One of the main things the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been criticized for is its inclusion of comedy. Yet even so, they still remain at the top of the ranks within the superhero genre. Despite the fact that their films are considered to be more childish in comparison to competitors like DC, it doesn’t stop people from filling cinemas every time another one of their projects releases. However, while in some respects the humor within these films works, there are some moments that are completely ruined by pointless jokes. As a result, there have been some serious and emotional moments in the MCU that were left feeling pointless and hollow. Here are the worst ones of the bunch, that have left audiences divided.
10 Quill and Gamora Share a Kiss – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Release Date April 25, 2018
Director Anthony Russo , Anthony Russo
Avengers: Infinity War is supposed to be one of the most emotional and impactful MCU movies ever made. It is the first film where the stakes genuinely feel high for each of the characters, especially Gamora. Given that her father is the Mad Titan Thanos, Gamora realizes that she is the only person stopping him from retrieving the Soul Stone, being the only one who knows its location. She knows that there’s a chance he knows this, and in a raw moment of vulnerability, she tells Quill to kill her if Thanos captures her. The two then share a passionate kiss, marking the first time they’ve openly confirmed their romantic love for each other. However, this moment is quickly ruined by Drax, who has been quietly sitting in the room, believing he’s invisible.
Throughout all of his appearances in the MCU, Drax has become known as a comic relief character. Yet in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, his quips tend to land a lot better. In this scene in particular, though, Drax should never have made an appearance. It was a beautiful and sincere moment between two of the MCU’s most beloved characters, and it makes a lot of Quill’s inner turmoil feel redundant. In a way, it implies that nothing bad will really happen to Gamora, even though it does. If it had remained dramatic, it would have made the events that followed feel even more heartbreaking.
9 The Entire Civil War Fight – Captain America: Civl War (2016)
captain america 3
Release Date April 27, 2016
Director Anthony Russo , Anthony Russo
There’s a reason why the comic event of Captain America: Civil War is regarded as one of the best, and yet Marvel Studios managed to ruin it. After the destruction of Sokovia and Wanda’s accident in Lagos, the government decided to implement the Sokovia Accords. In turn, this would allow the UN to oversee and control the Avengers. As Tony feels responsible for the damage, he is in full support of the legislation, whereas Steve doesn’t trust the government’s intentions over his own. This leads to the Avengers splitting in half, with Steve doing what he can to protect Bucky, who has been accused of bombing the UN conference where the Accords were to be ratified. Given the complex subject, you’d expect the conflict to be taken a bit more seriously. Yet when the two groups finally have an epic showdown with each other, the entire thing is ruined by jokes.
Of course, this could emphasize the fact that deep down they’re friends and all on the same side. However, they could have shown that emotional connection without needing to fill the moment with jokes. The comic run did a fantastic job of doing this, and it truly felt as though the government intervention had more of a significant impact. Having them joke around the whole time just makes it seem as though none of them take the situation seriously, despite the fact it is breaking them apart. Even deeply serious moments like Rhodey getting injured are quickly turned into lighthearted jokes not even 30 minutes later, making the entire scene feel like a waste.
8 Quill Learns the Truth About Ego – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Throughout the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, viewers are learning alongside Quill about his life and lineage, helping to build a personal connection with his character. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians encounter Ego after crashing on Berhert. Ego reveals himself to be Quill’s father, inviting him and the rest of the Guardians to his home planet. While they are there, Ego reveals that he is a Celestial who would travel the universe to find his purpose, where he eventually fell in love with Quill’s mother. But Ego isn’t as innocent as he seems, revealing that on each planet he would visit he would plant seeds to create extensions of himself. To make sure they could be activated, he would impregnate his lovers and kill them afterward, hoping one of his offspring would also be Celestial. Quill is visibly heartbroken by this revelation, yet all he can seem to muster out is “you shouldn’t have killed my mom and squished my Walkman!”
Quill’s relationship with his mother is one of the most important aspects of his character. It is her death that leads him to be picked up by Yondu, growing into the character that fans love. No matter where he is in the galaxy, he always carries part of his mother with him through his Walkman and the music on it. The depth of this truth is so much darker than the film allows it to be, especially when coupled with the fact that Ego had killed all of his other offspring too. There are so many things that Quill could have said to Ego other than that, without deriving away from the tone that it had created. The Mary Poppins joke already lightened the third act a bit too much, and keeping this joke in practically made it blinding.
