With almost 30 films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are a plethora of iconic scenes and moments for fans to celebrate. However, the best of these moments happened relatively early in the journey of the mega-franchise. The Hulk's incredible punch in The Avengers brought Earth's Mightiest Heroes together and defined a universe.
Until that point in the movie, the relationship between Bruce Banner and the other members of The Avengers was rocky at best. Nick Fury was well aware of the risks of bringing Bruce onto the team, as it put the entire crew of the Helicarrier at risk during the attack when he uncontrollably hulked out. But the perception of Hulk as a dangerous threat leads to his punch being such an important moment.
While The Avengers had shown moments of being able to work together prior to this scene, they were not united. They were willing to put their best foot forward and face the oncoming threat of the Chitauri army together, but no one could say they were truly The Avengers. But that changed when Bruce arrived on the scene.
The other Avengers knew they needed Hulk, but bringing out the monster meant potentially causing Bruce even more pain. That is until Bruce says the iconic line, "That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry." Then it became clear -- Bruce and the Hulk are inseparable, meaning their anger is one. However, Bruce was able to control that rage in order to save the planet, and if he could manage that, The Avengers could achieve anything as a team.
While this scene is excellent in its own right, its long-term effect on pop culture is indescribable. The line, followed by the Hulk punching the Chitauri ship, made audiences go wild. In fact, fans still go wild for it. And it's a moment Marvel has been chasing ever since.
Thor's arrival in Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes coming together during the Battle for Earth in Endgame and the three Spider-Men swinging in Spider-Man: Now Way Home all try to elicit the same reaction that the first Avengers achieved with Hulk's punch. But while fans can spend eons discussing which of these many scenes did it the best, the Hulk taking down a Chitauri ship will always be the most iconic. That's because it didn't try to force anything -- it just let Hulk be Hulk.