Whether or not you are a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you have to admit that the films have done a whole lot in terms of bringing Marvel’s comic book characters back into the mainstream. Characters like Groot and Hawkeye have become household names, and in 2017 that amount of media presence and mainstream exposure always leads to the production of one of the most consumable innovations of the digital age: memes. If you were hoping that your favorite Marvel characters might escape becoming memes after appearances on the big screen, you’re out of luck.
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We have yet to hit phase four of the MCU, and Marvel memes have attracted so much attention that some have even gone viral, becoming templates for further meme production. Honestly, it’s not surprising. Between intense action scenes and dramatic close ups, the over-the-top nature of Marvel’s superhero movies provides the internet with a wealth of meme-worthy stills from which to create new content. In the last few years, memes have taken the internet and social media platforms by storm. They’re easy to make, easy to consume and have become a socially acceptable topic of conversation. As such, here are 17 of our favorite MCU memes from across the web.
17 AN INCREDIBLE OBSERVATION
Many people drew parallels between the Fantastic Four and the family that makes up The Incredibles -- we mean, they’ve pretty much got the same powers! Another comparison some fans drew between Marvel, and arguably the most successful non-Marvel/DC movie was between a pair of siblings in both films.
Dash and Violet, as this meme suggests, are pretty similar to the MCU portrayals of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in that Dash and Quicksilver are both extremely confident and have super speed. Violet and Scarlet Witch are both strange, introverted and have similarly mystical powers (while the former’s are more like Invisible Woman’s and Scarlet Witch can alter reality). It’s the second panel that hits us the hardest. Even in death, Quicksilver can’t seem to catch a break -- too bad he couldn’t have caught those bullets!
16 ANT'S APPROVAL
Finally, the Ant-Man fans get a solid meme to post in the comment section. While Ant-Man (aka Scott Lang) is definitely one of the lesser known heroes to inhabit Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, he provides a great deal of comic relief. When compared to pretty much any Earth-based hero in the MCU (aside from Spider-Man), Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is easily the comedic standout.
Between his general lack of what is considered a superheroic demeanor, and the nervous monologuing that acts as a soundtrack to the novice hero’s action sequences, Ant-Man’s role as the "nervous n00b" was all but cemented during Captain America: Civil War. But still, at the end of the day, Ant-Man gets stuff done. And you know what? We’d be proud to have his approval.
15 CAP REACTS ONLY
Captain America is known as “the First Avenger”. Cap is one of Marvel’s oldest properties, and has been with the publisher since before it became "Marvel". Thanks to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, fans have finally been able to place a human face on the iconic character, rather than associating him with one rendition by any of the myriad of artists who’ve drawn him over the last seven decades.
For many fans, especially those who were familiarized with the character by the movies before the comics, Chris Evans IS Captain America. That is why this meme is so rad -- it is essentially a comprehensive mood board. Feeling a certain kind of way? Crop this meme to show your specific emotion, and throw a Cap-React into the comments!
14 STOP LOOKING AT MEMES AND PAY ATTENTION!
Since you’re reading this list, we’re just going to go ahead and assume that you’ve had some sort of formal schooling. As such, you can definitely relate to what is probably the most adorable meme on the list. Baby Groot stole the show in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, and with good reason. Baby Groot was so expressive!
He gave us so many great, meme-able moments. Even though Baby Groot did not actually find himself lost in the middle of a lesson, the expression on his face can be seen on at least one face in every classroom. If you don’t believe us, take a look around the next time you’re in a boring class and the teacher starts unpackaging a new topic.
13 BEST CASTING EVER
Samuel L. Jackson was the perfect actor to play MCU’s Nick Fury, no question. The character’s comic book counterpart in the Ultimate Universe was literally modeled after Jackson and everyone knows that this decision paid off. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury gave life to the character -- one of the world’s greatest super spies with a disdain for bureaucracy and the expertise to back up his rule breaking.
This meme references a specific moment in The Avengers where the council in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its Avengers Initiative has decided to slam the breaks on the program in the midst of a Loki-orchestrated invasion. Luckily, Fury’s there to call them out, just like you can be whenever you see someone making stupid decisions on social media.
