MOVIESPOP CULTURETVThe Marvel Universe – Phase Two

As we are all still stuck at home and still glued to our television sets, I have continued on this Marvel journey. And let me tell you, this is not an easy feat. Since beginning this journey more lists have appeared with slight variations to the timeline. Is the timeline I’m following correct? I have no idea! Does it truly matter in the grand Marvel scheme of things? Probably not. The movies are in correct...
Hayley Rogers3 weeks ago5138 min
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As we are all still stuck at home and still glued to our television sets, I have continued on this Marvel journey. And let me tell you, this is not an easy feat. Since beginning this journey more lists have appeared with slight variations to the timeline. Is the timeline I’m following correct? I have no idea! Does it truly matter in the grand Marvel scheme of things? Probably not. The movies are in correct order but there has been some discrepancies regarding the television series. Alas, I continue on the list I found first and can’t look back now!

 

Phase One Part Two

 

Iron Man Two

 

I loved the first Iron Man. I will love anything Robert Downey Jr does because he’s a great actor and everyone should watch all his movies.

 

In fact, everyone liked the first Iron Man movie, nothing else in the Marvel Universe happened between the first and second movie. And not a lot happened in the second movie. So let’s be real, there is a steady decline in the Iron Man movies. And though I just watched this movie in April, I could hardly remember a thing that happened. Tony is struggling with the world knowing his Iron Man and the fact that he isn’t sharing his toys with the military. Indie film star Sam Rockwell graces us with his presence along with Mickey Rourke who is always terrifying but I don’t think his character Ivan Vanko makes it into the top ten villain categories. Of the Iron Man movies, this one is not great but at least it’s not the third one.

 

The Incredible Hulk

 

I don’t know why this movie is included in the list. Yes, I suppose it is canon as it shows us where Bruce ends up when Natasha retrieves him in Avengers, but did we not know about the Hulk already? Was there anyone who was like, wait, who’s that big green guy? No. Everyone knew. You won’t like him when he’s angry. And blah blah blah. This movie is pretty mediocre and does not have the same comedic aspects as the other movies. It’s just not great. And I am a huge Ed Norton fan but he is not my Bruce Banner. Mark Ruffalo all the way. Personally, I think everyone can skip this movie, but if you’re like me you are physically unable to skip now that you’ve started this absurd project.

 

Thor

 

Let me backtrack for a moment, I originally started this chronological endeavor last year and got to Thor and…never finished it. I find the first chunk of the movie is so boring! Thor is annoying, his group of cohorts I didn’t care about, Natalie Portman was just sort of blah, though Kat Dennings is adorable and she should have been cast in a better part and even Loki just wasn’t doing it for me. But then I tried it again, watched the whole movie this time and enjoyed it. Once Thor is on Earth and throwing mugs of coffee on the ground, it is enjoyable. It is a movie about him proving his worth, yes he’s a God but is he worthy? Not only is this an origin story for Thor but also his brother, Loki. Loki is my favorite villain so far. Top ten villain’s list for sure.  He’s that arrogant little brother who has an anger problem and basically tries to commit patricide. And if you want to enjoy The Avengers immensely more you should watch Thor.

 

Avengers

 

The final movie in Phase One is The Avengers! Long ago, back in 2012 when I was only 20 years old before I could go to the movie theater and drink margaritas, I saw The Avengers. And let me preface this with, this was the first Marvel movie I was about to see. I never saw Iron Man, or Thor, or Captain America. This was the first. And I loved it! I was hooked! It sealed the deal. This was one of the first movies that I saw with such a large cast of characters who assembled in a way that I couldn’t get enough of. I loved the bickering and the arrogance and the friendships. Loki really shines in this movie and hilarity definitely ensues throughout, along with some series character bonding and shaping.

 

And as for the end of Phase One but the beginning of so much more, I think this movie takes the proverbial cake.

 

Phase Two

 

I am not sure how to describe phase two. I was going to refer to it as the series phase but upon seeing phase three which is a giant list of season after season of different television shows, I’ve decided to call this the Misfit Phase.

 

Up first in the Misfit Phase is….

