Over the span of 11 years and 22 films, Marvel has brought us everything from super soldiers and thunder gods to even a talking racoon, but none of that compares to their most radical move yet: giving an actual gay some screen time.
If you’re one of the few humans left alive who snapped even harder than Thanos and decided to skip out on Avengers: Endgame, then you might not realize there’s a scene early on in the film where a man recounts his date with another man.
On the promo circuit for Endgame, co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been patting themselves on the back for this oh so brief example of queer representation, even though it’s still a far cry from the representation we actually deserve. I mean, give the guy a name at least!
However, Endgame does attempt to make strides forward for queer audiences in other areas, most notably with Daddy, I mean, Professor Hulk and Captain Marvel’s glorious new haircut, which some claim threw the first brick at Stonewall.
captain marvel’s haircut in endgame threw the first brick at stonewall
— dorothy parkour (@clarairvine) April 27, 2019
Still though, Endgame isn’t the queerest Marvel movie by any means. After all, this is the film that forced Captain America to shave his beard, something which can only be interpreted as a direct attack on our community.
There are very queer moments hidden in plain sight throughout the MCU, much like Drax when he stands real still. But which Marvel movie is the queerest of all? Well, that depends on your outlook.
Sure, Avengers: Infinity War did introduce us to Thanos, a man who loves jewels like no other, but where are the shirtless scenes that have come to define this franchise? The Mad Titan wiped out half of humanity, but he couldn’t take the time out to snap some clothes away too?
I hate the fact I think Thanos is genuinely kinda sexy
— Raw himbo power (@Nyctiv) May 15, 2019
As LGBTQ historians will tell you, Marvel’s first Pointless and Yet Entirely Necessary Shirtless Scene™ was actually in the first Iron Man movie, but it wasn’t until Thor showed off those thunderous abs in his own solo venture that gay rights in the MCU were officially established.
Since then, everyone from the Best Chris to the Worst Chris have bared all in the fight against evil, but that alone does not make a queer movie. Doctor Strange arguably does more for LGBTQ representation just by confirming the existence of Beyoncé in the MCU.
Thematically, the Guardians of the Galaxy movies hit a bit closer to home thanks to their emphasis on chosen family and repressed trauma, even if there isn’t any actual LGBTQ representation to speak of.
Captain Marvel comes even closer still, practically pulsating with sapphic energy whenever Carol and her “friend” Maria meet on screen. They’re just one censor bribe away from taking their relationship higher, further and faster in ways that the Top Gun pilots could only dream of.
However, in terms of actual LGBTQ relationships, the closet Marvel has come so far is with a certain Star-Spangled Avenger and his wartime companion. Fans have long fought to #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend, but in truth, he already had one all along in Bucky.
Whether they’re pounding on each other or gazing longingly from a distance, the love that Steve and Bucky share is hard to deny. Cap might have shaved his facial hair off in Endgame, but he’ll forever have a beard in Peggy Carter.
With that in mind, it’s safe to say that Captain America’s story arc is one of the queerest in the entire MCU, but his relationship with Bucky is drawn out over numerous films, so it’s hard to pinpoint one that’s queerer than the rest.
Instead, that honor clearly belongs to Thor: Ragnarok. Even though the film straight-washes Korg and actively erases Valkyrie’s orientation, this rainbow-filled Asgardian extravaganza is still gayer than a thousand screenings of Carol. The only way a Marvel film could be gayer is if Ant-Man had actually entered Thanos from behind like the Endgame fan theories suggested.
As if Loki’s hair wasn’t queer enough, you’ve also got Tessa Thompson riding a goddamn unicorn and Cate Blanchett feeling herself with a luxuriously queer sensibility. Like the very best femme fatales, Hela is dangerously seductive, and although we’re led to believe that Ragnarok is something to fear, you’ll want Cate to destroy you by the time she pulls that headdress out.
It seems then that Thor: Ragnarok is the queerest movie that Marvel has released so far, but it might not be for much longer if Spider-Man: Far From Home has its way. Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal have already been giving us some Call Me by Your Name realness on their promo tour, and if the fandom’s shipping does pay off somehow, then this wouldn’t be the first time that the friendly neighborhood twink has been caught shirtless in his bedroom with another guy.