The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a rollercoaster trip of punch-the-air moments, laugh-out-loud one-liners, and emotionally heartbreaking tragedies that comprise a seasoned Marvel fan’s experience.
To commemorate the premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we look back at the MCU as a whole to showcase a selection of the 10 most emotional moments in the film series, before any more are added.
The MCU, which debuted in 2008 with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, has brought popular Marvel comic-book characters to life on the big and small screens for the last 14 years, and there’s no indication of it slowing down in the next ten years if Kevin Feige has anything to say about it.
PEGGY’S CASKET IS CARRIED BY CAP
We were always upset that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a.k.a. Captain America, was deprived of a life with Peggy Carter before we got to witness how Avengers: Endgame ended for him (Hayley Atwell).
Steve returns to Peggy 74 years after their initial encounter in Captain America: The First Avenger in Captain America: Civil War, and subsequently carries her coffin after her death.
Every fan, from Cap fighting back his emotions to his passionate embrace with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) afterwards, couldn’t help but lament their brief relationship.
CLINT CONFRONTS YELENA
The first tear-jerker from Marvel’s Disney Plus lineup comes from Hawkeye’s fifth season, which concludes Yelena Belova’s (Florence Pugh) vow to revenge her sister Natasha by murdering Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), which was set up in Black Widow’s end-credits sequence.
Following her appearance in Episode 4, Yelena was keen on learning Clint’s whereabouts from protégé Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), which resulted in a humorous scuffle between the two before a final meeting with Clint.
Clint informs Yelena of her sister’s affection for her after struggling on the ice rink, setting off the waterworks by recreating their secret whistle.
Groot resolves to make the ultimate sacrifice to rescue his companions during James Gunn’s debut appearance with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
As Ronin’s spacecraft, the Dark Aster, approached the planet Xander, Groot chose to lock the Guardians behind his barrier, implying that he would bear the brunt of the hit.
We only heard Groot’s legendary “I am Groot” said throughout the film, but when the Guardians fell into the earth, the words “We are Groot” erupted from the loveable tree, and so this emotive contender was cemented.
STEVEN GRANT AND MARC SPECTOR.
Another gut punch was delivered in Marvel’s current Disney Plus series Moon Knight during Episode 5, dubbed Asylum, when Marc (Oscar Isaac) is forced to tell the truth to Steven – his alter-ego.
Steven watches Marc as a young child alter his personality into Steven for the first time while experiencing Marc’s memories, just before his violent mother enters the room.
Steven knows that Marc invented him to escape the mental agony caused by his mother, selecting Steven Grant, the strong adventurer from his favorite film, to protect him.
“When danger approaches, Steven Grant shows no fear.”
Marvel has done an excellent job of depicting Marc Spector’s personality disorder on-screen, and Oscar Isaac’s portrayal throughout is Emmy-worthy.
WANDA, LET US GO!
WandaVision, the first of Marvel’s Disney Plus series, debuted shortly after Avengers: Endgame, depicting Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) perilous journey through her mourning at the loss of Vision (Paul Bettany).
During the end, Wanda must let go of her life in Westview with Vision, enabling the Hex to restore the town to its previous condition but losing Vision and the boys in the process.
Wanda is left standing in the actual world next to the incomplete foundation of her and Vision’s future home as the Hex fades, leaving no dry eye in the house.
DUSTING BY PETER PARKER
The finale of Avengers: Infinity War was one of the darkest moments in the MCU, with half of the Avengers and the whole globe dusted.
As our beloved characters vanished before our eyes, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) was the last to leave, clutching to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and pleading with him not to.
Tom Holland improvised Peter’s devastating dusting moment, coming up with the gut-wrenching lines “Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so well” and “I don’t want to leave.”
The original six Avengers had stayed unbroken until Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, chose to take her own life at Vormir, causing Marvel fans an outpouring of sorrow – despite the fact that it was quite brave of her.
While Clint Barton and Natasha were visiting Vormir to get the soul stone, it became clear that one of them would have to sacrifice themself, same to how Thanos (Josh Brolin) sacrificed Gamora (Zoe Saldaa) during Infinity War.
Natasha ends up plunging over the edge of the cliff after a short scuffle, only to be snatched at the last second by Clint. Clint struggles to pull Natasha up, but after repeating “It’s alright,” Natasha pulls away and falls to her death.
This punch-the-air scene in Avengers: Endgame elicited tears of joy, but tears nevertheless, when the previously dusted Avengers started to emerge on the battlefield via portals just as Captain America was losing faith.
Starting with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) on his left, Cap is finally reunited with his allies, who seem to battle by his side to ultimately destroy Thanos’ rule, leading the charge with “Avengers, assemble.”
This passage has become one of the most famous moments in film history, and numerous footage of moviegoers exploding when the Avengers appear are still spine-tingling.
THE DIFFICULT GOODBYE
Jumping to one of the more recent MCU flicks for the final tear-jerker, Spider-Man: No Way Home delivers a jaw-dropping climax that not only opened the floodgates, but also ended Peter Parker’s coming-of-age journey.
While Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) struggles to keep the tears in the Multiverse from bursting open, Peter and the sorcerer agree that the only way to fix it is to cast a spell that will make everyone forget who Peter Parker is, including his girlfriend and best friend, MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Scott Speedman) (Jacob Batalon).
Composer Michael Giacchino makes the sequence excruciating by following Peter’s painful parting with a soaring emotional tune as he bids goodbye to the two individuals who have had his back for the previous three adventures.
3000, IRON MAN, WE LOVE YOU
Every Marvel fan would agree that Tony Stark’s death, originally hinted at at the opening of Avengers: Endgame when he avoids death in space, is the one that hurts the hardest.
Tony replaces Thanos’ “I am inevitable” with “I am Iron Man” and snaps his fingers to eliminate the Mad Titan and his army after receiving the infinity stones from Thanos in his Stark tech infinite gauntlet.
Tony’s body succumbs to the hit, unable to endure the force of the stones, and he dies surrounded by his colleagues and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Fans hailed Iron Man for his heroics and yelled even harder when Robert Downey Jr.’s name appeared in the credits, allowing Tony to relax now that the world had been restored to order.
We adore Iron Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe 3000 for always making us cry and giving us with great characters to emotionally engage in year after year.