THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE (AKA: MCU)
Once upon a time…oops, wrong franchise! Let’s start again – THIS media franchise is one that is based on the Comic Books of Marvel (all hail Stan Lee - “Excelsior!") and centres on an awesome series of Superhero films produced by Marvel Studios since 2008.
This amazing franchise and shared universe not only includes those major Box Office Hits that we have all grown to love (who amongst you delights in watching and rewatching Marvel movies in timeline order?) but has produced some addictive television series and short films.
Now I’d like nothing more than to whittle on about each and every Marvel Comics character, ranking them by awesomeness and detailing how and why I insist on rewatching movies that feature them, but I won’t (in a later post, maybe!).
What I am going to do is list 6 Marvel Superheroes and explain how, in my opinion, they have shaped the MCU.
Let's dive in!
Iron Man (2008) is the film that kicked off the entire MCU. Throughout the MCU, Iron Man helped to defeat some pretty mean hombres, such as Obadiah Stane, Whiplash, Aldrich Killian (with a fake Mandarin), Loki, Ultron and ultimately Thanos.
As well as Iron Man 1, 2 and 3, plus The Avengers movies, Iron man appeared in other Marvel Superhero films, either offering a helping hand (Spiderman: Homecoming) or, as much as it pained me to see, as an adversary to Captain America and ‘Team Cap’ in Civil War.
Not only did Tony Stark create vast amounts of tech to help in the fight against Marvel Villains but he also helped to make the world a better place by providing clean energy solutions and safeguarding protocols.
In the fight against Thanos, Iron man sacrificed his potential future with Pepper Potts and his daughter Morgan (when dabbling with time travel and whole reverse finger snap stunt).
He then went on to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the Universe by destroying Thanos and his formidable army.
Iron Man – we love (and miss) you. The MCU wouldn’t have been the same without you and it certainly won’t be the same moving forward.
Easily one of the most iconic Iron Man moments for me is this awesome scene where Tony went on his first official mission as the Iron Man! After effortlessly beating up some goons and getting blown out of the sky by a tank, he fires an almost hilariously small missile at the tank and turns just before a giant explosion disables the it for good. Whenever I watch this epic action sequence I always have the "Cool guys don't look at explosions" song in my head. Surely I'm not the only one, right?
Captain America may not have had the honour of kicking off the first movie of the MCU, but he was certainly The First Avenger!
Thanks to the successful administration of Dr. Josef Reinstein’s Super Soldier Serum, followed by a short spell in the Vita-Ray Chamber, operated by Howard Stark, Steve Rogers transformed magnificently into Captain America.
Red Skull, however, wasn’t so fortunate and although he achieved superhuman strength, agility, and reflexes, as well as genius-level intellect, he ended up disfigured (maybe they thought Vita-Rays could be produced on a very strong tanning bed!?).
Seemingly sacrificing himself by crashing the Valkyrie Bomber-Plane that was on course to destroy New York City, Captain America was discovered 70 years later as a Capsicle (Tony Stark’s words, not mine!), trapped in the ice. He was subsequently thawed and rehabilitated in 2011.
Although Captain America had fought a few villains in his time, his main antagonist throughout the MCU had not so much been a person but an organisation – Hydra!
After helping root out all Hydra agents (that we know of) in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, Cap went on to help lead The Avengers in battle against the likes of Ultron and Thanos.
Captain America stood up to the Mad Titan himself on multiple occasions, earning the right and privilege to wield Mjolnir (Thor's Hammer) in the process. After Captain America was tasked with returning all the Infinity stones to their original timelines, he chose to remain with Peggy Carter in the 1940s, enjoying life with his previously lost love “till the end of the line”.
Now that Rogers has officially retired and, I’m assuming, applied for a bus pass, the Captain America mantle has passed to Sam Wilson (AKA Falcon).
Throughout his tenure as Captain America, Rogers was undoubtedly a force for good, keeping the MCU on course to defeating multiple threats from within, as well as across the Universe. Captain Rogers has served as both the moral compass by which all other Avengers look to, as well as the bold leader that cemented the team together.
My favourite Captain America moment has to be when he proves that he is indeed 'worthy' and lifts Mjolnir for the first time. We were first teased with this in Avengers: Age of Ultron where Cap managed to slightly move Mjolnir before giving up (much to Thor's relief). Steve's one on one fight with Thanos lived up to the hype as we saw Captain America use both his shield and Mjolnir to give Thanos a major beatdown. Ultimately however, the mad titan managed to get a few hits in himself and managed to break poor Cap's shield in half!
The Black Panther movie was first released back in 2018 and sent a cultural shockwave throughout the world. Chadwick Boseman portrayed this iconic superhero and brought a much-needed breath of fresh air into the ever-growing MCU.
The movie was mainly based in Wakanda, a nation that had stayed hidden from the world stage for most of its history due to its abundance in Vibranium and technological advances. Without Wakanda’s Vibranium, Captain America’s shield, Bucky’s metal arm, Ultron or even Vision wouldn’t be nearly as impressive!
Black Panther has fought numerous foes and even other heroes during his time, to include Kilmonger, Klaue, Bucky (AKA The Winter Soldier), Captain America, Hawkeye (very briefly) and of course, Thanos. Chadwick Boseman certainly didn’t get the time he deserved with the character, but he helped to pave the way for other iconic superheroes to be introduced into the MCU. Now with Shuri taking up the Black Panther mantle we are more than excited to see what happens next in Wakanda.
