The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 was a universal triumph. It interconnected a franchise in a way never before done. The Avengers? One of my top 10 movies of all time. Robert Downey Jr, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson? Fantastic. Even the minor characters like Jane Foster were well done and acted. But nothing is perfect. Every movie comes with those minor blemishes, those moments that just make you stare in horrified wonder. Even Marvel is not immune and these 10 are all terrible, whether through a lack of logic, foolish deviation from source material, or just outright poor assembly. Here we go; the 10 worst moments in phase 1 (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers)
10. Christine Everhart (Iron Man)
Now most of the scene where Christine first appears is not that bad. It all casts an interesting light on Tony and helps showcase his personality, and all that other good stuff. Then, suddenly, cut to Tony and her in bed. Wait, wat? Did...did I miss a personality alteration? He got her by answering “You ever lose an hour of sleep in your life?” with “I’d be willing to lose a few with you.”? Sure, I don’t deny that’s a pretty good pickup line, but she just spent the entire freaking conversation shrugging off lines like that! That came out of nowhere. It absolutely blew me away, and not in a good way.
9. Too Much Excitement(The Incredible Hulk)
Okay, I promise this list is not all makeout scenes, but it is something Marvel has really dropped the ball on in multiple ways. This one really took the cake. We see Banner and Betty getting a little sexy, accompanied by the sound of a beeping monitor. Because nothing says sexy like a bleeping monitor. Then, th...the...uh, whatever this is: “I can’t get too excited.” FFFFFFF...that’s not how it works! It’s anger, or fear, or pain. Not excitement. Can you imagine Banner Hulking out whenever he gets excited? “Oh my god, this is the best Christmas ever! You gu...ARGH! HULK SMASH!” You know what, no more. Let’s just move on.
8. Loki Let’s Heimdall Live(Thor)
Okay, Loki, let me get this straight. You let Heimdall, a man, or god, or alien, or whatever he is, live when he clearly is going to go against you. Like, he was just about to attack you, and all you did was freeze him. Really, Loki? It’d be different if Loki was some guy who didn’t wanna kill, but his whole plan was to wipe out a whole planet and he sent the Destroyer to blow up a town and killed his own biological father a while after this random act of mercy. Loki, I’m gonna lay it out to you right now: if you wanna be an evil mastermind, you gotta get rid of the random acts of mercy. They’re not part of the package.
7. Justin Hammer and Whiplash(Iron Man 2)
If there’s one thing Marvel has consistently been good about in its movies, it’s the character interactions. But then there’s these two. What the f--k are they doing? Every time these guys are on screen together, man, I can’t even describe it. “You build me suits.” “Okay, I build you suits.” “You’re building drones, man.” “Drones better.” “I got you the bird.” “It’s not my bird.” Especially that last one; my reaction on see Whiplash later hanging out with the bird is pretty much the same as Justin’s. “Oh, so NOW you like the bird. You’re a douche.” Then Whiplash apparently kills the guards who were left to watch him. Why didn’t he just do that earlier when they were taking all his stuff? It’s not like he needed them alive or anything. I tell you, Justin Hammer+Whiplash=MajorWTF?
6. Depowered Thor(Thor)
“I’m just a man.” said the man of thunder, I mean, no, it’s still a god. Dudes, the hammer is just the “thunder” part. Losing it does not make him any less of a god! Have you seen Thor without his hammer in the comics, like when the mystery female who shall remain unnamed in case some readers haven’t been paying attention to the reveal of who it really is, took his powers? He’s still really strong, and he has a freaking giant axe, and he’s arguably more awesome that way. So what are they thinking with this BS? This right here is what made Thor one of my least favorite Phase 1 movies.
5. Howard Stark’s Secret(Iron Man 2)
So let me get this straight, Howard Stark hid a message for his son in a model town? That is apparently still laying around the Stark offices, uh, how many years later is this? Why did nobody throw the damn thing away? If you were in an office and there was just some out of place random model town laying around serving no obvious purpose, wouldn’t you have tossed it long ago? And then Nick Fury, did he know? Cuz if he did, which he seems like he did, WHY DIDN’T HE SAY ANYTHING?! Iron Man 2, my favorite Iron Man movie so far. This plot device? BLAGH!
