With the release of Captain Marvel this weekend, the MCU is headed for major changes. Carol Danvers will be essential to the MCU’s future and the Avengers’ upcoming battle against Thanos. Marvel is currently wrapping up their Phase Three films and it’s shaping up to be an amazing phase, indeed. Phase Two, however, is largely considered the weakest phase of the three. It’s mostly compiled of sequels that didn’t quite reach the heights of their predecessors. That’s not to say that there aren’t some excellent films in the phase, because there certainly are. Let’s take a closer look with our ranking of MCU’s Phase 2 films, ranked from worst to best.
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6. Thor: The Dark World
While the original Thor film wasn’t the MCU’s best, it still managed to be a fun introduction to the God of Thunder. However, the follow up film two years later, struggled to attain that same level of excitement. The film takes it’s self far too seriously and relies heavily on special effects, rather than story telling. Many film goers found The Dark World to be one thing that a Marvel film should never be. Boring.
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel’s The Avengers was a massive success, both with critics and fans alike. So, of course, a sequel was hotly anticipated and eager film goers lined up to see it opening weekend. Unfortunately, Age of Ultron would not deliver the same thrills fans got from the original. Despite having Joss Whedon returning to direct, and a fan favorite villain (Ultron), the film felt over stuffed and redundant. The film succeeded in reuniting the team and showcasing some excellent action sequences. But it failed to accomplish anything of significance. Ultimately, it was a forgettable stepping stone that moved the characters forward to better films in the future.
4. Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man is without a doubt the fan favorite hero of the MCU. Iron Man was the film that started the MCU, and he has been prominently featured in numerous films since, including Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. While Iron Man 3 was a significant improvement from the second installment, it still fails to find it’s stride and feels like more of the same. One of the most significant complaints voiced by fans was the misuse of Iron Man villain The Mandarin. While this is likely the final solo film for the MCU’s most popular hero, we know that it is no where near the end of his story.
3. Ant Man
Ant Man was the surprise hit of the MCU’s Phase Two. The premise of a super hero with the ability to shrink and communicate with ants is certainly an odd one. And casting charismatic funny man Paul Rudd as the titular hero had many fans scratching their heads. However, as usual, Marvel knows what they’re doing. Ant Man succeeded primarily because it embraced it’s absurd premise and played to it’s comedic nature, never taking itself too seriously. And surprising, it delivered a perfect combination of fast paced action and heartfelt emotion.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy proved to be the super hero team we didn’t know we needed. A mostly dimwitted, but lovable group of heroes who save the galaxy against all odds. Writer/Director James Gunn’s use of nostalgic 80’s music and comedic one liners make this a fun, entertaining film throughout. And the amazing special effects and jaw dropping action scenes solidify this film as one of the MCU’s strongest entries.
Also Read: MCU Phase One Films Ranked
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the first sequel in the MCU to improve upon it’s original. The First Avenger worked as a solid origin film and explained Steve Rogers’ presence in present day America. But The Winter Soldier takes that premise and builds it into one of the MCU’s most exciting and action filled films to date. Chris Evans proves that he has the acting, and physical ability to lead the Avengers in a major blockbuster event, or take the starring role in a solo film. With some of the best choreographed fight scenes we’ve seen (including the infamous elevator fight), The Winter Soldier is with out a doubt the strongest entry in the MCU’s Phase 2.