I had a bit of a strange experience when on holiday in Spain earlier this year. In the town I was staying there was an advert for an open air screening of “Captain America”. Nice. It did not say which Captain America film, but a QR code took you to a YouTube trailer for The Winter Soldier (Captain America 2). I hadn’t seen it, so I went along.
In the end, I missed the first 30 minutes of the film, so I assumed it was The Winter Soldier.
When I got back to the UK, I watched The Winter Soldier, in English this time. It was not the film I saw in Spain. I then watched Civil War (Captain America 3) and it was awfully familiar.
I really enjoyed both films, so I decided to prolong my stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and watch a few more.
A few things to add:
1) I’m certainly no expert and I couldn’t explain all the intricacies of the plots.
2) Never stop watching before the end of the credits – there are twists and links to the next film(s) that you should not miss…
3) It’s best to watch these films in order. Where I have become confused, it is typically because something has happened in a previous film that I hadn’t seen.
4) I still haven’t seen all the films (I’m putting off Thor: The Dark World as long as possible) …and there are several more still to be released.
So here we go, in the order that the films were released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Iron Man: here
Iron Man 2: here
Captain America: The First Avenger:
Pretty good, not as good as the following Captain America films. Benefits from a re-watch after seeing the two sequels.
Avengers Assemble: here
Iron Man 3: here
Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
Up there with Iron Man as the best of the films in the MCU, we discover that S.H.I.E.L.D has been infiltrated by the enemy and that Captain America’s best friend has been turned into a brainwashed killer. It’s effectively part 1 of a story that concludes with the third film in the series, Civil War.
Guardians of the Galaxy:
A move away from straight superhero fare, this is an enjoyable sci-fi flick. You find out more about the Infinity Stones – these have appeared in some of the earlier films too. I look forward to seeing the sequel.
Avengers: Age of Ultron:
This was a disappointment, especially as I had really enjoyed the first Avengers movie. The film looks like a video game, especially during the action at the beginning. The Hulk has to be included but there is little character there to develop and the idea of a romantic relationship building between Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Bruce Banner (Hulk) seems far-fetched, is unconvincing, lacks any spark and leaves me a bit queasy.
The idea of sowing discontent between the Avengers is a good idea and leads nicely into the events of Captain America: Civil War. It is also essential to see this before Civil War, as there are a couple of characters that appear here for the first time.
Another fun offshoot of the main series about a lesser known character. This explains how Ant-Man pops up (and down) in Captain America: Civil War – which comes up next. I think the film’s sequel – Ant-Man and the Wasp – could be better. The Wasp (who features here, in a way) is actually the more interesting character.
Captain America: Civil War:
This may as well be another Avengers ensemble movie given the huge cast that appear from elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Some of the characters that appear in this film appear for the first time in other films and if you haven’t seen them you will be somewhat lost. I had no idea who some of the characters were because I originally saw this straight after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not having watched Avengers: Age of Ultron first meant that people such as Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch) and Vision featured heavily but were not introduced in any way.
Still, very good.
It was going to happen at some point: Benedict Cumberbatch would appear in the MCU. Some things are inevitable.
It’s a shame that he is so miscast – why have such a prototypical Brit playing an American? We all know he doesn’t sound like that. Martin Freeman does it too but in a much smaller role in other films.
Whilst the film is visually impressive (lots of Inception-style folding environments), it lacks something. Perhaps the main character just isn’t that strong or interesting.
Marvel has shown that you can make good or great films based on characters that are not so well known (Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Black Panther…). This just isn’t one of them.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2:
Lots of fun but I got the impression that they needed to do a sequel pretty quickly and came up with this. This deals with the main character Peter Quill discovering who his dad is, only to find out that he is a) a god and b) an arsehole. It’s hard to see at this point how this integrates into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe – maybe the next Avengers film?
This was better than I was expecting and was a lot of fun. Spider-Man first made an appearance in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War and here the adolescent Peter Parker gets some help from Tony Stark, in particular a new outfit that has some rather impressive features. New York looks great. You can’t go wrong with this – it’s light-hearted, has a decent enough plot and serves as a good introduction of Spider-man into the Marvel Universe. I’m looking forward to seeing how they use him in the next Avengers film.
Now this is how to do a Thor film – funny, light-hearted, non-stop. Preposterous, but who cares?
Black Panther: here
Avengers: Infinity War: here
Ant-Man and the Wasp:
I don’t get a lot out of these Ant-Man films – there’s not really enough plot there to warrant the attention. In my view Marvel just needs to have the characters around for the Avengers ensemble pieces. Having said that, this sequel is better than the original. The final scene is the best – a good bridge between Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
Captain Marvel: here
Avengers: Endgame: here