Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Marvel Cinematic Universe

Go To

    open/close all folders 

  • Adaptation Displacement: In two ways:
    • Marvel Comics itself is still widely known and influential thanks to its eight-decade-long history, and the movies have been a Gateway Series to reading their books, to an extent. But the MCU films are even better-known and earn way more than the comics do.
    • Since the MCU is now a Long Runner franchise spanning over a decade, some of its elements have become so well-known and entrenched in the minds of its fans that it may overshadow their comic counterparts, even influencing them. For instance:
      • The Infinity Stones have become so central to the MCU's Myth Arc that it's likely that only Marvel Comics fans who knew of them before the movies may still refer to them as Infinity Gems.
      • Similarly, James Rhodes' nickname in the comics was Jim, not Rhodey (as reflected by the 90s Iron Man cartoon), until the latter carried over from the movies, so only older fans are likely to still call him Jim at this point.
      • Tony Stark's snarky personality in the movies has become his default one in other adaptations ever since and has carried over to the comics as well.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Thanos, of all people, as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Seven movies since his debut (appearing in three of them), he has collected exactly zero Infinity Stones, and in fact even has one fewer Stone than he started with (as Loki's staff had the Mind Stone). Comics Alliance has called him "the Trix rabbit of supervillains.". Another is he's The Chessmaster playing the Long Game. He may not have the Infinity Stones, but he knows where most of them are (as well as figuring out the location to the Infinity Gauntlet). In the stinger of Age of Ultron, Thanos appears tired of relying on others to bring him the Stones, and resolves to retrieve them personally.
    • Some fans speculate that the Infinity Stones have some level of sentience, similar to the One Ring. Most prominently, this would mean the Mind Stone was manipulating all sides so it could get a body. This would be similar to the original Infinity Trilogy from the comics where the Gems all have a level of sentience and a desire to be with the others.
      • Seems to have been confirmed as of Avengers: Infinity War as it's revealed that the Tesseract, aka the Space Stone, sent Red Skull to the location of the Soul Stone with full knowledge of how to obtain it and knowing that he would never be capable of the necessary sacrifice. This was in punishment for Red Skull abusing the Tesseract's power.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail:
    • No superhero crossover film had ever been done beforenote , and Marvel's biggest super heroes were in the hands of other studios. All they had were mostly B-listers. Even the Nick Fury stinger at the end of Iron Man was inserted mostly then as a Mythology Gag. Great idea in hindsight, though, right? In fact, because of the MCU (especially The Avengers), said B-listers were elevated to near-Spider-Man status.
    • This has also affected some of the films released since the Avengers. A film based on the Guardians of the Galaxy, with characters obscure even to Marvel fans, and a film based on the much-mocked Ant-Man — especially in light of its well-publicized Troubled Production — were written off as potential flops by most outlets. And yet they were both successful, outdoing expectations rather significantly. Moral of the story: Don’t bet against the House of Ideas. Or the House of Mouse.
  • Arc Fatigue: Thanos's story in Phase 1 and Phase 2 consists of him sending flunkies to bring him Infinity Stones, which ultimately causes him to lose several of the Infinity Stones he already had, along with those he nearly gained. He also does not get a lot of characterization with his few appearances in these parts, coming across as a Generic Doomsday Villain. This was rectified in Phase 3, in which he takes a hands-on approach to the situation and his motivations are explained. Related to this trope, Thanos' surprise appearance at the end of The Avengers was mind-blowing to comic book fans and intriguing to general audiences. By the time he shows up again in the post credits scene for Age of Ultron, viewers are more likely to roll their eyes.
    • The MCU itself for some fans as its 11 year and counting run has left the series with extreme Continuity Lockout and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Even with the end of the Infinity Saga, plans for movies through 2028 have left some fans tired of the constant deluge of MCU.
  • Archive Panic: As of 2019, there are 22 movies currently released, each about two hours. On top of that there are five seasons of Agents Of Shield, two of Agent Carter, and one each of Inhumans and Runaways, plus all the Netflix series that nearly work in a continuity of their own.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After fans objected to heroic comics characters like Alexander Pierce and Sitwell being made HYDRA agents, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed that some of the people working for HYDRA really were loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and were actually brainwashed.
    • Fans of The Mandarin were naturally pretty upset when Iron Man 3 revealed that he didn't actually exist as comic fans would recognize him, and that Adrian Killian was the MCU Mandarin with the comic-accurate depiction portrayed by Ben Kingsley just being an actor providing a front for Killian. A one-shot retconned that there is a real Mandarin after all and he's in the shadows scheming. However, this turned out to be an Aborted Arc and the whole mess is mostly ignored now. However, this is changing as the villain has been confirmed by Kevin Feige to ACTUALLY be making an appearance in the future.
    • After years of legal right shenanigans, Marvel and Sony finally reached an agreement to introduce Spider-Man into the MCU, with Sony co-producing films he appears in. Combined with reports that Fox and Marvel are working together to make two X-Men-related television series (since Fox want to make one, but their contract only gives them film rights, and so they would need Marvel to work with them to make it), which could easily be brought into the MCU as well, a united Marvel Cinematic Universe is closer to becoming a reality than ever.
    • With all the issues preventing a Black Widow movie from being made (whatever you think they are), her fans were thrown a bone with the tie-in novel series about her. The first book also takes the opportunity to make it clear that, whatever Joss Whedon says, the Avengers were told at some point that Coulson was still alive.
    • Phase 2 saw criticism for continuing the trend of Phase 1 with a predominantly white male cast of heroes, and weak villains that, aside from Loki, are Monster of the Week types that are introduced and then killed off in the same film. Phase 3 sought to correct both problems:
      • Black Panther and Captain Marvel are getting their own movies, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brought in Mantis and increased Gamora and Nebula's screentime, the Ant-Man sequel features the Wasp and even promotes her in the film's title, Spider-Man: Homecoming features a diverse supporting cast (with major supporting characters like Liz Allan and Flash Thompson played by non-white actors), and Thor: Ragnarok not only features the debut of Valkyrie (played by a black actress), but also that of Hela, the MCU's first leading female villain. And on the TV side, Luke Cage single-handedly at least triples the amount of black characters in the 'verse. There's also been a subtle push for behind-the-camera diversity: both Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther have non-white directors (and in the case of Black Panther the director, producer and writers are all African-American) while Captain Marvel has an all-female writing team and a female co-director. On the TV side Marvel has recruited non-white directors such as John Ridley and Gina Prince-Bythewood to work on its shows.
      • Phase 3's villains have been very well received in general, and many of them either span several films or have their return in later films left open. Zemo, The Vulture, Killmonger, and Ghost were given sympathetic backstories to make them more interesting and complex. Dr. Strange's arch-enemy Karl Mordo underwent Adaptational Heroism to begin as an ally to Strange that undergoes a Face–Heel Turn in a character arc that will continue in a future film where Mordo is the primary villain, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 has Ayesha as a secondary antagonist that sets up Adam Warlock for the third film. Guardians villain Ego the Living Planet and Black Panther's Killmonger have been praised as some of the most fleshed-out and well-acted villains of the franchise. While they weren't as complex as the rest, the Grandmaster, Hela, and Ulysses Klaue went over well thanks to good performances and qualifying for Evil Is Cool. Infinity War then ran away from them with Thanos, who has one of the most developed and complex character arcs of the franchise, and thanks to a stellar performance from Josh Brolin, Thanos is considered to have been worth the years of hype for his arrival.
    • After the controversy that surrounded James Gunn's firing from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, during which he was hired to direct The Suicide Squad for the DCEU, Disney announced that they changed their minds and would hire him back to direct after all.
  • Award Snub: After ten years worth of movies mostly extremely well-received by critics and fans, many were annoyed that the MCU still did not have a single Oscar to its name, with the most infamous snub being The Grand Budapest Hotel getting a Best Makeup award over Guardians of the Galaxy. Fuel was only added to the fire when Suicide Squad ended up winning onenote  meaning that the DCEU, in spite of being five years younger than the MCU and being hugely divisive managed to win an Oscar before the MCU did. Finally rectified in 2019, when Black Panther (2018) won Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.
    • The Academy adding an Oscar for "Outstanding achievement in popular film" in 2018 has been divisively received, with many pointing it out as a case of We're Still Relevant, Dammit! and consolation award acknowledging the MCU's success without allowing it in the "Best picture" category, especially in the year of Black Panther. That category was eventually scrapped.
    • In an aversion, Black Panther ended up receiving a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

