Marvel is everywhere these days and although their stories don’t center on romance, they have every kind of romantic hero that a romance reader could desire. Some characters get epic romances, some get a hint of romance, and some get none at all, but all the heroes (and some villains) fit certain types that are various blends of reader catnip. For those of you who have not yet realized the wealth of fetish fuel offered to you by Marvel, here’s a handy guide to the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Viewers should note that the MCU is serial in nature, so there aren’t any tidy endings, romantic or otherwise. If you are new to the MCU, welcome to our romance reader guide!
If you like contemporaries about billionaires: Iron Man
Tony Stark is a self-proclaimed ,“genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” He also has a “My Girl Friday” style romance with Pepper Potts, his assistant-turned-CEO of the company. Tony is arrogant, impulsive, and irresponsible. He’s also brilliant, driven, and with a strong moral compass once he comes face to face with the consequences of his actions. As billionaires go, he’s more of a very sexy Howard Hughes rather than Christian Grey. So far Tony Stark has three solo movies as well as the two Avengers movies. They are named, quite practically: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3. The first Iron Man movie launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If you like historicals: Captain America, Thor
Sadly, we have no Regency heroes, although Thor has a Regency elegance about him. He comes from the courtly realm of Asgard, and the royal manners and politics of Thor and his Asgardian family make the Thor movies a good match for fans of historicals. We’ll talk more about Thor under “paranormal” as well.
Meanwhile, Steve Rogers (Captain America) comes from the 1940s and his first movie, Captain America, is set during WWII. His second movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set in modern times and has Steve trying to hold onto his 1940’s values in a murky political world. He’s a great romantic hero for people who like nice guys who are kind, honorable, capable, and know how to treat a lady with respect in the sense of being polite and in the sense of assuming that she can probably kick even more ass than you. The romance between Steve and Peggy Carter in Captain America is arguably the best of the MCU to date – their chemistry, mutual trust, and influence on each other is off the charts. A word to the wise – supply yourself with tissues before you watch anything Steve/Peggy related. Here’s Peggy clearly recognizing that Steve is a hero long before he get’s ripped:
Elyse: My not-so-secret enormous crush on Steve Rogers/Chris Evans compels me to add my opinion on why Cap is the best male Avenger (cuz let’s be honest, Black Widow is the fucking boss).
The thing I love so much about the Captain America movies is that they don’t follow the traditional hero arc. Tony Stark and Thor have to gain empathy and lose their selfishness in order to become heroes; it’s a more common trope–a man with potential for great things must mature and shed his youthful shenanigans in order to become a hero.
Cap is always a hero–even when Steve is a 94 lb kid from Brooklyn, he’s got the personality, selflessness and values of a hero. His story is different because in the first movie it’s not about Steve growing up; it’s about him overcoming his physical limitations and the short-sightedness of others. In The Winter Soldier and in the first Avengers movie, the conflict is about how a man who is an archetypical warrior-hero fits into a modern world where there are no clear cut allies and enemies. For me it’s a different and more compelling storyline.
Also I’m like 100% sure that Cap is still a virgin because, you know, he’s been really busy saving the world okay?
RHG: Chris Evans agrees with you.
If you like paranormals and/or Vikings: Thor
The Thor movies have more magical elements than any of the others so far and my GOD look at that hair. I regret to say that there are no vampires or werewolves in the MCU to date but in Thor 2: The Dark World we get space elves, and Thor is technically an alien, so that’s something. And the scenery of Asgard is stunning.
If you are into Vikings at all, then Thor is certainly your guy, seeing as how in the movies’ mythology the Norse people were inspired to create their culture and mythology because of visitations from Asgardians.
Sadly, the romance between Thor and Jane Foster is unpopular among fans because Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman lack chemistry.
Portman is the victim of terrible writing and her character in unconvincing as a science genius – which is doubly irritating since in real life Natalie Portman actually is an accomplished scientist and the creator of Disney’s “Be the Next Jane Foster” contest.
If you like pirates and rogues: Guardians of the Galaxy
A team consisting entirely of Han Solos. Marvel loves to bring together people who, as Joss Whedon says, “Shouldn’t even be in the same room, let alone the same team.”
This team consists of Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation (totally ripped), a green female space assassin, a warrior on a vengeance kick who is from a culture that does not use metaphor or simile, an angry, gun-toting racoon, and a tree. Of all the MCU offerings, this has the most “rip-roaring adventure” tone of the lot.
