Last week, Marvel Studios saw another successful launch with its twelfth solo movie, Ant-Man. After having watched the movie, I realized how many characters in the MCU have daddy issues or other family problems. Let’s take a quick look back and see how screwed up MCU’s families are. Spoilers for all the Marvel movies released so far.
In Iron Man, Tony Stark tries to atone for his career as a successful merchant of death. To do so, he must break down the company that his father built. Blocking Stark’s path to redemption is Obadiah Stane, a colleague of his father’s who had become his mentor. Stark eventually succeeds; Stark Industries exits weapons business, and Stane is promptly “fired”.
Iron Man 2
Not only does Iron Man 2 double down on Tony Stark’s daddy issues, it introduces yet another character with a daddy issue: Ivan Vanko. Unlike Tony Stark, who refuses to believe that his father was anything but a heartless merchant of death like he was, Ivan Vanko risks all of what little he has to take revenge against the Stark family for the elder Vanko’s humiliation and deportation. Tony Stark, with a little help from Nick Fury, learns that the elder Stark wasn’t negligent just for fun. He was negligent because he was setting up a brighter future for his son. Howard Stark literally saves Tony Stark’s life from beyond the grave.
It’s the daddy issue movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The entire movie is based around Loki discovering his true lineage and taking it as the sole reason why he was placed second in the Asgardian line of succession. Ultimately, Thor is about two sons seeking their father’s approval. One succeeds after failing and the other fails after “succeeding”.
Iron Man 3
While the daddy issue in Iron Man 3 isn’t as prevalent as in the other Iron Man movies, Tony Stark meets and develops a rapport with a boy named Harley, who also has an absentee dad.
Thor: The Dark World
Loki may not consider Odin his father, but he still considers Frigga his mother, a sentiment that she reciprocates. Unfortunately, Frigga meets her untimely death at the hands of the Dark Elves, which brings Loki and Thor together for revenge. However, while Thor’s back is turned, Loki returns to Asgard and removes Odin from the throne. It is not known whether or not he had killed his estranged his father or merely imprisoned him somewhere.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Peter Quill has daddy issues even though it’s not talked about much in the film. Quill’s father was an alien absentee dad, and his mother raised him all by herself until cancer took her life. Young Quill was abducted from Earth, apparently by space pirates who were hired to retrieve him for his father, but he ends up growing up with the pirates instead. Quill doesn’t forget his origins, however, as he always carries around his mother’s mix tape. Meanwhile, Gamora is trying to shake off her past as an unwilling stepdaughter of Thanos while Nebula is desperate for his approval until her frustration leads her to an open rebellion.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Age of Ultron effectively supplants Thor as Marvel’s daddy issue movie. Tony Stark creates Ultron as the ultimate defense system against any and all threat against humanity, but Ultron believes that humanity is the biggest threat against humanity. Worse yet, he believes that he is the one true scion of humanity. Every living creature creates offsprings to supplant themselves, right? So Ultron must have been created to supplant humanity! He goes as far as to birth a perfect “human” body, but it gains a consciousness of its own and becomes the Vision. Ultron is very quickly supplanted by the Vision.
Ant-Man is actually told from an absentee father’s point of view. Unlike the other absentee fathers in the MCU, Scott Lang actively tries to be involved in his daughter’s life. Helping him along the way is Hope Van Dyne, a woman with daddy issues. Her contemptuous relationship with her estranged father—Hank Pym—serves as a vision of how bad it could be for Lang and his daughter if Lang doesn’t get his life back on track. Lang succeeds in protecting his daughter and winning her heart thanks to both Hank and Hope. Hank and Hope also patch things up between them in the end. Interestingly, the villain of the movie—Darren Cross—actually has a daddy issue of his own with his mentor, Hank Pym, who had abandoned him because he saw too much of himself in Cross. Also Cross went insane.
So what’s next for Marvel? The next Cap movie might actually not have any daddy issue-related plot as it is with all the Captain America movies. I can’t imagine Doctor Strange having much daddy issues either, although Baron Mordo could have tons of daddy issues against the Ancient One. Incidentally, Tilda Swinton says that she hasn’t decided which gender she’ll give the Ancient One. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might about fraternal rivalry or it could be about daddy issues if Quill ever finds his alien deadbeat dad. Thor: Ragnarok can always visit Loki’s issue with Odin. The upcoming Avengers movies probably won’t have much daddy issues, and neither will Captain Marvel and Inhumans movies, probably. Black Panther, on the other hand, could go nuts with daddy issues. In the comics, he is seen communing with all his ancestors who once bore the name Black Panther. That’s a looooot of disappointments and disapproval for T’Challa to worry about.