12 LOKI = SKRILLEX
Oh god, remember when Skrillex was a really big deal? Remember when electronic music went through a shift so dramatic, that wacky and atonal drops were the name of the game? No? Us too, we blocked out the dark era that birthed dubstep, as everyone should. But according to this meme, you know who didn’t? Thor’s brother, and the big bad of The Avengers, Loki.
The God of Mischief’s actor (Tom Hiddleston) bears a slight resemblance to Skrillex, though it’s probably just the hair. In the era of dubstep, “Yo, just wait until the bass drops, dude.” was a sentence that got said a whole lot more than it does today. The only thing less tasteful than dubstep? Sending a giant airship hurtling towards the ground in an attempt to kill a whole mess of innocent people.
11 THOR'S NEW HAIRCUT
Everyone has been here at least once. You needed a haircut, badly. But for whatever reason, your regular stylist was not able to fit you into their schedule. Maybe you had a wedding to get to, or an important interview coming up. Doesn’t matter, either way -- because whoever cut your hair didn’t listen to your instructions, and now you look like crap.
This meme comes from Thor: Ragnarok -- and even though it hasn’t hit theatres yet, the trailers have been providing more than enough meme fodder to keep the internet excited. Even though we’re sad to see Thor’s long hair go, he was long overdue for another. Hopefully you’ll be able to find the silver lining in your stupid haircut, just like we did for Thor’s.
10 THE MEME TITAN
While we have yet to see a lengthy on screen appearance of Josh Brolin’s Thanos, if his portrayal stays even remotely true to the comics, the Mad Titan will care little for politics. When you’re all powerful, who needs to pay attention to politics or bureaucracy? This meme is perfect for channeling Thanos, even if you don’t feel like bending the universe, and the very fabric of reality to your will.
In Thanos’ case, politics are tiring because he believes that he is above them (sorry, no one is). But being active on social media means being bombarded by politics around the clock. And you know what? Everybody needs a break now and again. This meme just makes it a bit easier to make it known.
9 THE INFAMOUS DRESS
This meme makes our list not because it is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most successful memes, which it is, but because it adds a whole ‘nother viral meme to it. Remember that dress? You know, the one that no one could tell exactly just what color it was? The internet went absolutely nuts over that dress for at least a couple of weeks.
Why? Well, it sparked a whole lot of pointless back and forth, but it didn’t really have an actual impact, did it? According to this meme, it sure did. In a world inhabited by superheroes and supervillains with the power to level entire cities in seconds, how far-fetched is it that a silly argument might go just a little bit too far?
8 THOR & LOKI
The tenuous relationship between two brothers usually makes for pretty good entertainment. And don’t you know how much '90s kids love memes? Combine some brotherly drama and a piping hot serving of nostalgia, and you’ve got yourself a dank meme. This meme draws a parallel between Drake and Josh from the hit Nickelodeon show of the same name, and Asgard’s own Thor and Loki.
By casting Loki as the charismatic Drake Bell and Thor as the more noble (but hapless) Josh Peck, this meme plays at '90s kid nostalgia so hard that there’s no punchline needed. The meme takes an iconic moment from Drake and Josh, and uses it to remind audiences that despite the immense power at their fingertips, the Asgardian gods are still little more than quarrelling siblings.
7 THE GIRL YOU LIKE
Even though Emma Stone’s portrayal of Gwen Stacy was technically outside of the MCU, we decided that we we’re giving this meme a pass. This is a pretty excellent adaptation of a pretty popular meme known as “The Girl You Like”. Even though the MCU’s relationships don’t exactly fit within the parameters of the meme template, the sentiment of each character choice is there.
Thanos and the Hulk are both terrifying, as are the Asgardians, Thor & Loki. You, being pre-super Soldier Serum Steve Rogers, are going to have a pretty rough time making a good impression on the girl you like when you’re worrying about how you compare to Bruce Banner/the Hulk and the Winter Soldier. Chances are, you probably wouldn’t look too good.