Black Panther has had many iconic moments (thanks to Chadwick Boseman's stellar performance as the king of Wakanda) but my favourite would have to be his fight for the title of king with M'Baku. Not only did it show his strength and courage but his will to fight on and prove that he is indeed, the rightful protector of Wakanda. I may also be a bit of a sucker for 1v1 action sequences in movies, but that's just me!
Have a Mosey at Some Awesome Marvel Merchandise!
Doctor Strange and The Sorcerer Supreme T-Shirt
Marvel Avengers Captain America Laptop Backpack
Children's Marvel Avengers Logo Red Hoodie
Black Widow has always been an unsung hero to us here at Retro Styler.
First introduced in Iron Man 2 (2010), Black Widow was directed by Nick Fury to shadow Tony Stark and keep a watchful eye on him due to his self-destructive behaviour at the time. Towards the end of Iron Man 2, Black Widow helped Iron Man in his fight against Whiplash, whilst demonstrating some serious kick-ass ability of her own.
She has since featured in many Marvel Movies, helping to take down terrorists (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) or fighting with OR against her fellow Avengers (Captain America: Civil War) - all the while, helping Nick Fury on the side-lines.
Black Widow may not have any Superpowers per se, but she has never let that hold her back or even stop her from fighting beings much stronger than herself!
The only thing more powerful than Black Widow’s will to survive is her loyalty to the people she loves, whether that means helping Hulk to just chill, or taking one for the team at Vormir, in order to obtain the Soul Stone.
Natasha Romanoff’s presence throughout the MCU has reminded us continuously that you don’t have to be Super to be a Hero. Though she is pretty Super, too!
To her foes she has proved to be unkillable and ultimately in the end it was Black Widow that surrendered her own life for the greater good.
We salute you, Natasha!
Now THIS is how you do a fight scene! The scene is the first time we see the Black Widow in action and it did not disappoint. Together with Happy Hogan (although he only took out 1 grunt) she infiltrated Hammer Industries to try and stop Whiplash and take out his iron goons.
Now yes, Scarlet Witch may have started out as a villain (and she may be one at present, who knows… I’m confused!) but when she realised the destruction that Ultron would unleash on the world, Wanda and her brother, Pietro Maximoff (AKA Quicksilver), switched sides to support The Avengers.
During Wanda’s time on the big screen, she has helped bring the world of magic and mysticism into the MCU.
It has been thrilling to witness Wanda Maximoff in her transformation from an inexperienced mutant to someone with vast amounts of power, enabling her to go toe-to-toe with Thanos himself!
Starring in her very own Disney+ show, Wandavision, the Scarlet Witch was used to her full potential as she not only battled against Agatha Harkness, but with her own grief at losing her love.
As we move forward in the MCU, the Scarlet Witch could be one of its greatest heroes or most terrifying villains.
Let’s wait and see, shall we!
Scarlet Witch has had her fair few iconic moments, such as her fight with Thanos - almost killing him in the process. For me though, her fight against the Illuminati was absolutely awesome. The way she dispatched them all with relative ease whilst inhabiting a different body than her own was equally epic and terrifying. I hope to see more of these types of scenes going forward.
Released back in 2016, Doctor Strange was one of those Superhero movies that really opened our minds to the magical aspects that lay beneath the visible world of the MCU. Introduced as a successful, albeit cocky know-it-all surgeon, Doctor Stephen Strange’s life took a turn for the worst after a terrible car accident, which ultimately lead him down a much different path.
Thanks to his eidetic (photographic) memory, Strange fast-tracked his Mystic Arts Education and transformed himself into a, still pretty cocky, but seriously impressive Master of the Mystic Arts! We have witnessed Doctor Strange go up against rival Sorcerers and even have a battle not of a physical nature, but of the psychological – “Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain!”
As the protector of the Time Stone, Doctor Strange was heavily involved in the fight against Thanos, where he predicted that there was only one chance out of 14 million that they would win. Ultimately, he knew what sacrifices had to be made and was ever stalwart in his commitment to the survival of the known Universe.
Perhaps the most major shaping that Doctor Strange has done is to open up the MCU to the Multiverse, its vast potential and its many dangers. We have witnessed this already in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and in the fairly scary Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2022), where we were given a mere sampling of the many different alternate universes and characters.
Doctor Strange has been involved in a fair few Marvel movies and he shines in all of them, however, I believe that he is at his best in his own films where he can showcase all of his mystical abilities to full effect. My favourite scene from his first film is his negotiation with Dormammu. The use of the time stone and some clever psychology allows him to best this powerful foe.
Where to Now, Marvel?
Who knows where the multiverse will take us from this point forward, but we here at Retro Styler are buckled in and ready for the ride! So, that’s it folks – my take on how six awesome Marvel Superheroes Have Shaped the MCU thus far. I don’t know about you, but I am thoroughly looking forward to the upcoming Marvel movies, that will feature well-established supes as well as some new additions.
Let me know in the comments if you think I have overlooked any Marvel Superheroes that have transformed the MCU and what you think of my top six pick.
Until next time, stay retro!