Last week I wrote about the magical moments that made Phase One a huge success for Marvel Studios. This week, I want to talk about Phase Two. After The Avengers, the Marvel Cinematic Universe changed dramatically; Aliens had just invaded New York for all to see. The heroes of the MCU had to change their outlook too - particularly Iron Man, who had recurring dreams about his foray into outer space with the nuke. But what were the stand out moments from Phase Two? Let's find out!
Ben Kingsley's Mandarin was a very divisive subject in Phase Two. All of the trailers for Iron Man 3 led the viewers to believe that the Mandarin was an evil terrorist mastermind who wanted to kill Iron Man. Ben Kingsley put in a truly terrifying performance in the trailers and looked set to be a wonderful villain.
However, this did not end up to be the case. Somewhat controversially, the Mandarin was revealed to be an actor who had been hired by the film's main antagonist, Aldrich Killian. The reveal was a polarising moment with many viewers, myself included, not too happy with what had transpired. But it did get people talking about the twist. I know this was a controversial moment, but the reveal of the Mandarin was a truly surprising moment in Iron Man 3. Because of the intensity of the trailers, this was a huge twist that, rightly, took viewers by surprise.
Thor is Polite!
Last week, I talked about Thor's lack of understanding when it comes to human behaviour. It seems he has learned a bit since Phase One. When entering a friend's house, always remember to hang up your coat (or in this case, your godly hammer). Does this mean that the coat hanger is worthy?
SHIELD is Compromised
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a turning point for the MCU. Here we find out that SHIELD had been secretly infiltrated by a number of Hydra agents, many of whom had worked their way to the very top! As a result of this, Cap and Black Widow had to become fugitives and fight former friends. There was a sense that nobody could be trusted and nobody knew whose side they were on. The fact that Alexander Pierce was Hydra spoke volumes. Even Nick Fury had to answer to somebody and his boss was a double agent all along! There was also the issue of the Winter Soldier's identity to add to our intrigue. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a truly excellent film. It would have rightly been called the best of Phase Two if it hadn't been for what came next...
Guardians of the Galaxy Love to Dance!
Guardians of the Galaxy was THE success story of Phase 2. Once again, it was Marvel taking a huge risk. The Guardians were a lesser known property but man, did they succeed. I could go on about how brilliant the film was (in fact, I might - watch this space!) but the stand-out moment I have chosen is the dancing. There was A LOT of dancing in Guardians of the Galaxy by the main cast and incidental characters. This was helped by the excellent soundtrack that accompanied the film. Awesome Mix Volume 1 was not only the soundtrack to the film, it actually had a role in the story. As great as the dance off with Ronan is, the stand out dancer is definitely Groot...
Throughout all of the Marvel films (the ones featuring Iron Man, at least), there has been an unsung hero. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, this hero was able to step out of the shadows. That hero is JARVIS, Tony Stark's trusted artificial intelligence.
JARVIS was a constant presence in the MCU. When Ultron reveals himself, it seems that JARVIS is dead (as dead as an AI can be, anyway), but in the final act of the film, he is reborn as The Vision! Originally, The Vision was supposed to be Ultron's final form, his perfect body. Because of his creation, there are many of the Avengers who are skeptical about his allegiance. Ultimately, he proves himself in a way that no avenger can argue with.
During a drinking session earlier in the film, the Avengers all try to lift Thor's hammer. None of them believe that it can only be picked up by someone worthy of the task so, being a bit drunk, they all have a go. None manage to move it (though it does slightly move when Cap tries), so when the newborn Vision lifts the hammer, that is all the proof they need that he is on their side.
The Quantum Realm
was yet another excellent film. Again, Marvel took a slight risk by choosing to have Scott Lang, the second Ant Man, take up the role. Hank Pym was a presence throughout and there was even mention of his past as Ant Man, but the film was truly Scott Lang's journey. Importantly, it introduced yet another dimension to Marvel's universe - the Quantum Realm.
After shrinking beyond microscopic levels (against the advice of Hank Pym), Lang ventures into the Quantum Realm, which was also the place Janet Van Dyne was lost. Somehow, he is able to escape and return to the real world, but this short foray into the Quantum Realm was hugely important for the MCU. This introduces the idea of other dimensions to the audience. Stephen Strange is mentioned in passing in an earlier film and we know that Doctor Strange is getting his own movie. The Quantum Realm is one place that the Sorcerer Supreme could explore in his own film.
It's safe to say though, the stand out moment in Ant Man was this...
Have I missed anything? Let me know what you think!