The MCU began in 2008 with Iron Man and hasn’t stopped since. Dividing itself into Phases, each more ambitious than the previous, the MCU has evolved along with its audience. Now in the middle of Phase Four, it’s hard to deny the MCU is the most influential and successful franchise in cinematic history.
Phase One has only six movies, but that doesn’t stop it from having some of the most unforgettable and defining lines in the MCU. From witty one-liners to heartfelt quotes, these dialogues have become engrained in fans’ minds, perfectly representing why the MCU is so beloved.
Natasha and Clint have one of the strongest friendships in the MCU. Throughout the Infinity Saga, fans see their bond develop and grow, leading to their pivotal scene in Avengers: Endgame when they battle to keep the other from sacrificing themselves.
Phase One introduced their friendship with The Avengers, establishing that they have been through several missions together. Natasha’s line about Budapest, spoken during the battle of New York, keeps coming back throughout the MCU until Black Widow reveals what happened during the mission. And while the ultimate payoff was somewhat disappointing, the Budapest line remained popular throughout the Infinity Saga.
For all terms and purposes, Loki is the main antagonist of Phase One. His theft of the Tesseract is the catalyst for the Avengers to assemble, and his army of Chitauri causes considerable damage to the Big Apple.
As such, Thor’s description of Loki’s plan as “madness” fits perfectly with the God of Mischief’s entire character arc. In Phase One, Loki is all about power and claiming the throne of Asgard, which he considers his “birthright.” Loki’s ambitions and vanity essentially turned him into a megalomaniac, and while future movies would develop him into an antihero, his first role was that of a villain.
Captain America was the moral compass of the MCU. Righteous and staunchly committed to justice, Cap was a boy scout to the tee, always willing to lend a hand and fight for what’s right.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve asks Erskine why he was chosen for the super-soldier program. Erskine replies by saying that being a good man is more important than being a good soldier. Steve takes this to heart. Indeed, every Captain America appearance in the MCU features a challenging decision for Steve to make. However, he never allows himself to stray from the right path, staying the good man Erskine wanted him to be.
The mindless beast in the Avengers isn’t so mindless after all. Mark Ruffalo’s take on Hulk debuts in The Avengers, injecting the character with a dry and clumsy sense of humor that would become his trademark.
During their confrontation, Hulk quickly subdues and beats Loki around senselessly, declaring him a “puny god.” The quote is not only hilarious but also illustrates what’s so unique about Hulk. Many consider him a being of pure rage, incapable of logic or reason. However, Ruffalo’s Hulk is funny, both intentionally and unintentionally, proving there’s more to him than just anger.
Mjolnir is one of the best weapons in the MCU. Thor’s iconic hammer is the subject of many jokes and questions throughout the Infinity Saga, with many characters doubting its mechanics and considering it a hoax on Thor’s part.
The first Thor film isn’t particularly well-liked, but it successfully introduced Mjolnir, explaining how it works. Endgame proved that the Hammer doesn’t belong exclusively to Thor. Indeed, anyone worthy can wield it. Seeing Cap use it in battle added more weight to Odin’s line from the first movie, a timeless quote that remains relevant, especially with the upcoming release of Thor: Love and Thunder.
Peggy and Steve are among the MCU’s most significant romantic relationships. Steve keeps in touch with her even after waking up in the future, preserving her memory in his heart with unparalleled devotion.
Steve not going on his date with Peggy is one of the worst things to happen to any couple in the MCU because it signifies the sacrifices and the pain that comes with superhero life, something WandaVision also explores. Steve’s entire arc throughout the Infinity Saga revolves around loss and coming to terms with his new place in the world. The promise of the date that never came weighs heavy on him, so when he eventually returns to his time to have his dance with Peggy, fans can’t help but rejoice.
Tony Stark is vain and isn’t afraid to show it. The man thinks highly of himself, although he has the credentials to back it up. Tony shows considerable growth throughout the Infinity Saga, but he never abandons his egotistical ways.
During one of the Avengers’ first meetings, he instantly clashes with the uptight Cap, who calls him out on his selfishness. However, Tony admits his past mistakes and feels shame over them. He isn’t oblivious to the pain he caused, so he constantly tries to be better. Tony is indeed a genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist, but he’s also a good man at heart.
Despite his usually stoic appearance, Captain America could be unintentionally hilarious. As the man out of time, he constantly struggles to keep up with the world around him, especially when said world is full of technological enhancements he could hardly understand.
Cap’s excitement at understanding a Wizard of Oz is not only funny and endearing but also a perfect summarization of his character. Steve spends most of his time in the MCU learning about the new world he finds himself in, so it makes sense that he counts his blessings whenever he has them.
Loki’s invasion of New York marks the first time the Avengers assemble. It’s a genuinely massive threat that could potentially result in the end of the world, either because of the Chitauri or the reckless actions of Earth’s selfish governments.
When Toni confronts Loki, he makes it clear that they know things might not turn out great, but the point is they’ll never stop fighting. Even if they lose, the Avengers will always be there to rectify their failure. This line becomes especially poignant considering the events of Infinity War. The Avengers lose, but they live to fight another day. They’ll always do their best, and in the end, they’ll always prevail, whatever it takes.
It’s fitting that the line that launched the Infinity Saga also ends it. Tony’s confession at the end of Iron Man separated him from all other superheroes, whereas they felt the need to hide their secret identity, Tony embraced it publicly. Tony was Iron Man, even before he had the suit.
The line, spoken again before Tony snapped his fingers during the final battle against Thanos, was the perfect way to end his journey. Tony became a superhero to right the wrongs of his past. By ending Thanos, he effectively saved the universe, cementing himself as the ultimate hero. Yet Tony didn’t do it for recognition or immortality; he did it because it was his duty. He was Iron Man, though and through.
NEXT: All Iron Man Appearances, Ranked By Box Office