The second phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe gave us six new films, including an origin story for a new character, Ant-Man. This will just be a ranking of the six films, obviously films are subjective so it’s completely my own view.
Despite being ranked the worst in Phase 2 Thor: The Dark World is not bad, in fact it is a good sequel. This instalment lacks what most Marvel films lack, a good villain. Trying to recall the information was difficult and that shows the importance of the story and how compelling the film was. Loki was brilliant in the film and works really well with Thor, they have an interesting relationship and bounce off of each other well. Overall Thor was a good sequel, arguably not as good as the first however not as good as the other films in this second phase of the MCU.
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
Iron Man 3 was a great Tony Stark story that highlighted the effects that the first Avengers had had on him, forcing him to have anxiety attacks. This reminds every one of his humanity, he’s not an alien, he is vulnerable to everyday human issues. Iron man 3 has one of the better Villains from the MCU in Killian, not a great villain in general but for the MCU was fairly interesting. The third Iron Man instalment also allowed for Tony and Pepper’s relationship to develop, showing the many dimensions to Tony Stark character.
Ant-Man was probably the biggest surprise of phase 2, after the little promotion for Ant-Man there were a few worries over how well it would do. However word of mouth showed how valuable it is as many people went to see after the initial release and positive reviews. Ant-Man also brought something new to the MCU with a heist based origin film. The film provided a lot of humour as well, a unique type of humour that hasn’t been present in the MCU before, Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the first to have lots of humour but Ant-Man used the cast well and told an interesting story despite the villain yet again being average at best.
Guardians of the Galaxy was the first big ‘risk’ that the MCU took, turning a mostly unknown comic book into a feature film. Marvel were able to pull together a brilliant cast including Chris Pratt who portrayed the main character Peter Quill. In hindsight the worry that surrounded how well Guardians of the Galaxy would do was silly, with the film making over $700,000 and becoming a fan favourite. The success of Guardians of the Galaxy has many fans hoping and wishing for an appearance of one of the characters in another film or post credit scenes, the anticipation for the second grows amongst fans every day, many realising that Ultron is likely to appear as he’s not likely to be in any of the earth based films yet. Guardians of the Galaxy was almost a perfect film but again was let down with its villain, Ronan the Accuser, who never really seemed like a real or ruthless threat.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The highly anticipated sequel for the Avengers did not fail to impress. Age of Ultron was going to be the next big deal in the MCU, and it delivered on that front, Ultron was a good villain that offered a unique outlook, a genuine reason for their actions, a belief that what they’re doing is for the benefit of the world. Seeing all of our MCU heroes on the big screen together is always great to watch, and also makes us as an audience feel that the stakes are higher. The new characters that are introduce added new dimensions to the teams. One of the main hiccups in the film was the Thor story line however it didn’t take away from the film too much.
In the context of the MCU Captain America: The first Avenger wasn’t quite what everyone was expecting, almost portraying Cap as a little bit boring. However the sequel, The Winter Soldier, is arguably the best MCU film to date, providing the audience with a fantastic classic thriller type film. Chris Evans thrives in the role of Cap and delivers a fantastic performance along with Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie. This chapter also has a different tone to the other MCU films, there are moments where the audience believes that the characters are in a life threatening situation, which is quite rare in this universe. Overall Captain America: The Winter Soldier is, for me, the best MCU film in Phase 2 and arguably to date, the film has really developed and increased the interest in Captain America and Black Widow.