MCU Phase Three Movies

April 25, 2019

We have reached the final phase and the final chapter of this article before Endgame! Phase 3 has the largest amount of movies, and they are all pretty good, with a few exceptions. I will admit that the movies tended to dip in quality toward the end; my only hope is Endgame does not follow this trend.

Captain America:Civil War

This movie’s primary conflict was the conflict of ideas. We saw this between Captain America and Iron Man in Age of Ultron, but it comes to fruition here with various Avengers picking a side. Tony Stark is impulsive, makes bad decisions, and is the prime reason for Ultron, so he realizes he can’t be trusted and needs oversight, so he supports the government crackdown on superheroes. Contrast this with Steve Rogers, whose experiences in WWII, the first Avengers film, and Winter Soldier have convinced him to trust himself more than the government.

Everything in the previous movies led up to this tension boiling over, and you can’t look away. They are able to elevate all the characters above past conventions, and it truly makes the movie shine. I honestly have no bad things to say about it.

Doctor Strange

The best thing about this movie is the visuals and the world of magic they created within the MCU. The kaleidoscope cities, the CGI; all of it makes the movie pop. They incorporate new elements excellently. The humor is hit or miss, however, with Benedict Cumberbatch’s delivery sometimes falling flat. Besides that, I do not feel there was much to say about Doctor Strange: it is a good movie through and through, but nothing particularly stands out.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

This movie is very character driven, with previous antagonist Yondu as one of the stars. The relationship between Yondu and Star-Lord, as well as the scene in which we learn that he sees Rocket as a younger version of himself, all lead up to his sacrifice having a genuine emotional impact.

As we would expect from another Guardians movie, the soundtrack is another hit.

The problems with this movie are the plot and tone. This movie feels like a jumble of ingredients with different tones and flavors: we have different main villains in each act, and the twist of Ego’s true intentions leads to a rush to conclude the movie with a boss fight. We don’t have a main plot, but rather multiple tiny ones, like a bunch of short stories in one. In a movie however it is not as compelling. A plot-driven movie would have worked way better. Tonally, we have a lack of awareness for its seriousness, putting too much emphasis on its comedy. Baby Groot is tortured, Yondu’s crew is released into space, and it is just treated as a joke while others are in agony. Seeing the corpses of Ego’s murdered children right after the face-morphing scene makes it so uneven. But the scene that makes this movie so distasteful is when Star-Lord finally realizes his purpose: to see this orphan finally reconnecting with his father, gaining all these new powers, and then discovering this man he has been searching for is a sociopath and he has to kill him just feels wrong.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

This is the movie that should not have happened; with Sony holding the film rights of Spider-Man, it was thought Marvel would never be able to use Spider-Man in the MCU.

The thing I enjoy about this movie is that the new version of Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, feels very local: your friendly neighborhood Spider-man. Homecoming is the most high-school Peter Parker yet, and even the villain is very close to Peter. There are crushes, hiding info from Aunt May, and homecoming dances, making this movie work on a much smaller scale than all the others.

Tom Holland is filling big shoes, but adds his own element of naivety. For the first time, you buy that he is a high school student.

The casting of Marisa Tomei as Aunt May is weird, as all movies make her younger and younger, but her acting is quite good. The use of Iron Man as a father figure is spectacular, and fits the narrative of how Tony Stark wants to get out of the suit and play a sideline role. Michael Keaton adds multiple dimensions to the Vulture, as he is not just this evil dude who wants to destroy everything; he is a family man who is cynical of what the world has done to him.

This is a very re-watchable movie because of how fun it is. The movie drags in the middle, with little sense of urgency. Vulture and Spider-Man are both off doing their own things until key scenes. I also did not like the Tony Stark-ified Spider-Man suit, as it detracted from the simplicity of Spider-Man. I would have preferred if Peter Parker tried on the suit with all of its features, Tony Stark asked how he likes it, and Parker responded that he just wants his simple suit.

Thor:Ragnarok

Ragnarok redeemed Thor as a character. This movie is so much fun to watch. They went all out trying to squeeze out as much enjoyment as possible: jokes; letting Chris Hemsworth be funny; vibrant colors reminiscent of the 80’s; and Led Zeppelin thrown into the mix, making it very campy and awesome. I get a similar vibe as I did from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but they did it better.

Jeff Goldblum being Jeff Goldblum is perfect as it fits the quirky world. Karl Urban as Skurge is so great, as he has this distinct goal that is so obviously selfish that it makes him interesting.

This the most stylized movie of them all, with unique worlds and characters. The biggest problem, as with Guardians of the Galaxy, is that the drama is undercut by the overflow of comedy. The plot is well structured, but it bombs on specific scenes. Thor’s personality shift may be jarring for some, but I feel it was definitely needed.

Come back for part two of Phase Three on Friday!

 

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