Sequel Saturday: Mat’s Marvel Phase Two Picks, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column in which I ranked the Marvel Phase One comic book flicks. Here’s the follow-up in which I rank the Marvel Phase Two films all the way up to the latest entry, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Looking at the Phase Two films as a whole, the plotting is a lot more ambitious this time around. More is at stake than before and more characters from different series make cameos in the different films. The more characters Marvel jams into these movies, the tougher it will be to keep track of them.
5. Thor: The Dark World
The first Thor had its hammy charms with Anthony Hopkins’ (The Lion in Winter) screaming monologues as Odin. Yes, the humor was dopey at times, but at least there was fun to be had. Thor: The Dark World is a joyless romp through a plot that’s too complicated for its own good. Who would have thought a fantasy with spaceships would be this boring?
4. Iron Man 3
Writer-director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon 2) is a real talent, but Iron Man 3 felt a bit too clever. From a loopy twist on the Mandarin to its quirky soundtrack (Eiffel 65’s nonsense 1990’s hit I’m Blue plays over the opening scene), Iron Man 3 tries too hard to impress. Muddled at best and flip at worst, the Iron Man trilogy has never recaptured the magic of the original.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Batman films have a problem in that it’s hard to find a villain better than the Joker. Looks like the Avengers have a similar problem with Loki. Tom Hiddleston (War Horse) gave such a witty performance as the villain in the first Avengers that James Spader (Secretary) as the robotic Ultron has to pale by comparison. Add in a few too many characters and an introductory action sequence that’s more lively than the film’s noisy climax, and you have an overbaked sequel.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
From a glance, Guardians of the Galaxy appeared to be a random comic book for Marvel to adapt. A gang of misfits, including a talking raccoon and a monosyllabic tree, join together to take down an evil foe. This movie’s fun and a bit forgettable. The stellar special effects help Guardians of the Galaxy feel less goofy than it could have been.
1. Captain America: The Winter Solider
Captain America: The Winter Soldier combines political intrigue with a story that really ties in with the first film, Captain America: The First Avenger. For once, Samuel L. Jackson (Jumper) as Nick Fury gets a meaningful role to sink his eyepatch into. The action scenes are inventive, and the story is more emotional than one might suspect.