Summary

  • MCU’s live-action projects have delivered strong openings that set the tone for the entire storyline.
  • Iconic opening scenes from projects like
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    and
    The Avengers
    have become unforgettable moments.
  • Exciting upcoming projects like
    Deadpool & Wolverine
    ,
    The Fantastic Four
    , and
    Blade
    could feature some more powerful opening moments in the MCU.

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Over the duration of the 16-year history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios has delivered some of the most powerful, exciting, intense and emotional opening scenes. Marvel Studios’ ever-growing superhero franchise now spans over forty projects across film, TV and animation, with each one bringing some of Marvel Comics’ most vibrant characters and thrilling stories to life. Despite recent concerns, the MCU is once again beginning to pick up speed, with projects such as Deadpool & Wolverine, The Fantastic Four, Blade and Avengers: Secret Wars raising excitement, and these adventures will surely deliver even more exhilarating moments.

One thing that each of Marvel Studios’ live-action projects share is a strong opening moment, as these set the tone for the entire storyline. Some of these have gone down in history as being among the greatest opening scenes ever, including Peter Quill’s dancing to “Come and Get Your Love” in Guardians of the Galaxy, T’Challa’s emotional funeral in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the beginning of Thanos’ conquest in Avengers: Infinity War. These scenes have formed some of the MCU’s strongest moments, and Marvel Studios will certainly continue to deliver these powerful scenes as the MCU continues to develop.

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10 Times The MCU Successfully Broke The Marvel Movie Formula

Marvel Studios hasn’t always stuck to the predictable “Marvel Formula”, as many MCU projects have proven that breaking the mould can lead to success.

10 Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

The Avengers Team Up To Battle HYDRA In Sokovia

Following on from the titular team’s formation in 2012, the Avengers joined forces once again in the opening moments of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron to take down a HYDRA stronghold in Sokovia and acquire Loki’s stolen scepter. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye used their collective skills to battle numerous HYDRA soldiers, with Tony Stark eventually seizing the scepter. However, this operation wasn’t without its speed-bumps, as Age of Ultron also debuted the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, with the former giving Stark his devastating vision that would lead to the creation of Ultron.

Why Avengers: Age Of Ultron’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

This moment put the Avengers’ teamwork on display brilliantly, including such moments as Thor using Mjolnir and Captain America’s shield to wipe out several HYDRA soldiers and Natasha Romanoff lulling the Hulk back into his Bruce Banner form. What makes this moment even more entertaining is the Avengers’ camaraderie, with Stark’s quick wit keeping the action light. The introduction of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver was also fantastic, with their abilities being adapted into live-action brilliantly.

9 Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Peter Quill Dances His Way To The Power Stone

Peter Quill's Star-Lord dancing in the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy

James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise included some of the best musical moments in the MCU, but the opening moments of the original Guardians of the Galaxy movie in 2014 will be remembered as one of the strongest. Years after Peter Quill’s abduction from Earth, he can be seen on Morag dancing and singing to Redbone’s 1973 hit, “Come and Get Your Love.” This leads directly into Quill acquiring the Orb, which contains the Power Stone, and meeting Korath.

Why Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

Guardians of the Galaxy’s opening scene set the tone for the entire cosmic franchise, as James Gunn used a brilliant soundtrack throughout all four solo Guardians projects to enhance the impact of the scene. Chris Pratt’s natural charisma as Peter Quill’s Star-Lord was put on full display here, allowing the audience to relax immediately and enjoy the action going forward. This also allowed one of the MCU’s most emotional moments to ensue in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as “Come and Get Your Love” played over the final credits of James Gunn’s last project with Marvel Studios.

8 The Avengers (2012)

Loki Steals The Tesseract & Begins His Attack

Loki in the truck in The Avengers

2012’s The Avengers marked the first time the MCU’s individual heroes had been seen together on-screen, and established a new status quo in the entire MCU. None of this would have been possible without the movie’s opening scene, which saw Loki arrive on Earth via the Tesseract. Loki proceeded to take control of the minds of SHIELD agents, including Erik Selvig and Clint Barton, steal the Tesseract, and destroy the Joint Dark Energy Mission facility. This prompted Nick Fury to call in the separate members of his proposed Avengers team, making history in the MCU and cinema as a whole.

