In its 10 years, 3 phases and 18 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated our screens (and our lives) with epic action sequences, hilarious moments, and lovable heroes. However, as well as being raucous fun, the films have often provided tidbits of wisdom. Here are my picks of the inspiring, helpful and memorable quotes from the MCU that actually offer some life advice.
“Compromise where you can, but where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move. It is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, to look them in the eye and say, no, you move.” – Sharon Carter (Captain America: Civil War, 2016)
It’s a long quote yes, but one where every part of it is filled with such rich goodness. Spoken by her niece at her funeral, these words of the late Peggy Carter are a symbol of what true integrity looks like. In a world where people are so easily swayed by the various narratives being told around them, to remain firm in our beliefs is one of the strongest things we can do.
“Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.” – Shuri (Black Panther, 2018)
Such wise words from everyone’s new favourite teen tech prodigy. Shuri constantly wants to do better, and I think that is such an example to the way we should approach our lives, especially our work. As easy as it is to just do something ‘good enough’, it is so much more satisfying and rewarding to strive for the best we can. Everything in life is a work in progress, and that’s not a depressing thing – it’s actually super exciting!
“Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.” – Dr Erskine (Captain America: The First Avenger, 2011) / “I would rather be a good man than a great king” – Thor (Thor: The Dark World, 2013)
I put both of these quotes together because they embody the same message, and it’s a message that I think is important enough to be repeated. Being good is always better than being right. When we look back on our lives at the end of it all, surely we want to be able to say that our life meant something; and I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather someone remembered my character with fondness than my achievements.
“I can’t control their fear, only my own.” – Scarlet Witch (Captain America: Civil War, 2016)
Spending your whole life trying to control people’s perceptions of you is honestly so tiring. However, you can control your own mind and your own thoughts, and as Scarlet Witch says here, your own fear. Worrying about what others are doing and feeling is just going to cause you unnecessary stress, and I know that sometimes it can’t be helped, but at least try and focus on your own feelings first!
“I look around at us and you know what I see? Losers… I mean like, folks who have lost stuff. And you think life takes more than it gives, but not today. Today it’s giving us something. It is giving us a chance.” – Star-Lord (Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014)
Life doesn’t always give us a perfect hand, in fact, it often gives us a sub-par one. However, that often provides us the opportunity and the chance to make the most of it and do something worthwhile. We’re all losers, every single one of us, that’s not an experience individual to you – so don’t use it as an excuse to not stand up and do what’s right.
“It’s an imperfect world but it’s the only one we got” – Tony Stark (Iron Man, 2008)
Admittedly, Tony uses this as a way to justify selling weapons, and I don’t condone that. I do however, think we can learn something from this outside of its context. Because it’s true, we live in a pretty messy and broken world, and it’s also true that it’s what we’ve been given, and we do have to make the best of that. The only way things will change is if we embrace the world around us and choose to be an active agent in it.
“The price of freedom’s high. Always has been. It’s a price I’m willing to pay.” – Steve Rogers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014)
Doing the right thing is costly; sometimes a way higher cost than we’re willing to pay. I think sometimes we need to push ourselves and remind ourselves what really matters in life. When we remember that, it’s a lot easier to pay that price for freedom willingly. Truth is, we’re in a much more privileged position than many in the world when it comes to the freedom we have, let’s use it to help others gain more.
“I still believe in heroes.” – Nick Fury, (Avengers Assemble, 2012)
As we’ve established in all these quotes, sometimes life is really tough, and the world seems to need saving more and more. It can be easy to despair that we don’t live in a comic book world in which we have superheroes with superpowers on hand to save the day whenever it gets hard. What we do have, though, are the everyday heroes who fight constantly for freedom so that the people around them can have a fulfilling life. Look out for these guys more, and I promise that you’ll have a greater appreciation for both life and for humanity. I definitely still believe in heroes – I see them every day when I look around me.