When it comes to comic book movies, Marvel has dominated DC for some time now. But what is it that makes Marvel movies special? Sure, each film is rich with larger-than-life action sequences, settings, and spectacular CGI, but DC’s got that, too. What truly separates Marvel movie scenes from the rest are the little things – those moments that are small and funny and sweet – those moments that help us get a real glimpse into what makes any good story tick: its characters. And these small character moments are some of the best parts of Marvel movies.
These are the (arguably) smaller moments in Marvel films, but they are what separate the cinematic giant from its soulless competitor. In short, these are the Marvel movie scenes that make the franchise feel... real.
In a rare moment of both levity and team building, everyone on the Avengers has a post-party go at lifting Thor’s legendary hammer. "You’re not worthy," Thor observes as he lifts Mjolnir with ease in the wake of their struggle.
It's all good for a laugh and some warmth, but the scene also gives insight into each character – Tony boasts and then enlists both technology and outside help, Cap actually gets it to budge and Thor ignores it, and Black Widow doesn’t bother trying. Moreover, the scene sets up a major story moment with the Vision in the third act. That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a little gag.
Captain American and Iron Man have reached an ideological stale-mate, and they must each form a team to defend their position. Captain America’s recruits look decidedly a bit more rag-tag than Iron Man’s, none moreso than former criminal and petty thief, Ant-Man, who literally rolls out of a van and falls over himself as he meets the team.
“I’m shaking your hand too long,” Ant Man stammers as he takes Cap's hand. He, like any of us would be, is overwhelmed to meet Cap in real life. We’ve seen this note played before in modern superhero films, but here Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd nails the awe-struck fan particularly well – he’s humbled and just plain excited to meet a legend. So are we.
The Guardians are on lock-down in a high security prison, and one angry little raccoon has a plan to get them out. Rocket’s scheme hinges on Star-Lord procuring the robotic leg of a particularly unpleasant-looking prisoner. After Groot... expedites certain aspects of the escape, the team splits off and reconvenes, all having done their due diligence.
Star-Lord produces his hard-won robotic leg and is met by uproarious laughter from Rocket. “You actually got the leg!?” In a small moment, we see just how far Rocket will go to undermine and annoy anyone, particularly Peter. It really sets up their relationship dynamic for the whole series.
“Thought we wouldn’t notice... but we did.” The Avengers have very nearly assembled aboard a state-of-the-art S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier. The team steps into the humming control center to assess their major threats, and figure out where they stand.
And Tony Stark, demonstrating both his powers of observation and his disregard for anyone but himself, calls one of the workers out for playing Galaga. The detail is specific, sweet, and feels real and relatable. Even on the brink of crisis, at the pinnacle of espionage and technology, people still goof off at work, and Tony is, as always, both boiling over with sarcasm and deeply observant.