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Phase Four

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The whole MCU

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    A 
  • 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: The Animated Series), 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.
      • A much bigger change than Iron Man is Doctor Strange having a snarky personality. In the comics, he's traditionally tended toward dignity and stoicism. Now the comic writers are starting to depict him more like his movie counterpart, and for long-time readers, it feels... strange.
  • 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 (2014), 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.
    • Phase 4 has been hit with this. After the release of Thor: Love and Thunder, quite a few people began to complain about how aimless and meandering Phase 4 of the MCU is starting to feel, with no clear plot emerging beyond some extremely vague multiverse stuff after nearly 70 hours of total runtime between the movies and shows that have made up Phase 4 so far.
  • Archive Panic: As of 2020, there are 24 movies currently released, each about two hours. On top of that there are seven seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., three of Runaways (2017), two of Agent Carter and Cloak & Dagger (2018), and one of Inhumans, plus all the Netflix series that nearly work in a continuity of their own. Not helping is that Phase 4 is reliant on plot points that are established in the television series, which has led to complaints from audiences that watching the series now feels like homework.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • This got especially heated in 2022 when both Spider-Man: No Way Home and Avengers: Endgame lost to Zack Snyder's Justice League for a newly-established category where audiences could vote for whichever films they found Oscar-worthy. Diehard Marvel fans immediately accused DC fans of cheating the voting system, since it was conducted via Twitter. Given that there were two Marvel contenders against DC's one, it can be assumed either Marvel film would have been a shoe-in if the vote hadn't been split.

