Typically, when one thinks of superheroes, spandex, capes, and an overabundance of gallantry spring to mind. But, these are the one-dimensional super-powered heroes of old.
Nowadays, superheroes are far more complex – some are even considered “antiheroes.” These characters are visceral and convoluted…just like us. Despite their superhuman abilities, we can see ourselves in them. Relate to them. You may even question why you root for them in the first place. However, even the messiest heroes with questionable morals can still do good of some kind.
Now, in the age of superheroes, one comic juggernaut stalwartly stands in the forefront – Marvel. Marvel has carved their name into the world of cinema, and they’ll be remembered for ushering in a new era of blockbuster franchises. Not only has Marvel created a cinematic universe from the ground up, but they also have a hand in the TV cookie jar.
These Marvel TV shows are also connected to the aforementioned films, creating one cohesive story. Unfortunately, quite a few Marvel TV shows recently received the cancellation axe. I’ve found that, in spite of their short time on the small screen, these characters will be remembered for eternity.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Marvel TV characters. Just a reminder that this is solely my opinion and not that of Sideshow Collectibles. Peruse at your peril!
Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had it rough growing up. She was abandoned by her parents and tossed between foster homes. She even gave herself the name Skye. However, once she joined the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, she uncovered the truth behind her parentage and developed superhuman powers. Hence, Daisy Johnson/Quake was born.
Over that period of time, Daisy went through the emotional ringer. But, she emerged stronger than ever before – in fact, I’d go so far as to say she’s one of the most powerful Marvel superheroes. Daisy has courage in spades, is immensely loyal, and is just an all-around badass. She’s proficient with hacking, which comes in handy when you’re breaking into HYDRA’s mainframe.
Oh, and she’ll earthquake you into next week. So, there’s that.
Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is a woman of pure, unadulterated conviction. After her introduction in Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy was given her own series called Agent Carter (RIP).
In Agent Carter, Peggy worked at an organization in 1940s NYC taking down bad guys like a pro. Of course, sexism and misogyny ran rampant during that time period. But, Peggy eventually went on to create S.H.I.E.L.D., so really we should be thanking her.
Peggy’s tenacity and levelheadedness is downright inspirational. She also possessed a quiet confidence. My favorite quote of hers is from the pilot episode: “I know my worth. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter.” I’ve since adopted this as my mantra.
Who doesn’t love a daredevil? Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) from Netflix’s Daredevil was a prime example of someone living a double life. He fought crime in the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen by night, while by day he masqueraded as a lawyer hellbent on helping those in need. That takes gumption.
Matt was a hero who incessantly wrestled with his dark side, as many contemporary caped crusaders will do. He was a very skilled fighter and, because of his blindness, had enhanced hearing on his side. Out of all the Marvel shows cut by Netflix, Daredevil‘s cancellation stings the most.
Who doesn’t love a runaway? (Okay, I promise I’ll put the kibosh on this shtick.) Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano) of Marvel’s The Runaways knew her way around magical objects. She inherited the Staff of One from her mother, and it can summon any spell or incantation known to humankind. Don’t mess with Wiccans, folks.
Nico was not afraid to turn on her parents when she learned of their involvement in PRIDE, which is pretty indicative of her strong moral compass. Over the series, Nico also blossomed in her sexuality – LGBTQIA+ representation is always a good thing. Nico was devoted to her friends and quite advanced on the intellectual front. We love a smart, loyal Wiccan!
Leopold Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) is easily my favorite character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, that’s partly due to de Caestecker’s brilliantly nuanced performance and the writing for Fitz. Fitz suffered a traumatic experience wherein he almost drowned, resulting in brain damage.
Fitz’s adjustment and overall development from that point on has been fascinating to watch. Especially since he’s a genius scientist. Thankfully, Fitz started to regain control after a period of struggle. Fitz is proof positive that masculinity doesn’t lie in physical prowess. Mental agility is just as cool. Being smart is the new strong.
Luke Cage was another Marvel Netflix show unplugged before its time. Its titular character, Luke Cage (Mike Colter), was just a super strong dude with bulletproof flesh from New York protecting his home turf.
Luke was the epitome of stoicism. The strong silent type. He could withstand any bullet. Survive being pinned under heavy rubble. Rise up unscathed from a car accident. You name it, Luke was fortified enough to survive it.
Not only that, but his loyalty to his family and friends was unmatched. He would fight to the death for their livelihoods. That’s admirable. Oh, and the tough skin thing is pretty cool too.
If Krysten Ritter is in something, I’ll most certainly watch it. Jessica Jones was the perfect vehicle to showcase Ritter’s dramatic acting capabilities. Her portrayal of Jessica Jones is award-worthy.
Now, Jessica’s powers were similar to Luke’s, except she possessed super strength without the durability. Imagine being a fragile man and having your bum handed to you by Jessica. It would be a visual feast for mine eyes as well as music to mine ears.
Jessica was a bit of an antihero. She was a person who relied heavily on alcohol to get through her day, equipped herself with sardonic one-liners, and was generally crabby to everyone she met. A ray of sunshine she was not. However, her troubled past explained all of the aforementioned. Despite everything, Jessica still strove to do the right thing.
Now, there are a few iterations of Frank Castle roaming in the cinematic world, but I’m particularly fond of Jon Bernthal‘s version. Netflix’s The Punisher was a dark nosedive into the world of violence. Frank Castle was the essence of antihero. He struggled with PTSD due to his military service. In addition, he lost his family via brutal shooting.
Essentially, Frank was brought low. He shrugged on his Punisher mantel and became the violent vigilante we all know and love. He sought vengeance for his family’s murder. Frank was a conundrum. He was wrapped in chaotic darkness and gory violence, but you felt for him.
Frank was just trying to do the best he could – make decisions and embrace whatever repercussions came from them. Just like you and me.
Oh, my dear Gemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). I hold a special place in my heart for her. I know I have two other characters from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on this list, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Simmons.
She serves the S.H.I.E.L.D. team as a scientist. Simmons ended up stranded on an alien planet for months. She survived crazy time-traveling shenanigans. Oh, and she married her best friend Fitz. All in a day’s work for an agent.
Simmons is the opposite of Daisy – she’s not as skilled in fighting and utilizes her mind as a weapon. She is also more vulnerable and wears her heart on her sleeve. I’ve said it once, but it bears repeating: sensitivity is not a weakness. Simmons’ strength is her emotional fortitude, as well as her mental gifts.
Rosario Dawson entered the Marvel universe with her portrayal of Claire Temple, a nurse in New York who was inundated with superhero malarkey. She made appearances in all of the Marvel Netflix shows: Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.
Claire’s no-nonsense attitude and calm demeanor was a balm for the soul. She also represented those of us mere mortals watching these scenarios unfold on the small screen. In addition, Claire had a dry sense of humor, which is a plus in my book.
Nurses like her are our true heroes at the moment, as they bravely fight on the front lines of this viral pandemic.
And that’s that. Are there any Marvel TV characters I missed? Who would you like to see on the superhero small screen?
Sound off in the comments below, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!