It looks like superhero movies are not slowing down anytime soon. With the release of Aquaman upon us and fans still drooling over the Avengers: Endgame trailer, we’ve still got a lot of ground to cover. Based on the past experience, we have to wonder if these upcoming films will have some spoilers hidden early on in the films’ run. Foreshadowing is definitely a smart part of the storytelling process. When done well, it’s clever enough that the fans applaud it later. When done poorly, however, audiences can see it a mile away and the film becomes more boring than interesting.
Foreshadowing can definitely spoil things early on in a film, but superhero movies usually have a lot of ground to cover in a limited amount of time. It makes sense that clever filmmakers would tease things that will occur at a film’s climax much earlier on. It’s a way of subliminally preparing the viewer, even if they don’t pick up on the hints.
There have been a lot of superhero movies over the years, though hiding spoilers early on in these movies does seem to be a more recent development. At the very least, most of these movies that will appear on this list were made in the past couple decades. With that in mind, we have a lot franchises to cover and a lot of hidden– and not-so-hidden superheroic spoilers to discover.
Here are 14 Spoilers Fans Missed At The Start Of Superhero Movies (And 6 Way Too Obvious).
20 MISSED: Luthor’s Confirmation Handshake (Batman v Superman)
While it looks like we may never see Jesse Einsenberg shave his head again, there was one very clever spoilery moment in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When introducing himself to both Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), Luthor pointedly makes a comment on their grip. When he shakes Bruce Wayne’s hand, he simply says “Good,” while with Clark Kent, he comments on how strong it really is.
Given all the research he did into their identities, this was the moment that he confirmed to himself the true identities of Batman and Superman. He needed to see how strong both of their grips were in order to get a good read on them.
19 MISSED: Sebastian Shaw’s Fate (X-Men: First Class)
Anyone who knows Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender) character in the slightest knew how things would turn out for Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw would inevitably end the movie paying for his crimes at the hands of Erik. Well, so to speak. The manner of his passing, however, was spoiled pretty early on in the film.
Overcome with pain and anger, Erik destroys a picture of Shaw by driving a coin into the center of the photograph’s forehead. He would repeat this action with the man himself at the end of the film. Too bad Charles had to feel every painful moment of it.
18 OBVIOUS: Joker Was The Mugger (Batman 1989)
One of the movies that kickstarted the superhero craze of the ’90s, Batman (1989) remains one of Tim Burton’s best films. It was moody, atmospheric, and remains one of the best Batman movies of all time. As many people know, Burton is not a subtle director. This is definitely proven through Jack Nicholson’s Joker.
Joe Chill is the mugger who took the lives of the Wayne parents. In this movie, the crime was committed Nicholson’s Jack Napier, who would later become Batman’s greatest enemy. While it made sense narratively, it also just spoiled who Napier would later become. No one is that unhinged unless he’s the Joker.
17 MISSED: Thor’s Color Scheme On Earth (Thor: Ragnarok)
When Thor arrives in his street clothes on Earth, director Taika Waititi had him wearing purple and green. Those are the signature colors of the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). While known for his comedy, Waititi is also famous for his sly little winks and nods.
The color scheme Thor wears on Earth foreshadows who Thor will meet the next time he is off world from Asgard: his friend from work. To be fair, most fans knew going in that Hulk and Thor would face off against each other, but it’s a little nudge that foreshadows the events of the film.
16 MISSED: Star-Lord’s Alien Heritage (Guardians of the Galaxy)
While Peter (Chris Pratt) and the majority of the audience learn toward the end of 2014′s Guardians of the Galaxy that he’s not entirely human, some eagle-eyed viewers can catch it early on. When Peter is brought in by the Nova Corp, he is given a biological scan. What audiences miss is a flashing red light that detects a sort of anomaly in Peter’s blood. We would later learn this anomaly is the Nova Corp detecting Peter’s non-human DNA.
Why did it light up like that? As Nova Prime (Gleen Close) told Peter, it’s nothing they’d ever seen before. Of course, it would set off some major alarm bells, as Peter is a child of a Celestial.
15 OBVIOUS: Diana is the weapon (Wonder Woman)
You would think that a weapon called “Godkiller” would be given better protection, as the Amazons are meant to protect things that should fall into no mortal hand. The ease with which Diana (Gal Gadot) steals the sword is just a hint that spoils her identity as the actual weapon.
