The first showings of Avengers: Endgame begin today, and the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is expected to make quite an impact on fans. With over 20 films under the MCU's belt leading into Endgame, it's safe to assume that every viewer has a different list of moments or scenes that stand out to them.
Sure, there are quite a lot of MCU scenes that are already been regarded as iconic thanks to their ability to bring thrilling, heartbreaking, or action-packed moments to life. But at the same time, there are quite a lot of scenes that might not instantly make every fans' top 10 list, but that still deserve some praise and recognition for the impact they've made on the MCU. They might not be epic action sequences or memorable lines, but these scenes help showcase what really makes the MCU work -- whether it's an emotional moment for a particular character, an amusing bit of dialogue, or just a really awesome reveal.
So, in honor of Endgame's debut, we thought we'd look back at just a few of the more underrated and underappreciated scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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10. The Trinity Meeting for the First Time (The Avengers)
Sure, the present-day MCU has no shortage of unlikely team-ups and weird crossovers, but it's definitely worth celebrating what brought us to that point. And even in a movie that's literally built around bringing a bunch of characters together, it's worth noting the first time that Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America cross paths.
Thor attempts to get Loki to give up the Tesseract, only to have Tony quickly rain on his parade. The two then exchange blows, only for Steve to arrive and things to get even more awkward.
Even though parts of it are paced a little awkwardly, and the dialogue comes across very quippy, the meeting of the three heroes plays out in a fun, slightly unexpected way. And to an extent, it only helps us appreciate how far the franchise, and each of these characters, have evolved since then.prevnext
9. "I Can't Get Drunk" (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Sure, Steve Rogers says again and again that he "can do this all day," but a pretty heartbreaking moment in Captain America: The First Avenger reveals one thing he can't do -- and says a lot more in the process.
After thinking that Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) fell to his death during the team's train fight against Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), Steve attempts to wallow in his sorrows in a desolate bar, only to realize the super-soldier serum stops him from it. As Steve tells this to Peggy (Hayley Atwell), they start to talk about the real elephant in the room -- the grief that Steve feels for Bucky's demise.
While the MCU has dealt with grief and emotional loss in a lot of ways over the years, there's something so simple about the way this exchange plays out between Steve and Peggy. Not only does it add some major emotional stakes to Steve's decades-long fight against Hydra, but it addresses Bucky's agency (something that is questioned in a major way in Captain America: Civil War), and it adds a whole other layer to the MCU's debate about what it means to be a hero.prevnext
8. Iron Man Flies for the First Time (Iron Man)
Of course we have to highlight a moment from the film that essentially started the MCU. All those years before intergalactic space battles and larger-than-life spectacle, there was something both earnest and fantastical about seeing Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) take flight for the first time.
The sequence shows Tony building and activating the Mark 2 armor, as Jarvis (Paul Bettany) helps him pilot into the sky and fly over a nearby carnival. Even as the armor begins to freeze in space, and despite the fact that he lands on one of his sports cars on the way back, the event never ceases to be a thrill for Tony.
The scene serves quite a lot of double meaning within the MCU, while also capturing the thrill of seeing the fictional universe get more and more extraordinary. In the process, it can be interpreted as a sort of representation of Tony's arc in the MCU, particularly in his never-ending narrative cycle of flying too close to the sun.prevnext
7. Bucky and Rocket (Avengers: Infinity War)
As the "most ambitious crossover of our time," Avengers: Infinity War had no shortage of new character pairings and surprising moments. Perhaps the weirdest and greatest example of that -- outside of Groot and Steve Rogers' brief exchange -- is the meeting between Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Bucky Barnes.
Right in the middle of the epic Battle of Wakanda, Rocket's moral compass remains as delightfully flawed as ever, as he asks Bucky if his Vibranium metal arm is for sale after he's picked up and swung around by Bucky as they both shoot at Outriders. Bucky says no, but that doesn't steer Rocket away.
It's a moment that feels ripped out of countless MCU fanfics and memes, but that's exactly why it works. Even in the middle of a battle for the entire universe, Marvel doesn't miss out on an opportunity to give fans a good laugh, and to showcase the wide range of characters that exist in the MCU.prevnext
6. The Party Scene (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Age of Ultron might now have a controversial standing amongst MCU fans, but there's no denying the significant ways it impacted the franchise at the time. Sure, one could talk about some of the film's epic fight scenes or Ultron's (James Spader) various monologues, but the sequence of the Avengers having a party feels worth mentioning as well.
The scene occurs pretty early on in the film, as Ultron is minutes away from taking his first form and beginning to terrorize the Avengers. But before that, we get almost five minutes of the group just spending time together, as they party and drink and attempt to lift Mjolnir from the coffee table.