  • In Iron Man 3, the depiction of the Mandarin, Iron Man's Asian magic-using Fu Manchu-esque archfoe, was so divisive that a short film, All Hail the King, was made to address fan complaints about the Mandarin being a sham devised by the real villain, a white guy who is the "true" Mandarin and reassure them that yes, the traditional one exists, though he has yet to be shown onscreen. His depiction in Iron Man 3 was divisive because of the character's nature in the comics in relation to modern times and the approach to adapting it. Some thought it was a brilliant subversion, while for others it changed too many core elements needlessly, feeling that a depiction that was both more nuanced and sensitive and closer to the source material could have been hammered out if the writers had tried.
  • Darcy Lewis from the Thor films is very polarizing. Either she's one of the funniest MCU characters or she's downright annoying, with some considering her The Scrappy of the series.
  • Broken Base:
    • While the conflict itself was primarily limited to Captain America: Civil War itself, the film nevertheless divided the fandom between those who side more with Captain America and those who side more with Iron Man, with the two characters' appearances in future films as well as from those who sided with them being used as ammunition for continued debate. Many people who sided with one character still refuse to forgive the other and will subsequently subject their later actions to Ron the Death Eater as a result.
    • Should the X-Men join the MCU? There are two sides of this argument, and it's existed for years on end. With the 2019 acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney, thus Marvel gaining the film rights to the X-Men and making the impending reboot inevitable, this has only intensified further.
      • Those who support it center their arguments around the idea that Only the Creator Does It Right. They believe Marvel's take on X-Men will be Truer to the Text compared to Fox, providing them storylines more in keeping with the comics, with brighter costumes and aesthetics, more exposure to the general mythos and not just a select few characters (a major argument is to point out Wolverine's focus compared to the others), more "out-there" elements that Fox wouldn't allow for not being "realistic" would likely be featured such as Cyttorak, Savage Land, Shi'ar, Mojoworld, Phoenix Force, Brood, demons, mysticism, and the like, making it superior to the "realistic" take of Fox's movies. They also cite that the MCU thrives on lesser-known characters, compared to Fox showing more of the names we already knew or basing the story directly on star power (such as Mystique getting Adaptational Heroism because she's played by Jennifer Lawrence), and thus more characters can become stars in their own right as opposed to being neglected. Furthermore, the rate of which MCU produces movies (currently three a year, rumored to go up to four, and that's not factoring the advent of Disney+) combined with their better sense of continuity, would allow far greater storytelling potential and payoff than under Fox. Then, of course, you can have things like the Uncanny Avengers, proper adaptations of storylines like Secret Invasion, and other big stories that would take full advantage of the completely unified verse while giving the MCU even more potential for what it can do. Many also believe that Marvel would just do a better job in general at making X-Men stories than Fox, who they view as not even respecting the source material let alone embracing it.
      • Opponents reject such ideas by pointing out that X-Men comics in general, for most of its history (what with the Avengers getting their push to the center of Marvel Universe being a recent event), and their greatest story-arcs (such as The Phoenix Saga) in particular are mostly self-contained, and the few that did happen often had the Avengers serve as second banana (since this was still a status-quo where the X-Men were far more popular and sold better than the Avengers). There's not a lot it would gain from being part of the MCU (aside from maybe Wolverine being in every superhero film in a year, rather than every X-Men film). Moreover, X-Men fans have generally been irritated by Marvel's attempt to replace the X-Men with the Inhumans, which happened because of their rights issues with Fox, and they see that as evidence that Marvel is by no means the best defender and custodian of their own IP. Another factor is that part of the reason the MCU was so successful was precisely because their options were so limited. As in, they were forced to get creative and not get complacent with A-listers and put the B-, C-, and D-listers up to the forefront, greatly raising their status in the process. Putting their once Flagship Franchise back into the forefront may invite a further excuse just to be lazy. Finally, the biggest argument that gets used, is that the Fantastic Racism themes of X-Men make more sense when the mutants are largely the only superpowered beings of their universe, rather than just one possible origin. Many people, from fans, to critics, and even writers within Marvel themselvesnote , have noted this much, and it was only highlighted by the Fox movies where they were the only superpowered beings in the universe and thus they stood out more because of it.
      • On another note, some fear that the X-Men will be watered down to fit within the much more family-friendly setting. R-Rated fare such as Deadpool – one franchise that Bob Iger hinted at as a possible "Marvel-R brand" after the merger – could potential be shoveled off to a streaming service where the films could pretend it doesn't exist, and the darker themes the X-Men generally face would also be toned down if not purely diluted. Logan director James Mangold pointed out how it's unlikely that a R-Rated superhero movie would be produced by Disney as such adult movies cannot be merchandised and made into toys. Such fears were confirmed when the launch of the Disney+ streaming service made it clear that it would not feature any mature rated content, while the Netflix produced adult-centric Marvel shows were canceled one after the other (though more because Netflix didn't feel like financing an adversary on the streaming market here). Supporters counter that Disney has released more mature fare in the past under Touchstone and Miramax.
      • Generally, comics fans want it to happen so that Marvel can stop their Character Shilling of the Inhumans and quit downgrading the Mutants, which they have been doing for brand reasons since House of M to put the Avengers and the Inhumans at the center at the expense of the X-Men. That, and to finally put the mutants as being a core pillar of the Marvel Universe as they were for so long, and to stop being shafted over film rights that are no longer an issue.


  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • Inverted, as some viewers find the MCU so light and humorous that it reduces the sense of stakes or drama, coupled with Contractual Immortality that ensures most of the big characters that are in supposed "danger" will live.
    • Played straight with the Netflix shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been seen as being too dark for some due to their tone, the ugly subject matters they explore, flawed characters and the Trauma Conga Line both shows put their protagonists through.
    • Played with in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where the show's initial light tone earned it a lot of ridicule compared to DC's Arrow, but gained significant critical praise as it got darker. However, some tend to complain that the show is too dark, particularly during the second season. Things improved after that, however.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Loki, a villain of three films, is adored by a certain section of the fan base. This has been acknowledged by Tom Hiddleston, who appeared in character at a convention and immediately had the entire room cheering for him. "It appears that I have an army."