    B 
  • Iron Man is the biggest firestorm of the MCU. At first he was incredibly well-received due to Robert Downey Jr.'s snarky and often ad-libbed performance to the point that the actor underwent a Career Resurrection, and it revived the character's flagging reputation in the comics as he had been in the middle of an Audience-Alienating Era. But over time the same traits that made him so popular also earned him a lot of Hype Backlash, and now the mere mention of him is an easy way to start passionate arguments.
    • The first lynchpin of debate revolves around his Byronic Hero characterization and subsequent perception as a Jerkass Woobie. His fans find his snark and ego awesome and believe that his Woobie side dominates. They point to his sad backstory, his genuine desire to do good, and the fact that nobody else is a greater critic of him than his own self. They believe that his detractors are too harsh on him, and that the other characters don't give him enough respect, noting that whatever wrongdoings he's guilty of, he always tries to do the right thing in the end (and sometimes pointing out that a lot of them may not necessarily even be his fault). Critics find his snark and ego insufferable and believe that his Jerkass side dominates. They point to his selfish and arrogant Tech Bro personality, how all the conflicts of the movies he appears are in some way tied back to him or his company, and that other characters who are guilty of subjectively less wrongdoing are punished more harshly than him. They believe that his defenders tend to downplay these aspects or blame others for them, and note that even if he's not entirely responsible for the conflicts he starts, that he nevertheless has a frustrating tendency to exacerbate them with his actions (or in some cases, inaction.)
    • The second lynchpin of debate deals with his Spotlight-Stealing Squad treatment and the MCU's tendency to subject him to Wolverine Publicity to the point that he overshadows Captain America as the main or lead Avenger. His fans love his expanded prominence and believe that he's such a fun character that it's justified (movies where he appears are big box-office draws), and that the MCU's tendency to use him for Adaptation Origin Connection streamlines continuity. Others see his increased screentime as favoritism that parasitizes off other characters' roles and contributions. In addition other MCU characters were seen to be increasingly snarky like him (or Spider-Man), giving them and the movies something of a "same-y" feel according to these detractors. The ending of Avengers: Endgame in which he sacrifices his life to stop Thanos for good, becoming the ultimate savior of the universe, and receives a grandiose funeral at the end, ensured these debates would never end even after his death, as one side believes that it's poetic justice for the character who helped kickstart the MCU, while others view it as the franchise enshrining his Character Shilling and making it so that the universe continues to revolve around him posthumously, particularly since Black Widow, another founding Avenger, also sacrificed herself and didn't receive a fraction of the acknowledgement, with the in-universe justification being seen as a Hand Wave double standard.
  • Like Tony, Loki was once extremely popular and considered one of the best, if not the best villain the MCU had to offer prior to Phase Three, but has since become extremely divisive and for similar reasons. His defenders highlight his charisma, complexity, and sympathetic backstory, believing the increased focus on him in later works is a justified response to a Breakout Character that expands on his character. He is also broadly known even to MCU outsiders for having a sizeable and particularly intense Estrogen Brigade of devotees, who whether rightly or wrongly are frequently regarded as engaging in Draco in Leather Pants interpretations of the character. Meanwhile his detractors consider him a highly overrated Spotlight-Stealing Squad whose screentime and development is Pandering to the Base at the expense of characters who needed it more, or believe his backstory doesn't justify his villainous actions and that that the MCU's focus on him is Pandering to the Base and validating of Draco in Leather Pants interpretations that gives him an easy pass for crimes less popular characters wouldn't get. Unsurprisingly a fair number of Loki fans are also huge fans of fellow base breakers Tony or Wanda.
  • Wanda Maximoff. Her detractors see her as an unhinged psycho who gets away with frightening amounts of damage, such as deliberately unleashing the Hulk on a rampage and being indirectly responsible for Tony creating Ultron and thus all the people who later died (including her own brother and Zemo's family). They argue that her reasons for trying to kill Tony are spurious and that she never took responsibility for Ultron, thus her membership in the New Avengers makes her a galling Karma Houdini when characters like Tony and Loki get more flak in universe for less. Her defenders consider her a deeply sympathetic Jerkass Woobie whose troubled and traumatic upbringing makes it difficult to ascertain just how fully conscious she was of the consequences for her actions, that the death of her beloved brother at Ultron's hands was her karmic punishment, and that her Heel–Face Turn and subsequent work for the Avengers was her way of doing redemption for her past crimes. Given Tony's own base-breaking status and the ties between his backstory and Wanda's, opinions on the two are often heavily intertwined, with fans of one character usually loathing the other, and vice versa.
    • The fandom's conflicting thoughts on Wanda only got worse with the release of WandaVision, which has her creating an entire sitcom dream-world for her and a copy of Vision to inhabit while also mind raping the citizens of the town of Westview to act like side characters in "the show world". Some believe that the agonizing grief and delirium Wanda was going through make those actions understandable and her leaving Westview to study the Darkhold will help her understand her powers better. Others believe that Wanda knew exactly what she was doing, was given far too much sympathy for committing such heinous acts, and she deserves to be imprisoned or given some sort of comeuppance for essentially brainwashing and holdings an entire town captive for selfish reasons.
  • Steve Rogers. Opinions on the other base-breakers, Tony and Wanda, affect opinions of Steve, with Tony fans despising Steve and vice versa (especially from Phase 3 onward), while Wanda fans and Steve fans tend to go hand-in-hand.
    • Initially Steve was moderately divisive in the first two phases due to an acute case of Depending on the Writer. The Captain America films characterized him as firmly on the "Good" side of To Be Lawful or Good, frequently challenging authority and standing up against oppressive rules to do the right thing. Meanwhile, his portrayal in the first two Avengers movies is the complete opposite, earning him a large camp of detractors who see him as a stodgy Lawful Stupid Jerkass. As a result, fans of Steve's solo films tended to view him the most sympathetically while fans who only knew him from the first two Avengers films tended to be his most vocal critics.
    • Civil War, which was deliberately meant to show Steve's more complicated side, opened the floodgates due to Steve choosing to side with his childhood friend Bucky Barnes over his current friend Tony, as well as the revelation that he kept the truth of Bucky having assassinated Tony's parents under mind control from him, leading to the dissolution of the Avengers. Haters consider Steve's behavior to Tony a betrayal of their friendship and unforgivably hypocritical for resisting the Accords after criticizing SHIELD's lack of oversight in The Winter Soldier. Defenders argue that Steve's opposition to the Accords is logically consistent given the events of The Winter Soldier justified his cynicism about regulation being extremely dangerous in the hands of evil men like Ross, and that pinning the blame entirely on Steve for splitting the Avengers is ridiculous considering he wasn't even sure about Bucky's involvement, validated when Infinity War establishes that Tony is equally culpable for refusing to reconcile after Steve gave him the option to.
    • Avengers: Endgame and onward brought Steve back into base-breaking territory for good, with portions of the Peggy, Bucky, Sam, and Sharon fandoms also out for his blood after his extremely controversial ending there, elaborated in more detail on the work's own page. Ironically, opinions on Steve's ending in Endgame tend to run in the opposite direction as expected, with it being one of the few things Tony fans who otherwise hate the character approve of, and conversely, many of Steve's supporters do not defend it, instead treating his depiction in that film as a form of derailment and the kind of exception that proves the rule regarding his previous actions.
  • 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, although it took him seven years to make a proper onscreen appearance. 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 first two Thor films is very polarizing. Either she's one of the funniest MCU characters or she's downright annoying. Although she seems to have been largely Rescued from the Scrappy Heap for the latter by WandaVision, where while retaining her core qualities of Deadpan Snarker Plucky Comic Relief she's no longer The Watson and actually contributes to the plot in a meaningful way.
  • 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 since Feige has yet to retract his past direct statements that the old shows do inhabit the same continuity as the film's, that hasn't stopped fans from arguing that the shows are still canon. The fact that the ABC and Hulu series were classified as Marvel Legacy in Disney+, the TV Show Wandavision disregarding the Darkhold's appearances in Agents of SHIELD and Runaways with a completely different design and function, and Loki (2021) insisting that Coulson really died in The Avengers (2012) put more wood in the fire, and both of those instances have been Hand Waved by those shows' respective producers.
    • Marvel's decision to not recast T'Challa after Chadwick Boseman's death has been met with a lot of controversy amongst the fandom. Some fans believe that it's only right to do so, as Boseman's performance would be a massive Tough Act to Follow and that trying to replace him would be an insult to the man’s legacy. Others argue that not recasting T'Challa is an insult to the man's legacy and that killing off the character permanently would severely cripple the Black Panther franchise down the road (as evidenced with Marvel scrapping the character’s spinoff plans for Star-Lord T'Challa to have his own adventures). Further inflaming debate, Marvel appeared to attempt to make Shuri the new face of the Black Panther franchise, only for Shuri's actress, Letitia Wright, to start promoting anti-vax conspiracy theories during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Subsequently, fans who previous supported writing out T'Challa and even Boseman's family have called to recast the role with a new actor.

    C 

    D 
  • Diagnosed by the Audience:
    • Aside from her already deep-seated psychiatric issues leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms, something is clearly not right with Wanda after she loses her husband and imaginary children. Her obsession with bringing her sons back into existence points to Replacement Child Syndrome, which can happen to mothers after they lose their child.
    • Setting aside his peoples' inability to grasp metaphors, it's implied that Drax is strange, even by his own species' standards, so it's possible he has some kind of alien neurodivergence — he's very socially awkward, blunt, and quick to speak his mind to an unintentionally offensive degree, has emotional dispositions that run from stoic to energetic, incredibly fixated on a specific goal, selfish in a non-malicious way, and incredibly caring who constantly tries to make up for his mistakes. He also processes emotions like sadness more internally than externally, best shown when Mantis touches his arm when he's thinking about his daughter, and she bursts into tears, despite him being completely stoic. Plenty of filmgoers and critics cite him as a positive depiction of autism in popular media.

    E 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    F 
  • 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 (2022).
  • 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 several creators and actors involved in both franchises (notably James Gunn, who's working for both) 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 (2022) 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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. Made worse when the Marvel TV shows were canceled to avoid competition for Disney+ shows.
  • 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 first 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 either treat season six of the show as a full-fledged Alternate Continuity or do some very careful Fanon explaining of offscreen events if you want to keep watching without your head exploding.
  • 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 the 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 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.
    • 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. 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).
    • Despite going even darker than its predecessor, Marvel fans are pretty open to The Batman.
    • Due to its status as a fellow Disney-owned Cash-Cow Franchise, many Star Wars fans are also fond of Marvel. It helps that both franchise tend to share actors in their works, with Oscar Isaac, Samuel L. Jackson and Natalie Portman having been involved in both franchises. Both fans also enjoy each respective franchise's world-building.
    • As of Phase 4, there appears to be a significant overlap of Marvel and Rick and Morty fans, thanks to several alumni of the latter show ended up getting involved with the MCU. Series creator Dan Harmon ended up doing some script rewrites for Doctor Strange, with Michael Waldron writing that movie's sequel, the first season of Loki and is set to write Avengers: Secret Wars. Fellow R&M writer Jeff Loveness also went on to pen the scripts for Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania and Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, while Jessica Gao ended up becoming the head writer for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

