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Every Avenger's favorite MCU movie

Now that the dust has settled in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, fans are left contemplating the end of an era that saw Marvel Studios pull off a superpowered filmic feat. Let us not forget that when Iron Man came out in February 2008, the Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man was the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time — and in July of that year, it looked like DC was going to be the comics giant to translate their success from page to screen, thanks to The Dark Knight.

But over the next decade, Marvel successfully introduced a series of characters formerly known mainly to comics collectors, and made them cool enough to draw in mainstream audiences. On top of that, they managed to bring their stories together in movies that pushed the potential of storytelling to its action-packed, superpower-wielding, world-saving limits. 

After committing to the Avengers for years, it's no wonder fans are feeling destitute — and they aren't alone. While Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch has her own Disney+ show WandaVision lined up, and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow is finally getting her own solo movie, it's unclear whether certain other Avengers will return to the MCU. In the long gap between Spider-Man: Far from Home and Black Widow, it's time to get nostalgic — and let the Avengers actors themselves tell us which MCU movies are their personal favorites.

Chris Evans has a soft spot for The Winter Soldier

Although his emotional farewell tweet made even Deadpool weep, Chris Evans nearly didn't join the Avengers at all. In March 2019, he told the Hollywood Reporter that he turned down the role of Captain America twice, since he was experiencing panic attacks and questioning his career choice when the big call came in. In a behind-the-scenes clip on the Endgame Blu-ray, he said he wasn't sure he wanted to commit to a movie that would bring him a lot of attention.

Evans clearly warmed to the role, and even chose one of his own solo outings as his favorite MCU film. As he told Men's Journal, "The first Captain America movie, I felt like my hair was on fire the whole time, I was terrified! The Avengers movie, same thing. Winter Soldier was the first one where I kinda felt like I had my feet on the ground, actually starting to understand the character."

He even has a favorite scene. "I'm partial to that fight scene in the elevator," he told the Hollywood Reporter in a video interview. "That was the first scene we shot in the second Captain America movie... and that first elevator fight scene came out really great in my opinion."

Robert Downey Jr. found eight minutes in heaven

After kickstarting the MCU with 2008's Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. played genius billionaire playboy philanthropist/armored superhero Tony Stark for 11 years before (spoiler alert) his demise in Endgame. But Downey's favorite moment of the entire MCU took place before that, in Avengers: Infinity War. In a video interview also printed in an official book, he said, "The last eight minutes of that movie are maybe the best eight minutes in the entire history of the whole run of them, in a way, because everyone's involved. So I was delighted."

However, post-Endgame, Downey was happy to admit that it was time for him to bow out — and was even more candid about his departure than Chris Evans. Speaking about himself and the Captain America actor, Downey told Disney fansite D23, "We had to get off. We opted to, and knew it was part of the job to get off the bus while it rolled on to other destinations." He added, "There's something very sobering about it. I'm glad he and I will be there to welcome others as they retire their jerseys."

Iron Man brought Jeremy Renner on board

While Robert Downey Jr. made the modest move of picking a movie that put the focus on all of the Avengers in one epic battle scene, his OG solo outing got some love from a co-star. Jeremy Renner, a.k.a. Hawkeye, a.k.a. Clint Barton, told ET Canada, "The one that started it off for me was Iron Man... It's actually the main reason why I got on to play Hawkeye, because I loved how plausible they actually made it seem, like, 'How the heck are they gonna make this happen, with Thor and all this stuff?' So yeah, I had to jump on early on because of that."

Renner hasn't entirely jumped out yet. After Avengers: Endgame gave Hawkeye a happy ending, it was announced at Comic-Con 2019 that he'll be picking up the bow and arrows once again for a Disney+ show. Scheduled for fall 2021, the series will see Hawkeye train up his protégé Kate Bishop so she can take over the role as archer vigilante. In the comics, Bishop adopts the identity when she joins the Young Avengers — adding further fire to rumors that Marvel are looking to bring that comics series to the screen. For now, Renner is excited to see Marvel's next chapter, telling a fan festival: "With Endgame, I think with any ending, it creates a new beginning for a lot of things... So it was exciting."

Don Cheadle thought Thor: Ragnorak was hilarious

Despite appearances in both the Iron Man and Captain America franchises, as well as three Avengers and a mini Captain Marvel cameo, Don Cheadle shunned his own work when picking a favorite. In a three-way interview alongside Brie Larson and Chris Hemsworth, Cheadle told ET Canada, "I liked the last Thor... It's hilarious." Having praised one co-star's work, he quickly added, "But right there with it is probably Captain Marvel. I mean, they're neck and neck."

Cheadle maintained that impeccable diplomacy in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. When Kimmel asked, "Are they gonna do a War Machine separate movie or series or anything like that? Has there been any discussion of that?" Cheadle responded with a polite but firm, "I'm not allowed to talk about that... I'm not allowed to discuss the discussions I may or may not have had." Just so we're entirely clear on how much Marvel and Disney frown upon revelations, he elaborated, "If you discuss discussing discussions that have been had, they dissuade you from that, and they discuss it with your agents." If War Machine is going to come back in a future phase, we won't hear it from Cheadle until Marvel gives him the go-ahead.

