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YMMV / Marvel Cinematic Universe

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  • Actor Shipping: Happens a fair bit, as with any fandom this massive. One example is the pairing of Elizabeth Olsen and Sebastian Stan (Olstan), which almost seems more popular than shipping their fictional counterparts (Winterwitch).
  • 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' story in Phase 1 and Phase 2 consists of him sending flunkies to bring him Infinity Stones, which ultimately causes him to lose one 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 2020, there are 24 movies currently released, each about two hours. On top of that there are six seasons of Agents Of Shield (with a 7th on the way), three of Runaways (2017), two of Agent Carter, and one of Inhumans, plus all the Netflix series that nearly work in a continuity of their own.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: A complaint from the more hardcore comic book readers was that the success of the MCU is causing narrative and appearance shifts to the source material so that it could cash in on the success of the MCU. Not only that, the Fantastic Four and X-Men were often put aside in Crisis Crossovers post-2012 due to not being part of it.
  • 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 as the villain of the Shang-Chi movie, and portrayed by Tony Leung, who is a highly acclaimed Chinese actor.
    • 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 villains that were treated like Monsters of the Week that are introduced and killed off in the same film, and were Flat Characters that didn't make much of an impression. Later films and television properties sought to correct both problems:
      • Black Panther and Captain Marvel got 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 increases the amount of black characters in the 'verse by an exponential amount. 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, 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, and all but one of them (Killmonger) were kept alive by the end of their movies. 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 future films where Mordo becomes an antagonist, and Strange's primary villain in his introductory film, Dormammu, is also alive to return in the future. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has Ayesha as a secondary antagonist that survives and sets up Adam Warlock for the third film, and the primary villain Ego the Living Planet is regarded as one of the best-written villains of the franchise. Spider-Man: Far From Home gave us the Elementals, and while they were one-dimensional and boring, the film's true Big Bad Mysterio is regarded as a terrific villain and a highlight of the film. While they weren't as complex as the rest, the Grandmaster, Hela and Ulysses Klaue went over well thanks to good performances and Evil Is Cool. Then of course, there is the villain the entire franchise was building towards, Thanos. He receives one of the most developed and complex character arcs of the franchise, helped along by a stellar performance from Josh Brolin, providing a villain that was a worthwhile payoff to the years of build-up for his arrival.
      • The Phase 4 announcement definitely shows an attempt at more diversity. There's the first Asian-led superhero film with Shang-Chi, the female-fronted Black Widow, the ethnically diverse and gender-equal (with a female director) Eternals, Thor: Love and Thunder doesn't just pushes for more women, but LGBTQ representation, all the while the streaming shows (which are fully connected and intertwined with the MCU, unlike the previous ones) have The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with a black man co-headline with first billing, WandaVision also has a female co-headliner, and Hawkeye also refers to young female hero Kate Bishop taking up the mantle as much as Clint starring. Not only that, but Black Panther himself is no longer the only headlining black superhero, with the addition of Blade coming to the surprise of many.
    • 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.
    • The very title of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings makes clear that the real Mandarin is finally going to appear, after his treatment in Iron Man 3 was tremendously controversial. Having the famed Chinese actor Tony Leung take up the role makes this version of the Mandarin Truer to the Text. Conversely, having the Mandarin be the villain of a film led by a Chinese hero also tones down the Unfortunate Implications that likely would've arisen from having him fight an American White Male Lead like Iron Man.
    • Helmut Zemo, though well-received for the most part, did incur some criticism for not being a supervillain and instead being a disgruntled ex-military colonel and reimagined to a point where it seemed unlikely to amount to more. In the comics, Baron Helmut Zemo is a major Ensemble Dark Horse as a Badass Normal sympathetic villain who nonetheless lives up to being a villain, complete with a costume and fights many heroes through his skill with guns and swordsmanship while being a master planner. Then, at SDCC 2019, it was confirmed that not only would Zemo return in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but he would don a costume, complete with the iconic purple mask, and become the supervillain known as Baron Zemo. Just to drive it in further, Daniel Brühl got on stage and actually put on the mask at the conference, and reportedly made the crowd go wild.
  • Award Snub: Despite most of the franchise being extremely well-received by critics and fans, they don't do so well with the Academy Awards. Only one MCU film has gotten a Best Picture nomination, Black Panther, and it didn't win. While Black Panther had seven nominations and won three (Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design), most other MCU films get one or two nominations (if any), usually for Best Visual Effects, and none of them have won. The Academy announced they were considering a new award in 2018, "Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film", which earned them scorn for being perceived as a case of We're Still Relevant, Dammit! and a consolation prize to acknowledge the MCU without letting it have Best Picture, especially since 2018 was the year of Black Panther. That award wasn't actually created, largely due to the backlash.