    G 
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • MCU movies are massively popular in Asian countries and were once incredibly big with China in particular, to the point that the studio has at times made changes to several movies purportedly for the benefit of Chinese audiences (including shooting extra scenes in the case of Iron Man 3, albeit to mixed opinions). After the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home however, the Chinese government began banning MCU films from being officially shown in the country due to many of them going against their regulations for foreign blockbusters.
      • The Captain America trilogy as a whole is extremely popular in China and other Asian or otherwise Sinophone audiences familiar with Chinese media tropes due to a good amount of Values Resonance. The films depict Steve Rogers as a chivalrous hero whose personal moral code motivates him to rebel against corrupt authorities at the expense of testing his loyalties to his friends, making him an archetypical example of a "侠 (Xiá)" or Chinese folk heronote , on top of the films being filled to the brim with many other tropes commonly seen in Wuxia genre fiction. Out of them, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was surprisingly popular in the country in particular partially because it showed that loving one's country isn't the same as loving one's government. Films with this theme are rare in China due to government censorship.
      • Ant-Man (and its 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp) are both moderately successful in their home country, but massively popular in Asian countries (but once again, China in particular). The Ant-Man films are so liked there that there is now an Ant-Man and The Wasp attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland. It's the second Marvel themed attraction at the resort and will eventually be part of a Marvel-themed land set to open in 2023.
      • Reportedly, this got turned on its head when Chinese audiences were furious when it was announced that the first Marvel movie with an Asian lead would be a Shang-Chi film, because he was originally written as the son of Fu Manchu (even though Marvel has long since retconned out the connection). China loves the MCU so much that having the first Chinese Marvel movie character be based on a character that started out as a Yellow Peril stereotype was seen by them as a personal betrayal. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would be the first MCU film to not be released in China, which would end up extending to the rest of Marvel's Phase 4 films as a whole, due to China cracking down on foreign blockbusters being released in the country.
    • In a non-Chinese Asian example, Doctor Strange (2016) is massively popular in India, even outgrossed the franchise's other solo films beside Captain America: Civil War due to the film's Nepalese setting and Benedict Cumberbatch's popularity in the country.
  • 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.

    H 
  • 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 (2014) 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.
  • 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.
    • The MCU Spider-Man, particularly in his own movies. While most, if not all, praise Tom Holland himself for his acting ability and endearing off-screen presence, there's been a growing trend of people who really dislike how his film version is portrayed, which is a contributing factor to Tony Stark's own Hype Backlash given Peter is written as a fanboy of Tony. Peter suffers from a major Adaptation Personality Change, going from a somewhat nerdy, insecure Everyman who appreciated other heroes and playfully idolised Captain America, but was more the loner due to being socially awkward, to instead being a more confident Extraverted Nerd who utterly adores other heroes, especially Iron Man, whom he sees as a surrogate father and spends more time grieving for than he's done for his Uncle Ben, who isn't even mentioned by name. Much of Peter's traditional canon personality is instead Informed Attribute, where we're merely told he's unpopular, poor, and not great with girls, despite having no shortage of friends, being well-liked by his classmates outside of Flash Thompson note , attends an expensive charter school with no indication how Aunt May pays for it, and has no trouble pursuing his love interests. However, due to the films' popularity and Tom Holland's beloved status, the films are considered and treated as the best take on Spider-Man, something that's contested by fans of the previous film franchises, the animated shows, and the comics.
    • Among comic fans, the franchise also gets this due to how the films have been seen as Adored by the Network compared to other depictions of the characters, film and otherwise, and how this has turned them into an Audience-Coloring Adaptation. The MCU has, since around Avengers, been pushed as the definitive take on the Marvel Universe, with other film franchises based on Marvel properties (such as the Sony-produced Spider-Man franchises and Fox-produced X-Men films) being seen as inferior films, even despite many of the same problems, while other versions of the Marvel Universe (such as their animated series' or video game efforts) being cancelled for not being close enough to the films, replaced with versions that act more like commercials for the films and/or kid-friendly copies of them. This got especially controversial as the comics began to rework and adapt ideas from the films, such as repackaging characters into copies of their film counterpart, some of which required undoing years worth of well-regarded Character Development. For some fans, the MCU being treated as the only important version of the Marvel universe is a major problem, especially if you're not a fan of how they've changed something in the adaptation, given that Marvel refuse to let any other version exist.

