The Marvel Cinematic Universe might have started off with a bunch of B-list characters but the truth is the filmmakers involved had planned way more than that before they even got started. Surely they couldn't have merged all their projects together in one phase so they decided to take things slowly and the first thing you know, they execute their most sensible strategy - release two movies annually. If only they'd done the same for Iron Man 2 and The Avengers as well. In a few years to come, they intend to extend the limit to three, given that they've already established two phases by far. This impact has already spread to other Studios, say FOX that intends to release three movies next year, regardless of how vulnerable Gambit seems to be or the X-continuity that's apparently no longer a major problem but still riles a lot of people. Even the upcoming contender known to us at present as the DC Extended Universe is launching its first duo with Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad with Batman making a guest appearance, kind of reminds me of Falcon being a minor part of Age Of Ultron and making a guest appearance or what you'd call a crossover in Ant-Man.
1. Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.
As we start off with the early birds or talking guns of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, director Jon Favreau entitles us to a massively dominant kick-starter in Iron Man which unlike most first chapters of universes, outdoes itself by offering something slightly different (as of its case, a storyline filled with irony which Robert Downey Jr is perfectly cast for) and sets up an entire universe with a certain amount of references, enough evidence to prove it remains different from other MCU movies in this regard, and so does the Incredible Hulk, only that director Louis Leterrier's attempt is not quite in par with the high quality standards of Iron Man, yet the movie separates itself from other MCU movies in the sense it feels entirely different, at least while it focuses on areas in Brazil, also makes sense that Marvel Studios can't fully use the Hulk because Universal Studios are also part of the process. Main point is Bruce Banner is trying to stay incognito after the super-soldier experiment goes haywire but I felt the action scenes were like so much better than the storyline, needless to say Edward Norton did one hell of a good job. In short, we have the Incredible Hulk and the inedible Bruce Banner.
2. Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
One of the things they may have in common for obvious reasons is the tesseract and so on, I like it when duo(s) get along with similarities regardless of their performances. The main thing I love about Thor is that it introduces Loki for The Avengers and is perhaps unlike so many others, the one movie where the hero's father doesn't actually die, though we hear fake news at times. As for origin stories, I'd pretty much go with Spider-Man any day, the very next in line would be Captain America. Wait a minute, are they basically the same in the sense they get bullied too often and are weak and know the value of strength? That could be the reason I liked the first half of The First Avenger, even more importantly, the Star Spangled Man With A Plan, the standout moment in the entire movie. One thing more that comes close, the Avengers tease reference at the end of the movie.
3. Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World.
One thing the audience remembers damn well at this point is that The Avengers has happened and it's time for some further progress. Yes, I know these two movies haven't honestly lived up to the hype, but let's consider the Phase 2 movies involving characters that have already appeared in The Avengers. In the very end of the invasion, Hawkeye runs out of arrows, Hulk is apparently cornered by a few aliens after which they apparently die as the mothership explodes. Black Widow is in position with the scepter as Thor and Captain America deal with more aliens before Iron Man takes the nuke out of the city and lets it explode once he's out of power. Nick Fury couldn't be more right about Iron Man becoming part of a bigger universe in Iron Man 1, but it's way more than that. He witnesses the universe in the portal and it literally affects him on a mental/ emotional scale, given that he was the only one that had the full blast of the impact. Iron Man 3 may not have been the perfect threequel but portrayed his troubled state of character almost spot on! While Thor: The Dark World dealt with a universal impact with plenty of worthy action but in a rather chessy tone, we see Loki end up on the throne of Asgard. Sure it's unexplained what exactly happened between him and Odin but the overall mechanism including Loki's sole purpose as a villain remains justified.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy.
On an unrelated note, Iron Man 3 portrayed Iron Man in a totally different state after The Avengers but Captain America's character was pretty much the same as before, needless to say which movie is superior. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy are considerably in contention for being the best duo by far in the MCU. One too grounded with realism, the other filled with fantasy. The result, two badass encounters the audience never saw coming, not even Quicksilver!
5. Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Ant-Man.
Marvel Studios push the boundaries yet again, only on a rather smaller but successful scale. Avengers: Age Of Ultron had some surreal action sequences and tons of awesome additions but opened to decent reviews while Ant-Man is currently certified at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and is in general, a pretty good addition or an ant sized masterpiece. Plus, the Falcon crossover which I already mentioned above is among the coolest fights ever made!
6. Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange.
Two important reasons why 2016 might just be one hell of a year for the evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - It features several of the Avengers go head to head against each other in Captain America: Civil War (Hulk and Thor don't count but rumors say this movie helps set up Thor: Ragnarok that features them both so it really works) which will obviously lead to a massive turn of events. It's apparently confirmed that Chris Evans has extended his contract up to the Infinity War divisions so he will be back in case he's killed off in this movie. Letting aside the mixed reception with Age Of Ultron, people still have faith in this movie as the Russo(s) who'd previously worked on the game-changing Winter Soldier are back for their sequel and Captain America's threequel. Dr Strange is pretty much equally worthy in this consideration as Kevin Feige stated it is a project they've been working on since before the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, earlier this year in the D23 Expo. Plus, it finally features both versions of Sherlock Holmes in one damn universe, not to forget Martin Freeman's already part of Captain America: Civil War!
That pretty much wraps up the duo(s) as of right now, until we hear more announcements in Phase 4.