2020 sucked. Not that anyone needed reminding, but there it is in black and white. The entire world went into lockdown, and like everyone else on the planet, the movie industry was greatly affected. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was, of course, no exception.
When the ball dropped on 2019, fans of the MCU were expecting Black Widow, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Eternals over the next 12 months, but none of this happened. The silver lining however, its that while 2020 offered no new MCU content whatsoever, it allowed 2021 to boast more than ever.
Aside from Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, four movies that together made 2021 the biggest in MCU history for sheer number of theatrical releases, the door was opened to the world of Disney+ with WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Solder, Loki, What If…?, and Hawkeye.
With more to see than ever before, there were more than a few truly exceptional moments to enjoy in 2021. Character evolutions, fan favourites returning, and huge steps taken towards the next era in the MCU were all incredible, but there will always be moments that outweigh and outshine others.
12. The Kingpin Returns (Hawkeye)
2021 has been the year of returning villains, not just from previous Spider-Man franchises, but from the Netflix corner of the MCU. Ever since the cancellation of Daredevil, fans have mourned the loss of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, until Hawkeye on Disney+.
Throughout the series, there were teases of someone operating on a level above that of Maya Lopez, someone who was ruthless and dangerous to the extent that he worried an Avenger. Given the character’s history in the comics, this was almost guaranteed to be the Kingpin, but after the whole Ralph Bohner debacle in WandaVision, fans couldn’t be certain until he actually appeared himself.
This finally came at the end of episode five in a photograph, and in the season finale, he had a much juicier role. D’Onofrio hasn’t missed a beat in the years that he has been off Marvel screens, and cut a more intimidating figure than ever before. He threw Kate Bishop around like she was nothing more than a ragdoll, and snapped an entire quiver of arrows in half in one fell swoop.
His manipulation of Maya eventually got the better of her, and it was alluded to that she shot and killed the man she once loved. This didn’t happen on screen however, so there is still hope that Marvel didn’t bring Fisk back just to kill him after one episode.