The 10 Best Relationships in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Romance is overrated
Vulture came out and released their ranking of every romance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that’s cool and all, although I don’t think Natasha and Bruce Banner can be ranked #6 in any competition, but what do I know? They ranked Steve and Peggy as number one followed by Tony/Pepper, Peter/Gamora, T’Challa/Nakia and … Scott Lang/Hope van Dyne rounding out the top 5. What it got me thinking is how much value we put on romantic relationships when there are so many more interesting bonds in the Marvel Universe.
When it comes relationships, we all have some we could take it or leave it, but the bromances, the father/son narratives, the sibling stuff, all of that is so much more interesting than who kisses who. Because sometimes really hot people can be really boring together. So instead, let’s talk about what I think are the top ten relationships in the MCU.
Spoilers for Infinity War bee-tee-dubs.
(10) Ned/Peter Parker:
Peter Parker is a delight, and I’m still blown away by how after five previous Spider-Man movies, Homecoming made me feel so heavily reinvested in the Peter Parker as Spider-Man character. It definitely helped that instead of hitting the same beats as previous films, we didn’t get Peter’s usual friend turned rival Harry Osborn, a.k.a Baby Goblin. Ned is fantastic, and he’d better have survived the Snap.
Probably the moment where I was Team Tony the most in Civil War was when he watched his best friend, Rhodey/War Machine drop out of the sky thousands of feet. He honestly showed more emotion there than when it looked like Pepper burned to death in Iron Man 3, just saying.
I’m still really upset they didn’t make them a couple, but Clint and Natasha still have really good BFF chemistry. I would be more on-board with them just letting Natasha be in a platonic male/female friendship if they didn’t put her with Bruce in the same movie in which they give Clint a family, but I’m not Joss Whedon.
Shuri and T’Challa are sibling goals. That is all.
Adoption in movies tends to be a hit and miss. A lot of times the narrative will surround having children wanting to find their “biological” parents or siblings. In the Marvel Universe, there are a lot of adoptive siblings, all with baggage stemming from abusive parents not necessarily the fact that they are adopted. With Peter Quill, a half-human growing up around aliens, it is easy to understand why he couldn’t “see” Yondu as his father. Not only was Yondu not open emotionally about his love for Peter, but as Peter points out Yondu is a blue alien. Still, Yondu is the reason Peter is Star-Lord, he was Peter’s daddy and that line, makes me cry every time and is a reminder that family isn’t always the one that looks like you. It’s the one that loves you best.
(5) T’Challa/T’Chaka + Erik/N’Jobu :
T’Chaka and N’Jobu are probably the best fathers in the MCU, and they still kinda of emotionally destroy their sons in different ways. T’Chaka keeps the truth of his fratricide from his son and allows his nephew to grow up in America orphaned. N’Jobu did not ensure his son’s legacy in the advent of his death, I mean let’s say T’Chaka didn’t come and claw him in the chest what if something went wrong and he got shot. He clearly wasn’t wearing special Wakanda armor since he got impaled in his Fubu, so if he got shot Erik would have been orphaned regardless. Yet, they love their sons and at least in N’Jobu’s case, he knows he has hardened his son’s heart in a destructive way.
I might not be able to give this the emotional justice of Kaila Hale-Stern, but I’ll try my best. From the first film the best dynamic in the Thor universe was between himself and his hot trickster young brother. The way Loki always knew how to say the right thing to getting under Thor’s skin is so emblematic of young siblings tricks. Throughout the three stand-alone Thor films and Avengers uno, we have seen their relationship develop from all side. The antagonism, the coming together in Dark World after the death of their mother and of course their eventual reconciliation in Ragnarok, which lets Loki side beside his brother, rather than having to feel superior. Even in Infinity War, while there is no way a knife could stand up to Thanos, I feel like my dark prince’s intention was to protect, even for a moment, his big brother. “The sun will shine on us again, brother.”
Rocket and Groot in all forms are adorable. Rocket needs something to protect and after being mistreated by his own creators, it makes sense that is rarely seen without Baby Groot or Teenage Groot. He wants to be a good dad and the reason why he brings Groot along on the mission with the “angel pirate” is that Rocket feels a responsibility to make sure that his son is always protected by the strongest person. And I say, son, because James Gunn confirmed that Groot’s last word in Infinity War was “dad” to Rocket so there!
I’m obsessed with Nebula and Gamora as sisters. In the two Guardians films, they have done a good job and exploring the root of their antagonism, abusive mean father who literally ripped them apart emotionally, and gave them the cathartic glorious battle of sibling warfare in order to help them heal. It says so much about Nebula that when she finally “bests” Gamora and gets the chance to kill her she doesn’t. She never wanted to win, she just wanted a sister. Of course now that she finally got one it was ripped away.
(1) Team Captain America:
(I found this epic music video that shows the love between my three guys because the only other scene was with Steve kissing 13 and none of us deserve that.)
By Team Captain America I mean Steve/Sam/Bucky. Of course, Steve and Bucky are in love and that’s amazing, but I feel like Sam often gets left out of the Team Cap bromance. Sam has proven himself to be a ride or die for Steve, which means being there to support Bucky. There is no reason they can’t all be in one giant polyamorous love nest. Also in Infinity War Steve lost both of his boyfriends, okay! Tony still has Pepper and Rhodey! It’s not fair! Ahem, but even taking romance and shipping out of it, this is a friendship that has lasted through time and being on the run with American government on their backs. We know from The First Avenger that Steve has this giant loyalty to Bucky, but Sam’s dedication to Steve as both a symbol of what the world should be like as both a hero and a friend goes without saying. They all understand each other and are all super hot. Team Cap.
What are your favorite relationships in the MCU? And which are the most overrated? Let us know below.
(image: Marvel Studios)
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