Welcome to an ongoing series celebrating all the delicious hunks from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First up, the heroes of PHASE ONE. These are the gentlemen who kicked off this 10 year journey into hawtness.

 

Iron Man/Tony Stark

“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the f**k you were gonna do anyway.” – Robert Downey Jr.

The universe needed a Big Bang, and RDJ was the singularity. 2008’s Iron Man was the runaway success that nobody planned for. We were all drunk on Nolan’s Batman at the time, anticipating the huge failure Heath Ledger’s Joker would be in a couple months. Then, a solid MCU exploded in our laps.

Robert’s interests include practicing Wing Chun Kung Fu, painting, music, and his favorite color is teal.

 

Happy Hogan

“Sex onscreen? I can’t answer that one. I’ve always been the friend of the guy having sex in the movies.” – Jon Favreau

Not only did Jon direct Iron Man, but he also starred as Tony Stark’s personal assistant and bodyguard, Happy Hogan. Jon set the bar for Marvel movies but then lowered it when he came back to direct Iron Man 2. Still, he deserves credit for setting the tone of the MCU and much of the success they’ve reaped.

Jon is a former Wall Street guy, but he always wanted to be a fireman. He married a doctor, so he doesn’t have to worry about money anymore.

 

Nick Fury

“I heard that you can do whatever you want in International Waters, that’s why I filled my Jacuzzi with International Water.” – Samuel L. Jackson

If there was ever an after credit scene that changed the world, it was Samuel L. Jackson’s. When the baddest motherf***er in Hollywood introduced himself as Nick Fury and mentioned the Avengers Initiative, the Nerdverse creamed its jeans.

Sam Jackson incorporated the word “motherf**ker” into his daily vocabulary in order to overcome a stuttering problem. He’s a vegetarian, loves golf, and is a bad motherf***ing success story.

 

War Machine/James “Rhodey” Rhodes (1)

“When I stopped doing that and started thinking about what feels natural and what feels right to me and started pleasing myself, then it became good.” – Terrence Howard

Poor Terrence. He’ll always be the War Machine that could have been. Getting shafted for wanting more cash to do the sequel is nothing new in Hollywood, but maybe he can take comfort in the fact that Iron Man 2 was a low point in the franchise.

Mr. Howard enjoys charitable giving and once proclaimed he had a theory on why bubbles are round that would blow Pythagoras, Einstein and Tesla’s mind, which he has yet to divulge.

 

The Hulk/Bruce Banner (1)

“Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige, my friend.” – Edward Norton

Also in the one-timers club, except this time it wasn’t about the money but creative differences. Edward wanted a lot more control over his Hulk movie, and possibly the MCU itself, than Marvel wanted to give him. Kevin Feige had a vision for this new extended universe, and Norton was the first speed bump. No laws against being a sexy speed bump.

Edward is an avid environmentalist and doesn’t smoke. In fact, he’s not a fan of gratuitous smoking in films at all.

 

War Machine/James “Rhodey” Rhodes (2)

“Most scripts are terrible. Most projects are bad, that’s just kind of the way it is. And I’m not really attracted to those.” – Don Cheadle

Cheadle cemented his presence in the MCU by beating up his drunken best friend and stealing his armor. Besides his smoldering good looks, Don’s down-to-earth temperament does a great job playing opposite RDJ’s ego. It’s the classic Iron Yin and Iron Yang story.

Don loves ironing (ironically), golf, and eating tofu. Any Pixar film makes him laugh and he practices Tai Chi at least every other morning.

 

Thor

“I’d like to think I’m a normal sort of guy, but go to my mum and she’ll probably say, ‘You know, Chris was always the daughter out of my three boys.'” – Chris Hemsworth

He’s the God of Thunder. He’s everybody’s Hollywood boyfriend. He’s Captain Kirk’s dad. Hunksworth is the whole package. We have a lot in common, him and me. We’re both Leos, our favorite food is pizza, he’s 6’3” and I’m 5’10”. He’s cut like a Greek statue and I have a soft doughy exterior. He has a net worth of $50,000,000 and I…I should have stopped with the food and zodiac sign.

Chris likes music, surfing, and sports, because why wouldn’t he? His nickname is “Kip” which I can only assume is Australian for “keep”. As in, whenever anyone meets him they ask, “Can I kip him?”

 

Hawkeye/Clint Barton

“I guess I just have one of those resting faces that makes me look like I want to beat you up.” – Jeremy Renner

He was the butt of a lot of jokes when The Avengers came out. You have a god, a super soldier, a hulk, a metal man, and then a guy with a bow and arrow. I like Hawkeye. He’s the poor man’s Batman of the Avengers, with no super powers but a cool skill set. Or maybe that should be a poor man’s Green Arrow. But isn’t Green Arrow the poor man’s Batman of DC? But Green Arrow’s rich, so he’d be the rich poor man’s Batman. Clint Barton’s not rich, so I guess he’s the poor, poor man’s rich Green Arrow’s rich poor man’s Batman of the MCU? What were we talking about?

Jeremy loves playing music. But since the music industry is crueler than the movie industry, he settled on acting. He lived by candlelight for two years because he couldn’t afford power, so when he says he’s just happy to be working, he truly means it.

 

Captain America/Steve Rogers

“I consider myself a very romantic guy. I don’t necessarily consider romance to be isolated simply between two people. I’m romantic with my love of music or art or nature. I love things.” – Chris Evans

From Human Torch to Liberty’s Torch, Chris Evans has defied all expectations. I thought, “That douchey guy from those so-so Fantastic Four films?” But this man can get behind my constitution any day of the week.

Chris Evans seems to be perfect. Imagine a guy who likes almost everything you do and is Chris Evans. I follow him on Twitter, and it’s pretty much Captain America’s account. He seems like the best human being, and that gets my three branches of government running.

 

The Hulk/Bruce Banner (2)

I think of marriage as a garden. You have to tend to it. Respect it, take care of it, feed it. Make sure everyone is getting the right amount of, um, sunlight.” – Mark Ruffalo

Banner was the last major character to be recast as the MCU solidified its grip on our wallets. Ruffalo’s run as The Hulk is considered the best so far. He’s so good, he’s convinced us there’s no longer a need for a solo Hulk movie.

Mark is living the dream on his 47 acres with his wife and three children in New York. His dislikes include fracking, unanswered questions about 9/11, and the Zika virus, which may or may not have been accidentally created by a British bio-tech company trying to combat dengue fever.

 

The Watcher

“If we don’t blow ourselves up, the future will be wonderful.” – Stan Lee

Excelsior! Nuff said.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Villains of Phase One!