4. Gas Canisters?(The Incredible Hulk)
Whoa whoa whoa, let’s just stop for one minute here. Did Thunderbolt Ross just shoot gas canisters in with Bruce Banner? How long has he been tracking Banner? He knows how the transformation works, right, I mean, he at least knows that it’s caused by anger. How in the living hell did he expect that to turn out well? Seriously, Ross, I think I know why it took you so long to get Banner. Ya stupid.
3. The Captain America Show(Captain America: The First Avenger)
Don’t get me wrong, The First Avenger was a big improvement over the old movies. At least Cap wasn’t a chubby goof. But it also had a lot of stuff that made no sense. Like the press shows they decide to stick Cap in. Why? You just spent untold amounts on creating this super soldier and watched him chase a freaking Nazi across a city and attack a submarine barehanded and win. And after that, the top military brass’s big plan to use him is for a bunch of shows with dancing girls and fake Hitlers? First Ross, now WWII military, why are the US Army leaders in the Marvel universe so moronic? No wonder they never helped in the battle of New York.
2. Performance Issues(The Avengers)
Before you start trying to crucify me, let me just say that it’s not the line that horrifies me. It’s actually really clever and totally a thing Tony would say. It’s the very fact that Loki doesn’t seem to have a clue why his mind control staff won’t work. Wait, hold up. Didn’t he do research on the Avengers? He calls Cap the soldier, knows enough about Hulk to wanna unleash him on the others, and he knows more about Black Widow than we do. But he doesn’t know about Tony’s Arc Reactor aka one of the most telegraphed things about him that you can LITERALLY SEE GLOWING THROUGH HIS SHIRT WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO TOUCH HIM! LOKI WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
1. Going Down With The Ship(Captain America: The First Avenger)
Here we are at the top, and it’s Cap. Cap the Not-Really-One-Of-The-First-Avengers-But-We-Called-The-Movie-That-Anyway. This movie sits at the bottom of the Phase 1 list for me, and this “ending”, if you can call it that, is a big reason why. First off, it’s really, really drawn out. Like, constant “when will it end, will you please just wreck that plane already and get it over with.” Then, it’s ridiculously overdramatized. Every emotion is jacked up higher than it should be, which may just be me. I’m sorry if you feel differently, but that’s just how I feel. And then this: Why did he not abandon ship? Really, just point the damn thing at the water and bail out. Even if you had to have somebody at the controls, that’s what jamming objects against them is for. Jeez. Captain America: Big on brawn, apparently small on brain cells. (Sorry Cap fans).
Okay, that’s enough bashing. It makes me feel bad, tearing into movies I love like that. Even Cap’s movie is awesome, I admit it. I got it, let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. The moments that I will forever remember as awesome, stunning, amazing, emotional, or simply epic. Here we go, let’s count ‘em down.
10. The Iron Monger(Iron Man)
As soon as Obadiah Stane reveals he’s working against Tony, you knew the final showdown would be something like this. From the very first moment he comes out it’s awesome. First we see him chasing Pepper in a terrifying display that would give any of us nightmares for the rest of our lives if it happened to us. Then, a smackdown with Tony’s new suit and old reactor. There’s nothing I can really do to describe it. You just have to watch it. Go on, go do it. This list will wait for you.
9. Breaking In(Thor)
As we’ve already established, I hate the movies’ idea of what a depowered Thor is. But this moment almost redeems it. Seriously, we watch him promise to kick the living shite out of whole facility of S.H.I.E.L.D. and assure us he’s gonna fly out. Aside from the fact that he doesn’t actually fly, he just kinda holds onto his hammer as he throws it like he really wants his arms stretched out, the assault lives up to it. From wrestling a really big guy in the mud to trying to lift the hammer again to OMG IS THAT HAWKEYE UP THERE!? IT IS! This moment will forever be the highlight of Thor. I could watch it over and over. I have watched it over and over. Never gets old.
