Not all of us are as incredibly quick witted as someone like Drax the Destroyer, who once famously quipped that "nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I will catch them." Drax said this while acknowledging his understanding of metaphors in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but if we're being honest, we think the same would apply if Drax happened to be talking about his understanding of basic jokes. After all, if any character in the Marvel Universe can understand and take a simple joke, it would be Drax, obviously. Now, if our readers can understand that that entire opening section we just did was a joke in itself, then our readers may be clever and ahead of the curve. We wish we could say the same when trying to catch all of the hidden jokes within Marvel movies.
Marvel -- especially the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- has a knack for being wildly clever with how they place their jokes. While there are plenty of jokes which audiences may not even be able to catch until a second or third viewing, there are some hidden jokes that audiences who have seen certain Marvel films dozens of times still have not caught on to. In some cases, the filmmakers behind the scenes put in an inside joke that only the cast and crew will never understand, leaving the audience stunned and confused forever. There are countless jokes like that in Marvel movies, and we compiled a little list to give it our best shot to reveal some of those hidden jokes and easter eggs that the average viewer had surely missed.
22 END CREDITS MESSAGE DURING THE GOTG
The first two Guardians of the Galaxy films are filled with dozens upon dozens of subtle jokes and hidden sight gags that viewers may not catch until the second or third viewing. One sight gag that often goes overlooked by audiences is the message that pops up at the end of the credits for both the first film and Vol. 2.
The message -- strongly referring to characters Rocket Raccoon and Groot -- reads as follows: "No raccoons or tree creatures were harmed during the making of this feature. The same cannot be said for handler's of said raccoons and tree creatures."
21 HUMAN TORCH IN CAPTAIN AMERICA
Going into the first Captain America movie, The First Avenger, everyone knew Chris Evans from his prior work as Johnny Storm -- aka The Human Torch -- in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. As both a nod to Evans's previous work and as a joke, the production team behind The First Avenger managed to sneak The Human Torch into the film.
Many of us missed it because it was an in costume model of the original android version of The Human Torch. The model can be found in the background of the Stark Expo in a glass tube.
20 INDIANA JONES REFERENCE IN CAPTAIN AMERICA
In the middle of Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull quips that "the Fuhrer digs for trinkets in the desert." To many at first glance, it sounds like nothing more than a throwaway line, but it is actually a subtle nod to the Indiana Jones films. Specifically, a reference to the first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Hitler sent his men to deserts in Africa and the Middle East looking for the Ark of the Covenant.
The film's director, Joe Johnson, won an Oscar for his visual effects work on Raiders, while Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige cites Raiders as a source of inspiration for First Avenger's aesthetic.
19 RAY PARK'S NOD TO DARTH MAUL IN X-MEN
There is a scene in X-Men where Toad, played by Ray Park, is fighting against Storm, Jean Grey, and Cyclops and for no particular reason decides to pick up a pipe and spin it around his back, like martial artist wielding a staff.
Visually, it just looks like a silly thing for a silly villain to do, but in reality, Park did this little spin as a little nod to a character he played the previous year in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Park played Darth Maul, a villain who also spun around his lightsaber all the time like a staff.
18 BIG LEBOWSKI REFERENCE IN IRON MAN
Prior to squaring up toe to toe with Tony Stark in Iron Man as Obadiah Stane, Jeff Bridges played The Dude in The Big Lebowski, a role which remains Bridges's most well known character to date over the course of his long and illustrious career. The filmmakers behind Iron Man decided to slip a subtle nod to The Dude in the scene where we catch a glimpse of Stane's computers files.
In this scene, we learn that Stane sent his weapons to a ship in Long Beach called MSC Lebowski. A closer glimpse at the files reveals actual dialogue from The Big Lebowski script in fine print.
17 ALYSSA MILANO IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
One of the key aspects of Star-Lord's character in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is that the man is, essentially, literally a man child in that he was plucked from the earth in the '80s when he was just a small boy. This means that most of his references have to do with Footloose, John Stamos, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
This is all the more fitting when it comes to naming his precious ship The Milano. The Milano is a reference to none other than '80s era it girl, Alyssa Milano, who James Gunn confirmed was a childhood crush of Star-Lord's when he was a kid.
