Mike here. A warm welcome to one of our new Pleasuredome correspondents, Dan Blum! He’s passionate about comic books and loves his movies. Give him some respect, even if you don’t agree with everything he spews out, okay guys? Excelsior!
Disclaimer: The second half of this article will be going into where I believe the Marvel Universe is going. Spoiler warning for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Dan’s Marvel Movie Ranking!
11: The Incredible Hulk – The only Hulk movie that truly exists, and it was still mediocre. I know people dig the Eric Bana one, but, well, ehhhh…
10: Iron Man 2 – Oh, horrible Mickey Rourke acting… how we haven’t missed you…
9: Thor: The Dark World – And the award for fake-out death no one ever bought goes to…
8: Iron Man 3: Fan boys wept this day.
7: Thor – Everyone loves them some Loki, but that is about it.
6: Avengers: Age of Ultron – Same Avengers fun. No Avengers magic. All Phase 3 setup.
5: Captain America: The First Avenger – Cap done right.
4: Guardians of the Galaxy – A talking raccoon with guns and a huggable ass-kicking tree? What is there not to love?
3: Iron Man – The movie that truly started it all in all its Robert Downey Jr glory!
2: The Avengers – The movie everyone had been waiting for. We all needed new pants and underwear after that midnight show.
1: Captain America: The Winter Soldier – A better James Bond movie than most of the real ones, and Marvel’s crown jewel as of yet.
Once again, spoiler warnings as this part will go into where the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is going post-Ultron. I will not be going movie to movie, just generally where I see the MCU heading.
As Age of Ultron closes, Iron Man “retires” (again). Hawkeye seemingly retires to his ranch with his wife and kids. Thor goes to put on fresh makeup for his next film with out seeing his girlfriend (what a dick). Quicksilver’s body is all gunned up and dead (but he’ll be back next summer in X-Men: Apocalypse!). The Hulk takes an Avengers jet in a ship to a remote island. Importantly, Steve Rogers has a new Avengers lineup to assemble: Scarlet Witch, The Falcon, War Machine, the ever-badass Vision, and of course, Black Widow.
There’s been a bit of confusion that Ultron is the end of Phase 2, but it won’t be the last film in the current cycle. Officially, July 17’s Ant-Man will be the last Phase 2 film, where Paul Rudd will test the waters as the shrinking con man spotlighted in the trailers. That’s not too important at the moment, however. Ant-Man will certainly get a reaction this summer, but all eyes are on next year’s Captain America: Civil War, which was headed for a showdown with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice on May 6, 2016 before Warner Bros. blinked and gave it the Easter weekend slot. While many major players are confirmed—Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, and more are confirmed to be part of the cast—the exact number of heroes that will show up in Civil War is unknown. As in the storyline, it’s safe to wager that Rogers and Stark will be playing the MCU lineup against each other, recruiting, stealing, and double-crossing the characters we know and love. The fans are absolutely craving the appearance of two hotly anticipated arrivals: fan favorite Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (not cast at present time, but recent reports narrow it down to young actors Asa Butterfield and Tom Holland).
Ultimately, I’m seeing a tragic end to this one, much like the storyline, where Captain America is assassinated by charred mercenary Crossbones (Frank Grillo). Conversely, I could also see them doing something more similar to what is currently afflicting Steve Rogers, where he loses his serum, stripping him of his youth and powers. This results in him overseeing whoever is left over on the New Avengers. Regardless, Chris Evans will be done until Avengers: Infinity War – Part II, as unconfirmed rumors state that the old guard will not have major roles in the 2017 and 2018 releases. Part I will be an opportunity for Spidey, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and more duke it out. Plus, Sebastian Stan is signed on for nine films with Marvel. We’ve seen two of them and we’re getting another next year. Could Bucky inherit Steve’s mantle, as highly speculated?
NOTE: Most of these release dates have been changed because of that webhead.
Avengers: Infinity War – Part I hits May 4, 2018, and between Civil War and then, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man will debut in solo films, while Thor gets his third run and James Gunn gets the Guardians of the Galaxy back together. Part I will see the New Avengers overpowered by the Mad Titan himself, Thanos, in preventing him from getting the infinity stones (My money’s on him having at least one or two at the beginning). The tricky one for Thanos to get his hands on will be the Vision’s, and if you’ve seen Age of Ultron, he’s not exactly the weakest guy to beat. Obviously, Thanos will get his hands on all the Infinity Gems and all hell will break loose. Does this mean The Vision—one of the breakouts of the new film—will live or become severely weakened? I’m banking on him dying, as that will raise the ante by proving the new blood couldn’t take out Thanos before he could get all of his precious jewels.
Part II will see the New Avengers recruit all our original favorites, with familiar faces from Netflix’s lineup and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. uniting for the ass-kicking of the century. There’s potential for something cluttered and disjointed in an ambitious crossover event like this, but Joe and Anthony Russo turned in Marvel’s best film and they’ve staked plenty of faith in the brothers to take charge at something this big and keep the action mellifluous and focused.
Inhumans comes in on July 12, 2019, two months after the Infinity War will have been fought. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has brilliantly set up elements of the mythology in the show, which should allow for a smoother transition into the inevitably large cast that the back end of Infinity War will pack. Part II is crucial in that it will likely be the end of an era, 11 years of beloved characters and actors likely saying goodbye to their roles and getting Marvel primed for a fresh start into the unmentioned frontier of Phase 4.
Marvel chief Kevin Feige has plans for the MCU through 2028—do you?