Over the years, it is right to say that Marvel characters have become more self-aware, noting that there have been more fourth-wall breaks and camera-facing styled narrations occurring more recently. She-Hulk, now airing on Disney+, is the most self-aware an MCU character has gotten within in this universe. That is not to say fourth wall breaks haven’t happened in other Marvel projects or even other MCU TV shows, but She-Hulk sets the stage for a new style of narration in the larger MCU.
That being said, Deadpool, for example, has broken the fourth wall on more than one occasion, while characters like Wanda Maximoff and Groot has broken the fourth wall a bit more discreetly than Wade Wilson.
10/10 Deadpool References All The Wall Breaks
Wade Wilson is a Marvel character who is, without question, unafraid of breaking the fourth wall. His character has gone so far as to reference other characters Ryan Reynolds has played, as well as warn the fans that he is breaking the fourth wall when he says “”Fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break?! That’s, like…16 walls!” in the first Deadpool movie.
While many Marvel characters have mastered the art of breaking the fourth wall, none are quite as courageous to break the fourth wall as Wade Wilson, and this line showcases exactly that. If anything, this quote proves to the audience that Wade is fully self-aware.
9/10 Vision in WandaVision
One of the unique components of the WandaVision show is that each episode is modeled off of a different TV series that Wanda grew up watching. Nearing the end of the season, Wanda based her “show” on modern-day sitcoms.
One particular moment came in episode 7, which was based on The Officeand Modern Family. After realizing he needs to stop Wanda, Vision delivers the line, “What am I doing, sitting here, talking to you, when I should…” and looks directly into the camera, a very Jim Halpert move on his part. Because his facial expression mimics that of Jim Halpert from The Office, this fourth wall break was a nod to the iconic character making it all the more memorable.
8/10 Baby Groot Hits The Camera
While Groot is known for his iconic “I am Groot” catchphrase, it may come as quite a shock that a tree of few words would have also broken the fourth wall. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, the iconic opening sequence features the Guardians attempting to fight off an Orloni while baby Groot is happily jamming out to Star Lord’s tunes.
After being taken ahold by the Orloni, Groot is forced to hold on to the monster for dear life, and during this sequence, Groot not only stares directly into camera, but he knocks into it as well, breaking the fourth wall both purposefully and accidentally. This particular fourth wall break not only acknowledges that there is an audience watching but that there is a camera crew filming, making this fourth wall break nothing less than epic.
7/10 Billy and Tommy Talk To The Audience
After the highly anticipated arrival of Pietro in WandaVision, Wanda slowly goes into a spiral as she both comes to terms with her history, which she is attempting to surpress, while also acknowledging that her husband is catching onto her act.
During episode 6, which is modeled off of the 90s sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, where Frankie Muniz’s Malcolm often broke the fourth wall, Billy and Tommy pulled a Malcolm as they too broke the fourth wall and said “Mom’s been weird since Uncle Pietro got here,” acknowledging their mother’s changes. What’s more, the “recasting” of Pietro was in itself a bit of a fourth-wall break reference to Fox’s X-Men films.
6/10 Deadpool Greets The Audience
It is now known to fans that Deadpool is notorious for breaking the fourth wall and doing so in a sarcastic, funny, and all-around perfectly timed way. When Deadpool first comes on screen, however, it is unknown to those who have not read that comics that part of Deadpool’s modus operandi is the fact that he breaks the fourth wall.
For that reason, it might come as a shock when Deadpool turns to face the camera and utters the words, “Oh, hello,” as though he just noticed someone was watching. Of course, Deadpool goes on to have countless other fourth wall breaks in the movie, but this one sets the stage for his character and introduces Marvel fans to a new style of narration.
After calling up her cousin to let him know that she has taken on the Abomination as a client, there was a small reference to the Incredible Hulk movie that Jennifer Walters makes apparent during her fourth wall break. After Bruce says that his fight with the Abomination was so many years ago and states that he is a “completely different person now,” Jennifer stares into the camera and says, “ha.”
This, of course, was in reference to the 2008 movie where the Hulk was played by Edward Norton, a completely different person than Mark Ruffalo. Because the line holds a double meaning, and Jennifer Walters points that out to us, this fourth wall break was one of the more self-realized moments in the show thus far.
4/10 Pizza Poppa Ends The Movie
Marvel is known for its post-credit scenes after the movie, and after a very interesting mid-credit scene involving Doctor Strange and Clea, fans were left wondering what could possibly top such a cliffhanger of a scene such as that.
When the Pizza Poppa came on, fans were querying how he might tie into the larger MCU and if his cameo appearance meant something more than just a Pizza Poppa server, but he just came on screen, said “It’s over!” (referencing the self-punch curse), and also signifying that the movie is indeed done. Because this fourth wall break was so low-risk in terms of the larger MCU, this fourth wall break is both pleasant and surprisingly all at the same time.
3/10 Agatha Mentions Her Questionable Past
Revealed as a witch later on in episode 7, Agatha Harkness has her own fourth wall break earlier in the episode where she takes part in her interview. During the interview, stylistically modeled off of the early 2000s sitcom shows, Agatha admits, “I actually did bite a kid once.”
Now, to any viewer watching this show raw and for the first time, this might come as a surprise since Agatha has, until this point, been portrayed as a lovely neighbor to Wanda. Not only does this line offer some questions to the morality of Agatha’s character, but it was a neat fourth wall break as it paid tribute to shows like The Office.
2/10 Wanda Looks To The Camera
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness boasts its Sam Raimi horror-styled structure around a Marvel story. Because of the horror elements interwoven into this movie, any fourth wall break would be terrifying.
After dreamwalking into her Earth-838 Variant, Wanda looks directly into the camera, says “It’s probably just a case of the Mondays, am I right?” and proceeds to go over to Billy and Tommy. The terrifying aspect of this fourth wall break is the fact that 838 Wanda, minutes before, was trying to fight off 616 Wanda, quite like trying to fight off a ghost possession. Because of this lead-up, the fourth wall break is all the more terrifying.
1/10 Jennifer Walters Doesn’t Love Cameos
Many fans were excited that, before it premiered, She-Hulk revealed that it would feature appearances by other beloved MCU characters like Daredevil, Wong, and Abomination. However, Jennifer wanted fans to know that it’s her show and not theirs.
Comically, the writers made it a point to insert a line deliberately stating whose show this was, having Jennifer say, “Just remember whose show this actually is.” What makes this line brilliant is the fact that Jennifer is both directly calling out these “fans” who only wanted to watch the show for other characters while also bringing awareness to the fact that Marvel projects with cameo appearances shouldn’t take away from the main character of said project.