Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel Cinematic Universe #11) (MCU Phase 2 #5)

Hawkeye: The city is flying and we’re fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow. Nothing makes sense. Age of Ultron is an odd movie. From the perspective of a summer blockbuster/action movie, it’s solid. The opening action scene is wonderfully avengerful, there are all manner of awesome fights (the Hulk versus Iron Man fight and the final battle come to mind), and we get a few new characters.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel Cinematic Universe #10) (MCU Phase 2 #4)

I had forgotten just how fun Guardians of the Galaxy is. Back when I first reviewed it in 2014, it surprised me with how different it was and just how much it opened up the Marvel Universe. Well, we’ve seen some pretty crazy things since then (Thor Ragnarok springs to mind), but it’s still a pretty crazy movie. I mean, come on. It’s a man obsessed with classic rock, a badass green woman assassin, an overly literal shirtless wrestler, a cybernetically enhanced racoon, and a speaking tree 1 2.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel Cinematic Universe #9) (MCU Phase 2 #3)

From one of the weakest MCU movies to one of the strongest. I loved the first solo entry of Captain American and the second is even better. Much like last time, I very much enjoyed this movie. It’s a solid contrast against the first Captain America (blind optimistic patriotism versus a darker world, where even your friends… might not be). It’s made all the better having already seen the future of Sam and Bucky/The Winter Soldier now.

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Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Cinematic Universe #8) (MCU Phase 2 #2)

One problem that comic book universes in general and the MCU in specific have always had is that of scale. How in the world do you have a man in a suit, a literal ‘god’, a rage monster, a super soldier, and a couple … regular people ever interact on the same scale? For the most part, it’s hand waved away. Everyone is paired up with an opponent of roughly the same power level and we move on with our lives.

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Iron Man 3 (Marvel Cinematic Universe #7) (MCU Phase 2 #1)

For some reason, I Iron Man 3 as a fairly week entry, but looking back to when I last watched it in theaters… I actually liked it about as much then I do now. On one hand, I really do still think they absolutely nailed Robert Downey Jr. as Iron man. He can do both funny and broken pretty well and has more than a few chances for each this time around.

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier basically takes place where Avengers: Endgame left off. Steve Rogers as Captain America has stepped down, leaving his shield to Sam Wilson/The Falcon/the (rumored) future Captain America. And on a superficial level, that’s about where it ends: Sam Wilson has the shield and is expected to take up the mantle of Captain America. But, oh the story it tells along the way. On one hand, you have the dynamic between titular Falcon and Winter Soldier.

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The Avengers (Marvel Cinematic Universe #6) (MCU Phase 1 #6)

Hooo boy. When I first saw this movie (in theaters, in the before times), I was pretty much blown away. It was a big budget, box office smasher of a movie, bringing together an entire series of super hero movies in one giant box office smash. It was something that had never really been done before… and they managed to actually pull it off. And not only that (knowing what I do now), it was the start of something even bigger.

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Captain America: The First Avenger (Marvel Cinematic Universe #5) (MCU Phase 1 #5)

Now that is how you do a super hero movie. For anyone that’s somehow missed it, Captain America is the story about how a little guy from Brooklyn with a heart of gold and a steadfast determination to serve his country in World War II gets just that chance: taking a super soldier serum to get buff, becomes a showgirl for a while (because of course), fights Nazis, and gets frozen in the ice.

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Thor (Marvel Cinematic Universe #4) (MCU Phase 1 #4)

Thor is an odd sort of movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On one hand, it’s our first foray into the more ‘magical’ side of the universe, with ancient Gods and the like. Although in this universe, we’re led to believe that it’s really just highly advanced science. On the other hand, despite a worlds spanning plot (literally, 3 of them), it still feels oddly … small. Plotwise… it’s weird.

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Iron Man 2 (Marvel Cinematic Universe #3) (MCU Phase 1 #3)

I vaguely remember Iron Man 2 being a much weaker movie than the first Iron Man, but you know, it’s actually really good. The action is great, especially the fight scenes with the electro whips and between Iron Man and (not yet named) War Machine. Good stuff. Characterwise, Don Cheadle is a great replacement as Rhodes; you can feel Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man at the top of his game (with nothing to lose because he’s dying); and I still think Paltrow makes a great Potts.

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