Brie Larson had feelings about Infinity War

In an interview with ET Canada alongside Don Cheadle and Chris Hemsworth, Brie Larson picked her own favorite, explaining, "I liked Avengers: Infinity War. I saw it for the first time at the premiere and it just made me feel so many things, because you're watching all these characters that you've seen for so long have these very quintessential and surprising interactions. And then you're really upset."

There's another reason Larson might have a soft spot for Infinity War: she tried on her Captain Marvel costume for the first time on that set. It was also the last time she'd be watching an Avengers movie that she didn't appear in — especially since she's set to lead the next phase of Marvel releases. 

As the latest edition to the MCU pre-Endgame, Larson had some catching up to do. Although her solo outing Captain Marvel was released just over a month before Endgame, she actually filmed her scenes in the epic ensemble before there was even a script for Captain Marvel — so instead of being able to watch like a fan, she spent a lot of time confused. As Endgame co-writer Stephen McFeely put it, "She's saying lines for a character 20 years after her origin story, which no one's written yet. It's just nuts."

Larson has a favorite MCU character, too. "I really like Baby Groot," she told an interviewer. "I guess now Teenage Groot. But Groot."

Chris Hemsworth was wowed by the Guardians

After Don Cheadle cited Chris Hemsworth's third Thor movie as the best of the MCU, Hemsworth picked out the Guardians of the Galaxy as his own favorites, telling ET Canada, "The first Guardians was like, wow, this is different, this is cool, and unique, and really kind of turned it all in a different direction again totally. I love that film. And Captain Marvel."

In contrast to Chris Evans' reluctance around taking on Captain America, Hemsworth was enthusiastic about playing Thor from the start, even affectionately battling his brother Liam over the part. In an interview with Ellen Degeneres to promote Endgame, he told her, "I feel like a fan of this whole thing as much as anyone else, and interested to see if I live or die or what happens." Asked if he'd return to the MCU if he got the chance, he said, "Me personally, it's the best fun I've ever had, and I'd be happy to do more if they wanted me. More than happy." 

Since we now know that Endgame sees Thor team up with the Guardians, it's implied that Hemsworth might indeed get to join his favorite franchise. However, since there'll also be a Thor 4 starring Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Hemsworth, set and released before Guardians 3, exactly how he'll get there is a mystery for now.

Paul Rudd smiled all the way through Thor: Ragnarok

Since we got to know Paul Rudd through his roles in comedies like Anchorman, Parks and Recreation and Wet Hot American Summer, it makes sense that his favorite MCU film is the funniest. "I must say," he told ET Canada, "when I saw Ragnarok, I couldn't stop smiling. I loved it. But I've really enjoyed Marvel movies, it's tough to pick a favorite."

It's just as tough to see Rudd's future as Ant-Man. In 2015, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said of Rudd's contract, "Three is the minimum. But I think it's three-plus-plus to appear in other things." If Endgame and Captain America are considered the pluses, this implies that we should be getting another Ant-Man movie to complete the trilogy. But it wasn't announced at Marvel's big unveiling of their Phase 4 slate in July 2019, and that June, Rudd told Yahoo! that he didn't know what was going on with Ant-Man 3. "You need to make a call to the top brass," he shrugged. "Start a campaign to make it happen."

Tom Holland thinks his favorite movie could land him a job

Paul Rudd and Don Cheadle can recruit three more people to their Thor: Ragnarok fan club, according to Tom Holland. While doing press for Spider-Man: Far from Home with Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Mysterio, Holland read a question from a fan who wanted to know Holland's favorite MCU movie in which he didn't appear. "I like Thor: Ragnarok," Holland said, to which Gyllenhaal responded, "Oh I was about to say that!" 

Noting that Ragnarok is "also Quentin Tarantino's favorite Marvel movie," Holland continued, "Which means he watches these movies, which means he might watch [Far from Home] — which means I might be in a Tarantino movie." 

You can't blame Holland for doing a little job hunting — with Spider-Man's MCU future in doubt, the wall-crawler's next big-screen appearances will look very different. People love Holland as Spidey, and his upcoming outings as the character will no doubt do well with audiences, but it's good to have Tarantino-shaped options, just in case.

Evangeline Lilly appreciates this 'political thriller'

Evangeline Lilly has kicked plenty of bad-guy butt in the Ant-Man movies, but she isn't just here for the action scenes. Asked which of the MCU movies was her favorite aside from her own, Lilly told an interviewer, "The Winter Soldier. I thought that it was such a deftly handled political thriller, and I felt like the topics they were attacking and tackling were so serious and so relevant. I think a lot of the times, some of the issues in superhero movies can be a bit archaic... But this was, I thought, much more modernized in the things that I certainly worry about in this day and age, and it was dealt with with courage and grace." 

Lilly is presumably talking about Zola's Algorithm, which analyzes people's personal data to determine whether they're a potential threat to secret security force/terrorist group HYDRA. While our technology is hopefully far behind the MCU's version, it's a stark warning about the dangers of organizations having access to personal data, set on a superhero-sized stage.

