Long story short: the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) should feel more gay. Since 2008, the MCU has vomited out 23 feature-length films (and counting) depicting some of the sexiest actors in Hollywood mincing around in ridiculous-and-sometimes-tight costumes. But somehow, queerness has often been erased entirely from this superhero world.
With WandaVision on Disney+ becoming the latest addition to the universe, Marvel discourse is once again rife. Finally, it’s time for the gays to put their best superpower to use and gate-crash the party without an invite.
Now I’d say there are very few human gays who would willingly subject themselves to 54 hours and 9 minutes of Marvel content, but emerging from my buzzcut, bleached blonde finally-over-that-heartbreak-from-last-summer-and-bored-without-Grindr moment, I’ve realised this year should be about giving back.
Hand on heart, I would hate to see my fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community endure some of these films, and as such, I’ve decided to turn my limp wrist to writing the ultimate gay ranking of every film in the MCU, from least to most worth watching. And I’ll add in WandaVision for good measure. Here goes.
24. THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
Rumour has it that die-hard fans don’t really like this film and that made me root hard for her. We stan an excluded underdog. Unfortunately, the best thing about the film is the messy behind-the-scenes drama that allegedly went on between Edward Norton and the director that led to the role being recast as Mark Ruffalo. We love a catfight, and we love an on-set diva moment even more. Is Edward Norton the Gemma Collins of the MCU?
23. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
Okay, yes, this film does get big boner points for that sequence where Chris Evans transforms from twink to jock. It’s also refreshing that Stanley Tucci goes against all odds and decides not to play gay. That said, this wartime romp is so desperate to deepthroat you with American patriotism, it’s difficult to get on board with a film that loves itself that much.
22. IRON MAN 2 (2010)
I was ready to love this film when a small boy dressed up like Iron Man almost got killed by a drone. But then he didn’t. The whole thing is anticlimactic, and Mickey Rourke is every creep you’ve ever met at 4AM outside Heaven. Not tonight, babes.
21. THOR (2011)
This film is like Game of Thrones meets Elf. The gays will flock to catch a glimpse of the Chris Hemsworth bod, but honestly, girls, you’ll be short-changed. Thor is cocky and obsessed with his stupid hammer – and Tom Hiddleston’s ugly black wig was just too distracting to take seriously. Skip.
20. THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013)
Wouldn’t even recommend this as a hangover watch. Thor as a character is increasingly dull, but the film gets extra points because Queen Natalie Portman plays a prominent role and her colleague Darcy spends the whole movie being mean to her twinky English intern.
19. ANT MAN AND THE WASP (2018)
We don’t judge a film by its bad name in this house, but… “Ant Man and The Wasp”? And how are you going to set a film in San Francisco of all places and not even give us a glimpse of a homo?
18. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)
Mayhem, mayhem, mayhem. Very similar to an episode of Drag Race: Untucked when all your favourite queens pile in on each other for no real reason and you realise they’re not as likeable as they once appeared. Could definitely have been improved by replacing the endless punch up with a “library is open” reading sesh. At least Chris Evans gives us his most impressive bicep flex at the end to reward our patience.
17. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)
Granted, there are some gorgeous shots of Chris Evans in a tight tee chopping up some wood. Elisabeth Olsen’s Tumblr-teen-with-emo-eyeshadow aesthetic is also a source of amusement. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the straightest film in the mix. It’s like the All Bar One of the MCU. There’s a burgeoning romance and a bizarre revelation about an Avengers’ secret pregnant wife and kids who’ve been shovelled away in some picturesque cottage in the middle of nowhere. Heteronormativity galore, hun.
16. DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)
So boring until Her Royal Highness Tilda Swinton appears (I gasped). There’s lots of running on the walls, like Inception but in a k-hole. The kaleidoscopic visuals are a genuine treat and Benedict Wong the librarian is a hoot, but Benedict Cumberbatch scores a minus on my gay sex appeal scale and he’s ultimately upstaged by his gorgeous red cloak.
15. ANT MAN (2015)
An inherently conflicting film for anyone (me) who hates insects but fancies Paul Rudd. The constant close-ups of bugs will make your skin crawl, and the shrinking superpower feels like it belongs in a parody. However, the gay intern who suggested giving Michael Douglas’ daughter the same hairstyle as Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago deserves an Oscar. Pure filth.
14. AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019)
Sure, this is a cinematic feat, and seeing every MCU character come together is – in the words of late, great Whitney Houston – “so emotional”. That said, Marvel have decided to come up with their own time travel theory and I hate it. Not that I’d ever favour words written by a known transphobe, but the only person I trust to explain time travel to me is a 13-year-old witch named Hermione Granger. The best part of the film is when a group of the strongest women in the MCU come together, but you have to wait about 2.5 hours for that bit because this is The Longest Film Ever Made (accurate statistic).
13. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)
Remember in Tracy Beaker: The Movie of Me when Tracy Beaker’s mum (Lady Bridgerton) popped up and it turned out she wasn’t all that? Well imagine Tracy is Chris Pratt and her mum is Kurt Russell and you’ve got the plot for this film.
12. SPIDERMAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019)
This is the Lizzie Maguire Movie of the MCU; a school trip to Europe, a blossoming romance between two best friends and an attractive stranger dupes us all into thinking he’s the good guy. Zendaya is the best friend any queer kid would want in school and not only does Tom Holland show off his bod, but he also describes himself as “really strong and sticky”. Maybe lockdown is getting to me, but that really turned me on. Wait – can you call him hot if he’s playing a teenager even if he’s an adult in real life?
11. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)
There are some top tier Hollywood hotties in this one, including OG cowboy heartthrob Robert Redford. Scarlett “I should be allowed to play a tree” Johansson is an unexpected treat in the MCU – she’ll make you gay-squeal at most fight scenes. This is one of the more enjoyable films, but other than a brief tight white vest moment, there isn’t nearly enough sexy Chris Evans time. Also, Captain America’s shield isn’t big enough to cover his whole body so why does no one shoot at his feet?
10. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018)
Keeping up with every season of The Real Housewives is easier than keeping track with every storyline in this. I thought Chris Evans’ questionable beard and Scarlett Johansson’s unexplained blonde bob would provide the most excitement, but the story builds to an EastEnders “duff-duff” worthy moment that makes it all worth it. There’s also something undeniably gay about a finger snap being the most threatening gesture on the planet.
9. IRON MAN (2008)
As our introduction to the MCU, Robert Downey Jr. in a vest, in the desert, covered in sweat and oil really does give the gays everything they need. If you can get over the fact Gwyneth Paltrow is called Pepper Potts, then this film is a riot; you get sharp wit and you get sex – and take it from someone who’s watched over 50 hours of this: Sex does not exist in the MCU. Let’s call a spade a spade and say Tony Stark is every man you want to find when you change your Grindr preferences to 40+; he’s hot, he’s funny and he’s rich. Simon Cowell could never.
8. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017)
Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is that one boy at school who didn’t bully you who you proceeded to develop an intense crush on, drink two bottles of rosé at a house party and confess your feelings to. Just me…? Regardless, Spider-Man is the most endearing of the lot, and he also names the overly attentive and slightly irritating voice inside his suit “Karen”, which means he is definitely a closet Twitter gay.
7. CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019)
The way I screamed when Brie Larson punched a smiling old woman in the face. An absolutely iconic moment that every gay needs front-row viewing to. Jude Law will always give off hot English teacher energy, but it’s nice to see him get smacked about by Captain Marvel. We have to unite behind this one because it’s the MCU’s first female-led movie.
6. THE AVENGERS (2012)
Come for Scarlett Johansson beating up a group of men while tied to a chair, wait for butt-naked Mark Ruffalo in a pile of bricks, and stay for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki reading the cast to absolute filth. The biggest takeaway, however, is Jeremy Renner’s arms bulging out of his black vest. He spends most of the film reminiscent of that scary Grindr hook-up that’s equal parts hot and terrifying; you know it’s going to be good, but you let your friends know where you are just in case.
5. IRON MAN 3 (2013)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Tony Stark is the sugar daddy of our dreams. I want him to be the J. Howard Marshall to my Anna Nicole Smith. The Iron Man threequel film is the best in the trilogy; there are shocks, gags, and a woman gets fried on top of a telephone wire (iconic?). To sweeten the deal, Gwyneth’s Pepper Potts – who has thus far only moaned, screamed and slut-shamed Tony Stark’s hook-ups – finally has her 11 o’clock number which steals the show. Goop.
4. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)
The film’s premise of “chosen family” feels important, but what makes this film fundamentally queer is Glenn Close’s wig. Chris Pratt’s bumbling-straight-man-in-a-gay-bar act is satisfyingly shut down by a witty raccoon and Zoe Saldana, who is so green she looks like she’s about to break into “Defying Gravity” at any moment. The soundtrack will make you miss dancing and Groot will make you love trees more than Judi Dench did in her pivotal 2017 documentary Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees.
3. THOR: RAGNAROK (2017)
This the MCU’s version of a gay night out. Cate Blanchett is the drag performer who scares you shitless, Tessa Thompson is the fun girl you meet on the dancefloor who lets you smoke all her cigarettes, and Thor (who’s had a gorgeous haircut) is the hot bartender who ignores you until you offer to buy him a shot. It’s refreshing to watch a fun, silly superhero film that doesn’t revolve around angry men trying to prove how strong they are.
2. BLACK PANTHER (2018)
A superhero jumping about in a seductively fitting cat suit with claws easily makes Black Panther the gayest superhero of the MCU. But let’s be honest, he would be nothing without the women in his life – and they make this a sure-fire hit for the queers. The brains, the power, the looks! It’s empowering, it’s political and there is a healthy handful lot of shirtless wrestling… which doesn’t improve the film, per se, but it does scream “gay rights”.
1. WANDAVISION (2021)
Gays: I think we’ve cracked them. Spread across nine episodes and peppered with enough MCU to appease real fans, WandaVision is out here serving camp sit-com mindfuck realness.
Grab a bottle of Kylie Minogue’s rosé, get some popcorn on the go and prepare to witness the superhero genre through a stunning new lens. You’ll travel from Bewitched to Full House to Modern Family and beyond; the references are intricate, and the end result feels like watching a flick in the basement of a sticky gay pub with your ride-or-die queers. And while we’re down there, let’s collectively agree to raise a glass every time Kathryn Hahn comes on screen. She steals every scene.