Elyse: Chris Pratt totally nailed the Peter Quill character. Even when he’s saving the universe, he’s unapologetically kind of a dick.
He perfectly straddles that line between being a rogue and rapscallion but still being likeable and fundamentally good.
RHG: “I may be an a-hole, but I am not 100% a dick.” This is kind of my guiding philosophy some of the time.
If you like sweet geeky heroes: The Hulk
The stand-alone Hulk movies (which starred Eric Bana and Edward Norton) are notoriously so-so, but Mark Ruffalo brought incredible intelligence and sweetness to the role of scientist Bruce Banner/The Hulk in The Avengers. His rage, Hulky and otherwise, feels totally earned. His friendship with inventor Tony Stark inspired the “Science Bros” meme which ranges from platonic interpretations of the Stark/Banner friendship to romantic interpretations. Banner is linked to Betty Ross in canon but he’s single in The Avengers – the whole Hulk thing really screws up his personal life.
Elyse: For me the Hulk is kind of a Beauty and the Beast trope. Anyone who loves Banner has to deal with “the Big Guy” too and that’s not a penis euphemism.
If You Like Dark and Broody: TV’s Daredevil, Thor’s Loki
If you like dark, broody, and gritty, go for Netflix’s TV series Daredevil. It’s more angsty than other Marvel fare and graphically violent – not for the kiddies. It’s also incredibly critically acclaimed so if you do like gritty, be sure to check it out.
If you like dark, broody, and Bryronic, go for Loki, Thor’s brother, who appears in Thor, Thor 2: The Dark World and The Avengers. Loki is just BEGGING to be redeemed by the love of a good woman. I personally describe all Thor movies as epic romances in which the romance takes place between Loki and myself. Yes, he’s responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, but I’m sure he’ll apologize satisfactorily once I heal his sad, wounded heart.
Elyse: I’ve started watching Daredevil and I’m alternately fascinated and also hiding behind my hands because it’s pretty gorey. Matt Murdoch (Daredevil) is a man who is desperate to save his city–Hell’s Kitchen–from crime and villainy, both as a lawyer helping the downtrodden and as a masked crusader. He’s the lone voice in the darkness, the hero that straddles the line between good and bad. The show is fascinating because we watch Matt navigate the line between defeating the bad guys and being drawn into the same tactics as them in order to defeat them. Also Vincent D’Onofrio is like super villian OMG which only makes Daredevil more heroic for going up against him.
Loki is just…mmmm. I told Carrie that Loki is hers only because someone has to tenderly deflower Captain America and that someone is me.
If you like The Lone Wolf: Hawkeye
Poor Hawkeye never gets the love. He spent half of The Avengers being a Loki Zombie Minion and only snapped out of it when he got beat up by a girl (HA!). But then he did this:
So, you know…that was cool.
RHG: Hawkeye is the peripheral characer you wish would get his own damn book, but you don’t trust the author to actually do it.
If you like ensemble stories with a “family of choice” theme: The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Guardians of the Galaxy
Agents had a lackluster first season and then instantly became Must See TV in season two – we’re all still recovering from the whiplash. Anything that involves Joss Whedon is going to have a ton of emphasis on building family and the MCU is no exception. But as soon as the S.H.I.E.L.D. team started to gel, they got separated by plot, so my personal opinion is that GoG and Avengers have the strongest “family of choice” theme. All these crazy people are fun in their solo adventures but stick them in a room with each other and it’s pure magic.
RHG: I would argue that once Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to stop floundering waiting for the hammer to drop in The Winter Soldier, it got good – which is late in season 1. Clark Gregg is a world class Team Dad, and Ming Na as Team “Do your homework so help me” Mom is the BEST.
If you like soap opera style stories: DC Television Universe
If you love a good soap, full of gorgeous people, complicated love affairs, fabulous clothes, and ridiculous plot lines, bypass Marvel entirely and try the DC TV universe which so far consists of Flash and Arrow. Both shows know exactly what they are and they deliver reliably and entertainingly week after week, without the grimdark angst of the DC movies.
There’s some great character development and all the cheesy goodness you could possibly enjoy. In the second season premiere of Arrow, Oliver Queen saved a woman by swinging on an improvised rope twice. Twice, in one episode. Once without his shirt. I can’t get enough of it.
