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The 5 Best Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Musical Moments | LRM’s Top 5

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had plenty of great musical moments. But which five are the best?

Movies may be a visual medium, but there’s no denying the impact music has on it. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and James Gunn have certain musical staples to their movies. More often than not, it makes for a more memorable and exciting experience for the movies in question. Needless, to say, the biggest film franchise in existence — the Marvel Cinematic Universe — has had its fair share of great musical moments.

In fact, I had plenty in mind when I set out to make this list. Interestingly enough, though, I also stumbled across an unexpected wrinkle. The hope was that I would be able to find a good number from each Phase of the MCU — but alas, that didn’t happen. For one reason or another, the memorable music moments for the first couple of phases are almost nonexistent. Be it because of Marvel Studios playing it safe with directors or because of how music’s role in film has changed over the last decade (the 2000s through around 2016 or so saw music play a secondary role in storytelling), I’m not sure.

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Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s because my list is lopsided as all hell. Seriously, there’s a very real slant toward Phase 3 of the MCU in this one. But I blame the fact that Phase 3 simply has more great musical moments, so I apologize to no one for this. 

I also need to throw out there that I limited myself to ONE moment from the Guardians of the Galaxy series. I could probably fill a list of five from those two movies alone and I wanted to spread the love. So, without further ado, here we go. The best MCU musical moments so far!

Number 5: Iron Man – Back in Black

I couldn’t not bring this one up. Our first foray into the MCU started out on the dirt roads of Afghanistan. A caravan of Humvees escorted one Tony Stark from his latest weapons demonstration. Little did he know what was in store for him mere moments later. After a few seconds of silence, the iconic AC/DC song “Back in Black” came on. 

It helped set the tone for the film right from the get-go. Tony Stark wouldn’t be your standard protagonist. He’d be rich, cool, slick, and would have an edge to him film audiences weren’t quite used to from a comic book movie. While the song itself was iconic long before Iron Man hit theaters, it will forever be associated with everyone’s favorite former weapon’s dealer. It will also be revered for how it kicked off the MCU with such style and panache. 

Number 4: Thor: Ragnarok – Thor vs. Surtur

Thor has always been a problematic character. Before the original film came out, he was my biggest concern. While they did a stellar job incorporating his character into the world, his standalone films were…divisive, at best. Thor was okay, but Thor: The Dark World was a heaping mess of a film. It showed that going the serious grimdark direction for the character wasn’t the way to go. Enter Taika Waititi. He gave the character and world a more comedic slant and leaned into the cooler aspects of the character.

What better way to introduce him than with Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” It’s weird, unexpected, and about as far as you could get from the franchise’s traditional epic score. It made a bolt statement right out the gate that this wasn’t going to be your daddy’s Thor, and readied our bodies for the great film to come. 

Number 3: Avengers: Infinity War – The Secret Avengers Arrive

In the closing minutes of Captain America: Civil War, Cap and co. escaped from their sea-dwelling prison and went on the run. It would be the last we saw of any of them for a long time. We had no idea where they were, what they were doing, or what state they were in. So, you can imagine our surprise when, in the midst of Vision and Scarlet Witch fighting the Black Order, that we saw Cap’s silhouette from behind a moving train.

Cap steps out from the darkness, and as the Avengers theme plays, Falcon, Cap, and Scarlet Witch, we are treated to musical deft and grace. It’s moments like this that really set Phase 3 apart from early phases. In early films, there would be few musical cues to highlight such moments. But by the time this movie came out, fans knew what the music meant, and it brought with it some real nostalgia and plenty of smiles with it.

Number 2: Avengers: Endgame – Portals

What can I say? This is one of the most magical moments in cinematic history. The chips are stacked against our heroes. They may have brought back everyone from the snap, but they had to face Thanos’ army alone. That is until Cap gets a call from Falcon and portals start opening up behind them. 

This moment is handled so perfectly. The music handles its building silence, percussion, and musical crescendo in a way only the MCU can. The music continues to build as virtually every character we’ve seen for the past 22 movies walked up. And at the end of it, we hear Cap say the immortal line, “Avengers Assemble” for the first time ever. 

And then the Avengers theme plays as they charge out. I’m not even listening to it and I’m still getting chills. It’s so damn near perfection it’s hard to believe there’s another one out there that has it beat.

Number 1: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Yondu, Rocket, And Baby Groot’s Escape

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2..L to R: Rocket (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel), and Yondu (Michael Rooker)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

This was a tough one for me. The Guardians of the Galaxy films have plenty of great musical moments. But there’s always one I come back to. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Yondu in the first film, his character went through one hell of an evolution in Vol. 2. He lost most of his Ravager friends and lost control of his iconic arrow, which he controls with a whistle.

But with the help of Groot and Kraglin, he recovered the arrow. But rather than sneak out, he, Rocket, and Baby Groot blare the song “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans as Yondu whistles the arrow through countless chests. It’s so glorious, so pulpy, and oh-so-satisfying. We’d spent a good chunk of the movie seeing these guys torture Baby Groot and murder dozens of Yondu’s loyal subjects. 

And I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the most stylish ways anyone could have killed an entire spaceship worth of baddies. It is the epitome of James Gunn’s visionary direction, mixing fun, violence, music, and heart all in one scene. Plus, it really drives home the fact that these Guardians aren’t saints. They’re essentially pirates who will kill anyone who’s in their way.

So, what do you think of the best Marvel Cinematic Universe musical moments? Do you agree with my picks? Sound off in the comments down below!

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