7 Sif’s Fight With Gorr – Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
Thor: Love and Thunder
The sequel to Thor: Ragnarok and the fourth movie in the Thor saga. Directed by Taika Waitit. The cast includes Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Chris Pratt, and Karen Gillan.
Release Date July 8, 2022
There are many things wrong with Thor: Love and Thunder, but it’s widely agreed that its use of Gorr the Butcher is by far the worst. Gorr is one of the most terrifying villains to ever exist within Marvel, and Christian Bale does a fantastic job in showing how nightmarish he is with the poor material he had to work with. During the film, Gorr is determined to kill all Gods after his daughter dies, even when he places his faith in one. He plans to reach the realm of Eternity, where he wants to wish that his daughter can be returned to him. While on his murderous rampage, Gorr encounters Sif, Thor’s childhood friend and one of Asgard’s most ferocious warriors. Not only is it bad that their fight was cut from the film, but as she lies wounded from the fight, Thor makes a joke about her severed arm being in Valhalla.
There are quite a few things wrong with this. For example, Thor is one of the MCU’s most traumatized characters and has lost almost everything he loves. Yet in the face of all serious situations, he laughs on. This has only really become a thing since Thor: Ragnorok, and while it works in some instances, you’d think that he would have more compassion for one of his most trusted friends. Additionally, it also feels like a mockery of Sif’s character. Throughout the previous Thor films, she has been established as quite a mighty character, so it feels out of place to make her the runt of the joke. It also likely would have heightened Gorr’s threat had they shown Sif had a moment of suffering, making him seem like a worthy opponent of Thor.
6 Pepper’s Apparent Death – Iron Man 3 (2013)
Iron Man 3
Release Date April 18, 2013
There have been a few times when the MCU have faked a death, and there will be more. This is, after all, very much in line with the formula within Marvel Comics. However, that doesn’t mean that any of these ‘deaths’ should be taken any less seriously than when they happen for real. The best example of this is in Iron Man 3, when Pepper Potts falls to her apparent death during the final fight between Iron Man and Killian. Tony’s romantic relationship with Pepper is one of the most important parts of the Iron Man films. She is one of the few people that he truly cares about, someone that he is willing to give up everything for. Yet when she dies, he has a brief moment of grief before it’s quickly ruined by a joke.
Tony summons the MK42 suit to aid him in combat, but as it flies over to him, it hits a pole and shatters. In response, he humorously shrugs it off. It genuinely feels as though Pepper hadn’t potentially died moments before, and all emotional weight is completely removed from the scene. In later films, Tony seems far more distraught when his friends are injured or killed, which makes this whole moment feel even more insulting. Even when it’s revealed that Pepper is actually alive, the whole moment doesn’t feel like a relief because you stop focusing on her death almost instantly after it happens.
5 Natasha and Bruce’s Tender Moment – Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Release Date April 22, 2015
Natasha and Bruce’s romance might have seemed like a strange creative decision, but that was mainly down to it being handled poorly. Avengers: Age of Ultron began to plant the seeds for this, featuring various scenes that showcase their budding romance. One of these scenes takes place at the beginning of the movie, when the Avengers raid a HYDRA facility in Sokovia. After the fight takes place, Natasha attempts to help a struggling Hulk revert to Bruce Banner. In order to do this, she raises her hand, which he does in turn, and he begins to calm down. However, Tony interrupts their tender moment by saying “Romanoff and Banner, you guys better not be playing hide the Zucchini!”
It’s a joke within the MCU that has since gone down as inappropriate and distasteful. It’s clear that the writers wanted people to find Natasha and Bruce’s romance convincing, otherwise it wouldn’t have served as a focal point of the film. But including a joke like that not even 10 minutes into the film basically reinforces that the idea of them together is weird, when realistically, it shouldn’t have been. It makes it seem as though Bruce will never find true love due to his Hulk form, and that it’s stupid for Natasha to care for him. After Avengers: Age of Ultron, their relationship is never really touched on again, so it’s sad that such a touching moment between them is ruined by an absurd joke.
