Fri 10 Mar, 2017 07:30 pm
Since 2008, the MCU has seen a total of 14 movies in its canon: excluding Doctor Strange, because I haven't seen the film, I'm going to give a brief assessment of each of the MCU instalments released up until now.
(Feel free to make it known how much you either agree or disagree with me)
Moral start to the MCU. Appropriately headlined by Robert Downey Jr, with a great supporting cast, the first Iron Man functions as an effective yet simple morality tale about responsibility and white collar crime.
Well-paced, and refreshingly quiet in terms of its plot, Iron Man is something of a benchmark for the superhero genre.
The Incredible Hulk
Hardly the intellectual equal to Ang Lee's Hulk, the second MCU entry is nevertheless adequately fun and imbued with a true sense of morality. Ditching the origin concept, TIH instead shows Bruce Banner in the midst of his being the Hulk; the details of this film aren't anywhere near as relevant as the details of the first Iron Man, but the film is still technically reasonable.
Iron Man 2
The first true stinker in the MCU. Irritating villains, both in the form of Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke (who are both great actors), and even worse an insult to the original story's evolution of Tony Stark. Just like Robocop 2, which undid the progress and regained humanity of Alex Murphy in the original film, Iron Man 2 is a strong case of character-retconning.
(And Don Cheadle made for a far worse version of James Rhodes than Terrence Howard)
The exact opposite of Iron Man 2, and even better, a step up from the original Iron Man!
Kenneth Branagh did so many right things with his outlook on Thor, from creating Asgard to casting Natalie Portman as Jane Foster to the tension and terror of the Frost Giants - and last but not least, Tom Hiddleston as Loki was a genius casting choice.
(To this day, I still consider the first Thor as the very best MCU instalment)
Captain America The First Avenger
Not too much of a step down from Thor, due to a needed sense of sorrow tone and dark palette, however, Steve Rogers' introduction to the MCU is perhaps something of a miss.
Whereas the plot of Thor was a great balance of humour, emotion and action, The First Avenger just doesn't seem to know how to use the character of Steve Rogers once becoming Captain America. Yes, the character is sympathetic, but the script feels a tad too unfocused, and rushes elements of the story.
Still memorable, and a definite stamp on the MCU landscape, but not the masterpiece popularly thought as. Oddly, this film may be a victim of subsequent history, in that Phase 2's general tediousness is to blame for how this movie now gets perceived.
Iron Man 3
Not as bad as Iron Man 2, but hurts as much because of the goodwill generated by The Avengers. The wit and charisma of The Avengers is completely lost in this third Iron Man, which revolves around a lame and pointless twist, and then ends in the most absurd fashion.
Once again: Tony Stark's evolution from Iron Man is ignored.
Thor The Dark World
Quite possibly the blandest superhero movie ever made! Stupid and boring villains, and extremely contrived plot.
Needless to say, this sequel does severe damage to the Thor character and universe.
Captain America The Winter Soldier
This is the real Avengers - the movie that rightfully gets perceived as a masterpiece, if of course not without some flaws.
Predominantly a thriller, with some moments of genuine horror, TWS is a great balance between genre and mainstream blockbuster. What makes TWS particularly stand out is that it feels like the first great MCU entry since 2011's Thor.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Aspects that are cool, but overall this offshoot of the MCU feels almost as bland and contrived as Iron Man 3, and Thor The Dark World.
What this movie needed was less characters, and more focus on the details of the plot - and especially build more suspense around the villain.
Avengers Age of Ultron
Over the years, it's appeared that Joss Whedon has subtly tried to distance himself from this sequel, and it's no wonder why. All of the meaningful fun and earned pay off of the original Avengers is totally absent in this sequel, which like Guardians of the Galaxy operates on the basis of making the fantasy into the normal, and including too many explosive set pieces.
Instead of making a film that emulates Blade Runner, Age of Ultron plays fast and loose with its ideas, incorporating too many plot elements.
Though aided with a few redeeming qualities, this is just more of the same tediousness and plot banality that by now has come to define the MCU in a major way.
Captain America Civil War
Void of a relevant and credible plot, Civil War's true relevance is to just show so many superheroes in the exact same film. Although Civil War can feel more energetic compared to Age of Ultron, TWS is still by some measure the definitive Captain America film.