Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two Explained

Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced Ant-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thanos on a quest to collect the Infinity Stones.

After MCU Phase 1 established Earth's Mightiest Heroes, completed all the necessary worldbuilding, and proved that Marvel Studios' ambitious franchise crossover experiment could work, MCU Phase 2 proved to be an important stepping stone for Infinity Saga. The mission of the first phase of the MCU is to build on its success and ensure its longevity. While MCU Phase 2 might not seem as important as MCU Phase 1, which laid the groundwork for the Avengers program (or MCU Phase 3, which brings together all the different groups of heroes with the common goal of destroying Thanos) , but it does introduce several iconic relationships (such as Loki and Thor).

The MCU Phase 2 films also introduced many important MCU characters, such as Ant-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as key episodes, such as Hydra's shocking takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D. And Thanos' Mad Titan quest to get the Infinity Stones. It may have put out some of Marvel's best films, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and some of its most polarizing ones, like Thor: The Dark World, but even controversial entries like Iron Man 3 are in development. played a key role in the franchise And some of Marvel's most iconic comic book characters.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

MCU Phase 2 begins with Iron Man 3, which marks the reunion of Robert Downey, Jr. and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black. From playful one-liners to Christmas backdrops, Iron Man 3 showcases all the hallmarks of Blake's signature style. Iron Man's third solo film follows The Avengers, with Tony Stark struggling after his near-death experience at the Battle of New York. The movie ends with Tony having surgery for shrapnel around his heart and throwing his now useless arc reactor into the ocean. He also destroyed his Iron Man suits, though he rebuilt them in time for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

While Dr. Travis Langley of Psychology Today praised the trilogy for its portrayal of the personal effects of post-traumatic stress, the films also had some flaws - notably the MCU's depiction of the Mandarin's origin story. Since the Mandarin is Tony's sinister nemesis in the comics, the revelation that he's an imposter in the movie is a bit of a letdown. Finally, the MCU did introduce real mandarin, civil and military, redemption Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3, in Shang-Chi and Phase 4 of The Legend of the Ten Rings. Mark Ruffalo appears briefly in the end credits scene when Bruce Banner tries to heal Tony.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World introduces a second Infinity Stone into the mix after Tesseract's prominence in MCU Phase 1. Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor brings a similar medieval fantasy sensibility to Thor's second solo outing. After his attempted invasion of Earth in The Avengers, Loki was imprisoned in Asgard, while Thor struggled to find a balance between his duties as the god of Asgard and his role as Jane Foster's boyfriend on Earth. the right balance. Chris Evans has his briefest MCU appearance in the few seconds Loki mocks Captain America.

After becoming a fan favorite in The Avengers, Loki took on a larger role in The Dark World. The film explores how Loki copes with failure and begins his journey to redemption. In the plot, the Asgardians and the Dark Elves battle over the Reality Stone, known throughout the film as the "Aether." Mid-credits, Sif and Volstagg bring the Reality Stone to Collector, saying it will It would be unwise to keep both the Reality Stone and the Space Stone on Asgard at the same time. The Collector then stated his intention to collect all six Infinity Stones, setting the stage for his big second-act supporting role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The Russo Brothers' first of many MCU entries, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, revealed S.H.I.E.L.D. For decades it has been secretly controlled by remnants of HYDRA. Steve Rogers' second solo adventure solidifies his personal and professional relationship with fellow Avengers Natasha Romanoff, a relationship that was first introduced in the first Avengers movie to return to the MCU for Phase 1 was established when the two teamed up to tackle long-standing corruption within S.H.I.E.L.D. The sequel introduced Sam Wilson, Steve's eventual successor, and Sharon Carter, the niece of Steve's long-lost love Peggy Carter, who would later become his romantic interest in Civil War, as well as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

The Winter Soldier reveals that Steve's childhood friend Bucky Barnes is still alive after being presumed dead in Captain America: The Avengers. Instead of falling to his death, Bucky was brainwashed to become a Hydra assassin and sent to hunt Cap down. The film ends with Nat revealing Hydra's secrets to the public, Nick Fury faked his death and left the network, and Steve and Sam set off to save Bucky. The end credits scene is as important as the introduction of Wanda and Pietro Maximoff and Baron Struck's lab experiments. The Winter Soldier also marks the first time Stephen Strange is mentioned in the MCU (Jasper Sitwell named him Hydra's target).

Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

The MCU breaks away from the six core Avengers for the first time in the Guardians of the Galaxy, cementing Marvel Studios' reputation as a hit factory. After sticking with proven popular characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, Marvel deviated from the formula, bringing space C-list characters to sci-fi jukebox musical comedies. While the first Guardians film was largely disconnected from the wider cinematic universe, James Gunn's bickering space gangsters reinvented the MCU's comedic tone. Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy hit, the MCU's dialogue scenes have been based on witty banter.

The film introduces Josh Brolin as the new Thanos, replacing original actor Damien Poitier in The Avengers, and brings back The Dark World Collector, who races against Ronan Obtained the Power Gem from Peter quill. The collector's museum is full of Easter eggs: the Chitauri from The Avengers, the Dark Elves from Thor: The Dark World, and Howard the Duck making his MCU debut. More broadly, Guardians of the Galaxy showed that the superhero-infested Earth introduced in Phase One was just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other planets out there, full of their own superheroes.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

After writing and directing the first Avengers film, Joss Whedon returns for the sequel Age of Ultron, a classic Frankenstein story in which Earth's Mightiest Heroes create Their own worst enemy - Ultron. The film introduces the Maximov twins (although only one of them survives to the end of the credits) and Hawkeye's secret family. With Thor's vision for the Infinity Stones and Thanos donning the Infinity Gauntlet and teasing the "well, I'll do it myself" mid-credits reveal, Age of Ultron kicks off the Mad Titan's narrow quest to acquire the Infinity Stones, which has implications for the MCU. Phase 3 is critical.

Age of Ultron also progresses towards some other Phase 3 storylines. Confirmed that the gem on Loki's scepter is the Mind Stone. Tony and Bruce fuse J.A.R.V.I.S. Heart Stone created the Vision, while the Hulk stole a Quinjet jet fighter and went to outer space before his Thor: Ragnarok "Planet of the Hulk" storyline. The middle scene introduces Ulysses Klaue and mentions Wakanda and Vibranium, all three primed for roles in the upcoming Black Panther movie . The Avengers sequel ended with the team settling into a new Stark-funded compound, with a new cast including The Vision, Falcon, War Machine, and Scarlet Witch.

Ant-Man (2015)

After the Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Age of Ultron faced the threat of apocalypse, the final chapter of Phase 2 was refreshingly small. Ant-Man was originally slated to be directed by Edgar Wright, but he eventually pulled out of the project because, in his words (via IndieWire), "I wanted to do a Marvel movie, but I don't think they really want to make a An Edgar Wright movie.” Instead, the film is directed by Bring It On director Peyton Reed, whose work on Wright’s eccentric brand of comedy and Marvel’s familiar home A nice middle ground has been found between styles.

Ant-Man introduces another new superhero to the lineup (and teases The Wasp in the sequel). Back then, withdrawn ex-convict Scott Lang wasn't It looked like he'd bring a lot to the table in a team with Norse gods and super soldiers -- and the movie itself had plenty of jokes like that -- but Ant-Man eventually conceived of the "time heist" plan that would be featured in Avengers: Endgame. Save the Universe in War of the Dead. The film also populates another MCU backstory, with the '80s prologue showing Hank Pym, Howard Stark, and Peggy Carter working together on S.H.I.E.L.D.

In Ant-Man Act II, Scott takes a quick tour of the Avengers' new headquarters, resulting in him fighting Sam in full Falcon suit. Ant-Man's mid-credits scene leads to one of the most important Phase 3 projects—Captain America: Civil War—with Steve, Sam, and Bucky holed up in a warehouse and desperate for help. Unable to ask Tony for help due to their disagreements over the "protocols" (earlier mentioned Sokovia Accords), Sam says he knows someone who can help, in a civilian use to compare Ant-Man's character with the other "captains" "Characters fight side by side in war.

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