Ultimate Marvel marathon — Iron Man to Captain Marvel, watching all 21 MCU films ahead of Avengers: Endgame

Swetha Ramakrishnan and Pradeep Menon

Apr 16, 2019 21:20:08 IST

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES ONLINE

  • The Ultimate Marvel Movies Marathon

    11 years and 21 films later, Avengers: Endgame is just a few days away. What a marvelous feat of vision and execution the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, enriching pop culture in a manner that is without parallel. Now nothing can make Endgame come any sooner, but there can’t be a better way to get into the mood for the final battle with Thanos than going back to the beginning and retracing the entire journey to how we got *here* - breathless with excitement for the conclusion of the truly epic saga.

    So, here’s presenting the Ultimate Marvel Marathon, where we watch every film in the MCU - from Iron Man to Captain Marvel - in the greatest Marvel Studios throwback you’ve seen. We look at the crazy moments and little details that we may have missed or forgotten over time, all of which have contributed to the iconic status the Avengers and other characters hold around the globe. 

    From intriguing trivia to legendary scenes, from cinephile musings to fanboy excitement, expect it all in the Ultimate Marvel Marathon. Join us, won’t you? 

  • That's a wrap for Day One!

    When we pick up tomorrow, we met Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor and Captain America separately in the five films so far. 

    Tomorrow, they assemble for the first time!

  • Why we prefer Captain America to Iron Man

    Captain America is naive and old-school and suffers from a saviour complex. But in many ways, he sets the moral tone for the MCU far more than Iron Man does, even though the latter drives the plot of the entire franchise. This is a film that goes on for a bit, and packs in just as much, mostly setting the agenda for the great ‘good v evil’ battles to follow.

    The post-credits scene, of course, is a fragment of one from the next film, The Avengers. Steve Rodgers is having an intimate conversation about his existential angst with a punching bag, until Nick Fury walks in to recruit him for the initiative. (This cuts into a full-blown teaser for the much awaited ensemble film.)

  • Captain America: The First Avenger has far-reaching consequences in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    HYDRA rears a head in this film, and then buried it deep into SHIELD, infiltrating the once-noble organisation (or so they believed.) In fact, so much in Captain America: The First Avenger has far-reaching consequences in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bucky Barnes disappears here, only to resurface in and as The Winter Soldier - a HYDRA project even more advanced than Captain America, before going on to become the pivot of the plot in Civil War. The Tesseract seemingly eviscerates Red Skull, but we meet him again all the way later in Infinity War, where he’s guarding the Soul Stone. And of course, the Tesseract itself falls into the hands of SHIELD, a few decades before Captain America himself does. 

  • Captain Marvel works because of Chris Evans

    More than anything else, Captain America works because of how Chris Evans became him. The entire bit where they establish just why a tiny asthmatic fellow was considered worthy for the super-soldier experiment, drips of old-school American goodness - quite like the image of itself that pre-Trump USA would have liked to project to the world. The portions where he’s scrawny, even when he didn’t have superpowers, really set the tone for the moral righteousness that Cap steadfastly adheres to throughout the series.

    America wanted to weaponise its moral core when they attempted to make create a super-soldier out of Steve Rogers. They f****d up and lucked out with Captain America.

    Have a look at how they shrunk Chris Evans to become puny Steve Rogers: 

  • Red Skull is one of the all-time great MCU villains

    Even making adjustments for a personal bias I have for towards his work, Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt/Red Skull is, for me, one of the all-time great MCU villains. He has a great backstory, of him being the product of an imperfect version of a super-serum, which later developed close to perfect when it turned puny Steve Rogers into Captain America. Adolf Hitler’s dreams of dominating Europe seem like playschool tantrums compared to Johann Schmidt’s terrifying plans.

  • And we're finally on our last film of the day — Captain America: The First Avenger

    Must admit, the Day One film I was most looking forward to was Captain America: The First Avenger. The World War 2 setting makes it a unique film for Marvel from the word go. Also, if all the MCU films were to be arranged in chronological order of their events, this would be where it all began. (Incidentally, the second film in chronology would be Captain Marvel!)

