REVIEW: My Views On Marvel Studios' Phase One Films

It all started with Iron Man and from there, set off four other films which led up to one of the best cbm's ever made, Marvel's The Avengers. Click for my take on these five films after the jump...

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By WesleyGibson - 11/25/2012
The Avengers. It was a film that was unprecedented, and did something that had never been done before by putting six different superheroes into one film to create a huge summer blockbuster that smashed box office records and won the hearts of audiences everywhere. But before the film could be shown, the heroes had to be introduced. With that idea we were given Iron Man and its sequel, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. In this review I am going to go over each of the five films and give my opinions on all.




(STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges)


To the cbm that started it all, I will say that this(while not my personal favorite) is the best out of the five films. Top notch acting, superb and focused action, believable special effects, and a good solid plot made Iron Man hit the top of the ranks fast with fans and critics alike. Robert Downey Jr. delivered an awesome performance as the one and only Tony Stark and had great chemistry with both Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrance Howard as Pepper Potts and James Rhodes respectively. This film introduced the world of Iron Man to audiences and made people believe in an armored warrior who took down baddies with nothing but his fists, his genius and sharp wit. Among the dark and depressing yet equally rousing The Dark Knight, and the fantastic Helboy II: The Golden Army, I will say that with Iron Man thrown into the mix, 2008 was a great year for comicbook fans.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars




(STARRING: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt, Tim Roth)


Next was what many consider a step up from Ang Lee's Hulk, The Incredible Hulk. I will say that I love all versions of Hulk that have been interpreted to the silver screen, but in my opinion, this version was not the best. I always felt that Hulk in this was too cartoonish and just never seemed real when sharing the screen with the real-life actors. However, the action was what it needed to be for a Hulk film, and that, was what the film did right as compared to the last Hulk film. The acting was excellent as well, with smooth performances by Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Liv Tyler as Banner's love interest Betty Ross, and William Hurt and Tim Roth as the film's antagonists, General Thaddeus Ross, and Emil Blonsky/Abomination respectively. The special effects could have been better, and sometimes the effects really put me off when watching the film. Nevertheless, it is a true Hulk movie and even has a great end scene featuring Tony Stark(Robert Downey Jr.).

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars




(STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke)


This follow-up to Iron Man, even though successful critically and commercially, it was considered by many fans to be a disappointing sequel and the weakest of the five films, with the complaints focusing on the fact that it didn't seem like a stand-alone Iron Man flick, due to the heavy presence of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the many references to The Avengers. In my opinion however, I never really understood all the hate. I have always seen it as a cool and fun superhero flick. As with the first, all actors gave great performances save maybe Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, who seemed a little dry as compared to Terrance Howard's performance as Rhodes in the first film. The villainous Whiplash(portrayed by Mickey Rourke) served as a solid contrast to Downey Jr's witty and heroic persona. All in all, with great acting, special effects, and action, I have always seen this follow-up as a great sequel to one of the best cbm's ever made.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars





(STARRING: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins)


As my personal favorite, I was amazed by Thor. The film itself was a visual treat with some superb acting by Tom Hiddleston as Thor's evil step-brother Loki, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. As surprised as I was to find out that they had cast Chris Hemsworth as The Mighty Thor himself, I was not let down by Hemsworth, as he proved to be a likable protagonist and comfortable contrast to the searing, villainous performance of Hiddleston. I cannot stress at how much Hiddleston as Loki truly stole the show. He made me feel sorry for him and despise him both at the same time, as Loki's situation in the film was truly saddening. Hiddleston as Loki made a very fantastic villain and later carried on to be as equally menacing in Marvel's The Avengers. The special effects were also a highlight of the film, along with the solid action and interesting score by Patrick Doyle. It is a great cbm and a must-see for fans of Thor's tales.

My rating 4.5 out of 5 stars



(STARRING: Chris Evans, Haley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones)


Last but not least, the final film to introduce Marvel's The Avengers had alot of heart, and didn't cut corners. Chris Evans really shined as Steve Rogers, and captured the morals and honor that Captain America represents in the comics, and throw that in among some stellar acting by Tommy Lee Jones, Haley Atwell, and Hugo Weaving as Captain America's arch-nemesis Red Skull, and I believe we have a winner. My only complaint with the film is that it was a little dull in some places and could have used a bit more action, but other than that, the film was a great superhero film and finally gave audiences a great Captain America movie, with inspiring scenes, dazzling effects and great direction by director Joe Johnston.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


So my fellow CBMer's, this is where the review comes to a close. I hope you enjoyed this little article as much as did writing it, and I hope that you saw this article as an interesting read. I know that there are a plethora of thoughts and opinions that vary from mine that are just scratching at the surface to be shared, so please, feel free to share away and discuss your views on the review in the comments section below. Happy posting!
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robometrallador - 11/25/2012, 8:05 PM
i dont understand how people can put the first avenger over the rest, its clearely the worst marvel movie, it kinda sucks
CaptainAmerica31 - 11/25/2012, 8:07 PM
Thor and cap sucked, IMO ironman is the only good MS movie
ToTheManInTheColdSweat - 11/25/2012, 8:09 PM
Iron Man 2 > Incredible Hulk?

How? I'm so confused.

I'd give CATFA 3.5 stars that movie put me to sleep.
novaprime - 11/25/2012, 8:12 PM
IIII TOTALY DISAGREE WITH HIM AND THE HULK!!! I THINK HULK WAS BETTER THEN CAP & IRON MAN 2, NONE OF THESE HEROES HAD A FIGHTING SCENE THAT WAS TOUCHING HULKS LAST FIGHTING SCENE WITN ABOMINATION I THINK HULK HAD THE BEST FIGHTING OUT OF EVERY SOLO CBM THATS COME OUT!!!!
my list of the marvel cinematic universe in order
1.Hulk (4.5)
2.Thor (4.3)
3.Iman (4.2)
4.Cap,A (4.2)
5.iman 2( 3, 1/2)
WesleyGibson - 11/25/2012, 8:17 PM
LOL guys, I figured my little section on Hulk would cause a stir, but there'd be no point to this article and me wanting to share it if my honesty wasn't involved.

Thanks for the feedback so far. =)
TheCaptain - 11/25/2012, 8:17 PM
Hulk and IM2 are the weakest movies easily.
@Spidey31, Thor and Cap are far superior movies to TASM get over yourself.
ATrueHero1987 - 11/25/2012, 8:20 PM
TIH was a really good movie. I think what stopped the movie from being really successful was: Hulk 2003, even though it came out 5 years before, was still fresh in people minds. The whole Norton vs. Universal & Marvel situation. Lastly, the deleted scenes on disc 2 should've been in the theatrical release.
ATrueHero1987 - 11/25/2012, 8:21 PM
@AsgardianGangsta I'm glad you know why he's mad.lol
novaprime - 11/25/2012, 8:21 PM
Both iman fighting scenes were terible from both movies him and jeff bridged fighting scene was trash, i mean the movie had a very good long story, for both films but lame action Iman 1 was just a hole bunch of flying showing off the suite and cockyness from rdj. Atleast u felt thors pain asgard and felt the dynamic with loki odin and asgard, u felt when banner was on the run, & y he was on the run Rdj was just flying around a bunch of fun and a tease of the iman suite whats the best thing he did shoot iraquise with little missles and wreck his weak suite 100 times lol
DrDoom - 11/25/2012, 8:24 PM
@Spidey31

Oh noez. Thor and Cap had scripts without nearly as many logistical problems as TASM.

THEY MUST SUCK
Nemeres - 11/25/2012, 8:28 PM
Cap's easily my favorite. It had, I agree, the most heart out of all the others. Haley Atwell is absolutely lovely, and Chris Evans is great and poignant as Steve Rogers. You know you have something special when girls who have never read a Cap comic in their lives go "awww!" at the main character (they did in my theater with the "girls don't want to dance with a guy they could step on" line).

