WARNING: SPOILERS FOR SEVERAL MCU FILMS INCLUDING “DOCTOR STRANGE” BELOW!
After watching “Dr. Strange,” the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans probably had a single line spoken by star actor Benedict Cumberbatch roll around their head for a few hours: “Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain!” This line is said over and over again for a stretch in the film as Strange traps the villain in a time loop in which Dormammu kills the doctor repeatedly. Not only was the line funny in a “Groundhog Day” kind of way, but also it was an indicator of Strange’s character.
These kinds of lines are fantastic, as they communicate far more than just their face value and often add to the characters in ways that resonate with their audiences. We already love to quip “Baskin Robbins always finds out” every so often, so we at CBR thought we’d share a list with you of some of the most memorable quotes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that manage to speak volumes in just a few words.
15. “Me in a metal tube, deep underground with hundreds of people in the most aggressive city in the world?” Hulk (2008)
The star of “The Incredible Hulk” tends to get most of his props from fans who appreciate his portrayals by Mark Ruffalo in the Avengers films, but his standalone movie also do well to dive into his character. Bruce Banner (played by Edward Norton) has shut himself away from the world in an effort to keep the beast inside at bay. He learns breathing techniques, avoids conflict, and generally keeps his head down. In this instance he is faced with attempting to traverse New York City without alerting authorities. His girlfriend Betty suggests taking the subway to which Banner responds with the above sarcastic retort.
Banner isn’t a character known outright for his humor, so this line goes beyond even that. He’s painfully aware of his limitations in keeping the Hulk at bay, so he jibes at himself and his lack of control. Banner’s humor is self-deprecating and this feeds more into his rather sad backstory as a character in this instance. His whole life has shifted to walking on eggshells to avoid setting off the Hulk, leaving him depressed and removed from the world. Even so, it’s nice to know that even Banner can crack a joke at his own expense, especially when every one of the Avengers seems content in doing so.
14. “Your ancestors called it magic, but you call it science. I come from a land where they are one and the same.” Thor (2011)
Thor had a somewhat difficult introduction to the MCU since many of his counterparts relied heavily on science for their power. In a world populated by power armors, gamma rays and super-soldier serums, throwing in a dude who wields an ancient hammer, chucks lightning and rides across a rainbow bridge could be a bit off-putting. Luckily, “Thor” was well aware of these clashes and addressed them in a simple, yet eloquent way. The Asgardian himself shares a private moment with a scientist named Jane where he says this line and bridges their worlds through understanding.
This line is great in its natural flow for the dialogue paired with an almost Shakespearean level of depth (“a rose by any other name” and all). It easily navigates the gap for audiences who have become used to the more technologically driven MCU heroes by giving Thor an even ground to stand on. It speaks to him as well, because even though he’s a character that talks in a poetic manner and fights like a god, he wants people to understand that Asgard is the same as Earth, just with a little extra polish.
13. “You know who I am. You don’t know where I am. And you’ll never see me coming.” Iron Man 3 (2013)
This chilling line was uttered by none other than the Mandarin in Iron Man’s third film entry. The villain was introduced in the film through a series of videos shot guerilla style, interspersing his discussion with B-roll of violent happenings around the globe. Perceived as a terrorist in the movie, the Mandarin was supposed to be an all-encompassing evil that couldn’t be uncovered or stopped. This was nailed home further with the above fantastic line, especially since we then unfortunately found out who he “really” was.
Despite the poor follow through, this was a great line that stuck with viewers. The Mandarin was presented as a terrifying, charismatic serial killer that controlled people with his words. His quote here struck very quickly at Tony Stark’s already fragile sense of safety and normalcy in the film, who was dealing with PTSD after the events of the first Avengers film. Mandarin wasn’t just scary, he was bold in never (supposedly) hiding his identity from the public and claiming to be walking among the masses, waiting for an opportunity to strike. This line really gave audiences a very unsettling impression of this villain all the way through the movie. Well, at least until we met Trevor.
12. “Hulk SMASH!” The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Finally! After not hearing much speech from Hulk’s side of things in the 2003 film by Ang Lee, the 2008 MCU movie “The Incredible Hulk” gave an on-screen moment to the green beast where he says his iconic line during a massive battle with The Abomination. What’s so fantastic about it is that it’s not just a throwaway line like the more common “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” quote that gets shoehorned into every film. No, this catchphrase has been prevalent in comics for decades and deserved a proper ode in the MCU.
The line showed audiences that the Hulk was an actual separate being from Banner and not just Bruce experience some sort of gamma-ray-induced roid rage, something that audiences hadn’t definitively seen in the movies up until that point. In “The Incredible Hulk,” we finally that there are two distinct personalities fighting for control of the same body and that Hulk is fully capable of doing more than just grunting and roaring at the enemy. If we’re being totally honest, hearing Hulk bellow this phrase was downright thrilling.
11. “We’re still friends, right?” Captain America: Civil War (2016)
During the rather epic punch-out between Captain America’s team of heroes and Iron Man’s, Black Widow and Hawkeye found themselves on opposing sides. Widow goes toe-to-toe with the archer, getting him into a grappling hold and asking the above question. Of course Hawkeye takes it in stride, telling her that their friendship is dependent on how hard she hits him. The pair of comrades are no stranger to fighting each other (as they did in the first “Avengers” movie), and this line speaks to their understanding of the bigger picture.
This line is indicative of the characters’ long-shared history. They know they are taking different sides in this matter, but still feel they can remain allies once the battle is over, presumably similar to how they have already done in the past. It also touches on the audiences’ concerns over whether or not the heroes will be able to mend their bonds or have them broken forever.
10. “I could do this all day.” Captain America: the First Avenger (2011)
Captain America has become a bit of a fan favorite in the MCU these days, thanks in part to actor Chris Evans’ spectacular performance and his fantastic one-liners. Steve Rogers started from humble beginnings in the films as a weakling soldier who volunteered to be a guinea pig for the super soldier serum. His stalwart nature and propensity to do the right thing have remained ever present throughout his cinematic appearances. With these reoccurring themes, the above “I can do this all day” line has also popped up numerous times in each movie.
The catchphrase has become much more than a snarky comeback and more of a reminder of Captain America’s resilience in the face of trouble. Whether it be a bunch of bullies, armed soldiers or even Iron Man himself, Rogers is unrelenting in his determination. Steve stands up not just to irk his enemies, but to show them that he will not bow or break under their assault. This phrase further hammers in why his sheer force of will is his real power, not just his shield and strength.
9. “Hail Hydra.” Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
It has been quite a while since audiences had a single line of dialogue sweep the world in popularity. In Captain America’s second film, there is a key moment where folks learn that a United States senator is double-crossing his own country. In this scene, the senator whispers very quickly into a fellow agents’ ear “Hail Hydra” and the memes imploded from there.
From then on, any picture, video or gif even remotely looking like two folks whispering at each other was instantly labeled a “Hail Hydra” moment. In a somewhat meta way, the line went above and beyond it’s original revealing intention. It got folks the world over to spread Hydra’s message, even if in a joking manner. People unwittingly allowed the evil organization to infiltrate their every day lives, which is exactly what Hydra set out to do from the very beginning.
8. “The city is flying, we’re fighting an army of robots and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense.” The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Hawkeye has been given the short straw a few times in the “Avengers” films. After being mind controlled for much of his debut, Clint Barton changed to a more offensive role when “Age of Ultron” hit. He delivers this line when comforting a panicking Scarlet Witch in the middle of battle with Ultron’s robots. This line worked twofold in poking a bit of fun at the characters’ skill set within the team, and his attitude towards being a superhero.
Even as an expert archer with a slew of tech-heavy arrows at his disposal, Barton is still having to compete alongside his fellow Avengers who wield super powers or heavy magical weapons. In saying this, Clint is pretty much acknowledging his relative uselessness against such an army, but doesn’t let that stop him in the least. He knows the odds are against him and chooses to soldier on anyway because he knows it’s the right thing to do. Hawkeye might have shown that he was flabbergasted at the state of the battle, but he also displayed his courage in protecting people no matter the circumstances.
7. “We have a Hulk.” The Avengers (2012)
A fantastic comeback from the arsenal of Tony Stark, this line was born from a conversation between the billionaire philanthropist and the rogue Asgardian, Loki. In the scene, Loki quips that he has an entire army of Chitauri warriors at his disposal to take over Earth and Tony replies unshaken with the above line. Granted, the quote can be taken at face value, but it goes so much further than that.
Yes, Tony does a fair estimation of the Hulk’s abilities with this. The green beast of an Avenger manages to take down a multitude of the Chitauri singlehandedly, including a nasty, flying, whale-looking monster. However, Stark’s line takes it a step above because it’s a display of the teams’ faith in one another. Even when faced with impossible odds, Tony readily proclaims that their arsenal is up to par although he hasn’t seen any of what’s coming. It’s a line reflective of the Avengers, as they remain stalwart in the face of their enemies and rise above the impending threats.
6. “Underoos!” Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had to take interesting paths due to several of their mainstay characters not actually being usable by the studio due to multiple licensing contracts over the years. Spider-Man was one such character, still owned by Sony Pictures, that was forbidden from being featured in MCU films without Sony’s permission. Many fans thought he would never get in on the huge movie adaptation of the major “Civil War” comic event that he took part in. However, after many negotiations between the companies, Tony Stark raised his hands, bellowed “underoos!” and fans went wild at what followed.
The line is definitely more than just an easy snipe on Peter Parker’s relatively young age in the film or his cheesy, homemade costume. It is the call to arms that managed to bring Spidey into the fold. It’s the word that sealed the deal between two competing studios to allow for this collaboration to happen and give fans their favorite webslinger alongside all of the Avengers. The line might not be pretty or mature, but it is the definitive MCU introduction to Spider-Man everyone was waiting for.
