With 2015 coming to an end, we decided to look back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year and recall our favorite – and least favorite – moments from the past year. You can read what each of us had to say below!
Favorite Moment: My favorite MCU moment of the year was reacquiring the rights to Spider-Man, purely based on what it means for the MCU moving forward. If I chose a moment from the films or shows, it would have to be the Ant-Man vs Falcon fight. I liked Ant-Man a lot but not as much as other people. The fight was a great way to bring the movie into the MCU and it didn’t feel forced. It was a great way to showcase how the Ant-Man suit would work in battle, and gave us more screen time for Falcon which is never a bad thing.
Least Favorite Moment: My least favorite MCU moment of the year was the helicarrier popping up at the end of Age of Ultron. The shots inside the helicarrier would have been an excellent and natural way to bring Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the forefront and give a slight acknowledgement that it exists in the universe. It’s just confusing how Coulson is the one to help them find the location of Strucker and saves the day basically by recovering the helicarrier, but then Fury and Hill are the only presences. At some point, the movies will HAVE to acknowledge the various shows that exist in the MCU and this would have been a seamless way to tell the Avengers that Coulson is in fact not dead and actually running SHIELD 2.0.
Matthew (Copy Editor/Video/The Pulse):
Favorite Moment: Choosing a favorite moment in the MCU [this year] was tough, as so many exciting things happened this year. But one of my favorite things that happened in 2015 was the surge in powerful female characters populating the MCU. From Jessica Jones blowing away all my expectations, to Hope van Dyne beginning her transition to the Wasp and the announcement she would be the first headlining female hero in a Marvel film. We got an amazing season of Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter and the announcement of a second season and a show focusing on Mockingbird who was a stand-out on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.. We saw the debut of Scarlet Witch and Hellcat (more or less) and saw Chloe Bennet become a full-fledged superhero as she slowly morphed from Skye into Quake, aka Daisy Johnson and one of the show’s best episodes to date focused almost entirely on Jemma Simmons. So if I had to hone in on one moment I loved in the MCU this year, I think it would be one of my other favorite episodes of SHIELD this year, “One Door Closes” which provides bad-ass moments for Mockingbird, Hartley, May, and even Simmons all culminating in Skye using her skills to take down an agent before unleashing her considerable powers in one of the shows best effects sequences to date. It’s not uncommon for a show to have one female action star, but when the best fighters on the show are all women, that’s hard to top for me.
Least Favorite Moment: I have to agree with Cooper. I’m always bummed that the films never legitimize the world established in the TV side of the MCU. Considering how large a role Coulson has had in the movies, the helicarrier scene in Age of Ultron really was the perfect time to finally let the world know that he’s is still alive, a fact that he doesn’t exactly try to hide during the course of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Considering Clark Gregg’s presence in the films was enough to have him lead the MCU’s first TV show, Coulson can’t seem to return to the movies to save his (resurrected) life.
Nicole (Editor in Chief)
Favorite Moment: My favorite moment from the MCU this year would have to be the introduction of Jessica Jones into this massive universe that Marvel has created so far. While I adore both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, two shows that are led by fully-realized, female bad-asses, there’s only so much both can do when they’re built for prime-time television. For Jessica Jones, this isn’t a problem. There are no censors here. Jessica is just as flawed and screwed up as she is within the comics, and they manage to handle her backstory delicately while still managing to portray the horrors of abuse and post traumatic stress disorder. It’s one of those shows that stays with you long after you finish it, and it’s easily one of the best television series in past years. So while I’m glad to see the MCU finally upping their game when it comes to more female led properties, it’s going to be hard to beat Jessica Jones.
Least Favorite Moment: My least favorite moment would have to be the decision to bring back Grant Ward as a possessed being in the mid-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. For me, Ward was one of the best villains the show has seen over the course of three seasons, so to have Coulson finally break and take him down? It was the perfect ending for the character. Except that it was ruined shortly after when it was revealed that that thing on Maveth had overtaken Ward’s corpse, and that he’d managed to escape back through the portal and locate Malick (just as he had hoped). It took away the importance of that death scene, making it feel cheap. I do hope that, whatever their plan is for Ward in the second half of season three, it manages to feel important.
Favorite Moment: This year, Marvel’s best and worst scenes involved a hero putting on his iconic red duds for the first time. While I think Ant-Man has some problems overall, Scott’s first scene testing out the suit is one of the most exhilarating sequences Marvel has ever produced. Scott bounces from a bathtub to a hallway to a dance club to a vacuum cleaner; Marvel brings a stellar visual panache to the scene, bringing massive scope to intimate spaces. Ant-Man is fixated on superpowers, but avoids the power fantasy of other action films, instead finding clever, wry uses for Scott’s powers. Ant-Man is perhaps the least-beloved Avenger, but he’s the one I’m eager to see the most in Captain America: Civil War.
