Marvel Studios has included several moments of singing and dancing in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to bring fun, excitement, and musicality to the ever-expanding franchise. Marvel Studios has become well-known for using brilliantly-curated soundtracks to heighten the action of the MCU, such as the rock backing track to Tony Stark's adventures as Iron Man, the retro music of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and a 1990s rewind for 2019's Captain Marvel. However, the MCU also includes a variety of song and dance moments where characters use music in-universe, and this continues to bring a light-heartedness to the MCU that keeps the growing story fresh and interesting.
Over the duration of the MCU, Marvel Studios has included music as a way to show off lesser-seen sides of characters, underline the themes of each narrative, and provide some fantastic moments of sheer joy. Music has also been used to create some of the MCU's most emotional and heartfelt moments, and while the MCU's Guardians of the Galaxy franchise may be most well-known for using diegetic music, many other projects have also brought musicality into the franchise. It may seem strange for untouchable superheroes to take part in a song and dance, but this highlights the fact that the superpowered inhabitants of the MCU are also just regular people.
2022's She-Hulk: Attorney at Law featured an unexpected cameo from rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who was caught up in an identity theft case involving a Light Elf from New Asgard. At the end of episode 3, "The People vs. Emil Blonsky," Megan Thee Stallion signed Jennifer Walters' She-Hulk as her lawyer, before the pair dance together to the former's 2020 hit "Body." While She-Hulk's dancing caused controversy, despite fitting her character perfectly, with many criticizing the moment as needlessly sexualizing the character and not fitting the tone of the MCU. The dodgy visual effects also didn't help assuage these criticisms, but it was still great to see Walters let loose.âââââââ
Megan Thee Stallion signing Jennifer Walters - the face of GLK&H's Superhuman Law Division - as her personal lawyer led to theories suggesting the rapper may have superpowers in the MCU, but this hasn't yet been confirmed.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opened with a dramatic battle between the team and an Abilisk intent on devouring the Sovereign's anulax batteries. While this fight unfolded, however, James Gunn's camera focused on Baby Groot dancing to the tune of Electric Light Orchestra's 1977 single "Mr. Blue Sky." This moment instantly showed off Baby Groot's fun-loving personality, and proved that Peter Quill's love of music had extended to the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Even so, it would have been great to see more of the Guardians' battle with the Abilisk, but this scene set up Baby Groot as one of the MCU's most adorable heroes.
Wong is one of the most mysterious characters in the MCU's entire roster, and has mostly held himself as an enigmatic figure alongside Doctor Strange. However, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings began to show the lighter side of Wong, as he joined Shang-Chi and Katy for a round of karaoke after dropping the bombshell of the Ten Rings' unexplained beacon. Together, the trio sang Eagles' "Hotel California," belting the lyrics to their hearts' content. While this delivered a joyous moment of connection between the new MCU heroes and Wong, "Hotel California's" undeniably eerie lyrics left a bittersweet note at the end of the Phase 4 film.
Kevin Bacon spent the majority of 2022's The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special being terrified of his new alien friends and trying to escape from Knowhere, but the Special Presentation's final moments saw him give the gift of Christmas to the Guardians of the Galaxy. Singing alongside The Old 97's (in alien costumes), Kevin Bacon delivered a rendition of the band's 2018 Holiday anthem "Here It Is Christmastime," while the Guardians gifted presents to each other. This was just pure fun, not having any impact on the wider narrative of the MCU, but gave Kevin Bacon the opportunity to perform brilliantly, and gave Peter Quill a taste of home.âââââââ
Despite its disappointing box office performance, 2023's The Marvels has received a generally positive audience response, due in part to its development of Carol Danvers' actual personality. This was helped by her letting loose a little after her, Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan traveled to Aladna, a world where they speak in song. In an effort to seek the help of Aladna's Prince Yan, Danvers engaged in a brilliant - if a little cringe-worthy - song and dance moment with him. Monica and Kamala's hilarious reactions make this scene even better, cementing the sisterly bond formed between the three titular heroes during the Phase 5 film.
The Marvels revealed that Carol Danvers had married Prince Yan to sort out a "legal issue" during her thirty-year absence from the MCU, meaning that she is the Princess of Aladna, though this status is unclear after the events of the Phase 5 film.