  • Ending Fatigue: Barring Daredevil season 1, every season of the franchise's Netflix shows has been accused of not having enough story to fill their thirteen episodes, resulting in a good first half followed by the second half dragging as the characters run around not accomplishing much until the running time is filled. Daredevil season 2, meanwhile, had too many plots it juggled at the same time (Punisher, Elektra, the Hand, Karen becoming a journalist and Matt's straining friendship with Foggy). The news that The Defenders would be only eight episodes was met with a lot of relief, though there are still those arguing that with its having to juggle four heroes and all their supporting casts, a larger episode count would be far more reasonable.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Listed here
  • Epileptic Trees: Some popular fan theories include:
    • Clark Gregg himself endorses the theory that Coulson is actually his character FBI Special Agent Michael Casper from The West Wing, having taken a new identity upon being recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • A popular, half-joking theory is that Stan Lee's recurring cameos are actually the MCU version of Uatu the Watcher, taking a human form/avatar to observe the events of the films. It eventually became Ascended Fanon with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
    • With the X-Men and mutants in general set to join the ‘verse, an increasingly popular theory on how they could be introduced is that, just as in the comics, Rogue steals Carol Danvers’ powers, setting all the heroes on edge about this dangerous new group.
    • Despite Kevin Feige having once said that none of the previous villains featured in either the Spider-Man Trilogy or The Amazing Spider-Man Series would appear in the MCU, it's become increasingly supported and heavily rumored that Norman Osborn is being set up to appear in franchise as a recurring antagonist akin to his role from the '00s and '10s. Not only have insiders stated as much, but it's believed there are threads being set up for Osborn to pick up on such as Spider-Man's origins being left offscreen (it's assumed that it could be the same, but it's left open, and Osborn played a major role in the Ultimate Marvel origin), the mysterious buyers of Vulture's tech that made his business so lucrative, the fact that Stark Tower was sold to an unknown buyer, and Sonny Burch's mysterious, powerful employer in Ant-Man and the Wasp being left unnamed. Furthermore, the ill-fated Silver & Black movie by Sony was going to feature Osborn as an antagonist, but reportedly had him removed in favor of the MCU, before S&B was cancelled entirely. It also helps that Feige didn't specifically rule out previous villains as a hard and fast rule, but said they were looking at new ones first. On the other hand, if Osborn will become the Green Goblin and antagonize Spider-Man, is another matter.
    • A common speculation for how mutants will join the MCU is that the Snaps from the Infinity Gauntlet will emit cosmic radiation that will activate the dormant mutant genes in the public, thus causing them to attain superpowers and creating mutants on a wide scale, making akin to the Atom in the comics. This is supported by the idea that several heroes (Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Captain Marvel) are in fact powered by Infinity Stones. The fact that Endgame confirms that the use of the gauntlet emits such energy on a massive scale provided more fuel for this.
  • Evil Is Cool: All the villains that manage to be menacing while entertaining to watch.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Loki, Grant Ward, Raina (not so much after her Karmic Transformation), Aldrich Killian, Lorelei, Nebula and Dottie Underwood. Note that only Nebula and Killian are intended to be (downplayed) fanservice in the context of the movie, while Lorelei is outright Fan Disservice.
  • Exiled from Continuity: While Netflix MCU is supposed to take place in the same shared universe as the films, they mainly operate as a void and rarely have any continuity with the films aside from Easter Eggs. Furthermore, due to the different rights, the Netflix characters have next to no chance of appearing in films, despite the constant mention of "It's all connected".

  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Hardcore fans get very irritated when people mistake a superhero film as part of the MCU just because it stars a Marvel character. No, the X-Men Film Series and Spider-Man Trilogy are not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as they are in different continuities and were made by Fox and Sony, respectively.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • With the DC Extended Universe (and previous DC films like the The Dark Knight Trilogy), continuing the Marvel Comics/DC Comics rivalry. The two franchises started out initially as different as night and day (unlike, however, the Marvel and DC comics themselves, which are much the same in tone). It's grown so contentious that James Gunn himself told people to knock it off.
    • With Marvel movies not made by Marvel Studios, such as Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man Series and Fox's X-Men Film Series. A lot of MCU fans wish these franchises would revert to Marvel, and films made after Iron Man, like The Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men: First Class are often dismissed as cash grabs made to keep the rights from Marvel Studios. Conversely, some argue that Fox's movies work better than Marvel's in-house movies (a phenomenon referred to as "Foxholm Syndrome" by MCU fans). For a while, the Fox-Marvel and MCU rivalry also extended to Fox's attempt to reboot the Fantastic Fournote  but after the reboot in question was critically panned, many Fox-Marvel fans found themselves agreeing with MCU Fans that the Four would fair better in Marvel's hands.
      • Some fans hold particular venom for the eponymous film, deriding it as Sony's attempt to ride the coattails of the MCU by making their own comic cinematic universe.
    • With the Arrowverse, though this is mostly restricted to the MCU TV shows such as Agents Of Shield and the Netflix MCU, but nonetheless still keeps the Marvel/DC rivalry burning strong. This is especially the case with Arrow which has a similar Darker and Edgier feel to most of the Netflix shows.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: While the TV and streaming shows are stated to be 100% connected to the movies, a segment of fans would just rather take most or all of them as "non-canonical unless noted otherwise" - not necessarily because the shows are bad (rather, in general the shows are well-received, though Iron Fist and Inhumans infamously broke the "Fresh" or higher Rotten Tomatoes streak the franchise had enjoyed), but because the movies barely acknowledge anything from the shows, although the shows reference the movies.
    • In general, the TV Shows are produced by different verticals than the MCU proper. Kevin Feige from Phase 3 onwards negotiated MCU being directly under Disney rather than Marvel Entertainment, who cover most of the TV shows. The major exception is Agent Carter which was more tightly linked to the MCU and fittingly is the only one to cross-over, with the original Jarvis from Agent Carter appearing in Avengers: Endgame. The logistics of TV and movie production make it hard to co-ordinate storylines due to the demands of marketing and promotion (i.e. protecting spoilers) and the creative instincts of film-makers (notably the HYDRA reveal from The Winter Soldier was decided by the Russos, as a bold status-quo shift that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had to incorporate, having never been conceived to go in that direction from the start).
    • While the Netflix shows like Daredevil are mostly acclaimed, their canonical status has been further questioned by their cancellation and imminent removal from Netflix just as Disney is set to launch its own Disney+ streaming service, which will produce its own MCU shows with movie characters. The darker and more violent nature of these Netflix shows in contrast to even the darkest parts of the movies have also made some fans mentally file them as "non-canonical unless noted otherwise". Even some fans of these Netflix shows agree that they work better as Expanded Universe self-contained works, seeing it as a respite from the interconnected nature of the MCU which has recently come under fire for the way everything either ties into the Avengers or Tony Stark's corner, and the street-level nature of these shows have more credibility with as few references to the wider-verse as possible.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Because there are so many movies and such a large fandom, which ones are the FPC often varies depending on whether the viewer has seen the solo films, the The Avengers movies, or both. For example: if people only watch the Captain America solo movies, the FPC would be Steve/Bucky, Steve/Natasha, and Steve/Sam. But if they only watch The Avengers, the FPC would be Steve/Tony and Steve/The Waitress. The only real exception among the multiple franchise characters is Thor, whom people prefer to pair up with either Loki or Sif (who is Thor's love interest in both the comics and the original Norse myths) due to Jane being rather... ill-received.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Has its own page.
  • First Installment Wins: With the exception of the Captain America films and sequels, Thor: Ragnarok, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, it's generally acknowledged that most Marvel movies lose their novelty after the first film of the run and the sequels (Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World) tend to be weaker. This even applies to the The Avengers where Ultron was seen as falling short of the first film, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Some have argued that the extended universe nature of these films prevents sequels from really having stakes, and flattens it into Comic-Book Time where characters can't truly grow, change or experience Character Development significantly.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • MCU fans get along famously with fans of Legendary Pictures's MonsterVerse. It helps that both franchises share a number of actors such as Aaron Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen for Godzilla (2014) and Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson for Kong: Skull Island, and also that the Monsterverse movies aren't direct genre competitors to Marvel's work, unlike the DCEU. Plus, Marvel produced a Godzilla comic book line in the 80's, so some Marvel fans consider Godzilla an honorary Marvel character. So much so that both fandoms would like to see a crossover with The Avengers fighting Godzilla or other famous Kaiju.
    • MCU fans have a much healthier relationship with fans of Deadpool than the other Marvel movies made by FOX, mostly due to how a comics-faithful, R-rated Deadpool movie would be incompatible with the (relatively) family-friendly MCU films. It doesn't hurt that Deadpool made a couple of friendly nods towards the MCU itself, has been praised by a number of the MCU's actors and directors, and even got approval and help from Kevin Feige himself.
    • When it comes to Venom (2018), while there plenty of MCU fans who loathe it with a passion, there are also plenty who like it well-enough; some even think it and the rest of Sony's prospective Shared Universe of Spider-Man characters should tacitly become part of the MCU in future.
    • Likewise, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine has earned the respect of pretty much everyone, MCU fandom included, in spite of never wearing a comics-accurate costume. Praise for his swan song in the role cemented this. In fact, there are fan calls to recast him in the MCU now that Disney has bought FOX's film assets.
    • Lots of MCU fans also love Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for its unique animation style and cast of fan-favorite Spider-Men such as Spider-Ham, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, and of course Miles Morales — even in spite of widespread disdain for Sony due to their handling of the Spider-Man franchise.
    • In spite of the rivalry with the DCEU, there are fans who like both film series. Black Panther and Aquaman fans get along largely because their films are the first installments in both franchises to have non-white leads and directors, adding much needed diversity to the superhero genre. Likewise, Captain Marvel fans have a cordial relationship with Wonder Woman fans largely thanks to their fanbases uniting against their Girl-Show Ghetto detractors as well as the two movies' cast members and crew supporting one another (Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins expressed excitement about the MCU's superheroine movie and Captain Marvel star Brie Larson admitted to being a big Wonder Woman fangirl growing up).
  • Friendly Rivalry: For all the acrimony between their fandoms, creators in the MCU and DCEU have been fairly amiable towards one anothernote  James Gunn and Patty Jenkins expressed excitement for each other's films, while Scott Derrickson tweeted support to David Ayer over Suicide Squad.

