Movies & TV / Columns

The Man Movie Encyclopedia: The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One (Part 2)

April 25, 2018 | Posted by Caliber Winfield
The Avengers Marvel Cinematic Universe

Greetings, all.

Alright, this week we finish up our look at Phase 1 of the MCU, just in time for Infinity War. Absolutely crazy to think that just 25 years ago, DC was killing it with Batman on the big screen, and Marvel had yet to put out even a half decent film. Now we’re in an age where Marvel only puts out incredible work, and DC…well…uh, they had Batman v Superman [Extended], so, at least there’s that.

OK, let’s get it.

Thor opens up with a history lesson from Odin about the Frost Giants, and the fact they’re pretty much dickbags. After a great war, the Frost Giants were defeated, and the source of their power was taken, and added to Odin’s treasure room before a shakey truce was brokered.
Many centuries later, Odin decides to step down, and hand over the thrown to one of his sons, Thor. However, at the ceremony, some Frosties use it as a chance to try and break into Odin’s jewel room and steal back their weapon. Naturally, Odin senses this, and sends his guardian, the Destroyer, to take them out, which he does. Thor, being a hot-headed man of action demands that the Frosties pay for this act with their lives, yet Odin disagrees. So, they compromise and Thor heads to the realm of the Frost Giants to start stomping major ass. Him and his group are doing quite well until they become out numbered, at which point Odin appears to make the save, as well as apologize to the leader of the Frost Giants, who really isn’t taking the apology. Back on Asgard, Thor and Odin have a massive fight, with Thor calling his father an old fool, basically saying he doesn’t have the stomach for the fight anymore. Well, pops don’t take kindly to that, and sends Thor to Earth without his powers, or his hammer. So, basically he’s just a great looking guy with a rockin’ body. Pssh, good luck!
Back on Asgard, Odin does himself a power nap, while Loki conspires with the leader of the Frost Giant to seemingly set up the death of Odin. However, it’s all a play so Loki can seem like the rightful heir to the throne. On Earth, Thor ends up digging on a girl and not her hotter assistant. When it all comes down to it, Thor gets his powers back by being willing to sacrifice himself to save others. He gets back to Asgard, and punks out Loki.
Thor gets shit sometimes for not being very action packed, but I have zero qualm. There’s plenty action for me, and parts of the film are on such a grand-scale, that I just enjoy the scenery. Everyone does great in their roles, and seeing Kat Dennings is always a good thing.

Oh hell yeah. Now we’re talking. I have zero shame in admitting I’m a mark for Cap, so this was the film I was most excited about. We begin in Europe in the early 40’s, a small village, a village that just so happens to be the destination for one high-ranking Nazi soldier, known as The Red Skull. He’s in search of, and acquires, an item known as the Teseract, the jewel of Odin’s Treasure Room. On the other-side of the world, New York, we see one Steve Rogers trying his luck at joining the army, again. He’s turned down, again. Later that evening while attending a World’s Fair with his best friend Bucky, and Bucky’s two dates, he tries again. Only this time, he’s over heard by a doctor, a man who’s created a formula that can turn men into supermen, and he needs the right candidates. What he hears from Steve tells him that he’s ideal, and after boot camp, Steve gets the upgrade. He gets zero time to celebrate, because as everyone else is shaking hands, a Nazi spy who had wormed his way in, shoots the good doctor before grabbing one of the formula viles and escaping. Cap chases him down, only for him to commit suicide.
Afterward, instead of being put on the frontline, he’s used as a mascot to sell war bonds. I thought this was a brilliant move, because it explained the costume perfectly. I mean, the US military isn’t going to dress him like that, so this was a brilliant way to work that out. Loved it. Cap finally gets a chance to deliver when Bucky and quite a few others are trapped at a Hyrda base, and Cap rescues them while also confronting the Red Skull for the first time.
After this, Cap and his team dismantle Hydra, brick by brick. Finally, the Red Skull is tired of fucking around, and decides to drop his world wide bombs. Unfortunately for him, Cap is the King of Cock-blocking evil. Like, the second evil is about to slip it in, Cap comes walking through the door, asking what you’re doing while banging on pots and pans. The Red Skull ends up grabbing the Teseract with his hands, and it ends up sending him to another dimension, I believe. Cap then has to crash the plane into the snow, where Cap remained for 70 years, before being unthawed and brought back to the world.
I love this movie, other than just being great, it LOOKS great. All of the rustic 1940’s atmosphere, mashed together with the 100-years-in-the-future tech of Hyrda perfectly. The colors were so rich and sharp, causing everything to pop. Just a beautiful movie. Beyond that, I loved the action, the casting, the music, it’s flat out fantastic.

We start at a SHIELD research facility, where agents such as Nick Fury, Hawkeye, and the older science cat from Thor are doing experiments with the Teseract. Unfortunately, it rang the dinner bell, and Loki answered the call. He shows up, snags the cube, uses his scepter to render a few people, including Hawkeye, under his control. They escape, and Fury now has a problem on his hands.
He gets ahold of Cap, and tells him of The Avengers, and Cap seems game. After getting a read on where Loki is goin’ to be, Black Widow and Cap go to Berlin, where they find Loki waiting, and after some help from Iron Man, they’re able to capture him. However, Thor comes and sort of dicks up the plan by snagging Loki, with plans to take him back to Asgard. However, Tony goes into a plan of attack, and Cap has to sort things out.
They get back into the SHIELD Helicarrier dealymabob, and all is well until we realize this is what Loki wanted, and to set off The Hulk. He gets what he wants, and escapes. They realize that this is what he wanted, in hopes of breaking up the Avengers, and playing to their egos. The ego of all egos, Tony, realizes that Loki is headed to Stark Tower, one of, if not thee, highest point in New York City. Once they touch down, Loki already has things set up, and gets his army going. We get the great moment where we learn Hulk’s secret, which, of course doesn’t make any sense, but he punches a giant thing! So, awesome. We then proceed to get a 20 minute battle scene, that is perfectly executed, stacked with an excellent blend of humor and action. Including arguably the funniest moment in the MCU, Hulk showing Loki that he’s a puny God. It all ends with a nuke, and the portal closing.
In the end, I simply cannot say enough about The Avengers. I believe it to be the zenith of comic book movies, and should be text book for all that follow after. Which makes it all the more baffling that Justice League fucked up so badly. You had the blueprint on how it’s done, and decided against using that as a guideline. Avengers is just brilliantly executed, a beautiful culmination of fantastic casting, direction, music, action, comedy, and patience. A film truly 4 years in the making that absolutely paid off in every sense of the word.

Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.

Twitter: @CaliberWinfield

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