SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from Avengers: Infinity War. Proceed at your own risk.
One part of its formula that Marvel Studios gets bang-on is humor. Honed over the last ten years across 19 films, the jokes and one-liners in its movies almost always land. The studio has made humor something of a trademark. It works so well that even the DC Extended Universe wanted in on the action. Last year, they delivered an overly quippy Justice League — their answer to Marvel’s Avengers team-up movies. What they succeeded in doing was highlighting just how difficult it is to get it right.
With that in mind, we’re celebrating the best — and funniest — lines in Marvel’s latest big-screen extravaganza.
1. Stan Lee’s character to a bus load of kids
No Marvel movie is complete without a cameo from comic book icon Stan Lee. The legendary nonagenarian pops up in every film, an appearance that’s now expected and totally loved by audiences. In Avengers: Infinity War, fans might recognize him as the school bus driver, ferrying Peter Parker and his schoolmates when Peter’s Spidey-senses kick in. Alerting him to the presence of Thanos’s donut-shaped alien spacecraft – which, soon after, the rest of the kids on the bus see and start to panic – it prompts Lee’s character to say: “What’s the matter with you kids? You never seen a spaceship before?”
According to Lee, it’s his funniest cameo ever. He told fans at the L.A. premiere:
“I want to thank them for having spent all these years coming to see my cameos and, of course, watching the movie with it. And now I think they’re going to find the funniest cameo of all. I can’t wait until they see it.”
2. Tony Stark to Thanos minion Ebony Maw
Thanos sidekick Ebony Maw, one of the big purple one’s Black Order henchmen, bears more than a passing resemblance to a handful of other characters in pop culture. Some cite his likeness to Star Wars villain Nute Gunray, while others compare him to Harry Potter bad guy Voldemort. But for Tony Stark, he’s more like a certain SpongeBob SquarePants character.
As Stark comes face to face with the enemy, he says to Ebony Maw: “Get lost, Squidward”. LOL.
3. Tony Stark to Bruce Banner
As they’re trying to tackle the most significant threat to the universe since, well, ever, Banner seems to be having trouble summoning his big green alter-ego. As he does for the entire movie. Stark bides his time alongside Doctor Strange and Wong, who are both doing their impressive magic thing, and waits for Banner to transform. But each attempt proves Hulkless. Finally, Stark has to say something: “Dude, you’re embarrassing me in front of the wizards.”
4. Tony Stark to Spider-Man
Another entry for Tony Stark here. And why not? He is the original wisecracking MCU superhero. Spider-Man turns up to join the fight, all unbridled enthusiasm with a generous touch of WTAF is going on? By way of explaining Thanos, a supervillain intent on wiping out half the population of the universe by gathering all-powerful Infinity Stones scattered across space, he says to young Peter Parker: “He’s from space. He came here to steal a necklace from a wizard.”
5. Drax, in wonder at meeting Thor for the first time
As you might imagine, much of the film’s comedy comes from the Guardians of the Galaxy. They raised the humour stakes in the MCU when director James Gunn oversaw their introduction into the franchise with their first standalone outing.
When they first encounter Thor, floating in space following Thanos’s attack on his ship, he’s unconscious. And they’re all a little taken aback by this fine specimen of a man-god.
Rocket proceeds to call Quill one sandwich short of fat. Drax agrees: “It’s true, you have put on weight.” But it’s this line from Drax, as he looks at Thor adoringly, that gets audiences rolling in the aisles: “It’s like a pirate had a baby with an angel.” Delivery is everything.
6. Mantis to Thor
We first met Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where her wide-eyed innocence and honest relationship with Drax gave audiences lots of laughs. She’s clearly been listening too much to Peter Quill, whose favourite movie is Footloose, however. Because after Thor explains that the Time and Mind Stones are currently on Earth “with the Earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers,” she asks: “Like Kevin Bacon?”
7. Thor to the Guardians
Thor’s routine is to get things unintentionally wrong. He spends the entire movie calling Rocket identifying him as a rabbit instead of a raccoon. Funny. But one of the funniest moments is when he corrals Rocket and Groot to accompany him to Nidavellar to forge a new weapon, leaving the rest of the Guardians to attend to another mission: heading to Knowhere to seek out the Collector and stop Thanos getting his hands on the Reality Stone.
As Thor departs, he calls out: “This is farewell and good luck, morons.” We think he means “Guardians.”
8. Drax to Star-Lord and Gamora
This isn’t so much a one-liner as a funny moment comprising a series of lines. As Star-Lord and Gamora are sharing a tender moment, Quill suddenly notices Drax observing nearby.
“Dude, how long have you been standing there?” asks Quill.
“An hour,” Drax replies before filling them in on what he’s doing. “I’ve mastered the ability of standing so incredibly still that I become invisible to the eye. Watch.”
He starts to move his hand up to his mouth, eating from a packet of space snacks and says, “My movement’s so slow that it’s imperceptible.”
Along comes Mantis: “Hi, Drax.”
“Damn.” Classic Drax.
9. Star-Lord to Thanos
On Knowhere, the Guardians come face to face with Thanos, who has distorted reality in an effort to kidnap his daughter, Gamora. As things become heated, Quill says to the strong-jawed, big purple fella: “I’m gonna blow that nutsack of a chin right off your face.” It does look a bit like a scrotum.
10. Rocket to Thor
Rocket Raccoon has no subtlety. And it’s used to hilarious effect with Thor, in tandem with his penchant for collecting “useless” objects. Back in Thor: Ragnarok, the God of Thunder lost an eye and has been wearing an eye-patch since. But Rocket comes to the rescue with a cybernetic eye he stole. He hands it over to Thor who promptly pops it into the socket.
“I would have washed that,” advises Rocket, moments too late. “The only way I could sneak it off Contraxia was up my…”
11. Captain America to Groot in the heat of battle
As the main battle in Wakanda goes into full swing, there’s a moment where Captain America meets Groot for the first time. It comes shortly after a reunion with Thor, during which the God of Thunder says, “I see you’ve copied my beard” — a funny line in itself.
As Groot says “I am Groot” — meaning whatever the heck it means at that moment — the completely oblivious and somewhat discombobulated Cap replies: “Hi, I’m Steve Rogers.”
Avengers: Infinity War is in cinemas now.