My Thoughts on All Marvel Phase 2 Movies

So I have finished my viewings of all the Marvel Phase 2 movies.  If you want to see my best shots and thoughts on Phase 1 click here. This is all to get ready for Captain America: Civil War coming in a couple of weeks. I haven’t decided if I will do this with the X-men movies but there are fewer of those so why not? I think after that I need to do a Merchant/Ivory series or something like that. It’s kind of nuts that since the beginning of March I will have seen including Civil War and 2 viewings of Batman v Superman 30 superhero movies. That’s madness I tell you!

Anyway, Marvel Phase 2 has its hits and misses just like Phase 1. But I think that Marvel isn’t given quite enough credit for trying new things with these Phase 2 films. They went for it with Iron Man 3 with a very different director in Shane Black. They let the Russo Brothers give us a political thriller combined with great action in Cap 2 and took a real risk with James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy. I don’t think any of these movies are awful but for me the risks sometimes paid off, and sometimes didn’t, but at least they are taking them. I look forward to seeing Civil War and our introduction to Spiderman and the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America coming to a forefront. Then we will be on to Dr Strange, Thor Ragnarok and Infinity Wars!

The thing I like about Marvel movies is I like their heroes. I’ve never been much a villain girl, and I think even in the less successful Phase 2 films we got to know our heroes a little bit better. They are becoming fully fleshed out characters and that was always my issue with comic book movies. They were always too dumb for their own good and the heroes were given the shaft over flashy spectacle action and villains. Marvel also almost always nails the casting and the lighter tone is more palatable to me.

What’s your favorite Marvel Phase 2 movie? What do you think of this group of movies? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Iron Man 3-

This movie has a lot of highs and lows. The lows for me are the cheap twist of The Mandarin.  I don’t know the comics (and evidently it was a betrayal of the character in the comics) but in the movie it felt cheap. Making him an actor and so silly just didn’t work and felt a little insulting to the viewers. If you haven’t guessed by my feelings on M Night Shyamalan I’m not a big fan of twists in movies. At least I usually get really annoyed when I feel like I am being tricked or it is too cute. That said, what I did like about Iron Man 3 is Tony’s struggle with anxiety and PTSD. It makes sense a superhero would struggle with anxiety and I think Robert Downy Jr was convincing in those scenes. It makes the events in Age of Ultron make more sense when you realize how physically and mentally taxed Tony is by his duties as an avenger. So for my best shot I picked a scene where Tony is mid-anxiety attack and you can feel his panic. As someone who has dealt with panic attacks I thought it was very moving.

iron man 3 best shot2Thor: The Dark World-

The cheap gimmick of Iron Man 3 and the Mandarin made me like it less than Thor: the Dark World but it is probably the worst Marvel movie. A lot of the action is murky and hard to make out. Natalie Portman is annoying as Jane and given way too much screen time and the story I didn’t really care about. In fact, after a couple of days since my viewing I’m having a hard time even remembering what it was. The part I did like was the scenes between Loki and Thor.  Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth are so terrific for these parts and they have great chemistry. The final scene where we see Loki laughing on the throne made me smile and so it gets the best shot.

best shot thor dark worldCaptain America: Winter Soldier-

What a great entry in the MCU! The Russo Brothers proved they know how to film incredible action and write a tight, exciting story. I love Chris Evans in this part and we get some emotional growth for the character with him coming to terms with his age and what he has lost along the way. I love the dynamic between Cap and the Winter Soldier. I loved all the action in the film. But when Steve has to fight Bucky it is emotional and exciting at the same time. He even says ‘don’t make me do this’ and you feel for the character. The Nick Fury death was kind of annoying but his car crash was amazing. It’s such an entertaining film.  This shot I feel covers what is great about the movie. Cap with his shield getting ready to face off against his friend the Winter Soldier.

winter soldier best shotGuardians of the Galaxy-

I love Guardians of the Galaxy! Back when I reviewed it on my other blog I said it was one of the ‘great movies of 2014’ and I stand behind that. It was Marvel’s first attempt to create a space opera and I love what they accomplished.  Star Lord and his band of misfits join together over the course of the movie. It is not immediate and they each have different types of outlaw personalities that blend very well together. To me it was a lot of fun watching them zoom across the galaxy looking for the globe/infinity stone. All the actors do a great job and the soundtrack still makes me smile. It is well written with enjoyable action and just what I want from my space operas. I chose this shot because I love this team of characters!

guardians best shotAvengers: Age of Ultron-

I probably like Age of Ultron for unusual reasons. Most people probably like the big action scenes like Hulk fighting the Hulkbuster or the opening action battle. For me I like the back stories and visions we get of each character. I found those scenes gave a depth to these characters we rarely see in a comic book movie. It all starts with Tony getting a vision of his friends slaughtered and Cap (of all people it would be Cap) says to him ‘you could have saved us…’. Going back to Iron Man 3 and his panic attacks this vision is especially chilling. I also thought seeing the sterilization in the past of Black Widow was very moving. Same with Steve and the life he has left behind. I also liked the contrast between Vision and Ultron.  I thought it really worked. I see why many were disappointed as it is more somber and maybe over the top in the conflict but to me it worked emotionally on a different level than Avengers, which was more fun than anything else. So, I picked a shot from Tony’s vision because it captures what I admired most about the film.

