10 Subtle MCU Gags Everybody Missed At First

Nathan Fillion once played Tony Stark, and we all missed the joke.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Nick Fury

Every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a high level of rewatchability, with Marvel Studios cramming dozens of easter eggs and references into each of its productions - many of which you won't notice on your initial screening of the film.

Lots of these easter eggs and references take the form or jokes or gags, and though the MCU contains plenty of obvious humour that the vast majority of viewers will catch right away, some of its best stuff isn't so clear, and might only become apparent in repeat viewings of the movie, or when someone points it out online.

We all love "why is Gamora", the Revengers, "I'm Mary Poppins ya'll", Shakespeare in the Park, and invisible Drax, but whether it's a subtle sight gag, a line of dialogue with missable witty undertones, or a blink-and-you'll-miss-it jokey reference, some of the MCU's best comedy isn't so front and centre.

And though some of these gags might have become more widely known over time, they didn't ping a lot of fans' comedy radars on those initial viewings of the movies...

10. Fresh Branzino (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Nick Fury
Sony Pictures Releasing

Peter Parker's high-school rival Flash Thompson hasn't had the best of luck throughout the MCU, even having his car "borrowed" by the titular hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming - and just before this happens, we're treated to a very subtle gag that most viewers won't have caught.

While driving, Flash apologises to his lady-friend (who's accompanying him to the school dance) for the poor quality of the dinner they just had, saying "I know when branzino's fresh, and that was not fresh".

Hilariously, this was a deep-cut callout to The Amazing Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield's first movie as the webslinger), where Gwen Stacy invites Peter to her house for dinner, telling him they'll be eating - you guessed it - branzino. During the meal, Peter then struggles to eat the fishy dish, stabbing it with his knife a few times before Gwen's brother helps him out.

The Amazing Spider-Man branzino
Sony Pictures Releasing

Flash talks like he's a branzino connoisseur, while Peter has clearly never had it before - yet another thing the consistently-at-odds duo won't see eye-to-eye on.


Writer and video editor WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.