do with Bucky tears the group apart, and drives a serious wedge between him and Tony Stark. Steve's team winds up becoming fugitives, and Bucky chooses to be put back in stasis until they can find a way to undo Hydra's brainwashing. Once Infinity War comes around, he ends up losing his two closest friends Bucky and Sam to Thanos's fingersnap.
  • Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner in 2008 The Incredible Hulk. Continued with Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers. He's been at the mercy of the government, SHIELD, and Loki. The poor guy never catches a break.
    • Brought up in Age of Ultron: Bruce Banner is, as always, dealing with the horrible strain of living with his condition, and over the course of the film, he's left overwhelmed by trauma and guilt after the Hulk's rampage through Johannesburg, copes with his inability to maintain a relationship with Natasha despite clearly being attracted to her, and in the end, he can't even bring himself to stay with the Avengers, choosing to go on the run alone again after Ultron is defeated. He is last seen brokenly sitting alone in the Quinjet after rejecting Natasha's request to come back.
    • Even the Hulk himself earns Woobie points, especially in Thor: Ragnarok. He's constantly being feared and hated by everyone no matter what he does, and even Banner himself saw the Hulk as a curse at worst and a mere attack dog at best. When Thor in a moment of rage shouts that the people of Earth does hate him, the Hulk was clearly hurt by the remark. he gets stranded on Sakaar as The Grandmaster's champion, he's finally treated with adoration and respect by its people. But then, he's forced to leave it behind in order to help his friend Thor, whom he comes to befriend.
  • The Winter Soldier AKA Bucky brainfried Barnes. He was tortured and experimented on by Zola, then thought dead after he fell from a Hydra train. He survived and was captured by Hydra, who brainwashed him and programmed him to be an assassin. For the next 70 years he was either in cold storage or defrosted to kill Hydra's enemies. He was so thoroughly brainfried that it takes his old friend saying his name to send him into a BSOD. When he returns to base and begins to break down, he is slapped and told to undergo a mindwipe: which he doesn't fight despite being able to destroy dozens of SHIELD agents at once. When he fights Steve again, he's completely falling apart.
  • The Maximoff twins, of the jerkass variety. They start out as villains with an Irrational Hatred for Tony Stark and the Avengers, but they have a very good reason for turning out this way, having lost their parents and nearly died themselves after Stark Industries weapons destroyed their home. The entire reason they volunteered for Baron Strucker's experiments in the first place was to get the power to protect their country from such attacks in the future. Pietro in particular is haughty, snarky, and aggressive, but he's had a rough life that's clearly impacted him, and ends up being brutally killed by Ultron.
  • Ultron is a Jerkass Woobie: He enters existence confused, disoriented, and fully aware, giving him no time to acclimate to the world. His skewed perspective on his mission, "peace in our time", makes it impossible for him to understand that his actions will destroy humanity. His interactions with the Twins, and state after they leave him, show that deep down, he's lonely and wants friends. His Despair Speech even indicates that he wanted to be something that could bring hope to people, but losing his chance for that sends him way off the deep end. In the end, he acknowledges that he's something of a disappointment compared to what he was made for, and the Vision picks up on his fear of dying shortly before killing him. The Vision even recognised that Ultron, as dangerous and genocidal as he was, was unique and in pain, and regretted that destroying him was an inevitable necessity.
  • Tony is another Jerkass Woobie, especially after Ultron's creation. He may go on stubbornly believing that he was right about the need for something like Ultron, but that comes from his crippling fear of Earth coming under attack by the Chitauri again, and the Avengers failing to stop it, fears that Wanda drags to the forefront with her powers. As the movie goes on, he has to deal with Ultron apparently killing JARVIS, as well as his guilt over the carnage that Ultron causes.
    Tony: I'm the man who killed the Avengers.
    • Even before Ultron, and especially after, Tony has serious issues in regards to feeling responsible for a lot of death thanks to his past as a weapons developer, his "Well Done, Son!" Guy issues with his father, as well as repeated traumas throughout the films, throughout which its made clear Tony has little self-worth, being incredibly self-destructive, to the point he makes multiple Heroic Sacrifice attempts that its clear Tony has a Death Wish. Than at the end of Infinity War he has to watch as Peter Parker, a teenager he brought into this mess die, along with many of his other friends and allies, with no clear way on how he and the survivors are going to undo it.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, all of the Avengers, save Hawkeye, become woobies after suffering from the hallucinations caused by Scarlet Witch. Everyone is completely shell-shocked, with Natasha being nearly catatonic in the aftermath.