8. The Iron Tag Team(Iron Man 2)
The first thought on everyone’s mind when Iron Man 2 was announced was “War Machine?” Yes, hell yes. Rhodes’ heavily weaponized armor was a great addition to the MCU, never more apparent than when he and Iron Man finally get to team up and tear through dozens of drones. It doesn’t even matter that they’re fighting mindless robots that don’t even look that cool, seeing these two work together to just decimate is a treat that gets sweeter with time. And then, against the newly armored Whiplash? Fight scene heaven.
7. Blonsky Battles Hulk(The Incredible Hulk)
I really don’t get the hate leveled against this movie. It was, in short, incredible. There was also that scene where the enhanced Blonsky gets to go fight the Hulk hand to hand and it just leaves you sitting there trying to find your jaw. Like, “Are they crazy? Is Blonsky crazy? OMG, he’s holding his own! He’s doing it!” And then they say he’s doing it and you feel awkward yet awesome because you’re thinking like a Marvel movie writer. But really, it was amazing. I don’t see how they could’ve possibly made a better case to convince me of Blonsky’s potential. Unless they, like, had him breakdancing during the fight or something. Because that would’ve epic too.
6. Germany(The Avengers)
Every bit of the scene where Loki is in Germany and then Cap shows up and then others show up is just put together perfectly. I can’t believe we’re only at #6. Loki’s character is developed perfectly, Cap gets one of his best entrance lines ever, and then IRON MAN! YEAH! Just the sheer joy of finally seeing two title characters on screen together is enough to put this moment on the list. Are you sure we’re only at 6? 6? Okay, let’s see what’s even better.
5. Transformation(Captain America: The First Avenger)
If there was one thing this movie did perfectly, it was the transformation of Steve Rogers from the scrawniest yet most outstanding wimp to ever grace a movie screen into Chris Evans’s beefcake body. Seriously, those screams of agony sound so real to me; I feel like they were doing something horrible to Chris off screen. And then he comes out and someone asks him how he feels and he says, “Taller.” You know what Cap, forget what I said about you lacking brain cells, that was genius.
4. I Put A Bullet In My Mouth(The Avengers)
Oh, Banner. His confession of his attempted suicide was the most brilliant moment in Mark Ruffalo’s already brilliant performance. Were the other heroes supposed to go silent or were the actors just stunned by the shining star before them? We may never know.
3. Returning Home(Iron Man)
Having gone through a war zone, been captured by terrorists, and escaped by building a powerful suit of armor, it might be expected that Tony check into a hospital upon coming home(I see Pepper nodding over there). But instead, he grabs a cheeseburger and holds a press conference, and it’s so natural, yet so awkward, that we’re right there with them. Really, if there was ever a moment the forever endeared Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark to me, it was this one.
2. Meeting Natasha(Iron Man 2)
Okay, maaaybe I’m a bit biased, since I’m a huge Black Widow fan, but I will never forget Scarlett Johansson walking onscreen in Iron Man 2. She was the perfect actress for the role, making Widow sexy, dangerous, and, as we later learn, haunted. When she got in the ring with Happy Hogan for a “boxing” match, I broke out laughing. I bet I’m not the only one. Really, has any single moment ever been so badass and yet so hilarious…?
1. Puny God(The Avengers)
Oh, yeah, there was another. The entire Battle of New York was, pardon my French, F--KING AWESOME! I’ve heard complaints that it was too long, or that the Chitauri all dying was a lazy writing move, but you know what? The latter doesn’t matter and you’re crazy thinking the former. The writers knew how to fill every moment with humorous team ups and clashes. None more amazing than when Loki, knocked off his flying Chitauri mount by Hawkeye, meets the Hulk. I don’t even have to describe it, do I? You already know how this turns out, and you love it. Welcome to the club.
As the MCU nears the end of Phase 2 and enters Phase 3, the second stage has experienced its fair share of jaw dropping shots and moments that make me wanna facepalm. But that’s a list for a later date (like, say, sometime next year). We’ve still got Ant-Man, and it’s never good to just judge things right after you first see them. Until then, enjoy rewatching all of the MCU’s epic films.
That’s all folks!