ByArmando Santiago, writer at Creators.co
I'm an equal opportunist hero fan.

5. [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462)

This movie was something else. It was a great follow up to Thor and very cool to see more of Asgard. This movie, again, follows up with the aftermath of New York and seeing Loki pay for his crimes. He admittedly, made this movie very entertaining, and I wish he was the villain again in this movie. The whole Dark Elves thing was really dragging and not very interesting at all. Why was the 9th doctor a bad guy?? The main point of this movie I think, was to introduce the Aether. That’s it. It had Thor fighting and some funny moments mixed in, but that’s all this movie was about. I rank this higher than Iron Man 3, because I feel the story was at least more connected than Iron Man’s was. Plus, it featured a cool cameo too.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)

4. [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035)

How can an Avengers movie rank at #4 you might ask?? Well first of all, it shouldn’t be. This was what we had all been waiting for since the first Avengers movie. Ultron in the comics was this major villain created to make the world a better place and ends up destroying it and the Avengers. To see that come to the big screen would be epic! Instead…we got a robot who made way too many jokes. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments in this movie that are amazing, blood pumping, and just all around great action!! However, those scenes were few and far between. We finally got some character development for certain characters, and got to see some pretty dark stuff, but when a whole movie becomes consumed by it, it really brings you down. There’s a few things that happened that I won’t spoil, they were unexpected and I really wonder if they should have happened.

There’s also the robots. Oh my god the robots. Watching them fight them all of was really boring after awhile, as we had seen them battle the aliens in the first film! Why would I want to see the same type of thing again??? Another thing that really really bothered me, was that they didn’t acknowledge the fact that they were absent in each others movies at all, or the end of Iron Man 3, that wasn’t addressed. Why build that stuff up and not have it go anywhere? This movie was a great action flick and it was very entertaining, I loved the added cast, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Vision were all great, just had too much hype and not a huge payoff. That’s another reason I rank this movie lower than it should be, the hype was way too much. Too many trailers, and scenes, and TV spots, that’s what Sony killed Spiderman with. I expect more from Marvel.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

3. [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973)

If you’re tired of watching superheroes bash things and having plots build up with a weak payoff, then please, watch this movie. This movie is by far one of the best out of the MCU as a whole. There’s no supervillains, or monsters, or just senseless beating up of bad guys. The Winter Soldier follows up after New York in a different way. Cap didn’t walk away with PTSD, or a brother who tried to rule the planet. He simply wanted to belong in this time period. With the help of Fury and SHIELD, he did just that. However, this movie really decided to play with your emotions and expectations, and unlike the movies preceding this one in Phase 2, the story actually affects the MCU as a whole, changing it forever. It reintroduces HYDRA in a way that nobody expected and made you question a lot of different things about people and who to trust. It also introduced The Winter Soldier, and boy was it terrific. This movie really brought thrill and action, in a way we haven’t really seen in a superhero movie before Like the fight scenes with Cap, He has super strength ok, but he doesn’t have powers. There’s no giant Hammer to wield, or a suit with a bunch of weapons on it. He’s also not battling aliens, or a god, or other super powered freaks. He’s fighting people, some of them, who respect the hell out of him, and he calls friends. There’s the suspense of what will happen next, or "wait, I thought that happened, so why is this happening?" I can easily watch this one over and over again. Believe me, if one of the next two movies hadn't been released, or been good, this would be #1 all day every day.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Now for the last two movies of Phase 2. This was really hard as both of these movies were extremely well done, and blew my expectations out of the water. There can only be one #1 so let’s see who’s runner up. Remember, this is my opinion so yours may differ.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

Don’t all boo me once! Jeez! Don’t get me wrong at all, I loved this movie. It was one of the most out there movies ever created. I mean, how does a movie with; a wrestler, that chubby guy from Parks and Rec, dances with blue aliens from Avatar, a raccoon, and a tree, a freaking tree! Go together in any way possible?? I’ve read a lot of Marvel comics in my day, and know quite a bit about the universe, but I have never heard of these characters. Ever. So the fact they got a movie in the first place was a bit of a shock. I went into this expecting to be entertained a bit, but I would probably just laugh it off and sweep it under the rug with The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2.

Instead, I saw one of the funniest and actually heart tugging things in my life. This movie follows these outlaws and criminals, and puts them together to fight off against a villain named Ronan the Accuser. Pretty simple right? Well the way it’s done is very well paced and filled with a lot of humor and some heart touching moments. There’s also the fact that Thanos appears in this movie as well, and we all know who he is right?? Well if not, He’s going to be the final main villain in the MCU at the end of Phase 3. The fact we got to see him in full (albeit, he was sitting around doing nothing) was really cool and makes you fearful for what The Mad Titian will eventually do. Add all of this, throw in a lot of 80’s references, and a kick ass soundtrack that your parents will love, and you’ve got yourself a summer blockbuster. Nothing seemed like it could top it, AOU sure didn’t. Civil War is still a year away, so for the time being, it reigns supreme right?? Right???

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

* Most of this next part is my review for Ant-Man, but I’ll tie it in to this list, don’t worry.