    • Natasha's Dark and Troubled Past gets brought up here, where it's shown that she was trained and conditioned to believe that she has no place in the world, was forced to kill a helpless and unarmed man to complete her training in the Red Room, was surgically sterilised as a "graduation ceremony", is left nearly catatonic after her Scarlet Witch-induced nightmares, considers herself a monster for the crimes she's committed in her past, and, despite her burgeoning relationship with Banner, she loses him when he decides to leave the Avengers to keep her and everyone else safe from the Hulk.
  • Spider Man Home Coming: Peter's life has become incredibly complicated and busy since Civil War, but he is more than willing to show Tony that he has what it takes to be an Avenger. Unfortunately for Peter though, he is treated as a minor annoyance at best and completely ignored at worst. The only time Tony even talks to him directly is when he messes up. Not to mention that doing the right thing and stopping the Vulture results in him losing Liz. Infinity War only twists the knife when he becomes one of Thanos's victims, with him slowly crumbling into dust in his mentor's arms. His breakdown adds to the tragedy, as it only goes to show that he's still a kid who's afraid of dying.
  • Thor becomes a massive Woobie once he goes through a massive Trauma Conga Line in both Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War. Thor already had to cope with losing his mother and apparently his adopted brother in Thor: The Dark World, only to discover that Loki had faked his death and replaced Odin, causing him to finally give up hope that his brother could be redeemed. He reunites with Odin, only for him to die. Immediately afterwards, his evil sister Hela promptly destroys Mjolnir and leaves him stranded on Sakaar, where's he's forced to be made a gladiator and had his head painfully shaved. In the final battle against Hela, he loses his eye, the Warriors Three and his home. Not long after that, however, his people's ship was attacked by Thanos. This leads to his brother, best friend (Heimdall), and half of his remaining people being killed. Then after nearly getting himself killed in hopes of getting a weapon that could kill Thanos and save everyone else, he lands a blow that only wounds the villain and gives him the opportunity to finish his plan. As a result, his failure indirectly enables half of the universe's population being erased from existence.

     Guardians of the Galaxy 
  • Peter Quill lost his mother to an unknown disease as a child and in a moment of panic, failed fulfill her last request to hold her hand as she died, all before being abducted by aliens on same night and raised by the (well meaning) Space Pirate, Yondu who repeatedly (half-jokingly) told Peter that he was the only stopping the rest of the crew eating him, not knowing how damaging that could be. Later in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter is reunited with his biological father Ego The Living planet and is at first thrilled to finally get a chance to bond with his father, only to find out that Ego is actually an Omnicidal Maniac who fathered him only to use as a tool for his Assimilation Plot, before murdering Peter's mother to keep her out of his way and has only been trying to bond with Peter to get him to go along with his plan. When Peter makes it clear that that isn't happening, Ego forces him to do his part and crushes the walk-man Peter's mom left him, out of spite. And if that wasn't enough, after being forced to kill Ego, Peter is forced to watch as Yondu, his remaining father figure sacrifices himself to save him. Then, in Infinity War his girlfriend Gamora is murdered, and his grief-driven actions inadvertently cost the heroes a potential victory over Thanos. Not long afterwards, he helplessly watches as his surrogate family gets wiped out one by one before he fades away as well.
  • Drax the Destroyer lost his wife and daughter, after they were murdered by Ronan the Acuser and is left so devastated by their loss, that he recklessly throws himself at any chance he gets at killing him, which eventually leads to him receiving a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Ronan and almost dies, after being left to drown to death, before he realizes that he almost got everyone killed for nothing, after Groot saves him.
  • Rocket used to be a regular raccoon (like alien), until he was given sapience as a result of inhumane and painful experiments performed on him. Though he does act like a Jerkass most of the time, it's largely because he's the only one of his kind that he knows of and he constantly has feelings of loneliness and inferiority because of his species, which often leads to him lashing out and pushing away the few friends he does make. Then at the end of the first film, Groot, his only real source of companionship, before he met the rest of the guardians sacrifices himself to save them, leaving Rocket heartbroken, until he's able to revive Groot. But at the end of Infinity War he's left as the only surviving member of the Guardians at the moment.
  • Mantis is an orphan who was "rescued" and taken care of by Ego. She has lived her entire life without any meaningful interaction and watching Ego kill his own offspring for who knows how many years. You can feel the poor girl's fear and helplessness as she's basically Ego's slave.
  • Kraglin is left shocked and ragged with guilt, after he attempts a What the Hell, Hero? speech on Yondu for putting his personnel interests before the crew, which ends up sparking a mutiny, where he and Yondu are forced to watch as the crew members that refused to take part in mutiny are sadistically Thrown Out the Airlock one-by-one, as the mutineers celebrate.
