The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been part of our lives now for seven glorious years, conquering both the big and small screens in its attempt to forge the largest shared fictional universe known to man and earn Disney enough money to freeze as many heads as they want until the end of time. With the recent release of Avengers: Age of Ultron and the upcoming Ant-Man, Marvel Studios have proven that they are still the people to beat when it comes to blockbusters, even if the number of cases of “Superhero Fatigue” are increasing daily. Symptoms include an aversion to spandex, difficulty maintaining enthusiasm for another origin story, and a sense of ennui when faced with even the most cataclysmic CGI-rendered death and destruction.
So let’s take a step back and revisit the top 5 moments that made us fall in love with this crazy universe in the first place.
- I’m Iron Man
As seen in: Iron Man
Up until this moment, Iron Man was just another in a long line of cookie-cutter superhero movies, albeit with some superior casting and a devastatingly charming leading man. The same tired origin story – white guy acquires power, is a douche for a bit and then becomes a hero after some personal tragedy – the same unmemorable plot (something about that reactor he was building?), the same boss-battle at the end which went on just a little too long. But then, at the end, when the weight of tradition dictated that the hero should hide his identity to protect those he loved, Tony Stark went another way and we loved him for it.
- That Corridor Scene
As seen in: Daredevil
An absolute breath of fresh air, Netflix‘s Daredevil dispensed with the bright costumes and flashy powers for a series with a much more grounded, gritty feel, really underplaying the “super” and “hero” elements of the character and giving us a street vigilante who could take a punch and return it with pleasure. This darker tone was epitomised by episode two’s corridor fight in which Matt Murdock descends into the lair of a local gang of human traffickers to rescue a young boy. With shades of Oldboy, the ensuing fight is visceral, brutal and unforgiving – made all the more so by being filmed in a single take.
- The Hulk Catches Iron Man
As seen in: The Avengers
When I saw moment this for the first time in the cinema I let out an involuntary “wheeeee!” of pure, unadulterated delight. You’re the first person I’ve told that to. I had become a child again, my mind sandblasted of any grown-up skepticism or reserve, leaving me floating in a sea of total enjoyment. This moment comes in the closing minutes of the Avengers final battle with Loki and his invading Chitauri after Iron Man has saved New York by flying a nuclear missile through a wormhole and lobbing it at the massed alien fleet waiting to come through. Job done, Tony finds himself unconscious, falling to Earth and unable to save himself. Cap and Black Widow look on helplessly and Thor starts his hammer a-whirling to intervene but, all of sudden and out of nowhere, here comes the Hulk, plucking the tin man out of the air and sliding down a building to safety. After hours of dysfunction and in-fighting, this is the moment that seals them as a team, the moment the Avengers are truly born.
- Baby Groot Gets His Groove Back
As seen in: Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s hard to imagine now, but before GotG came out there were some serious doubts whether this film was going to be a hit. Having a walking tree and a talking raccoon as two of your main characters seemed to be a great way to kill a franchise and a lot was riding on a largely unknown property. 121 minutes later and the world was a different place. Rapt audiences across the world sat in cinema auditoriums, tears still drying on their cheeks, watching a tiny plant bopping away to the Jackson 5 and it was literally the greatest thing ever.
- Every Single Time Tom Hiddleston Appeared on Screen
As seen in: like, half of them.
This guy. By all rights, Thor should not have worked. A Norse god is banished to Earth and saves a small New Mexico town, all the while learning humility and how to be a king. Colour me skeptical. But then Loki turn up; cunning, mischievous and charmingly deadly, Tom Hiddleston plays the campy villain to the hilt while at the same time imbuing Loki with a deep pathos, a yearning for his adopted family’s affection which he has already denied himself and hates them for it. In Avengers, Loki is the perfect foil for the newly-minted super-team, recently empowered by Thanos and with a galaxy-sized chip on his shoulder for Thor and his new mates. But it is in Thor: The Dark World that we see the God of Mischief’s humanity, his real love for his brother, his rage at the death of his mother, and the depth of his machinations that find him seated on the throne of Asgard.
Have we missed any moments out? What have your favourite moments been so far?