Marvel Musings: The Most Defining Scenes of Phase 1

I is always difficult to do Top Ten lists of an ongoing series, because as long as new content is added, it will always be subject to change. Thankfully the MCU has this handy little Phases. So I start with Phase 1. And I’ll use a handy tool to do so: Top Five lists. Yes, Top Five, not Top Ten. I’ll do Top Tens once I reach Phase 2, but since Phase 1 consists of exactly six movies (Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers), I think Top Five lists will provide exactly the right groundwork, especially since every movie is allowed to provide exactly one moment. And I am starting with the five most defining scenes of phase.

To clarify, with “most defining” I mean those scenes which define the movie in question, preferable scenes are both memorable, as well as having a big impact in the universe. And you might have guessed it: The incredible Hulk didn’t make the list. Of all the MCU movies, it is the one which can be skipped most easily. If not for General Ross turning up again in Civil War, I would claim that nothing in it carried actually over to later movies. But let’s see what the other movies have to offer.

The Five Most Defining Scenes of Phase 1:

5. Iron Man 2 / Tony watches the old recordings of his father

Now, the picture I connect the most with this movie is Tony sitting in the donut (yeah, that says more or less all about it). But the moment I think resonates the most within the universe is this one. Tony’s complicated relationship with his father was already hinted to in the first movie, but here the MCU opens a whole can of worms. But even more, it opens a door to the past. The MCU would feel way smaller if not for the sense that behind everything we see on screen, there is a rich history behind it. And Howard Stark is the first link to this history, being one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. I don’t think that they will address it in Civil War, but he is also one of the elements which split Steve and Tony apart. For Steve, Howard Stark is a friend, someone who fought by his side. For Tony, Howard Stark is the guy who always ignored him, and who gave him a legacy of death. In a way, he is the embodiment of the fact that every story has more than one angle.

4. Thor / Loki lets go

I could also simply say “Loki” because to this day, he is the biggest unsolved mystery in the MCU, and it all started with this moment. Sure, he spends the whole movie pulling off a convoluted plan in a desperate attempt to get attention from his (adoptive) father.

3. Captain America: The First Avenger / Steve wakes up in the future

Currently there is (again) this discussion going on which Avenger should die in the upcoming movie. I think that death is the most boring of all consequences. After all, if a character is death, his story is over, right? But what happens to Steve is one of the most compelling of all consequences. The world he knew has vanished and he has now to deal with a century with an entirely different outlook on war and heroics. And on him. But the MCU goes for extra-points by now only exploring what his sacrifice meant for him, it also examined what it meant for those who left behind. Especially Peggy and Howard.

2. The Avengers / The Group Shot

There is a reason why this group shot of the Avengers is constantly used by “Honest Trailers”. This was it, the moment all the work Marvel put in Phase 1 culminated into one memorable money shot – quite literally. Before the Avengers became the highest grossing Superhero ever, the very notion of a shared universe was considered to difficult to pull off. Now every studio is trying to built one of their own, with so far questionable success. We will see if any of the attempts pan out, but even if they do, The Avengers will always be the first, the trailblazer for the current age of Comic book movies.

1. Iron Man / “I am Iron-man”

It is hard to believe that there actually is something even more important than the Avengers changing movie making forever, but at least as far as the MCU is concerned, this is the moment which threw down the gauntlet. It says “no, we won’t do the whole secrecy thing”. It says “we’ll write our own rules”. It says “we love comic books, but we know that there are some clichés which have to die”. This scene set the tune for the MCU which is, despite all its craziness, still firmly connected to reality, in a sense that it asks the question: “If there really were superheroes pop up in our reality, how would we react?” And really, why should someone like Tony Stark hide his true identity? Being a rich genius, he is a walking target anyway. So why not be a flying one?


8 responses to “Marvel Musings: The Most Defining Scenes of Phase 1

  • The Animation Commendation

    I loved how Walt Disney and EPCOT-esque, the scenes with Stark’s father were like!

    I personally feel it would have taken a bit longer for Captain America to get used to the modern day life than it appeared to take.

    • swanpride

      It’s longer than it seemed to be. The scene with Fury talking to him doesn’t happen immediately after but after his adjustment period (which can have been one year long or even longer, considering that there is a two year jump between Thor and The Avengers). Thanks to Agents of Shield we know that Steve spend a few weeks in a SHIELD retreat in the woods after he defrosted.

  • Cartoon19

    As much as I hate Iron Man 2. I do have to admit that the scenes with Tony’s father are pretty cool. I wish the rest of the movie actually focussed on this more instead of being a commercial for The Avengers.

    • swanpride

      I actually see the problems of the movie elsewhere. The whole scheme of the villain just doesn’t make any sense. In a way, the scenes with Fury and Black Widow are among the best of the movie…the stupid parrot might be the worst element.

      • Cartoon19

        The reason why the villans plan dosen’t make any sense is because the writers were too busy focusing on stupid subplots that don’t go anywhere.

        Also, I disagree with you on Fury and Black Widow being the best part of the movie. They’re one of the many reasons why the movie is so bad. Nick Fury just completely comes into the movie unannounced and starts talking about stuff that has nothing to do with the movie and Black Widow is completely wasted. These characters add absolutely nothing to the film at all.

    • swanpride

      I never bought in the “one element is so bad because they focussed on something else” excuse. Take the tie-ins out, the rest of the movie is still bad (arguably even worse since the biggest tie-in actually are the scenes with Tony’s father). And when it comes to subplots, at least the tie-ins eventually did pay off, but the rest of the movie never did.

      And I actually do think that Fury talking with Tony about his father is one of the better scenes of the movie. Concerning Black Widow: I watch those movies as movie, not as comic book fan. Her character was very intriguing to me when I watched the movie the first time, because her name meant nothing to me. Trying to figure out her end-game made the first watch so much better.

      • Cartoon19

        Oh yeah I agree with you, even without the tie-ins it would still be a bad movie. I’m just saying that the villain didn’t have as much focus as he should have. The actor who played Whiplash originally wanted the villain to be more complex and developed, but then Marvel intervened and forced him to be a one dimensional bad guy. Which is a problem that plagues almost all of Marvel’s movies.

        I still think they didn’t add that much to the film. Though I will say that they were portrayed a lot better in The Avengers movies and especially in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

      • swanpride

        Yeah, I heart, but honestly, the idea that a villain needs a complicated backstory is just idiotic. A villain needs a convincing motivation and he has to be a convincing threat. If those two aspects don’t work (and they didn’t), than it doesn’t matter how much backstory you throw in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: