As the countdown continues for Avengers: Infinity War, we’re taking a look back at Marvel’s second phase of the MCU. If you haven’t seen our ranking for Phase One click here. Now, what makes Phase 2 so interesting is that Marvel had to capitalize on the success of The Avengers. They had to follow up one of the biggest films in history. So how did they do? Let’s find out.
Thor 2 is easily the worst of the Thor films, and probably the worst Marvel film in general. The film does have its moments though. Loki is once again the main reason these Thor films work, but it just isn’t enough. With a lackluster villain in Malekith, and a forgettable supporting cast, Thor: The Dark World is one of the few Marvel misses.
Marvel was very sequel heavy in Phase 2 with Ant-Man being one of two exceptions. Paul Rudd stars as the titular character in Marvel’s take on a heist film. Ant-Man has a great lead with Rudd, and his powerset is something we haven’t really seen before. Unfortunately, just like Thor: The Dark World the villain is sorely lacking. He’s just here so Scott can have a story just like Hope is here so he can have a love-interest. At times it doesn’t even feel like a movie. It’s like Marvel threw a bunch of concepts and tricks from their previous films and decided to see what they could come up with. The result?
Edgar Wright’s Payton Reed’s Ant-Man.
Like I said in the opening, The Avengers was and still is one of the biggest films in history. There was a lot of pressure for Age of Ultron to live up to expectations. Avengers 2 is a more personal story. It builds on Tony Stark’s arc from Iron Man 3; showing how far he’ll go to ensure that aliens will never attack again. The action is great, and the team is once again fantastic. Ultron is pretty underwhelming, but he gets the job done. Avengers 2 is a bit of an acquired taste but it gets better after each watch.
The second and last film on this list that isn’t a sequel, the freakin’ Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn took a property that no one knew existed and made it one of the biggest hits in recent memory. What makes Guardians an amazing film is the team chemistry. Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax, Gamora, and Groot are all lovable characters who you can’t get enough of. Ronan can be tossed in the bad villains’ pile along with Malekith and Yellow Jacket, but him not getting screentime just gives us more development with the team. Aside from that, there’s not a bad thing I can say about it.
This film caused me to change the entire way I look at movies. Iron Man 3 is a film I hated when I first watched. The twist made me feel lied to, it wasn’t just a twist, it was a completely different movie. A movie I didn’t know I wanted. After revisiting the film before Infinity War, I realized that Iron Man 3 is not only the best Iron Man film but one of the best Marvel films period. It tells a story of a man who witnessed the impossible, and it’s affecting him.You don’t get more real than that. Iron Man 3 showed me that you can’t have preconceived notions on what you want in a movie. You should just watch it and hope that you like it. No matter what happens.
The best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of my favorite films. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johannson are both phenomenal, and Hydra makes for a great villain. The film is Marvel at their best. To this day whenever they release a new film we still say “It wasn’t as good as The Winter Soldier.” It’s a movie that never gets old. The perfect Superhero film.