Reaching the end of Phase 3, the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut shows no sign of slowing. Over the years we’ve seen Marvel Studios deftly weave a universe that encapsulates decades of comics and translates it to the medium of moving pictures. They’ve done this so seamlessly that it’s created entire generations of fans and made Iron Man, Thor and Captain America household names, even in households where there’s nary a comic book in sight. While the MCU offers us huge and innovative action scenes, amazing visuals and thrilling stories, it’s the characters that keep us coming to the movies, the Netflix series’ and the ABC shows again and again.
While Cap, Thor, Hulk, Spidey and the like are fascinating and engaging characters, we mustn’t overlook the wonderful cast of supporting characters that have been beautifully realized in the MCU. A combination of excellent casting, intelligently written dialogue and astute acting choices have rendered beloved characters like Aunt May, Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts in rich and vivid detail that made us fall in love with them all over again. These supporting characters have won us over with their wit, personality and loyalty to their protagonists. Some of them we’d entrust with out lives. Others…not so much.
15. WOULD: MARIA HILL
While the comic version of Maria Hill has fallen afoul of fans for being an aggressively bureaucratic jobsworth (like when she set a squad of S.H.I.E.L.D agents on Cap back in the first Civil War), the MCU’s Maria has always been able to look past the letter of the law and see what’s morally right. Take, for example, her refusal to be dragged into the ethical gutter by Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D and her steadfast support of the fugitive Nick Fury.
She’s whip-smart and independently minded, questioning orders even when they come from sources she trusts. She’s also proven herself to be more than proficient in combat and infiltration, and judging by actress Cobie Smulders’ performance in Jack Reacher: Never Look Back we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of her action capability. There’s a strong possibility the best is yet to come from Maria Hill.
14. WOULDN’T: BUCKY BARNES
Bucky circa 1941 was an absolute straight arrow who’d willingly take a bullet for his country or any one of his fellow countrymen. That guy, you’d trust to have your back. These days though…you’d only show this guy your back if you happened to want it perforated with bullets since he became the brainwashed assassin known as The Winter Soldier.
Decades of being frozen and defrosted while having his psyche destroyed and reassembled more times than Iron Man’s wardrobe have rendered Bucky dangerously unstable. The lethal combination of unparalleled combat skill and complete mental instability make him one severely untrustworthy character. And heaven help you if you need to use the words “Longing, Rusted, Seventeen, Daybreak, Furnace, Nine, Benign, Homecoming, One and Freight Car” in the same sentence…not that anyone ever would.
13. WOULD: YONDU UDONTA
He’s coarse, he’s arrogant and he’d put a whistling arrow through your eye as soon as look at you. At least, that’s what he’d want you to think. But beneath Yondu Udonta’s badass exterior beats a heart of gold. Even before we got to see him commit one of the MCU’s most heroic acts of self-sacrifice in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, we still got the feeling that Y0ndu was a decent caring guy deep down.
Let’s face it, there aren’t many Ravagers who’d let slip a wry smile upon finding they’d been duped out of an Infinity Stone (or maybe he just really likes Troll dolls). Given his awesome command of that arrow, he actually shows remarkable restraint with it, mostly using it to threaten. But when he does let it fly…he uses his heart. Aww!
12. WOULDN’T: STICK
Stick may be one of the smartest and most skilled fighters in the MCU, but he’s not known for his ability to play well with others. His ethos when it comes to teamwork seems to be “You scratch my back, I’ll stick a knife in yours”. He callously abandoned Matt Murdock leaving him angry and alone with a modicum of fighting ability yet no healthy outlet for it. It’s a miracle that the boy turned out as well as he did.
While his allegiances seem to lie with some unseen and unknown authority, he shows little regard for society, its laws or its most fundamental notions of morality. He’ll flatter to deceive and make you think you’re the most important person in his universe…until you cease to be of use to him.
11. WOULD: PHIL COULSON
S.H.I.E.L.D’s most delightfully unassuming field was originally intended to be a very peripheral character in the first Iron Man. His reception among audiences, however, was so enthusiastic that he went on to become the connective tissue that held Phase 1 of the MCU together. Not to mention headlining three seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and his own spin-off comic.
He’s fearless enough to put Tony Stark in his place in his own front yard, and politely threaten an Asgardian God. He’s loyal to his cause without being a slave drone, weathering the collapse and rebuilding of S.H.I.E.L.D with characteristic good grace and moral fortitude, likely inspired by his hero Captain America. He’s even stared death in the face and undergone the most painful and disturbing resurrection in TV history and come out smiling.
10. WOULDN’T: ERIK SELVIG
Don’t get us wrong, Erik is a brilliant physicist and a really great guy with a strong sense of loyalty and more compassion than you could shake a Gravimetric Spike at. Since having his brilliant mind turned inside out by Loki’s staff, however, he’s a borderline liability.
As noble of intention as he may be, his encounter with the Loki-Pokey Stick has rendered his behavior erratic, his mood unstable and his fundamental sense of logic severely flawed…and that’s on the days when he’s thought to wear pants. Though his mind has been severely scrambled, when we last looked in on him in Avengers: Age of Ultron it seemed as though he’d gotten it together somewhat. So long as he can lay off the boilermakers maybe we’ll consider trusting him again some day.
9. WOULD: PEGGY CARTER
She’s beautiful, she’s badass and she can bullseye a Hydra agent from a hundred yards away, but there’s more to this founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D than combat prowess and a flawless profile. Agent Carter is clever, resourceful and fearless and she resonated so strongly with fans that as with Agent Coulson, the MCU obliged in making a little extra room for her.
She’s demonstrated that she’s an outstanding judge of character, believing in a skinny 5’4″ asthmatic from Brooklyn who just wanted to help his country, when the rest of the Strategic Scientific Reserve was only too happy to laugh him out of Camp Lehigh. A lady of principals, she’s justly famed for her steadfast refusal to compromise when it comes to what’s right. When the whole world’s against you, Peggy’s the one who’ll stand by your side and help you fight your corner.
8. WOULDN’T: TURK BARRETT
The MCU is home to some of earth’s mightiest heroes, but it’s also the domain of earth’s sleaziest scumbags. In a universe of the devious and the dastardly, if there’s one alley rat we’d least trust with so much as our last half-eaten french fry…it’s Turk.
While he displays an admirable talent for survival, managing to do business with the likes of The Kingpin and Cottonmouth and still live to tell the tale; his amoral cynicism and lack of any discernible principles make him a character of whom we’d intensely wary if he weren’t such an inept criminal. Seriously, this guy could screw up a cup of coffee. Even on those preciously rare occasions when he actually does the right thing, it’s entirely by accident.
7. WOULD: TRISH WALKER
Jessica Jones is such a prodigious screw-up, it’s a miracle she has a single friend on the planet. She’s obnoxious, misanthropic and somehow manages to both be selfish and self-destructive. Who could stick with a human dumpster fire like that? A solid gold friend that’s who! Whatever wrongs she does and whatever chaos she invites, Trish has been by Jessica’s side. That’s the kind of loyalty we’d want in a tight spot!
While we’ve not seen her in full-blown Hellcat mode yet (in fact, we probably never will), she’s demonstrated that she’s obsessively dedicated to honing her martial arts skills and protecting herself and the people she holds dear. Plus, with years of talk show experience she’d be great conversation in your down time, too!
6. WOULDN’T: DARCY LEWIS
While we could be safe in the knowledge that Darcy wouldn’t be pursuing some kind of hidden agenda against us that’s chiefly because Darcy doesn’t seem capable of having any sort of agenda. Seriously, what is the point of Darcy? A political science major who interns for a physicist, yet appears to have learned absolutely nothing about physics between Thor films, Darcy goes way beyond the realms of “adorkable” and pitches her tend squarely in the realm of “tedious”.
