When Marvel began its ambitious journey with the first Iron Man, comic book fans were ready to see what was in store for the future. With the massive success of Iron Man and the broke even The Incredible Hulk, Marvel's future was looking up.
Then the strings of the Marvel machine were coming a bit loose. First, the lost of two actors, Terrence Howard and Edward Norton. Both actors were a bit demanding in regards to salary. With Marvel saying no, the losses were not permeant. Even though I want those actors in The Avengers film, Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo were suitable replacements.
With in regards of the production of Iron Man 2, I'm not as picky as other bloggers and fanboys were. Yes, I do wish that director Jon Favreau had more of a say with the sequel. I can understand that Iron Man 2 had to be a thread to the big team up film. Is it the worst film of the cinematic universe? No. My bet is on The Incredible Hulk.
Now, after Iron Man 2, the real test of the road to The Avengers came with Thor and Captain America. These two films would serve as the final connective tissue to build The Avengers.If either of them failed, it would cast a shadow of doubt on the team up film that was in place to happen. What made these two films work was it's main heroes and the villains that drove them to be heroes. Forget the silly romantic ploys that each film had. Although, I wanted more of Peggy Carter in Captain America. She's a pretty strong female character besides Pepper Potts that I felt were worth exploring romantically.
With Thor and Captain America pulled enough to break good in terms of box office numbers, all eyes were on The Avengers. The Avengers film was a huge financial risk. With all the films before the Avengers, the thought was you had to see them all before the big team up happen. As the film opens, you didn't need to. With director Joss Whedon at the helm, you saw each character get a chance to shine. Except Hawkeye, he was plot device for Loki's plan. Don't get me wrong, he was crazy good in the third act. I just felt he needed more of a backstory.
With the teaser end tag having people guessing, Marvel is looking at the big picture. And right now, we're seeing the big picture unfolding before us. Marvel's phase plan is quite a unique one. Setting up multiple films that connects somehow to the shared universe. Marvel's Phase Two had to be one of most hotly debated among geeks and bloggers.
Now, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World are the most contentious films in the cinematic universe. I'm saying that in regards in the geek world. I get the major disappointment with Iron Man 3 with the major switch. I also get the troubled production with Thor: The Dark World. Is it hard to say that do I hate with a passion with regards to Iron Man 3's overall plotting and story? I just don't hate it. Could it have been better? Yes. The same goes for Thor: The Dark World. Could the villain been a lot more menacing? Yes. Could certain parts of the film needed a better dramatic effect in certain key plot points in terms of motivation of the main characters? Yes,but I'm not a film expert.
The next two films following Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World are uncontested in regards to overall the best since The Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. With Cap 2, you had a lot more fun with thrills of a spy thriller than a conventional superhero film. With Guardians of the Galaxy, you had humor and a awesome soundtrack. Even though the film's villain was pretty simple in motivation, it's the team up of the characters that makes the film work.
The hotly anticipated film of Phase Two is Avengers: Age of Ultron. With the main trailer in it's fullest, I expected anything can happen. The voice of Ultron is creepy and the action looked to be quite a ride to enjoy. While the movie didn't raise the stakes when it came to sequels, it planted many seeds for Phase Three.
With the praises over with, the real question was on Ant-Man. The film was set to close Phase Two. This is the third film with troubled production on a Marvel cinematic universe film. The lost of Edgar Wright has left a cloud of doubt on the film. With the change of a director and screenwriters, the film has been quite a hard one to look forward to. While Ant-Man ended up being a success, it was a formulaic origin story saved by scene stealer Michael Peña.
What really exciting is the future of Marvel,Phase Three. Which is about to start up soon. You have Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther,Doctor Strange,Spider-Man and The Avengers: Infinity War. I know I left out Thor: Ragnarok,Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Inhumans. They haven't generated much excitement for me.
Phase Three is seeing a promising line up of new heroes and big event films. I'm looking forward to the five I mentioned the most. Captain America: Civil War is about to become a huge story with huge ramifications at the end. Then you have Black Panther, one of the coolest characters ever created. I wanted a Black Panther film for years. And now, we're seeing it come true. Doctor Strange is all about magic and magical realms that adds a new dimension to the MCU. Then you have Spider-Man, the most beloved superhero of them all is finally joining the MCU. And last of all, Infinity War which could be a finale like no other. The end game for the MCU for Phase Three.
What I want to see is Marvel take smarter steps into making better stories than crafting the story in service for Infinity War. You can do both if you make it clear that the characters and plotting make it worth investing heavily in. Otherwise, the overall game plan might be troubled.
The future does look bright. I glee in geekiness towards Civil War, but strongly weary over Inhumans. For the next five years in superhero films, it will be up to fans if they want keep the superhero genre going. The outcome will be dependent on the stories being created and how different they are from the rest. All you can do is just wait and see. Until then, I need figure out if I want butter or not on my popcorn.