Why The Avengers’ Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

The opening moments of The Avengers were intense, thrilling and suspenseful, as Loki waged war on SHIELD and Earth. This scene put Nick Fury’s skillset on display for the first time since his debut in 2008’s Iron Man, and forged a strong reason for the MCU’s heroes to be brought together to form the Avengers. Fury had been planning for this moment since his interaction with Captain Marvel in 1995, and Loki’s attack on SHIELD proved him right, and proved his and other SHIELD agents’ dedication to their roles.

7 Secret Invasion (2023)

Everett Ross Is Revealed To Be A Skrull

Skrull Everett Ross in Secret Invasion's premiere

While 2023’s Secret Invasion became one of the MCU’s lowest-rated projects following its release in Phase 5, the series did begin in a very strong place. Martin Freeman returned as Everett K. Ross following his firing from the CIA in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as he traveled to meet his friend, Agent Prescod, in Moscow. Prescod revealed his theories regarding dangerous shape-shifting Skrulls hoping to incite war between the United States and Russia, which prompted Ross to kill him before being revealed to be a Skrull in disguise, leading to Maria Hill calling Nick Fury back to Earth to help.

Secret Invasion TV Series Poster

Secret Invasion

Release Date
June 21, 2023

Directors
Ali Selim

Showrunner
Kyle Bradstreet

Why Secret Invasion’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

It was a shame that Secret Invasion didn’t keep up the momentum of its opening scene, as Everett Ross being revealed to be a Skrull in disguise set up the themes of paranoia that emanated through the entire series. Anybody could have been a Skrull, which should have been important throughout, but unfortunately, this message got lost. Nevertheless, Secret Invasion’s opening scene was powerful, shocking and revelatory, and could have had a major impact on the entire MCU going forward, had it been followed through.

6 Shang-Chi & The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021)

Xu Wenwu Discovers The Ten Rings & Establishes His Empire

2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings became one of the most popular projects in the MCU’s Phase 4. This was primarily thanks to its representation of Asian cultures, and its divergence from the typical Marvel Formula. Shang-Chi’s opening moments also used a different technique to other MCU projects, as the history of Xu Wenwu’s Mandarin, the Ten Rings organization, and the Ten Rings themselves, was detailed in flashbacks. Wenwu’s attempts to access to Ta Lo brought him to Ying Li, who became Shang-Chi and Xialing’s mother, and this led directly into Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi in the present.

Why Shang-Chi & The Legend Of The Ten Rings’ Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ opening moments had everything an MCU fan could dream of. Strong action scenes featuring Xu Wenwu establishing his grand empire, beautifully choreographed fight scenes between Wenwu and Ying Li, and an emotional backbone that set up Shang-Chi’s life as a new MCU superhero perfectly. With Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi 2 in development, hopefully more powerful scenes such as this will be delivered soon.

5 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Wakandans Celebrate T’Challa’s Life At His Funeral

Shuri at T'Challa's funeral in Black Panther Wakanda Forevrr

After the tragic news of Chadwick Boseman’s sudden passing in 2020, Ryan Coogler used the opening moments of 2022’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to not only pay tribute to the MCU’s fallen King, T’Challa, but also to Boseman himself. After Shuri failed to design a synthetic heart-shaped herb capable of saving T’Challa’s life, all of Wakanda banded together for an emotional yet heartwarming funeral celebration. With murals of Boseman surrounding them, Wakanda Forever’s cast and crew bade farewell to Boseman.

Why Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s storyline explored grief in so much detail that it would be hard for anyone to not feel emotional, but its opening scene packed the biggest punch of all. Providing insight into a Wakandan memorial, a celebration of life rather than mourning a death, Wakanda Forever paid the perfect tribute to Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa simultaneously. This was a moment of pure beauty and love, and something that will be difficult to repeat in future MCU projects.

4 WandaVision (2021)

Wanda & Vision Move Into Their Westview Home

Wanda and Vision moving into their home in Westview

Marvel Studios’ Multiverse Saga kicked off with a completely different vibe, as Wanda Maximoff and the thought-dead Vision moved into their new home in Westview, New Jersey, in the opening scene of WandaVision. Playing into the 1950s setting of WandaVision’s first episode, this opening scene featured the first custom-made title sequence for the series, and saw the newly-wed couple jump into their life together with love, seemingly ignoring the events of the MCU’s previous projects. This established a wonderful theme for WandaVision, and delivered some delightful confusion.