If you like erotica and/or m/m: Fanfic.
Oh God. SO MUCH FANFIC. We can safely guarantee that wherever your desires lie, there is fanfic about it. Some fan fic is totally non-erotic in nature – here’s a link to my fav purely SFW piece, “Steve and Natasha Go to Ikea”. Some of it is torrid beyond belief. A lot of it is m/m, so until we get a gay MCU universe character, Science Bros (among others), will have to tide you over if m/m is your thing.
And of course don’t forget Nick Fury, the many, many characters of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Falcon (where’s my Falcon movie?), Bucky Barnes (another sad soul who needs the love of a good woman such as myself), and Iron Patriot.
Ant-Man is coming up, for all you Paul Rudd fans. Doctor Strange is coming in 2016 so you can get your Benedict Cumberbatch fix, and in 2018 we FINALLY get a solo outing for a black hero with Black Panther, followed by Captain Marvel (!!!!!) in 2018.
While X-Men comes from Marvel Comics, they aren’t considered part of the MCU because the X-Men rights are owned by another studio. Until recently, that was also true of Spider-Man, but Sony and Marvel have teamed up to reboot Spider-Man so you will have a teenage science geek hero available soon.
Stay tuned for a special post about the MCU heroines! But in the meantime, which movie or character is your favorite? Which do you recommend or re-watch the most?
Comments are Closed
I live an MCU appreciation life, and I am not ashamed to admit it.
Seriously though, I am consistently fascinated with how Marvel is transforming the comic books into a media empire, and the things they have/have not changed. Daredevil is easily the most faithful to the comics (in substance and tone) so far, whereas for most of the Avengers they seemed to have cribbed aspects from all the various incarnations of the characters. It’s going to be particularly interesting for the upcoming “AKA Jessica Jones,” which will likely have the most substantial romantic plot thus far in the MCU.
Also, if you’re looking for fic recs (particularly involving Darcy Lewis aka the fandom bicycle) hit me up on Twitter. I’ve spent waaaay too much time in the Marvel tag on AO3.
This was just the best and most interesting thing to read, even though I have watched/am watching all of the shows listed (okay… technically a lie because I still have yet to see the two standalone Hulks. But I’m probably never going to watch those. Maybe they can convince me to come out for a Hulk-starring-Ruffalo, but that’s about as good as it’s going to get).
But hands down, HANDS DOWN, my favorite superhero TV show is 100% Daredevil. There are some flaws (also lots of violence), but I just lovedddddddddd the writing. And the fight scenes! If you appreciate good fight choreography, you’ll adore The Hallway Scene (yes I had to capitalize it).
And if the cute British dude from Stardust isn’t enough to convince you to watch, there is also Rosario Dawson (who unfortunately doesn’t appear quite as often as I wanted, which is all the episodes) and Vincent D’Onofrio, the latter of which I maintain is a wholly underrated method actor. D’Onofrio comes within millimeters of stealing the show away, he’s that good.
Basically, please watch Daredevil so I can continue freaking out about it to everyone I know.
Why is there seriously no solo Hulk movie staring Mark Ruddalo? This needs to happen!
I do wish there was more chemistry between Thor/Jane and better writing for her character. At this point I really watch for the Thor/Loki brother relationship. They are both so different and yet amazingly hot.
@Amanda- There was actually just a piece on why there hasn’t been a solo Hulk movie (you can read it here). But it comes down to the fact that Universal still has a lot of the rights to the character, so they would get a substantial amount of the profit on any movie centered around the Hulk.
I love Marvel. The recent movies have been pretty great but I am far more invested in the comics. For anyone who loves character-driven stories (and this is Romancelandia so I know there are plenty of y’all out there), I can’t recommend the X-Men enough. The movies are so-so but the comics, especially starting with Chris Claremont’s epic run (1975-1991), are so focused on character development and team/family dynamics. If you’re worried about jumping into a comic with such a long history, I recommend checking out the podcast Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men (http://www.rachelandmiles.com/xmen/). They are a most excellent couple who give great information on the series. My husband and I enjoy and listen their podcast so much that it is just known as “The Podcast” in our home.
Also, RHG, Hawkeye might not have his own movie but Matt Fraction’s run on the Hawkeye comic is AMAZING (http://www.amazon.com/Hawkeye-Vol-Life-Weapon-Marvel/dp/0785165622).
@ppyajunebug Thanks for the link. That makes sense, it always comes down to money.
