Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Three Explained

Introducing Marvel legends like Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange, the MCU's Phase 3 is its biggest yet, but what does it accomplish?

Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest and most action-packed yet, but it also takes some explaining to fully understand. Beginning in 2016 and culminating a few years later in 2018, Phase Three not only featured more films than any other phase of the MCU, but the stakes were higher for each film, once again showing that Marvel Studios is on the edge of blockbuster movies. cutting edge. The comic book movie franchise's box office numbers skyrocketed during Phase Three, and the overwhelmingly positive reviews were a nod to the overall quality of Marvel Studios' output in that era.

Independent films such as Doctor Strange (2016) and Black Panther (2018) prove that the MCU has not yet finished introducing significant parts of the Marvel Comics Universe. Meanwhile, Spider-Man's sudden appearance in Captain America: Civil War (2016) meant the character wasn't caught in a Disney/Sony rights battle. In Phase 3, that omnipotent attitude keeps fans excited and fresh about the action, while also making every movie a need to watch because anyone and anyone can show up. The first two phases follow a three-act structure that ends in a climax, but the third phase's Accumulation and return are the greatest.

What Was The Plan For Phase Three?

While each of the previous phases told a complete story in the films of that era, Phase 3 is unique in that it is essentially the culmination of everything the MCU has produced thus far. Thanos first appeared in the end credits of The Avengers (2012), and was recast after that appearance as the greatest threat the MCU has ever seen. Many of the franchise's MacGuffins from previous films have been interpreted as Infinity Stones, such as the Aether and Loki's Scepter, adding a vital atmosphere to even the most forgettable Phase 1 and Phase 2 films .

The first three phases were then brought together under one banner as the Infinity Saga, Thanos' quest for universal domination, giving the entire MCU a cohesion never seen before. While Phase 3 is focused on getting into Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), Thanos' climax is also something fans have been enjoying since 2008. The perfect ending to a trilogy. While Phase 4 fixes the Infinity Saga criticism, nothing Marvel Studios has released since feels like Epic is the final showdown with Thanos at the end of Phase Three.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

The third Captain America movie wasn't just a stand-alone story focused on Marvel's classic patriotic hero, instead, it brought together a large number of the MCU in an epic crossover to kick off Phase 3. The film sees the Avengers implode when a new law requiring superheroes to register with the government splits Iron Man and Captain America into opposing factions. In addition to truncating one of Marvel Comics' most explosive storylines, the film also unexpectedly introduces Spider-Man and Black Panther, both of whom will get their own movies in Phase 3.

In addition to introducing new and important heroes, Civil War also developed the characters of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and laid the groundwork for their decisions during the climax of the phase. While some feel the Avengers split too soon, the sense of division is a staple of Phase 3, especially with regards to the superhero team. Both of the first two phases started as stand-alone Iron Man movies, and while Civil War is part of the Captain America trilogy, it's all-encompassing Rather, it's a one-off sequel story. The scope of Civil War is the perfect way to let fans know exactly what to expect in Phase 3.

Doctor Strange (2016)

After Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) neared the end of Phase 2 and Captain America: Civil War Phase 3 began, the stand-alone Doctor Strange returned to a simpler origin story. Renowned surgeon Dr. Stephen Strange is involved in a car accident that sends him on a spiritual quest to learn the mystical arts from an ancient master. The tragic history of Doctor Strange is typical superhero origin exposition, with the movie itself taking place over a year, catching up with the MCU's timeline. When it's revealed at the end of the movie that the Eye of Agamato is an Infinity Stone, it makes Strange instantly relatable.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

While other films hint at cosmic implications of the upcoming events of Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) is as close to a direct sequel as the MCU's Phase 3 has to offer. The newly formed team is all but torn apart when Peter Quill tries to understand his origins, putting them in mortal danger of their own. roll. 2 set things up for volume. 3 but has little to do with the overall plot of the flight to Thanos at this stage. An end credits clip hints at Warlock Adam, and a silly moment with the Master that ends up in Thor: Ragnarok (2017).