  • 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 in fanworks and otherwise.
    • The long-standing debate on whether or not the shows produced by Marvel TV should be considered canonical to the movies or not. The majority of the shows have their fans, with Inhumans being the only real exception, but the decreasing amount of synergy with the films over time led some fans to question if Jeph Loeb's repeated claims that "It's all connected!" actually held water or not. note  A common defense at the time was that, since the shows covered different portions of the Marvel Universe than the movies, massive crossovers weren't needed, even though they could happen eventually. While fans were thrown a bone with Avengers: Endgame featuring a cameo from James D'Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, others were quick to point out that this is the only direct reference to the shows across 22 movies, and it was with the sole Marvel TV project that Kevin Feige produced. Things were further thrown into question with the last few seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which used a much different form of time travel than what was established in Endgame, while the sixth season had an unavoidably massive Continuity Snarl that ignored the ending of Avengers: Infinity War (in spite of the last few episodes of the fifth season explicitly referencing Thanos's invasion). With Feige taking over for Loeb in 2019, and promoting the Disney+ series as being equally-important to the films of the series (while not doing the same for any of the previous shows), it seems entirely possible that most of Marvel TV's output will fall under Canon Discontinuity in favor of establishing new takes on the characters that the shows adapted — but that hasn't stopped fans from arguing that the shows are still canon.

