# 6 – Tony Stark says “I am Iron Man.”
When the first Iron Man was released in 2008, a lot of what we take for granted today just didn’t exist. The “Marvel” superhero movies that came out in 2007 included the awful Spider-Man 3 (which included Harry Osborne’s amnesia storyline and not one but TWO songs performed by Mary Jane), the even worse Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and the even worse than that Ghost Rider. There was no shared universe. No one outside of comic book nerds knew who Iron Man was. Robert Downey Jr. was far removed from being an A-List talent, and had just begun the second act of his career after some great performances in movies such as Zodiack, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
But Iron Man’s shocking near $100M opening weekend (back when that wasn’t something that happened often) changed everything. This was the rare film that both audiences and critics loved. Robert Downey Jr. was Tony Stark. The after credits sequence featuring Nick Fury teasing “the Avengers Initiative” was a true shocker.
The film itself was filled with wonderful moments, including some of our personal favorites such as Tony learning to fly, Obadiah Stane’s “Tony Stark built this in a cave!,” and one of Stark’s robots coming in for a last minute save, but it was the close of the movie that showed the Marvel Cinematic Universe was going to be different than all the superhero movies we had seen before.
Tony was brought in front of a group of reporters, ready to repeat a prepared speech, when he decided to admit “I am Iron Man.” For us viewers, we have been trained for these heroes to do everything they could to keep their identity a secret, and here was Stark putting it all out in the open. This was different. This was fun. This was AWESOME.
# 5 – The Elevator Fight in Winter Soldier
“Before we begin, does anyone want to get out?”
The action scenes in the last two Captain America films are some of the best done for any movie, superhero or otherwise. One of the most exciting moments happens in Winter Soldier, where Cap takes on 10 Hydra members in an elevator. The scene builds perfectly, as Cap gets on the elevator alone after just having a tense meeting with Robert Redford’s character Alexander Pierce. People keep getting on the elevator at several stops, and Cap slowly realizes he’s been set up. The choreography needed to make a fight like this exciting – having the constraints of such a small area and so many people in it – is no small feat, and yet the movie hits a giant home run. This fight was quickly followed by Cap single handedly taking out a fighter jet, and yet unlike Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4, it made sense.
# 4 – Ego Reveals He Killed Peter Quill’s Mom in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2
We mentioned earlier that only comic book fans knew who Iron Man was before the first movie, but even many comic book fans didn’t know who the Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) were before their first film. This was a deep dive into the Marvel Universe itself, and director James Gunn took five characters whom most people had never heard of – including a talking raccoon – and immediately established them to be among the best superheroes ever put on film.
While all Marvel films had employed a lot of humor, the two GOTG films could almost be classified as comedies with superhero elements. They are legitimate laugh-out-loud movies, yet also contain some of the most heartbreaking moments in the MCU. The first GOTG film established how much the death of his mother weighed on Peter Quill, including the powerful “take my hand” moment at the end.
In GOTG vol 2, Peter Quill met his dad, Ego. After spending a lot of quality time together, Ego finally showed Peter his masterplan for the two of them to control the galaxy together. Peter wondered what would happen to his friends, and Ego told him to put aside the mortal part of him. Ego explained that he too had to once break himself off from something he loved, and revealed that he had put the tumor in Peter’s mother. For both the audience and Peter, this was a “what…” moment (and for Peter it led to immediately blasting away in rage at Ego.)
# 3 – The reveal of The Vulture as Liz’s dad in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Because of the overall high quality of the MCU in general, people have had to resort to nitpicking to find some complaints. The most often you’ll see is that Marvel has a “villain problem” and many don’t think there have been many good baddies in the MCU outside of Loki. To that I say Nay Nay. As mentioned above, Ego in GOTG vol 2 was a rich character whose dastardly evil plot made sense (from his perspective.) Another heel who stole the show was Michael Keaton’s Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The Vulture was a working class American who only turned to crime because what he felt were injustices put upon him by the rich and powerful. Despite putting a lot of breadcrumbs out there for the audience to put together, when Peter Parker rang the doorbell to Liz’s house, only to find out her father was the Vulture, the film had delivered a “HOLY S#IT” moment that very few superhero movies can ever achieve. I was able to see the movie in the theaters several times, and at each showing this was the moment for everyone in the audience to collectively gasp.
Not long after we got another absolutely great scene, where Michael Keaton’s character offered to drive the kids to their dance. Peter knew who Vulture really was, but it wasn’t until the car ride in which the Vulture figured out who Peter really was. A terrific performance by all involved and helps establish to non-comic book readers the complicated history Spider-Man has with his rogue’s gallery.
# 2 – Vision picks up Thor’s Hammer in Age of Ultron
Early in Avengers: Age of Ultron we are treated to a wonderful scene in which the Avengers have a party. The rapport between all the characters is off the charts, and it is capped with a brilliant moment in which each character tries to lift Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. Thor explains that only those who “are worthy” can ever lift the hammer, but the rest of the Avengers think its a cheap party trick. One by one they try to lift the hammer, only for it to never budge (although Steve Rogers does get it to move for just this much, causing Thor to sweat a bit.)
