The Marvel Cinematic Universe just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Iron Man, the film that kicked off the franchise, was released in 2008, and the MCU has been churning out superhero films every since. The impact that that Marvel has had on the film industry cannot be underestimated: it was the first to do interconnected films that connected to audiences. While DC has tried to replicate Marvel’s success, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the gold standard to beat. Phase 4 is shaping up to quite exciting with new Captain Marvel cast members who are women of color joining the Marvel family.
While it’s clear that the MCU’s cast, crew, and creators are a family, this idea of family also extends into the films they’re making. However, the family relationships in the films are often where the conflict lies. Many of the films, especially in Phase 3, have dealt with complicated father issues. It’s rare to see a family that is well-adjusted in the MCU, but it sure does give the opportunity for great memes. From siblings, to parents, to aunts, we certainly have our fill of interesting MCU family relationships to poke fun at. Here at CBR, we’ve rounded up the best Marvel Family memes.
15 NO IN BETWEEN
Perhaps the fan-favorite sibling relationship in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki and Thor haven’t always seen eye to eye. The first Thor film gives Loki’s backstory when Odin confesses that Loki is an adopted Frost Giant. Loki has never felt like the golden child, and this furthers the divide between him and his family. Thor loves his brother, however, no matter how many times he’s stabbed him (which, according to Thor: Ragnarok, was a reoccuring event).
Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok showed that Loki could step up to the plate when his family and world need him. While we know that there’s a chance that Loki can turn again, we also know that there is in fact no in between for these brothers. They’re either going to butt heads or save the world.
14 #1 WORST DAD
We as audience members have seen Thanos spending a lot of time in a floating chair being powerful and purple. Imagine this guy being your dad. Gamora and Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy were raised by Thanos, but father of the year he was not. Thanos would train his “daughters” by making them fight against each other over and over.
While Gamora and Nebula do know how to kick major butt, they clearly still struggle with connecting to people because of who raised them. This is especially true in Nebula’s case, as Thanos would replace one of her body parts with robotics whenever she lost. Outside the ring, Thanos probably was a passive aggressive dad who would compare the two of them over breakfast. We don’t need that with our eggs and bacon, thanks.
13 GET THIS MAN
It’s good to be the King of Wakanda and Black Panther. While he has a royal court and trusted advisors, in the end, the decisions are his to make. We see this with his address to the United Nations, where he states that the world needs to focus on building bridges, not barriers. For the first time, T’Challa is the one who opens up Wakanda’s borders for refugees.
T’Challa is also a problem solver. In the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, he notices that Captain America needs a new shield. He emphatically states, “Get this man a shield.” And it is done. If T’Challa were in charge of the Avengers, he would definitely get stuff done, let’s be honest. However, when it comes to Loki and Thor, it may not go as well, but he’d at least try.
12 WHAT ARE THOSE??
Shuri had a lot of great lines in Black Panther, and she was truly the breakout character of the film. She is now beloved by all, and there’s already plenty of fanart and memes starring her. Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, has also been embraced by MCU fans, as we have been looking forward to a youthful Peter Parker for quite some time.
One of the meetings we can’t wait for is when the young prodigy scientists meet each other: Peter Parker and Shuri. They will probably hype each other up about the latest technology, and they could definitely team up to drag their “family”: Tony Stark and T’Challa. Shuri has proven herself to be a meme queen, and artist Corina Tu captures this perfectly. The Peter Parker assist makes this image even funnier.
11 THE AVENGERS AND THEIR WEAPONS
The Avengers each have their own unique choice of weapon. Iron Man uses his arc reactors (and his brain). Captain America uses his shield (and his patriotism). Hawkeye, of course, is an archer while Black Widow prefers guns and awesome martial arts moves. Hulk, meanwhile, prefers to use his smashing fists.
Up until Thor: Ragnarok, Thor’s weapon of choice was Mjolnir, his hammer. Mew mew gets destroyed early on in Thor: Ragnarok, and Thor has to get used to fighting without his trusty hammer. We’re also introduced to a move from Thor and Loki’s childhood called “Get Help,” which is actually effective in getting guards out of the way. It’s not the best look for Loki, though, since getting hurled into a group of people isn’t very dignified.
10 THE ASGARDIAN NECK GRAB
On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of similarities between Odin’s children. Hela was the first child, and her views in life are quite dark. She has no problem with bloodshed and destruction if it means she’s in power. Loki desires power, and he’s certainly done his fair share of scheming. But, in the end, he looks truly moved at his father’s death. And then there’s Thor, the golden retriever personified who loves hard and hits even harder.
In the lineup of Odin’s children, it looks like Thor is the one who was adopted, not Loki. The family resemblance really comes out when the Asgardian kids are fighting. All three of them seem to like a move where they grab their opponent by the neck.
9 THE LION (PANTHER) KING
When Disney brought Marvel Studios into the family, two of the things we love most came together. Disney has money, which means there’s bound to be more of the things we love. Princess Leia is now considered a Disney princess, and with Princess Shuri’s debut in Black Panther, the same can be said of her as well.
While the MCU has had some heartbreaking moments, let us not forget the moment that scarred our childhood: Mufasa falling to the wildebeest stampede below him. To this day, we cry over young JTT’s voice crying out for his dad. When T’Chaka died in Captain America: Civil War, it was another African tragedy. And T’Challa didn’t even get a talking warthog and meerkat to help him sort through the aftermath.
