Marvelous Monday #2 – Thematic Pattern of MCU’s Phase 2

I'm Jeffrey Rex' Marvelous Monday #2
For the uninitiated: This is a new weekly feature on the blog wherein I, I’m Jeffrey Rex, discuss all things Marvel.

On this, the second ‘installment’ of I’m Jeffrey Rex’ Marvelous Monday, I’ve decided to go over the second phase of Marvel‘s Cinematic Universe – fully aware of the fact that it’s still going strong – but trying to uncover the general theme or motif of Marvel‘s potentially most succesful phase yet.

Marvel Studios‘ second phase will end when Ant-Man premieres this summer. Until recently, Ant-Man had been treated as a Phase 3-film, but when Marvel released the full Phase 3-lineup they had Ant-Man as a second phase motion picture.

The theme of Marvel Studios‘ first phase was obviously ‘Assemble‘. This was the beginning of the universe, and while S.H.I.E.L.D. raced across North America (and South America in The Incredible Hulk), Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were getting ready. Stark was building his suits, Cap was stuck in ice – ready for a new age of heroes – Banner alienating the ones he loved, Odin was losing faith in Thor, and Hawkeye & Black Widow were doing spy-stuff. In the Phase 1-finale, Marvel’s The Avengers, they were finally assembled – and ready to defend Earth.

With Marvel Studios‘ Phase 3 opening with the Civil War-storyline – and continuing with solo films about new heroes – it seems obvious that Phase 3 will be about the Avengers, as we know them, disassembling. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter at hand. Marvel Studio‘s Phase 2-lineup looked like this:

  • Iron Man 3 (2013).
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013).
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
  • Ant-Man (2015).

This is a very small phase compared to the one we’ll be facing in 2016 and beyond – but perhaps that’s fitting. Now, let’s talk about each film.

Iron Man 3 was polarizing at best, I liked it – though I know a lot of fans who loath it. The film was about Tony Stark’s past mistakes – having created a villain in the form of SPOILERS Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian. This Shane Black film had some interesting quotes that I found to be extremely important for this discussion, most importantly this one:

Tony Stark: “You start with something pure. Something exciting. Then come the mistakes, the compromises. We create our own demons.

This quote will be important in the final discussion, revolving around a recent trailer for Age of Ultron. Be aware of the fact that I won’t be discussing Ant-Man in this discussion of thematic patterns. Why? Well, I don’t know enough about this film, but I doubt it revolves around the Avengers – or the overall plot of the Phase as I see it.

Thor’s second film was an okay film – though definitely the weakest of Phase 2, if you ask me. The ending of the film is interesting, as SPOILERS Odin’s ‘stolen son’ takes hold of Odin’s throne. One could say he brought this on himself. Similarly, Thor helped Loki get out of prison – which will, undoubtedly, come back to haunt him.

The Winter Soldier was an interesting ‘villain’ as Steve’s best friend comes back to haunt him and S.H.I.E.L.D.. Also, the entire organization shows its true face by revealing that the organization pioneers of Rogers’ time ended up creating SPOILERS Hydra.

Then came Guardians – the wackiest entry in the MCU yet. Though somewhat of a standalone film, the fact that Thanos has ‘daughters’ that become his enemies is interesting in the overall plotline of Phase 2.

Now, for the final discussion. Avengers: Age of Ultron is to become the final entry in Phase 2, excluding the epilogue: Ant-Man. Let’s finish the circle. In the very first Phase 2 film, we had talk of the idea that we create our own demons. And throughout the overall plot of Phase 2 it’s happened time and time again. Stark created the villainous Killian, the men of Steve Rogers’ day created the Hydra-infested S.H.I.E.L.D., Thanos is at fault for gaining enemies of his ‘daughters’, Odin is at fault for destroying the sanctity of his throne – by bringing home a stolen child.

And now, finally, Banner/Stark will be at fault for creating Ultron – the ultimate enemy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

In the second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron Ultron utters the phrase: “Everyone creates the thing they dread” – we’ve come full circle.

So, while the first phase is about assembling and the third supposedly being about disassembling – the second phase of Marvel‘s Cinematic Universe is about crafting your own villains.

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back with another entry in I’m Jeffrey Rex’ Marvelous Monday next week.

Stay Marvelous!

– I’m Jeffrey Rex.

4 thoughts on “Marvelous Monday #2 – Thematic Pattern of MCU’s Phase 2

  1. Great overview, but I’m truly fascinated in how their TV element is going to fit into all of this. I think it’s fair to say that the first half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was lacklustre, but as things went down in Captain America: TWS, the show massively improved. Granted, I haven’t watched season 2, but I really hope that they’re working to make that gap between the movies and TV shows like that more seamless. If not, it could get pretty messy.

    I was just wondering what you thought of that?

    1. I think the TV-side of their universe is going to improve in 2015 and beyond. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first 15 episodes were bland, they were boring. The show is better when it tries to handle what happens in the MCU, and I do think Civil War will help the show a lot. I’m hearing a lot of good things about Agent Carter, though I’ve been unable to watch it yet.

      Arrow’s numbers improved after the first season was released on Netflix in the US. Seeing as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders will all be Netflix shows – and be bingewatched – I think it will improve how people look at the TV-side of Marvel Studios.

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