4 Asgard is Destroyed – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
As soon as Taika Waititi took over the Thor films with Thor: Ragnarok, there was an instant shift in tone. The other two Thor movies have always had a reputation for being among the worst in the MCU, so at the time, Thor: Ragnarok was a refreshing step in the right direction. For the most part, it balanced humor and seriousness perfectly, and even managed to keep Hela as a serious threat, even though she also had some unserious moments. When they are able to prevent Ragnarok from happening, Thor, Bruce, Korg and everyone else evacuate Asgard and plan to take everyone to Earth. As they watch Surtur destroy Asgard, there remains some hope that it could be rebuilt one day. Korg quickly squashes this, by joking, “oof, now the foundations are gone, sorry.”
Korg is definitely one of the best things to come out of Thor: Ragnarok, but this is one of the best examples of the MCU ruining their most serious moments with jokes. Asgard was such a major part of the franchise up until this point, with many fans growing to love it also. Its destruction is one of the few times when the hero hasn’t completely managed to save the day, so it deserved to be an emotional moment for both the characters and the audience. Even if it wanted to lighten the mood, there are better ways it could do it rather than a silly joke. For example, Thor and Loki reconciling was a perfect way to end it on a happier note.
3 Doctor Strange Meets the Illuminati – Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is one of the scariest MCU projects yet, and features some pretty heavy topics, such as grief. In the film, Doctor Strange attempts to protect America Chavez from Wanda, who has now become the Scarlet Witch. Wanda hopes to use America to send her to another universe where she can be with her children, who she had to give up in order to save Westview in WandaVision. As Doctor Strange goes on a multiversal adventure, he ends up in a timeline with the Illuminati. The group consists of Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Captain Carter, Mordo, Captain Marvel and Professor X. This is an iconic moment for various reasons, yet the writers decided to have Doctor Strange make various jokes about the team throughout.
The Illuminati are an incredibly important group within Marvel Comics, one of which Doctor Strange has also been a part of. The scene was framed in a way where it was clear that the audience was supposed to take the characters seriously, yet deciding to have Doctor Strange crack jokes in this moment strips them of their integrity. To make things worse, he also jokes about the Fantastic Four, saying, “didn’t you guys chart in the ’60s?” While this might be a hint as to how the Fantastic Four will be set up in the MCU, it’s not the best way to go about building excitement for them.
2 MODOK’s Death – Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is one of the most important films in the Mulitverse Saga so far, being the first project to properly feature Kang the Conqueror. But he’s not the only villain that Scott Lang encounters in the Quantum Realm, with the other being MODOK. While fans were excited to see MODOK on the big screen, they were soon disappointed by his design and overall personality. Throughout the film, he acts incredibly out of character, which is made worse by his change of heart at the end of the film, where he steps in to help Scott against Kang. Then, when he dies, the group struggles not to laugh at the fact he refers to Scott as his brother.
Given the fact that they changed MODOK to be Darren Cross, who was previously Yellowjacket, they had the chance to redeem him and various ways in the film. For example, Yellowjacket isn’t regarded as a great villain by fans, and having MODOK be more serious would have helped to give Darren Cross a stronger arc. Instead, the film makes him a running gag throughout, making his eventual decision to help save the day feel anticlimactic. While his death scene would have benefited from taking a more serious approach, ultimately he shouldn’t have made the decision to help Scott at all.
1 Jane and Thor’s Final Battle with Gorr – Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
Thor and Jane will always be an MCU couple that fans root for. A lot of viewers were saddened by their split in Thor: Ragnarok, which made their reunion in Thor: Love and Thunder one of the main highlights. However, they don’t get the happy ending that everyone was rooting for. It’s revealed early on that Jane has been diagnosed with cancer, leading her to seek out Mjölnir in the hopes that it will cure her. For a time, it does, but it also rapidly increases the spread of her cancer. That doesn’t stop her from wielding it one last time to defend Thor against Gorr, though what would be an epic moment is ruined by her using her exceptionally unfunny catchphrase, “eat my hammer.”
When Jane appears to aid Thor in this fight, you’re instantly hit by the realization that she isn’t going to survive afterward. Because of this, you expect it to not only be epic, but also powerful. Instead, having her say her catchphrase for a quick laugh instantly takes away any emotional weight from the moment. As a result, when she does pass away, it doesn’t feel as impactful as it should, especially in comparison to other deaths within the MCU. Given how important she was to Thor, this is something that should have been handled with a lot more thought.
You have to wait 55 seconds.