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Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 Thoughts
Posted: Posted January 26th
Edited January 26th by Laxan
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Full disclosure: I have NEVER seen any of the MCU films in theaters aside from the two Spider-Man films (I'm a BIG Spider-Man fan). I also care very little for any of the Marvel super heroes excluding Spider-Man and the X-Men. I genuinely find Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Fantastic Four, and Hulk to be very boring and uninteresting characters to read about in the comics. They have always come across as extremely unrelatabloe heroes in just about ever sense from their source material. I like my characters and heroes/villains to be believable and relatable, even if they come from royalty or high class (like, for instance, Princess Leia from Star Wars is a great example of this). This is why I likely have never seen a single film in theaters.

That being said, some of these films from the first phase have been pretty good...none of them have blown me away, however. In all honesty, I have enjoyed the entirety of the X-Men film franchise a lot more thus far in comparison to the MCU.

But this is only the first six films, which I'll lay brief thoughts out about below.

1. Iron Man

A pretty good film. Decent pacing and character growth for Tony Stark. I can't stand AC/DC on a personal level, so them being Tony Stark's soundtrack does nothing for me. The villain was kind of lame. It was just...an evil Iron Man, basically. Robert Downey Jr. had plenty of funny quips. Gwyneth Paltrow is insane. A pretty good film, but definitely not great. Some HUGE comic book nerd told me in the past year or so that the first Iron Man is one of the greatest super hero films ever made. I guess he wasn't aware that The Dark Knight and X-Men: Days of Future Past exists.

2. The Incredible Hulk

What a dreadful film. Definitely the worst of the bunch. Lame characters across the board. The pacing is awful. There isn't much of an intro to how he became Hulk (but then, maybe they felt is was unnecessary?). The actors do their best, but it's probably no thanks to Edward Norton that the script is a big pile of shit and devoid of strong humorous moments. And the villain is *drum roll* an evil Hulk! Yay!....

5/10, bottom of the barrel right here.

3. Iron Man 2

This was a decent film, but the pacing is WAY too slow at times. There's too much meandering and it doesn't get to the point fast enough. The villain was also lame and basically a Russian Evil Iron Man who dies very easily and in one fatal blow from Stark and what's-his-face's energy blasts from their Iron Suits. It definitely does not hold a candle to the first Iron Man film. It was funny at times thanks to Downey Jr's quips. Also, Gwyneth Paltrow is insane.

4. Thor

I really liked this one for the most part. There was some really good character growth in this film and the humor was quite good. Plus, it's the first compelling villain in the MCU (and here I thought we were going to be fighting an evil Thor!). The pacing bogs down hard when we get down to Earth in New Mexico, but it's fun watching Thor interact with our world without his powers. The CGI does not hold up too well in Asgard, but I liked the major characters from Asgard (Odin/Anthony Hopkins, Loki, etc). All in all, a pretty good film. Still not mind blowing, of course.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger


I gotta be honest: I despise American propaganda, which is the very reason Cap'n 'Murica exists in the first place. Also loathe war and find it an obsolete, primitive concept and proof that our species is barely out of the jungle with our tiny lizard brains unable to grasp any notion that war *might* be waste of resources and human lives that could be put to better use (I theorize that corporations are starting to come to a similar conclusion...that people shouldn't be killing each other but instead spending their money on tickets to see the next MCU film and other Disney flicks!).


But in all seriousness, this was a well-shot film. I think this is the best-looking film I've seen so far. I actually liked the characters fairly well and the actors do a really good job. I enjoyed that the film was *almost* a war film. I honestly wish Hugo Weaving had gone a little bit more ham in as his role for Red Skull. I think I would have enjoyed Red Skull more if his accent had been a little more offensive and deliciously cheesy. My girlfriend didn't like the ending because it made her sad, so if she felt something real like sadness from this film, that tells me it was a pretty good film.

But still not mind blowing.

6. The Avengers

This is it. The big one. I remember when everyone was freaking out about this movie back when it first released. It was a HUGE deal, man! I just came off from watching this flick to write my thoughts here and...!

And...it was pretty good. I'm not sure it was actually my favorite film so far. It was really cool to see all the characters come together and fight. But yeah, that's about all that was great about it. There were SOME character moments, but it was so thin that I was disappointed. I understand character growth is VERY difficult to pull off in a film like this, but, man, X-Men: First Class had already come out before this film...and First Class is honestly much better as a film (and it too has a bunch of characters yet manages to develop them quite strongly).

I enjoyed Loki. He is definitely the best villain so far in the franchise. I liked the Avengers' theme music. It was nice that the actual soundtrack of original music stood out for once. I really liked the humor in the film (thanks, Joss Whedon). And, well, I feel like Joss Whedon did a serviceable job in delivering this film. I can see why people loved it back in 2012. I mean, no one had seen anything like it back then, with all their favorite super heroes teaming up on the big screen. But, honestly, removed from the hype and lack of deep love for EVERY Marvel super hero, I feel like it was just a pretty good film and not a great one. There was WAY too many action scenes that kind of dragged on for too long. I think the big finale was probably fine because I get they wanted it to feel big, but I honestly would have preferred a little bit more character growth in place of some of the elongated action sequences. There are some character moments, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed how the Avengers needed to learn to work together in spite of their conflicting personalities (especially for Captain America and Iron Man, which I know eventually leads to Civil War in some ways). I kind of wanted more scenes between Thor and Loki, too.