  • Cant Un Hear It: Given how the MCU is more or less the Marvel Universe brought to life, there are many, many, many instances where the actors' voices can be heard when reading the comics:
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Continuity Lockout:
    • This article warns that this trope might happen to the franchise if it expands itself too much too quickly.
    • Hawkeye's appearance in Thor. Non-comic fans are left clueless why the movie spent five minutes bringing in a big name actor to play a random wisecracking guy with a bow and arrow, who never appears in the film again, though this made sense when The Avengers came out.
    • It's possible to enjoy The Avengers if you haven't seen all the individual movies beforehand, as long as you've got a rough idea of who everyone is (e.g. Steve is a Fish out of Temporal Water, Thor is a Norse god with an almighty hammer, etc.), but if you want the backstory of each character you'll have to watch five other movies.
    • During production on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon said that he wanted to make sure it was accessible enough that it could be understood even if you'd only ever seen the previous Avengers movie. This proved to not be the case, as there are cameos (some of which are very relevant to the plot) from characters that had previously only ever appeared in non-Avengers films, and a key plot point involving the Infinity Stones really only makes sense if you've seen Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • Prior to the release of Captain America: Civil War, The Russo Brothers stated that they'd made the film on the assumption that most of the audience had already seen the previous Marvel movies. It shows. The movie is virtually incomprehensible unless you've not only seen the previous two Captain America movies (though that should be obvious since they're in the same series), but the previously mentioned Age of Ultron as well. Certain key scenes also rely on the audience having knowledge of Iron Man 3, Ant-Man and The Avengers. In an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, many critics and fans praised the way the film applied this trope to Spider-Man. The movie doesn't explain his origin or reveal too much about his backstory, as there was an unspoken assumption that most of the audience already knew the character from any of his previous five movies or numerous TV shows.
    • Quite a number of things in Thor: Ragnarok will make more sense if you've watched the previous Thor movies and Avengers: Age of Ultron beforehand. Otherwise, you won't really understand why Thor and Loki's relationship unfolds as it does in the movie and Bruce Banner's own subplot in the movie.
    • Avengers: Infinity War broadly assumes that the viewer has seen all of the previous MCU films, as it's chockful of nods and references to prior incidents in the timeline. However, it most specifically requires that the viewer has seen the previous Avengers films (to know that Thanos is involved as the series' Big Bad), the first Guardians of the Galaxy (as the main team and the Collector are present), Captain America: Civil War (as Infinity War begins with several team members on the lam after being broken out of The Raft at the of the previous film, and heavily involves Spiderman and Black Panther who were introduced in that movie), Thor: Ragnarok (which explains why Thor, Loki and Hulk are on the Asgardian ship) and Black Panther (which sets up Wakanda, the setting for the film's climax).
    • Avengers: Endgame takes this even further, as it requires that the viewer is familiar with the two films that came out in between it and Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel (2019), on top of having to know about every other film that came before both, especially because the film has the characters time-travelling to various points in their history, such as to the climatic battle of The Avengers and the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the final battle at the end has every surviving ally and supporting cast of the Avengers show up to help them fight Thanos and his forces (which also include within their ranks the several different races shown in prior films). And as demonstrated when someone who hadn't seen any of the past movies writes his impressions, characters are rarely even called by their names\codenames, so it's pretty clear the movie expects you to know everyone who shows up on screen.
    • Happens in the trailer for Captain Marvel (2019), which features a scene of Carol punching an old woman on a bus with absolutely zero context. Comic book fans and people who've been following the movie automatically assumed the woman was a Skrull (an evil race of aliens capable of shape-shifting) despite the fact that the trailer doesn't even mention them. It took until the second trailer for the Skrulls to show up and the woman to be shown fighting back against Carol.
    • This is the general explanation for why none of the characters from the present day TV shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil (2015), Jessica Jones (2015), Luke Cage (2016) and Iron Fist (2017)) appear in the movies, even the ones involving Crisis Crossovers. The movies generally have a wider audience than the TV shows (and are released in certain countries where the shows don't even air), and the creators don't want to have to spend time explaining who the hell these people are for the benefit of audience members who might not be familiar with them. Though Edwin Jarvis from Agent Carter appears in Endgame, if only because there's a past justification (Tony's virtual butler in the other movies had to be named after someone!) and a production one (that series was created by the ones who wrote the Captain America movies and then the third and fourth Avengers, so it's their character in a way).
  • Creator Worship:
    • Kevin Feige gets a lot of this from fans, some arguing that he's doing a better job with these characters than the comic writers themselves are.
    • Joss Whedon as well for the first two Avengers movies and his involvement with the franchise as a whole, but that's par the course for Whedon. While he did get a bit of flak for Age of Ultron after its release, the subsequent reveal that most of the film's problems were the result of Executive Meddling by the infamous Creative Committee vindicated him.
    • The Russo Brothers, for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and their involvement in Phase 3.
    • Black Panther directer Ryan Coogler gets a huge amount of pre-emptive worship for his genuine talent and his casting choices.
    • Taika Waititi gets highly praised for the pepped-up Thor: Ragnarok, which is generally considered to be the best Thor movie (as well as being called one of the best MCU movies in general).

  • Draco in Leather Pants: A fair amount of villains get this.
    • Loki, a villain of three films, is adored by a certain section of the fanbase. 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."
    • Killmonger of Black Panther. It helps that he's got a sympathtic backstory and does have some genuinely noble goals, although his more zealous fans happily overlook that fact that he's more concerned with getting revenge on the world rather than actually helping the oppressed.
    • Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War is given more depth than a typical MCU villain as he garners a large amount of sympathy and has a noble goal of trying to prevent an overpopulation crisis that would doom the universe. But many people still forget that regardless of his motivations and backstory, Thanos is still a genocidal madman whose ultimate plans involves killing half of the population of the universe as soon as he possesses the means to do so. In particular, they offer him a lot of sympathy because he's sad after Gamora dies, completely ignoring the fact that he himself willingly sacrificed her for power. Then there's the fact that his ultimate plan of depopulation is scientifically unsound and logically unsound, which would only cause needless deaths, and with the Infinity Gauntlet he could do literally anything else to solve overpopulation, yet stuck to his plan of murdering half a universe.