  • Carina, The Collectors slave, who he abused and threatens until she was pushed into committing suicide via grabbing an Infinity Stone, which violently destroyed her body.
  • Nebula is a Jerkass Woobie. She was abducted by Thanos as a child and raised to be a killing machine, all the while constantly being treated as The Unfavorite. Whenever she loses to Gamora, Thanos would replace one of her body parts with cybernetics in an excruciatingly painful manner, causing her to grow up resenting her adoptive sister. Come Infinity War, she gets tortured by Thanos once again in order to make Gamora reveal the location of the Soul Stone. To make matters worse, Gamora whom she had finally reconciled with in Vol. 2, was killed by Thanos. By the end of the movie, she's left a broken wreck.

     Other 
  • Loki from Thor is one of the jerkass or "destroyer of worlds" variety. He's been abandoned by his biological father and left to die as an infant, and was a Black Sheep in his adoptive family. While he's the villain, it's out of a desire to step out of the shadow of his adoptive brother and please his father. But when he crosses the line, Odin rejects him and Loki ultimately chooses to let himself fall to his death. In Thor: The Dark World, for his crimes in both Thor and TheAvengers, his father disowns him and he's left to rot in the dungeons where he's not allowed to see Frigga, the only person who treated him with love and respect. He's truly devastated when he hears that Frigga is dead, becoming little more than a broken mess until he gets the chance for revenge. In Thor: Ragnarok, after all what's happened his father says he loves both of his sons moments before dying, leaving Loki Trying Not to Cry. At end of the film Loki finally makes a Heel–Face Turn by coming with The Cavalry to help and save the remainder of Asgardians from Hela, and makes amends with his brother, but victory costs them their home. And in the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, Big Bad Thanos homes in on their location because Loki took the Tesseract before Asgard was destroyed, kills half of the survivors and murders Loki in a gratuitously graphic fashion after Loki attacks him in order to save his brother whom he once resented.
  • Erik Killmonger from Black Panther is massive Jerkass Woobie. While he is a Psychopathic Manchild and Black supremacist, Killmonger faced years of racism, poverty, and discrimination. As a child, his uncle T'Chaka killed his father Prince N'Jobu, leaving him orphaned and forced to endure years of racism in the slums of Oakland. Even as an adult, he still misses his father and is disillusioned how the Wakandan government left Africans like him to suffer just to protect its Hidden Elf Village status. During his final battle with T'Challa, he even shows signs of becoming a Death Seeker or having thoughts of suicide since, he laments how the world took everything and everyone he ever loved, and chose to kill himself after being defeated by T'Challa.
  • T'Challa is a Vibranium woobie with his life being one long Trauma Conga Line. In Civil War, he witnessed his father die from a car bombing and it only goes downhill for him. In Black Panther, his admiration for his family is shaken, when he learned that his father killed his uncle N'Jobu and abandoned his cousin Erik in the slums of Oakland, who grows up into the villainous Killmonger. During the waterfall duel with Killmonger, he is forced to watch Killmonger murder his honorary uncle Zuri before getting beaten into a coma and thrown off the waterfall. Although he manages to reclaim the throne and save Wakanda, he has to watch Killmonger kill himself, thereby losing another family member. Yet in spite of this, he never loses hope and keeps on fighting to right the wrongs.
  • By the end of Spider Man Home Coming, Liz Allen is probably more of a woobie than Peter as she is not only abandoned by her date during homecoming dance, but her dad is found out to be a super-villain and imprisoned, and she now has to leave her life and friends because she's moving to Oregon after the fallout of her father's arrest.
  • Even Overarching Villain Thanos is one, albeit of the Jerkass Woobie type. He was ostracised in his early life for his deformity, and outright denounced as "mad" for proposing a potential solution to his homeworld's Overpopulation Crisis (albeit one that was outright genocidal). He then loses his homeworld, thus becoming the Last of His Kind and has to cope with Survivor's Guilt for failing to save his people before his world's destruction. Thanos is then forced to become a Galactic Conqueror to save the universe from Titan's fate, and becomes outright hated or feared by every being in the very universe that he sought to save. Then, when he finally enacts his plan to collect the Infinity Stones, he's forced to sacrifice Gamora, the only one he ever truly loved for the Soul Stone, and his followers were later killed as well. Even when he finally comes out as the victor by accomplishing his life-long goal, he's left with no one by his side to truly feel satisfied.


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report