 

Iron Man 3

 

Ughhhh. I don’t even want to talk about this movie because it’s just not good! The plot is so bizarre and honestly confusing, I don’t think they knew what they were doing and where they were going with this. Is there a comic book that correlates? Is there a comic book with Ben Kingsley doing a silly accent and being a terrorist? Please someone tell me because this movie is NOT GOOD. Out of three this is the worst, sorry RDJ, it’s just not good!

 

Agents of Shield Season 1, Episode 1-7

 

I should have written something down after first watching this because I thought this show was dumb. Now I am a bit blinded by my love for it…anyways, AoS is all about Colson and his well…agents of shield. This show was on ABC and it feels like it! It’s corny, it’s silly, there’s explosions, it’s basically Grey’s Anatomy but with aliens and superpowers and spies! The first few episodes are mere set up for what is to come. It focuses on Colson because well…spoiler alert, he died at the end of the Avengers. But guess what! He’s alive and well, or is he? Along with Colson, we have Agent May, badass lady with her own secrets, Agent Ward, very handsome, brooding type, Fitz and Simmons, the nerds of the operation (my favorites), and Skye: a hacker who hacks her way right into shield! I grew to really love this show and I look forward to watching it in between all the others.

 

Thor: The Dark World

 

Okay. The Thor movies aren’t that good. This one is definitely worse than the first one. I don’t even remember watching it to be honest!! But I did, I would never skip. I don’t think I liked this one because it kind of steps away from everything and seems too much about itself. It deals with the mythology of Asgard and their are Dark Elves and a bunch of weird alien stuff that involves Natalie Portman. However, there are a few key elements that come into play during this movie, mostly at the end. Spoilers ahead, Loki dies, which he tends to do and is impersonating Odin, unbeknownst to Thor. AND two of Thor’s cohorts head to another planet to keep a second Infinity Stone safe. As anyone who has seen the final Avengers movie, you know these stones are a bit important.

 

Agents of Shield again! Yay!! Episodes 8-16

 

Captain America – Winter Soldier

 

This is a fan favorite. Because who doesn’t love Bucky Barnes? In fact who doesn’t like a possibly dead character not actually being dead? Everyone loves that! This movie doesn’t have the same 1940s flare as the first one but it still packs quite a punch. There is some more Black Widow action (still patiently waiting for her movie to come out which is long overdue), and the villain that is Bucky Barnes is awesome. A brainwashed best friend who was meant to be dead but isn’t?! Queue the adorable flashbacks!

 

Though this movie has some bittersweet moments, seeing that Peggy Carter, oh sweet peach Peggy, is old and bedridden but still as lovely and kind as ever. And the death of a shield agent! Gasp! This truly stirs up the Shield world and a web of lies and intrigue regarding Hydra and who is to be trusted. No one. No one is to be trusted.

 

Agents of Shield Season One, Episodes 17-22

 

HYDRA IS SHIELD. SHIELD IS HYDRA. One thing about the Marvel universe is that a lot of the villains WILL NOT GO AWAY. Hydra has been around since the beginning, and I mean the beginning. It is all over the place! Even lurking in the hallways of the Shield compound plane. Yes. There is an enemy amongst the group. And I’m not going to say who it is because I doubt many people have seen this show and this person is quite a villain. And they never seem to go away! Like Loki! A good villain sticks around, that’s a Marvel motto! We get much more insight into what the heck happened to Colson in Tahiti! It was a bit more than magical.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume I and Volume II

 

Is it silly of me to like these movies the best out of all the Marvel movies? I say no! These movies are funny, heartfelt, intense, and play a massive Josh Brolin sized role in the entire scope of these three phases.

 

Volume I starts with a little origin story to Peter Quill, aka Star Lord, aka Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec. Young kids mom dies, gets abducted by aliens, becomes an adventurer/pirate type in space! Simple as that.

 

After stealing an artifact that an evil Kree, Ronan, wants, Peter is hunted by bounty hunters and joins a group of misfits and it’s the greatest band of misfits. Rocket the Raccoon, precious Groot a tree humanoid, badass Gamora (where is my Gamora and Nebula sister movie?! Where is it?!) and the vengeful Drax and Destroyer.

 

I love these movies and they just so happen to have my favorite Marvel villain/bad girl, Nebula aka irish sweetheart, Karen Gillan aka Amelia Pond aka Ruby Roundhouse in all her shaved head glory! Nebula tops my list and I don’t even know how to explain it so I won’t.

