Some quotes, like Star-Lord’s analysis of a High Evolutionary trap, perfectly sum up their speakers’ personalities. While Secret Invasion may be largely considered a disappointment, it contains several well-written lines by Fury and Maria Hill. 2023 continued the MCU’s tradition of surprisingly poignant quotations in unexpected projects and from unexpected speakers.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe proffered many incredible pieces of dialogue in 2023. The franchise provided several iconic quotations throughout the MCU timeline. Robert Downey Jr. famously kick-started the entire MCU when he uttered the line, “I am Iron Man,” and the franchise has maintained this caliber of dialogue ever since. 2023 has provided some of the best examples, appearing across the MCU’s movies and television series.

2023 saw the start of the MCU’s Phase 5, officially starting with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The phase established Jonathan Majors’ Kang as the primary villain of the Multiverse Saga, and while this is going to change in the MCU’s future, the storylines were deftly written and perfectly performed. As such, 2023 provided some of the best quotations from the MCU ever.


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20 Star-Lord Plans A Confrontation With The High Evolutionary In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

“Trap Isn’t A Trap If You Know The Trap Is Trying To Trap You. It’s A Face-Off.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reunited the cosmic heroes on an adventure to stop Rocket Raccoon from being killed by the evil High Evolutionary. As the team plans their assault, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord delivers an idiosyncratic response when someone points out they are walking into a trap. Star-Lord replies, “A trap isn’t a trap if you know the trap is trying to trap you.” The line is indicative of Star-Lord’s frantic and improvised leadership style, delivered with Pratt’s signature charm and humor. While not the most incredible piece of dialogue delivered in the MCU in 2023, it perfectly reflects the character and lightens the seriousness of the scene.

19 Ant-Man Replies To Kang During The Final Battle In Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

“I Don’t Have To Win; We Both Just Have To Lose”

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania depicts the eponymous heroes traveling with their superpowered family into the Quantum Realm. During Quantumania‘s dramatic climax, Scott Lang confronts the villainous Kang the Conqueror, who tells Ant-Man that he cannot win. Ant-Man replies by saying that he does not need to win, they just both need to lose. The line is incredibly inspiring and heroic, traits that Scott often hides beneath layers of humor. Scott is prepared to die and remain trapped in the Quantum Realm if it would save his daughter and defeat Kang. It exemplifies Ant-Man’s heroic personality and the way he has evolved since his first solo movie.

18 Muneeba Khan Motivates Ms. Marvel In The Marvels

“Listen To Me, You Are Chosen For A Greater Purpose. So You Must Go. But I Will Never Let You Go”

Kamal Khan truly became a hero during The Marvels, working with Captain Marvel and Monica Rambeau to battle Dar-Benn. The movie offered a further glimpse at Kamala’s family life following the Ms. Marvel miniseries, including her mother Muneeb. Muneeb offers incredibly sage and loving advice, reassuring Kamala that she will always love her and that she accepts that Kamala must now assume her greater purpose. More than that, Muneeb actively encourages Kamala to explore her full potential as a hero. It’s an extremely emotional scene that explores an area not often depicted in superhero movies.

17 Maria Hill Voices Her Concerns To Nick Fury In Secret Invasion

“There’s No Shame In Walking Away When The Steps Are Uncertain”

Cobie Smulders returned to the MCU as SHIELD agent Maria Hill in Secret Invasion. Unfortunately, Hill doesn’t live long in Secret Invasion, but she does have time to impart some advice to Nick Fury in episode 1, “Resurrection.” During a heart-to-heart, the pair discuss the threat posed by the Skrull invasion. Hill reminds Fury of something he had previously said to her, “there’s no shame in walking away when the steps are uncertain.” The poignant advice demonstrates the duo’s long history together and their emotional connection. Furthermore, it offered a compelling precursor to Hill’s death moments later, providing tragic consequences for Fury’s decision not to walk away.

16 Hela Responds To Wenwu’s Calling Her A Fighter In What If…?

My Father Once Saw The Same — That Fight. He Nurtured It, Exploited It And Then, As Soon As My Ambition Outgrew His Own, He Called Me A Monster. And In Time, You Will As Well”

What If…? ponders how the MCU could have been different, exploring different hypothetical timelines. Season 2, episode 7, “What if… Hela Found the Ten Rings?” Hela was introduced in Thor: Ragnarok as Thor’s long-lost villainous sister, the Goddess of Death. In the hypothetical narrative, Wenwu comments on Hela’s fighting ability, to which Hela replies that her father nurtured that aspect of her personality before ultimately condemning her for it. The line highlights the fallibility of Odin, who had previously been considered a respectable cosmic entity, building upon the idea that Hela was made evil by Odin. Cate Blanchet’s palpable portrayal lent the line an especially terrifying inflection.

15 Star-Lord Attempts To Reconcile His Relationship With Gamora In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

“I Know, But Who You Are Ain’t So Bad”

By the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Star-Lord has finally accepted that the Gamora he knew no longer exists. Gamora does soften from the stern daughter of Thanos to the warm and benevolent member of the Guardians of the Galaxy seen in earlier movies. She reminds him, however, that she is not the person he wants her to be, to which he simply replies, “I know, but who you are ain’t so bad.” After spending the movie trying to convince her of who she is, Star-Lord finally relents and accepts her for who she has naturally become since meeting him, concluding the pair’s romance and character arcs.