  • 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. 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:
    • 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. Part of this eventually became Ascended Fanon with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where he informs the Watchers, although the big guy himself is portrayed by Jeffrey Wright.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Loki, Grant Ward, Raina (before her Karmic Transformation), Aldrich Killian, Lorelei, Nebula and Dottie Underwood all manage to make for impressive villains while simultaneoulsy being fairly attractive. Note that only Nebula and Killian are intended to be (downplayed) Fanservice in the context of the movies.

  • 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. Venom (2018) actively attempted to fool audiences into thinking this, to the ire of MCU fans, which Sony continued to do with the first trailer for Morbius (2021).
  • 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. The trailer for Sony's Morbius (2021) blatantly attempting to convince people it was set in the MCU resulted in many calling out Sony for the obvious marketing deception, even if some seemed to buy it in some way.
    • 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.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: There are an awful lot of fanfics with the basic plot of "Peter Parker's class goes on a field trip to Stark Tower and the Avengers make a day out of it." A lot of these fanfics (Pyotr Romanov Barnes' improbable lifestyle. and The Field Trip that Tony and Pepper came on being two examples) seem to like having Hawkeye make an appearance having been crawling through the air-vents for some reason.
    • A lot of fanfics like to have Peter Parker having been raised by (if not be the child of) someone other than Aunt May, usually one of the other heroes. Tony, Natasha, Jessica Jones, you name it.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: While the TV and streaming shows are officially 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. A larger group generally views them as an Expanded Universe; canon to the movies and expanding on the world and lore, but non-essential within the overall story.
    • In general, the TV Shows are produced by different verticals than the MCU proper. Kevin Feige from Phase 3 onward negotiated MCU being directly under Disney rather than Marvel Entertainment, who cover most of the TV shows. The only 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 coordinate storylines due to the demands of marketing and promotion (i.e. protecting spoilers) and the creative instincts of filmmakers (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, a segment of fans take their canon status into question as a result of their cancellation and imminent removal from Netflix just as Disney launched its own streaming service, which will produce its own MCU shows with the 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 either "non-canonical unless noted otherwise" or "canonical, but mostly by virtue of not being contradicted". Most 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 later came 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.
    • This actually ended up getting canonically enforced with Season 6 of Agents, as no one from the film side of the franchise bothered to inform the show's crew that Endgame was going to move the series five years into the future, resulting in the season supposedly being set in the middle of the five years the population was halved but making absolutely no reference to it, creating a Continuity Snarl where you have to just accept season six of the show is a full-fledged Alternate Continuity if you want to keep watching without your head exploding.
  • 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 his romance with 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 it's contested with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Far From Home (some see them as cases of Even Better Sequel while others don't). 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. It got to the point that when Disney purchased Fox and reacquired the X-Men movie rights, Reynolds was announced to be staying in the role of Deadpool in the MCU, a decision that was universally celebrated by fans.
    • When it comes to Venom (2018) and its shared universe, while there are 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. It also helps that its success indicates Sony doesn't actually need to have Spider-Man in their Marvel movies to make money, and they'll be more inclined to let the MCU keep him. After the Morbius trailer was released and, coupled with comments from Feige and Sony, hinted the the MCU's version of Spider-man might become " common ground " between the two franchises, some MCU fans are actually excited at the prospect of Spider-Man developing his own expanded corner in the larger franchise.
    • 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).