  • Genre Turning Point: The franchise as a while served as the major turning point in not only the superhero genre but for blockbuster films in general:
  • Growing the Beard:
    • While all the early movies were financial successes, critical reception was hit or miss. Things turned around big time with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which some have even compared to The Dark Knight as one of the best superhero movies of all time and a great case of Genre-Busting the superhero movie. Every MCU movie since has gotten glowing praise, with the hiccup of Age of Ultron.
    • Among Captain America fans, Winter Soldier was the film that forever cemented Captain America as one of the best superheroes of the modern blockbuster era. For fans, Winter Soldier manages to bring in morally complexity, gritty realism, and visceral fighting that would define the Captain America films without undermining Cap's idealism and heroic outlook.
    • Deliberately attempted with Thor: Ragnarok. While Thor wasn't exactly hated beforehand he also didn't make the top of many fans' favorite superhero lists either, usually considered bland compared to the other Avengers or his own brother Loki. One of director Taika Waititi's stated goals was to change this by giving Thor a much more engaging character arc this time. Most would agree that he succeeded, given that it's the best received of all the Thor films. The beard continues to grow in Avengers: Infinity War, reminding viewers why Thor is known as the god of thunder in the fight against Thanos.

  • Harsher in Hindsight: Starting in 2016, it seems the universe really has it out for actors who played HYDRA agents with the untimely deaths of Garry Shandling, Bill Paxton, and Powers Boothe within a year.
    • After the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in 2018, where it turned out that the latter was collecting data on the former's website about its users and gave that information to U.S. political campaigns (including now-President Donald Trump) to influence elections, Project Insight from Winter Soldier is that much scarier because it's that much closer to being real.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • Coulson was this after his death in The Avengers. Turns out he was hiding, and it was in Tahiti. It's a magical place.
    • Janet van Dyne, after it was confirmed she was going to be a hero in the 60s who'd passed away, has been getting this. Fans were hoping that, instead of turning Hope van Dyne into an expy of her, they'll instead reveal that the real Jan is still trapped in the Microverse, like she was in the comics. This has also proven true after she was confirmed to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
    • Red Skull. Even after Guardians of the Galaxy proved that most mortals can't survive direct contact with an Infinity Stones, fans are still convinced that he somehow survived and that old age has also been unable to kill him. They were right.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The fan theory of "Hawkeye was absent for most of Phase 2 because he was having adventures with Mockingbird" is this thanks to Mockingbird joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2. While the two aren't in a relationship, it is at least canon they knew each other, and she was definitely doing something before Coulson had her spy on HYDRA for him.
    • After the big deal that was made over the MCU not being able to use the word "mutant", Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revealed that Skye is Daisy Johnson, who was portrayed as a mutant for a while before the reveal that her powers had a different source.
    • The final moments of Ant-Man feature a vague reference to Spider-Man that was intended to just be a throwaway meta-joke, but by the time the film was released Marvel had reached an agreement with Sony to share the character and he was set to make his debut in Civil War, leading many fans to assume it was a deliberate piece of foreshadowing.
    • Speaking of Spider-Man, there was a planned appearance by the Oscorp tower from The Amazing Spider-Man to supposedly tie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Sony's rebooted Spider-Man series, but it was scrapped due to the virtual Manhattan for the movie being completed and with time constraints, the plan was scrapped. Four years later, the MCU finally did get Spider-Man to join, but not the same one Sony had at the time, due to the poor reception of The Amazing Spider Man 2.
    • It was already funny enough that Chris Evans had previously played the Human Torch before becoming Captain America, and then the other Human Torch Michael B. Jordan joined the cast of Black Panther.
    • After a while of playing Claire Temple, a character who meets multiple superheroes and eventually helps them become a far stronger team, Rosario Dawson crossed to DC and voiced Barbara Gordon in The LEGO Batman Movie, where she does the same thing for super villains.
    • In the wake of Age of Ultron's Hype Backlash against the movie and Joss Whedon, many DCEU fans smugly insisted that at least their franchise would never hire him. Fast-forward to 2017, when DC announced that Whedon would write and direct Batgirl...
      • Later he was also brought on to help finish Justice League (2017), aka the DCEU's own version of The Avengers.
    • 20th Century Fox created the nuclear flop Fantastic Four (2015) for no other reason than as a last-ditch effort to retain the rights to the IP and keep it away from Marvel. It promptly blew up in their faces, as the movie did so badly that it tanked Fox's revenue that year and tarnished their reputation. The hilarious part is that, for all that trouble, they still ended up losing the rights to the Fantastic Four anyways, when they were promptly bought out by Disney just two years later.
    • After Thor: Ragnarok, it has become an established trend that various Elven rulers eventually succumb to the temptations of powerful objects (such as the One ring or the Arkenstone) and become supervillains who often go after Infinity Stones.
    • Jeremy Renner was always open about playing Hawkeye in a Spin-Off TV series, but this seemed to be Jossed when Feige said there was no intention of giving him one. And then Disney+ happened, and it didn't take long for a Hawkeye series to be announced, finally granting Renner (and Hawkeye fans) his wish.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Hype Backlash:
    • After years of being built up as the pinnacle of live-action superhero films, this set in during Phase 2. Some viewers claim the films aren't as faithful to the comics as claimed, are too similar in plot and aesthetics, and controversial cases of Executive Meddling have taken some of the luster off the studio.
    • While few will contest most of the Oscar nominations Black Panther got (and eventually won) for technical categories like Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score, the nomination for Best Picture is seen by many fans as a blatant ploy for relevancy and attention by the Academy Awards.
  • Hypocritical Fandom:
    • As to be expected, the Marvel/DC Fandom Rivalry tends to cause some of this. In particular, after DC Cinematic Universe got hit with negative reviews, particularly Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman, Marvel fans generally scoffed at the reaction the DCEU fanbase had (namely, the 'Marvel bribes critics' conspiracy theory), only to later engage in similar critic-hater behavior when the same happened to Iron Fist. Likewise, some MCU fans started personal attacks on film critics when Captain Marvel (2019) only had a 78% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 90+% scores of Wonder Woman (2017) and SHAZAM! (2019) (never mind the fact that 78% is considered a solid rating that few movies would ever reach).
    • The MCU-vs-non-MCU Marvel film rivalries is similar, particularly with MCU fans often exaggerating the failings of the other studios' movies or treating deviations from the source material and other creative changes with completely different attitudes dependent on which company made the film. For instance, MCU fans lambast the X-Men films for their deviations from the source material, only for the MCU to make very similar deviations without nearly as much fuss, some changes even being praised. Likewise, a lot of hate was directed at The Amazing Spider-Man films for a lot of points that could easily describe Spider-Man Homecoming too note . However, since Homecoming was an MCU movie, it's widely embraced, whereas the Amazing films are treated as being far more unsuccessful than they actually were. This got to the point that when Sony announced a Venom movie, a few particularly unstable Marvel fans declared a boycott.
    • Some MCU fans have a habit of cheering when actors from the franchise insult or critique DC and the DCEU but get very offended when actors from the DCEU hit back, even if it was just a misunderstanding. David Ayer was harshly criticized for saying "Fuck Marvel!" and accused of being unprofessional with fans ignoring actors such as Robert Downey Jr and Anthony Mackie making similar insulting remarks towards the DCEU. In light of how the MCU is generally more successful than the DCEU, some MCU fans have gone so far as to ridicule DCEU directors and actors as sore losers yet turn a blind eye to MCU directors and actors like Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson making condescending and disparaging remarks about upcoming DCEU movies before the movies came out.

