With Ant-Man released in cinemas this past Friday, Marvel’s Phase 2 comes to a close. The second phase in the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe has finished. Now the attention shifts focus to Phase 3, but before we get excited for Phase 3, we have here, a round of Phase 2, and what it done to the MCU.
Phase 2 focuses on the post battle of New York troubles of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D it also introduces us to the Guardians of the Galaxy and gives us more of the origin of the Infinity Stones. Captain America The Winter Soldier shook the MCU up in a big way and proved to be a land mark movie in the MCU. Phase 2 also leads to the birth of Ultron and introduces us to Ant-Man.
Phase 3 begins with Iron Man 3, and picks up right after the events of the Battle of New York in the first Avengers. This movie. Tony takes on the terrorist known as the Mandarin, who Tony had met some 20 years before the events of Iron Man 3. While battling this nemesis who seeks to murder the president, Tony embarks on an odyssey of rebuilding, redemption and retribution. Tony does how ever have something else to battle, he has not been the same since New York, he has nightmares and trouble sleeping. This leads to him building an army of Iron Man suits (which gave us that amazing moment at the end of the movie known as the House Party Protocol). As the movie progresses, Tony realizes the toll being Iron Man takes on him, and more so Pepper Potts. In order to protect them both, the end of the movie sees Tony destroy the Iron Man suits and gets the mini Arc-Reactor from his chest, proclaiming that while he may have lost his toys,and his tools, he is still Iron Man. Iron Man 3 gives us the first glimpse of Tony looking to step away from being a superhero.
Thor: The Dark World also picks up where the Avengers finished. It sees Loki brought back to Asgard to pay for his crimes against planet Earth. It also introduces us to a new enemy, Malekith, the leader of the Dark Elves, and also introduces us to our second Infinity Stone (this being the Ether). Malekith plans to use the Ether to cover the world in darkness when the planets align during the convergence. The movies also furthers the relationship between Thor and Loki. We see glimpses of them working together rather than fighting, which turns out to be a ruse, Loki supposedly turns on Thor seemingly chopping off his hand, only for it to be a distraction, this leads to Loki’s supposed death. The movie does introduce us to the Collector, who is in possession of the Ether by the end of the credits. This films set up many things in the MCU, it sets up Thor: Ragnarok, with Loki acting as Odin at the end of The Dark World, we can only speculate that this will have serious ramifications leading into Ragnarok. It also builds up the Avengers Infinity Wars which is in Phase 3.
This is arguably the most game changing movie in Phase 2. It has such a big effect on the MCU. This movie revealed that former Nazi group HYDRA didn’t collapse when Cap defeated the Red Skull in the first movie. Their motto is true, cut off the head and two more will grow back in its place. The Red Skulls assistant Arnim Zola went to work for SHIELD after HYDRA supposedly fell, and planted the seeds for a new HYDRA. This movie reveals that HYDRA have been operating within SHIELD for decades. Project Insight sees SHIELD plan to launch helicarriers into orbit with the idea that they will protect the world, unbeknownst to them, Zola entered an algorithm that targets superheros and anyone that can pose a threat to HYDRA.
HYDRA are not the only threat that Captain America, Black Widow and the newly introduced Falcon (Sam Wilson) face. Their other foe is The Winter Soldier, who turns out to be Captains long lost friend, Bucky Barnes, he was found after his fall from the train in the first movie, fitted with a robotic arm and brainwashed into doing the work of HYDRA for years. To spare any more spoilers or give away anymore. The Winter Soldier completely changed the landscape of the MCU, and is arguably the best movie from Phase 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy was the movie from Phase 2 with the best soundtrack (Awesome Mix vol 1 was exactly that… awesome). This films brings together a band of misfits, and sees them aim to save the galaxy. The movie brings together Star Lord (earthling Peter Quill), Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, and Groot, as they try to save the galaxy from Ronan the leader of the Kree who is in possession of the Power Stone (another one of the 6 Infinity Stones). The movie also gives us a better look at the villain known as Thanos who we see in the mid-credit scene of the Avengers. The collector returns, and also gives us a bit of a background on the Infinity Stones: “Oh, my new friends, before creation itself, there were six singularities, then the universe exploded into existence and the remnants of this system were forged into concentrated ingots… Infinity Stones”. Created from 6 cosmic entities and are the most powerful objects in the world. This movies again, further teases Avengers: Infinity Wars, and the build up to it.
We get another Infinity Stone in this movie, and we also see Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to create world peace. Tony is still using the Iron Legion drones in this movie, and after retrieving Loki’s scepter from HYDRA notices the core of it can think for itself. Tony seeks to create a suit of armor around the world in case of another alien invasion, so that the heroes can hang up their uniforms. Whoever, the entity within the stone sees Tony’s tech software J.A.R.V.I.S as a threat and turns hostile, taking control of the Iron Legion robots and escaping with the Stone. The movie introduces two new characters, Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver, twins subjected to HYDRA experiments and have thus gained powers, and join Ultron (the entity within the stone). The stone introduced in this film is the Mind Stone. Ultron seeks to use this to power a new body for himself that he made out of Vibranium (strongest metal in the world, and a reference to Black Panther who will be discussed closer to his solo movie release). The Avengers however sabotage Ultron’s attempt to do this and create The Vision, another character (his origin slightly changed from the comics). Ultimately Ultron is defeated, but it is the events of this movie (Ultron lifting an entire sitting out of the ground and turning it into a meteor) that lead us into Captain America: Civil War, which we will discuss soon. It also gives us a new line up for the Avengers which will lead into CW. The after credit scene for this movie sees Thanos pick up an empty Infinity Gauntlet (it holds the Infinity Stones) and says “Fine! I’ll do it myself” giving us another teaser for Infinity Wars
The final installment of Phase 2 which has jut been released. It will not discuss this in detail as many people may have not seen it. This movie though further teases CW, introduces us to Hank Pym, Scott Lang, and introduces us to the Pym Particle. The general jest of the story is that Scott Lang is a criminal who can’t catch a break, and Pym recruits Lang to help him stop an old assistant recreate his Pym Particle formula. The film also deals with the strain years in the Ant-Man suit caused Pym, and his relationship with his daughter Hope. The after credit scene for this movie teases Civil War in a big way.
Overall Phase 2 of the MCU was a lot stronger than Phase 1. It done a great job to tease what is to come in Phase 3, and also brought us some ground breaking films that really shook things us. We here at Nerd Lowdown can’t wait for Phase 3 to start with CW next March.