And it did something really bold with its status quo at the end which none of the others did. It's just a really fun, retro, unpretentious movie. It was my least anticipated CBM from 2011 and it turned out to be the one I enjoyed the most.
novaprime - 11/25/2012, 8:31 PM
Lmao, ooo the Amazing spiderman was another terrible film it was depressing boring, and the editing for the music in the fighting scenes were terrible!!!, the begining scenes with him and the lizard were a waste of time he took of his mask like 90 times and hid his identity for like 15 min in the movie!!!
superotherside - 11/25/2012, 8:35 PM
They're all great films guys... stop nitpicking.

WesleyGibson Good review dude.
DrHorrible - 11/25/2012, 8:38 PM
@AsgardianGangsta & AcidicHeart What in the hell does TASM have to do with Phase One movies? You guys and people like you need to get a grip. Apparently, when someone says that Cap & Thor suck and they liked Iron Man, that somehow brings Spider-Man into the mix?

EVERYONE, I PRESENT: MORONIC LOGIC! ROUND OF APPLAUSE!

LOL - 11/25/2012, 8:38 PM
All the movies in the set were great IMO.

The reason why a lot of people didn't get most of Norton's HULK was that it paid mostly homage to the Bill Bixby TV series that emphasized more on the character of Bruce Banner than the HULK himself. As for it being cartoony (the Norton version), I would vehemently disagree and call Ang Lee's version of the HULK as the most cartoon-like among the two. As far as I could remember, HULK never, and I mean NEVER changed heights depending on his rage and need for it.

IM2 was a bit less stellar than IM1, but it was still a good ride from start to finish. There was just too many to keep up with in terms of plot and subplot for it to be completely cohesive, like it needed to resolved with another movie... hopefully the 3rd one gives a good resolution to it all.

As for Thor and Cap.... they are pretty much Origin "issues", so it's a fair balance of fast and slow parts just to get everything out of the way.

So all in all, it is as close to perfect as a set could be and I love all of them.
DarkArts - 11/25/2012, 8:40 PM
Iron Man 2 was a pretty bad film. Only the great presence of Downey JR saved it from being a total waste.
I recently watched it again and forgot how bad it was until a few minutes into it. The film really had no villain. Whiplash was never a threat to anyone and was just there. I would give it 1.5 out of 5.

Thor was OK but it lacked a cinematic feel. It didnt have flaws but it also didnt take risks or impress. And Thor's redemption thing could be seen coming even in the trailers but it also happened too easy and too quickly. I'd give it a 3 out of 5.

Captain America was better than Thor in some ways but The Red Skull was pure cheese and the weakest part of the film except for the great mask. 3.5 out of 5.
DrHorrible - 11/25/2012, 8:40 PM
Now that that is out of the way, I'd rate the Phase One movies as follows:

Iron Man: 4.5/5
Captain America: The First Avenger: 4/5
The Incredible Hulk: 4/5
Thor: 3.5/5
Iron Man 2: 3/5

That is all. Good day.
SmellofDuty - 11/25/2012, 8:42 PM
DrHorrible, I must say they deserved the prize. Why even bring TASM up?
TheGambitFreakIsBatmanOfCBM - 11/25/2012, 8:44 PM
Great article, I disagree and concur with all of it.

My list goes:

1. Captain America: The First Avenger Many people seemed to miss the point of this film. They question why there are so many plot holes... Johnston left those on purpose so they could be filled in later as flashbacks; Genius. The tone, themes, costumes and acting were all superlative!

2. Thor This movie, I have a love/hate relationship with. Lack of Asgardian-unearthly settings, acting (Notably Dennings and Portapotty) was very B, which I rather love it for. The Destroyer/Thor battle was lackluster and hapless. On the bright side, costumes were great, story was fine and the ending was sad and beautiful.

3. The Incredible Hulk This is an awesome film. It was action packed, it had some of the coolest cameos and references in the MCU thus far and the acting was terrific as well as the casting. It's sad it did not gain as much popularity as Iron man (Or Money) because I felt it was right up there with it. Sure the CGI in some close-ups (Especially Hulk himself) were iffy but it did it's job: An action movie.