  • 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 outside of Iron Man and The Avengers. 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 (which got mixed reception) and to a lesser extent Captain Marvel (which got the biggest amount of negative reviews since Age of Ultron, though still skewing positive).
    • 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.
    • Based on both Box office and Reviews, Phase 3 is widely seen as this for the MCU as a whole. An important reason frequently cited was the restructuring at Disney that remove the infamously intrusive Creative Committee from the process. Most notably, the Phase 3's Black Panther became the first movie in the franchise to win an Oscar with 3 awards for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score. Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest grossing movie of all timenote  cemented this status.

  • 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.
    • 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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Mahershala Ali is noted for his physical resemblance to Wesley Snipes, and his stylish appearance as Vector in Alita: Battle Angel had many saying that he looks just like Blade. Sure enough, Ali would become Blade in the MCU.
    • Prior to buying Marvel, Disney's most prominent superhero franchise (outside of The Incredibles) was Power Rangers, which for fans of that franchise, was a period that was seen by a fair number as a Dork Agenote . One of the last shows they produced was Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, which also featured a Thor and a Lokinote .
  • 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.
    • For a more character-specific example, Tony Stark is the most prominent figure in the MCU for obvious reasons, and his portrayal in the films is widely credited with turning Iron Man into a beloved character and rescuing him from the Scrappy Heap the comics had dug him into. However, as time has went on he's become disliked by a significant portion of the fandom due to his popularity making him what they see as a Spotlight-Stealing Squad with a tendency to Kick the Dog due to his abrasive personality. Comic fans in particular dislike the way he's credited with the accomplishments of other major characters, particularly Hank Pym's creation of Ultron and replacing Uncle Ben as Peter's surrogate father. He's also received a lot of flak for the fact that in quite a few of the films, he plays parts of varying significance in creating the conflict in the first place and rarely acknowledges it or tries to change his Control Freak tendencies so it never happens again. His role in the finale of Avengers: Endgame especially angered people who felt the franchise had gone overboard with the Character Shilling, given that his death resulted in multiple elaborate scenes of the other heroes paying him their full respects, while Black Widow, who also sacrificed her life in that film, didn't get even a fraction of the same level of acknowledgement.


  • 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.

  • 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.
    • May Parker, who is jokingly speculated by fans to be the one who beat up Thanos in Avengers 4 after learning about Peter's disintegration under the effect of the Infinity Gaunlet.
    • Why didn't Frank Castle participate in either Infinity War or Endgame? Because even Thanos knows better than to mess with him.
  • 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, being overseen directly by Kevin Feige and starring important characters from the films with the promise of being directly tied into them specifically, which saw the Netflix series being sidelined due to their Darker and Edgier tone.
    • In 2019 it came to public attention that Gwyneth Paltrow is seemingly unable to remember anything about the franchise beyond Robert Downey Jr., resulting in whatever the new thing is getting this treatment. Hit especially hard is Sebastian Stan, who claims to have had to introduce himself to Paltrow three separate times, including her appearing to immediately forget his existence at the Infinity War premiere.
    • Jacob Batalon plays Ned, Peter Parker's best friend and has appeared in two Spider-Man movies and two Avengers movies one of which is an extremely funny scene while the other one is a very emotional reunion between him and Peter post-snap. Yet he is almost never mentioned in majority of the promotional videos of Far From Home, with the spotlight shining on Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jake Gyllenhaal, though, admittedly they had bigger roles in the movie, but the fact that he is almost always left out of video titles when he is with Tom and Zendaya while the video titles go out of their way to mention Tom and Zendaya is jarring. It got so bad that one Jimmy Kimmel promo left out Jacob's name, and Tom had to mention him personally on twitter. Jacob also got less questions compared to Tom and Zendaya in their wired autocomplete interview.
  • 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, and was nominated for multiple Oscars, including Best Picture, something previously unheard of for a comic book movie.
  • Mis-blamed:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • My Real Daddy:
    • While there wasn't exactly a dark, empty void where a Thor fanbase should be, the character's popularity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe skyrocketed with Thor: Ragnarok at the hands of Taika Waititi. Waititi encouraged Chris Hemsworth to improvise more, which led to a revamp of the character from a Fish out of Water Boisterous Bruiser to a lovable goofball of an Iron Woobie Guile Hero who can now match wits with Loki himself. Not only is Ragnarok the highest scored film of the Thor trilogy and more quotable than its predecessors, but Thor's characterization in it continued into Avengers: Infinity War.
    • Whilst Captain America: The First Avenger, directed by Joe Johnston, was relatively well-received, it was Joe and Anthony Russo that helped increase the character's fanbase significantly with The Winter Soldier and Civil War, both of which are considered top contenders for the best film in the MCU. Additionally, once Joss Whedon declined to direct Avengers: Infinity War after the behind-the-scenes drama on Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Russos were the frontrunners to direct Infinity War and Endgame, resulting in two Avengers movies that had more drama and depth than either the first film or the aforementioned Age of Ultron.
    • Much of how the cosmic side of the MCU worked, looked and felt can be attributed to James Gunn and his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy films after previous sneak peeks in the first two Thor films. In some cases, it's suggested that his films' Bathos-mixed irreverent humor (often scored by period-specific pop music) changed the entirety of the franchise thanks to following directors wanting to emulate him, making Gunn the Real Daddy of the MCU itself. This is evidenced by the aforementioned Taika Waititi admitting that Guardians was a major influence on Ragnarok. Furthermore, nobody in Hollywood wanted to take over the director's chair for Guardians 3 after Gunn's initial firing as it was sacrilegious for anyone to take over the series that Gunn helped define, which subsequently lead to his rehiring.

