A recording was recently released of a movie theater audience reacting to the moment in Avengers: Endgame when Captain America finally lifts Thor's hammer to wield in battle against Thanos. The crowd's response is electric, and filled with loud cheers that bring a smile to your face.
It communicates asense of wonder and excitement -- one that is shared by everyone who was in attendance, and all over the world. Although there are many great moments in other Marvel Studios films, the clip is definitive proof that this moment is the greatest in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The reason the scene where Captain America wields Mjolnir is such an epic, cheer-worthy moment isn't just because of the sheer spectacle it delivers, it's because it's a moment that pays off a set-up that was, at the time, eight years in the making, dating all the way back to 2011's Thor. In the God of Thunder's first solo outing, fans learned all about Mjolnir, and the enchantment that allows only those who are worthy of lifting it. Over the years, many characters have tried to lift it, with little to no success.
And as fans saw more and more of Mjolnir in action in other films, at the same time, Captain America's popularity continued to rise. With films such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, Steve Rogers became a fan-favorite mainstay of the MCU on par with Tony Stark. Steve's worthiness was even briefly teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it didn't go further beyond that. Therefore, there were multiple threads running concurrently throughout the MCU that helped set up this moment, and the payoff is immensely gratifying because of it.
Cap lifting the hammer was equally astonishing for movie and comic book fans. What's more, it also helped that the moment came at just the right time, following the immeasurable loss in Infinity War and the desperate fight to defeat Thanos in Endgame. At the time, the release of Endgame was the pinnacle of anticipation and excitement for the MCU. With so much emotion running throughout the film, this scene delivered the best possible fan-service imaginable.
There are other amazing scenes in the MCU, including the time Earth's Mightiest Heroes first assembled in 2012's The Avengers, Spider-Man's debut in Captain America: Civil War, Thor's entrance in Avengers: Infinity War and, of course, Endgame's emotional portals scene And yet, Steve Rogers picking up Thor's hammer ranks above them all.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Josh Brolin as Thanos. The film is available on Digital HD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD.