This week sees the return of everyone’s favourite A-Holes as Rocket, Gamora, Star Lord, Drax and Baby Groot all return in James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2, the first of Marvel’s blockbuster movies for 2017. With Marvel still going strong in the cinematic stakes, the team here at Filmoria have looked back at the MCU and picked their favourite moments from the long list of films having already passed us by.
Nick Fury’s First Appearance – Iron Man (2008)
To many comic book fans, it was almost unimaginable to see so many beloved Marvel characters on the big screen. It was difficult to think The Avengers would be as popular as it is right now, let alone Guardians of the Galaxy. However, it all started with the director pulling the strings that would inevitably lead to what we have now,
Kevin Feige Nick Fury. There is no denying the importance of Nick Fury in the comics, and for that brief moment in the after credits of Iron Man, it was a momentous occasion shared by all comic fans.
Not a lot of people might have known it back then, but as soon as Samuel L. Jackson appeared with the words of the Avengers initiative, many lives were changed. It was all thanks to Nick Fury that fans around the world finally got to see many of their favourite characters come together in the cinema. It was something grand, far greater than anyone could have thought. It not only set the stage for the entire MCU, but got cinema-goers everywhere to stay after the credits for every subsequent Marvel film.
Stark Mansion Attack – Iron Man 3 (2013)
Iron Man 3 faced more hate and backlash than I felt it deserved when released back in 2013. Being the first film in the MCU to be released post-Avengers, making it the first entry into Marvel’s Phase two of the MCU, I consider this to be the best Iron Man film out of the trilogy. If fans tell you this is the worst out of the three, well then they’re wrong. Iron Man 2 is certainly the most awful by frankly being dull, boring and really, really average. I felt they got everything right in this threequel and was a considerable massive step up in terms of story, action and intrigue.
Admittedly, it was that villain twist of The Mandarin that was a real turn off for a lot of fans and how that villain was handled and revealed. Personally, after I gathered my thoughts on when I saw it for the first time, I actually came to the conclusion that the twist was actually a stroke of absolute brilliance by director Shane Black.
There’s so much more to enjoy in this film as well – the Air Force One hi-jack, the intro of the Extremis story arc and of course the helicopter attack on Tony Stark’s mansion. After making the mistake of broadcasting on live media his home address to every terrorist out there, his private home/work lab gets blown to smithereens, destroying every single Iron Man suit he’s ever built apart from the one he saves Pepper’s life with, ensuring her safety is his number one priority.
It’s interesting to see after losing both his private mansion and all of his suits, as well as suffering from severe anxiety attacks based on the fallout of the New York wormhole, that he becomes a normal struggling citizen like the rest of us, totally being stripped of all his superhero privileges.
Prison Escape – Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Maybe it’s because I’m writing this on the eve of the release of its sequel, but the first scene that came to mind is the escape from Kyln prison in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The action set piece marks the first time the Guardians come together, showing exactly why everybody fell in love with Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket.
There have been plenty of prison escape scenes in movies before, but this is as good as any of them. It’s original, it’s clever… and it’s really really funny – essentially a microcosm of the film as a whole.
Rocket’s plan requires each member to complete one essential task to complete their escape. This in turn showcases exactly what each member brings to the table (which subsequent comic book team up movies haven’t done nearly so well). Of course, there’s a punchline at the end of it around a prosthetic leg, but the scene marks the moment the Guardians of the Galaxy were formed on screen, a real moment to treasure.
Mark One Is Born – Iron Man (2008)
This is where it all began. Back in 2007, news filtered through that after years in the wilderness (bar the poorly executed attempts at Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Nick Fury films), Marvel was jumping back into the film production game. The debutant – Iron Man who while perhaps not being quite the household name that Spider-Man or Captain America were, it was audience’s entry point into what is now the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But on paper, the film’s eventual success wasn’t a given: star Robert Downey Jnr’s checkered personal history made him a big risk in the lead, while director Jon Favreau hadn’t made a film on this scale before. To make matters worse, the summer of 2008 had two big heavyweight rivals, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dark Knight.
But leaping out the gate first, Iron Man struck big and the rest is history. Downey Jnr was a perfect choice as Tony Stark with the film having many stand-out moments but it’s perhaps in the “Mark One”assembly sequence and Iron Man’s first appearance that is the film’s strongest. As fans, you get goosebumps watching Stark create his escape route after being kidnapped by terrorists and with the help of fellow inmate Yinsen (Shaun Toub), the bulking, monolithic suit helps our hero take down bad guy after bad guy with fire, bullets and sheer force of will. Confronted by more bad guys outside the caves he is being held in, he continues his vengeful crusade to free himself and in doing so, a new hero is born. He may land with an almighty thud after successfully flying away from his prison, but Iron Man and the MCU fell back to Earth with almighty applause and acclaim.
Airport Battle – Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a plethora of impressive action and fight scenes under its superhero belt, but the biggest and best of them all is unquestionably the airport fight scene in Captain America: Civil War. After the incredible The Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers proved they could direct excellent fight scenes, but the question of whether this could transfer to an all-out assault involving pretty much all of the Marvel heroes we’ve seen so far, was answered almost instantaneously in this epic scene.
With the teams standing off against each other, this scene plays out like something of an elaborately choreographed dance routine, with interweaving and overlapping fights culminating in one huge battle. It is pretty much every superheroes dream come true as we see our favourites go toe to toe. But the party doesn’t really start until Spidey swings his way in, and newcomer Tom Holland is easily able to hold his own against the old hands. With his witty web-slinging banter, he could’ve stolen the show, but there was another trick up their sleeves in the form of Giant-Man! Not only is this one of the most visually impressive scenes in any Marvel movie, but it even manages to throw in a sterling Empire Strikes Back reference that will please every fanboy and fangirl possible. This scene has everything that makes the Marvel movies awesome and is endlessly enjoyable to watch.
Cap’s Betrayal Exposed – Captain America: Civil War (2016)
One particular sequence, that occurs during Captain America: Civil War, sits above and beyond any other for me. The incredible culmination at the Siberian Hydra facility. I’ll keep the spoilers fairly minimal, just in case.
After the sobering end to the airport battle, I began to sense that everything will steer to a positive. But the film throws a beautiful curveball in the form of Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo – The architect of the Avengers’ fracture. His overall plan, though remarkably disturbing, also ringing reluctantly sympathetic, brings his pieces together to play the final, irreversible, master move.
Tony Stark, reeling and emotionally fragile following events at Leipzig, reaches depths that no one expected to see. And Robert Downey Jr is absolutely stunning throughout these scenes. His relationship with Capt. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is strained for almost the entirety of the movie, and the gut-punching revelation from Zemo proves to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Given that, and the presence of Bucky (Sebastian Stan) during of all this, leads to a emotionally powerful exchange between Steve and Tony.
– “Did you know?”
– “I didn’t know it was him.”
– “Don’t bulls**t me, Rogers. Did you know!?”
This dialogue, between Evans and Downey is inch perfect, in all aspects.
Tony, not only betrayed by Steve, is genuinely hurt that a man noted for being idealistic and morally sound, could hold such a delicate and personal secret away from him – especially after going into potential suicide missions together. Steve’s good hearted nature and loyalty proves to be his undoing here, believing that harbouring certain information would protect Tony from further upset. But unfortunately, the grass isn’t always greener – even in superhero epics.
It’s refreshing, moving, tense and comes as a worthy surprise. One of the strongest bookends to a Marvel film to date.
Attack On New York City – The Avengers (2012)
Final acts of Marvel Studios titles have been pretty lacklustre on the whole. Too often they follow in familiar footsteps; relying on mass spectacle to distract from the undercooked storytelling and principal antagonists. This however can not be said for Joss Whedon’s explosively entertaining The Avengers, which climaxes in a simply thrilling extended sequence as Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye defend New York City from an onslaught of Loki’s nasties.
Laden with lashings of beautifully scripted humour, textured with some of the most exhilarating action in any superhero picture, and captured with Whedon’s frenetic camera, it is quire frankly a whirlwind of thrills and spills. One of the many highlights throughout the closing stages is an unbroken shot which tracks through streets, skies, and cityscapes, as we see each member of The Avengers unit battling their way through waves of foes in a variety of different ways. It is the kind of moment that’ll make you want to punch the air.
What Whedon’s film manages so expertly is tone: it understands that the product is entirely fantastical, and instead of being weighted by that, it runs with it. We as the spectators are taken along on a simply joyous ride; rich with colour and creativity, and when we arrive at this finisher, the levels of cinematic euphoria are cranked up to eleven. Bombastic bliss.