Hippolyta’s (Connie Nielson) own fear to let her daughter train as a warrior, in a culture of warriors, mixed with Diana’s own prodigious power further spoils the reveal that she is Zeus’ ultimate weapon. After all, what better way to guard a weapon than to make sure she never knows she is one. It’s definitely a clever move on the part of the Amazons, but obvious to audiences.
14 MISSED: Loki’s Jotunn Connection (Thor)
A reveal that, while big in movie, never really lives up to expectations is that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is Jotunn born. In 2011’s Thor, Loki’s connection to Jotunheim is spoiled early on in the film. During Thor’s coronation two Jotunns are let into Asgard to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters. They were let in by Loki. Later on, when exposed to the Casket of Ancient Winters, Loki would learn of his true heritage as being a child of Jotunheim.
Without even realizing it, Loki has helped the kin that Odin (Anthony Hopkins) subjugated to get into Asgard. It’s definitely a clever spoiler, though one that lacks impact to Loki’s subsequent appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
13 MISSED: Maria Rushing Natasha’s Time With Fury (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
In comic books, character fake their demise and return all the time. It’s unsurprising that such events happen in movies as well. Still, faking a passing is a hard thing to accomplish, especially if you have to fool one of the best spies in the world. When Fury (Samuel L Jackson) allowed HYDRA to believe they were successful in taking him out, Natasha (Scarlett Johnasson) spends some time with his body.
Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Fury’s right hand, got her out of the room with a suspicious hurry. That definitely tipped fans off to Fury’s return later in the movie. Not many people can pull one over on the Black Widow.
12 OBVIOUS: Gwen Stacy’s Fate (Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Any fan of the Spider-Man mythos knew going into the The Amazing Spider-Man franchise that Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) was not long for this world. After losing her father (Denis Leary) at the end of the first film, the second has Peter (Andrew Garfield) seeing him all around as a reminder to the promise he gave the man to stay away from Gwen. It also references that Gwen’s own time is running out because, as Captain Stacy said, Gwen will come to harm if Peter is in her life.
He’s definitely not wrong, as Gwen perishes when Peter is fighting Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) due to a broken neck. It’s taken right out of comics, with some shoehorned in foreshadowing added.
11 MISSED: World’s Greatest Grandma (Ant-Man and the Wasp)
Both Ant-Man films are filled with little moments of bizarre humor, especially between Scott (Paul Rudd) and Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), who have a quirky sense of humor. Like the disfigured bunny in the first film, the World’s Greatest Grandma trophy seems like another visual. However, was actually a spoiler for Scott’s possession by Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) later on in the film.
While Hope (Evangeline Lily) doesn’t have any biological children, Scott does, which could make Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet Cassie’s step-grandparents. The mug, focusing on Grandma, spoils what happen when Janet takes possession of Scott’s body to help Hank and Hope with the last-minute adjustments to get into the Quantum Realm.
10 MISSED: Destruction of Wayne Manor (Batman Begins)
The first of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, Batman Begins hid a pretty big spoiler in the beginning of the film. While standing in his childhood home of Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) comments to Alfred (Michael Caine) that “This place is a mausoleum. When I have my way I’ll pull the damn thing down, brick by brick.”
This line foreshadows when the League of Shadows burns down the manor home later on. Unwittingly, he got his wish, though he clearly didn’t imagine it happening in this way. While not as flashy as its sequels, Batman Begins definitely knows how to deliver some payoff.
9 OBVIOUS: The Opening Of Captain America: The First Avenger
This one is one of the most obvious spoilers ever in superhero movies. As Captain America: The First Avenger takes place in the 1940s, it’s unsurprising that we would end up in the present day MCU at some point. The beginning of the film sees the uncovering of the Valkyrie, Red Skull’s (Hugo Weaving) HYDRA plane. In it, the frozen body and shield of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is found, with SHIELD agents saying Fury needed to be called.
We then head back into the past where the story of Steve is told, though the audience all know that he will eventually end up back in the Arctic and the plane.
8 MISSED: No One Is Special (The Incredibles)
14 years before The Incredibles 2 made a splash at the box office, 2004’s The Incredibles featured some crafty light spoilers early in the film. When Helen (voiced by Helen Hunt) tells Dash (Spencer Fox) that “everyone is special,” Dash says that’s another way of saying that “no one is special.”
This spoils the plan of supervillain Syndrome (Jason Lee) later on in the film. Embittered by his own lack of powers and feeling spurned by Bob (Craig T. Nelson), Syndrome monologues about how he plans on making everyone special so that no one is, which echoes Dash’s words earlier in the film.
