As I’m sure many other Marvel fans did, I watched all twenty-one of the previously released movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as preparation for the highly-anticipated Avengers: Endgame.
Since seeing the film, I’ve thought a lot about the impact I didn’t realize MCU has had on me, what I’ve taken away from all of these movies, and what certain characters mean to me. So, in of honor the movie’s release, Marvel’s success, and the end of an epic MCU era, I have compiled a list of my twelve favorite MCU characters listed in random order—with the exception of the first one.
Steve Rogers/Captain America
Captain America is, without a question, my favorite superhero. I love his underdog story, perseverance, and selflessness. He’s the only one on this list that I love 3000, because I love him the most.
Steve’s all about doing good and what’s right—even when it’s difficult—and he doesn’t change when he becomes a super soldier. During boot camp in Captain America: The First Avenger, he’s willing to sacrifice himself to save his fellow soldiers when what he believes a live grenade is thrown their way, and, later on, he’s sacrifices himself by putting the plane in the water to save people.What I probably admire most about him, though, is his loyalty, because it’s something I value greatly. Even after years of separation, he sticks by Bucky’s side no matter what he is going through. I’ve also never realized that a shield could be cool until watching Captain America.
I won’t lie, though; part of the reason I initially favored Captain America is because he’s portrayed by Chris Evans. He’s one of my favorite actors, and I’ve been a fan of his since he was Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four—my favorite movie in fifth grade.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel
Aside from being a badass leader and strong female lead with a never-quit mentality, one of the things I like about Captain Marvel is that she learns to use emotion to her advantage. In her movie, she was constantly told that she can’t let her emotions get in the way or else she’ll fail. But when she embraces her feelings, she realizes her full potential—and power. She proves that being emotional isn’t a bad thing but rather is something that holds a great deal of power.
Tony Stark/Iron Man
Albeit very full of himself, Tony Stark is a complex character that has experienced great character development. He learns to be less selfish and more selfless without abandoning his innate charisma, confidence, and egotism. He’s brave yet stubborn but truly is a caring person who wants to help others—and he’s not afraid to sacrifice himself to do so. He wouldn’t continue to be Iron Man if he didn’t care nor would he, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, have created Ultron in hopes it would be a way to save his friends from the disasters he feared. The Iron Man concept and seemingly endless innovation that comes with such a suit and technology is absurdly cool as well and deserves acknowledgement.
My favorite thing about Sam is his loyalty to Steve Rogers. Whether it’s giving him a place to stay like in Avengers: Age of Ultron, gearing up for a fight, or helping find Bucky Barnes, Sam is always willing and ready to help Steve out no matter what. He’s a tremendous example of the type of friend we should all aspire to be. He also has a great confidence about himself, a ridiculously cool winged jetpack, and no troubles with the transition to being an Avenger.
T’Challa takes so much pride in who he is and where he’s from. He loves his family, values honor and justice, and isn’t afraid to put up a fight. But even though he respects tradition, he values helping others more even if it comes with complications. He knows he has the power to make a difference, and he embraces that responsibility. Before, Wakanda was pretty much unknown to the world, hiding its resources to prevent them from being used improperly. But T’Challa decides to change that, knowing the potential for good is far greater than the potential for chaos.
Shuri, teenage princess of Wakanda, is smarter than geniuses Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and is responsible for the ridiculous innovation that Wakanda secretly possesses. Without Shuri, T’Challa couldn’t be Black Panther nor could Wakanda be the marvel (pun intended) it will become known to be. She craves excitement and thrills. She isn’t afraid of challenges either but rather embraces them. In Black Panther, Shuri doesn’t shy away from helping T’Challa with the car chase, and she’s eager to repair Everett Ross’s spinal injury. In Avengers: Infinity War, she knows how to help and preserve Vision and doesn’t hesitate to do so despite its complicated nature.
I tend to make a lot of references to television shows, movies, and musicals, so you can bet that I appreciate the amount of allusions Peter Parker has made during his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beyond, he’s proof that the little guy can make a difference, and he possesses a great desire to do so. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter is a prideful kid who’s so persistent about his availability to help Iron Man with whatever dangers come up. It doesn’t always result in something good, but his willingness to make a difference is admirable.
Ned is hilarious and a great complement to Peter Parker as Peter’s best friend. He’s a loyal, caring friend who wants to help Peter succeed no matter what, especially as Spider-Man. He doesn’t always think before he speaks, which isn’t always favorable, but it’s part of what makes him a funny, relatable character. Ned is also portrayed by Filipino actor Jacob Batalon, which is a plus.
Drax the Destroyer
Unless you knew me in middle school, you probably don’t know that I used to be a WWE fanatic and that Batista was one of my favorite wrestlers. As such, the fact Drax is portrayed by Batista (credited in the movies as Dave Bautista) is favorable for me. However, the fact Drax is portrayed by Batista is not why Drax is one of my favorite MCU characters; it’s simply a plus. Drax is hilarious. He’s outspoken and sometimes oblivious in such an amusing way. Drax is hilarious without even knowing it. He exudes a great confidence in himself and just wants to do right by the family that was taken from him. Extra points to Drax for also being portrayed by a Filipino!
When I first heard about Guardians of the Galaxy, I remember being skeptical about it. It’s a conversation I still remember having with my middle school art teacher, who I know to be a superhero movie fan. The trailer had recently come out, but neither of us were what to make of it, because it seemed a bit strange for a Marvel movie—as would any movie with a foul-mouthed raccoon and a talking, anthropomorphic tree who can only speak (in English) the same three words: “I am Groot.” But Groot easily became one of my favorite MCU characters. The original Groot is loving, caring, and selfless. Then came the next Groot, who starts off as dancing baby Groot, who I’m sure is impossible to not love. But even as Groot grows up and goes through his teenager phase, you see, through his choice to use his arm as the handle for Thor’s new hammer in Avengers: Infinity War, that he has the same caring, selfless qualities that the O.G. Groot possessed.
Peggy Carter is a woman in a position of power in the military during the 1940s. That alone makes her incredibly admirable. She has to spend her days constantly surrounded by men but doesn’t take any crap they give her and refuses to be treated poorly because she’s a woman. She’s a strong woman who’s never afraid to show it or do what she thinks is right. In Captain America: The First Avenger, she doesn’t let Gilmore Hodge’s rude comments affect her and, instead, punches him for being out of line. Peggy defies orders and helps Steve Rogers go on a rescue mission, because she believes in his ability and wants to do right by the American soldiers who were captured.
The daughter of the newest Ant-Man, Scott Lang, Cassie is the best character in any Ant-Man movie. Kids can easily be annoying, but Cassie is a funny, loving, loyal, exuberant, imaginative kid who isn’t afraid to speak her mind or stand up for her father—despite him being an ex-felon. She knows her dad is a good man and always give him the benefit of the doubt. In Ant-Man, when the police are looking for her dad, Cassie amusingly says, “I hope you don’t find him,” and it says so much about who she is.