With [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) hitting theaters in just a few short days, Marvel has finally reached the end of the Phase 2 slot of films. Since the success of The Avengers, we have had three sequels and a new film in Marvel Phase 2 thus far. And it seems that Marvel is going to do this sequel-turned-new cycle again in a few short months. So let's take a look back at what Marvel Phase 2 has given us thus far. Spoilers also follow. So if you haven't seen these films, go watch them. Or if you want to get a better idea on what goes on in Phase 2, go back to the beginning in the Phase 1 films.
Iron Man 3
Phase 2 began with Iron Man 3 in May 2013. When we find Tony Stark, he is having some anxiety issues which were triggered during his experiences in the events of The Avengers. Saving New York from an alien attack and going up a wormhole to another galaxy sounds pretty exotic. So what does he do? He takes his work as a hobby and builds more and more Iron Man suits. But in the midst of all this, a new evil emerges.
A mysterious terrorist mastermind dubbed The Mandarin is conducting various bombing attacks in various locations around the world. Angered at his friend being attacked, Tony reluctantly takes on the Mandarin who accepts the challenge by sending in helicopters to destroy his really fancy Malibu mansion. Thanks to his artificial butler J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony luckily escapes the bombings and rendezvous to Tennessee, where he has to team up with a scrawny kid to try and fix his armor (which is damaged) and discover the truth about the bombings that the Mandarin is orchestrating.
As the film goes on, it is discovered that the bombings were all done as a result of AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) scientists Aldrich Killian and Maya Hansen's Extremis program. Killian uses the serum to empower war veterans with superpowers, but he also has the potential to use Extremis to turn the victims into live bombs. With this discovered, Tony then travels to Miami, Florida to the Mandarin's lair where he discovers that the Mandarin is just a failed actor who was used to play the part for the so-called 'Mandarin'. Then Tony realizes that it was actually Aldrich Killian who was the real mastermind behind the whole deal. And I'm sure all you guys out there were a bit disappointed with this reveal.
Out of options and with his girlfriend Pepper Potts captured, Tony teams with his best friend Rhodey (dubbed Iron Patriot here) and is finally able to retrieve all of his Iron Man suits in a final battle against Killian and his Extremis-enhanced foot soldiers. And it was really cool to see Pepper taking out Killian for a change. Gotta love girls taking out the villains right?
After defeating the Mandarin and destroying his suits, Tony cures Pepper of her Extremis treatment and goes to the hospital to expose himself of his arc reactor.
[Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462)
The next film in Phase 2 is Thor: The Dark World, which also came out in 2013, but in the fall. Kicking off with a flashback, the villainous Malekith was going to use the all-powerful Aether to destroy the Nine Realms, only to find himself being defeated by Thor's grandfather Bor. Feeling defeat, Malekith flees as Bor hides the Aether from sight.
In present day, scientist and Thor's girlfriend Jane Foster unknowingly finds the Aether and is unwillingly fused with it. Showing concern, Thor returns to Earth after a few quick battles in other realms and takes Jane to Asgard to discover the truth about the Aether. Before that, Thor explained that he had to defeat his brother Loki from destroying New York with the alien armada. But the return of this weapon also meant the returning of Malekith and the Dark Elves, who staged a fearsome attack on Asgard in an attempt to reclaim the Aether, only to find himself fleeing Asgard after killing Frigga.
Wanting to save Jane and defeat Malekith in order to save the universe, Thor forms an uneasy alliance with his evil brother Loki, who shows Thor his own ways out of Asgard to travel to the Dark Elves' home world. Discovering that the Convergence (an event that will link all Nine Realms together) is approaching, the brothers and Jane engage Malekith and his right-hand man Kurse in a battle, only to have Loki die in the hands of Kurse. But after returning to Earth for a showdown with Malekith, its realm popping action throughout the entire universe.
After the defeat of Malekith, the Aether is apprehended by Volstagg and Sif and taken to the ancient alien called The Collector for safe keeping. Meanwhile, Thor returns to Odin and tells him that he chooses Jane over the throne and Odin sends him off to Jane. But it turns out that Loki survived and was impersonating Odin the whole time in that one scene at the end.
[Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973)
The third film in Phase 2 is Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was released in April 2014. We find that Captain America starts working for Nick Fury as a full SHIELD agent and is usually teamed with fellow Avenger Black Widow on various missions. But on one mission, Cap discovers that Fury is keeping various secrets from him and is suspicious about what goes on at SHIELD.