16 PRODUCER GRANT CURTIS SUED IN SPIDER-MAN
Grant Curtis served as a producer on all three of the original Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man films, and in the first film, whoever designed the Daily Bugle newspapers for the movie decided to give a small blink and you miss it nod to the producer.
In one scene, we get a glimpse of a copy of that day's Daily Bugle newspaper, and in the corner, there is a small additional story on the front page referring to an "international playboy" conveniently named Grant Curtis who is currently being sued for palimony. Palimony refers to money owed to one party in a marriage in the aftermath of a separation.
15 SPIDER-MAN 2 NOD TO SPECIAL EFFECTS DIRECTOR
Right before we see Mary Jane Watson act in her theater show in Spider-Man 2, we see her standing in front a poster promoting an upcoming show at the theater -- a production of The Importance of Being Earnest to be more specific, which Mary Jane is actually starring in -- and one of the reviews reads that "J. Frazier is especially effective!"
The phrasing on that compliment may come off as a little strange, but it is actually a subtle nod to the members on the film's production team, James Frazier, who worked on the film as a special effects director.
14 THOR DONALD BLAKE REFERENCE
In the comic books, The Mighty Thor has a secret mild mannered identity as Donald Blake. While Thor has no such thing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is a reference to the name in the first film which serves as a small wink to audiences who know about Donald Blake.
In the film, while hiding away in exile with Jane Foster, Thor is given clothes from her ex-boyfriend, who happens to be named Donald Blake. Later, Selvig gets Thor released from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody by convincing all of them he was actually a physician by the name of Donald Blake.
13 COSTUME DESIGNER LAIRD SHOUTOUT IN DEADPOOL 2
When the teaser trailer for Deadpool 2 dropped, there was one thing that fans everywhere were focused on more than the visuals themselves. Everyone was trying to figure out just who the heck Laird was after Deadpool tried to call some costumer named Laird. Then, in the film, right before jumping out of a convoy, he quips "Laird, hit it!"
No one in the film is named Laird -- nobody IN the film. Now, behind the camera is a different story. The mention of Laird is a complete inside joke that only those working behind the scenes will get. Laird is the name of a costume designer working on the film.
12 TONY STARK EATING BERRIES WAS IMPROVISED IN THE AVENGERS
During one scene in The Avengers, Tony Stark is seen munching on a tub of blueberries while speaking to Bruce Banner and Steve Rogers, going as far as to offer his teammates a berry or two. This was actually an inside joke referring to Robert Downey Jr.'s antics on the set.
Downey was notorious for hiding food on the set so that he could eat in between takes, and sometimes even during takes. For this one scene at least, it looks like director Joss Whedon just decided to run with the gag and allowed Downey in character to gallivant throughout the scene chewing on his container of food.
11 KORG, PAPER, SCISSORS!
This almost goes without saying, but the character of Korg in Thor: Ragnarok is essentially a giant rock who became one of the most popular characters in the film. And because Taika Watiti fancies himself as a clever writer, he decided to use Korg as a source of a full blown rock, paper, scissors gag, first set up by the joke made in Korg's introduction.
At one point in the film, Korg mentions he tried to start a revolution, but it didn't work because he didn't print enough pamphlets. Paper beats rock. Later in the film, he accidentally sits on and crushes his friend Miek, who has blades for hands. Rock beats scissors.
10 SLITHER BUGS IN GOTG
Prior to directing Guardians of the Galaxy, one of James Gunn's first films to ever receive major critically acclaim was Slither, a B-movie homage which featured a small South Carolina town ridden with parasitic slugs. Not one to forget the grassroots which made him famous, Gunn featured those same slugs in one of The Collector's display cases out there in Knowwhere in the Marvel movie.
Another fun connection between Slither and Guardians of the Galaxy that some audiences might have overlooked is the fact that both films star Michael Rooker in a scene stealing, and of course scenery chewing role.
9 MYSTIQUE'S COLONEL SANDERS DISGUISE IN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
An early scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past sees Mystique impersonate a member of the Armed Forces to get into the Tan Son Nhut Air Base. Before her ruse was found out, we caught a quick glimpse of her name tag, and discover that she was impersonating one Colonel Sanders.
Yes, that is correct. You read that correctly. The name of the guy who Mystique pretending to be was Colonel Sanders. Obviously, the filmmakers behind the scene thought that name dropping the founder of Colonel Sanders would get a good laugh out of any viewers who notice.