 

The ending of Volume I is heartbreaking and lovely and defeats one villain to open up a space for perhaps the ultimate villain.

 

Volume II is not as good as the first one but I actually really liked this one a lot more the second time around. We’ve learned that Starlord’s father, Ego played by Kurt Russel is a god-like Celestial who manipulates matter and turns out to be not so great a guy and a terrible father. In the second movie we are introduced to adorable Mantis whose back and forth banter with Drax is wonderful and we get a softer side of Yondu, the man who originally took Peter Quill when he was child, which honestly made me cry this time around.

 

Each character has a bit more development and a lot of feelings happen in this movie. Peter and Gamora dance, Nebula just wanted a sister, and Groot is an adorable teenager humanoid-tree creature.

 

After some very minimal research, the third movie was up in the air for a while but it appears to be back on and scheduled to release in 2022! But with this whole quarantine debacle, who really knows anything anymore?

 

Now let’s get a bit dark, shall we?

 

Daredevil

 

Season one of this show is dark in more ways than one. There is a lot of death, a lot of action, a lot of untrustworthy people, and a lot of scenes that are difficult to even see what is going on. (Can someone please turn on the lights?!I wonder if this is somewhat done on purpose as the main character Matt Murdock aka Daredevil is The Blind Superhero.

 

Throughout the first season there is no mention of any other Marvel universe thing which made the series feel like a standalone that had nothing to do with The Avengers or Shield or anything of the sort. Which personally, I enjoyed that. It was a superhero show without the corniness of Shield or the comedy of Guardians. But don’t get me wrong, there is a bit of comedic with everyone’s favorite Bash Brother, Elden Henson, who plays Murdock’s partner in Law and bff, Foggy Nelson.

 

The plot lines are dark and serious, the action is bloody and intense, the villain, Wilson Fisk makes for quite an interesting bad guy which you can’t help but like him. Maybe that’s just me.

 

I believe this was a turning point in the Marvel Universe. They could switch things up and do something darker and with Netflix as their platform they could step away from the Disney-esque aspect that a lot of these other movies and tv shows have.

 

It is refreshing and very, very good.

 

Agents of Shield – Season 2 Episodes 1-19

 

I was eager to get back to AOS since the first season ended. It is a strange method to jump around through all these movies and shows but somehow it does feel seamless. Season two however felt odd. After spending time with Matt and Foggy and Karen and a lot of bloodshed and darkness, it was jarring to suddenly be thrown back into a show with so many characters and the brightness turned way up! Not only were the main cast of characters still present but also an extra group that I needed to get to know.

 

I didn’t like it…at first.

 

Eventually I got back into the swing of it and each character’s storyline was interesting, though I am still deeply invested in Fitz & Simmons. This season had a lot of “gifted” characters, people with some sort of super power, in the mix which I think is what keeps people interested in this show.

 

But what I really love about this show is that the action is equal. One of the smartest characters in the show is Gemma Simmons, a pretty and confident young woman. Men and women are fighting each other without holding back at all and there are more than just a couple. Agent May, Agent Skye, Agent Bobby all top female fighters with interesting backstories and not forced love interests. The romance is tucked to the side where it belongs in a show like this and I am all for a slow burn romance, I’m looking at you Fitz and Simmons!

 

The Avengers – Age of Ultron

 

As this movie was starting I could not for the life of me remember anything about it. And that was even with a hint in the 19th episode of AoS. I think I may have blocked this movie out because all it is is a set up movie. It is also the shortest of the bunch, coming in one minute less than the first Avengers movie. And I think it shows.

 

This movie would have been the perfect time for just some basic character personality building. We do get some more insight into Hawkeye and a strange love connection between Natasha and Bruce which I just don’t know if I like that or believe it.

 

We get some new characters with almost zero background. The twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Look another girl joins the team! This movie also mentions Wakanda, both Thor and the Hulk go off on another adventure wink wink Ragnarok and they all save the world from a terminator rip off with James Spader’s voice who I found to be not that great of a villain. I’m just on one with the villain’s this phase!