  • Internet Backdraft: Enough instances to have its own page.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • Many fans feel that the Phase Two films are getting a bit formulaic. The exceptions that stand out are usually Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, the former of which gets major praise for strong writing and being a huge Wham Episode while the latter is appreciated for being a break from all the events happening back on Earth.
    • Some people have claimed this about the ABC shows (both spy shows with a balance of comedy and drama, focusing primarily on non-powered individuals fighting against terror groups), and the Netflix shows (which deal with a dark Anti-Hero suffering depression with tragic backstories). The similarities are limited, but some still call foul on them.
    • A few viewers feel that the franchise has become over-reliant on characters using nanotechnology to put on masks and costumes.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!:

  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Everyone. See the main page for reasons and details. The record holder is Darcy Lewis whose reputation for this is positively memetic to the point people now go out of their way to Crack Ship her with every other character out there. Other examples include Tony Stark and Mockingbird (both of whom "specialize" in Ho Yay Shipping), Loki (who specializes in Foe Yay Shipping), Adorkable Jemma Simmons, Black Widow (due to the sheer amount of canon Ship Tease with both male and female characters), Captain America (a lot of Ho Yay - especially after Winter Soldier, being the Token Good Teammate in the Avengers, a healthy Ship Tease with Widow and the whole case with Peggy, two of the more popular heroines) and Wanda Maximoff (for being such a massive Woobie even comparing to the rest of the Avengers that people just want something goes right in her life for once).
  • Like You Would Really Do It: A recurring element in any Marvel-based trailer is to drop hints that a major character is going to die, only to reveal that said character survives. i.e. Captain America's torn shield, Iron Man and War Machine's reactors flickering etc. Subverted in Age of Ultron, where Quicksilver actually is killed off and any hints that the other characters might die are just red herrings. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame also subvert this big time with killing off and states that these death will stick Heimdall, Vision, Black Widow, Thanos and Iron Man.

  • Magnificent Bastard: Has its own page
  • Memetic Badass: Nick Fury and Heimdall. Agent May, Black Widow, and Captain America seem to be In-Universe ones.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now with its own page.
  • Memetic Loser: The TV and streaming shows have been given this treatment. While they have been received with acclaim for the most part, the films' continuous lack of acknowledgement of the shows' existence despite the "it's all connected" message being constantly pushed in the early days of the MCU made them this in the eyes of many. The Netflix series are hit with this the hardest, due to their cancellation and Disney launching its own streaming service with new shows in tow, which saw the Netflix series being sidelined due to their Darker and Edgier tone.
  • Minority Show Ghetto: Fully averted with Black Panther. One of the reasons it took so long for the film to be greenlit was Ike Perlmutter's insistence that such a film would bomb due to this. As it turns out, Black Panther ended up becoming the record holder for most financially successful superhero film of all time upon its release, outgrossing even the original Avengers.
  • Misblamed:
    • A lot of people were mad at Marvel Studios for not announcing a Hulk movie for either Phase 2 or Phase 3. However, the character's film rights are tangled up with Universal; while Marvel Studios owns the character and can freely use him, Universal still owns the distribution rights for any solo film that the character appears in. Therefore, Marvel Studios and Universal are at an impasse with the Hulk unless a cross-studio deal is reached in time for Phase 4.
    • Thanks to his status as the "face" of Marvel Studios, Feige's something of a Scapegoat Creator for fans displeased with the direction of the MCU. Feige’s frequently the biggest target for criticisms of the MCU's lack of diversity, but the Sony email leaks, as well as subsequent articles from sites like Bleeding Cool, revealed Perlmutter to be responsible for much of the foot-dragging in this arena.note . Fans also held Feige responsible for the Executive Meddling that led to Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man and Joss Whedon being unsatisfied with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Again, it turned out Perlmutter was responsible.
    • Channing Dungey got a lot of hatred for, among other things nixing the Most Wanted series in its crib upon being promoted to the head of ABC. Kevin Feige later clarified that it was a mutual decision between ABC and Marvel after the series pilot ended up severely underwhelming them all. Fans also act like Dungey is a monster for canceling Agent Carter and moving Agents of SHIELD to a later time slot, but the fact is that SHIELD wasn't getting good ratings in its current time slot (and had been losing viewers for quite some time), while Agent Carter wasn’t doing any better. The simple fact that SHIELD was able to keep going for several more seasons, even in a truncated form, is a sign of how hard she fought for it.
    • As mentioned in the Internet Backdraft section, there are a number of fans who complain about favoritism towards the movie characters as opposed to the TV ones, particularly where merchandising is concerned. While it is true that the movie heroes get way more merchandise than the TV ones, Marvel generally does not make its own toys. The vast majority of the MCU products are made by other companies that have licensed the properties from Marvel, usually meaning they are the ones deciding who gets a toy and who doesn't. Additionally, a major reason why the movies have so many toys is because a significant portion of their audience consists of children, while the TV shows (especially the Netflix ones) are generally aimed at older, more adult viewers. Compounding the issue even further is that toy companies have a noted tendency to prefer characters with distinctive, eye-catching costumes, while, with the exception of Daredevil, the TV shows usually tend to eschew traditional superhero costumes.
    • Many have criticized the MCU for having weak villains, and for relying overly on Let's You and Him Fight. What's not taken into account is that the rights of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men were distributed to different studios in The '90s, which includes not only the main characters but also the villains and supporting-characters, and greater World Building. As a result of them being Exiled from Continuity for most of Phase One and Phase Two, many of Marvel's best villains and greatest threats (the likes of Norman Osborn, Magneto, Doctor Doom) were not available to its film-makers and writers. James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy pointed out that he wanted Annihilus but he can't access it because of the rights issues, while Ego the Living Planet, a Rogues-Gallery Transplant for the sequel was only allowed after a deal with Fox Studios. So while the writers and directors can be criticized for their stories, the fact is they don't have a full deck, unlike DC/WB which does have the rights to all its characters. Of course, how much this changes after the buyout of 20th Century Fox (and thus all X-Men/Fantastic Four-related properties) remains to be seen.