7 MISSED: Pepper Saves The Day (Iron Man 3)
When Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) mansion is attacked in Iron Man 3, Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) saves him with the use of the Iron Man armor. While this is a callback to Pepper’s role as Rescue in the comics and Iron Man Adventures television series, it also serves as a spoiler that Pepper would save the day later in the film as well.
Dosed with Extremis and pushed into a burning abyss, it looked like Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) got his revenge on Tony by using Pepper. Pepper, however, uses the Extremis in her body to take out Killian, saving Tony and the day all at once. No wonder Tony wants to marry her!
6 OBVIOUS: Joker’s Clown Mask (The Dark Knight)
Heath Ledger’s Joker remains the definitive performance of the character. While it’s a tragedy that we will never get to see what Ledger could do with more time, it is a perfect performance in almost every way. One thing that wasn’t so perfect was the spoiler in the opening scenes of The Dark Knight.
During the bank robbery, one of the bank robbers is wearing a blue and white rubber clown mask. This clown mask harkens back to Cesar Romero’s portrayal of the character in the Adam West Batman series. It also points out which one of the robbers is the notorious archenemy of Batman to the audience.
5 MISSED: Trouble With Kryptonian Powers (Man Of Steel)
One of the more interesting aspects of 2013’s Man of Steel is seeing the younger versions of Clark Kent cope with their growing powers. Clark (Cooper Timberline) gets a sensory overload from his newly emerging X-ray vision coupled with super-hearing. It sends the young boy hiding until Martha (Diane Lane) arrives to get him. Clearly, this experience stayed with Clark (Henry Cavill) well into adulthood.
While the newly-arrived Kryptonians use their suits to stop how the yellow sun radiation changes their bodies, Clark uses this to his advantage. Clark rips off their masks, thus disabling the filtration system. This allows the grown Kryptonians to experience what Clark learned to deal with growing up. It’s a great way to foreshadow how someone will take out their enemies.
4 MISSED: The Mutant-Suppressing Serum (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
In the beginning of X-Men: Days of Future Past, we see the worst possible future in the film franchise. The mutants are kept in internment camps guarded by Sentinels and are powerless thanks to collars with a strange orange serum. The serum keeps their powers suppressed for a time.
It also spoils how some of the other mutants can be out of commission in the past. The power-suppressing serum comes back later, as seen in the hands of Charles Xavier and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult). Using the serum, the pair keep their own powers at bay, though they do it voluntarily.
3 OBVIOUS: Steve Trevor’s Sacrifice (Wonder Woman)
Though less obvious than Captain America: The First Avenger, Wonder Woman still spoils what will happen to Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) later on in the film. When Diana first sees Steve, it begins with a plane explosion in the bright sunshine of Themyscira. This foreshadows how she will later see Steve sacrifice himself: a plane explosion in the dark night sky.
It’s definitely a beautiful sort of bookend for the journey that the couple took over the course of the film. Even so, it’s one of the more obvious spoilers. While we suspected that Steve would not live to the present day with Diana, how he first appeared in Diana’s life made it a bit too obvious.
2 MISSED: May Finds Out (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
After two Spider-Man franchises came and went without Aunt May knowing about Peter’s identity, it was a relief that May Parker (Marisa Tomei) finally learned about her nephew’s heroics in the post-credit scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming. The sequence was spoiled early on in the film, however.
Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) finds out in a similar way to May. He barges into Peter’s bedroom while the other teen is still dressed in his Spider-Man costume. In the background, we can hear May talking to the boys off-screen. This perfectly sets up when May walks in on Peter during that post-credit scene. Honestly, you’d think Peter would have learned how to lock his door!
1 MISSED: Sir Patrick’s Permission (Wonder Woman)
With Armistice on the horizon in the World War I setting of Wonder Woman, it seems quite odd that Sir Patrick (David Thewlis) would sanction the mission that Steve and Diana propose. Part of why he does, however, is a spoiler about Patrick’s true identity as Ares, the god of War. Why would a man who truly strives for eace permit a mission that could put it in jeopardy?
Ares wants Diana to see humans at their absolute worst so she can join his side. More obviously, he doesn’t want peace. Instead, he would want the war to continue, as befits, well, Ares. This sly little hint that Patty Jenkins adds early in the film perfectly prepares us for the reveal later on.
What other spoilers are hidden in superhero movies? Let us know in the comments!