Marvel launched the most intricate cinematic universe of films. It was broke up into phases to help differentiate the storytelling. Previously, I ranked the films that make up Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This week, I’m going to rank the six films that make up Phase 2.
6. THOR: THE DARK WORLD
This is the worst of the “Thor” movies and, in my opinion, the second worst film of the MCU. Everything about it screams cliché sequel. Nothing stands out and it’s not really that good. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse than “Iron Man 2,” but I rank it higher mostly because the first “Thor” wasn’t as good as the first “Iron Man.”
5. IRON MAN 3
The final film in the “Iron Man” solo trilogy helps the superhero’s solo adventures end on a limp. It’s slightly better than “Iron Man 2,” but still not very good overall. The fake out with the Mandarin doesn’t do the film any favors and, in the end, the villain is just another Obadiah Stane or Justin Hammer. Can’t Iron Man have better villains?
4. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
This is the weak point of the “Avengers” franchise for me. While there are some fun moments; most involving Captain America; it’s just an overall disappointment. Plus, the Maximoff twins don’t live up to their hype. Quicksilver is completely wasted and while the improvement of Scarlet Witch would improve, her character just isn’t what it should be given her array of powers. This one just feels weak.
This is the origin story that surprised me most. I went into it not expecting much and came away with a fun romp. After two “Avengers” movies and some awesome appearances by Avengers team members in other solo adventures, it was weird seeing a guy that hadn’t appeared before get a film by himself, but it works. It’s low stakes, but really good. Paul Rudd steps up surprisingly well.
2. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
This is the film that many said the future of the MCU hinged upon, and it found a way to deliver. It’s the best team up through two phases of the MCU (yeah, I said it.) Christ Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Bradley Cooper all deliver. And while Vin Diesel only has one line, he makes Groot charming and lovable. Had this failed, who knows if we would’ve gotten all the way to “Endgame,” but it succeeded and the MCU is better for it.
1. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
For my money, this is the best film of the entire MCU. There’s no need for too long of a backstory for this one as we get Captain America jumping in and fighting right away. Black Widow gets a bigger role here than her previous two appearances and the film is better for it. There’s a great introduction for Falcon who becomes a solid piece of the team going forward. Plus, the reveal that Hydra is still around and has infiltrated SHIELD is the best plot twist since Darth Vader was revealed as Luke Skywalker’s father. This is the best film of this phase and the best film of the MCU.
That’s my ranking. What do you think? How would you rank the films that make up Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?