  • 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.
  • Not So Cheap Imitation: X-Men (made by 20th Century Fox) and Spider-Man (made by Sony Pictures) sparked the Comic Book Movie Boom of the 2000s. However, after Marvel made their own film studio, Fox and Sony refused to sell the film rights to the X-Men and Spider-Man back to them for the longest time, leading to the Marvel Cinematic Universe being started without them. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended up being a huge success, usurping the box office records set by the X-Men and Spider-Man movies.
  • 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.
    • J. Jonah Jameson in The Stinger for Spider-Man: Far From Home, not just for the character but being played by J. K. Simmons, whose performance as Jameson in the original Spider-Man film series had been on just about everyone's short list of the greatest portrayals of a comic book character ever.
  • 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 (especially 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 Spider-Man: Homecoming. 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 (2016) 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, though they have announced that the MCU Deadpool will remain played by Ryan Reynolds with an R rating, a move that has been unanimously met with approval.
    • 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.
  • Sacred Cow: The film franchise's unbroken streak of good-to-stellar critical praise, its massive success and vocal fandom have a tendency to drown most criticisms aimed at it. Within the franchise itself, you'll find such examples as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: Ragnarok.
  • Scapegoat Creator:
    • So far the only MCU entries with an unanimous negative reception are Iron Fist (2017) and Inhumans (both are television entries with very few connections with the Marvel Studios movies, at that). 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.
    • Former 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, which kept Black Panther and Captain Marvel from being made for a long time. The fact that he greenlit and rushed Inhumans hasn't helped his reputation.
  • Seasonal Rot:
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: With how big the cinematic Shared Universe model in filmmaking is, it's easy to forget that the entire franchise was a very risky idea back in phase 1, a Crossover on this scale was seen as risky at best and downright impossible at worst, nowadays many are trying to be the MCU!
  • 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...
    • Ships involving either side of of Fan-Preferred Couple Clintasha get along poorly on the best of days. Since even before she was cast and brought in, Mockingbird was in one with Natasha over Clint. As Clint's most prominent relationship in the comics, Clintasha shippers who've read up on the comics believed 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. The same also happened to Bucky, who was also a love interest of Natasha's in the comics, and had some kind of implied history with Natasha in The Winter Soldier that resulted in accusations of him being an abusive ex of hers, although it was later confirmed that him shooting her in the middle of an assassination was the full extent of their past together. What resulted was a three-way shipping war between Hawkingbird, Clintasha, and Bucktasha. Although The Winter Soldier also made Steve/Natasha a popular ship due to the actors' fantastic chemistry and a mild amount of in-universe sexual tension, their relationship was established as a platonic one with Natasha as a Shipper on Deck for Steve with other women, and thus it avoided the wrath of other shippers. 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. As a result Huntingbird gained support as well as detraction because of this, turning it into a four-way battle. Finally, and hilariously, all the brutality of these ship wars ended up being for naught after Age of Ultron revealed that Clint has been married all this time to a previously unseen civilian woman, with Natasha as his kids' honorary aunt, while she falls for Bruce, a Third-Option Love Interest of Third-Option Love Interests who barely even registered on most shippers' radars. Though Clint/Laura eventually reached a kind of tepid acceptance in some circles, Bruce/Natasha became one of the most reviled ships in the franchise. Ultimately, nobody won.
  • 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 read 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. It helps that they're both very similar and would get along if they ever interacted. (Both characters are written to be similar and to get along with Tony which coincidentally makes them similar to each other)
  • 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 worst, 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.

