One thing the MCU has done remarkably well is allow Marvel characters that perhaps were not as well known in their comic book forms to live a new life on screen, bringing them to a wider audience and giving them a massive boost in exposure. One user took to Reddit to ask people which characters they think benefited the most from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Classic Marvel comic book characters that were already well known include Spider-Man, The Hulk, Wolverine, and Captain America, who have had many comic book appearances including some crossovers, Spider-Man has even made an appearance in the DC Universe in Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. In regards to characters that may not have gotten as much love in the comics, the Reddit user mentioned the Guardians of the Galaxy as an example of heroes that have become much more recognizable thanks to their cinematic outings. Other users chimed in with their opinions on which Marvel characters have benefitted thanks to the MCU.
A fair few believed that the God of Mischief, Loki, has certainly received a massive boost in popularity thanks mainly to his portrayal by actor Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston has made this character his own, with a huge fan base for the character, especially after his second outing as the main antagonist in The Avengers.
Hiddleston’s done an amazing job with his performance, creating a layered, complex character that has a great arc as he grows and evolves over time. His fan base is now massive and is probably one of the audience’s favorite characters within the MCU, and it showed when he got his own Disney Plus series, Loki, which has become the most-watched Marvel series on the platform to date.
Another character that has gained popularity is Shang-Chi who got his own film in 2021, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, with Simu Liu playing the titular role. Shang-Chi was not the best-known character at all in the comics but his cinematic debut was well-received by audiences, with some claiming they can see him gaining the level of popularity that Captain America has received in the next 10 or so years.
One that many of the Reddit users agreed on though was actually Iron Man, the character that launched the current MCU and has been the face of the franchise next to Captain America for almost a full decade. This is in no small part down to Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Iron Man has always been a strong character in the comics, but fans felt that his image got a real boost thanks to the MCU.
Downey Jr. brought his own lovable, cheeky spin to the character and went from a pleasure-seeking, ego-driven, rich brat to a conscientious, self-sacrificing team player who gave his life to protect the entire universe, without losing his sarcastic and witty nature. The actor did a terrific job at bringing the comic book hero to the big screen and has topped many fan polls as their favorite Marvel character.
Many MCU fans may not have ever read the comics, so they only have the films to go off of with regard to the characters and how visible they are in popular culture, so it is interesting to see just how influential the MCU has been to this franchise. As Marvel continues to expand, not only with its slew of movies, with three films set to release this year alone, but also with series on streaming, we will continue to be introduced to new characters and their stories.