4. Iron Man 2 I personally love this film. Though the villain is unacceptably terrible, I found myself smiling and chuckling every time Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer thrust himself on screen. The Tony/Pepper dynamic was hilarious and Scarlett Johansson, My God.




The CGI was obvious to see and Don Cheadle's Rhodes was utterly embarrassing, they should've had the one and only James Rhodes play him.




But all the noticable crap aside, It was enjoyable and worth multiple viewings cause it never seems to get "Boring".

5. Iron Man Now do not get me wrong, Iron Man is perhaps the strongest most daring films of the bunch. The villain is worthy of the name. The supporting characters are top-notch and the acting, storyline and EVERYTHING about the film is just... Cinematical at it's best. The only reason It is not on the top is because I have seen it SO many times I find myself quoting it everytime I come across it.

"Some call you the Da Vinci of our time. What do you have to say about that?"
"Absolutely ridiculous. I don't paint."

"And what do you say to your other nickname: 'The Merchant of Death'?"
"That's not bad."





Then there is the Avengers, which, just isn't "Cinematic Enough"... :D

LegacyFilms - 11/25/2012, 8:48 PM
IMO

1. Iron Man
2. Captain America
3. Thor
4. The Incredible Hulk
5. Iron Man 2

RunDTC - 11/25/2012, 8:50 PM
1. Iron Man
2. The Incredible Hulk
3. Thor
4. Captain America: The First Avenger
5. Iron Man 2
GorgoniteScum - 11/25/2012, 8:52 PM
Avengers
Iron Man
First Avenger
Thor
Hulk
Iron man 2

But none of them are horrible. Iron man 2 at its worst is still slightly entertaining.
MCUfan1 - 11/25/2012, 8:55 PM
Iron man and the incredible hulk were great, the last three were rushed that's why they didn't seem that good. The gambit freak just put me on about captain america but to me only half was great the red skull had little screen time. Thor was good. I just felt like he should have been on earth longer. Iron man 2 was good.
Thegeekygurl - 11/25/2012, 8:59 PM
Iron Man 9" out of 10"
Captain America 6"
Thor 5"
Incredible Hulk 3"
Iron Man 2 Limp!
LFANCH - 11/25/2012, 9:04 PM
I think the fact that everyone has a different order says a lot about how great a job these films did with representing the characters and giving each of them a unique feel.

Personally, I thought Ironman was the best of the 5 with it's sequel being the weakest (though I certainly still have fun watching it). I enjoyed hulk also, it could be a little boring in parts but I thought its final action scene was the best out of all the phase 1 movies (other than avengers of course). I have had a lot of fun re-watching Thor. I love Hemsworth and Hiddlestons acting in that film. And Cap is my favorite hero, so i'm a little biased toward him. I thought TFA was a superb film representation of steve rogers and I am greatly looking forward the the sequel.
DanteSparda - 11/25/2012, 9:08 PM
I knew this was coming, Marvel movies fandom it's becoming so big that now battles itself and not against DC movies or other company.

I really liked the 5 films, they were all good but for me the order of apreciation went like this:

1- Iron Man
2- Captain America
3- Thor
4- Iron Man 2
5- Incredible Hulk
Ranger14 - 11/25/2012, 9:11 PM
I would go with:

Ironman
Thor
Captain America
Ironman 2
The Incredible Hulk

The Hulk is the only one I didn't care that much for, but I couldn't buy into Norton as Bruce Banner, so that has a lot to do with it. While I didn't think IM2 was great, I certainly enjoyed it more than some other recently released CBM's.
ArtisticErotic - 11/25/2012, 9:22 PM
Ironman 1
Captain America First Avenger.