    I 
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • Some felt that the Phase Two films were 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.
    • Regarding the entire franchise, its Lighter and Softer tone has come under more scrutiny as time goes on. While the "fun" atmosphere is still beloved by most viewers, there's been an increasing backlash to the "Marvel formula" among certain circles, with critics feeling that the lighthearted tone ends up undercutting any kind of drama or stakes and leaves any heavier moments as ringing hollow.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: This is a very common criticism of the MCU's Disney+ shows, especially in comparison to the previous Netflix / ABC series. While those shows were often scrutinized for their gratuitous use of Padding due to often having 13 hour-long episodes per season, the Disney+ series have only had 6 or 9 episodes thus far, and are usually between 30 and 45 minutes long, which often makes them feel compressed and underdeveloped in certain areas.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!:

    L 
  • LGBT Fanbase: While the MCU is popular with viewers of all orientations, certain characters and works in particular attract an especially strong queer following:
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had some of the first canonically LGBT characters in the franchise, along with the Inhumans storyline in the later seasons having a strong Rainbow Lens in the same vein as mutants did in the comics. It got to the point that the fandom acquired its own hashtag of "#superqueeros".
    • The Captain America trilogy's massive gay/bi following (especially fans of Bara Genre works) reached mainstream levels of infamy during its time due to the films' focus on the intense and homoerotic bonds between the titular character and the men in his life, several of whom play the role of The Not-Love Interest to the point that his actual love interests seem to fall to the wayside. The films' homoeroticism played an important role in kickstarting ongoing debates regarding the MCU's (as well as Hollywood's) lack of canonical LGBT representation that continue to this day.
    • Thor: Ragnarok is famously beloved, and memetically known as a film made for bisexuals because of Valkyrie and Loki being canonically bi themselves (and Grandmaster being implied to be pansexual), Hela and Grandmaster being incredibly flamboyant antagonists, and the entire cast, regardless of gender, being ridiculously attractive. Thor also has a reputation as a lesbian ally for being hypermasculine but kind and respectful to women, while Loki's backstory as a secret Frost Giant raised to believe he was an Asgardian and who is looked down upon for embracing "feminine" skills like magic and cunning over brute strength makes him popular with trans fans, furthered when Loki (2021) describes him as genderfluid.
    • Captain Marvel (2019) is beloved among lesbian/bisexual women for similar reasons as the Captain America films and is often seen as their Distaff Counterpart due to the Les Yay-filled relationship between Carol and her best friend Maria Rambeau serving as its emotional heart, coupled with the absence of any male love interests to get in the way.
    • Wanda Maximoff came in with a LGBT fanbase from the comics stemming from both being a mutant (the X-Men themselves well-known as allegory for being LGBT) and being the mother of two of the most prominent LGBT superheroes, Billy/Wiccan and Tommy/Speed. Her insecurities about being feared and hated for reasons beyond her control before learning to embrace those aspects as one of her strengths, one of the most well-known forms of Rainbow Lens, also carried over to the films.
  • 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.

