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10 underrated aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: A closer look at the elements that make the franchise truly super (Image via Marvel Studios)

10 underrated aspects of the MCU

The impact of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, aka MCU, on popular culture is incredible, which is why fans of the media franchise continue to hype the numerous movies and series long after its release. While the franchise is known for its impressive visual effects, action-packed storylines, and beloved characters, many underrated aspects of it often go unnoticed.

On that note, this article will explore 10 of these underrated aspects of the MCU, including a discussion on the costume design, villains, humor, and many more.


Note: The aspects listed are in no particular order, as each brings something unique and valuable to the franchise.

Practical effects, easter eggs, and eight other underrated aspects of the MCU

10) Themes

The MCU tackles complex themes that reflect our society and culture (Image via Marvel Studios)

The themes explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are often overlooked, but they are a crucial aspect of the franchise. While the films do depict superheroes and their struggles, the media franchise specifically explores complex issues and offers commentary on the contemporary society.

For example, Black Panther explores themes of identity and cultural heritage while addressing issues of colonization and imperialism. Similarly, Captain America: The Winter Soldier tackles government surveillance issues and civil liberties erosion.

The themes in the MCU are not only thought-provoking, but they also help to make the films more relevant and relatable to audiences. They offer depth and complexity to movies that are often missing in other superhero franchises.

9) Practical effects

The use of practical effects adds authenticity to the films (Image via Marvel Studios)

Practical effects are an underrated aspect of the MCU that adds realism and authenticity to the films. The use of practical effects is awe-inspiring, given the fantastical nature of many of the movies, and it shows the filmmakers' commitment to creating a believable world.

For example, in Guardians of the Galaxy, practical effects helped bring Rocket to life, making him feel like a real and tangible character. Similarly, the practical stunts in Captain America: The Winter Soldier helped create a sense of tension and excitement, as the audience could see the actors performing actual actions.

8) Humor

The humor in the MCU adds levity and charm to the films (Image via Marvel Studios)

Humor is an underrated but essential aspect of the MCU that has helped set it apart from other superhero franchises. Humor helps humanize the characters and make them more relatable while providing a welcoming break from intense action and drama.

From Tony Stark's quips to Drax's literal interpretations of language, the humor in the MCU varies and adds to the film's overall charm and entertainment value. Moreover, the comedy helps to make the emotional moments more impactful, which is often in contrast to the somber moments. The balance of humor and drama is exemplified in films such as Thor: Ragnarok, which is both a hilarious and emotional journey for the characters.

7) Continuity

The attention to continuity is impressive and a testament to the careful planning of the filmmakers (Image via Marvel Studios)

Continuity is a crucial aspect of the MCU that has helped create a cohesive and interconnected universe. The overlapping plot allows each film to build on the events of the previous films, making sense of the narrative progression that rewards long-time fans.

The Sokovia Accords, which were introduced in Captain America: Civil War, have continued to impact the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The Infinity Stones are another crucial aspect of the MCU's continuity, with each film contributing to the larger narrative of Thanos's quest to collect all the stones.

The attention to continuity is impressive and has helped to create an authentic and fully realized universe. This continuity makes crossover events like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame possible, allowing all the heroes to come together cohesively and satisfactorily.

6) Villains

The MCU has created some truly memorable antagonists, like the sympathetic Loki (Image via Marvel Studios)

Villains in the MCU are a critical element of the franchise, providing a formidable challenge for the heroes to overcome and a catalyst for character growth and development. While some villains may be forgettable, others are complex and compelling characters who are just as interesting as the heroes.


For example, Loki is a fan-favorite antagonist who started as a mischievous trickster but evolved into a tragic and sympathetic figure. Killmonger is another underrated villain with a compelling backstory and motivation that challenges the hero's worldview.

Thanos, the main antagonist of Infinity Saga, is also a memorable and complex villain who believes he is doing the right thing by eradicating half of all life in the universe. The MCU has produced several excellent villains who deserve more recognition and appreciation for contributing to the franchise's success.

5) Supporting characters

The supporting characters bring humor, heart, and depth to the films (Image via Marvel Studios)

Supporting characters are a critical component of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, providing diverse personalities, backgrounds, and motivations that enrich the storytelling. These characters often have arcs and journeys that are just as compelling as the main heroes, such as Peggy Carter's struggle against sexism in 1940s or Luis's loyalty and humor in Ant-Man.

Additionally, supporting characters can provide critical exposition, backstory, and emotional resonance to the films, such as Yondu's backstory in Guardians of the Galaxy or Happy Hogan's loyalty and friendship with Tony Stark. The supporting characters in the MCU are an underrated and essential aspect that contributes to the franchise's enduring appeal and longevity.


4) Easter eggs

The franchise is famous for its hidden references and callbacks to other Marvel films and comics (Image via Marvel Studios)

Easter eggs are a beloved and essential aspect of the MCU that showcases attention to detail and love for the source material. These easter eggs are often subtle and easy to miss, but they can be incredibly rewarding for fans who catch them.

For example, in Iron Man 2, there is a brief shot of a map with locations of various superheroes worldwide, including Wakanda, which later became the setting of Black Panther. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the character Howard the Duck makes a brief appearance in the background, which is a nod to his appearance in the original comic book.

These easter eggs create a sense of interconnectedness between films and comics, building a more remarkable cohesive universe than the sum of its parts.

3) Diversity and representation

The franchise is working to ensure that all audiences can see themselves represented on the big screen (Image via Marvel Studios)

Diversity and representation are crucial aspects of the MCU, ensuring everyone can find a character to relate to and feel seen and heard. The films have featured various characters from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures.

Moreover, the MCU has recently taken significant steps to include more women and LGBTQ+ characters, such as America Chavez and Valkyrie. These characters are not just token additions to the films but are fully developed and complex individuals who play integral roles in the storylines.

Apart from that, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a groundbreaking film that features an all-Asian cast and represents a significant milestone for Asian representation in Hollywood. MCU's commitment to diversity and representation is a crucial and admirable aspect of the franchise that contributes to its continued success and impact.

2) Sound design

The sound design enhances the emotional impact of each scene and helps to transport the audience into the world of the film (Image via Marvel Studios)

The sound design in the MCU is an essential part of the cinematic experience that immerses the viewer into the world of the films. The sound team carefully crafts each sound effect to match the actions and powers of the characters, such as the sound of Thor's thunder or the iconic snap of Iron Man's suit.


Moreover, musical scores are a critical component of the films, enhancing the emotional impact of the scenes and representing the characters' personalities and journeys. For instance, the theme of the Avengers is a powerful and inspiring musical cue that highlights the team's unity and strength. Meanwhile, the Black Panther score blends traditional African rhythms with modern orchestration to reflect the character's cultural identity and heroism.

1) Costume design

Each costume is designed to reflect the personality and powers of the character (Image via Marvel Studios)

The costume design in the MCU is a testament to the creativity and skill of the designers and costume department. The costumes not only look amazing, but they also play a significant role in the storytelling of the films, representing the character's identity and journey.

For example, the Scarlet Witch's costume design in WandaVision reflects her transition from a young woman in grief to a powerful witch. Similarly, the transformation of Tony Stark's armor during the Iron Man films mirrors his growth as a character and his evolution as a superhero. The costume design in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a crucial element that enhances the film's visual spectacle and emotional resonance.

Edited by
Priya Majumdar
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