One of the biggest themes throughout the MCU is friendship. We have witnessed many friendships form, grow, and even end through the MCU’s 13-year history. Throughout the 23 films, there have been countless relationships and interactions amongst the hundreds of characters. But several of these friendships stand out. Here are the 10 best friendships in the MCU. Let us know in the comments if there is a pair of amigos you would put above these.
10. Tony Stark and James Rhodes
It’s fitting that we open the list with one of the MCU’s original buddy duos. Both Tony Stark and “Rhodey” were introduced in 2008’s “Iron Man,” the movie that launched the MCU. Their witty banter and insulting back and forth masks a tried and tested respect and loyalty both have for each other. They have faced innumerable enemies side by side. Tony trusts Rhodey with one of his suits, a privilege afforded to almost no one else. Their friendship has survived an actor change, a civil war, an infinity war, and plenty more. Although their interaction and companionship has seemed to diminish over the course of the MCU, they will always be the original BFFs of the MCU.
9. Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau
We met both these characters in 2019’s “Captain Marvel.” They were air force pilot buddies, in the spirit of Maverick and Goose in “Top Gun.” At least they were until a newly empowered Carol was kidnapped by the Kree. It is Maria who helps an amnesiac Carol slowly regain her original memories and learn the truth about her life. Carol trusted Monica when she could not trust anyone else. Monica rewarded this trust with loyalty and devotion. And we even saw the influence Captain Marvel had on Maria’s young daughter, Monica.
8. Scott Lang and Luis
Scott Lang is the MCU’s Ant Man. And Luis is his business partner/former prison cell mate/best friend. Both characters debuted in 2015’s “Ant-Man.” While Scott is himself a reluctant hero, Luis has wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supported Scott throughout his tenure as Ant-Man. Scott trusts Luis with sensitive information and important tasks. Luis is willing to do anything to help Scott in his heroics. There’s even a theory floating around that Luis took over as Ant-Man during Scott’s time in the quantum realm. And that he was present at the final battle in Endgame. They’re both hilarious together and have great chemistry that’s fun to watch.
7. Steve Rodgers and Sam Wilson
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is regarded as one of the MCU’s best films. It also introduced us to Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon. Steve and Sam have plenty in common: they’re both good men and good soldiers that have lost someone close to them in combat. It’s these parallels that bring these two together. Steve went to Sam when he had no one else to go to. Sam risked everything to help Steve in his time of need. We have watched their friendship grow since. Both shared two of the most emotional and touching scenes in “Endgame.” Steve’s respect and admiration for Sam is so great, that he chose Sam to take up his shield and mantle after his retirement.
6. Peter Parker and Ned Leeds
Some of the best friendships we have are the ones we make in high school. They may not always stand the test of time, but we always look back on them with fondness and nostalgia. Peter and Ned are best friends together in high school. One of them just happens to be Spider-Man, and the other is his “guy in the chair.” Although Ned discovering Peter’s secret was purely accidental, both have since ran with it. Ned is essential to Peter’s operation as Spider-Man and helped to hide his identity. They’re both nerdy, awkward, social outcasts that share(d) a secret. That’s a recipe for great friendship… or disaster.
5. Tony Stark and Happy Hogan
Another one of the MCU’s original dynamic duos featuring Tony Stark. Happy is initially Tony’s driver and bodyguard. We watch their friendship grow as Happy takes on more responsibility and trust from Tony. When Happy is almost killed in “Iron Man 3,” Tony loyally stays by his bedside, waiting for him to wake from his coma. Tony even remembers Happy’s favorite TV show, “Downton Abbey,” and has it playing for when Happy wakes up. This is a level of empathy and caring that is quite rare for someone as narcissistic and egotistical as Tony Stark. After Iron Man’s ultimate sacrifice in “Endgame,” it is Happy who is seen consoling Tony’s daughter, Morgan, at Tony’s funeral. I’m not crying! You’re crying!
4. Groot and Rocket Raccoon
A hilariously mismatched pair, Rocket Raccoon and Groot are literal partners in crime, travelling the galaxy smuggling, pirating, and bounty hunting, until they help form The Guardians of the Galaxy. Groot, a giant, sentient tree, is the muscle of the duo. And Rocket, a cybernetically enhanced, sentient raccoon, is the brains, and mouth of their operation. The two share a unique and deep connection. Rocket is one of the few people that can understand Groot. Their relationship is reminiscent of Lenny and George from “Of Mice and Men.” Groot gave his life to protect Rocket and their other friends. Rocket repaid this sacrifice by raising Groot’s offspring as his own child.
3. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers
The original OTP of many MCU fans, the bond between Iron Man and Captain America helped cement the phenomenon that is the MCU. Although initially a bit antagonistic, the relationship between the two was forged in the furnace of combat. Steve and Tony developed tremendous respect and admiration for one another, even learning from each other. And neither hesitated to confront the other on questionable actions or motivations, a sign of true friendship. Their conflict in “Captain America: Civil War” split the loyalties of both MCU characters and fans between the two. Until the very end, both seemed determined to preserve their friendship and convince the other of his side. Their rift paved the way for Thanos. Seeing the two heroes fight side by side one last time in “Endgame,” after so long, was a highlight of the movie.
2. Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton
Black Widow and Hawkeye are two of the founding members of the MCU’s Avengers. They also worked together as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We have learned more and more about their friendship throughout the course of the MCU. They share a turbulent and violent history together, one that left them with only each other to count on. They look after each other like family. They have saved each other countless times. Nat was one of the few people that knew about Clint’s secret family. The two shared one of the most tragic moments of the MCU: Nat sacrificing herself to save Clint for the Soul Stone. Friendships don’t get any more genuine than that.
1. Steve Rodgers and Bucky Barnes
The friendship between Captain America and the Winter Soldier dates back to before World War 2, almost a hundred years. Steve has spent a significant portion of the last century trying to rescue or save Bucky in one way or another. Bucky was there for Steve when Steve’s mother and father died and protected him when Steve had no one else. Steve was instrumental in helping Bucky overcome his brainwashing and Hydra programing. Steve went to war with his other BFF, Iron Man, to protect Bucky. Perhaps the unique and beautiful bond is best surmised by the reminder the two give each other in difficult times: “I’m with you till the end of the line, pal.”