The MCU and other Marvel films have delivered few worthwhile romances to big-screen audiences. In fact, once Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and Kirsten Dunst’s Maryjane stopped locking lips in that iconic upside-down kiss, every Marvel movie love story has been tepid at best (save, perhaps, for Iron Man and Pepper Potts).
Black Widow and Hulk? Snooze. Thor and Jane Foster? Skip, please. Dr. Strange and Christine Palmer? I’m going to need the Time Stone to rewind and figure out who that even is. For superheroes that provide such thrilling action, none of them are getting much worthwhile action, if you know what I mean.
This is not the case in the comics. There, our favorite superheroes have love stories as epic as their battles. Here are some of the romances from the comics that we’d love to see in the film adaptations.
Storm and Black Panther
When T’Challa, king of Wakanda, needed a queen, it was a no-brainer to rekindle his relationship with childhood sweetheart: weather-controlling superhero, Storm.
He’s an Avenger. She’s an X-Man. Not only does that become complicated in the comic books (during the Civil War saga, it leads to the couple’s divorce), it makes things complicated on the film side. Until a few months ago, Fox owned the X-Men while Disney owned the Avengers. Therefore, it wasn’t possible for the Wakandan royal couple to canoodle on the big screen.
Even after the dissolution of their marriage in the comic books, fans are still shipping Black Panther and Storm. There are even online petitions to get the two back together again (it’s like the Panther Parent Trap). And, since Disney recently purchased the X-Men franchise from Fox, it seems all the more reasonable that we should see them reunite on film.
Natasha and Bucky
Among her many other accomplishments, the Black Widow has game. Even though she’s named after a spider that kills its sexual partners after a session of love-making, Natalia Romanoff has made herself available and vulnerable to worthwhile boyfriends including Hawkeye and Daredevil. The Black Widow from the films (where she’s named Natasha Romanoff) has only let her guard down with Bruce Banner, the Hulk, in a listless flirtation that feels like it’s come out of nowhere (and going nowhere quickly). She deserves better.
What Natasha really deserves is an onscreen reunion with James ‘Bucky’ Barnes, aka Winter Soldier. In the comics, Bucky trained Natalia to become the merciless killer she is. During this period, the two become romantically involved. They inevitably split when Bucky’s memory is erased, and they separately gallivant around the world murdering people (romance has its ups and downs!). But they reunite during Bucky’s tenure as Captain America.
He shares his insecurities about never living up to Steve Rogers. She’s the only one to call him James (not Bucky, not Winter Soldier, not ‘hey, you’). They truly see each other and deeply know each other. And, for a pair of trained assassins with more aliases than friends, that’s a killer relationship.
Destiny and Mystique
Marvel movie adaptations have left much to be desired regarding LGBTQ representation when the comic books have had openly gay heroes since the 70s. In fact, in 1979, the mutant Northstar became the first hero to ever come out in a comic book and eventually married his husband on-strip in 2012.
Despite the over 40 years of LGBTQ couples (including the fan-favorite New Avengers Hulking and Wiccan), the films have yet to explore this territory. This is definitely a missed opportunity when it comes to the powerhouse mutant, Mystique.
The films (especially the prequels featuring Jennifer Lawrence) explore Mystique’s crushes on Magneto, Professor X, and Hank McCoy. But that’s all they are: teenage-like crushes that either manipulate or hurt her. In the comics, Mystique is forward, empowered and, also, bisexual. She and the mutant Destiny were lovers before they were lifelong friends, bonded initially over their desire to change the world for better.
So, not only does this relationship with Destiny represent a broader spectrum of sexuality, but it also shows a more commanding version of Mystique — one with conviction in her ideologies.
Aunt May and Anyone She Bleepin’ Wants
Let’s pour one out for our fallen homey, Uncle Ben. His untimely death catapulted Peter Parker into his life of vigilante justice as Spider-Man. But what about Aunt May? Did she find, as Cher puts it, life after love?
Here’s what the film versions of Spider-Man don’t show you: Aunt May is hot to trot. Since the passing of her first husband, she’s dated plenty of intriguing guys, including John Jonah Jameson Sr. (Spider-Man’s supporter), Dr. Octopus (Spider-Man’s villain), and Mr. Jarvis (the Avengers’ butler).
With great power comes great responsibility, Spider-Man. It is, therefore, your responsibility to introduce your aunt to more eligible bachelors.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird
Poor Hawkeye. The Clint Barton we see in the movies has been brainwashed by Loki, imprisoned in an underwater prison and generally overlooked. (He hasn’t even been shown in the Infinity War trailers yet.)
The badass comic book version of Hawkeye, however, is one half of Marvel’s premier power couple. His better half? Mockingbird, or Ms. Bobbi Morse. Their relationship is turbulent and stormy but deeply rooted in respect — the two lovers accept each other wholeheartedly, faults and all.
Adrianne Palicki played Bobbi on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (where her main love interest was some mercenary named Lance Hunter). Alas, Hawkeye and Mockingbird are star-crossed lovers — one in film, one on tv — both unlikely to reunite on screen.