The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps growing in what seems to be an unending quest to bring every Marvel character ever created into live-action. The sprawling franchise is famous for its comedic sensibilities, meaning nearly every figure that inhabits it is pleasant and likable to a fault. With the obvious exceptions of the MCU villains that come and go like tumbleweeds in the desert, most MCU characters are easy to root for — they are heroes, after all.
But even heroes have classes and rankings, and just because we’re supposed to like every MCU character doesn’t mean we actually do. Some are more unpopular than others for numerous reasons. However, there are those characters that everyone seems to like. Whether because of their unassuming nature, clever jokes, relatable characterization, or a delicate balance of all of the above, these figures take the crown in the MCU likability race.
Who doesn’t love Groot? Honestly, this character, a sympathetic and adorable sentient tree, is impossible to dislike. Groot is selfless, kind, gentle, and heroic, He doesn’t say much, but he doesn’t need to, as audiences understand everything just by looking at his eyes. He is the Guardians’ beating heart, and the makeshift family would not be as compelling or popular without him.
Groot’s sacrifice in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie ranks among the saddest moments in the MCU. It’s arguably the most effective emotional scene in the franchise, mainly because it feels earned and not like a cheap attempt to pull at the heartstrings. Groot is a one-of-a-kind character, someone who doesn’t want fame or glory; instead, all he wants is to keep his family safe and do some good in the process. He was a mischievous baby and an angsty teenager, but he remained a big ol’ softy at his core, and that’s what matters.
4. T’Challa/Black Panther
The King of Wakanda was a surprisingly relatable character. Most of us will never experience what it’s like to lead the world’s most powerful nation, but T’Challa’s struggles — the pressures of duty, the fear of letting people down, the confusion about what the “right” path is, the desire for revenge — are universal. T’Challa’s journey in the MCU was short, but incredibly compelling, with fans falling in love with him almost instantly.
T’Challa was unique among other MCU characters. He was very much aware of his station and never tried to hide or deny it; however, he didn’t use it to crush or dominate others. T’Challa was kind without needing to make overt displays of empathy. He had all the best qualities of a great king, which made him an inspiration to his people and a role model for the superhero community. Few MCU characters had as much meaning or impact as T’Challa, and his memory will live on in the hearts of the characters in his story — and the fans who will never forget what he meant to them.
3. Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Paul Rudd might be Hollywood’s most likable star. He seems like a genuinely chill guy who could easily be your friend. Rudd is also a hilarious comedian; he could make the back of a cereal box funny. His charm and star quality go a long way in making Scott Lang such a vibrant part of the MCU, even when the character isn’t as interesting or, let’s say it, important in the MCU’s large scheme.
And yet, the Avengers films could use more of Rudd’s Lang. Unlike other heroes in the MCU, Lang feels like someone you could know. He’s not a super genius or a man living outside his time; Scott is, first and foremost, a father willing to do everything for his daughter. He likes being a hero because who wouldn’t, but his main concern is his family. Scott will never be the most impressive or powerful Avenger, but he might be the most likable, someone who could actually be your friend without making you feel intimidated.
Mantis is adorable. One of the most misunderstood characters in the MCU, Mantis is sweet and innocent, a misfit who perfectly fits among the Guardians. Having lived in solitude beside Ego for years, Mantis is not used to intimacy with people; in many ways, she is a child learning to relate to others, and it’s a surprisingly wholesome storyline.
Played by the brilliant Pom Klementieff, Mantis is one of the MCU’s most memorable characters. She’s also incredibly powerful, even if the true extent of her abilities hasn’t been explored in the films — and probably never will. Still, Mantis is a ray of sunshine in the MCU, bringing a sense of warmth and compassion that few other characters have. And considering this is a world about heroes, it’s surprising that so few of them embody or even display these two crucial qualities. At least we have Mantis.
1. Peter Parker/Spider-Man
There’s a reason why he’s known as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. The webslinger is arguably the all-time greatest Marvel superhero; critics and fans love his dynamism, affable behavior, and lighthearted approach to crime-fighting. Spider-Man has a large gallery of villains, yet he never loses his hope and sense of humor. Even when things get dark, and it might be easy to fall into despair, Spidey keeps his spirits high.
Sure, he’s sometimes a tad annoying, but he’s still a kid! And there’s something genuinely refreshing about his unassuming persona; Spider-Man is the closest audiences can come to experiencing what it’s like to be a superhero. He’s still the wide-eyed, deer-in-front-of-the-headlights kid whocan’t believe he’s going to space to fight a big purple alien. Spidey is grounded and humble, something not many heroes can claim. And in the world of Marvel, where gods walk the earth, it’s great to have someone more relatable.
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