Marvel Studios’ epic and ongoing experiment in interlocking superhero stories have been setting and resetting the standard for superheroic cinema for a full decade. And choosing the highlights of the first ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a tough job, but here’s our list.
Iron Man (2008)
The MCU roars to life in the red-and-gold. rocket-powered form of Iron Man played to roguish perfection by Robert Downey, Jr. An unexpected hit, few general moviegoers suspected the smartest and most entertaining comic book movie in several years was the first building block in something much bigger – but True Believers who stuck around to see Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in the first-ever Marvel post-credits scene could hardly wait for what was to come.
Hasbro celebrated the Marvel movie that started it all with a series of 12-inch action figures. The Basic Series included Tony in the prototype and Mark I-III versions of his Iron Man armor, as well as Titanium Man and three variations of Iron Monger. Boasting numerous points of articulation and action features like “super fist smash,” these figures helped fuel excitement for Marvel heroes and villains on the silver screen.
The Avengers (2012)
Phase 1 of the MCU culminated in the blockbuster team-up of Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, the Hulk, and Hawkeye. Written and directed by fan-favorite Joss Whedon, The Avengers blended high-spirited action, character-based humor, and plenty of old-fashioned heart.
In addition to 10-inch figures of Cap, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Thor, Hasbro brought out multiple accessories and “extras,” such as assault armor suits and battle charger bikes, allowing Avengers fans to extend the action beyond what they’d seen in theaters.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The MCU’s tenth film expanded the franchise’s reach as well as viewers’ imaginations, following Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (perhaps you’ve heard of him… seriously?), Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot into Marvel Comics’ cosmic territory. The breakout hit of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy proved mass audiences would embrace even the wildest concepts from the House of Ideas if brought to the screen with wit and warmth. (You will believe a raccoon can fire a laser machine gun!)
Fittingly for a film whose themes included family and friendship (no matter how unlikely), most of Hasbro’s Guardians action figure releases were packages of two or three characters. Fans could pick up Peter and Gamora as a pair, for example, while Rocket and Groot came in two assortments: one with a Nova Corps Officer as the third figure, and the other, a Sakaaran Trooper.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War kicked off the MCU’s Phase 3 with a face-off between heroes both familiar and new, most notably Black Panther and the MCU’s very own version of Spider-Man. The movie’s events may not have proven as world-shaking as had their counterparts in the Civil War comic books, but they proved to any remaining doubters that the MCU had achieved an unstoppable momentum.
Here at Entertainment Earth, we were honored to be, for a limited time, the exclusive source for Hasbro’s Civil War Spider-Man action figure. Tom Holland’s teenage take on Spidey proved a huge hit with fans, as did toys featuring him. And you can still find cool Civil War toys and collectibles in our collection, from a screen-authentic replica of Cap’s star-spangled jacket to a motion statue of Cap and Tony facing off!
Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
The MCU’s tenth year may well prove to be its biggest. Audiences have already broken records buying tickets for Black Panther, the long-awaited solo feature for T’Challa, king of Wakanda and comics’ first major black superhero. Early reviews promise a movie full of breathtaking visuals, thrilling action, and timely, thought-provoking themes. No superhero fan will want to miss this!
And you can trust Entertainment Earth as your source for all the best Black Panther merchandise. Whether you want stunningly detailed statues as collection centerpieces or articulated and versatile action figures for posing and playing, you’ll find what you’re looking for right here.
Summer 2018 will see the curtain fall on Phase 3 as virtually every MCU hero and villain assembles for Avengers: Infinity War. Will Marvel’s mightiest heroes stop Thanos from wielding the almighty Infinity Gauntlet? We’re guessing “yes”… but it’s sure to be a spectacle surpassing anything the MCU has shown us yet!
And with at least another handful of movies in the works after Infinity War – including such eagerly anticipated titles as Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel (with Brie Larson in the title role), and, at long last, the Black Widow standalone – the MCU should be delivering excitement, inspiration, and first-rate entertainment for a long time to come.
Happy 10th birthday, Marvel Cinematic Universe… and Excelsior!
Did we forget a moment? Which movies and moments make your list? Let us know in the comments.