It's not necessarily a perfect sequence (particularly with Tony's problematic "prima nocta" line), but it's perhaps the longest amount of on-screen time in the Avengers franchise where the team is actually happy, acting like the friends and the found family that fans have fallen in love with. All these years later, as the team is fighting civil wars, mad titans, and whatever Endgame has in store, that feels like something worth celebrating.prevnext
5. The Play Scene (Thor: Ragnarok)
If you ask Marvel fans, odds are they'll suggest a wide array of memorable scenes from 2017's Thor three-quel. But one of the film's earliest standout moments is easily when Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder returns to Asgard for the first time in years, and what he finds when he gets there.
Seeing as Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been impersonating Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for years as Asgard's ruler, it's safe to say that things in the kingdom look a little different when Thor comes back. This includes Loki-as-Odin literally putting on a play about Loki's Thor: The Dark World death, with some pretty noteworthy faces (Sam Neill, Matt Damon, and Luke Hemsworth) playing parts.
The moment is absolutely ridiculous, but also completely sets the tone for where Ragnarok is going to go, and the relationship that the film has to its much-darker predecessors. Plus, we get a pretty amazing moment of Sir Anthony Hopkins swearing as Loki-as-Odin.prevnext
4. Carol Learns the Truth (Captain Marvel)
With Captain Marvel still in theaters, we can't link to this scene just yet, but those who have seen the film certainly know what we're referring to. Midway through the film, Vers (Brie Larson) finally finds out more about her human and alien heritage, as her memories are triggered back by the black box recording from the plane she boarded with Wendy Lawson/Mar-Vell (Annette Bening).
After a lengthy flashback sequence detailing the truth of what happened on that flight, Carol steps out into a brave new world, one that visually and narratively has a different feeling from everything we've seen thus far. With the sun setting in the background of Maria Lambeau's (Lashanna Lynch) farm, Carol comes to terms with the fact that she's been lied to and abused by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) -- but also quickly learns that she's not alone. Maria comforts her and reminds her of how strong she was before she got her powers, as Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) asks for Carol's help in outrunning Yon-Rogg.
It's a scene that effortlessly thrusts Captain Marvel into its third act, all while highlighting the theme of love and understanding that radiates throughout the film.prevnext
3. The Vulture Reveal (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
The MCU has proved -- particularly in its later films -- just how many interesting ways a comic book movie can introduce a villain or antagonist. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy ones, at least in terms of how it plays out within the film itself, is Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Leading into Homecoming's third act, audiences are already well aware of Adrian Toomes/Vulture's (Michael Keaton) antagonistic deeds, but the film adds an interesting wrinkle to things with the reveal that he is the father of Peter's crush, Liz Allan (Laura Harrier). Peter finds this out while arriving to take Liz to homecoming, which leads to an unbelievably awkward, and quickly sinister, car ride to the dance.
It's a moment that captures the awkwardness of high school in a rather uncomfortable way, something that Homecoming has been praised for doing so pretty effectively as a whole. All the while, it adds a whole other layer to Spider-Man's fight against Vulture, laying the groundwork for Peter to leave his foe alive at the end of their epic third-act battle.prevnext
2. Gamora and Nebula's Fight (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
At their core, the Guardians of the Galaxy movies have been a saga about found family and coming to terms with your personal trauma -- something that is on full display in one of Vol. 2's key fight scenes. In the sequence, Nebula (Karen Gillan) finally tracks down Gamora (Zoe Saldana) on Ego the Living Planet, and the pair go to some pretty extravagant lengths to stop each other.
From the watercolor sunset that bathes the scene's opening shots to the relatively minimal sound design, the sequence comes across as a both pivotal and surprisingly understated moment within Vol 2. The altercation itself showcases how ruthless and creative of fighters Gamora and Nebula are, before the former ultimately saves the latter from blowing up in her ship's explosion. Afterwards, the pair come to terms with the flawed way that their relationship began as children, and the many ways that they were both abused by Thanos (Josh Brolin).
It's a profound moment between the two sisters, one that appears to still reverberate through the events of Infinity War and Endgame. And in the process, it allows two of the MCU's female characters to truly shine on their own, among two-plus hours of Peter Quill dealing with his daddy issues.prevnext
1. Cap's Speech (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier certainly has no shortage of memorable moments, from the elevator fight scene to every "I'm with you 'till the end of the line." But one scene that continues to stand out in the film is Steve's speech about the fall of SHIELD.1comments
After nearly two hours of Steve's standing in the modern world being put to the test, our hero breaks the news about Hydra to everyone in Washington DC's SHIELD building. Steve remarks that he'd be fine being the only one to stand up to Hydra, but he's sure that he isn't alone, something that sets off a chain reaction among the film's other characters.
It's a moment that perfectly encapsulates how much Captain America serves as a symbol both in our world and in the MCU, in a way that feels different from the franchise's epic fight scenes and quippy one-liners. In the process, it serves as a major turning point for Steve as a character, one that adds a whole new level to his mindset of doing the right thing at any cost.prev