When there are decades of comic book history to pull from for a superhero blockbuster, it’s impossible to adapt all the fan-favorite moments and characters. But that doesn’t stop the directors, writers, stars and crew from filling the movies with details and jokes that the average fan might miss out on – but not anymore.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Hidden Details in Superhero Movies.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
When Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) finally decides to find out what his father was up to before he disappeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, all the clues point towards a single word: Roosevelt. One possible answer Peter comes across in his initial online search is an image of the Roosevelt Island Tramway. In the climactic showdown of the original Spider-Man movie, Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) made Peter choose between saving Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and a car from that exact tramway, filled with schoolchildren. Fans may be torn on which version of Spider-Man was best, but it’s nice to see the reboot give the original a nod.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
In the world of all-time greatest movie pairings, Paul Newman and Robert Redford are at the top of the list. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made them massive stars, and The Sting led them to the top of the box office. The pair would remain lifelong friends until Newman’s death in 2008, ending the hopes that they wouldd share the screen one more time. But when Redford landed a part in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the crew made sure to honor his famous partner.
When Redford’s character gets a carton of milk from his refrigerator, Newman makes a cameo – of sorts – with a bottle of the late actor’s “Newman’s Own” marinara sauce, making sure that Butch and Sundance would ride again (even if it’s just for a second).
Man of Steel
Most of General Zod’s soldiers are left to the background of Man of Steel, without names or lines. But it’s hard to miss the oversized Kryptonian that eventually teams up with Faora to beat Superman to a pulp in downtown Smallville. But his name, or how he became a giant is never explained – unless you know your comic book Kryptonians. The soldier is Nam-Ek, who in the comics tried to unlock the healing powers of the Rondor, a Kryptonian animal with horns that healed all sickness. When he tested his results on himself, he became a massive, super-strong monster.
The same story is secretly at work here, and fans can catch a glimpse of the Rondor grazing outside Jor-El’s citadel in the movie’s opening.
Thor: The Dark World
When the action of Thor: The Dark World is over, Thor’s girlfriend Jane Foster is left waiting, not knowing when the hero will return to Earth. She only had to wait until the end of the credits, though, when the two share a passionate kiss on her terrace. In fact, it’s a more passionate kiss than fans have ever seen between the two actors. That’s probably because… it’s not Natalie Portman kissing him.
When it came time to film the scene, Chris Hemsworth was available, but Portman wasn’t. Luckily, Hemsworth’s wife, Fast & Furious actress Elsa Pataky was travelling with him. With her size and profile close enough to Portman’s to work, she threw on the wardrobe and a wig, and the couple gave audiences a kiss that could never be faked.
The Dark Knight
In the world of Hollywood action movies, a ticking clock or timer is usually pretty useless, with minutes or seconds passing as slowly or quickly as the movie demands. So when The Dark Knight sees Batman (Christian Bale) give himself two minutes and thirty seconds to steal a Gotham criminal out of a Hong Kong skyscraper, audiences knew it was a random number. Or was it? Bruce Wayne is actually shockingly punctual, infiltrating the building, grabbing his target, and waiting for the explosives to open his exit… two and a half minutes later, almost to the second. We wish every comic book movie was as easy to trust.
Marvel fans know to keep an eye peeled for a cameo from comics legend Stan Lee in almost every film starring even one of his characters. But when The Wolverine‘s Logan broke off from his X-Men colleagues for a standalone adventure in Japan, a cameo gag didn’t quite fit with the serious tone. The Wolverine doesn’t feature a Lee appearance, but when Logan is found living in the wild with only a few items to his name, one of them is a bottle of “Stanley’s Whiskey” – still a clear nod to the Marvel Comics creator.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Aside from giving Marvel’s biggest heroes a supervillain to fight, the Age of Ultron also introduced fans to the African nation of Wakanda – and a potential villain for its hero, Black Panther. Apparently the effects team was doing some homework on the African superhero during post-production, too. When Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) investigates Klawe’s brand, the text seen on screen is actually the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia page on the fictional country’s history. That means Banner learned the current “Black Panther” was T’Challa before the rest of the team even knew the hero existed.
It isn’t just fame or fun that convinces some actors to take a superhero role, but a chance to make a movie their kids can actually watch. With Ant-Man, star Paul Rudd gave them much, much more. When the ex-con gets out of prison, he can only find work at a Baskin Robbins using the fake name “Jack.” When he’s called into the back office to be fired, he asks his co-worker Darby to take over the counter. Those names weren’t picked at random: those are the names of Rudd’s two children, making a cameo in the movie (in name only).
When director Jon Favreau brought Iron Man to the movie world, he brought Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan and more Marvel characters along with him. But one didn’t make the cut: Bambi Arbogast, Tony Stark’s trusty and sometimes overbearing secretary. Since the movie’s take on Tony Stark didn’t spend much time in the office, Bambi wasn’t needed. But Favreau and Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t forget her, making a brief reference in Iron Man 2, and Happy Hogan referred to her by name in Iron Man 3, confirming that she does exist in the movie universe… slightly off screen.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) might have set the events of the terrible future of this X-Men reboot into motion, but she also took the time to extract a group of young mutants from Saigon. To do it, she disguised herself as a U.S. Army Colonel, before she was forced to fight her way out. It’s a heroic act, but when you notice that Mystique has disguised herself as “Colonel Sanders,” the founder and mascot of Kentucky Fried Chicken, it’s clear she was still having fun.
Those are the small details that comic book movie fans probably missed, but which ones have we left out? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.