  • Tastes Like Diabetes: 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.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some people object to the race changing of Heimdall and Nick Fury. This mostly stopped when the films came out and the two became Memetic Badasses.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A common criticism of the Thor films was that Asgard, and the rest of the Nine Realms for that matter, were never really explored to its full potential. The concept of a pantheon of extradimensional/divine beings had a lot of potential of exploring the fantasy elements of the MCU such as the existence of other pantheons much like in the comics. Instead, the first two films put more focus on the human cast. Even in Ragnarok which averts this problem, Asgard itself remained Out of Focus in favour of the subplot in Sakaar, with the destruction of Asgard and the death of most of its major characters putting an axe on any hopes of further exploring Asgard and the rest of the Nine Realms.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The chasm between the films and the first several TV series, as they were managed by different studios. The series only contact with the films was through spoken references and cameos of minor film characters, and the films only recognition of the TV series was with a brief cameo of Edwin Jarvis. That means that no actual team-ups ever took place, and that several interesting stories from the TV series never made their way into the films, and the consequences of Thanos' snap in Infinity War were not explored by any of them.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Daredevil (2015), Jessica Jones (2015) and Luke Cage (2016) have already set an extremely high bar for the future Netflix series and future superhero shows in general. Iron Fist (2017) was hit hard by this, as it was derided for critics for not living up to the expectations set by the previous shows, making it the first MCU property to earn a Rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes (currently 18%).
    • The entire MCU casts a huge shadow over all other franchises that attempt to build a Shared Universe, even if said franchise predates the MCU.
    • In 2017 Marvel finally got the rights to the X-Men back and quickly announced they would be integrating them into the franchise. Unfortunately, Hugh Jackman was also quick to make clear he wouldn't be coming along with it, and with his portrayal of Wolverine being universally regarded as one of the greatest performances of a comic book character ever even if some films around him were of questionable quality, you have to pity the actor picked to replace him.
    • This trope is the reason behind the two major Role Reprisals in the franchise: J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, whose performances were so universally acclaimed in their own unrelated franchises that Kevin Feige admitted it would be unthinkable to try and replace them.


  • 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 (2017). 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.
    • The design of the later Iron Man suits are not as well liked as the earlier suits being unfavorably compared to Tony's most iconic suits the Mark 3 and Mark 7. Most of the later Iron Man suits lack the bulky, mechanical feel of the early suits and can feel overly CGI and fake. The most disliked looks are the Mark 46 and Mark 50. This is due to the Mark 46 being a Powerup Let Down meaning the Glass Cannon/Fragile Speedster design to the Iron Man Armor isn't just cosmetic but a in-universe weaker suit and the Mark 50 simply looking too flowing and organic, which might be justified by the suit being nanotech but that doesn't mean the fans have to like it. The Mark 85 does fix the criticisms of the Mark 50 by being more layered and mechanical with a much more satisfying suit up.


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