  • Never Live It Down:
    • In spite of its success, the franchise has garnered a somewhat negative reputation for under-representing women as it took over 20 films and nearly 11 years before the MCU finally released its first solo superheroine movie. Even fan-favorite Black Widow, who has been in the franchise since 2010 and was a founding member of the The Avengers, only had her solo movie announced in 2018. Granted, Kevin Feige had been working tirelessly to increase representation and much of the underrepresentation was due to Executive Meddling courtesy of Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter. Nonetheless, the franchise's alleged sexism still lingers and isn't helped by the fact it was the rival DC Extended Universe that managed to beat the MCU to having the first universally acclaimed female solo movie with Wonder Woman (2017), though the success of Captain Marvel has indicating the series is on its way to breaking the mold.
    • Hawkeye will forever be known by fans as the most useless superhero ever since The Avengers, which was his first major exposure to mainstream audiences. In that movie, he spends most of his screentime as the brainwashed lackey of Loki and his archery skills aren't seen as practical or impressive as those of his fellow Avengers. Not helping matters is that he was absent from more grounded installments in like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that could've shown off his fighting skills without comparisons to other superpowered heroes. His poor reputation is even referenced in the movies themselves with Black Widow joking about how he actually keeps the team together because the other Avengers all have to work hard to pretend he's useful, and Ant-Man calling him "Arrow Guy" because he didn't even bother to know his name.
  • Older Than They Think: The Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn't the first cinematic Shared Universe. It was actually Universal Studios that invented the very concept of the cinematic universe with Universal Horror in the '40s with crossovers like Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and House of Frankenstein, the latter of which starred Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolf Man. Ditto for Toho Studios who started bringing Rodan and Mothra into the Showa-era Godzilla movies since the '60s.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Occurs frequently—especially in the credits scenes—both with small but significant appearances by recognizable characters/actors, and with characters from the franchise making cameos in each others' works:
    • Tony Stark in the credits scene of The Incredible Hulk, talking to Secretary Ross about the team of superheroes being put together.
    • Bruce Banner returns the favor in Iron Man 3, appearing in the post-credits scene where it's revealed that Tony's narration throughout the movie was actually him telling the story to Bruce.
    • Clint Barton/Hawkeye in Thor, which was an uncredited appearance by Jeremy Renner.
    • Captain America in Thor: The Dark World. Technically just Loki shapeshifting as him, but it was still Chris Evans in the brief appearance, which is well-remembered by fans as a very humorous scene.
    • Also from Dark World, Benicio del Toro as the Collector in the credits scene, and again (in a larger role, but still only a couple of scenes) in Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • Howard the Duck is another from Guardians of the Galaxy, again in the post-credits scene. Has another in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.
    • Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver yet again in a credits scene, this time from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • Arnim Zola from Winter Soldier as well, as a computerized version of himself that's been preserved for decades.
    • Thanos serves as this several times, in the credits scenes of Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron and as a Two-Scene Wonder (which are relatively small scenes) in Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • Also from Age of Ultron, Ulysses Klaue, as an Early-Bird Cameo before his larger role in Black Panther.
    • Howard Stark and Peggy Carter in Ant-Man, who only appear once in the opening scene (which took place decades before the events of the movie proper). Also Falcon, whose only appearance (minus The Stinger, which is a scene directly taken from Captain America: Civil War) is in a brief battle with Ant-Man, which the latter wins.
    • Everett Ross in Civil War, who is guarding Zemo after his capture, and who later has a much larger role in Black Panther. Aunt May is another, appearing only once here before also getting more scenes in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
    • Pepper Potts near the end of Homecoming, after having not appeared since Iron Man 3 and was stated in Civil War to have broken up with Tony.
    • Doctor Strange in Thor: Ragnarok, in which he uses his powers to detain Loki while agreeing to help Thor find his father Odin.
    • Red Skull in Avengers: Infinity War, after not being seen since Captain America: The First Avenger.
    • Also from Infinity War, Nick Fury and Maria Hill in The which they both disintegrate into ash as victims of Thanos's fingersnap of doom, though not before Fury sends out a distress signal that's picked up by Captain Marvel.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Most of its fans feel that every Marvel comic book should be adapted by Marvel Studios, and based on the success of their adaptations, even critics agree that Marvel Studios understands its properties better than those who license it. The actual evidence for this is mixed especially in regards to those successful films made before the MCU:
    • While The Amazing Spider-Man Series is considered worse than almost everything the MCU has produced (specially the second film), the Spider-Man Trilogy (particularly the first two films) is considered just as good, if not better than the best the MCU has produced. Others also insist that Sony's The Spectacular Spider-Man is better than Marvel's animated takes on the character (Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel's Spider-Man), with Spectacular greatly inspiring the Race Lift of Spiderman Homecoming. The recent Sony game Spider-Man (PS4) is considered by some to be one of the best Spiderman stories in recent years, with many preferring it to the movies and comics' take on it. The critical acclaim of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the runaway financial success and cult appeal of Venom (2018) (which is divisive critically but very popular among audiences) has likewise thrown a wrench into this since most critics considered Into the Spider-Verse a superior and more original film than Homecoming and many of the MCU movies (with Patrick Willems noting that it has an actual Working-Class Hero Spider-Man as compared to a billionaire's intern).
    • The X-Men Film Series is a mixed bag, with some poor movies, but others that are considered among the best movies based on Marvel characters, with Logan in particular considered by some the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight while Deadpool and its sequel were widely seen as movies that no other studio would do and highly admired for its fidelity to the source and style. X-Men fans point out that while they aren't a fan of Fox's devotion to Movie Superheroes Wear Black aesthetic, their movies in the last ten years or so was the one place where fans of those characters found a measure of validation whereas in the comics at the same time, the X-Men were Demoted to Extra for the sake of the Avengers, and then later saw The Inhumans try and replace them (a fact criticized by Chris Claremont, the greatest writer of the franchise) which discredited the idea that Marvel's current regime would automatically do justice to those characters among these fans. Likewise, the Quicksilver who showed up in X-Men: Days of Future Past was widely considered superior to the one in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Whedon was inspired by the divided rights issues to kill off that character since he had become expendable. With the X-Men headed for the MCU following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox, it remains to be seen how this perception will change on all fronts.
    • Of course, in the case of Fox's handling of the Fantastic Four there's little doubt among most that other studios haven't done that property justice with Fantastic Four (2015) (as well as that for the Tim Story adaptations) making many demand for Marvel's First Family to be put back into its parents' hands. Likewise, MCU has indeed generally produced adaptations considered better than previous attempts at the characters (such as Captain America, Hulk or Daredevil).
    • On another note, most fans consider producer Kevin Feige to be the true overall visionary of the movie franchise and generally only consider the Marvel works under his watch to be worthwhile. This also feeds in the rivalry between the Cinematic and Netflix productions which have so far never crossed over, and which the movie-side largely treats as Expanded Universe. On another note, fans feel that the Russo brothers handled Spider-Man better in terms of combat and agility in Civil War and Infinity War than Jon Watts. The Russos were the ones who introduced Spider-Man into the Cinematic Universe after all.
    • James Gunn as writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 is widely seen as being mainly responsible for turning Z-List characters into overnight A-Listers. The Russo brothers when they brought the Guardians for Infinity War openly consulted him, and even had him choose a song for the film ("Rubberband Man") and write additional dialogue to maintain character consistency. News of his firing did not go well. Disney initially stood firm in their decision, and while it was announced his script for Vol. 3 would still be used, but even that wasn't enough to stop the fans from demanding they rehire him, so they eventually brought him back outright.