 

This movie is pure set up for multiple movies and probably the worst of the four Avenger movies

 

The last three episodes of season two of AoS

 

This show is kind of wonderful. They wrap things up and it is bittersweet and leaves us wanting more! I don’t know what I would have done if I was watching this live and had to wait for the next season. But in reality I will have to wait and finish Ant Man, Season one of Jessica Jones and season two of Daredevil before I get more of my Shield Agent friends.

 

Ant Man

 

I think this was one of the movies where people realized they wanted to be a part of this universe and that they weren’t going away anytime soon. Comedic actor Paul Rudd is fantastic as Ant Man and Michael Douglas also joins the fun. And that’s what this movie is, Fun! I remember when the first trailer came out and I thought why the heck is there an Ant superhero? I had never heard of Ant Man before and thought the concept was silly. And it is silly! But also quite heartfelt and has serious topics. I think in the end we can all agree that Michael Pena stole the show.

 

Jessica Jones Season One

 

I started watching this show back when it first arrived on Netflix. A dark marvel show starring Krysten Ritter and David Tenant?! I was very much in. But I quickly grew bored and stopped watching. Now as I return to this show and finish watching it, I still grew bored. The season felt long and drawn out and I don’t think there was enough emotion behind Jessica’s character to the point where I don’t think she’d risk/allow so many others to die just for the possibility of getting Hope out of jail. I know this is probably a metaphor for her own experience and her wanting Killgrave to admit he’s evil but there just felt like something was missing.

 

But the redeeming factor of this show was David Tennant. Perhaps it is because I watched Doctor Who and fell deeply in love with Ten just like Rose Tyler, or perhaps it was just the British accent and evilness. He was too good not to like! And I know I could get a lot of backlash for this. He was inherently evil, a rapist, a murderer etc. but there is just something about him! And he’s a bloody good villain, despite his appeal, and I’m a sucker for villains! They are just much more interesting than the heroes!

 

Overall I’m not entirely hopeful for the rest of the “dark” marvel Netflix shows.

 

Daredevil Season Two

 

If you are looking to watch a darker version of the Marvel movies, watch Daredevil. I have only watched two out of the five (?) shows on Netflix but Daredevil is heaps and bounds better than Jessica Jones. Though some parts kind of bothered me and I was annoyed that Daredevil was quite selfish this season and that he dated Karen (ugh, do not ship in the least bit) and was too focused on his ex and this new band of villains, The Hand, to pay attention to the actually interesting plot line of The Punisher. Jon Bernthal is absolutely wonderful in his rendition of the Punisher. I liked his character in The Walking Dead and Fury and Baby Driver. He’s a great actor and man does he look good covered in the blood of his enemies. Ten points for Jon. He truly stole the season, in my opinion, and the trial of the century was far more interesting than whatever Electra and Daredevil were doing. Also,  more Foggy would have been nice as well. Everyone needs more Foggy.

 

But I must admit I’m looking forward to Agents of Shield where I can actually see what is happening on the screen unlike Daredevil where every scene is nighttime or a dark room. There’s a metaphor there somewhere.

 

Agents of Shield Season 3 Episodes 1-19

 

This show is so much fun! This season, save for the last four episodes has been great. It started off extremely strong after that gasp worthy ending of season two and I even cried a little bit during this season. Your favorite characters are all back and still dealing mainly with Hydra and all the bits and bobs that go along with that.

 

I have grown very fond of these characters and it feels a bit like watching Doctor Who for the first time (Tennant, Matt Smith, season one and two Peter Capaldi), I love the characters, I love the relationships that bloom and break, I love Colson’s comedic remarks every so often.

 

Agents of Shield also is most closely related to the Avenger world. They mention Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and the Kree are also a huge part of AoS. Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy Volume One is Kree. And Carol Danvers is Kree!! This show really does link a lot of the other Marvel movies!

 

After finishing the Misfit Phase I came to the conclusion that these outlier shows and movies are to get us comfortable and used to seeing characters and storylines that we aren’t completely familiar with. Perhaps to end an era and strike up a new, fresh one? This Phase leads us in another direction (an extremely heavy tv show direction) and for many characters, shows, and storylines to come to an end and paves the way for newcomers.

 

Approximately one hundred and thirteen hours later and I’m onto the third and final phase (until next year)!

 

 

Hayley Rogers

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