The MCU has spent over a decade adapting and altering a number of comic book storylines into its movies, and with that has managed to weave in a number of scenes ripped directly from the comics, here is our list of the best of them.
Captain America vs Iron Man
Despite taking a relatively liberal approach to the adaptation of the Civil War storyline, which in the comics saw Captain America and Iron Man disagree over whether superheroes should register their secret identities with the government, rather than work as a team controlled by the UN (as we see in the MCU, where almost no hero has a secret identity), the movie did however take it’s time to mirror a number of scenes from the comic it’s loosely based on. The most iconic of which is the final showdown between Captain America and Iron Man, where Iron Man fires an energy beam at Cap’s shield. The movie even goes that extra step in making sure we notice the moment by having a slight pause on the scene.
Spider-Man and the Debris
One of the seminal moments of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming sees Peter Parker trapped beneath a pile of rubble after trying to take on the Vulture without his Stark Suit. The scene serves as Peter’s realisation that he is Spider-Man regardless of what suit he’s wearing, and is some ways the end to the MCU’s Spider-Man’s origin story. But to add even more to the scene, the shot is a direct reference to the cover (and opening panels) of 1966’s The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1, #33.
In the opening of Avengers: Infinity War, after Thanos beats up Hulk with terrifying ease, Heimdall manages to conjure some dark energy and send Hulk back to Earth, to warn Earth’s heroes of Thanos. He is then transported across the galaxy and goes crashing into the Sanctum Sanctorum. The scene almost exactly mirrors the arrival of Silver Surfer at the opening of the Infinity Gauntlet comic book, who warns of Thanos, rather than Bruce Banner.
Hawkeye’s Ant-Man Arrow
One of the biggest moments of Captain America: Civil War is the airport fight scene, which pits Iron Man’s team of himself, War Machine, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, and Spider-Man (making his debut during the fight), against Captain America’s opposing team of Bucky, Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man. The sequence is filled with a number of great moments including Spider-Man taking down almost everyone with ease, Ant-Man turning giant for the first time, a big Star Wars reference, and of course, Hawkeye shooting a miniaturised Ant-Man on the head of an arrow. The shot perfectly echoes the cover of Avengers #223, which sees Ant-Man on Hawkeye’s Arrow, with the amazing subtitle; “When Ant-Man and Hawkeye join. forces… Somebody’s gonna get it!”
Black Panther vs Cull Obsidian
Infinity War’s climactic fight sees the heroes of Earth fight off Thanos’ Black Order in Wakanda in an effort to stop Thanos getting the Mind Stone from Vision. The fight has a number of standout moments and is a particularly tense action sequence, especially as it’s inter-spliced with Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Starlord, Drax and Mantis fighting Thanos on Titan. One of the coolest moments sees Black Panther leap into the air and take on Cull Obsidian alone. The shot pays homage to a scene from the Infinity comic book, which sees Black Panther punching Cull Obsidian’s comic book counterpart, Black Dwarf.
The armour clad, gladiator style, Hulk made his debut in the Planet Hulk storyline, which saw Bruce Banner’s Hulk sent from Earth, eventually landing on the planet Sakaar, where he is forced to fight as a slave warrior for the planet’s emperor, the Red King. Parts of the storyline were adapted into 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, which also saw Hulk arrive on the planet Sakaar and become a fighting champion. As a homage to the storyline, Hulk’s Ragnarok armour is a near-perfect realisation of the design from Planet Hulk.
Thanos Creatively Using the Stones
As Thanos collects the Infinity Stones throughout Avengers: Infinity War, he experiments with their use throughout his various fights with the heroes of the MCU. The most visual use being how he takes out the Guardians of the Galaxy with the Reality Stone. After completely faking a scene with the Collector, and then his own death at the hands of Gamora with the stone, Thanos uses it to incapacitate the other Guardians in some pretty creative ways. He dices Drax into cubes and spiralises Mantis, and although they go back to normal once he leaves, the scene itself is another taken from the Infinity Gauntlet comic book, where Thanos uses the Gauntlet to do the same, in a desperate attempt to impress the mute Death.