WandaVision Poster

WandaVision

Release Date
January 15, 2021

Directors
Matt Shakman

Showrunner
Jac Schaeffer

Why WandaVision’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

WandaVision was a massive divergence for Marvel Studios, with each episode focusing on a different decade of sitcom storytelling within the confines of the Westview Hex. The opening scene of WandaVision’s first episode, “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience,” proved how impactful this new technique could be. After Vision’s tragic death in Avengers: Infinity War, it was great to see Wanda and Vision happy in WandaVision, but this took a sour turn as the truth was revealed, despite the opening scene providing so much joy.

3 Black Panther (2018)

T’Chaka Recounts The History Of Wakanda

Bashenga and Wakanda history animation in Black Panther

While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s opening scene was certainly powerful, 2018’s Black Panther also began with a beautiful sequence. This animated story detailed the history of Wakanda and the legend of the Black Panther, gifting viewers a glimpse at Bashenga, the first King of Wakanda and Black Panther, and laying the foundations for the Jabari tribe’s introduction. Animated by Perception, Black Panther’s stunning prologue told audiences everything they needed to know about the Wakandan world, allowing the movie to jump right into the action without the need for senseless exposition.

Black Panther Theatrical Poster depicting the primary cast

Black Panther

Director
Ryan Coogler

Release Date
February 16, 2018

Runtime
134 Minutes

Why Black Panther’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

Black Panther’s opening sequence was animated to perfection, gifting audiences a brief run-down of Wakanda’s history, narrated by T’Chaka, the former King of Wakanda and T’Challa’s father. The prologue retained the purple and black color palette that emanated through the entire movie, and detailed some of the history of vibranium, which made more sense of vibranium’s previous appearances in the MCU. It’s a shame this animation style hasn’t been repeated in the MCU, but it’s possible it could be revisited for Marvel Studios’ potential Black Panther 3.

2 Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos Proved His Strength By Killing 2 Major MCU Heroes

2018’s Avengers: Infinity War marked the culmination of a decade of MCU stories, so needed to open with a bang. Josh Brolin’s Thanos, who had previously made cameo appearances in the MCU, began his quest to collect the six Infinity Stones. Thanos used the Power Stone to torture Thor, prompting Loki to hand over the Tesseract. Even after winning a brawl with the Hulk, Thanos again proved his power by killing both Heimdall and Loki, though Bruce Banner was thankfully sent to Earth by the former to warn the Avengers of Thanos’ impending attack.

Why Avengers: Infinity War’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

This emotional opening moment set the tone for the whole of Avengers: Infinity War, as Thor lost against Thanos, so would the Avengers later on. Thanos proved his strength from the get go, wiping out two popular MCU characters, with Loki being killed only moments after his brilliant redemption in Thor: Ragnarok. Thanos didn’t come to play, and this opening scene proved it, helping to set the right atmosphere for the audience by shocking everyone in the dramatic movie’s first ten minutes.

1 Iron Man (2008)

Tony Stark Started The MCU With A Blast

Tony Stark taken captive by the Ten Rings in Iron Man

There may be no stronger opening moment in the MCU than that in 2008’s Iron Man, the franchise’s first project. Robert Downey Jr. debuted as Tony Stark in Iron Man, and would go on to become the face of the MCU, but not before being taken captive by the Ten Rings in Afghanistan. Bursting onto screens to the tune of AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” Downey Jr. let everyone who exactly who Tony Stark was in this very first scene: an arrogant and abrasive man, but this introduction would make his evolution over the next eleven years even more satisfying.

Iron Man

Release Date
May 2, 2008

Runtime
126 minutes

Why Iron Man’s Opening Is One Of The MCU’s Best

Iron Man kick-started the MCU with a burst of energy and fire, setting up Robert Downey Jr. to spearhead the franchise for the next decade, and putting his love of classic rock front-and-center. Not only that, but Iron Man’s opening scene also packed in a whole lot of action that would have a massive impact on Stark’s character for years to come. To this day, Iron Man’s opening moment is perhaps one of, if not the, strongest moments in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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