Five Things That Marvel Wants You To Forget About The MCU Phrase 1-3

Five Things That Marvel Wants You To Forget About The MCU Phrase 1-3

MICHAEL J Fox, God bless his soul, happens to be one of my favourite actors. From his turn as Marty McFly and Scott Howard in the 1985 classics like “Back to the Future” and “Teen Wolf”, I have always been in awe at the 60-year-old’s acting abilities and the way he did not let his 1991 diagnosis of Parkinson disease get the best of him.

The Canadian-American continued acting, only to retire in 2021, and even started a foundation (The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) to help with the condition.

While preparing for this article, which reviews the MCU’s phases 1-3, I came across arguably one of the most inspirational quotes from the famed ‘Spin City’ and ‘Stuart Little’ actor.

The quote is the inspiration behind this article and readMarves, “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.

“Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”

For the longest time, I have always been under the notion that ‘perfection’ was the one word that accurately described what Kevin Feige and his team have done with Marvel so far.

The MCU phase 1-3 has been astonishing and made Marvel the standard bearing of story-telling at its best.

However, perfection is an illusion, and the better term was excellence.

So, after years of glossing over, and turning a blind eye, to some of the weaknesses of the MCU Phase 1-3, I have decided to list five things that not even Feige and the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joseph, can hide.

As a refresher, here are the films that cover the timeline in question, as phase one covers Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger and Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

 Phase two includes Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Ant-Man (2015), while phase three includes Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

  1. The Incredible Hulk Debacle
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While Robert Downey Jnr is generally considered the godfather of the MCU, the success and universal appeal of 2008’s Ironman helped to launch what we know as the MCU today.

However, on the opposite end of that table is “The Incredible Hulk which was released in the same year and has largely been referred to as the black sheep of the MCU family.

The movie made the least amount of money, Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton soon after, and, up until now, most of the characters from the film have been primarily ignored.

It is only most recently that a few of the characters have started showing up, as the likes of William Hurt’s Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross had a cameo in “Avengers; Endgame” and “Black Widow”, while Tim Roth’s Abomination showed up “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.

However, it is as if Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross never existed.

She has never been mentioned, referenced or even shown up, which diminishes the character in the story of Bruce Banner and the Hulk.

  1. The Many Failed Romances

With the introduction of new characters and stories, setting up Thanos as the big bad of the MCU, aliens attacking, and new worlds being discovered, it is a miracle that the writers had time to come up with a good love story.

After all, love is the universal thing that binds us, whether it is love for thy neighbour, man, woman, or love for the divine.

However, Marvel does not have a good track record of love stories during its famed MCU Phase 1-3.

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Tony Stark and Pepper Pots are the closest they have come, as Betty Ross has been totally erased, Thor and Jane Foster were universally rejected, Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) felt forced and lacked follow-up, while the least said about Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) was Cringeworthy at best.

  1. Thor: Dark World

While ‘The Incredible Hulk” made the least money, then 2013’s ‘Thor: Dark World’ has to be one of the worst films from Marvel’s catalogue of movies during their phase 1-3.

An upgrade from the introductory film, the humour felt misplaced, the performances underwhelming and did not do well with critics and the audience alike.

In the film, Chris Hemsworth returns as the great god of Thunder.

However, he now faces a new enemy Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), leader of the Dark Elves and a creature hell-bent on destroying Asgard.

However, Tom Hiddlestone’s Loki makes a total U-turn without any real story or motivation except the death of his mother Frigga (Renee Russo).

Eccleston is unrecognisable as the dark elf Malekith and doesn’t do the role justice.

It took a change of direction and the magic of Taika Waititi in 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok” to erase the stench of that movie in the minds and memory of Marvel movie fans.

  1. Black Widow and the lawsuit

For many years, Marvel fans longed for a Natasha Romanoff standalone movie, and for the longest time, those cries fell on deaf ears.

When the movie finally came out in 2021, it became a token movie as the character had already died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

Try watching a movie based on a character you know dies, not after the credits start rolling.

It makes it hard to root for her or suspend any belief.

But that is not where the real problem lies.

In July 2021, Johansson filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that the simultaneous release of Black Widow on Disney+ breached a stipulation in her contract that the film receives an exclusive theatrical release.

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The suit stated that the simultaneous release exempted Disney from paying “huge box office bonuses” that Johansson would have reportedly been entitled to.

Disney issued a statement in response, saying the suit was meritless and calling it a “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Additionally, the company claimed that they had fully complied with Johansson’s contract and that the Disney+ Premier Access release of the film had “significantly enhanced [Johansson’s] ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.

Things turned nasty, with both parties throwing accusations and counter-accusations against each other before a settlement was reached.

  1. MCU’s huge villain problem

To say that Marvel has a huge villain problem would be a grave understatement.

Except for Josh Brolin’s Thanos and Hiddlestone’s Loki, every other villain from Phase 1-3 has either been underwhelming or terrible.

In the underwhelming pile, we have the likes of Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), Ultron (Voiced by James Spader), Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins), Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor).

This list of actors comprises victims of poor writing, but those that put up great performances that almost saved their movies

Under the terrible pile, we have Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), The Mandarian (Ben Kingsley), Malekith (Mikkelsen), Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace). Yellow Jacket (Corey Stoll) and Yon- Rogg (Jude Law).

In this category, we have a combination of both terrible acting and bad writing, with the biggest example of this being Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin aka Arthur Slattery.

Here is to better villains in the coming phase four and beyond.

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