We’re in the endgame now. The Avengers movie we’ve been awaiting, theorizing about, obsessing over and anticipating more than any other movie for quite some time is finally coming to theaters this week. Avengers: Endgame has been marketed as the culmination of over a decade of Marvel films revolving around the core six who kicked this whole thing off. The original six Avengers also just happen to be some of the few heroes left after Thanos’ snap.
Since it's distinctly possible we’ll be saying some goodbyes to the heroes at the center of this franchise phenomenon, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the moments in the MCU that were instrumental in defining the climax we’ll soon be witnessing. Avengers Assemble!
I Am Iron Man
Iron Man kicked off the MCU back in 2008 with an unforgettable bang from Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark when he broke the superhero cardinal rule: announcing your identity… oh, and on live television. It was already a different kind of origin story about a billionaire playboy’s journey into creating his own tech to undo the damage his weapons company had created. The final moment of the film showed the new Marvel universe wouldn’t be playing the same game as Superman or Batman and making a mark of its own.
I Told You, I Don’t Want To Join Your Super Secret Boyband
After Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury makes his first appearance during the post-credit scene for Iron Man, the Avengers ringleader came back for the sequel to give Tony Stark a bit of an intervention on his recklessness midway through the film. He brings along Black Widow too on her first ever appearance in the MCU. It’s a funny scene that has Fury calling Stark out for what he’s doing wrong and helping him out on his hero work. While Stark is great at playing it off, he probably needed a dose of S.H.I.E.L.D. on his side at that moment before he had the Avengers.
If He Be Worthy
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has certainly come a long way since having bleached eyebrows and Natalie Portman’s Jane on his arm in his 2011 origin story. The quirky action flick introduced audiences to the complicated relationship between brothers Thor and Loki, culminating in the scene where Thor stands up to his brother (who's controlling The Destroyer) by sacrificing himself in order to save the people on Earth. While he takes a pretty bad hit, it earns him the right to his iconic hammer from Odin. At the same time, it angers Loki further which later kicks off the events of The Avengers.
Peggy, I’m Gonna Need A Raincheck On That Dance
This scene gets me every. single. time. It’s the moment when Cap must force down the plane in order to save everyone while on the line with Peggy Carter. It’s also the scene that signals Steve Rogers’ ultimate sacrifice to become a hero, which he ends up needing to live with nearly 70 years later when he is dug out of some ice. As Cap’s journey continues, the past that could have been haunts him and his relationship with Peggy is an important one (even alluded to in an Endgame trailer).
I’m In The Middle Of An Interrogation
It’s crazy to imagine that just a few years ago in 2012, a showcase of female badassery such as Black Widow’s at the beginning of The Avengers was something new to be introduced on screen. Since we have Rey in Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and so on, but I distinctly remember the way Scarlett Johansson lights up this scene in particular feeling special. It was the start of an era for action flicks and this defining scene was certainly part of it. From her snark and the skilled choreography, this is the moment when we were all sold on Black Widow.
That’s My Secret Cap, I’m Always Angry
Aside from the snap, this might just be the most iconic moment in the MCU to date. As Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye deal with the chaos attacking New York, Bruce Banner later rides up on a motorcycle to help. While the character’s fear of losing control to the “other guy” is brought up throughout the film, here he embraces it with the above line and completes the Avengers team once he Hulks out. That iconic shot of the six of them in a circle taking on the alien army showed the power of the MCU as the team was successfully brought together.
I’m Not Going To Fight You, You’re My Friend
Skipping to Captain America: Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers grapples with his past in a big way when he ends up in a showdown fight with his ol’ pal Bucky (a.k.a. Winter Soldier) in the finale of the film. A brainwashed Bucky is beating Cap up real good, but he refuses to fight with his best friend, even trying to jog his memory to help him remember. It’s a clever work of irony that the one piece of his past he can have is the person who he is at odds with. While the relationship between them never seem to feel like the ‘40s, an ounce of Bucky does come through when he saves Cap from drowning.
Did You Bring Auntie Nat?
The MCU has always struggled a bit to give Hawkeye a story arc for the audience to care about, especially when he wasn’t given a movie of his own prior and his abilities are objectively less impressive than his fellow members. Avengers: Age of Ultron helped turned that around when it was revealed that Hawkeye has a family of his own living out somewhere in a safehouse set up by Fury. His wife (Linda Cardellini) and kids surprise the other Avengers when they turn up to the house and Natasha has a cute banter with them. The scene helped to humanize Clint and get us more interested in his double life.
We’re Still Friends, Right?
Fans were divided into Team Cap and Team Iron Man in the event film Captain America: Civil War that had a bit of the old and new team of heroes fighting against each other based on principle. It will be hard to soon forget the airport battle that had Spider-Man, Ant-Man and Black Panther being featured in the mix, along with most of the original Avengers punching it out in a dynamic we’re not used to. Black Widow and Hawkeye going head-to-head was really fun, along with Cap and Spidey, but when Rhodey got hurt, it took a turn for the serious.
I Can Do This All Day
Civil War went for another unexpected match-up of hero versus hero when Iron Man and Captain America ended up getting into a heated fist fight over what should be done with Bucky, who is revealed to be the killer of Stark’s parents, but is still Cap’s old bestie. It was a heartbreaking moment to watch as the heroes who once worked side-by-side were violently going at each other until Cap pins Iron Man on the floor and walks away with Bucky as he yells “That shield doesn’t belong to you. You don’t deserve it. My father made that shield.”
Are You Thor? The God of Hammers?
After Thor: Ragnarok delivered a completely different (and welcome) side of Odinson thanks to Taika Waititi’s direction, the third Thor film also upgraded his powers as well to someone much more powerful than a big hunk with a hammer. After Hela rips out his eye and looks to be doing quite well for herself in taking over Asgard, Thor is able to see a vision of his father, who tells him that the hammer isn’t the source of his power, but a way to wield it. To “Immigrant Song,” Thor comes out with this thunderous powers and with some help from Hulk and the gang, takes down her army. His newfound powers come in handy for Thanos, but aren't quite enough…
You Should Have Gone For The Head
This scene brings us up to speed to the jaw-dropping events of Infinity War where the Avengers actually fail to stop Thanos from possessing all the Infinity Stones and wiping out half of all life in the universe. The scene when the core Avengers have to watch as heroes all around them turn to dust and they are powerless to stop it is truly one we won’t soon forget, especially since it’s so untypical for them to not save the day. The ending was a complete shock at the end of the movie, especially when they were so close to victory. It showed the Avengers are flawed and not at a place of unity.
What’s next for the Avengers? We’ll know soon when Endgame hits theaters on April 26. What are your favorite moments in the MCU so far? Let us know in the comments below!