Oh Marvel, I watch your movies for all the pretty, pretty things, but enough about Loki: The Dark World – where’s my Black Widow movie?
I’m mostly with you, with one glaring exception. I am one of 3 people on the planet who didn’t find Peggy to be all that interesting in the Captain America movie(s).
She’s onscreen for all of what… 5 minutes? The most I can remember her doing from that boring first Cap movie is shooting at Cap and then agreeing to go out with him at the end. Second weakest love story in the MCU, tied with Thor and Jane. Even Betty gets better action than that in the Hulk movies.
You have nothing here about Coulson. ::rolls eyes, throws up hands, stalks off in a huff::
Oops, wait, you do have something about Clark Gregg. My apologies.
But I so don’t think of him as a dad of any sort….
Darcy/Loki (TaserTricks!) is the only het pairing I read. I’d absolutely fall for anyone who deliberately tasered my brother, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t 🙂
Ooh, thank you for this excellent review!
Yes to the fanfic. One of the best romances I’ve ever read EVER is about Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.
I’m a huge comic book junkie. Specifically, I love Marvel’s ‘verse- both comic and MCU. There are some really epic romance stories in the comics that you don’t really see in the MCU. Like the romance between Ororo (Storm- X Men) and T’chala (Black Panther- The movie is due out in Marvel’s Third phase). There’s also Kitty Pryde (X Men- she was the one who sent Wolverine back in time in Days of Future Past) and Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy). Rogue and Gambit (We’ll see him in theatres soon, played by Tatum Channing) are a great love story. It really is an incredibly colorful and complex universe that Marvel has created.
Carly wrote, “There are some really epic romance stories in the comics that you don’t really see in the MCU… It really is an incredibly colorful and complex universe that Marvel has created.”
Unfortunately, romance in the comic books (which would be an interesting topic unto itself) is often ruined and convoluted (if those aren’t synonyms) by different writers with different ideas how a romance should go. Remember when Peter Parker married Mary Jane — only to make a deal with Satan, er, Mephisto to keep his marriage from happening to keep his Aunt May from dying of natural causes? Or when Cyclops and Jean Grey finally became a couple, only she sacrificed herself to save them, and he fell in love with Madelyne Pryor, who looked like Jean and might have had the Phoenix Force, except she didn’t, and she and Cyclops got married, but then Jean came back, and she and Scott were together as adulterers, but that was fine because Madelyne was a clone of Jean, and eventually she became the Demon Queen, the Red Queen of the Hellfire Club…
@garlicknitter: if it’s the same fic I’m thinking of, YES! So good!!!
Daredevil. Is. Amazing. D’onofrio is by far the best thing in it. Not to be too spoilery, but I really believe he’s the romantic lead of the season, yes?
I’m sorry, did you say Channing Tatum is going to play Gambit? Gambit? I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. What about the way Gambit is portrayed in the books made someone think Channing (yawn)Tatum?
Yes, HUGE X-Men geek. Like close to 50 years X-Men geek. And frustrated because how can they keep making such crap movies out of such rich source material? At least the other characters don’t get their creation myths screwed with so extensively. Sorry, got a little ranty there.
And all props to Mark Ruffalo. His Banner is spot on. Absolutely perfect. He’s what’s getting me into the theatre for Age of Ultron. Okay, that’s a lie. I’d be going no matter what.
@jimthered, and then Jean dies again and Scott ends up with Emma freakin Frost? Wuhhhhhh?
Thrilled I’m not the only romance reader who is also a Marvel nerd of a high order. You nailed it!
I love the MCU! My favorite are probably the Iron Man movies because Robert Downey Jr. does such a good job as Tony Stark, also I loved how he was given some PTSD in Iron Man 3. However, Black Widow is a close second because she is a BAMF!
@Janelle : I agree with your view on Peggy, I honestly think Pepper and Tony have the best relationship and as far as super hero girlfriends she’s one of my favorites.
@Meredith: Agreed re: D’Onofrio. The Hulk and Daredevil can really scratch the “If you like Beauty and the Beast…” itch.
I’ve not seen any of the Marvel movies, so thank you for the post. Is there an ideal order to watch them in?
I had been a faithful watcher of Arrow & Flash but fell off the wagon around the holidays. I’ll catch up via Netflix. I do recommend Arrow, esp. season one to watch Stephen Amell exercise & to meet Felicity. Screw cannon. She’s the right girl for him. Also, warning Laurel is TSTL.