“Laugh It Off As Pure Science Fiction. But If It Can Be Dreamed, It Can Be Achieved. Because All Science Is Fiction Until It’s Fact”

Victor Timely is one of Kang’s variants, introduced in Loki season 2, episode 3 “1893.” He is a 19th-century industrialist and inventor, eager to create a time loom. This variant, however, is motivated by his scientific work. After demonstrating his technology, he explains that he hopes to provide light for the entire world. Timely explains, “If it can be dreamed, it can be achieved. Because all science is fiction until it is fact.” The poignant quote demonstrates the diverse range of Kang variants and serves as a reminder that science is constantly evolving and what may have been impossible in the 19th Century quickly becomes possible in the timeline’s future.

13 Ant-Man Questions The Consequences Of His Actions In Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania

“Is Everyone Going To Die Because Of Me?”

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania concludes with a resolute Scott pondering Kang’s parting words, prompting a sudden concern regarding the righteousness of his actions. The quote, strategically placed in the movie’s final moments, deliberately plunges audiences into suspense, seamlessly sowing the seeds for Kang’s dramatic and foreboding return in Avengers: Kang Dynasty. Its resonance extends into Quantumania’s mid and post-credits scenes, purposefully shrouding the future of the MCU in uncertainty. Though Kang was ultimately defeated by the eponymous heroes, his dire warning sets up his diabolical future narrative, with the Council of Kangs promptly appearing in the mid-credits scene.

12 Ms. Marvel Recruits Kate Bishop In The Marvels

“Did You Think You Were The Only Kid Superhero In The World?”

The final scene in The Marvels offers an exciting piece of dialogue that teases a major future story. Concealed in the shadows, Kamala Khan playfully emulates Nick Fury’s recruitment approach from the MCU inaugural post-credits scene in 2008’s Iron Man. Kamala extends an invitation to Hawkeye’s protégé, Kate Bishop, to join a new team of heroes, asking “Did you think you were the only kid superhero in the world?” This single quote contains several huge implications, primarily that Kamala is founding Marvel’s Young Avengers. It teases a team-up between the various younger heroes introduced throughout the Multiverse Saga and has stoked much anticipation.

“I Wasted Time And Now The Time Wastes Me”

Loki season 2, episode 6, “Glorious Purpose,” Loki proffered two literary quotations as he grappled with the time slip narrative and committed to overseeing the branches at the End of Time. The first is a reference to a line from William Shakespeare’s Richard II​​​​​​: “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” It pertains to an individual who squandered life, and now, with diminished time ahead, realizes the consequences. References to time are pertinent considering Loki’s new role, but the Richard II reference also recalls themes of power and ambition. This line neatly surmises Loki’s current position, having wasted far too much time in pursuit of unattainable goals.

10 Nick Fury Won’t Back Down After Being Fired In Secret Invasion

“I’m Nick Fury. Even When I’m Out, I’m In…”

Samuel L. Jackson has delivered many iconic action movie lines and proffered some of his best in Secret Invasion, episode 2, “Promises.” The series depicted Jackson’s Nick Fury facing a clandestine alien invasion by the shape-shifting Skrulls. During an intense confrontation with a Skrull disguised as Rhodey (aka War Machine), Fury is dismissed as SHIELD director, to which he replies, “I’m Nick Fury. Even when I’m out I’m in…” Fury is a formidable force and a highly adept spy; even without his professional association, Fury can infiltrate and undermine any threat to the planet. The line serves as a warning indicating his formidable ability, which the Skrulls should have heeded.

9 Loki Mysteriously Quotes TS Elliot In The Loki Season 2 Finale

“We Die With The Dying. We’re Born With The Dead”

The second literary reference in the Loki season 2 finale comes from TS Elliot’s poem, “Little Gidding.” It appears during a profound exchange with He Who Remains, during which Loki utters, “We die with the dying. We’re born with the dead.” The poem explores the unity of the past, present, and future and suggests that understanding this is necessary for salvation. It explores themes of renewal and Elliot’s belief that suffering was necessary for new life to begin. This succinctly foreshadows Loki’s new role and could represent his realization of what is required of him. Loki must indeed suffer to unify the timeline, and consequently, is renewed.

8 Beast Examines A Confused Monica Rambeau In The Marvels Post-Credits Scene

“Confusion Is The First Step To Knowledge”

The Marvels featured a thrilling mid-credits scene in which Monica Rambeau awakens to the X-Men’s Beast, played by Kelsey Grammer. Beast, who is known for his intellect and vocabulary, remarks that “Confusion is the first step to knowledge.” This line is incredibly fitting for Beast’s character, combining poetic philosophy with his academic insight. However, the line is made more exciting by Grammer reprising his role from X-Men: The Last Stand, and the inclusion of the MCU’s first official member of the X-Men – stoking much anticipation for mutants to finally enter the franchise. Beast’s line amplifies the memorable nature of the scene and is the perfect surprise for X-Men fans.

