Sequel Saturday: Mat’s Marvel Phase One Picks, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
This weekend the much anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out in theaters. I won’t be watching it right away since I still have some of the Marvel Phase Two films to catch up on (Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I’m looking at you!). Still, I’ve seen the Marvel Phase One flicks several times over. Time for me to rank them in the stalwart format of film columns- the list!
6. Iron Man 2
A forgettable follow-up to the great original, Iron Man 2 is stingy on the action and seems to be more of an excuse to set up Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers than anything else. Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell are game as the villains but the whole flick just lumbers along from one scene to the next.
Thor is two different films. One looks pricey, the other looks cheap. The imaginative Asgardian fantasy sequences are a delight. Too bad the New Mexico scenes often feel like stale leftovers from Superman II.
4. The Incredible Hulk
A noble attempt to improve upon Ang Lee’s sloppy Hulk, The Incredible Hulk never feels like an essential part of the series. Just like with Iron Man, we get a villain that’s an evil mirror of the hero. There’s a nice humor to the introductory scenes in Brazil that the film could have used more of.
3. The Avengers
Despite having to juggle what seems like a zillion different characters in one storyline, The Avengers pulls it off. For the first time in three films, the Hulk is made into an appealing character. Loki is a fine foil for both the heroes. The flick takes its time to really get moving and Captain America really gets shoved into the sidelines.
2. Iron Man
Iron Man is compelling in how it turns Tony Stark from an asshole into a compelling character. What could have been tired training montages are played for laughs to great effect. Even if Iron Man never quite returns to the heights it promised in its Afghanistan introductory sequences, it’s still a fun time at the movies.
1. Captain America: The First Avenger
The 1940s setting for Captain America: The First Avenger really livens things up. Its story focuses more on characters than action set pieces. The twist ending is a bit silly, but the journey to get there is just wonderful.