OOOE's Charity Movie Marathon: MCU Phase 2


Here we are at the start of Phase 2! We are 12 hours in, sleepy but determined to push through and carry on! Remember, this is all in support of the NSPCC, which you can donate to via!

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Time: 00.04am

Films in: 7

Mike: Aite, here we go folks! The start of Phase Two: Iron Man 3. Widely regarded as one of the weaker films in the series, I'm actually a big fan of this film and think it's one of the more underrated films. It does a lot to add to Tony Stark's character, we see him suffering from some PTSD type symptoms after the events of The Avengers. You know that line from Spider-Man Homecoming "If you're nothing without the suit, then you shouldn't have it." Well this is where Tony learns that valuable lesson. Although admittedly, it was pretty damn dumb of Tony to threaten a terrorist and then do nothing to safeguard himself. I like this film though, we get to see how deep Tony's obsession goes when we see how many suits he builds. Also, Pepper gets a little hero moment which is pretty fun.

Ollie: Phase 2 begins in a similar fashion to Phase 1, with Iron Man at the helm. This time though, Tony has lost his confidence, and is instead suffering from the events at the end of The Avengers. It is a completely new look at the character which has dominated much of the franchise's first phase with his cocksure arrogance. In Iron Man 3 this is replaced with anxiety and uncertainty, as Tony struggles to adjust after his brush with death against the Chitauri. Downey Jr is really offered an opportunity to explore some new territory with this character and succeeds in making Stark a more complex member of the team - and becomes more of the 'hero' we see in the later films.

Villain Assessment:

Mike: I'm conflicted about the Mandarin fake-out in this film. On the one hand, it was a wasted opportunity to introduce a major Iron Man villain into the universe (although, the Mandarin from the comics is kinda racist...), on the other hand, Ben Kingsley is hilarious. Aldrich Killian is just ok. The Extremis virus power-set is pretty cool and overall he just isn't that compelling as a villain. His motivation seems a little bit unclear. I mean, he turns into a crazy terrorist because Tony Stark ignored him at a party in the '90s?

Ollie: The third film in the Iron Man series goes three for three with its human bad-guys, with Guy Pearce playing the mad scientist Aldrich Killian. This time though, his story doesn't really seem to add up, and his endgame isn't clear. Guy Pearce does as good a job as he can, but doesn't have much to work with, so Killian fails to be a memorable or interesting MCU villain.

Villain Rating: 2/10


Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Time: 02:05am

Films in: 8

Ollie: Despite a superb MCU debut, Thor's second outing is one of the more forgettable films in the franchise. The Dark World is uninteresting and uninspired, feeling monotone and dreary in an otherwise vibrant and exciting franchise. While every successive film so far has brought something fresh to the MCU, The Dark World shows us nothing that we haven't seen before. It also offers shockingly little character development, particularly when compared to the Iron Man film which it follows. The one exception to this is perhaps Loki, the only character whose story makes any movement into the future. He is easily the most enjoyable part of the film, injecting a much needed dose of humour into the story more than an hour in, and providing Thor with someone to meaningfully interact with - his scenes with love interest Jane Foster are stale at best.

Villain Assessment

Ollie: What is there to say about Malekith? Much like the film as a whole, this villain is uninspired and lazily written, simply serving as a contrast to our heroes - a job which could have been done by a punching bag with a frowny face drawn on it. It is a huge waste of Christopher Eccleston's talent, as he is given next to no lines and a handful of unexciting fight sequences. Malekith is a poor villain for poor film, arguably the worst of the franchise.

Villain Rating: 1/10


Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Time: 03.50am

Films in: 9

Mike: Time for one of my favourites. Quite a bit different from the films we've had so far, Winter Soldier is more of a espionage thriller - Shield has been compromised by Hydra, so Cap 'n friends need to lay low for a while and figure out a plan. I love the fight choreography in this film; Captain America's style is more defined in this film and each move seemlessly flows into the next. In my opinion, this film has some of the best fight scenes in the MCU. The incredible fight scene in the elevator will always be entertaining, and we get to see Cap's ingenuity and creativity spring into action.

We get the introduction of Falcon and The Winter Soldier. More importantly, we start to see Captain America lose faith just a little bit in the United States Government, as well as his friendship with Bucky Barnes. Key themes that become incredibly important in the events of Civil War.

Ollie: With The Winter Soldier, the storyline starts to become much more intricate, as Bucky Barnes is reintroduced and the corruption of SHIELD is uncovered. It is a film which gives the MCU's running storyline a real push, after two films which did little to move to plot forward. Both of Captain America's later films have this momentum and do really well to develop the main story, as well as exploring Captain America's adaptation to modern life, and how he fits his values into the strange new world he has found himself in.