    M 
  • Memetic Badass:
    • 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.
    • The reason fans believe War Machine won't get a movie is because he'd easily solve the conflict within 15 minutes.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Hawkeye used to be this in the franchise's early days, due to spending half of The Avengers Brainwashed and Crazy and spent the second half of the film being upstaged by his other teammates. He's managed to crawl out of this from Avengers: Age of Ultron onwards however, where he manages to accomplish some impressive feats that made up for his previous outing.
    • From Avengers: Infinity War the Hulk began getting this sentiment from fans. After a rather impressive bit of Character Development for them in Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk spends much of his time refusing to emerge after being subject to a Curb-Stomp Battle from Thanos, leading many fans to believe he was being overly cowardly just to keep him out of the movie. His reappearance in Endgame as Professor Hulk has similarly not been well-received, due to him barely participating in any action scenes, and having a more light-hearted and comedic personality that constrasts with his previous Blood Knight tendencies shown previously.
    • Peter Quill also began being perceived as fans as a memetic loser from Infinity War onwards, as he's constantly getting the short end of the stick thanks to Thor, and was subject to a ridiculous amount of mockery due to his Heroic BSoD interfering with a plan set up to get the Gauntlet away from Thanos. What If also gives us an episode where T'Challa manages to accomplish far more feats and change the galaxy for the better under the Star-Lord title, which makes Quill's actions in the Sacred Timeline look even more inferior by comparison.
  • 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 is frequently the biggest target for criticisms of the MCU such of the 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. to a later time slot (with some even waving conspiracies such as that she cancelled Agent Carter to have its star Hayley Atwell star in Conviction, a series her sister Merrin also starred in), but the fact is that S.H.I.E.L.D., despite good reviews, 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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 Worldbuilding. 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 (2014) 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 (2014) 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, not to mention that in the meantime, he was scooped by DC to direct The Suicide Squad, the sequel/soft reboot of Suicide Squad (2016), a film that was accused of being a bungled attempt at imitating the style of Guardians.

    N-O 
  • Never Live It Down: 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. This partily get lampshaded in his own Disney+ series too.
  • 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.
    • This franchise wasn't the first former Viacom property to later fall under Disney’s ownership after Indiana Jones and Doug.
  • 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 Stinger...in 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 (2012), 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.

    P-S 
  • Platonic Writing, Romantic Reading:
    • Throughout the MCU's Captain America trilogy of films, Captain America and his childhood friend Bucky Barnes are so intensely devoted to each other that they're willing to throw everything away including their own lives and reputations just to protect each other, while Cap's relationship with his official love interest, Sharon Carter, is so conspicuously underdeveloped in comparison, that a lot of people are convinced Bucky is Captain America's real love interest. Even the films' writers fumbled mid-sentence, describing their relationship as a "love story" before quickly calling them brothers. It got to the point that in 2016 a popular hashtag called #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend was launched, in part due to how differently their relationship came off to viewers than the writers expected.
    • The Avengers with Clint and Natasha. Natasha is unendingly loyal to Clint and wants to save him from Loki so much she at one point offers to free him in exchange for freeing Clint, while he seems to know more about her than anyone else. There wasn't anything explicitly romantic about them, but they're depicted as so close that fans assumed they were each other's Implied Love Interest, resulting in them becoming the most popular Het couple in the fandom. Oddly, it's partly because Natasha never flirts with him that they seemed like they could be romantic. Until in Avengers: Age of Ultron when you find out they're Like Brother and Sister, especially when Clint's wife is introduced, which resulted in a very annoyed fandom.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
  • "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!
  • Sequelitis:
  • Ships That Pass in the Night:
    • Hawkeye and Coulson only have a single brief exchange in Thor, but they 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. 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 quickly became a popular pairing due to their similar story arcs across their respective first films. Both actors have also played Sherlock Holmes, one of the oldest gay ship fandoms. Then they DID finally meet, and the shipping only increased.
    • There’s 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.
    • Captain Marvel and Valkyrie have never met; yet, they 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, since they were both written to be intelligent and pair well with Tony, it's easy to assume that their personalities would mesh well with each other as well.
    • Tony Stark/Bucky Barnes is an immensely popular ship even though the two have never interacted outside of two brief meetings in Captain America: Civil War, both of which involved one trying to brutally kill the other, and even though the circumstances of the aftermath ensured that they never got a chance to see each again under better circumstances.
  • 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 Successor:
    • 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.
    • To Ultimate Marvel. Both the MCU and Ultimate Marvel are modern takes of the classic Marvel Comics and some of the MCU's concepts were inspired of the Ultimate Marvel Universe such as a race lifted Nick Fury. However, the MCU takes their characters into a more idealistic approach rather than following the more cynical standards of Ultimate Marvel.
  • Sweetness Aversion: 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.

