Last week, I ranked the movies that made up Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before I get around to ranking them all together, I’m going to share what I think is the order of quality of the Phase Two movies. If you disagree, let me know!
Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two
6- Thor: The Dark World
In my full rewatch of the MCU, this is the one I was dreading the most. I found Thor 2 to be not just a bad movie, but an outwardly abrasive one. Without Loki, I feel like nobody shines in this movie and there are so many things about it that are just inherently unlikable. Kat Dennings is given far too much screen-time as the comic relief, we’re left questioning the relationship between Thor and Jane (it reminds me of how cold Portman was towards Christiansen in the Star Wars prequels) and even Thor himself feels an afterthought due to the performance of Hiddleston as his brother.
5- Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 had the hard task of following the success of the first ensemble Avengers movie and it was always going to fall flat, but nobody expected it to actively upset fans with the treatment of the Mandarin character. There are some exciting set-pieces throughout the movie but terrible villians, Ben Kingsley being actively awful and an extremely cold love story between Stark and Pepper Potts mean this is the first real downer since the start of the MCU. The action with Iron Man and War Machine are enough to save it from being truly awful, but it’s sadly lacking for a character that previously struggled to do much wrong.
4- Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Age of Ultron is an ambitious effort to throw the Avengers together again, but it suffers from trying to be a little bit too busy. We are introduced to a number of new characters, with Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch (who are unnamed due to copyright issues) and Vision not getting enough of an origin to make us truly care about them. The movie is a good rewatch, with obvious seeds sown for following MCU movies such as Civil War and even Black Panther but the movie’s emotional climax is flat due to lack of investment with certain characters. It’s good, but it’s arguably the worst of the ensemble movies so far and I can’t see Infinity War making any changes to that fact.
3- Ant Man
The first of two movies on this list that really came out of nowhere to genuinely surprise fans was Ant-Man. Largely unknown outside of comic fans, the comedic timing of Paul Rudd helped introduce the shrinking superhero to audiences in a fantastic adventure of microscopic proportions. It speaks volumes to the quality of the top movies on this list that Ant Man sits at third, because it’s funny, fast, enjoyable and for my money, it has one of the finest final thirds in the entire MCU. Even better, we got to see Ant Man again in Civil War to prove that Rudd was perfect casting and this wasn’t just a flash in the pan success.
2- Guardians Of The Galaxy
If Ant-Man came out of left field, then Guardians of the Galaxy came out of absolutely nowhere. In probably the biggest gamble the MCU has ever made, Guardians was a huge hit and provided 5 huge new marketable heroes for Marvel in Star Lord, Drax, Rocket, Groot and Gomorrah. The movie is brimming with heart and nostalgia, with it sharing the same good vibes as the likes of E.T as well as the soundtrack that has found it’s way onto everyone in the world’s Spotify account. A story revolving around one of the Infinity Stones, linking it to the others whilst keeping them at arms length allowed Guardians to create it’s own identity and I can’t wait to see how they all fit in with the rest of the Avengers when Infinity War rolls around.
1- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier almost goes right against everything we had come to expect from the archetypal Marvel movie at this point. When SHIELD is compromised, all bets are off as the mysterious Winter Soldier tries to assassinate Nick Fury and turns Captain America and Black Widow into fugitives. At times, Winter Soldier plays almost like an espionage movie, before it is able to kick into being an all guns blazing MCU masterpiece. While it may be missing the heart of Guardians, Captain America 2 has everything else you could want in a movie and given events following it, may be the most pivotal movie in the MCU without the word Avengers in the title.
Disagree? Let me know in the comments!