London Scenes In The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

By M@ Last edited 17 months ago
London Scenes In The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

With the release of Black Panther, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is now up to its 18th film (plus spin-off TV shows, which we don't go into here). Although the films are spun like spidey-thread from American comic books, many were shot in the UK. Here, then, are all the London scenes from MCU movies.

Phase 1

The first set of Marvel Cinematic Universe films pays little heed to London. Iron Man (2008), the Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011) and Avengers Assemble (2012) were largely shot and set in the Americas (Thor's interplanetary exploits notwithstanding).  Even so, London did get a Hulk waxwork at Madame Tussauds — supposedly the largest figure ever created by the attraction.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Ironically, it's the all-American hero who first visits our shores. Much of the action was filmed in the UK, including scenes with Liverpool and Manchester masquerading as Brooklyn. London appears on several occasions. The scene where the unembeefened Steve Rogers watches a cinema newsreel was shot in Hackney Empire. The cringeworthy scene where Cap takes to the stage with dancing girls was also filmed in the east London venue.

Two other London locations feature. King Charles Street, above the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall, makes a brief and accurate appearance as an Allied HQ. Meanwhile, did you recognise the traditional boozer called the Whip and Fiddle?

This is Crocker's Folly, an old hotel-cum-pub in Maida Vale. It was closed at the time of filming but has since reopened as a top-notch restaurant.

Phase 2

The second phase of movies saw the franchise go global. Iron Man 3 (2013) and Captain America Winter Soldier (2014) don't offer much London action, but then...

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Of all the Marvel films, the first Thor sequel spends the most memorable times in London. The muscle-bound marauder even catches the tube.

Astute viewers — and even stupid ones — will immediately note that he catches the Jubilee line from Charing Cross, something that hasn't been possible this century. The bulky deity alights at Greenwich — not the inconvenient North Greenwich station, but a fictional stop beside the Royal Naval College.

Here, at the centre of time and space, all hell breaks loose as baddy Malekith eases his obsidian spaceship into a restricted parking space on the college's lawns.

Beside these two landmark scenes, the capital appears any number of times throughout the film. No prizes for spotting the OXO Tower restaurant as the scene of Jane's (Natalie Portman) disastrous date. Nor for identifying the top of the Gherkin, which features as one of the locations of Thor and Malekith's silly interdimensional battle. More kudos if, however, you knew that the portal-in-a-warehouse was filmed in the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, west London. Or that Dr Selvig's institution was really Blythe House in Kensington — a grand old museum storage facility.

Finally, the film's end-of-credits scene sees Jane and Thor snogging away on her Southwark balcony, with a half-built Walkie-Talkie building in the background. How romantic.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Given that the Earth only features in the opening scenes of the film, you'd be forgiven for guessing that this is another film with no hint of London about it. You'd be wrong. The planet of Xandar is largely a digital construction, but the eagle-eyed will note several London buildings in the mix, including the Millennium Bridge and the Lloyd's Building.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The second Avengers film was mostly shot at Shepperton Studios, and so features many locations from London masquerading as other places. The fun starts when Scarlet Witch casts visions onto several of the Avengers. Captain America's takes place inside the Rivoli Ballroom in Crofton Park, Lewisham — a neat follow on to Cap's turn at the Hackney Empire in his debut film. Meanwhile, Thor finds himself in a debauched party filled with people from his own world. But this isn't Asgard, it's the interior of St Bartholomew the Great church in Smithfield.

Then things get really weird. Remember the Johannesburg punch-up between Hulk and Iron Man? The one with the Hulk-buster armour? That's not South Africa, but Brent Civic Centre, Wembley, of all places.

The action then decamps a little down the road to an equally unlikely location: Hendon Police College. The Battle of Sokovia was largely filmed among the tower blocks and open squares of this outer-London police academy.

Phase 3

Slimmer pickings in the third wave of movies... until Spider-man: Far From Home.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

London sort-of appears in this patchy sequel, when Cap flies in to attend Peggy Carter's funeral. Alas, the service was filmed in Atlanta rather than one of our own churches.

Doctor Strange (2016)

This Benedict Cumberbatch-led film features a clever nod or two to Sherlock, his most famous role. There's Doctor Strange's high collar, of course, but did you notice the location of the sole London scene in the movie? The opening battle between Kaescilius and The Ancient One takes place in Great Scotland Yard — not only the traditional home of the Metropolitan Police, but also directly opposite the Sherlock Holmes pub. That has to be intentional, right? London is later revealed as the location of a Sanctum, one of three locations protecting the Earth from interdimensional baddies.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Another shot in the USA, with ne-er a nod to London. Mysteriously, though, Amazon Video's streaming site used a very Londony image to promote the film. Anyone know why?

Black Panther (2018)

Many films on this list are shot in London while set elsewhere, Black Panther flips that formula. There's a short sequence set at the fictional Museum of Great Britain — in London — but the crew never set foot in Blighty. Instead it was shot at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

In the movie the museum is a blatant stand-in for the British Museum, but why the switcheroo? Perhaps the British Museum didn't want to be featured as plundering African artefacts, as in this film. More likely is that production took place Stateside, and it wasn't worth the cost of coming to London to film a short sequence.

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Photo: Josh Hallett

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

The final instalment in the Infinity Saga is perhaps the most Londony Marvel movie ever made. Most of the third act is set in our town, with major scenes in St Pancras, the Shard, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London — and with a cameo from Millennium Mills. The film is so drenched in London, that we've devoted a whole article to the subject.

We will update this article as further instalments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are released.

Last Updated 31 March 2020