Karen Gillan has the highest praise for Avengers: Endgame

Disney and Marvel guard the plots of their movies as closely as a superhero does their secret identity, to the point that the actors don't even know the full script. But Karen Gillan, a.k.a. Nebula, still managed to offer up some enticing Avengers: Endgame tidbits while doing press for the film. She didn't just declare Endgame the best MCU movie ever — she told the Toronto Sun, "It's going to be the best superhero movie of all time. Even if you've never seen these characters before, it doesn't matter. You can still jump onboard and you're going to have a whale of a time."

Gillan especially relishes the Marvel mania because when she signed up to play Thanos' unloved daughter in Guardians of the Galaxy, she figured she was in for a one and done. As she told the Los Angeles Times, "I was supposed to do eight days of filming and that was going to be it, and then it turned into something like 20 days, and all of a sudden I was coming back for the sequel. I was like, 'This is the greatest!'" It's pretty certain that she'll also be returning for the third Guardians film — whenever that happens.

Iron Man converted DC fanboy Dave Bautista

Karen Gillan's Guardians co-star Dave Bautista, who plays Drax, echoed Jeremy Renner in his appreciation for the first MCU installment of them all. He told Collider, "If I had to narrow down my favorite Marvel film: Iron Man. My favorite, I love it." He even admitted that before Robert Downey Jr.'s debut outing, he was more of a DC guy. "That movie made me a fan of Iron Man, because up until then I really wasn't. Batman and Aquaman were my guys growing up, oddly enough. It just made me a fan and I started watching from then on and all the Marvel movies, it's just got the golden touch. They've really got their finger on the pulse."

Bautista didn't totally ditch DC. On August 29th 2019, he revealed on Twitter that he'd previously turned down an unspecified role for DC — Christopher Nolan's Bane, perhaps? — because it conflicted with his schedule. In the same tweet, he also hinted at trouble in paradise, revealing that he really wants Drax to have a standalone movie, but that "@MarvelStudios doesn't see worth in #drax or possibly myself or both but I'm not giving up." Even without his own solo project, Bautista is signed on for Guardians 3 — although he'd previously threatened to quit after James Gunn was fired. But fear not: they're both back on board the Benatar, wherever and whenever that might be.

Lupita Nyong'o backs Black Panther for its flyness and its politics

When the Black Panther Blu-ray and DVD editions came out, we learned each cast member's favorite MCU movie. Lupita Nyong'o and her co-stars Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett all named Black Panther as their favorite, and Nyong'o told ScreenRant, "I just feel so blessed to be a part of this movie that has the potential to inform and shift our popular culture. And the fact that it's not only fly for days, but it's also got a really interesting message and something that really makes you think." 

Talking to The View, she talked up the film's representation of women. "I think what's really special about this film is that we see an idyllic society that has figured out its gender dynamics, where women are allowed to assume their power, realize their full potential, and the men are not threatened by it," she mused. "They can be a support to each other, which is the world we want to see." Having grown up in Kenya, Nyong'o was also happy to tell a story set on the African continent that extended beyond the typical narrative of poverty. "It looks cool, it looks futuristic, but it's drawing from ancient cultures on the continent very specifically... It's a re-imagining of what would have been possible had Africa been allowed to realize itself for itself."

Chadwick Boseman is Team Thor: Ragnarok

Not everyone in the Black Panther cast chose their own movie as their favorite. Chadwick Boseman, Letitia Wright, and Andy Serkis all voted for Thor: Ragnarok. (For anyone who's counting, that brings the third Thor movie's tally to seven MCUers and, er, one Quentin Tarantino. If you ask the critics, Black Panther is number one, with a 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.)

Maybe it's not surprising that in his downtime, Boseman prefers to enjoy the zanier side of the MCU, given how much pressure he felt playing the lead in the first Marvel movie with a predominantly black cast. "I don't really have words to define it," he told the BBC. "It's humbling to be able to do it... That's why you spend the time in the gym, that's why you spend the time doing research, that's why you deal with the long hours — because you know that this is a meaningful experience."

Having joined the MCU in Phase 3 with his appearance in Captain Marvel: Civil War, Boseman has plenty of adventures left, and Black Panther 2 is scheduled to come out on May 6, 2022. Luckily, it's not all hard work. "You're a kid, essentially, when you're playing a superhero," he added. "You're doing what you always did when you were playing in the backyard or at your friend's house."

Kevin Feige has a favorite MCU movie, too

Okay, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige isn't an Avenger — but in a way, he's the real-life Nick Fury of the bunch, masterminding them all. In June 2018, he revealed his personal favorite, telling the Produced By conference that it's Black Panther. "We're watching the final playback... and when it ended I just instinctually leaned over to [director Ryan Coogler] and said, 'I think this is the best movie we've ever made,'" he recalled. "We had to make that movie to destroy a myth that black movies don't succeed around the world."

Feige isn't just playing favorites with whole movies. He's previously revealed that his top moment in the MCU — so far — comes at the end of Endgame, when most of the Avengers assemble for a final showdown. "We're entering this moment, which I've said before is the happiest and proudest moment of my career with Marvel Studios," he said. "It was overwhelmingly emotional having everyone there on the same day."