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Unpredictable and game-changing: The top 10 plot twists that shook the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes (Image via Sportskeeda)

10 biggest plot twists in Marvel & DC movies

Marvel and DC Universes have captivated audiences for decades with their larger-than-life heroes, incredible villains, and immersive storylines. To add to all this, plot twists are one of their most effective storytelling tools.

These unexpected turns of events have the power to shock and surprise audiences, leaving them on the edge of their seats, eager to see what happens next.


Whether it's a character's true identity or a significant revelation about the story, plot twists can make a good movie and make it great. However, there are some plot twists that are so big and memorable that they have impacted the Marvel and DC films they were a part of.

The identity of Ares, Hydra, and 8 other massive plot twists in Marvel & DC movies

1) The Mandarin in Iron Man 3

The Mandarin's shocking reveal in Iron Man 3 (Image via Marvel Studios)

Iron Man 3's plot twist involving the Mandarin was a bold move that divided fans of the franchise. Many were disappointed that the character, who had been built up as one of Iron Man's most fearsome enemies from the comics, turned out to be a fake. However, the twist was also a clever commentary on the nature of terrorism and how the media can manipulate public perceptions of it.

By revealing that Mandarin was a manufactured persona created to distract from the true villain, Aldrich Killian, the film challenged audiences to question their assumptions. It made them look deeper at the forces behind acts of terror.

While the twist may have let some down, it ultimately added a new layer of complexity to the film's story and kept viewers guessing until the very end.

2) Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Winter Soldier's surprising identity in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Image via Marvel Studios)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is widely regarded as one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, largely due to its major plot twist.

The revelation that Bucky Barnes, Captain America's former best friend, and comrade, wasn't just alive but turned into a brainwashed assassin was a game-changer. Fans were stunned to learn that Bucky was the assassin named the Winter Soldier.

The reveal had substantial emotional ramifications for Cap, who had been mourning Bucky for decades, and set up a significant conflict for future movies.

Bucky's struggle to overcome his programming and reconcile with his past actions became a central theme of subsequent films. It also culminated in his transformation into a hero known as the White Wolf in Avengers: Infinity War.


3) Talia al-Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises

Talia al-Ghul's game-changing twist in The Dark Knight Rises (Image via Warner Bros)

In The Dark Knight Rises, the audience was led to believe that Miranda Tate was Batman's ally, working towards the same goal of bringing peace to Gotham City. However, the shocking twist revealed that she was, in fact, Talia al-Ghul, the daughter of Ra's al-Ghul and the true mastermind behind the film's events.

This revelation added a new layer of complexity to the conflict. It showed Talia seeking to complete her father's mission of destroying Gotham City and to exact revenge on Bruce Wayne for her father's death.

This twist gave the film a new sense of urgency and had a significant emotional impact as it created a deeper connection between Bruce and Talia. The twist also led to a heartbreaking betrayal between the two as they had once been lovers.

4) Hydra in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Hydra's secret infiltration in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Image via Marvel Studios)

The revelation that Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a plot twist that had a major impact on the MCU.

It revealed that one of the world's most powerful intelligence agencies had been compromised, and the enemy wasn't an external threat but one operating within the organization for decades.

The revelation of Hydra's presence led to the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D. and had ripple effects that were felt throughout the MCU. It even changed the dynamics of future movies and paved the way for new conflicts and alliances. It was a turning point in the franchise and one of the most memorable plot twists in the history of superhero movies.

5) Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Ego's unexpected betrayal in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Image via Marvel Studios)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a film that explores the complex dynamics of the team's relationships, particularly between Peter Quill and his long-lost father, Ego. Throughout the movie, Peter and Ego bond over their shared love of music and sense of adventure.

However, in a shocking twist, it's revealed that Ego is not the loving father he appears to be but a villain with plans to destroy the universe.


This revelation has major emotional ramifications for Peter, who is forced to confront the fact that his father never cared for him. He also realizes that Ego only used him to further his nefarious schemes.

The twist adds a new layer of depth to Peter's character as he grapples with betrayal and abandonment while finding strength in his newfound family in the Guardians.

6) The Joker in The Dark Knight

The Joker's iconic performance in The Dark Knight (Image via Warner Bros)

The Joker's plan in The Dark Knight was a masterful scheme that kept audiences on the edge of their seats.

The revelation that he didn't want to cause chaos and destruction but wanted to turn Harvey Dent into a villain and destroy the public's trust in Batman was major shock. Harvey Dent was Gotham City's beloved hero.

This twist created a ripple effect that ultimately led to the creation of the Dark Knight's most iconic adversary and forever changed the course of Gotham's history. The Joker's legacy still lives on, not just in the world of Batman but in the realm of cinema, as one of the most memorable and compelling villains of all time.


7) The identity of Ares in Wonder Woman

The reveal of Ares' true identity in Wonder Woman (Image via Warner Bros)

The revelation of Ares' true identity in Wonder Woman was a masterful twist that caught audiences off guard. Throughout the film, Diana is convinced that Ares is the root of all evil in the world, and she sets out to defeat him to bring peace to humanity.

However, when she finally confronts him, she learns that Ares has been hiding in plain sight as Sir Patrick Morgan, a trusted British politician.

This twist adds complexity to the conflict, as Diana must defeat Ares and confront that good and evil are not always black and white. It was a decisive moment that left a lasting impact on viewers and showed that despite overwhelming evil, there is still hope for redemption.

8) Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming

Vulture's sinister reveal in Spider-Man: Homecoming (Image via Marvel Studios)

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the revelation that Adrian Toomes is the Vulture was a significant plot twist with far-reaching implications. Peter's love interest, Liz, turns out to be the daughter of his arch-nemesis, which creates a complex conflict for Peter.

The twist adds tension to the film's climax and forces Peter to decide between his responsibilities as Spider-Man and his personal life.

This revelation also sets up the possibility of future conflicts between Peter and the Vulture, making it a pivotal moment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Vulture's introduction also gave the audience a fresh and grounded take on a villain that's been around since Spider-Man's earliest comic book adventures.

9) Loki in Thor: The Dark World

Loki's double-cross in Thor: The Dark World (Image via Marvel Studios)

In Thor: The Dark World, the shocking revelation that Loki is not only alive but has also been impersonating Odin, Thor's father, created a ripple effect throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This twist sets up a major conflict for future films, including Thor: Ragnarok, where the true fate of Odin is revealed, and Loki's deception is finally exposed.

The plot twist showcased Loki's cunning and manipulative nature, making him one of the most complex and beloved villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans were left wondering what other tricks Loki had up his sleeve, eagerly anticipating his next appearance.


10) The Skrulls in Captain Marvel

The Skrulls' true nature revealed in Captain Marvel (Image via Marvel Studios)

Captain Marvel's plot twist involving the Skrulls was a bold move that challenged the typical superhero movie formula of having a clear-cut villain. The film built up the Skrulls as antagonists, leading audiences to believe they were a ruthless and evil race.

However, the twist revealed that they were innocent refugees seeking sanctuary from the Kree, the true villains. This revelation highlighted the dangers of prejudice and the importance of questioning assumptions.

Skrull's portrayal as a sympathetic character was a refreshing departure from the usual one-dimensional villains in superhero films. It showed that sometimes the most compelling villains are the ones who are not entirely villainous.

These were just some of the plot twists that have changed the course of the MCU and the DC films' in their own ways. However, nearly each film has its own set of plot twists that have had fans biting their nails and sitting at the edge of their seats every time.

Edited by
Madhur Dave
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