There are times when Steve Rogers is too pure for this world. He is woefully behind on a lot of pop culture references, so his confusion is adorable. He’s really only loved one woman for his whole life thus far. Another way where he’s a sweet angel is how he refers to boudoir activities as “fondue.”
When the Avengers hide away at Clint Barton’s house, they had no idea that Hawkeye was a married man with a family. Laura Barton, Clint’s wife, is surprisingly perceptive about Bruce and Natasha’s chemistry, and she supports her husband. Wife of the year award! While everyone was surprised with Clint having a family, no one was probably more surprised than Steve. Clint having kids meant that he must’ve “fondued.”
7 NEW DAD TONY STARK
The relationship between Tony Stark and his dad was already strained, and then his parents got into an accident (that turned out to be a hit that the Winter Soldier carried out). As Tony got older, he has become rather self-involved, as billionaire playboy philanthropists are. He’s never been a mentor to someone until he met Peter Parker.
When Peter first begins his venture into being Spider-Man, he makes his own makeshift suit. He gets on Tony’s radar, and Tony gifts him with a suit. Like a dad, he puts training wheels, so to speak, on the suit and for good reason: the suit has a lot of complicated functions. When Peter disobeys his orders, Tony takes away his suit only to give him another one at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
6 UNCLE TONY
We knew that the chemistry between Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark wasn’t an accident. They have been in a film together before. Only You is a 1994 romantic comedy starring these two actors where Marisa’s character believes from a young age that her true love will have the name “Damon Bradley.” Guess what Robert Downey Jr.’s character’s name is?
The conflict arises because Marisa’s character meets Damon a little over a week before her wedding to another man. Like a good romantic comedy, the two leads eventually end up happily together. This means Aunt May and Tony Stark do have a romantic past! While this delights us, don’t tell Peter. It may be too much information for him to handle.
5 BAD PARENT
The Odin and Hela relationship is fascinating to unpack. We learned in Thor: Ragnarok that Asgardian history has been edited to show only the peaceful stories, not the bloodshed that the Asgardian empire was built on. The scene where Hela reveals the paintings of Asgard’s true history is shocking. We knew Odin could be formidable, but we had no idea that he led those battles with his own daughter.
While we thought Loki got the short end of the stick, Hela has been treated much worse by Odin. He locked her away! Loki had a stint in Asgard’s prison, but it was nothing like Hela’s experience. We know that our parents are humans, and they’re not always going to make the best decisions, but it’s hard for us to build a case for how Odin was a good father.
4 SHARE A COKE
Coca-Cola’s commercials are always heartwarming. One of their most successful campaigns was “Share a Coke” where the cans and bottles had names of people to share your Coke with. This led to some fun scavenger hunts for your loved one’s names. To make it easier, some of the cans simply said “Mom” or “Dad.”
Now, something that the MCU, DCEU, and the Arrowverse have in common is messed up father/son relationships. We have many examples out of the MCU: Tony Stark and his dad Howard, T’Challa and T’Chaka, Thor (and Loki and Hela) and Odin, Peter Quill and Ego -- the list goes on. If all these guys attended group therapy with Barry Allen, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Oliver Queen, the tears would never stop.
A parent/child rite of passage is the child having to explain technology to their parent. Not only does this require hours of explanation, it usually requires demonstrating how to use the thing (multiple times), and ultimately, everyone ends up yelling at one another, or they all get a drink. The children are our future, but only if they can survive showing one of their parents how to check their email on their phone (it’s not hard)!
While Tony Stark isn’t actually Peter Parker’s dad, he’s kind of assumed a father figure role for Peter. While Tony isn’t interested in being a parent, Peter does look up to him and his genius. One thing that Peter likely won’t have to worry about any time soon is having to explain a new piece of technology to Tony.
2 FAMILY CONNECTION
Because of Steve Rogers’ age, he actually has a connection with Tony Stark’s father. In the first Captain America film, Steve Rogers undergoes his dramatic Super Soldier transformation in the presence of Howard Stark. Once scrawny, Steve is now tall and strapping. Howard is clearly impressed with the procedure, as is Peggy Carter.
Steve was already a soldier with heart, but the serum gave him a soldier body. Everyone in that room, and the theater, was checking out those abs. Steve is now the perfect specimen in both mind and body, which can be annoying. As Tony says, “Sometimes I just want to punch you in your perfect teeth.” It seems as though Steve’s only flaw is being too perfect (and maybe a touch too idealistic).
1 IF I FITS, I SITS
One of the reasons why the Black Panther film is so groundbreaking is that it features multiple complex black female characters. Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje, is strong and loyal to the throne. Nakia, the War Dog spy, is able to quickly adapt to her surroundings as a spy, but she also stays true to her core beliefs. Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, is a leader in technology. She also has the ability to roast her older brother at any occasion.
T’Challa is the King and Black Panther of Wakanda, but that doesn’t mean he’s safe from getting roasted by all the amazing women in his life. Okoye and Shuri call him out on freezing because of Nakia in front of his mom. Shuri also calls him out when he wears open-toed shoes in her lab. It’s how these characters show love for T’Challa.