  • Replacement Scrappy:
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Has its own page.
  • Scapegoat Creator:
    • So far the only MCU entries with an unanimous negative reception are Iron Fist (2017) and Inhumans. Both shows had Scott Buck as the showrunner and the fan consensus seems to point to him as the source of all problems, whether accurately or not.
    • Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter has been hit with serious flak as well, holding him responsible for the Executive Meddling that drove Whedon and Wright off from the MCU and the lack of diversity in the Phase 1 and 2 movies. The fact that he greenlit and rushed Inhumans hasn't helped his reputation.
  • Seasonal Rot:
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • All the corners of the slash shipping tend to argue quite a bit. Tony/Bruce, Tony/Steve, Tony/Loki, Tony/Coulson, Tony/Rhodey, Steve/Bucky, Steve/Sam, Steve/Clint, Clint/Coulson, Clint/Loki, Thor/Loki, etc. Any two of these that aren't compatible with one-another tend to argue a LOT. Then there's the inclusion of their respective lady friends...
    • Since even before she was cast and brought in, Mockingbird has been in one with Natasha over Clint. As Clint's most prominent relationship in the comics, Clintasha shippers who've read up on the comics knew Bobbi would come in between Clintasha, and so have made a frequent point to argue over her, while Bobbi/Clint shippers from the comics have responded in kind. With Bucky being present, it leads to a three-way shipping war between Hawkingbird, Clintasha, and Bucktasha. Then Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came and gave Mockingbird a lot of ship teasing with Lance Hunter, including making him the ex-husband she has unresolved issues with, instead of Clint. Now, Huntingbird has gained support, and detraction, because of this. Further complicated when Age of Ultron revealed that Clint is actually Happily Married to a civilian woman, and Natasha is his kids' honorary aunt.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night:
    • Hawkeye and Coulson have never interacted outside of a single brief exchange in Thor, but somehow spawned an enormous following with over 9000 fanfics on Archive of Our Own alone.
    • Shipping Black Widow with Maria Hill is remarkably popular despite the fact that in the three movies they've shared together, the two of them have barely spoken to each other or shared any one-on-one scenes. In fact, Natashill or Widowhill is probably the most popular ship for Black Widow among people who don't prefer Natasha with Hawkeye.
    • Scott Lang/Peter Quill is a surprisingly popular ship in Asia even though the two have never met and don't even live in the same solar system. May have to do with both actors appearing on Parks and Recreation beforehand.
    • Stephen Strange/Tony Stark was initially this, as it quickly became a popular pairing due to their similar story arcs across their respective first films. It also helps that both actors have played Sherlock Holmes, one of the oldest gay ship fandoms. Then they DID finally meet, and the shipping only increased.
    • On a similar note there’s also Stephen Strange and Everett K. Ross, due to the latter being played by Martin Freeman.
    • Peter Parker and Shuri (of the platonic and romantic varieties), thanks to both being Adorkable Teen Geniuses, aided by the likelihood that they'd run into each other during Tony's meetings with T'Challa. Or in keeping with the Ho Yay theme, Peter introducing her to Michelle.
    • Despite the fact that the two have never met, Captain Marvel/Valkyrie started picking up steam after the former's movie was released, as both are strong female characters seen as lesbians by a significant portion of the fandom. It's also generally agreed that Thor would be the local Shipper on Deck. The actresses are also very good friends and fully endorse the pairing.
    • Peter Parker and Harley Keener are often paired together since both are Tony's prodigies, despite the fact that they don't even appear in the same movie until Avengers: Endgame.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Phase 2 has this sentiment. Mostly because Avengers Age of Ultron which is the big team up movie and successor to the first one was considered lackluster and a letdown, and given its status as a Grand Finale to that period, it tends to determine how people feel about it. Likewise Thor: The Dark World is considered the weakest Marvel entry. Iron Man 3 is at the least considered better than Iron Man 2 and opinions about it have been more favorable in recent times, Ant-Man is either really good or So Okay, It's Average at best, while The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy are the stand-out films for this era.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Quite a few people have made the case that Captain America is a better Superman than the DC Extended Universe incarnation of the character, due to being idealistic and old-fashioned in a similar way to most depictions of Superman, instead of making the character more brooding and angsty in a misguided attempt at making him Darker and Edgier. This article explains it further.