Captain America Punches Hitler
The iconic cover to the first ever issue of Captain America sees Steve Rogers punching Hitler in the face, something he’s gone on to do a number of times since. And although Captain America: The First Avengers couldn’t fit Steve punching the actual Hitler into its plot, the story still managed to weave the iconic scene into the movie. Whilst Captain America is on his fundraising tour of America, part of his stage show is to punch Hitler in the face.
Thanos’ Armour Clad Scarecrow
One of the biggest twists of Avengers: Infinity War was the fact that it ended on the bad guy winning. Thanos manages to gather all of the Infinity Stones and perform the ‘snap’, wiping out half of the universe. And despite that being a huge shock, his apparent retirement to a quiet looking farm is straight from the comics, right down to his armour, which he only briefly wears in Infinity War, on a scarecrow. It’s hardly the focal point of the closing scene of Infinity War, but does get a full shot in Endgame, and is a neat easter egg, referencing the end to Thanos’ storyline in the Infinity Gauntlet comics.
2016’s Doctor Strange introduces both Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange and all kinds of new magic into the MCU, namely the ability to revert into an astral plane where a ghostlike apparition is able to move independently from someone’s physical body. This comes up a number of times throughout the movie, but the most notable sequence sees Doctor Strange fighting with one of Kaecilius’ disciples in the astral plane whilst advising Christine Palmer on his own surgery. The scene mirrors a very similar scene from The Oath storyline which sees Strange talking to Night Nurse while she tries to help him.
Ebony Maw Tortures Doctor Strange
As Doctor Strange has the Time Stone, he was one of Thanos’ main targets on Earth, and it doesn’t take the Black Order very long to find him. In fact, even with help from Wong, Iron Man and Spider-Man, Ebony Maw manages to capture Doctor Strange very easily. And yet Doctor Strange’s own magic proves too difficult for Ebony Maw to beat, resulting in Maw torturing Strange in an affront to get the stone. The scene pays homage to a similar scene in the Infinity comic where Maw also tortures Strange.
Spider-Man Takes on the Pretend Avengers
At the beginning of Spider-Man: Homecoming Spidey’s first real fight (excluding the brief scenes of his battle during Civil War) is against a group of thieves in Avengers masks. The scene is packed full of jokes and references, from the masks being the classic comic book looks of the Avengers, to Spider-Man noting that it’s nice to meet Thor and Hulk, pointing out that they are the only Avengers he hasn’t met yet. But the coolest reference is that the whole scene is a big nod to the Ultimate Comics, which despite starring Miles Morales as Spider-Man, Homecoming takes a lot of its influence from.
Web Face Thanos
During the battle between Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Iron Man, what is left of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thanos, in Avengers: Infinity War Spider-Man manages to get a number of hits in against the Mad Titan. One of them includes a web to the face, which is yet another shot taken from the pages of the Infinity Gauntlet comic book.
Winter Soldier vs Captain America’s Shield
Captain America: The Winter Soldier marked a big shift in the MCU, both in terms of delivering a more serious spy thriller style story for Cap, the truth about S.H.I.E.L.D and Hydra, and the full story of what happened to Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier. The movie, of course, took a lot of inspiration from the Winter Soldier comic book, right down to some of the shots, in particular, a scene that sees Winter Soldier punching Captain America’s Shield, from Captain America #14.
The Executioner, Dez, and Troy
With the MCU always out to bring in as many characters from the comics as possible Thor Ragnarok finally introduces Skurge the Executioner, a prominent Asgardian and regular enemy of Thor from the comics. The MCU version of Skurge sees him reluctantly team up with Hella as she takes control of Asgard, eventually, he turns on her and uses his trusty automatic rifles (that he got from Tex-‘arse’) to shoot a number of her undead followers. The scene is ripped straight from the pages of Mighty Thor #362.
Ned and his Lego
With Spider-Man: Homecoming taking a lot of its influence from the Ultimate Comics, Peter Parker’s best friend and ‘man in the chair’ is Ned Leeds, who combines a number of characters from the comics. Firstly the main Marvel continuities’ Ned Leeds who works with Peter as a reporter for the Daily Bugle, but also Ganke Lee, Miles Morales’ best friend from the Ultimate Universe who looks and acts a lot like the MCU’s Ned, right down to hanging out in Peter’s (or Miles’ in the comics) room and building LEGO sets.