Oh, also, I think a brief mention to the TV series Agent Carter would have been in order. I’m behind on it too, but loving it!
Am I the only woman on planet Earth who does not find Mark Ruffalo attractive at all??? Or Paul Rudd for that matter. Just…no. Though I love the Marvel Universe, I am not looking forward to Ant-man at all and I wish they would drop the Hulk from the Avengers or get someone else to play him.
I am now going to run for cover:-)
Just curious: Why aren’t the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four movies here? I know they’re not part of the current intertwined Marvel universe, but they are Marvel movies — and with different kinds of romantic pairings:
NERD GETS THE HOT BABE: Reed Richards and Susan Storm, both FF movies.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: The Thing and Alicia, both FF movies.
NERD GETS THE HOT BABE WHO’S LITERALLY THE GIRL NEXT DOOR: Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and Mary Jane.
COOL REBEL GETS THE GIRL: Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy. (Actually, this one seems a bit boring to me.)
This blog post was AMAHZIN. I LURVE IT. And Daredevil? WHOOF. That man… that man has a great tush. ITS LIKE A BUBBLE BUTT. I also seriously appreciate that the writers made most (if not all) the characters complex. Especially Karen. I really dig that any trouble she gets into (even the first bit) is trouble she brought onto herself. I hope the writers keep that up, all the way to the end.
Word of warning – I know I’m not the only one who had this problem – dont go from watching Daredevil to watching Arrow in the span of a week. I’ve watched Arrow from the beginning and known it was a terri-good snark-worthy show, but after the brilliance of Daredevil… its flaws are so glaring its almost hard to keep watching.
@Kelly S.- I dont think Laurel is that bad after season 2. The writers have sufficiently given her an arc that does not directly revolve around Ollie. Sadly, I think the actress who portrays her is terrible, (up until midway through season 3 she could not make creases in her forhead with her eyebrows. Like, at all. She cannot frown of cry or do anything emot-able with her eyebrows), which only compounds the fact that though the character has grown, the actress has not.
And Felicity deserves better than Ollie! I do not like this ship!
@Kelly S. Ironman 1-3, then The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America in no particular order (although that’s the order they came out in) but all before The Avengers. Then Thor: Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier and you’re all set for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The tv is on in the background and I suddenly realized that James Spader is voicing Ultron!! I am so stoked for this!!
@Charlotte Russell, I’m sure you’re not. And I point out that I stifled my gag reflex over Channing Tatum a few posts ago and no one’s jumped on me. You get to like what you like.
But that “I’m always angry” moment in the first Avengers? That was perfection whether you find him attractive or not. Just sayin’.
Iron Man 3 comes after Avenger, as does Thor 2 and Cap 2. Here’s the order – you can skip the Hulk movie entirely because they basically just rebooted it:
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
saw Age of Ultron last weekend with my son (might be the only time Australia gets a big movie before the US ) and off again to see it this weekend with the daughter.. So much fun.
Great post! I’ve really been enjoying all the superhero movies and TV shows the past few years.
For me, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the best Marvel movie (so far). Great action, characters, and dialogue in that one, along with a lot of poignancy, given what happens with Steve and the Winter Soldier. I also really enjoyed the first Captain America movie too. Those are my two favorites. I think they have some of the best characters/relationships of the movies.
Guardians is just goofy fun, and the first Avengers movie is a fun popcorn action movie. I’m looking forward to seeing Age of Ultron.
No mention of Agent Carter? So awesome:
My favourite character? That’s tough: it’s probably Pepper Potts (who gets her own bad-assery level upped in Iron Man 3 but I outright adore the Black Widow and Peggy Carter.
Speaking of Peggy Carter, I’d have to underline Agent Carter for fans of historicals since it does the post-war period so very well. Sure, we only have Captain America in wistful memory (or butchered in the laugh-out-loud silly radio adaptation that is woven into the limited series). There’s no direct romance but a strong undercurrent of romantic elements along with a great female lead, action and banter galore.
Finally, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is also great for fans of romantic suspense. There’s a great “romance on the run” vibe with Cap and Black Widow. Plus, Sam Wilson is spectacular!
So, for the fanfiction lovers, here are some of the OTPs, OT3s, multis, polys, and OT6/7/8/9/10 ships and ship names.