Least Favorite Moment: After thirteen episodes of buildup, including teasing the character at the end of the opening credits, Daredevil debuted Matt in his iconic red suit with the worst fight of the season. While the black suit is a little boring, it let the stuntmen work within the full range of human motion. But within the red suit, the stuntmen are clearly hamstrung, forced to move slowly and stiffly and at odd angles. The show tries to cover this with rapid cuts which are disorienting and clash with the more assured editing through the rest of the series. But even on paper, the scene fails the characters; the complex, brooding Fisk of the last thirteen hours is turned into a snarling brute. I dearly hope Marvel reworks the costume before Daredevil season 2, otherwise season one’s fantastic martial arts will probably be replaced by boring shootouts as Matt speed-walks from cover-to-cover.
Chris (Founder/Managing Editor)
Favorite Moment: Spidey joins the MCU! While I’m not some giant Spider-Man fan, the implications of the deal (and future ones with other studios) along with the characters that come along with it are pretty huge. We went from saying they’d never do a Civil War movie, to saying they’d never integrate Spider-Man to now having Peter Parker IN Civil War. Marvel Studios continually raises the bar, simultaneously giving the fans exactly what they want and setting themselves up to makes oodles and oodles of cash. Hopefully this deal sets a precedent and we can get Marvel’s first family back home for Phase 4.
Least Favorite: No Avengers Tower in either Jessica Jones OR Daredevil (sorry I guess that’s two moments). It seems like a really easy thing to include and would go a long way to making the series feel a little more connected without rubbing it in your face.
Favorite Moment: I didn’t realize how great 2015 was for the MCU until I started thinking about all the huge moments we got to see brought to life. Lots of contenders for this spot for me, but I think my favorite moment of the year belongs to Wilson Fisk, in episode 4 of Daredevil. In the first three episodes of Daredevil, we’d gotten hints at how gritty and violent the MCU could get (the long tracking shot in episode two, the fact that Matt actually bled during his fights), but Fisk slaughtering Anatoly with a car door was–and still is–the most brutally violent moment in the entire MCU. It was so completely unexpected, which made Fisk all the more intimidating as a villain. While Kilgrave has become my favorite overall villain in the MCU, Fisk still has my favorite singular moment from any villain, and I don’t anticipate that changing any time soon.
Least Favorite: When the first YouTube video dropped on the WHiH news channel, I was so excited. The “Newsfront” video with Christine Everhart discussing Scott Lang was, I thought, the first in a series of short videos that would be released sporadically to tie the whole MCU together. I thought we’d get some for Ant-Man, maybe one during the big events of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and certainly one for Jessica Jones. So when the whole thing turned out to be a fairly half-assed marketing campaign for Ant-Man, only to be abandoned as soon as the movie came out, I was pretty disappointed. I saw the WHiH YouTube channel as the next step in the MCU’s immersion and world-building, but it turned out to be a fairly cheap gimmick.
Favorite Moment: This might come as a shock to some but my favorite and least favorite moments in the MCU this 2015 are both from Daredevil. Episode 7 of the series saw the introduction of Matt Murdock’s famed blind ninja instructor Stick. The introduction marked the show’s foray into the somewhat more fantastical mythology of the Man Without Fear; the side of DD’s canon populated by ninjas, Eastern ancient dark arts, swords, sais, and – in the series – Black Sky. As a diehard fan of ‘Ol Hornhead, it was this part of the show that left me in awe on how far we’ve come with the character. It gave the raw grounded tone of the series a wonderful contrast that hinted at the larger world Daredevil had unknowingly gotten himself into the moment he decided to train with Stick. It also didn’t hurt that Scott Glenn‘s performance as Matt Murdock’s ruthless deadbeat ninja father figure was beyond stellar. Count in the emotionally charged moments between a young Matt and Stick and their powerful fight scene in the end.
Least Favorite: Like the majority of fans of the MCU, I am of the belief that Marvel should start taking bolder steps to raise the stakes and should start introducing graver consequences for our heroes, even if it means killing beloved key characters. But man, when they killed off Ben Urich, I couldn’t help but feel dumbfounded. His death until now is one that I cannot simply cannot fathom. Ben Urich is such a significant part of not only the Daredevil canon but the entire New York City superhuman community as well. He was a character that wasn’t fully realized in the canon and could have been another connecting tissue between each of the Defenders series and the link connecting the TV world to the film world given his relation with Spider-Man in the comics. I would have loved for him to see or be involved in the birth of the Defenders and rise of Spider-Man.
What were your favorite moments from the MCU this year? Your least favorite moments? Sound off in the comments below!