5. “There is nothing more reassuring than realizing the world is crazier than you are.” Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Poor Dr. Erik Selvig is a prime example of the collateral damage all these super-powered punch-ups tend to create in the vast MCU. Selvig was originally mind-controlled by Loki in “The Avengers” and afterwards devolved into a crazed investigation into the cosmic event known as the convergence. While Erik has been dogging a very real threat of the alignment of worlds, his somewhat off-kilter (and pants-less) methods of research eventually got him arrested and placed into a mental hospital. The good scientist gets a bit of reprieve when, during “Thor: The Dark World,” he bears witness to signs that the convergence actually is happening. Selvig utters the above line and gleefully dumps his gallon-sized Ziploc of meds in the trash.
Erik’s line is not only a bit of personal happiness for the character, but also shows just how everyday people have to adjust to this superhero-filled world. Heroes who bend the laws of physics, blend science with magic, and unleash unstoppable power. These things would be difficult for a regular person to come to terms with, much less a leading scientist like Selvig.
4. “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.” Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Drax the Destroyer was an almost instant hit with fans when “Guardians of the Galaxy” debuted in 2014. The brawler had a difficult time adjusting to his teammates at first because of how he struggled with subtleties. When specifically told that metaphors would “go over his head,” he responded in kind with this quote.
What is truly amazing about this line is how it resonated with audiences, especially those who have (or know someone that has) autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Drax’s issues with literal interpretations and other social skill hurdles were reminiscent of traits for these conditions. Fans from all over reported their excitement with such a character that mirrored their own circumstances, and yet was still a superhero whom helped people. One example of a young autistic boy who looked up to the character went viral, since he also struggled with metaphors and the like. Drax’s lines weren’t just outright funny, they communicated to audience members that truly anyone could be a superhero.
3. “You still think you’re the only monster on the team?” The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
In a rare moment of calm, the Avengers hide away at Hawkeye’s farm house to recover from their battle with Ultron. Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner have a conversation about their potential romantic future, which leads to Romanoff divulging her past to Bruce. She tells him all about her history at an assassin training facility and that she was sterilized as part of the program. Once this information is in the open, she follows up with her “monster” line, which garnered a lot of criticism and debate.
The phrase was charged enough that fans temporarily drove writer/director Joss Whedon off Twitter following the films’ debut. Many critics felt that the line portrayed Widow as ashamed of her infertility. Whedon later clarified that the line was more so directed at Romanoff’s actions while she acted as a full-time assassin, hence she feels like a “monster” for killing so many people in the past. Whatever side you landed on it, Natasha’s line was polarizing and incurred a huge debate in its wake. No small feat for only ten words.
2. “We are Groot.” Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
How much an overused line can impact you with a slight change is apparently dependent on only switching two words. Throughout his “Guardians of the Galaxy” debut, Groot is a lovable tree/bounty hunter who travels alongside the fiery Rocket Raccoon. Groot doesn’t speak beyond three words proclaiming his name, so he’s consistent if nothing else. In a moment of self-sacrifice, the guardian shields his teammates when the ship they’re on is crashing into ground. When asked by Rocket why he’s doing this, Groot merely responds “We are Groot” and then gets obliterated by the impact.
Groot’s line is solidarity and heart at its best. Given that the character didn’t have an expanded vocabulary, he was best understood by audiences through his facial expressions, tone of voice, and movements. This line fully showed the amount of care he had for his friends, not merely respecting them, but legitimately considering them a part of him and showing how his affection for them helped him change. And if you’re reaching for the Kleenex don’t worry, he’s on the mend in the next film.
1. “That’s my secret Captain, I’m always angry.” The Avengers (2012)
One of the biggest mic drop lines ever to be uttered within the Marvel Cinematic Universe belongs to the one and only Bruce Banner. Throughout “The Avengers,” much of team inquires as to how the scientist has remained without incident in unleashing the Hulk for so long. Finally when faced with a battle against a Chitauri army, Banner willingly unleashes the beast, revealing his real secret is remaining angry.
This line put a great spin on the Hulk and Banner dichotomy within the MCU. Bruce consistently seems like a character at the mercy of the Hulk, worried that he’ll unwittingly release him, but it turns out to be completely wrong. Banner remains as angry as his counterpart. He arguably has plenty to be miffed about regarding his situation and place in the world, so it likely comes easy to him. The phrase also further defines Banner in an interesting way, because while he outside of the Hulk is largely seen as non-threatening, now there are indications that he’s a bit more crazy than we thought. Rather than being shown as complete opposites, this line displays that Banner himself might be far more aligned with the Hulk in perspective than anyone else. An interesting, if not a little scary, prospect indeed.
Are there any other iconic MCU lines of dialogue we omitted from this list? Let us know in the comments!
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