Science Bros, obviously. Tony/Bruce
Super Husbands. Tony/Steve
Stark Spangled Banner. Tony/Steve/Bruce
OT6 is all the Avengers, so Tony/Steve/Bruce/Natasha/Clint/Thor.
7 adds Nick. 8 adds Phil, 9 adds Pepper, and 10 adds Rhodey.
Bruce/Natasha/Clint is Green-Eyed Widow. (With Ultron this may be semi canon, as Nat wore an arrow necklace in Winter Soldier, and there’s clearly a romance between her and Bruce in Ultron.)
For a master list, see below.
We just finished watching Daredevil in my house–we rationed it out across several nights of viewing, because we didn’t want it to end.
OMG that show. Vincent d’Onofrio was amazing as Wilson Fisk, and I was also HIGHLY entertained that he actually got the most obvious love story–because Vanessa was also a FABULOUS character.
Every single episode was masterfully done, especially the one that shows us Fisk’s backstory.
As for the movies–I love me some Captain America. But I also love Thor’s lovely and talented hair. ;D And while I am not yet a member of Loki’s army, the overall awesomeness of Tom Hiddleston (because seriously, that man gets more awesome every time I see videos of him, and of COURSE he can speak fluent French, and if I ever find out he can play violin I’m DOOMED).
I really enjoyed reading this! But I was left with a big glaring “Ummmm…. where’s Black Widow?” Because I agree she is the best!
Thank you so much for this post, and here is one more Phil Colson fan as well (waving at sw). He could be the “If you like Beta Heroes” category leader!
A separate post about the women of the MCU is coming soon. We decided to split it into two posts because otherwise it was less of a post and more of an encyclopedia, and we decided to run the post on women after Age of Ultron comes out this weekend because we suspect we might have a thing or tow to say about Scarlet Witch.
We are slowly working our way through Daredevil. Savoring it, if you will. Daredevil was my gateway drug into comics. Okay, that’s kind of a lie — Elektra mini-series was, which led immediately into DD.
As an aside, I think DD is cute with the mask on and I’ve been trying to decide if that’s because Daredevil is my favorite character or if it’s because I love the Dread Pirate Roberts from Princess Bride so much. Probably both, compliments of a warped childhood.
We’re actually big fans of Arrow, too, which I would argue does have some of the “grimdark angst of the DC movies.” It can get soapy, but it also has some really broken people at the center of it.
@CarrieS re: Women of MCU. Aahh, ok that makes sense. Then I extra-look forward to reading that post and even more look forward to taking my kiddos to see Age of Ultron! 🙂
Great post!! And I’d agree with Heather that DD looks so cute with the mask because LIPS. That guy. LIPS. I’d add that I love Daredevil for all the reasons mentioned, plus the Catholicism stuff. As a Jew, I relate to guilt. One rarely sees religion as an element of an action show.
My favorite Marvel hero is by far Cap. I think I went in expecting his storyline to be the most boringly heroic, but the movies have been so THOUGHTFUL about defining honor, what it means to be a good soldier, where discipline and morality and obedience align and where they diverge. The Winter Soldier, in particular, was a meditation on PATRIOTISM, I thought in a really mature way. And ohhhh so much loss. Cap has lost so much more than any other Marvel hero.
I also enthusiastically recommend Matt Fraction’s graphic novels about Hawkeye. The art is gorgeous, the design is hip and the writing is decent. My personal loathing of Jeremy Renner (fabulous arm veins notwithstanding) keeps me from loving Hawkeye as a character. Also, his archery blows chunks. Jim McQuarrie, an archer who used to write for Wired and now writes GeekDad independently, wrote some VERY funny pieces comparing Renner’s posture and technique (HORRID) to Jennifer Lawrence’s (superb) and Merida’s (also excellent). There’s a bit here: http://geekdad.com/2012/03/avengers-hawkeye-archery/. You just KNOW Renner was too lazy to work hard on getting the archery details right, while Lawrence trained super-hard with an Olympic archer.
We watch The Flash and Agent Carter as a family; both fine kid tv, explicit messages about friendship and sacrifice and doing the right thing…and Agent Carter is so feminist I dearly hope it gets picked up. Arrow and (DEFINITELY) Daredevil are too dark for (my) kids.
One last thing: You made me realize I may dislike Iron Man/RDJ for the same reason I dislike millionaire romances! Thank you for the insight!
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