7 The Watcher Gives A Poignant Narration In What If…? Season 2

“All Quests For Redemption Begin In Darkness. And Nebula’s Was No Different”

Each episode of What If…? opens with a distinctive narration from the Watcher – a member of an extra-terrestrial race who observes the multiverse. The Watcher’s commanding voice is the perfect segue into these alternate realms, often providing insight into the upcoming narrative. One of the most compelling examples opened season 2, episode 1, “What if… Nebula Joined The Nova Corps,” with the Watcher noting that “All quests for redemption begin in darkness. And Nebula’s was no different.” The poignant observation regarding the nature of morality and heroism was particularly appropriate for Nebula – who worked hard to redeem her evil past in multiple timelines.

6 Gravik Ponders On The Nature Of War In Secret Invasion

“The Difference Between Statesmen And Soldiers. One Lot Spends The War Posing For Pictures, While The Other Does All The Killing And All The Dying”

Despite being the primary adversary in Secret Invasion, Gravik offered a surprisingly effective assessment of the nature of war. During Secret Invasion episode 3 “Betrayed,” Gravik pontificates on the true effects of war: “The difference between statesmen and soldiers. One lot spends the war posing for pictures, while the other does all the killing and all the dying.” This indictment is a chilling evaluation of war, which is readily applicable to the real world. Gravik and the Skrulls demonstrate how these roles extend beyond humanity and are presented as somewhat sympathetic villains. The haunting reality of Gravik’s words makes the quote a vital component in the Secret Invasion narrative.

“You Weren’t Born To Be A Destroyer. You Were Born To Be A Dad”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 featured a surprisingly emotional ending delivered by the least emotional characters. In the final scene, Drax and Nebula opt to remain and raise the children rescued from the High Evolutionary. Nebula assures Drax that he was not “born to be a Destroyer,” but was “born to be a Dad.” This astute characterization demonstrates a level of emotional intelligence previously unseen in Nebula, while also lending Drax’s character arc a touching conclusion – his family having been killed by Thanos. This one line demonstrates how far both the heroes have developed since their introduction, and provides the movie with an even more heart-warming conclusion.

“I Never Cared Much For Golf So… I’m Thinking I May Take Up… Revenge”

In Secret Invasion episode 3 “Betrayed,” Nick Fury is discussing his newfound time off with his wife, Scilla. Scilla asks him whether he has any plans for his downtime, prompting Fury to offer one of his best lines of dialogue ever – “I’ve never much cared for golf, so… I’m thinking I may take up revenge.” The line is delightfully melodramatic and delivered with Jackson’s trademark confidence. It is very nearly cheesy, but Jackson manages to toe the line between serious and silly and perform the scene with a knowing seriousness that manages to be both intimidating and amusing.

3 Kang Chilling Question For Ant-Man In Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

“Have I Killed You Before?”

During a conversation between Kang and Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Scott Lang reveals that he is an Avenger. Kang, however, is not intimidated by this and responds by simply asking, “Have I killed you before?” The line is incredibly chilling, suggesting that Kang has killed so many Avengers through his multiverse journeys that he cannot recall fighting and even killing Ant-Man. The nonchalant delivery perfectly represents the threat Kang poses and the little regard he places for Ant-Man’s threats. Scott’s reaction cements this, highlighting Kang’s overpowering presence as a formidable villain, effectively establishing him as the MCU’s next major villain.

2 Groot’s Final Line Is Translated For The Audience In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

“I Love You Guys”

Throughout each of his MCU appearances, Groot famously only says, I am Groot.” Each instance is typically understood by those closest to him, with only strangers and the audience left uncertain of his intent. This is highlighted by the new Gamora’s failure to comprehend Groot’s language until she has softened and become a true member of the team again. Groot’s final line is translated for Gamora, but this time also for the audience. Groot’s final line simply states, “I love you guys,” but in doing so, shifts the audience to this privileged position with the team, demonstrating Gamora and the audience’s newfound affinity with the cosmic heroes.

1 Loki Realizes His Glorious Purpose In The Loki Season 2 Finale

“I Know What I Want. I Know What Kind Of God I Need To Be With You. For All Of Us”

The best quotation from the MCU in 2023 was Loki’s beautiful and highly emotional realization of his true role in the multiverse, referred to as his “Glorious Purpose.” The Loki finale saw the titular antihero transform into a physical temporal loom, holding together various timelines within himself. The result was that Loki had condemned himself to an eternity of overseeing the multiverse and assumed a new place as the God of Stories.

This countered his previous role as the Asgardian God of Mischief and his previous villainous attempts to rule over humanity. Instead, he assumed a different throne through a noble sacrifice that fully redeemed his past. His highly compelling declaration that he “knows what kind of god [he] needs to be” perfectly encapsulates this and was one of the most moving pieces of dialogue from any Marvel Cinematic Universe release in 2023.

Key Release Dates

Deadpool 3

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

 2023 had some of the MCU’s best dialogue.  Read More