I'm sorry, guys. I just like character and story-driven films, not ones full of explosions and guns going pew-pew. The Avengers was...pretty good. But it still wasn't great. Also, Gwyneth Paltrow is insane and she reminds me of my mother if my mother had ever made money and investments.

Well, on to Phase Two. Here's hoping it gets better. So far, sorry to say, I'm not too impressed.

EDIT: And about the whole "I hate war" comment I wrote about in regards to Captain America's film--I'm not trying to set anyone off, I'm just trying to give you my perspective on where I'm coming from going into that particular film (and I still enjoyed it and yes, I get that it satirizes the old American propaganda).

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Nice kid.

Posted January 26th by S.o.h.
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Phase 1 definitely hasn't aged well, but it was a nice change of pace when it came out -- superhero films of the time were going darker and edgier because they assumed the alternative was the cheese of the 90s.

On the whole, I guess I'd say the MCU is a lot of fun. There's nothing particularly mindblowing there cinematically but the characterization and especially the worldbuilding gets better and better the deeper you go.

Posted January 26th by Xhin
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Yeah, I kind of expected phase 1 to be meh. While I expected a little more from the first Avengers, I have never heard anything spectacular about the other films. I expect more from phase 2, and even more from phase 3. I'm particularly looking forward to The Winter Soldier and Infinity War. Oh, and Black Panther.

I guess it was cool to see our first look at Thanos-senpai. It just goes to show they really were thinking about him for six years or more ahead of Infinity War, which is probably why people loved him as a villain. Planning things out tends to do that. I also felt a character moment like Captain America meeting an old Maggie would have helped the character development a bit more in The Avengers, especially after coming off the first Captain America film.

Edited January 26th by Laxan
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To be fair he didn't know she was still alive at that point in time. Phase 2 picks things up a bit. The winter soldier and guardians of the galaxy being the best of that phase.

And get ready for villains who are an evil copy of the hero!

Posted January 26th by S.o.h.
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I'd say one thing that I do kinda miss from Phase I was humans. Like, all the real people that can help keep the heroes grounded just stop being a thing altogether at some point to make room for all the superheroes. The only people that matter are superheroes. The only relationships that matter are between superheroes. I know it's always kinda tricky because the superheroes have to lead the action for some obvious reasons, but they've kinda just stopped trying altogether to make humans matter in the movies.

Posted January 26th by Jet Presto
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While I expected a little more from the first Avengers

The movie itself wasn't great, what was great was seeing all the characters you watched over the years come together in one massive crossover. I didn't really get to do this because I came into the MCU later, but man I definitely got this feeling during infinity war.

I expect more from phase 2, and even more from phase 3. I'm particularly looking forward to The Winter Soldier and Infinity War. Oh, and Black Panther.

Phase 2 is definitely better. I didn't like winter soldier much and the thor film was forgettable, but I did like iron man 3 (way way better than the first two, imo), and ant-man and guardians of the galaxy are in pretty fierce competititon for my favorite MCU film. The Avengers film in this phase is good, but pretty weak overall.

Phase 3 is where the MCU really hits its stride. Lots of great on-their-own movies in here, also a lot of tone shift towards darker/edgier stuff (which actually works really well with the MCU because it still has lighter moments). Worth pointing out that despite being classed as a captain america movie, civil war is really an avengers movie.

Oh, and Black Panther.

Black panther was pretty good, but I honestly don't understand the hype for it. Music was definitely good though.

Posted January 26th by Xhin
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I'd say one thing that I do kinda miss from Phase I was humans. Like, all the real people that can help keep the heroes grounded just stop being a thing altogether at some point to make room for all the superheroes

That still holds true for Ant-man and Dr strange, which were definitely some of the better films in phase 3. Also spider-man to some extent.

Posted January 26th by Xhin
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when it was first ecomin a thing I reay liked that a shared unierse ecame as mainstreea s it did.

Posted January 26th by tnu
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Shared cinematic universes have been mainstream since at least since Stephen King started getting film deals, probably since Disney started doing crossovers. Marvel just took it to a T and actually planned it from the ground up.

Posted January 26th by 9x19
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I mean, Toho was doing it in the 1960s with their monster properties to various degrees of success. And, of course, all Marvel Studios ultimately did was apply as best they can what they do in the comics to the big screen. It's been impressive to watch, but I admit to kind of missing the days of more blockbusters that don't require knowledge of past films or watching a television show to really follow completely.

Spider-Man definitely still features humans in significant roles for the film, which is great and kinda makes up for the changes they made to Peter Parker that I don't totally love (I like Peter better when he's a working class kid rather than an over-privileged dude who literally keeps getting things handed to him on a silver platter. I loooove Tom Holland in the role! I just don't love what Sony/Marvel have done to adapt this version to the big screen.)

The same is kind of true with Ant-Man to a degree, but they're definitely starting to get away from it with the need to make every one of the core cast members either a modern or past superhero. Was nice to see Bill Foster just be a scientist though.

Posted January 27th by Jet Presto
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