These are the 10 Best Moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Back in 2008, nobody thought that a shared universe, based on a comic book and featuring a collection of superhero movies, would be successful. Ten years later, it’s probably the 2nd most successful movie franchise of all time (following Star Wars). It all started with Tony Stark announcing to the world that he was Iron Man. Since then, we’ve seen gods and monsters, spiders and ants, guardians and defenders. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it has come to be known, is a powerhouse unlike anything we’ve ever seen before and it is showing absolutely no signs of stopping, despite the snap of a certain villain. Over 20 films have been produced under the MCU banner, and each film is important to the universe. The MCU is only as successful as the sum of its parts. Luckily for us, a lot of those parts are really, really cool.
10) Who the Hell are You Guys?- Thor: Ragnarok
That was the question Thor asked the Guardians of the Galaxy during the post-credits scene in Thor: Ragnarok. We had seen various team-ups before, but this was the first time our favorite band of merry men (and women. And rodents. And trees), was interacting with one of the Avengers. It was the best part of a movie full of great parts.
9) I’m Gonna Need a Rain Check on that Dance: Captain America: The First Avenger
Call us sissies, but we’ve always had a thing for tragic love stories. The most tragic of all the misbegotten romances in the MCU is the one between Steve Rodgers and Peggy Carter. At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Rodgers knows he’s about to crash land a plane, almost definitely killing him and ending any hopes of a happily-ever-after with Peggy. Instead of bemoaning this cruel twist of fate, Rodgers simply tells Peggy that he’s “gonna need a rain check on that dance.” She agrees, and they set a date, knowing full well Cap won’t be able to make it. Cue the waterworks.
8) Hulk Ain’t No Buster- Avengers: Age of Ultron
When Scarlett Witch starts playing tricks with the Hulk’s mind, it makes him angry. At everybody. Knowing full well that we don’t like it when the Hulk is angry, Tony Stark suits up in the “Hulkbuster” version of his Iron Man suit. Seemingly possessing all the strength of Hulk, plus a bunch of other neat stuff, the Hulkbuster’s only mission is to, well, bust Hulk. It’s an extremely thrilling battle between two good guys and it has the best sucker punch since Superbad.
7) I Am Iron Man- Iron Man (Like, Duh)
At the end of the first Iron Man film, Tony Stark has been through a lot. He had to kill a former friend, has gotten beaten up multiple times by various objects and people and after professing his feelings to Pepper Potts, he basically got shot down worse than the time we tried to ask the head cheerleader to prom. The only difference is, Tony Stark got to then go announce to the world that he was Iron Man. We just announced to our cat that we were sad. Where were we? Oh yes! So up until that point in Iron Man, superhero movies employed the typical trope of “secret identities.” Proving once again that he is anything but cliché, Tony Stark ignored the cue cards and announced to the world: “I am Ironman.” Nothing was ever the same.
6) He Killed my Mom- Captain America: Civil War
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Towards the climax of Civil War, Tony Stark finds out that it was the Winter Soldier, his mind controlled by HYDRA, that murdered his parents. An epic three-way dance between Iron Man, Winter Soldier and Cap then commences. It’s brutal and it’s heartbreaking. We know that it wasn’t Bucky Barnes’ fault that he killed Stark’s parents- he was brainwashed. Still, we can also side with Tony because if anybody killed our mom, it would take the entire Avengers team to stop us from ending that person. We don’t know whose side to choose, so we just watch, as one of the best scenes in any superhero movie is put to film. When Cap tries to reason with Tony, saying that killing Bucky won’t change anything, Tony replies with a bitter truth. “I don’t care; he killed my mom.”
5) Hey Everyone- Captain America: Civil War
We didn’t think it was ever going to happen. Due to rights issues between Marvel films and Sony, we never thought we would see Spider-Man in an Avengers movie. We certainly didn’t think we’d see him teaming up with Robert Downey Jr. But that’s exactly what happens in Captain America: Civil War. As the two sides of the Avengers line up to do battle against each other (we don’t really remember why, but it doesn’t matter) Tony Stark calls in a favor. This favor comes in the form of the best on-screen Spider-Man to date. Does Spidey get a super cool introduction, similar to “I’m Batman?” No, because that wouldn’t be Spidey-like. He simply comes on the scene after snatching Captain America’s shield and utters a “hey everyone,” before getting ready to fight. And it was the coolest part of the movie up to that point.
4) The One at the Airport- Captain America: Civil War
Following the introduction of Spider-Man, we’re treated to another incredible moment- this time it’s the titular ‘war’ between the Avengers. It’s friend against friend, brother against brother (and sister). It’s a visual that has stayed with us long past the end of the film. Like the later scene between Cap, Iron Man and Winter Soldier, we can’t decide whose team we want to side with because both have valid points. So we just sit back and watch what was possibly the greatest fight scene in any superhero movie. Sorry, BVS fans. You know it’s the truth. Okay, we promise that’s the last entry from Civil War. It was just a really, really good movie.
3) The Avenger Initiative- Iron Man
“You think you’re the only superhero in the world?” Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury asks Tony Stark in the first ever MCU post-credits scene. When Nick Fury uttered that line to stark, our collective breath caught in our throats. Then, in one of the greatest teases in movie history, Fury tells Stark that he wants to “talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.” Cut to black! Cut then to millions of nerds losing their f*cking minds. It was the beginning of something truly special. We didn’t know just how special the MCU would become; we just wanted to see the Avengers.
2) Avengers, Assemble- The Avengers
That’s exactly what we got, 4 years later. It was the moment every preceding film, as well as the majority of the current film’s runtime, had led up to. This was, as they say in the biz, “the money shot.” It was Iron Man. It was Captain America. It was Hulk and Black Widow and Hawkeye. This was The Avengers, together, for the first time on screen and it was the greatest thing we have ever seen in the history of movies, and that includes the time Phoebe Cates came out of the pool in Fast Time at Ridgemont High. It was the Avengers, Assembled and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as our very own, would never be the same again.
There is only one moment that is greater than the assembling of the Avengers. There’s only one moment that could possibly top all that has come before it; one moment that encapsulates the heart, soul, body, mind, and spirit of the entire Marvel franchise. It’s a moment that shocked us and brought tears to our eyes and it is one that we will never, ever, forget.