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  • Theme Pairing:
    • Thor from The Mighty Thor and Storm from X-Men is a pairing with a substantial following because both have weather and Shock and Awe superpowers. It was further spurred by the creators making them an official couple in Marvel Adventures, albeit the start of their relationship happens off-screen as revealed in the 29th issue. Their Fan Nickname is "biracial thunder babies".
    • Wanda, Loki, and Dr. Strange are frequently shipped together due to their shared affinity for magic, even though they've otherwise never interacted with each other. The news that Wanda will be appearing in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness adds fuel to the ScarletStrange ship.
  • 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 Plot:
    • 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. Some fans didn’t seem to mind though since it opened up room for new possibilities with character.
    • 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 recognitions of the TV series were a brief cameo of Edwin Jarvis and some extremely subtle nods in dialogue and text. 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.
    • Anyone hoping to see a full-length adventure with Thor as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy were left disappointed after Thor: Love and Thunder had Thor almost immediately part ways with the Guardians after only a brief segment in which the Guardians weren't given much to do and Thor was shown being more of an annoyance rather than a member of the team.
  • Tough Act to Follow:

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  • Ukefication
    • Similar to his comic book counterpart, it's fairly common to depict Steve Rogers — who in movie canon tells bullies to shut up in theaters, gets into fights all the time, talks back to Nazi super soldiers like Red Skull, risks a court martial to do the right thing, immediately assumes a word shared between his Love Interest and another guy is a dirty sexual innuendo, leads the Howling Commandos in WWII, and vows a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against those who hurt his friends — as some kind of adorable harmless, innocent, naive overgrown puppy who's ripe for the picking, regardless of who his pairing partner is. And since he's a Launcher of a Thousand Ships, this happens a lot.
    • Tony Stark frequently suffers from this, not helped by his being very much on the short side of the Slash Fic Height Rule. Fanfic that pairs him with Steve Rogers or Dr. Strange often tends to turn him from a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with guilt issues into an outright clingy Hysterical Woman. Doubly so if the fics fall into the Superfamily genre, which portrays Tony as being an outright maternal Team Mom figure to Peter Parker (sometimes literally) to complement Steve or Strange's Flanderization into a Standard '50s Father.
    • This is done constantly to Loki, with whom it is especially absurd. Far from being the superhumanly strong and superhumanly robust life-long warrior and powerful sorcerer he is in the films, he's written as fragile and passive, unable to defend himself and in constant need of protection. Going hand-in-hand with this is the extreme physical modification he undergoes: he's invariably described and illustrated as tiny and dainty in spite of the fact that he actually towers over most of the Avengers and only Thor and Hulk can take him in a fight. The popular pairing of Tony Stark/Loki nearly always makes Loki the uke and, hilariously, tends to draw Tony (5'8") as the big manly man looming over a delicate, helpless Loki (6'2"). Keep in mind that Loki in the MCU has not only given the Avengers a run for their money but also came close to killing Thor. The guy even succeeded in taking the throne of Asgard. Yet in fics relating to him you'd swear that he's some fragile piece of glass who'd shatter at the slightest physical contact.
    • Bruce Banner seems to be hit with this a lot when being paired with Tony Stark. Fanfics will treat him as an emotionally fragile, delicate man who would never hurt a fly and needs Tony as an emotional crutch. Bizarrely, these fics will also give this treatment to Hulk as well, by playing up his innocent, child-like traits.
    • Thor is also commonly a target too, being reduced into some sort of soft, cuddly Golden Retriever in need of brotherly affection from Loki, who is often dominant over him.
    • Bucky also gets hit with this pretty badly at times. While a more understandable example than most in that his canon depiction does exhibit the kind of severe Break the Cutie and subsequent emotional fragility that is typically used to justify such a characterization, fanfic tends to Flanderize him to the point of absurdity, turning him from a traumatized but still snarky and powerful super soldier to a helpless weepy kitten who can barely function without the support of his love interest.
  • 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.

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  • 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. LEGO Marvel's Avengers 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.
    • 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 (2014) 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.
  • What The Hell, 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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