The Marvel Movies' 16 Most Romantic Moments, Ranked
By Meg Downey on
Somewhere between punching bad guys and saving the universe, the Marvel Cinematic Universe actually found the time to be pretty heartwarming, if in slightly unconventional ways. The movies themselves might not be focused on the romantic goings on of their main characters, but they do include their fair share of super sweet moments. From playful will-they-won't-they couples to soul crushing missed connections, the last 10 years have been pretty good for superheroic love lives.
With it recently being Valentine's Day, we took the opportunity to go through and rank those love lives for our own personal amusement, right? Look, we have to pass the time until Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame somehow. We can't all get lost in crazy theory rabbit holes to distract ourselves. So, with that in mind, we've collected up 15 of the MCU's sweetest (or sometimes saddest) romantic moments for you to help celebrate the holiday.
16. Jane And Thor's Mutual Breakup
Thor and Jane had a pretty good run, all things considered, with two-and-a-quarter movies focusing on their budding relationship amongst the chaos of Asgard's constant drama. But like all pretty good things, it had to come to an end at some point. It may not be the most traditionally romantic moment of the bunch, but Thor offhandedly mentioning he and Jane broke up--you know, as a mutual thing--in Thor: Ragnarok was actually pretty perfect, and perfectly goofy for the God of Thunder's new, space-based adventuring.
15. Clint's Secret Family
Of all the surprises Age of Ultron had in store for our heroes--Vision's debut, James Spader basically reprising his role as Robert California on The Office to voice Ultron, Pietro's untimely death--perhaps the most shocking (and shockingly sweet) was the left field introduction of Clint Barton's secret farm and family. It was a reveal that absolutely no one saw coming, but fans readily welcomed, especially since it provided some much-needed depth to Hawkeye's vaguely defined history. They may have only really been featured once and since only come up in off-handed conversation, but you have to admit there's a certain romance to an Avenger working so hard to maintain a normal life on the side. That's a tightrope walk that, so far, only Clint's been able to successfully pull off and for that, we've got to give him credit.
14. Valkyrie's Tragic War Story
OK, so Thor: Ragnarok may not be the most traditionally romantic entry into the MCU's pantheon, but that didn't stop it from having one of the most visually stunning one-off moments in the franchise. Brace yourselves, because we're going to subtext city for this one. When Valkyrie is reliving her horrifying ordeal against Hela and remembers watching her sister-in-arms, a fellow Valkyrie, falling in spectacularly lit slow motion, it was hard not to feel it land right on the heartstrings. It might take a little viewer extrapolation to read proper romance into the two Valkyries' relationship, but luckily we're pretty experienced in picking those things out, even when they're blink-and-you-miss-it. We may have not learned much about the other Valkyrie from the flashback, but we really didn't need to--the art of that shot spoke volumes.
13. Natasha and Clint's Mysterious Past
So it may not have panned out in the way anyone expected, but those first few introductory moments between Black Widow and Hawkeye in The Avengers were story beats that launched a major fan-favorite ship. Their shadowy history as SHIELD operatives and spies gave us just enough to set our minds racing--and just enough to fall a little bit in love with the idea of a torrid, ill-fated romance blossoming (and inevitably crumbling) between the two of them.
12. Rocket and Groot's Bromance
The brotherly love between a cybernetically modified raccoon-like creature and a giant sentient tree should never be overlooked. Rocket and Groot are arguably the MCU's most perfect bromance, spotlighting everything from hilarious back-and-forth bickering to moments of real, genuine tenderness. If you didn't choke up at the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, there's probably something wrong with you.
11. Vision and Wanda's Scotland Vacation
What's more endearing that the love between a super advanced infinity stone-powered robot and a magically endowed ex-science experiment? Not much, if you live in the MCU. Vision and Wanda's flirtation through Age of Ultron and Civil War was pretty heartwarming, but their secret Scottish vacation (while they were living as fugitives, no less) was sweet in the best way--even if it did end in some pretty spectacular violence.
10. Scott and Hope's Chemistry
Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne may not have taken the most traditional path in their relationship--Scott attempting to rob Hope's dad was hardly a meet-cute--but they got there eventually. Ant-Man & The Wasp built the two heroes up as both individuals and team mates before finally paying off the simmering tension between them in spectacularly sweet fashion. Who doesn't love microscopic movie dates?