  • Thor takes itself too seriously

    Thor isn’t an outright bad film, but it does take itself a tad too seriously. The deft touch of comedy we saw once Joss Whedon came in is still some way away. Thankfully, to liven things up, there’s the first ever spotting of an Infinity Stone! (Right now it’s inside the Tesseract, seen in the end credits scene in Thor. Loki is about to steal it! It isn’t until Infinity War that the Space Stone within it finally revealed.)

  • Beyond Thor: Natalie Portman and Idris Elba

    Anthony Hopkins’ Odin looks like he’s about to die in this film. But he doesn’t. Hopkins sticks around for a while in the MCU. Unfortunately, Natalie Portman doesn’t. She’s terrific as Jane Foster (chasing an Einstein-Rosen bridge among other things). I do wish Idris Elba’s Heimdall had more to do, though!

  • Loki makes an entry

    They’ve made some great anti-heroes over the years, but Loki is just top drawer. What a fine actor Tom Hiddleston is, switching from sincerity to deception with ease. Also, the Asgardian landscape is a good break from the technology overdose seen on our very own, and rather lame, Midgard. 

  • Mandatory Stan Lee update

    He’s driving a tow truck that’s trying to yank Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, out from a crater in New Mexico. It’s a roadside carnival with booze and barbecue, until S.H.I.E.L.D shows up. (Aside: Norse mythology is fascinating. No surprises it made its way into comic book lore.) 

  • What do you Thor and Tony Stark have in common?

    Alright, Thor is just as arrogant as Tony Stark. In fact, all four films so far are pretty much about guys with fragile egos and anger/daddy issues, finding purpose because a woman comes along to clean up the mess. #NotAllSuperheroes, anyone?

  • Iron Man 2's relevance in MCU

    Iron Man 2 packs in so much Marvel significance - Natasha Romanoff’s entry, the appearance of vibranium for the first time (though not by name), a cubical object in Howard Stark’s notes that looks suspiciously Tesseract-like, a battered shield in American colours, Rhodey stepping into War Machine, the post-credits scene where Agent Coulson goes to New Mexico because of a mysterious... hammer?

    Yes, it’s Thor time!

  • Iron Man 2 and the horrors of military industrial complex

    This is now the third film MCU out of three that’s essentially about the horrors perpetrated in the name of defence by the military-industrial complex. And now that I think of it, most of them actually boil down to the exact same thing.

  • Iron Man 2 and the horrors of military industrial complex

    This is now the third film MCU out of three that’s essentially about the horrors perpetrated in the name of defence by the military-industrial complex. And now that I think of it, most of them actually boil down to the exact same thing.

  • When the going gets tough, Tony Stark goes back to basics

    There’s a lot of emotional turmoil for Tony Stark in Iron Man 2, with his toxic arc reactor core and daddy issues. And we continue to see his emotional troubles escalate in nearly every film he has a proper role in - Avengers, Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, Civil War and, of course, Infinity War. And whenever he breaches his tipping point, Tony goes back to the basics - he designs and builds. Tony Stark, the scientist-engineer, is easily the one true protagonist of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • Robert Downey Jr's d-baggery™️ continues

    “I’ve successfully privatised world peace,” exclaims Tony. An iconic line if there ever was one. Not too many people can pull of that sustained level of arrogance on screen. RDJ is on another level of d-baggery™️ in this. (Aside: Arms manufacturer and low level villain Justin Hammer pulls Tony in for a photograph and says, “Say Brie!” I live for such Captain Marvelous coincidences!)

  • Stan Lee, again

    Stan Lee’s appearances in every film are a story in themselves. In Iron Man 2, Tony mistakes him for Larry King!

  • Stan Lee, again

    Stan Lee’s appearances in every film are a story in themselves. In Iron Man 2, Tony mistakes him for Larry King!

  • Third Marvel film for the day: Iron Man 2

    Mickey Rourke, as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash makes for a fearsome villain. He’s introduced early in the film, and from then it’s a relentless ride. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is still a bit of a prick. (Struggling to remember the exact point in the MCU that my personal feelings towards him began to change and/or he stopped being an annoying douche.)

  • The Incredible Hulk post-credits scene

    Well, that makes sense. The Incredible Hulk ends with Banner seemingly able to control when he turns. The next time we see him, it’s Ruffalo and we really begin to feel. (No post-credits scene, but a post-film, pre-credits one in The Incredible Hulk. Tony Stark turns up to meet a very drunk Thaddeus Ross. Guess what: he’s assembling a ‘team’).