6 SWEET RELIEF
Every MCU film that Captain America (aka Steve Rogers) has appeared in has in some way referenced his total lack of familiarity with the last 60-odd years of pop culture. After being frozen since the '40s, Cap had to have been pretty culture shocked when he realized he missed out on decades of America’s cultural development.
That explains why in The Avengers, Steve was so excited that he actually understood Nick Fury’s The Wizard of Oz reference when he said Loki had turned two of the smartest men into "flying monkeys", because the movie came out before Steve was frozen. The smile on Steve’s face when he finally understood a reference was so wholesome. Imagine the relief he must have felt after being so confused by every single pop culture reference dropped in conversation!
5 GUARDIANS OF THE...WHAT?
This is easily one of our favorite MCU memes. Making its debut ahead of the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, this meme’s success lies in its use of nostalgia, as well as its conflicting art styles. At a quick glance, it might appear like the actual team lineup, but its poor editing and frank caption make it hilarious. The meme rips characters from video games, television and movies to round out its fake lineup. Every character is just a little off.
Instead of Star-Lord, we get Chris Pratt’s much-less-in-shape Andy from Parks and Recreation. Gamora is replaced by the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Drax is Kratos of God of War fame. Rocket Raccoon is replaced with RJ from Over the Hedge. The funniest part? Easily Groot’s replacement: Sudowoodo from Pokemon.
4 FASTER THAN A SPEEDING...NEVERMIND
Poor Quicksilver. After appearing in two separate cinematic universes, it became that neither of them were prepared to give the character his due. Unfortunately for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the character, this came in the form of a fairly swift death. Because of his limited screen time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Quicksilver (aka Pietro Maximoff) quickly became the butt of many a meme.
This one, though hilarious, was particularly brutal. As powerful as he was, Quicksilver did not die as a result of his own shortcomings. He was killed during Avengers: Age of Ultron while protecting Hawkeye, who as you all know is the only member of the Avengers without any superhuman abilities or advanced technology elevating himself to superhuman levels. Guess you just weren’t fast enough to save yourself too, huh Pietro?
3 NO MORE FUNNY BUSINESS
Some of you who have been using the internet for quite some time might remember the pseudo meme that was "rustled jimmies", but for those of you aren’t familiar with the phrase, here’s a rundown. To "rustle one’s jimmies" is best explained with another idiom -- "grinding one’s gears". Essentially, if someone says their jimmies are rustled, they’re probably a little bit ticked off.
Captain America would never intentionally rustle someone’s jimmies -- he’s far too nice. In the context of the MCU, Cap is best known as an extremely patriotic and courteous hero, whose politeness sometimes borders on the ridiculous. Cap never swears, and reminds his fellow Avengers to watch their language. So obviously, Cap wouldn’t say he was "pissed off". This meme plays off of the first Avenger’s patriotism and politeness exceptionally well.
2 THE WEB OF YOUTH
If you have paid any sort of attention to the casts of any of the Spider-Man movies to come out in the last decade or so, you must have noticed how the actors playing Peter Parker and Aunt May, without a doubt, two of the most important characters to the story, seem to look a bit different each time.
While we here at CBR are all about representation in comics and film, this isn’t about that -- the characters both seem to be getting younger. Somehow Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland were all playing a high school aged Peter Parker? Yeah, okay. Stranger still, Aunt May has gone from the tender and supportive elderly woman we all know from the comics to being the "attractive, young, fun aunt". Maybe the next rendition will be a toddler Peter and a teen-aunt May?
1 FROZEN FIGHT
This scene from the Captain America: Civil War trailer became a meme of its own right, serving as a template for others to make more memes, and it’s pretty easy to see why. The style of the meme is simple, easy and widely applicable. Almost any disagreement or variance in opinion could be tacked onto the template to make a total gut-buster.
The Superhero Civil War might have been of greater significance in the comics than in the heavily abridged MCU retelling, but that doesn’t diminish the humor in this meme. Can you imagine? Cap and Iron Man have differing opinions about two of the more recent Disney princess movies -- the only logical way to resolve the disagreement? That one is easy: all-out war.
Which MCU meme is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!