8 BOB CAMEO IN DEADPOOL
During the final end battle in Deadpool, our title character runs into an old friend named Bob, who happens to be fighting on behalf of the enemy, Ajax. We do not know much about how the two know one another, other than the fact that Deadpool and Bob did some Mercenary work together years prior at a T.G.I. Fridays in Jacksonville, and they had apparently been so chummy that Bob introduced Deadpool to his family.
To casual audiences, this was just a weird funny moment, but fans of the comics will understand this is the same Bob from the comics who worked for HYDRA and worked with Deadpool sometimes.
7 "WARNING CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE" IN AVENGERS
In The Avengers, the big tension filled moment where Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk for the first time is made all the more tension ridden when we see the big warning sign that pops up right before his transformation is complete, preluding to the madness that is to come momentarily.
In his mid-transformation, Banner slides on top of a platform on the Hellcarrier which happens to have a warning label painted on the floor that reads "WARNING CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE." Oh yes, that day, the contents were under pressure, and so was Bruce Banner. Most of us wouldn't like Banner when he's under pressure.
6 THE LOKI-MATT DAMON CAMEO IS DEEPER THAN YOU THINK
One of everyone's favorite comedic gags from Thor: Ragnarok was when Loki -- still in disguise as Odin -- arranged for a live theater show recreating an emotional moment between Loki and his brother in the last Thor film. The scene included a cameo from Matt Damon as Loki, which is actually a little deeper than some audiences may think.
In a weird way, Damon is actually reprising a character from a previous film of his. In the religious comedy film Dogma, Damon starred as Loki while paling around with Ben Affleck's Bartleby. It is also worth noting that the actor playing "Thor" is Chris Hemsworth's brother, Luke.
5 MATRIX CAMEO IN ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Marvel's most recent cinematic blockbuster, Ant-Man and The Wasp, just so happens to include among its cast Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne, who is perhaps best known for playing Morpheus, mentor to Neo, in The Matrix. And since Fishburne is practically contractually obligated to make a reference to his most popular movie every chance he gets, we get a subtle Matrix reference in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
There is a scene where we see Fishburne's teacher character in his classroom, and behind him is the formula for the Matrix math equation. Good one, Marvel, you bunch of math geeks.
4 STAR WARS HAND REFERENCES THROUGHOUT MCU
For those viewers who have had the pleasure of watching every single movie in the long and well celebrated Marvel Cinematic Universe, they may have noticed a glaring running gag: everybody gets their hand chopped off. Thor loses his hand in Thor: The Dark World. Bucky gets his whole arm ripped out in Captain America: Civil War.
Even in Marvel television shows, characters like Agent Coulson and Misty Knight have all lost their hands. There are several more examples out there, but Kevin Feige confirmed that this is a long running gag because he's a big Empire Strikes Back fan.
3 THE BLUTH COMPANY TRUCK IN CIVIL WAR
The biggest scene in Captain America: Civil War is no doubt the one pitting superheroes vs superheroes at the airport, although fans of a certain fan base may have been too distracted by a big bulbous piece of background scenery to pay attention to the action -- that big bulbous piece of background scenery being a giant blue, red, and white stair car.
The stair car was pulled straight from the set of Arrested Development where it originated, as the film's directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, decided to pay homage to their humbler beginnings as directors on the show.
2 A113 GAG IN AVENGERS
This next entry refers to an inside joke that actually has appeared in a number of other popular movies that audiences have yet to catch on to. A113 refers to a class room number at the California Institute of Arts where money of the animators at Pixar and Disney studied their craft prior to landing their dream job.
As an homage to their former alma mater, those same students made sure to insert the number in every Pixar movie, and the tradition continues to this very day. Even in The Avengers, the number made a cameo shortly after Disney acquired the rights to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
1 TOBIAS FUNKE CAMEO IN INFINITY WAR
Former Arrested Development directors Joe and Anthony Russo already gave a nod to their old show in Civil War, but they decided to do it again for Avengers: Infinity War. When the Guardians of the Galaxy visit Knowhere, one of the creatures contained in The Collector's display case is a balding, mustachioed man with blue skin and cut off jeans.
Long time fans of the series will recognize this monstrosity as Tobias Funke, a character who was always known to have an obsession with joining the Blue Man Group, and wore cut offs because he was a "never-nude." Look it up -- it's just as weird as it sounds.