Best MCU moments: Assemble!
Over 21 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has taken audiences to the high-tech country of Wakanda, into the depths of space, backwards and forwards in time, and even to Greenwich.
After having their socks blown into the next postal code by Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War last year, cinemagoers are gearing themselves up for what promises to be a gripping conclusion to one of the (if not the) biggest arcs in film franchise history with Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame.
But before you pre-order what is sure to be this year’s biggest blockbuster on the Virgin Media Store, check out our list of the greatest MCU moments so far.
Tony Stark suits up
Blighted by production problems, it’s a wonder Iron Man managed to become the springboard for the MCU, let alone a smash-hit franchise filled with jaw-to-the-floor moments. But it’s impossible to overlook the moment when Robert Downey Jr’s self-obsessed billionaire Tony Stark discovered his inner hero, climbed inside a crude, iron exoskeleton and laid waste to the villains holding himself and his friend hostage in a small cave in Afghanistan. Though the MCU has since expanded into the far reaches of space and Norse mythology, it came from (relatively) humble beginnings.
Following the success of Iron Man, it was announced that it would be the first film in not just a series, but a cinematic universe that would eventually lead to the first onscreen appearance of Earth’s mightiest superhero team – the Avengers. The Hulk, Thor, Captain America and a host of other characters made their MCU debuts in the following four years, before finally appearing together in 2012’s Avengers Assemble. A polar bear would be forgiven for getting chills at the sight of them in the same room, as it was, quite simply, a piece of modern-day cinematic history.
Star-Lord of the dance
Though Thor took the MCU to the fabled Nine Realms, Guardians Of The Galaxy was the first Marvel film in which a human character quite literally danced their way around the stars. The introduction of Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) saw him casually strut his way into an intergalactic vault to retrieve (ahem, steal) an artefact, all set to Redbone’s “Come And Get Your Love”. It was a watershed moment in the MCU – previous instalments had been funny, sure, but the sheer boldness, brashness and bonkers-ness of the titular Guardians proved that even Marvel’s most obscure, madcap characters could wow audiences the world over.
Spidey swings into the fray
After years of bickering and lengthy legal wrangling between Marvel and Sony (the owners of Spider-Man’s film rights) Sony’s eventual acquiescence meant that Spider-Man could finally be reunited with his Avenger pals. The character was fast-tracked into Captain America’s third big-screen outing; swinging his way into one of the series’ best set pieces in what is one of the series’ best entries. And while the ensuing airport battle between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America stole the show, Spider-Man’s long-awaited introduction to the MCU was a moment so electrifying it’s impossible to ignore.
“Mary Poppins” and Baby Groot
As well as featuring a surprising and rather touching Mary Poppins reference, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 was packed with more Baby Groot scenes than you could shake a small twig at. From his aww-inducing opening credits dance to the most important button he’s ever had to remember to press, Baby Groot had us rolling on the floor clutching our bellies and dabbing tears in equal measure.
That doorway introduction
Great set pieces, plenty of humour and an imposing villain in the Vulture (who, disconcertingly, you can almost see yourself agreeing with) all combined to make this one of the most intense scenes the series has delivered so far. When Tom Holland’s suited-and-booted Peter Parker knocks on the door of his prom date’s house, who else should answer but the aforementioned villain in full dad get-up? What follows is an excruciating scene in which Parker struggles to keep things civil in the face of it all.
Too many to mention
In order to do this ridiculously funny, spectacular, epically awesome blockbuster the justice it deserves, we’ve no choice but to list several of its many standout moments:
- Thor’s joy at seeing the Hulk, and the subsequent “friend from work” line
- The two action sequences choreographed to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”
- Korg, the Kiwi-accented rock monster, aka the greatest supporting character in the MCU, and his killer line about the suspect properties of Thor’s hammer
- Anytime the Hulk goes full Hulk
- Oh, and Korg. Did we mention Korg?
Wig-fu and that casino set piece
There’s plenty to love about Black Panther. The booming soundtrack, the exceptional performances, Ryan Coogler’s expert direction. But then there’s the “one-shot” casino scene in which the Black Panther and two of his kick-ass, spear-wielding security guards clash with Andy Serkis’ grizzled, mixtape-peddling villain inside a plush Hong Kong casino. The camera swoops deftly along; catching every punch, kick and even wig-throw as the trio deal some serious justice.
By the time Infinity War arrived, the MCU had been teasing and alluding to the eventual appearance of Thanos (the Avengers’ arch-nemesis) through countless post-credits scenes and the odd Easter egg. After eight years of build-up, the time for his big-screen debut was upon us. And boy, did he make an entrance; casually disposing of the Hulk with boxing skills that even Anthony Joshua would raise an eyebrow at. But it wasn’t all about a non-stop display of his gargantuan power. Infinity War effectively became one of the most action-packed character studies ever as we discovered the reasoning behind his dastardly plans, and the sacrifices he makes in order to achieve them. If there’s one thing more gripping than watching your beloved heroes battle an unbelievably powerful enemy they hate, it’s watching them battle an unbelievably powerful enemy you kind of hate yourself for liking!
Whether you’re preparing for a marathon run of Marvel’s best to get you up to speed, or biding your time before the return of the big purple one, get your Endgame face on and assemble your buddies for Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, available to pre-order on the Virgin Media Store from Thursday 25 April.
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