Like Turk, she’s capable of accidentally doing the right thing every now and then, but unlike Turk her survival in a dangerous field is less the product of cunning and more the product of dumb luck. Whether she’s tasering demigods or ruining her friend’s dates, Darcy’s unique brand of disarray is best avoided.
5. WOULD: FOGGY NELSON
Franklin “Foggy” Nelson might not be able to match the likes of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones or Iron Fist in terms of physical prowess but his keen legal mind, fierce loyalty and dogged determination make him exactly the kind of “avocado at law” you’d want in your corner if you happened to fall on the wrong side of it. Let’s face it, there’s a reason the firm’s called Nelson and Murdock, not the other way around.
He’s shown us that you couldn’t ask for a truer friend in the whole MCU as he covers for Matt’s mistakes in the courtroom and in his social life without complaint, regardless of the cost to himself and his reputation. Once you’ve made a friend of Foggy Nelson, he’ll follow you into hell and back!
4. WOULDN’T: WONG
The Wong of the comics is Doctor Strange’s wise and trusted ally. He’s essentially Alfred Pennyworth with magic powers. In the MCU, however, he’s just a grumpy librarian. It’s not that we doubt his commitment to The Ancient One or to the greater good…but does he have to be such a jerk about it? He tells Stephen Strange that no knowledge in Kamar-Taj is forbidden, yet a few scenes later he withholds information from Strange, insisting that he’s not ready for it.
We saw very little to prove his worth in combat, even when armed with the Wand of Watoomb. He chided Strange for using the Eye of Agamotto which was later used to reverse his death. In fact, Strange was only able to save the day by completely ignoring all of Wong’s advice. Way to go, Beyonce!
3. WOULD: NED LEEDS
One of the best things about Spider-Man: Homecoming was the great chemistry between Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and Jacob Batalon’s Ned. Whether he’s helping you build a Lego Death Star or infiltrate an enemy hideout, Ned’s the guy in the chair you’d want watching over you when things got rough. Sure, he may not be up to much in the hand-to-hand combat department but he more than makes up for his lack of physical prowess with his affable demeanor, pragmatism and wisdom beyond his years tempered with a cheerful optimism.
He’s also proven himself to be fearless, getting out of the chair to help Peter to take on Shocker and coming up with some pretty inventive (and socially damaging) lies to help cover for Peter’s activities. Great work Ned, have a gold coin!
2. WOULDN’T: NICK FURY
A master spy, an ingenious tactician, a fearless leader and a seasoned combatant who’s virtually impossible to kill, Nick Fury very nearly found himself on the other side of this list. If only we could trust him. Though he has remained a constant (if often unseen) presence throughout the MCU, his tenure as director of S.H.I.E.L.D has been characterized by lies, deceit, manipulation and dirty tricks.
Consider the way he manipulated the facts of Coulson’s death to motivate the Avengers or how he secretly developed Tesseract-based weapons. As Tony Stark once said, even his secrets have secrets. While he’s often done right by members of the team (such as keeping Hawkeye’s wife and children hidden) Nick Fury will always serve a greater agenda to which we will never be privy.
1. WOULD: CLAIRE TEMPLE
There are many wonderful things about Marvel’s Netflix content, but Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of Claire Temple ranks as one of the best. Essentially the Phil Coulson of the Netflix side of the MCU, her presence has been a unifying factor in all of the shows leading up to and including the upcoming Defenders. All that aside, she’s just an awesome character. A skilled medical professional who never hesitates to do the right thing even when it costs her her job, her career and her reputation.
She tirelessly defends the heroes she tends to but holds no compunctions about putting them in their place when they’re in the wrong. Moreover, having taken up martial arts under the tutelage of Colleen Wing, she’s now able to supplement her healing skills with some chopsocky proficiency. Her combination of beauty, compassion and grit make her a character we’d be happy to have coffee with.
Are there any MCU characters you wold trust or not trust? Let us know in the comments!
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