Fury then reveals to Cap Project Insight, which is an initiative that came as a result on the alien activity in New York during The Avengers. Insight is to launch three new Helicarriers with the intent of taking out various terrorists before they can even become known to the world, which doesn't fit well with Cap's suspicions.
Afterwards, there is a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier who supposedly kills Fury. Before he falls to death, Fury informs Cap that he can't trust anyone and that SHIELD has been compromised. Cap then realizes that after Fury was (nearly) shot to death, he finds himself taking out over a dozen of his fellow SHIELD agents, who have suddenly gone rogue somehow and is declared a fugitive from SHIELD by Fury's boss Alexander Pierce, who is now in charge. It is also revealed that Pierce is behind the Winter Soldier, who turns out to be Captain America's old partner from WWII, Bucky Barnes, brainwashed.
On the run, Cap teams with Black Widow to uncover the mysterious conspiracy inside SHIELD, only to find themselves in a confrontation with the consciousness of Cap's old nemesis Dr. Arnim Zola, who is revealed to be alive through a special computer system. He tells them that SHIELD recruited him. But the truth was that he was a true supporter for HYDRA's cause all along. Cap figures out that HYDRA is more dangerous than ever and are the ones that have conspired against him and his allies. He also realizes that HYDRA has infiltrated SHIELD for several years, right under their noses. It is also revealed that Alexander Pierce is one of it's senior officials. Seems like a smart move for a legendary actor like Robert Redford to be the main villain right?
So with Pierce about to launch Project Insight, Cap and Black Widow go to former Air Force member Sam Wilson/The Falcon for help along with Maria Hill and the not-so-dead Nick Fury. So then after defeating HYDRA, SHIELD has fallen and everyone goes on the run with Black Widow looking for a new cover, Hill going to work at Stark Industries for Tony Stark, Cap and Falcon looking for Bucky and Nick Fury goes into hiding while pursuing HYDRA. Meanwhile in a secret HYDRA base, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker is seen experimenting on Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. He also states that an Age of Miracles has begun, which I could assume that this will come into play in a few days when Avengers: Age of Ultron hits.
The first-to-last film in Marvel Phase 2 is Guardians of the Galaxy, which was released in August 2014. This film gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe a chance to get to the Final Frontier. Anyway, we start this film off with a young Peter Quill being abducted by the Ravagers after witnessing the death of his mom. Fast forward several years later, Quill (now dubbed Star-Lord) searches for a mysterious Orb that the Ravagers are seeking. But there are other forces at work searching for the said Orb. Villainous Kree fanatic Ronan the Accuser is also on a search for this artifact to deliver to the Mad Titan Thanos. He sends Gamora to retrieve it, but she comes across Quill, a raccoon named Rocket and a tree humanoid named Groot.
After a quick fight over the Orb, the quadrant finds themselves arrested by the Nova Corp and taken to their high security prison. There, they team up with a vengeful Drax the Destroyer, who is out to kill Ronan because he killed his family. Together they escape prison and figure out what to do about the mysterious Orb. Gamora suggests that they take it to the wacky alien Tanaleer Tivan/The Collector to sell it. When they arrive at Knowhere, the Collector tells the gang a story of the contains within the Orb: an ancient relic called an Infinity Stone, which is also a term that is used to refer the Tesseract and the Aether and four other small colored stones. The Collector's assistant grabs the stone and dies at it's power, for it is the Power Stone.
After the discovery of the Infinity stone within the Orb, the team joins up with the Ravagers in an alliance to stop Ronan and his goons from destroying Xandar. When they get there, they pledge allegiance to one another and prepare to fight Ronan. Quill also gets help from a contact through the Nova Corps, who sends in their soldiers to fight off Ronan's ship.
After a battle in the sky, Ronan's ship crashes with Groot protecting the team in a sacrificial move. Feeling victorious, Ronan claims that he won the battle and presents the people of Xandar with their heroes. With Rocket firing the weapon created by Quill, he destroys Ronan's staff while Quill goes for the stone. It results in the team joining hands and defeating Ronan with everything they had as a team. After their showdown, the team travels across the galaxy in search of their next big adventure. Meanwhile, the Collector looks across his destroyed museum and has the dog Cosmo licking his face only to find that Howard the Duck was insulting him.
Now we come to Avengers: Age of Ultron, which picks up where Winter Soldier leaves off. It will introduce Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Vision among other new characters in this film.
What is your response on Marvel Phase 2? Did you like it? What's your favorite Marvel Phase 2 film? Leave your thoughts down below
Avengers Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1st