  • Unexpected Character: The series is quite fond of these.
    • The Guardians of the Galaxy to the series overall. Did anyone ever expect the flippin' Guardians of the Galaxy (who mostly consist of C-listers and below, none of whom have ever been able to hold down a solo series, and have only existed as a team for about five years)?
    • On that note, the ending of Vol. 2 heavily teased the appearance of Adam Warlock, who is set to officially debut in Vol. 3. Adam, though he has a following, might be even more obscure than the pre-MCU Guardians to the public.
    • Even the choice of characters for Ant-Man itself is bizarre. Instead of Hank Pym, a long-serving Avenger with a rich historical background, the movie stars Scott Lang, who is not as controversial but also a lot less famous. The beloved Janet van Dyne is nowhere to be seen, instead replaced by Hope, an obscure, evil Alternate Universe daughter of Janet's. Darren Cross, who boasts a single-digit count of comic book appearances, serves as the movie's Big Bad.
    • There are also some unexpected characters that show up in each movie. Nick Fury in Iron Man, Thanos in The Avengers, Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • The same could also be said of the Jessica Jones Netflix series. Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are all fan favorites with decades of history, while Jones is a comparatively recent character.
    • Kevin Feige has this to say:
      Feige: I don't believe in the tiers. I don't believe in A-tier, B-tier, C-tier. It's up to us to make them all A. Because in the comics they are. You have characters that have been around 45-50 years that's an A character. That's an A-franchise and it's our burden to convince the rest of the movie-going public that that's the case.
    • A subverted example: Marvel originally planned to make a movie starring the Runaways in 2011, when the MCU was still in its infancy. Of the numerous properties Marvel had access to, the Runaways were comparatively recent (debuting in 2003) and much less known to non-comic audiences and thus it certainly would've caught people by surprise. However, due to a combination of a complicated origin story and their focus going to the Avengers, a Runaways movie never happened. Instead, it was later revived as a show on Hulu.
    • Since the introduction of Skye in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, there were a lot of theories tossed around about which Marvel Comics character she would turn out to be. Daisy Johnson/Quake probably wasn't at the top of most people's lists.
    • Spider-Man was an unexpected addition to the franchise due to the tangled web of legal rights that a deal with Sony would necessitate. Nonetheless, Marvel Studios pulled it off.
    • Helen Cho is a footnote in the comics, but gets some screen time in Age of Ultron as the one providing medical support to the Avengers for the injuries they take and is heavily involved in creating The Vision.
    • Agent Carter reveals that Kid Colt, from a Golden Age western series that was never made part of the larger Marvel Universe in the comics, was a real person in the MCU and even has his own comic book series like Captain America.
    • While Marvel Studios technically has always had the rights to use the Skrull Empire itself, the fact that all the specific characters associated with it are owned by Fox as part of the Fantastic Four license made it seem impossible that they'd appear in the MCU until they were announced as the villains of Captain Marvel.
    • The ORIGINAL Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, has been confirmed to appear in Captain Marvel. The character is mostly eclipsed in adaptations by Carol Danvers, so few people expected him to actually be in the movie (especially considering there were reports of him being Adapted Out due to Carol's origin supposedly resembling Hal Jordan (though this was never 100% official).
    • The Vrellnexians were mostly unexpected since most fans didn't even know about them due to their relative obscurity (being a race of villainous aliens whose only significant appearance was in some Thor comics in the 70s). This left everyone quite surprised at them being confirmed to play a role in the fifth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Of course, the most macro example of this would most likely go to the X-Men and Fantastic Four joining the MCU. Before late 2017, it was thought impossible because 20th Century Fox owned the movie rights and had no interest in ever, ever giving it up. So, Disney's solution was to simply buy Fox for a whopping $71.3 billion.
    • Kevin Feige's confirmation that Marvel was developing ideas for a movie starring The Eternals caught many off-guard as well. It makes more sense when one considers that as a race of superpowered humanoids who live in a hidden city and were created by extraterrestrials, the Eternals have the potential to fill the void that the Inhumans left behind after their movie was cancelled.
    • Try unexpected shows — while it was known that MCU content was coming to Disney+, it was expected to be something with kid appeal such as Power Pack, Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur or New Warriors, without anything that would actually be tied to the main movies (just like the Netflix, Hulu, ABC and Freeform series). Instead, what they got were two massive headliners from the movies themselves: Loki and Scarlet Witch, complete with Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen reprising their respective roles. Few even thought that was a possibility, let alone suggested it.
    • The announcement that Shang-Chi was getting a fast-tracked movie - with a writer already attached and a director search underway - took everyone by surprise, given how he'd never been mentioned before as a potential MCU franchise.
    • The confirmation of Kate Bishop being introduced as Clint Barton's successor caught some off guard, for while popular, she's very recent in the grand scale (introduced in 2005), and some thought they wouldn't bring her in over other characters who've been around longer. For many, it was a pleasant surprise.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In the MCU, the Hulk in general and Bruce Banner are treated as Person of Mass Destruction and walking time bombs with their very arrival treated as a Godzilla Threshold. Out of universe, Mark Ruffalo's Banner/Hulk is a truly beloved character, the Breakout Character of The Avengers (getting the film's iconic Signature Scene where he smashes Loki), and the scene-stealer for Thor: Ragnarok.

  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?:
    • Unlike the movies the Netflix series are not family-friendly in the slightest. They are both extremely violent and deal with very heavy themes such as moral boundaries, alcoholism, PTSD, rape, and racism. A Lego Avengers game based on the MCU actually left Daredevil and Jessica Jones out due to their adult content, while Disney Infinity wasn't allowed to use Daredevil or Jessica because the higher-ups didn't think either of their shows were appropriate for the game's family audience. It's to the point where the Netflix series will not be put on Disney's upcoming streaming service for being too dark compared to everything else.
    • The same could be said for the Hulu series Runaways. It's not quite as dark as the Netflix series (being a "mere" TV-14 LSV to their TV-MA) but it's much edgier to both the movies and the comics it was based on. It's filled with vulgar language, sexual content, references, and innuendos (including gratuitous fanservice from both the teens and the adults), rather disturbing imagery, depictions of abuse, attempted rape, and murder played for maximum shock value. Oh, and woe betide anyone who thinks the teenage protagonists will act like the squeaky clean teenagers they might be accustomed to in other media, as they act about what you'd expect from teenagers in real life.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • After the disappointing performance of The Amazing Spider Man 2, Marvel had to work in order to renew faith in the film franchise with the solo Spider-Man movie, along with whatever movie the character appears in beforehand. Judging by fan reactions to his role in Civil War, they're off to an amazing start.
    • Thor: The Dark World generally got mediocre reception and earned far less money than the film that it followed (which itself was rather divisive with audiences), so Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy won back a lot of fans cynical about the franchise's continued success. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also contributed to this, as the first half of the first season was similarly divisive, while what followed on the show has solidified a fanbase for itself.
    • A lot of the casting and character announcements for the Phase 3 films have won over some fans who had grown disillusioned with the lack of diversity in the MCU.
    • Reception to the villains of the Phase 3 films generally leans positive, suggesting that Marvel Studios' efforts at an Author's Saving Throw over their reputation for weak villains have paid off.
    • After Inhumans flopped, Thor: Ragnarok was released, with the long-awaited culmination of the Ragnarok storyline, something that has generated a far more positive response than the show.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Has its own page here.
  • The Woobie: Has its own page here.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • With the sole exception of his suit in the first film, Captain America's various costumes have drawn criticism from some areas of the internet, either for being too camp and colorful, or for the cowl looking odd (The Avengers), abandoning the traditional stars and stripes (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), or for just looking ugly (Age of Ultron). Obviously, many disagree (in particular, pointing out that Cap's SHIELD-ized uniform in TWS was a subtle indicator that something was seriously wrong at the start of the film), but it's a popular sentiment.
    • Hawkeye's suit in The Avengers drew criticism for looking more like his Ultimate Marvel incarnation's uniform (which is largely considered 'pragmatic but boring'). The creators listened and in the second film he's gotten an awesome new outfit that's a mishmash of his various costumes from the comics, complete with Badass Longcoat. Then, for Captain America: Civil War, his look has been revamped to what can best be described as his classic outfit with MCU aesthetics, with the only detail missing being his mask.
    • Deathlok and Mockingbird also got criticism for their suits in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The problem with Deathlok was mainly that his cybernetics are internalized rather than on the outside like his mainstream counterpart, with the result that his armor looks cheap rather than intimidating. Mockingbird got complaints just for not initially looking like her comic self, though this was corrected by her second appearance (her hair is shown to be blonde like in the comics and her outfit is a more muted version of her normal costume with the same kind of extra armor and padding that Black Widow and Captain America had for their costumes).
    • Daredevil's costume got some wary comments though in his case it's justified; the black ninja-esque outfit is the one he starts out with before upgrading to his actual costume. Though now there are fans who complain about his red suit and wish he'd go back to his homemade black one, in large part because they feel it looks too much like Captain America and other MCU heroes.


Example of: