MCU’s 10 Best Fan Service Moments (So Far)

A lot of reviews for nostalgia-baiting franchise rates like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ghostbusters: Afterlife has used the term “fan service” in a negative light. But giving fans what they want is not always a bad thing. It can be cheap and indulgent, like the Overlook set Lights up tribute sequence in Doctor Sleep, but it can also be euphorically entertaining, as Luke Skywalker’s return to action in The Mandalorian.

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With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Feige has proven that he is a master at making the fan base’s wildest dreams come true – like putting Thor’s hammer in Captain America’s hand or merging all the cinematic Spider-Men into one film – in completely unexpected ways.

10 Next time, honey! (Iron Man)

Rhodes Mark II next time baby

The first Iron Man film – the game-changing gem that started the MCU in 2008 – teased the introduction of War Machine to the sequel. When James Rhodes stops by Tony Stark’s lab and spies on a shining armor, he says, “Next time, honey.”

Rhodey would continue to wear the War Machine armor Iron Man 2, but he was not played by Terrence Howard. Due to contractual disputes, he was instead played by Don Cheadle, who shared equally brilliant chemistry with Robert Downey, Jr.

9 JK Simmons returns as J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man: Far From Home)

JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man Far From Home

JK Simmons’ outstanding performance as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider Man the trilogy defined his character traits perfectly. Feige acknowledged that no one else could play the motormouth Daily Bugle editor as effectively as Simmons and brought him back when Jameson was introduced to MCU in Spider-Man: Far from home‘s mid-credits scene.

While Simmons’ performance is spot-on across the board, MCU’s Jameson is more like the podcaster heard throughout Spider Man PS4 games than the traditional newspaper editor seen in the Raimi trilogy.


8 Hulk Vs. Hulkbuster (Avengers: Age Of Ultron)

Hulk vs Hulkbuster Johannesburg Avengers 2 Age of Ultron

The most exciting Marvel action scenes feel as if the filmmakers are playing with action characters on screen, like the elevator fight in The Winter Soldier or the Battle of Titan in Infinity War.

A perfect example of this is the Hulk’s battle with Tony Stark in his Hulkbuster armor Avengers: Age of Ultron. The scene does not necessarily serve the plot, but that’s exactly what fans wanted to see as soon as the Hulkbuster armor was introduced.

7 Thanos-Copter (Loki)

Loki episode 5 Thanos Copter

In the penultimate section of Loki, the titular trickster god is stranded on the edge of the universe with a lot of other discarded variants of himself, including President Loki, Kid Loki and Alligator Loki.

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Among the Easter eggs that can be seen in the background of this place is a live-action rendition of the Thanos-Copter, the silly brand helicopter flown by Mad Titan in the comics.

6 Michael Giacchino’s Renewed Spider-Man Theme (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

When Michael Giacchino was tapped to come up with a theme for the latest incarnation of Spider Man franchise, he decided not to compose a new tune and instead renewed a familiar one that already captured the character perfectly.

The opening texts of Spider-Man: Homecoming is set on a glorious orchestral interpretation of the fan-favorite-Spidey theme from the old comic book series: “Spider-Man, Spider-Man / Does whatever a spider can.”

5 Steve Rogers lifts Thor’s Hammer (Avengers: Endgame)

Captain America holds Thor's hammer in the Avengers Endgame

Before being joined by the rest of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the core trio of Avengers – Iron Man, Thor and Captain America – Thanos meet alone in the final of Playoffs. When the god of thunder is struck, his hammer soars from the ground and strikes the mad titan in the head.

But it was not summoned by Thor himself; it was summoned by Cap, who after all is worthy of managing MjĂžlnir. This moment is pure fan service, but it works beautifully.

4 Ant-Man Hangs From Hawkeye’s Arrow (Captain America: Civil War)

The airport fight in Captain America: Civil War, where the Avengers, who support the Sokovia deal, fight those who do not support it, are filled with moments of fan service, like Spider-Man stealing Caps’ shield.

One of the eye-catching moments is a re-creation of iconic cartoon art, in which a diminished Ant-Man takes a ride on one of Hawkeye’s arrows. This is followed by even more Ant-Man fan service with its triumphant transformation into Giant-Man.

3 Stan Lee Is A Watcher (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.  2 Stan Lee Watchers Cameo

After MCU established a tendency for Stan Lee to appear as a different character in each film, a fantasy theory rose to prominence suggesting that Lee was playing a Watcher tasked with keeping an eye on the Avengers’ activities.

RELATED: 5 Things Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Got Right (& 5 It Got Wrong)

While Yondu, Rocket and Groot jump from planet to planet Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, they slip past a bunch of Watchers – one of whom is played by Lee, who recounts his days as a FedEx worker – confirming that fantasy theory.

2 I Am Iron Man (Avengers: Endgame)

Tony Stark Death Avengers Playoffs

In many ways, Playoffs is a love letter to the fans who followed the Infinity Saga for over a decade. It has an exciting sense of finitude and a lot of benefits that audiences have been waiting for for years.

The film puts Tony’s entire MCU in a circle as he snatches Infinity Stones from Thanos and tells him, “I’m Iron Man” – the same thing he said to the world at the end of the first Iron Man film – before snapping his fingers and bringing the ultimate sacrifice to save the universe.

1 Live-action Spider-Verse (Spider-Man: No Way Home)

Doctor Strange spells in No Way Home.

Sony and Marvel officially announced the inclusion of multivariate villains like Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock in the run-up to Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s release. But whether Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men would show up alongside Tom Holland’s Peter Parker was technically just fan speculation until the three quels hit theaters.

Of course, fans were not disappointed. The rumors were true: No way home opened up for a live-action Spider-Verse incorporating Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Men into MCU. This experimental, self-conscious premise could easily have gone wrong, but director Jon Watts struck it off with a strong thematic consistent line that evokes Frank Capra’s timeless classics.

NEXT: Star Wars’ 10 Best Fan Service Moments (So Far)

A shared image shows Vision with the Mind Stone, the comic book cover for Infinity Gauntlet and a mouthful of Loki with Tesseract

Each Infinity Stone ranks from least to most powerful

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