1. Ant-Man

I don’t even know where to begin with this movie. I mean, talk about wow. I grew up loving the Avengers, and while I didn’t read a ton of those comics, the ones I knew included Ant Man. He has one of the weirdest powers yet. He can shrink to the size of an ant! That’s creepy and cool. To see that come to life on the big screen sounds amazing, and the fact that Edgar Wright was doing it, and making it a spy type of film, oh hell yes!! Then the bad omens started happening… Hank Pym being Ant Man? Nope! Wasp? Try again. Then you have Edgar leave the project (one that he’s been working on forever mind you) and hire the guy who did Yes Man, and The Break Up. If that doesn’t add to the hurt, let’s rewrite the script as well. With all of these things going against it, I really thought Marvel has lost the ball and that they were going to finally have a loser in the MCU. When the first teaser came out, I will admit, I wasn’t impressed my any means and that put the final nail in the coffin for me. I was not excited for this movie at all. Then the official trailer came out, and my hope came back to life. I was pumped, but still cautious. After all, this was still being done by a comedy director and actor. Yeah, the legendary Michael Douglas was in it, and Evangeline Lily as well, but I figured in my heart of hearts, that they would make them do silly or stupid stuff and they would run for the hills as soon as the movie came out. I expected this to be funny, and not in a good way at all. When I finally saw this movie though, holy crap!

This movie is about a retired Hank Pym, who discovers that the company he owns is attempting to recreate a formula he has kept a secret for so many years. Once he discovers this, he recruits a “thief” who is desperately trying to get his life together and asks him to suit up as the Ant Man to steal the formula back. Without spoiling anything, I have to say, they hit this movie out of the park with the story. It was hilarious, and in all the right ways. It had some really great jokes and gags, but didn’t over use them at all, (something I noticed happened a bit too much in Age of Ultron) They really brought these characters to life and made you feel for all of them, even Darren Cross (the villain.) He was just trying to please his mentor, Pym. So much so, that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to do so. This is another reason I loved this movie so much; Cross was a villain I could actually enjoy. Every villain in the MCU, with the exception of Loki, has been sub par at best. Cross has a story, he has development, and it pays off for him in the end. Even Ultron, one of Marvel’s biggest villains’, was beaten by a man in a business suit. If I had to pick my favorite characters in this movie, it would be Hank and Scott. They played so well off of each other. Scott might as well have been his long lost son. Here you have a science mastermind, that is Hank Pym, who has to teach this low life thief, to use the Ant Man suit. He’s been retired for some time and just wants to be left out of this ever changing world. Michael Douglas was so perfect for Hank Pym I can’t stand it. Scott himself is no idiot either, he’s a guy with a master’s degree in electronic engineering, and pretty awesome skills and stealing stuff, who is broken and beaten down. All he wants is to provide and be there for his daughter Cassie. Their relationship is so cute and heart tugging, and you really believe that they are father and daughter. She loves her dad, even though he’s a criminal.

Paul Rudd may be more of a comedic actor, but he sold Scott Lang. Hank and Scott seem to parallel each other as well. In the trailer you hear Hank ask Scott if he wants a shot at redemption, to be the hero that he wants to be, and in the movie, you learn it’s not just Scott who needs redemption, as Hank himself is trying make amends to the one person that matters most, his own daughter, Hope van Dyne. She kicked a lot ass in this movie, and I don’t just mean physically. Evangeline really owned this role. You could really believe that she was Douglas’s daughter. She’s a business woman who wants nothing to do with her father, yet needs his help to stop Cross. Then he brings in this thief, a nobody, to wear the suit that is rightfully hers. I really liked that parallel dynamic between Hope and Hank, and Scott and Cassie. They both just wanted to be there for their daughters, and haven’t done a great job in doing so. We can’t forget about the supporting cast! I really really expected Michael Peña to be a huge drag, I mean, he’s funny, but I thought it would be overbearing in this movie, and I’m really pleased to say he wasn’t He is funny ,and brings a lot of light to some of the dark things that Scott is going through, but he does this somewhat subtly at times. Not so much at other times. Scott’s “family” were great as well. His ex wife didn’t really play much of a role, but her husband sure did. Paxton is a cop, who may seem like an ass at times, really cares for Cassie as much as Scott does. He wants to keep her safe, even of that means keeping Scott out of the picture.

Overall, they took a hero no one knew of and threw him into the MCU and did it well. They were able to sell the fact that a guy can shrink and still be a superhero. I’m not sure if this is a spoiler or not, but in case if it is, you might want to skip to the rest of this paragraph. OK? Also if you are reading this, don’t kill me for saying it. I’m glad Hank wasn’t in the suit in this movie. I really thought her would jump in it at some point. Yeah, he says that it’s taken a toll on him, but, that doesn’t mean crap sometimes, he could still do it. He didn’t need to though. He worked so well just being Hank Pym, and being a mentor and father figure.

Ant-Man (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)

Finale

With all of this being said, why is it #1? Well for me, it took something that very well could’ve been a huge disaster and made it one of the best MCU films out of both Phase 1 and Phase 2. Yeah, I liked it so much I would put this as #2 after The Avengers. It was funny, and emotional, and action packed. I’ve seen some comments floating around about how this is very much the Iron Man of this decade, and I could actually agree with that. If you’ve never seen a MCU movie before this one, you can play catch up, but you don’t need to see the other movies to understand it. This movie stands on its own to feet, and while there are mentions of the MCU, it could be come clear later on if one were to go back and rewatch, and why wouldn’t you? This would excite the pants of of any Marvel fan who superhero fan, or even a fan of action in general, to want to see the rest of the MCU movies. Iron Man was that movie for so many of us, and this movie could be that for a new generation. I’ve never wanted a sequel for a movie so badly in my life, and I’m definitely excited to see Scott join Civil War.

As we wait for Phase 3 to begin, what were your favorites of phase 2? Comment below and we can discuss.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
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