Five Most Iconic Lines in the MCU: Infinity Saga

July 1, 2020 at 11:59 pm (Reviews, TV/movie review)

There are truckloads of brilliant lines in the MCU: Infinity Saga. It was not easy to whittle them down, but I decided not to attempt to decide which line was funniest or ‘best’, and to focus on the lines that are most instantly recognisable. All of the top five are iconic in part because they are used more than once. Is it cheating or great writing? You decide.

 

5. I could do this all day.

When Captain America is just weedy, asthmatic Steve Trevor, he objects to others mocking soldiers in a movie theatre and is beaten up for it. This is where we get a glimpse of his sheer justice-based tenacity.

“I could do this all day.”

When Bucky comes and chases the bully off, he comments that Steve seems to enjoy bleeding. It’s clear this is not the first time he has gotten himself beaten up and refused to back down even after getting knocked over multiple times.

Of course as super-powered Captain America the line comes up again, and someone who didn’t know Steve would imagine that his toughness comes from his physical strength. It doesn’t.

And of course when Cap says it to Future Cap, thinking Future Cap is Loki, Future Cap is annoyed to have his own line thrown back at him. Because Marvel is nothing if not self-referential.

4. Hulk smash!

An excellent two-word summary of a character. We all remember it best from Marvel’s Avengers, when it is spoken by Captain America as he rapidly outlines a strategy against Loki and co. during the battle of New York. It first appears in The Incredible Hulk and of course is referenced many times after that. In Avengers: Endgame, when several Avengers travel back in to the time to the battle of New York, Professor Hulk is embarrassed by the original Hulk being all… Hulk-y, pausing mid-battle to smash a car.

3. Yibambe!

I have mentioned elsewhere that I came home and yelled “Yibambe” at the cat for weeks. There’s no need for me to tell you how brilliant Black Panther is, since you already know. The world is now very aware that an extremely successful movie can have a whole non-white cast, non-white setting, and even use an actual African language and African accents. The movie knew how good it was, and didn’t even bother having subtitles during the war chant of Yibambe (which only appears later, in Infinity War, but it works because of Black Panther). Because this movie is so good that people were happy to go along with it and even to google it later (figuring out how to spell it on the way). The character of King T’Challa is the closest thing to a straight man that the MCU has, which gives him a weight that no other character possesses. And Wakanda and the Dora Milaje are iconic in their own right (not to mention Okoye) so when they stand united ready to fight, there is real power. All of that characterisation, world-building, and sheer good writing crystallises into that war chant.

And Endgame wouldn’t be as good without it either.

In case you don’t faithfully study the minutiae of your pop culture, Yibambe is a Bantu word meaning “Hold” or “Hold strong”. Bantu is related to Zulu and is spoken by over seven million people, so now you speak one work of Bantu. Be sure to yell it at your pets.

2. I am Iron Man.

This line, waaaay back in the final scene of the first Iron Man, made audiences gasp. It was the first of many delicious twists on superhero film expectations made by Marvel over many years.

So much for Stark’s secret identity.

Any “I am” statement speaks to identity, which is why Stark says, “I am Iron Man” again after destroying all his suits at the end of his trilogy. Even without his armour, he is who he is.

Then, of course, way at the end of it all, in the final battle against Thanos, that line comes back.

Thanos: “I am inevitable.”

Stark: “I am Iron Man”

And Stark snaps his fingers, and Thanos and his army turn to ash.

The universe is saved, and Stark’s life is lost.

It is an unforgettable moment.

Honorable mentions:

For sheer joy: He’s a friend from work! (Thor about Hulk, Thor: Ragnarok)

For insight, on screen and off: I’m always angry. (Dr Banner, transforming into Hulk on a dime in Marvel’s Avengers)

For the biggest twist: Hail Hydra. (Bonus points for when Captain America says it in Endgame, showing that he has more flexibility than he used to have.)

For shocking the audience: You should have gone for the head. (Thanos to Thor, after all Thor has been through, just before Thanos does the snap that kills half of all living things.)

For love: We are Groot. (As Groot sacrifices himself for his friends, in Guardians of the Galaxy.)

For devastation: Mr Stark, I don’t feel so good. (Whether you love Stark, Peter Parker, or both—this line hurts so very much as Peter Parker turns to dust and Stark is left alone.)

1. I am Groot.

It shouldn’t work to have a character who speaks just one phrase over and over and over. Not only do the films manage to annoy the characters without annoying the audience (an impressive feat, believe me), but both of the Groot characters are extremely well-developed character-wise.

“I am Groot” has a million meanings, and the vast majority are instantly understood by the audience.

 

Goodbye from Baby Groot!

3 Comments

  1. Rex said,

    Wakanda Forever!

  2. Summary of a Saga | crazy talk said,

    […] 5 Most Iconic Lines […]

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