With all the buzz over the upcoming release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, coming to theaters July 6, it’s important to remind avid Marvel fans that not everyone follows the storylines with such rapt attention. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is expansive: multiple characters from different worlds and time periods, all collectively working to save Earth from evil.
If you’re a casual superhero movie watcher like me—one who can’t keep the characters straight, or even remember if characters belong to Marvel or DC—you might appreciate these five Marvel movie moments.
5. The opening scene of Guardians of the Galaxy.
It’s one of the saddest moments in MCU history: a young Peter Quill (played by the talented Wyatt Oleff) watches as his mother dies in a hospital bed. This scene is devastating to witness, but it is the catalyst for the rest of the Guardians franchise. From Peter’s strong connection to his Walkman (and all things 80s, for that matter), to his absolute rage towards his real father at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this defining moment shapes his future.
4. When Iron Man sacrifices himself to save mankind…and tries to call his girlfriend in the process.
In The Avengers, the cynical scientist-turned-superhero Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) knowingly sacrifices himself by blasting a nuclear weapon away from New York City and through a wormhole. Just seconds before his seemingly impending death, he tries to call his girlfriend Pepper, but the call fails just as he exits the atmosphere. It’s a rare look at the softer side of Tony Stark: a man who, in his final moments, only wants to hear the voice of the woman he loves.
3. When the Hulk stops Loki’s whining in The Avengers.
In Stark Tower, an arrogant Loki (Tom Hiddleston) encounters the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and declares “I am a god, you dull creature.” Hulk responds by picking up Loki and repeatedly slapping him on the ground like a rag doll. It’s a vindicating moment, especially when Hulk casually mutters “puny god” as he walks away from the groaning deity.
2. The moment Spider-Man is trapped in rubble in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
After Spider-Man (Tom Holland) confronts the villain Vulture (Michael Keaton) in a warehouse, the building is destroyed, leaving Spider-Man trapped underneath tons of concrete. Holland’s performance over the next several minutes is extremely raw and emotional, solidifying this scene as one of the best Marvel movie moments.
1. When Black Panther broke barriers.
The 2018 Marvel megahit busted through stereotypes: a superhero movie that celebrates African traditions and culture. The film features a nearly all-black leading cast, including strong female characters who are both fierce warriors and steadfast leaders.
Black Panther is so much more than a movie: it’s an in-depth commentary about social justice. The film delves deep into issues of colonialism, examining how African nations and people might be different if slavery, colonialism, and invasion had never existed. Wakanda gives viewers insight into the world that could have been.
Even for a non-Marvel fan, this movie is incredibly moving and thought-provoking.
What are your favorite Marvel moments that had a lasting impression?
Becca Stewart is a freelance writer and editor, avid traveler, military spouse, and boy mom. She loves movies, but can often be heard in the theater whispering “in the book, this part was completely different.” You can learn more about her at her website, writebecca.com.