Villain Assessment:

We get a few different villains in this film: Hydra/Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a little cameo from Zola, Batroc the Leaper (a classic foe of Captain America), we get the origin of Crossbones (who reappears at the start of Age of Ultron), and of course, the titular Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier is a great character right? I love his introduction into this universe, especially his initial meeting with Cap (he straight-up catches his shield and casually throws it back at him, how cool is that!!). Sebastian Stan delivers a great performance throughout this film as we see him start to struggle against his conditioning towards the end of the film.

Villain Rating: 8/10 (for Winter Soldier - the rest probably a 6)


Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Time: 05:58am

Films in: 10

Ollie: Much like Thor did in phase 1, Guardians of the Galaxy transports us to another world, away from the main narrative which was established in the early films. This time, we venture far our into space, encountering a wonderfully varied arrangement of worlds and creatures. It is a welcome break from the characters and settings with which we are familiar, and allows us to see even more of the ever-growing MCU. One particular strength is its aesthetics; from a sensory perspective, GotG is probably one of the most enjoyable films in the MCU; it is visually spectacular, bursting with colour and energy, and it runs to an awesome soundtrack.

Mike: What a soundtrack! This film is great. The humour, the characterisation, the action, the beautiful colours. I really can't find anything bad to say about this film. Also, it's now morning; almost 20 hours have passed since we started this marathon. We're both tired; we're not young men anymore!

Villain Assessment

Along with this film's new environment comes a new type of villain, an alien being with powerfully abilities and an army at his back. Ronin does a great job of bridging the gap between the early films and the later ones, serving as a nice warm up for Thanos. Other than that, there is little to him, aside from a bad-ass costume and weapon.

Villain rating: 6/10


Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Time: 07:54am

Films in: 11

The Avengers team up again in Age of Ultron, this time to take down the accidental product of Stark and Banner's attempt

to create a global defence system. It is great to see the gang back together, but Age of Ultron doesn't have the same wow-factor as the first Avengers film. Nor does it possess the same sophisticated script, this one being oversaturated with one-liners and sound bites. Of the ensemble films, Age of Ultron is easily the weakest.

Villain Assessment

Ultron is a challenge for the Avengers, and provides them with their first real fight since the Battle of New York in 2012. It is refreshing to see the human element removed from our main villain, and it allows us to experience a new type of threat, one which is arguably more intimidating. Ultron's inclusion is also main driver of the plot, and influences a great many of the events and decisions which take place in the following films. James Spader provides us with a fantastic articulate and intelligent bad-guy, being one of the most compelling and watchable bad-guys that the MCU has.

Villain Rating: 9/10


Ant-Man (2016)

Time: 10.09am

Films in: 12

Paul Rudd's entrance into the MCU may have surprised many, considering his career predominantly taking the form of many comedy roles - and while the Marvel films have consistently had comedic elements from the start which are very well done, their first allegiance is to the action genre. It turns out though, that the amplification of this humour in Ant-Man is just what the franchise needed.

Ollie: Ant-Man arrives just at the right time, just after the Avengers have had a few tough battles and suffered a few knocks, both to their morale and to their roster. Ant-Man helps us to heal, and provides phase 2 with a light-hearted end, as Paul Rudd's expert comic influence definitely lifts the mood of the wider MCU. It feels, to me at least, one of the more far-fetched of stories, struggling to fully sell the science behind the suit despite using plenty of clever sounding jargon. But its an easy watch; fun and imaginative, but with a healthy dose of emotion thrown in. Plus, its the first single-lead origin story since 2011, and so provides something completely new and fresh within the context of our Earth dwelling heroes. We are really treated to some astonishing special effects as well, and a real nerdy dose of sci-fi as Lang makes his mega-miniturisation during the film's climax.

Mike: Ant-Man is a really fun film with a fantastic cast. It has a good balance of humour with some great action scenes. It's also a lot better than I remember. Scott Lang is a cool character though and Paul Rudd gives a fantastic performance. The main villain, Yellow Jacket, doesn't exactly blow my mind but he's alright.

Villain Assessment

Corey Stoll is brilliant as the suave but psychopathic Darren Cross, the businessman now in charge of Pym Technologies. He follows a long line of evil MCU businessmen, but does well to bring his own element of sickly charm to the role, being almost irritatingly cocky. His character isn't particularly complex but his on screen presence helps to compensate for this. Yellow Jacket is also a great villain was a fantastic look, and his inclusion Ant-Man's MCU debut was a wise choice which allowed the film to really explore this concept on miniaturisation, a concept which is fresh for the MCU.

Villain Rating: 6/10

That's Phase 2 done! It been just over 24 hours since we started, but we have plenty more films to watch! We will start phase 3 in a new post, so head over their now to check out of thoughts on the latest films of the MCU!

#moviemarathon #MCU

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