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The Most Blatant Fan Service Moments In The MCU (That We Still Love)

List Rules
Vote up the fan service moments that made you pump your fist.

The topic of fan service in superhero films is a difficult one to navigate. When people criticize franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe for plot-irrelevant moments or plot-hole-inducing easter eggs that serve only to please their most dedicated supporters, they assume that these moments are a bad thing. For many, it’s quite the contrary - some fans appreciate being catered to every now and then.

The aforementioned folks at Marvel Studios have consistently gone out of their way to deliver what they know their diehard fans want the most, cramming Avengers: Endgame full of deep-cut comic book references and peppering the entire franchise with copious shirtless scenes. Few walk out of a Marvel movie unsatisfied, and the unabashed fan service probably has something to do with that - which is why we keep asking for more!

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  • 1
    2,372 VOTES

    Captain America Lifts Thor’s Hammer - Twice

    From the moment both Steve Rogers and the mythical mallet Mjolnir exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s practically destined that he will one day lift it. After all, Captain America has hefted Thor’s hammer multiple times in the pages of Marvel Comics - and there’s really no one worthier than he.

    The first time Cap lifts Mjolnir, it’s nearly imperceptible - a brief moment in Avengers: Age of Ultron that only Thor and some eagle-eyed viewers notice. When Rogers takes a firmer grip of it in Endgame, it’s definitely too crucial of a plot event to be considered true “fan service” - but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a moment designed to thrill those fans who had been waiting a decade to see it. 

  • 2
    1,703 VOTES

    Iron Man And Captain America Recreate An Iconic ‘Civil War’ Cover

    The Civil War that takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is much, much different than the event that inspires it in Marvel Comics. In actuality, the only main similarity is that both conflicts center around Captain America and Iron Man - and it’s only fitting that those two combine to recreate one of the series’ most iconic covers from Civil War #7.

    In the film’s vicious final battle, Tony Stark fires both of his repulsors directly into Steve Rogers’s shield, creating a massive flash as they impressively pose. It’s a pose that is held just a moment too long to be a realistic part of the brawl taking place, and that makes it perfectly clear why it was put in the movie: as a tribute to those fans who have the source material sitting on their shelves at home. 

  • 3
    1,890 VOTES

    Stan Lee Is Revealed As Watcher Informant

    In a sense, every single Stan Lee cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an instance of fan service, as the cameos don’t serve much purpose to the plot and are mostly there as a wink to the audience. Marvel Studios doubles down on the idea in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, however, when they seemingly confirm that Lee is in fact an informant of the Watchers - cosmic beings from Marvel Comics lore that observe, but are sworn to never interfere with, the happenings of the multiverse.

    Fans had long speculated that all of Lee’s cameo characters were one-and-the-same, but by having him hang out with the Watchers and make specific references to old cameos, Marvel Studios appears to have confirmed the theory - or at the very least heavily lampshaded it. It’s probably not something that will ever be referenced again, meaning it's nothing more than an intentional nod to those fans who are so dedicated to the franchise that they can’t help but to speculate about it.

  • 4
    1,385 VOTES

    Spidey's Older Theme Music Plays

    Sometimes, fan service happens before the first scene of a film has even begun. Marvel Studios regaining the rights to use Spider-Man in their films was reason enough for celebration among dedicated Marvel-ites, but their joy was likely doubled by a particular bit of music that plays during the opening credits of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

    As the Marvel Studios logo flickers by, a quick and revamped section of Danny Elfman’s musical theme from the original Spider-Man trilogy - itself inspired by the themes of the classic animated series - is heard. In just a matter of seconds, the tune sends a clear message to those watching that the rebooted Spidey will pay homage to versions past, and that this movie is coming from people who truly understand the character. 

  • 5
    1,437 VOTES

    Edwin Jarvis Joins Howard Stark

    Those who only follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not the pages of Marvel Comics, think that J.A.R.V.I.S. is nothing more than Tony Stark’s first artificial intelligence program - but dedicated readers know that Jarvis was a man before he was a machine. Edwin Jarvis is the long-time faithful butler of both the Stark family and the Avengers, and more or less the Alfred Pennyworth of the Marvel Universe - and nearly as beloved.

    ABC’s Agent Carter, set in the '50s, adds the real-life Jarvis to the mix as an associate of Howard Stark and Peggy Carter. Since Marvel Television properties are only tangentially related to the MCU, this didn’t represent enough of an homage to the original Jarvis for some fans - which is why it’s so pleasant to see Jarvis pop up again in Avengers: Endgame when Tony Stark meets his father back in 1970.

  • 6
    1,258 VOTES

    Spider-Man Rises From The Rubble

    There are many who consider the most important moment in Spider-Man’s published history - the moment in which he truly becomes the central figure of Marvel Comics - to be in 1965’s The Amazing Spider-Man #33 when Peter Parker lifts an impossible amount of rubble off himself through sheer force of will. With Aunt May in mortal peril, Spidey refuses to give up, proving himself the sort of hero that anyone could be inspired by.

    It’s no surprise that Marvel Studios makes a very similar scene pivotal to Spider-Man’s solo MCU debut. It might be a bit odd that the Vulture collapses a building on Spidey’s head and then just flies away without checking to see if the deed is done, but it allows for that iconic “Come on, Spider-Man!” scene to unfold - and to redefine Peter Parker’s story for a brand new generation as it does so.