ultron best shotAnt-Man-

If you had told me a few years ago that I would like a movie called Ant-Man I would have said you were nuts. They even joke about how stupid the idea sounds within the movie. However, if you get Paul Rudd to play the character suddenly I’m on board (I’ve loved Paul Rudd since I was in high school watching Clueless). I know this film had production problems but what they created was something very satisfying and fun. I like how it feels very small (forgive the pun) compared to Age of Ultron (or really any other Marvel film).  It is at heart a heist movie and it works on that level. I liked all the performances except for Evangeline Lily who I thought was wooden and flat. It made me laugh and the visuals were really cool. I didn’t even mind Yellow Jacket as the villain because I love Cory Stoll. To me it worked and this shot captures the magic of the film. (And no, I could care less about Edgar Wright leaving the film. Get over it!).

best shot antmanSo there you have it! My thoughts on Phase 2. On to Phase 3 in a couple of weeks. I’ve heard great things so I am very excited for Civil War.  It should be intense but also a lot of fun.

13 thoughts on “My Thoughts on All Marvel Phase 2 Movies

  1. It’s Winter Soldier and GotG….for different reasons. Those movies are so different to pick a definitive better one (but the Captain America Franchise overall is definitive the best in the MCU, unless GotG manages to do a similar great run over multiple movies).

    1. Cool. I agree Cap is my favorite Marvel franchise. I’m still debating about my ranking of all the films. GotG, Winter Soldier, Avengers and Iron Man are definitely in my top 4 just not sure what order. What do you think of my shots? Like any of them?

      1. I like the GotG and Ant-man one, but in general, I have a slightly different taste. For example, I would have picked Loki with his bloody feet instead of him sitting on the throne.

  2. Iron Man 3 is one of those movies where I so admired what they were trying to do that I’m willing to forgive the many hiccups involved in their execution. I loved seeing this (justifiably) cocky guy get knocked on his butt and have to prove that’s he’s more than there’s more behind those over-sized sunglasses than just a rich, quipping egomaniac. I love that they tried to frame the story around A Christmas Carol. It’s such an odd choice, and it doesn’t come off perfectly, but the effort is really strong here.

    1. As a huge Christmas Carol fan I liked that too. I’m surprised in a way they didnt release the movie around Christmas time. I also admire what they tried to do with Iron Man 3. I dont think Marvel is given the credit for some of the risks they took in phase 2.

  3. Funny how your thoughts on The Dark World are weirdly similar to mine! I personally find it the worst MCU, the Manadrin twist in Iron Man 3 is annoying, but I did find Tony Stark his most bearable since the first movie so that helped in the case of that one, and due to feeling ‘meh’ on Iron Man movies it wasn’t the disappointment Dark World was since I quite liked the first Thor and seeing it go so downhill was a huge shame to me. I like the shots you picked for all these! I think some extra things I liked in Age of Ultron that you didn’t mention were the extra screen-time of Hawkeye, a slightly more anguished and conflicted Hulk, and I love the ‘Twins!’ (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.)

    1. I can totally see that. I think I may like it better too. We will see when I do my ranking

  4. I haven’t seen all of them yet. But I loved Ant-Man, I totally appreciated that we could have a Marvel movie with so much humor. On the other end of the spectrum Winter Soldier was a great film but very dark and intense. It honestly scared me a little bit haha!

  5. I’m not a fan of Shaymalan-style twists. I really appreciated it in the Sixth Sense (particularly because the twist was supported so well and foreshadowed by the movie), but I’ve hated all his other twist-based movies, often because they take an interesting premise and then turn it into a boring one (think The Village..). I’m going to defend the Mandarin twist — the Mandarin character in the comics was… it was just a really stupid idea. Just horribly thought out and based on racist notions of how scary and mysterious Chinese people were. Yet he locked horns with Iron Man a lot and was one of Iron Man’s big foes.

    So when I found out that the Mandarin was going to be a villain in IM3, I cringed a little. Really, in 2015(?) we need to bring this guy out? I couldn’t believe that Marvel was so tone deaf. So when it was revealed that he was just an actor, and Ben Kingsley was just so charming… I was really relieved. I was delighted by that twist, because the character of the Mandarin didn’t -deserve- a straight-forward adaptation. He got exactly the adaptation he deserved, a parody, much like the parody adaptation that Heinlein’s military fascism from “Starship Troopers.” That movie got what it deserved, too.

    Now, I still didn’t like Iron Man 3 that much, but it was more that I didn’t appreciate the villain-based aspects. Not so hot on Killian, didn’t really enjoy the Extremis storyline, really didn’t like the dozen or more autonomous Iron Man suits flying around, they really muddled the action in the third act. But I appreciated especially the Tony Stark on the run sequences.

    I think Winter Soldier is my favorite from the entire MCU, with Guardians of the Galaxy a decent second.

  6. I really love the Marvel movies. Like you mentioned, they are more light hearted and fun than other studios superhero movies. And I really appreciate how they do mix things up so much with genre and tone so it doesn’t feel extremely generic. They are certainly hit or miss, but overall, I love them. Your images were we’ll thought out, in my opinion (I’d never be able to choose something like that if I were asked to pick just one!)

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