With the latest Marvel news of the postponement of the movie, Black Widow to sometime in July, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has delayed the start of “Phase Four” movies in the Franchise, and this gives us time to look back at some of the best movies from Phase One to Phase Three.
Since its inception in 2007, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been a productive and money-spinning branch of Marvel Studios. The fact that Disney paid $4 billion for Marvel Entertainment is a testament to that fact. From its first movie in 2008, Iron Man, the MCU franchise has expanded to include comic books, short films, television series, and digital series. The 23 movies in the MCU are based entirely on characters and stories from Marvel Comics. However, they (MCU) have done a remarkable job of adapting these stories for the screen.
The MCU has so far had more success in the movies space than direct rivals DCEU (DC Extended Universe), with 2020 being the only year, since 2008, that no movie produced by the Marvel Cinematic Universe was released, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enough said I’m sure you are as excited as I am, so let’s jump in and look at some of the best movies in the MCU.
SpiderMan: Homecoming (2017)
When Sony decided to lend Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War” movie. They did so with the hope of resurrecting one of the world’s most iconic comic book characters after the failures of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, and oh my did it turn out to be a masterstroke decision.
After both Marvel Studios and Sony reached an agreement to share the character rights for the superhero, Tom Holland won the race to play the next Spider-Man and a new movie was agreed for 2017. Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Homecoming tells the story of how a young Peter Parker struggles to balance high school life with being a superhero after his role in the fight between Iron Man, Captain America, and the Avengers. Peter is also faced with the burden of stopping “The Vulture”, a salvager turned arms dealer whose salvage operation was taken over by the government.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a huge box office success, raking in $880 million against a budget of $175 million. The movie also garnered positive reviews from critics and is rated 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man brought about the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first movie in the MCU revolves around the story of a famous industrialist and master engineer, Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.), who escapes captivity from a group of terrorists by building a mechanized suit of armor. On his return home, Tony who’s CEO of Stark Industries insists his company will stop manufacturing weapons, but he secretly improves on his initial suit of armor design and becomes the Superhero Iron Man.
Iron Man was directed by Jon Favreau who faced opposition from some of the studio executives, following his intention to cast Robert Downey Jr. who was struggling in his personal life at the point, as Iron Man. The movie also features Terrence Howard as James “Rhodes” Rhodes, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, and Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane. Iron Man was a huge success amongst fans and critics alike and also received two nominations at the 2009 Academy Awards.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Directed by Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame is the last movie made by the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, but one of the best. The 22nd movie in the entire franchise tells the concluding part of the battle against the mad titan Thanos, which began in the movie, Avengers: Infinity War.
The story centers around the surviving members of the Avengers and their attempts to undo Thanos’ snap of all five infinity stones which led to the death of half of all life in the universe. Convinced by Scott Lang’s (AntMan) theory of the quantum realm, Captain America and Black Widow seek Iron Man’s help to build a time machine whilst bringing the remaining members of the Avengers together to use the infinity stones to reverse Thanos’ actions.
One of the most expensive films ever made thanks to its budget of $356 million, Avengers: Endgame became the highest-grossing movie of all time with almost $2.8 billion earned worldwide. The movie also received a host of positive reviews and award nominations, including a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 2020 Oscars.
The memory of the late great Chadwick Boseman will continue through his movies, but none would justify his legacy, achievements, and influence like the movie, Black Panther. Based on the Marvel comic, Black Panther by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the movie tells the struggles of T’Challa who becomes king of the fictional country of Wakanda. Following the death of his father, T’Chaka. T’Challa is challenged for the mantle of king and Black Panther by a former United States black ops Navy SEAL, who intends to abandon the country’s isolationist policies and lead a global revolution.
Black Panther was released to positive acclaim from critics, who praised the movie’s screenplay, acting, costume design, production, and soundtrack. Despite receiving some sort of criticism for its computer-generated effects, it received seven nominations at the 91st edition of the Oscars, including Best Picture, and won three (Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design). Black Panther became the highest-grossing movie by a black director (Ryan Coogler), after earning over $1.3 billion worldwide.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (2014)
Fun-filled, action-packed, great humor and a soundtrack to die for, the Guardians of the Galaxy movie has it all. If ever there was a perfect superhero movie, Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn’t be far off from it. The movie’s star-studded cast features the likes of Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Benicio del Toro, and a host of other outstanding Hollywood actors. With a storyline revolving around a group of extraterrestrial criminals led by Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who find themselves tasked with saving the universe and protecting one of the infinity stones (power stone) from a power-hungry, fanatical Kree renegade, Ronan the Accuser.
Guardians of the Galaxy was praised for its screenplay, direction, and visual effects, and also received two nominations (Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup & Hairstyling) at the 2015 Academy Awards. It also grossed over $750 million against a budget of around $232 million.
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
- AntMan (2015)