  • Stan Lee as hulk? OMG

    Aah, the mention of a military project regarding ‘super soldiers’ during World War Dwitiya. I’m already excited about Captain America: The First Avenger, which is a few films away. Aside: Stan Lee has a great cameo in The Incredible Hulk as well. A bit of Banner’s blood goes into a bottle of soda, which ends up in the hands of an old man far away. (Who else?) He has a sip of it, and... well, they don’t show. Imagine a Hulk Stan Lee!

  • Edward Norton vs Mark Ruffalo as Hulk

    Alright, so here’s the thing: Edward Norton is great during the moments where he’s the vulnerable Bruce Banner. But the Hulk is a distinctly humourless character, and the few times Norton attempts Hulk jokes, you miss Mark Ruffalo sorely. He’d have knocked them right out of the park. Norton, in comparison, makes the aura around the Hulk a mix of existential angst and intense boredom. 

    Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination isn’t half bad. No greater goals of world domination; he’s just a soldier who wants to be damn good at soldiering. Unfortunately, as the MCU often shows, everything goes horribly wrong after a privileged white man meddles. (Omg, is that racist?) 

  • The Incredible Hulk is gripping

    The Incredible Hulk hits the ground running - how Bruce Banner became the Hulk is dealt with in the opening credits. It’s straight into the story, and I must admit, it’s gripping from the word go. (I barely remember anything from the film, so that helps.)

    From the beginning, even though they’re largely formulaic, MCU films have always given space to the director. It seems like each filmmaker has had their voice heard through their film. Louis Leterrier (who later made Now You See Me, among other films) has executed certain scenes beautifully. There’s a long, thrilling rooftop chase sequence with Edward Norton that leads to the reveal of the Hulk for the first time. (Missed mentioning him during Iron Man, but even Jon Favreau did a great job with the first film.)

  • Next film: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

    Must admit, The Incredible Hulk is a bit of a blind spot for me in the MCU. It’s the only film from the entire franchise so far that I haven’t seen more than once. Let’s see how it goes. 

  • The first MCU end credits scene

    There it is - the first MCU end credits scene. All I remembered about it was that Samuel L. Jackson turns up as Nick Fury. Now, after watching it again, it actually seems like a blatant plug for what they were planning to do. Fury actually says ‘Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe’. And yes, he does use the word ‘avenger’ in there as well. The scene itself is rather flat, but I can already feel the goosebumps building.

    One down, 20 to go! 

  • Where Iron Man and Game of Thrones overlap

    At multiple points during Iron Man, as the music was building in a scene, it reminded me of Game of Thrones. I dismissed it as mere GoT hangover, for obvious reasons. But what do I discover in the end credits? The first Iron Man film was scored by none other than Ramin Djawadi, the man who scored GoT! What a small world indeed.

  • How Iron Man has aged well

    Marvel films have often been criticised for having essentially the same plot. In that regard, Iron Man has actually aged rather well. The Tony Stark-Obadiah Stane battle is more personal than global. And Jeff Bridges made for a decent villain. (But then, from 2008, the only villain one really remembers is from another little superhero film called The Dark Knight.)

  • Stan Lee's appearance in Iron Man

    In Stan Lee’s first appearance in the MCU, Tony Stark confuses him with Hugh Hefner. Also, at said party, Stark meets one Agent Coulson for the first time! (At that point in time the good folks over at the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division hadn’t yet had the bright idea to abbreviate their name to SHIELD.)

  • Iron Man suit and higher altitudes

    Whoa! Almost exactly one hour into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after Tony’s suit ices at higher altitudes, Jarvis casually suggests to Tony that they should upgrade the suit in case he wishes to visit ‘other planets’. Who would’ve thunk, back in 2008, how deliberately that line was placed.

  • Robert Downey Jr is the perfect Iron Man

    That Robert Downey Jr is *the* perfect Iron Man has been agreed upon years ago. But watching him in the first film all these years later is a revelation, simply for how intricately he has created this character. All you need is him in the frame, and suddenly even the machines seem to be infused with life. You feel for the dumb robotic arm because Downey creates a character for it just by virtue of his own presence. (Also, looking back, Downey had made Stark an immensely unlikable man!)

  • Enter Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

    As Tony is hammering away in a cave at his first rudimentary Iron Man suit, I can’t help but think about how his suit evolved over the next decade. In some cases, the upgrade is obvious because Tony Stark states it, as in Iron Man 3. But every film sees the suit change subtly. (In the Endgame trailers, it looks like the sleekest it has ever been.)

  • And we begin with Iron Man (2008)

    A few minutes into Iron Man, and we meet Col. James Rhodes. Except... it’s not Don Cheadle! The first film had Terrence Howard featuring as Tony Stark’s bestie. The next time we met him, in Iron Man 2, Howard was replaced because they had, let’s just say, ‘issues’. Either way, no one’s complaining, because Cheadle makes for a great Rhodey. (Not roadie, Delhi Boy. Calm down.)

  • Schedule of films for today: 16 April

    Iron Man

    The Incredible Hulk

     Iron Man 2

    Thor

    Captain America

All the updates from Day 1 of MCU films marathon —

Red Skull and Chris Evans make Captain America a worthy film

More than anything else, Captain America works because of how Chris Evans became him. The entire bit where they establish just why a tiny asthmatic fellow was considered worthy for the super-soldier experiment, drips of old-school American goodness

We're down to our last film of the day — Captain America: The First Avenger

If all the MCU films were to be arranged in chronological order of their events, this would be where it all began.

Thor isn't a bad film...

...It just takes itself too seriously

Loki makes an entry

We think he's one of the best villains in MCU

What do Thor and Iron Man have in common?

Their arrogance.

Iron Man 2 and its relevance in MCU

Iron Man 2 teases a lot in terms of what becomes important later in the MCU.

Tony Stark and his daddy issues

We continue to see his emotional troubles escalate in nearly every film he has a proper role in - Avengers, Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, Civil War and, of course, Infinity War.

Robert Downey Jr's d-baggery™️ continues

“I’ve successfully privatised world peace,” exclaims Tony.

Stan Lee, again

This time mistaken for Larry King by Tony Stark

Our third film for the day is Iron Man 2

And the most striking thing so far is Whiplash/Ivan Vanko.

Stan Lee as the Hulk? 

Well, The Incredible Hulk beat us to it and added a tiny scene where this possibility is explored.

Which Hulk did it better?

Edward Norton or Mark Ruffalo?

Next up: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk hits the ground running - how Bruce Banner became the Hulk is dealt with in the opening credits.

The First MCU End-credits scene

... sees Nick Fury tell Iron Man, "Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe."

Where Iron Man and Game of Thrones overlap

The first Iron Man film was scored by none other than Ramin Djawadi, the man who scored Game of Thrones!

How Iron Man has aged well

Marvel films have often been criticised for having essentially the same plot. In that regard, Iron Man has actually aged rather well.

Stan Lee makes an appearance

.... and Tony confuses him for Hugh Hefner!

Jarvis' suggestion is like a prophecy!

In Iron Man, Jarvis casually suggests to Tony that they should upgrade the suit in case he wishes to visit ‘other planets.’ This plot is practically writing itself!

All you need is Iron Man in the frame, really

Is Robert Downey Jr the perfect Iron Man? Well, he made the character immensely likeable ever since the first film.

The sleek Iron Man suit

We begin our marathon with Iron Man (2008), where Robert Downey Jr plays Iron Man with much panache. One of the first things we noticed the sleek Iron Man suit.

*****

Avengers: Endgame is only 10 days away. The last film in a massive 22-film extravanganza — Phase 3 of Marvel Cinematic Universe — comes to an end in 10 days. It's been a long, emotional and sometimes exhaustive journey for fans following Marvel films, from Iron Man in 2008 to Captain Marvel, which releases just last month.

Excitement levels are high, and a Marvel movie marathon is a great way to sustain it till the final film releases. In this 'Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon' we hope to take you through all the tropes, scenes, dialogues and characters that made you fall in love with MCU, as we wait with bated breath for Avengers: Endgame. 

The Great Diwali Discount!
Unlock 75% more savings this festive season. Get Moneycontrol Pro for a year for Rs 289 only.
Coupon code: DIWALI. Offer valid till 10th November, 2019 .

Updated Date: Apr 16, 2019 21:46:41 IST