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MCU Moments That Hit Harder After 'Avengers: Endgame'

List RulesVote up the moments that are way more impactful in retrospect.

Avengers: Endgame wasn’t the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was an end. The epic marked the culmination of the 21 films across three phases that had come before it, wrapping up a truly impressive amount of individual storylines. It was a supremely satisfying payoff well worth waiting for - or, to be more accurate, a series of supremely satisfying payoffs.

The folks at Marvel Studios left no stone unturned when it came to selecting story beats from their own past to reference, revisit, or riff on for Avengers: Endgame. Like a good conclusion should, Endgame didn’t just pay homage to the past of the MCU; it retroactively enhanced it. Now, it’s impossible to watch the rest of the franchise and not be hit just a little bit harder by those moments and memories that would come to play an integral role in the grand finale - even if audiences didn’t quite know it at the time.

  • 1
    359 VOTES

    Tony Asks For A Cheeseburger

    Upon returning to the United States after months in captivity in Iron Man, it was suggested that Tony Stark needed to visit a hospital. He retorted, “I don't have to do anything. I've been in captivity for three months. There are two things I want to do. One, I want an American cheeseburger, and the other...”

    That second request proved to be the calling of a press conference that established Tony as a whole different sort of person in the wake of his traumatic experience. But that first request helped make him into the sort of relatable superhero that would come to define the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, who wouldn’t be craving a cheeseburger - or perhaps a reasonable plant-based substitute - after going through something like that?

    What seemed like a throwaway line would come back in Avengers: Endgame, however, and it packed an emotional punch that no one could have seen coming. Sharing a quiet moment with Morgan Stark at her father’s funeral, Happy Hogan asked if there was anything he could do for her, and she requested a cheeseburger. 

    Happy wasn’t the only one who teared up at the parallel.

    Hits harder now?
  • 2
    461 VOTES

    Tony Says 'I Am Iron Man' For The First Time

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe began with 2008’s Iron Man, but it didn’t really get going in earnest until the film’s conclusion. When Tony Stark stood in front of the assembled press and declared, “I am Iron Man,” it announced the start of the modern age of superheroes to the public - and attracted the attention of Nick Fury and his Avengers Initiative. 

    But a line that once sounded triumphant is now tinged with sadness in the wake of Avengers: Endgame. After hearing Thanos go back to his tired, old catchphrase, “I am inevitable,” Stark couldn’t help but reply with his own iconic statement as he activated the Infinity Stones and snapped Thanos’s forces out of existence, but at the cost of his own life. 

    That Tony managed to pair the MCU’s greatest moment of tragedy with the ultimate callback is perfectly in character - and the perfect way to tie a neat bow around the entire franchise, as centered around the man who started it all. 

    Hits harder now?
  • 3
    295 VOTES

    Steve Passes Sam 'On Your Left'

    Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson met in a surprisingly antagonistic fashion, with the former continually blowing past the latter on a running track near the Washington Monument in the opening minutes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and teasingly warning each time that he was “on your left.”

    Sam, in his eternal goodness, still offered his friendship and eventually his partnership to Captain America, but he also never forgot he still owed Steve a playful jab. He held his tongue until Avengers: Endgame, when he got the opportunity to announce to Steve over the radio the unsnapped had assembled and were about to enter the battlefield via dozens of mystical portals.

    How did he do it? By saying “Hey, Cap, do you read me? On your left.”

    Hits harder now?
  • 4
    328 VOTES

    Steve Budges Mjolnir

    Earth’s Mightiest Heroes took a well-earned break in Avengers: Age of Ultron, throwing a house party for the ages. And while the bash would eventually be interrupted by the arrival of the titular robotic menace, the Avengers did manage to get down to some good old-fashioned fun in the meantime - including a ribald game of “Who can lift Thor’s hammer?”

    Of course, all Avengers failed in the endeavor, but Steve Rogers did manage to budge the mighty mallet slightly, something only Thor seemed to notice. It was a miniscule, “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” sort of moment, but one that would grow to be increasingly important for both characters involved as the franchise progressed.

    For Captain America, the budging raised more questions than it answered. Given that Rogers would eventually do a whole lot more than just move Mjolnir in Avengers: Endgame, one has to wonder whether he was always worthy and simply chose not to lift the hammer and embarrass his teammate in Age of Ultron, or whether the great personal development he’d experienced in the interim had increased his worthiness.

    Thor’s personal journey was less ambiguous. As he witnessed Steve nearly hefting the hammer, an expression of genuine worry passed over the God of Thunder’s face. But by the time Steve actually wielded Mjolnir in Endgame, all that apprehension had disappeared, replaced by genuine pride and an utterance of “I knew it!”

    It seems both Cap and Thor had learned one of the easiest lessons to be learned in the MCU: unconditional respect for Steve Rogers.

    Hits harder now?