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Due to Sony's ownership of the character, Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) was notably absent from the MCU, Peter Parker's first actual appearance under the Marvel Studios name since his cameo in Civil War. The movie follows Parker as he tries to balance his superhero abilities with his teenage struggles. The story takes place shortly after the events of the Civil War, including appearances by Tony Stark and Captain America. Homecoming doesn't show Peter gaining the power to let the story unfold more freely, and while it doesn't advance the plot of the Infinity Saga, it makes Age of Ultron more important by mentioning the Sokovia Accords.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

In a sharp departure from the tone of the previous Thor film, The Dark World, in 2013, Thor: Ragnarok takes a decidedly comedic tone, allowing director Taika Waititi to have fun with the material. Set on an alien world, Thor is forced to fight among gladiators Duel the Hulk while his sister threatens Asgard. Despite being a comedic story, Ragnarok introduced the idea that MCU events could happen concurrently, and explained Thor's absence during Civil War. Perhaps Ragnarok's greatest MCU legacy is the way it handles characters, with Thor eventually coming into his own as part of the franchise.

Ragnarok is full of important details about the overall plot of Phase 3, and the fact that the Infinity Gauntlet possessed by Odin is a fake adds to the importance of Thanos' looming threat. Also, despite being a silly movie, Odin's death had a profound effect on the character of Thor, the details of which are reflected in more detail in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022). Additionally, the brief appearance of Thanos' ship marks the Mad Titan's true entry into the MCU, and serves as a foreshadowing of the climax to come.

Black Panther (2018)

In many ways, Black Panther made the MCU better, so the two-year wait between T'Challa's cameo in Civil War and the release of his standalone film was worth it. A few days after the Civil War ended, The film follows T'Challa as his status as Wakanda's monarch is challenged by the Killmonger. Far from the simmering conflicts of the rest of Phase 3, Black Panther was an MCU event in its own right, and garnered the studio unprecedented Oscar attention. The film's end credits reveal the return of Bucky Barnes and begin to reintroduce him into the MCU.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Unlike previous film climaxes, the Phase 3 finale will obviously take more time, and Infinity War will break box office records. The film records the story of the Avengers teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to prevent Thanos from collecting all the Infinity Stones. Much to the dismay of fans, the unraveling of half of life in the universe was a payback for Thanos' arc that pushed things to epic new proportions. Additionally, the end credits hinting at Captain Marvel (2019) further fueled interest in the final few films of Phase 3.

Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) was released after Infinity War and was The first real test of the Phase 3 "simultaneous events" timeline idea. The film follows Scott Lang as he is recruited to help rescue Janet Van Dyne who is trapped in the Quantum Realm. Without Infinity War, a potential Avengers side mission would definitely feel like a downgrade. However, the movie does serve the purpose of putting Ant-Man and the Wasp in their own place in the timeline, with the end credits sequence establishing that the duo was wiped out in Thanos' snapshot.

Captain Marvel (2019)

If Ant-Man and the Wasp is a downgraded version of Infinity War, then Captain Marvel's introduction of the character serves a dual purpose, helping to explain events that occurred long before Phase 1. Set during the 1995 war between the Kree and the Skrull, the film follows Carol Danvers as she inherits immense power from a Tesseract energy blast. The MCU ignored Captain Marvel's mistakes in the comics and simplified the character's debut to make it easier to understand. Additionally, the film explains how the Avengers Initiative got its name and how Nick Fury lost his sight in one eye.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

After Infinity War's shocking finale, the MCU forced fans to wait a whole year for But Avengers: Endgame exceeded anyone's expectations. In the last film, Thanos' sudden blow wiped out half of the universe, and the Avengers regrouped in a final effort to reverse the catastrophe. Despite the Avengers' success in resurrecting those lost, the emotional damage done during filming continues to have an impact on Phase Four and beyond. Interestingly, Endgame doesn't have an end credits sequence, which is a way for fans to know that a big chapter in the MCU has come to an end.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

The final film of Phase Three, Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), was the conclusion to the Infinity Saga and showed fans that the MCU can live on after such a shattering finale. The film sees Spider-Man confronting Mysterio as he deals with the emotional fallout from Snap. The film's mid-credits scene reintroduced J. Jonah Jamison, Spider-Man's newspaper nemesis, and Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended with a twist, revealing that Nick Fury was a Skrull in disguise. While the sheer scope of Phase 3 has challenged Marvel's subsequent phases, it's still the franchise's bright spot. so far.

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