The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around for quite some time now (closing in on 12 years) and the 23 movie franchise has given the world some of the biggest blockbuster battles they've ever seen. Dozens of unforgettable moments that will be imprinted in cinema lover's brains for eternity, all thanks to the creative teams down at Marvel, and, of course, Stan Lee.
Fans and audience members should never forget that it was a mere six films spread out over a course of four years that got this multi-billion dollar comic-book franchise rolling. The fight scenes and epic battles in phase 1 might not have been the MCU's best, but they were certainly good enough to get audiences to take notice and come crawling back to theaters begging for more. Here's our list of the top 10 battles in phase 1 of the MCU.
10 Thor vs. Destroyer/Hulk vs. Abomination
So these two specific juggernaut vs. juggernaut battles are tied as the last spot for a couple of reasons - the first being that we wanted to throw The Incredible Hulk movie a bone. The second is because, well, the first phase of the MCU was, again, only six movies long. It didn't really have that many battles sequences. As a matter of fact, there were only six we could think of that didn't make it on this list from the entirety of the phase 1 line-up.
Regardless, both of these battles aren't exactly the grade-A material Marvel has become known for, but they both cracked the shell open on the possibilities of what these two characters could do, so for that, they slip into the top 10.
9 Howling Commandos vs. Hydra Train
See ya, Bucky. Enter - Winter Soldier. Well, not quite yet, but you know what we mean. The battle that started it all in terms of Steve Rodgers trilogy throughout the MCU - the tragic loss of his childhood friend, Sergeant Barnes.
While the 1940's version of Captain America wasn't near as MMA style as his 2014-2019 version, this battle between Cap and Bucky against a couple of Hydra Robo-Cops was heart-bounding and thrilling right up to Bucky's very inconclusive demise. Don't worry, Cap, you'll see him again - it'll just be about another 70 years.
8 Thor vs. Hulk
For a fight that wasn't technically a fight, this fight was awesome! Edward Norton is a terrific actor but his portrayal of Bruce Banner wasn't what Marvel fans were looking for and they couldn't wait to see Mark Ruffalo take his shot at it. As we all know, he nailed it and became one of the most iconic and central characters of the Avengers (but still never getting another stand-alone movie thanks to some legal issues).
This fight, however, was the very first time that we got to see Ruffalo's version of the big, green radiation monster and to watch him go toe-to-toe with the God of Thunder was epic, to say the least.
7 Thor vs. Ice Giants
Our first glimpse at the Asgardian prince's powers wasn't quite what audiences were expecting (where was the lightning?) but the initial battle between Thor, Loki, Lady Sif, and The Warriors Three against the Ice Giants of Jotunheim was an impressive start to Thor's career.
The battle introduced us to all of the warrior's abilities, including Loki's, and proved that Thor really was worthy, at least when it came to wielding that hammer (but again, where was the lightning?). The cherry on top of this scene was Anthony Hopkins riding in as Odin and spanking everybody's butts like the immature children they were being. Not worthy!
6 Iron Man, War Machine vs. Whiplash, Hammer Drones
Unfortunately, it was one of the only good things about this movie (besides the introduction of Black Widow). The first fight between Iron Man and Whiplash undoubtedly has a cooler 'suit-up' sequence (the first of many to come for Tony Stark) and the brawl scene between Tony and Rhodey has a much more comedic element to it, but this epic final battle was a fortunate high-point in a movie that really didn't have a whole lot else going for it.
Not only that, but this was the first MCU movie to introduce the character of Peter Parker as the little kid in the Iron Man mask. Spider-Man was helping the Avengers out long before he got his powers.
5 Captain America vs. Red Skull
I've seen the future, Captain! There are no flags - just billions and billions of dollars! Another fight scene that came at the end of its movie, audiences finally got to see the first true 1x1 super-soldier battle when Cap went toe-to-toe with the red-faced freak of Hydra. Steve Rodgers proved from the get-go that he was worthy of holding Mjolnir when he nobly sacrificed himself to save the lives of thousands by willingly downing a ship into the arctic ocean.
The Winter Soldier, along with The Russo Brothers, may have turned Cap into the fan-favorite we all know and love, but First Avenger cap had a heart the size of his muscles. He could do this all day.
4 Iron Man vs. Iron Monger
The original Iron Man will always rightfully hold a special place in every MCU fan's heart. It started it all - from the very first scene when Robert Downey Jr. is captured, cinema fans have been hooked and it was all due to the success of this film.
And what does a successful film need besides an epic protagonist? A just as bad antagonist. Otherwise - who cares? With all of the amazing villains that have made it onto the big screen for the MCU, the very first of them, Iron Monger, can very often be forgotten. But acting as the O.G. MCU villain and helping prove to the world that Tony Stark really does have a heart, this final battle earns our fourth-place spot.
3 Iron Man vs. Thor vs. Captain America
Another battle on par with the 'Thor vs. Hulk' one, the Avengers gave us quite a few laughs when the main trio of the MCU met up for the first time. The witty banter and insults from Stark are a given, right along with Thor's early MCU speech's about honor and powers that mortals know not of. Then Cap steps in with his typical 'cut-the-crap' attitude and tells the boys to make nice.
Again, not technically a battle, as this scene has much more of a 'brothers-roughhousing' vibe to it before the morally-just father in Steve Rodgers breaks it up, but the gags and hilarious back-and-forth made it a memorable moment from not just phase 1, but the entirety of the MCU.
2 Mach 1 Armor vs. Ten Rings Terrorist Group
This scene still gives us chills. As we've already stated, Iron Man was the movie that got the entire train moving for the MCU and nobody imagined that they'd pick up as much speed as they did. Imagine it this way - Iron Man picked up so much momentum for Marvel that it carried every other MCU film up until The Avengers (including the Iron Man sequel) since the next four didn't do nearly as well critically or financially.
One of the reasons why - this scene. From the surprisingly realistic, clunky hunk-of-junk that was the Mark 1 suit, to the death of Yinsen and his revealed reunion with his dead family, this fight is just perfect. My turn.
1 Avengers vs. Chitauri, Loki
Up until Endgame and the moment that Cap finally uttered the infamous "assemble", this was the scene people thought of when you mentioned The Avengers. The circling shot of the main six characters that audiences would come to know so much more over the next seven years was the epic finale to the first leg of Marvel's amazing journey.
This was a crossover event the world had never experienced before. Nobody saw it coming and nobody had any idea what was coming next, but it's safe to say that The Avengers and the Battle for New York was the conclusive factor that made sure super-hero movies would be here to stay.