Much later in the movie, the character of Vision is created. Ulton, the lead villain of the movie, had created Vision and when he was brought to “life” the Avengers were ready to fight him. While the characters didn’t know if he was good or bad, it wasn’t until Vision picked up Thor’s hammer with ease that they knew they could trust him.
# 1 – Airport Fight in Civil War
We could probably do an entire SATURDAY SIX just on our favorite moments in Captain America: Civil War. For Disney fans there was the “D23” reference. There was the introduction of the Raft super prison, along with actually seeing the Black Panther on the silver screen (something a lifelong comic book fan like myself didn’t think would ever happen.) The final act of the movie contains the heartbreaking moment where Tony Stark discovers it was the Winter Solider who killed his parents, and the ensuing fight between Iron Man and Cap/Bucky is one for the all time books.
However it is the fight midway through the movie that takes our number one slot on the list because it was a literal dream come true for comic book readers. For years people would debate who would win in a fight between _____ and _____? The actual winner didn’t matter because deep down we knew we would never see the fight. Civil War gave us the fight. Civil War had Team Captain America (Cap, Winter Solider, Falcon, Hawkeye, Ant Man, and Scarlett Witch) square off versus Team Iron Man (Iron Man, War Machine, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow and Spider-Man.)
The fight was everything comic book fans have always wanted, and then some. Each character got a chance to shine, and all the action made complete sense (compared to many, MANY other superhero films where similar battles involving many characters are incomprehensible. We’re looking in your direction Justice League…) The airport fight in Civil War was the culmination of years of great storytelling and even better character work by the actors and actresses involved. Both sides had legitimate reasons behind their actions, the actual fight itself was superb, and we had the trademark Marvel humor sprinkled on top.
BEST STAN LEE CAMEO: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Besides humor and great action, there’s one more thing that all films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have in common: a cameo by Stan Lee, the co-creator of all these great characters.
For our favorite cameo, we’re going to go back to that awesome party scene during Age of Ultron. Thor is pouring out a drink that he claims has been aged for a 1,000 years and was not made for mortal men. Stan Lee was then revealed to be a World War II veteran asking for a sip. Thor agrees, and seconds later Stan Lee is being carried out of the party.
Before we close, let’s go over some of our favorite gags from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“That man is playing Galaga. Didn’t think we would notice. But we did.”
When Tony Stark entered the SHIELD helicarrier in the first Avengers, he used his rapid fire delivery and wit to great effect (including calling Thor “Point Break,” something which would be referred to again years later in Thor: Ragnarok.) At one point he started making up nonsense directions to the SHIELD agents on board and mentioned someone playing the video game Galaga. The line itself was funny, because it such a non sequitur, but the capper of the scene revealed one of the agents actually was playing Galaga on the sly!
“Go get him. I can swim.”
Captain America: The First Avenger is one of the true underrated gems of the MCU. Filled with many great moments (including pre-Cap Steve Rogers taking a beating and saying “I can do this all day,” getting the flag in bootcamp, and jumping on a dummy grenade not knowing it was a test) there was one scene which showed what sets the MCU apart from its distinguished competition.
When Cap was chasing a Hydra agent who had stolen the last of the super serum, he followed the agent to the docks. The agent grabbed a nearby kid and threatened to kill him. Out of bullets, he tossed the kid into the water, knowing – like we the audience did because we’ve seen stuff like this a million times – that Cap would jump in to rescue the kid. Instead, Cap goes to jump in but the kid says he can swim, allowing Cap to rejoin his chase. It’s a small moment, but First Avenger gets right what so many other comic book movies got wrong.
“I’ll add it to the list.”
Another small moment came in the follow up to First Avenger in Winter Soldier. After a terrific “meet cute” with Sam Wilson, we are given a quick glimpse of a notebook Cap has been using to make notes of things he needs to catch up on. This notebook moment is even more impressive after you find out they made different lists for various countries around the world. So while we in the US saw items such as “Nirvana” and the “Moon Landing,” audiences in the UK saw “the Beatles” and “Sean Connery.”
“Baskin Robbins don’t play.”
How great was this scene in Ant-Man?!
“I’m Mary Poppins Y’All!”
While this moment in Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 worked with everyone, it certainly rang even more true for us theme park fans (especially those of us who saw Saving Mr. Banks.) The actual Mary Poppins line from Yondu is great, but it’s Peter’s “Hell yeah, he’s cool” line which shows the heart of GOTG and why these characters are so beloved.
It’s safe to say the character of The Hulk stole every scene he was in during the first Avengers movie. One of the most memorable moments of the entire movie was an unexpected one, when Loki finally had enough of the battle and announced that a creature like Hulk was beneath him. Hulk just grabbed Loki and completely laid waste to him like a rag doll. No one saw that coming.
“We know each other. He’s a friend from work!”
Speaking of Hulk, he came back in Thor: Ragnaok during a great scene in which Thor was set to battle “the champion.” As Thor steadied himself for what was coming, he was relieved to find out his fellow combatant was “a friend from work.” Said friend then charged Thor to begin a fight…
Best Ending to a Marvel Film: Spider-Man: Homecoming
“What the F$%#?!”
So there you have it: Six of our Favorite Moments in the MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to our spirit animal Brandon Glover, SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, the FourSquare Mayor of ‘Ohana Tim Grassey, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2018 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!