9. Tony and Bruce's Reunion Hug
Tony Stark and Bruce Banner first caught the attention of fans back in The Avengers when the affectionately named, fan favorite "science bros" 'ship was first launched--and its popularity has only grown from there. Of course, that is until Bruce unceremoniously fled the Earth after Age of Ultron--but hey, that's what wound up making their eventual reunion in Infinity War so satisfying. Not only did Tony's whole sarcastic act drop the second Bruce stepped out of Doctor Strange's portal, but the two got a nice, warm hug to punctuate the moment and melt our anxiety ridden hearts.
8. Star-Lord and Gamora's Final Moments
There's plenty of tragedy to be found in the MCU--it's kind of part and parcel with the whole superhero thing, really--but no one pulls it off with the style and flair (and heartbreak) of Star-Lord and Gamora in Infinity War. After two movies of playfully contentious will-they-won't-they, we finally got a beautiful, achingly sincere "I love you," right as Peter was forcing himself to pull the trigger on the blaster he had aimed at Gamora's heart. Of course, things didn't quite go down the way any of them had planned, thanks to Thanos and the Reality Stone, but the impact of the moment still holds up.
7. Thor and Loki's Sacrifices
Thor and Loki put the "bro" in bromance--even if they are technically only adopted siblings. The Thor trilogy gave us plenty of hilarious bonding moments between the two Asgardians, even if they did usually end in Loki ultimately stabbing Thor in the back, but by the final moments of Ragnarok, it seemed the bad blood between them had been (delightfully) washed away. Unfortunately, this meant that the opening moments of Infinity War, where Thor and Loki both faced each other prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice--a gambit that would wind up costing Loki his life--all the more beautiful. Brotherly love has never been so tear-jerking.
6. Hank and Jan's Happy Ending
Hank Pym may not be the nicest guy in the world--in fact, he's actually pretty infamous for being a massive jerk--but he can have his softer moments as well. The finale of Ant-Man & The Wasp featured Hank reuniting with his long lost wife, Jan Van Dyne, after she'd been stuck in the quantum realm for decades, and it was heartwarmingly sweet. A perfect happy ending to a not so perfect life story.
5. Peter and MJ's High School Awkwardness
Spider-Man: Homecoming provided a welcome update to the Mary Jane and Peter Parker romance we all know by transforming MJ into a brand new character, named Michelle, to perfectly counterpoint a new take on Spider-Man. Peter and Michelle's goofy flirting and charming chemistry make them one of the sweetest blossoming relationships in the MCU--and arguably one of the slowest, considering they're not dating yet. But with Far From Home just around the corner, we'll hold out hope for the future.
4. Tony and Pepper's Proposal
If there was a romantic anchor for the MCU as a whole, it would have to be Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. Not only were they there from the very beginning, dancing around one another, but they've managed to keep their dynamic interesting and engaging through upward of six individual films--a pretty big feat, all things considered. Of course, the moment that really capped it all off was the finale of Spider-Man: Homecoming, where Tony finally popped the question in lieu of announcing Spider-Man as a new Avenger. Not to mention their relationship portmanteau, Pepperony, is arguably the best thing to ever happen.
3. Steve and Peggy's Dance
Steve Rogers' life is basically defined by tragedy, and one of the biggest is his missed dance with Peggy Carter at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger. Still, sad as it may be, Steve and Peggy's ships-in-the-night romance is hard not to love and set the bar for the early MCU's love stories pretty high. Peggy may be deceased in the present day as of Civil War, but with the Infinity Stones in play, there's always a chance that the two of them might finally get that dance for real by the end of Endgame. If that's the case, best be prepared with plenty of tissues.
2. T'Challa and Nakia's Perfect Banter
King T'Challa may be Wakandan royalty and one of the most graceful superheroes around, but he still makes a fool of himself every now and again--usually when Nakia is involved. She and the king's playful, dynamic relationship throughout Black Panther was pitch perfect, from the jokes at T'Challa's expense to the almost-proposal at the end of the movie. Will Nakia ever settle down and take on the mantle of queen? She definitely doesn't need to, but we'd sure be happy if she did.
1. Steve and Bucky's Entire Lives
Look, you can only talk about romance in the MCU for so long before you inevitably get to the revolutionary love story that was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes may have been "best friends since childhood," but their bond obviously runs much, much deeper--deep enough to break through seventy-some-odd years of brutal Nazi brainwashing. Steve's existence in the MCU is almost entirely structured around loss--the loss of Peggy, the loss of his life in the 1940s, the eventual loss of his shield--but his story with Bucky is all about recovery. The two of them just keep on finding one another, despite it all, and if that's not some heart-shatteringly romantic stuff right there, we don't know what is. After all, they're with each other till the end of the line, and we wouldn't want it any other way.