During Loki and Sylvie's train journey in Loki season 1, episode 3, "Lamentis," the God of Mischief performed the Asgardian drinking song "Jeg Saler Min Ganger" to the train's other passengers. The song, written by author Erlend Nødtvedt and musician Benedicte Maurseth, translates to "Very Full," perhaps hinting at the Asgardians' tendency to drink a lot, though contributes to one of Loki's more heartfelt moments, particularly during a softer verse. After years of Loki being depicted as a villain in the MCU, it was wonderful to see him show a more joyful side, despite the backdrop of an impending apocalyptic event, and Sylvie didn't seem best pleased.
"Jeg Saler Min Ganger" was written in Norwegian, which is the language of the Asgardians in the MCU. This soldifies the Asgardian characters' history in Norse mythology, as this would have originated in Scandinavian countries, and connects to New Asgard's location in Earth's Norway.
While there's no specific singing in 2022's Ms. Marvel, the Disney+ series did give viewers an insight into other cultures by including a fantastic dance routine at the wedding of Aamir and Tyesha in episode 3, "Destined." During a 2022 interview with People, Ms. Marvel creator Sana Amanat noted that, "If you're Pakistani or Indian, having a dance sequence at a wedding is almost a rite of passage," so seeing this unfold in Ms. Marvel was brilliant. In its early days, Marvel Studios came under scrutiny for not paying attention to representation, but this has seriously improved in recent years, and Ms. Marvel's dance sequence is just one beautiful example.
Before Kevin Bacon took the stage in 2022's The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, The Old 97's took a spin at an original MCU song written by James Gunn himself. At the start of the Special Presentation, Peter Quill bears witness to Rhett Miller's Bzermikitokolok and his band perform "I Don't Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here)," which includes a series of lyrics making huge misconceptions about human Christmas. This song is not only incredibly catchy, but is also truly hilarious, setting the tone for the rest of the Special Presentation, which has little impact on the wider MCU, but is buckets of fun nonetheless.
While 2021's Black Widow perhaps didn't hit the mark for many MCU viewers, there were still several strong moments throughout the Phase 4 film, including one tender exchange between surrogate father and daughter Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. Red Guardian, and Yelena Belova. The opening moments of Black Widow established Don McLean's 1971 classic "American Pie" as Yelena's favorite song, so after the family reunite in 2016, Shostakov sings this song to inspire connection, trust and love between him and his surrogate daughter. It will be great to see Red Guardian and Yelena Belova's relationship develop even further in Marvel Studios' upcoming Thunderboltsâââââââ.
James Gunn included an eclectic mix of nostalgic music to enhance the story of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, which was perhaps most evident in the film's final moments, where all hope seemed lost as the Power Stone-empowered Ronan the Accuser touched down on Xandar, ready to destroy the planet. In a last bid for victory, however, Peter Quill engaged Ronan in a dance-off while singing the lyrics to Five Stairsteps' 1970 single "O-o-h Child," confusing the villain long enough for Rocket to build a weapon. This proved Quill's quick-thinking and fun personality, while also showcasing the new team's effective collaborative spirit that would be expanded in subsequent projects.
Written by WandaVision's theme song composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, "Agatha All Along" provided the perfect introduction to Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness, who had been masquerading as nosy neighbor Agnes for most of the series. Drawing inspiration from the theme songs of The Munsters and The Addams Family, "Agatha All Along" stuck to the classic TV elements of WandaVision. The song, featured in WandaVision episode 7, "Breaking the Fourth Wall," explained several mysteries that had occurred throughout the series, and brilliantly showcased Agatha's terrifying, but witty and warm, personality, and has caused many to speculate that the MCU's upcoming Agatha: Darkhold Diaries could feature more musical numbers.
By far the most memorable musical moment in the MCU came in the opening moments of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, marking Chris Pratt's debut as the adult Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord. In the film, Quill danced to Redbone's 1974 rock hit "Come and Get Your Love," and used Orloni as microphones while performing to himself. This was an exhilarating introduction for Star-Lord, and was even revisited in Avengers: Endgame's Time Heist. In an emotional full circle moment, "Come and Get Your Love" played over the credits of 2023's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, cementing the impact this song had on the team's journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.