All of us know that romance is an inseparable part of nearly every movie. Whether it’s a drama, a comedy or a superhero movie, there’s bound to be a certain degree of love story that humanizes the plot and allows for audience's emotional investment. The MCU franchise is no different. In fact, love is an emotion that drives the storyline most of the time. Let’s hope that MCU's phase 4 opens more doors for LGBTQ+ romances as well, especially now that Eternals's groundbreaking gay kiss has moved the franchise in the right direction.
Despite loving the adrenaline-fuelled action, it’s always refreshing to take a break from the fight scenes to pay attention to Tony’s and Pepper’s constant bickering or MJ’s and Spider-man’s teenage blossoming feelings. Take a look at 10 relationships that we can’t imagine the MCU without.
10 Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter
There's a lot to say about this particular romance. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) have the pure kind of relationship. Captain America: The First Avenger gave us exactly the type of sweet romance between Agent Carter and Captain America that pulls on your heartstrings and makes you feel for them. They weren't officially established as a couple before Steve crashed the plane, but she indeed owed him a dance. Arguably, that's the ending that should have remained: Peggy moved on after Steve died, she became a hero saving the world numerous times, fell in love once again, and helped found SHIELD. Avengers: Endgame, however, completely obliterated her arc and made her another voiceless love interest.
9 Peter Quill and Gamora
Do you ever think about what would have been if Quill (Chris Pratt) hadn't gotten distracted by Gamora's (Zoe Saldana) death in Avengers: Infinity War? Love makes us do all kinds of things in the heat of the moment, even ruining the mission to save the world. Some believe Peter's actions in this moment are justifiable, while others are less forgiving. Regardless of your opinions, Peter and Gamora's relationship proves that opposites do attract and can make their relationship work: she's a stone-cold warrior with a complicated past, while he is more abrasive and often takes life as a joke. Still, there's no denying that they deeply loved each other.
8 Xu Wenwu and Ying Li
Let's ignore the fact that Wenwu (Tony Leung) is the villain of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and let's focus on the justifiable arc of his evilness. Being the most powerful man on the planet can get tiring; you can never find someone who matches your abilities. But, once Wenwu met Ying Li (Fala Chen), she instantly caught his attention because she felt like his equal. She taught him more nature-driven ways of fighting and their purely honest love created a beautiful family. Of course, he went back to his evil cores when the reason for her death is his dark past.
7 T’Challa and Nakia
T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) and Nakia's (Lupita Nyong'o) relationship in Black Panther is potentially one of the best written romances in the MCU. Their love story is of the past and barely openly talked about, but we can still feel their unbreakable bond. Not only do they find a safe space within each other, they equally believed in each other's strengths and weaknesses. It's one of the few cases when an MCU woman love interest was not portrayed for the male gaze. Nakia shows strong leadership characteristics while maintaining the support for her king. She helped him see that the world needs Wakanda's help and arguably was the one to rule over Wakanda after the snap.
6 Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne
First and foremost, let this be a reminder that Scott (Paul Rudd) saved the whole universe just to get Hope (Evangeline Lilly) back. Their chemistry is truly indisputable, whether it's during real life situations or during their 'partners in crime actions' as Ant-Man and The Wasp. Although Hope's portrayed as the smart sophisticated one, let's not forget that despite Scott's lively childishness, he has a master degree in engineering. They complete each other's energy and work together perfectly in spite of their constant light banter.
5 Loki and Sylvie
There are definitely two conflicted sides when it comes to this relationship: those who call it extremely weird because of the siblings vibes, and those who completely adore their sweetness and Loki's (Tom Hiddleston) vulnerability around her. Yes, it is certainly weird, but wasn't it created to be exactly that—a strange, unknown territory. After all, the Loki series was essentially created to discover Loki's true identity and how challenging it is. It may seem abnormal due, but Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) has evolved past being a Loki. She has created a new identity for herself, and she has learned to accept it. Despite the controversy, it's beautiful that even though both of the characters have a rough time existing, they somehow find happiness in each other.
4 Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes
The face remains: Steve Rogers started a Civil war just to save and protect Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). More than that, Bucky and Steve have been there for each other for over a century, and everything they have ever done was practically to keep the other safe. Even after he found out that the Winter Soldier was indeed Bucky, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve kept taking blows after blows instead of fighting him, saying he would be there with him "till the end of the line." We're all aware that the MCU is not particularly fond of open queer relationships. Even funnier: they gave Bucky and Steve's scenes to Peggy and Steve in What If...?. By advertising it as a "heartbreaking romance," they've inadvertently confirmed that what Steve and Bucky had was, indeed, romantic.
3 Tony Stark and Pepper Potts
Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) are unquestionably the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From the get-go, when she was introduced as his assistant in the first Iron Man movie that started the franchise, we could feel that they had a great understanding of each other. Despite having the reputation of a player, Pepper was the one to ground him while they supported one another. Tony has always had a softness to his voice when addressing her. It was only a matter of time until they married each other and had a beautiful daughter Morgan, who has given us the most iconic line from the MCU: "I love you 3000." We certainly did not get enough of the three of them on screen. At least Tony died knowing that Pepper was there with him.
2 MJ and Peter Parker
There's a lot to discuss about these two after watching Spider-man: No Way Home. MJ (Zendaya) was barely even present in the first movie, but gradually made her presence known. In comparison to the aforementioned couples, Peter (Tom Holland) and MJ provide us with the authentic young teenage love that the MCU was missing. We got to experience the innocence of the relationship's firsts with this pair. Of course, it's a big plus that the couple's real life chemistry projects onto the movies. We're intrigued to see what will happen to this couple, considering how everyone's memories about Peter got wiped away.
1 Vision and Wanda
Thanks to the miniseries released at the beginning of last year, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) have become our favorite love story. WandaVision explores the concept of grief so beautifully that we can certainly forgive Wanda for entrapping a whole town of people just so she could spend more time with Vision. Her love for Vision was so strong that she was able to physically create him using her powers.