Incredible, Thor and Ironman 2 were pretty below par IMO.
nikgrid - 11/25/2012, 9:22 PM
I enjoyed The Incredible Hulk more than the Avengers. It is a shame Norton didn't play Banner in the Avengers. He was great as Banner. Iron Man 2 was just shit.
Jollem - 11/25/2012, 9:31 PM
my favorite out of the avengers cinematic universe

the abengers

the incredible hulk

iron man 1

cap 1

thor 1

iron man2
TheMightyTroy - 11/25/2012, 9:31 PM
IMO

1. Iron Man - was just awesome
2. Thor - I loved Thor because he is my favourite Marvel Character, but I think it needed more action (and better fight choreograhy) and way more scenes on Asgard.
3. Captain America - I think it was great but some minor tweaks to the story and it would have been perfect.
4. Iron Man 2 - I thought it was great but needed a little less Avengers nods. Scarlett Johanson's Black Widow, dayum.
5. The Incredible Hulk - if the hulk looked like he did in the Avenegers in my opinion it would have been better. Im excited to see a new Hulk film with Mark Ruffolo.
TheRationalOne - 11/25/2012, 10:08 PM
My order goes:

Captain America
Iron Man
Hulk
Iron Man 2
Thor

I really don't understand why Thor is so high on people's lists. The acting was definitely good, but I saw that coming a mile away with Branagh directing. The film overall bored me to tears. The scene on the frost giant planet was really great, as was the scene when he storms the Shield center surrounding the hammer, and the ending battle with Loki back on Asgard was a worthy pay off. But everything else felt like those songs on an album that you skip to get to the good ones. It was all filler. I was just not very impressed. But the casting and acting was phenomenal, I'll give it that.
Boekelaar - 11/25/2012, 10:09 PM
In order of preference (for me):

The Avengers
Iron Man
Captain America: The First Avenger
Thor
Iron Man 2
The Incredible Hulk

However this doesn't mean that Hulk or IM2 are bad it's just a viewing order I would use if going from bad to worse (which would never happen, who doesn't watch the Marvel Movies in order?). I've always loved Hulk especially in that period of time between IM2 and when Thor and Cap were released. I just like it less now given the quality compared to the last lot of the MCU and Norton as Banner.

From what I've heard he would only do the movie if he got to re-write the script and I can't help but feel that his interpretation of the character was weak and it was his fault. It explains his falling out with Marvel and it just means that when I watch the movie I'm thinking he was a bit of a douche. That said it's still one of the better CBMs that have ever been released and has some great moments.

And as for Iron Man 2 I love that movie only slightly less than the rest. It's evident that Marvel hijacked the movie to setup the Avengers and let people know that there were going to be other movies that are all connected. Which is fine by me. Sure we got a movie that wasn't great from end to end but it raised awareness and got more people on board with the MCU. The way I see it is that fans who have been following from the beginning had to take a hit so that the franchise could make more money. More money means more movies and more movies means that us fans are happier. So it was definitely worth it and to be fair is the movie that bad? It's uneven and a bit choppy but it's not Spider-man 3 or Batman and Robin.
DaCottDamnBatman - 11/25/2012, 10:12 PM
IMO

1. IRONMAN
2. THE INCREDIBLE HULK
3. IRONMAN 2
4. THOR
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA (I TRUELY DON'T EVEN WANT TO PUT THIS DULL MOVIE ON THE LIST)

THE INCREDIBLE HULK CARTOONESH.... I KNOW IM GOING TO GET CRAP FIR THIS THE AVENGERS HULK ACTED VERY CARTOONISH. THOR WAS A GOOD MOVIE FOR WHAT IS WAS AND I HATED CAPTAIN AMERICA. TASM WAS BETTER THAN BOTH.
95 - 11/25/2012, 10:15 PM
I haven't thought much into which I like the best (in order)... but I know what impact they left on me as the credits rolled...

Most Profound Story:
Iron Man
Best Shared Universe "Bridge":
Captain America: The First Avenger
Best Dialogue (Non-Improvised):
The Incredible Hulk
Personal Replay Record Holder:
Iron Man 2
Favorite Explaination Of Shared Universe:
Thor
Preston - 11/25/2012, 10:17 PM

The Avengers: The first multi-franchise comic-book movie. MARVEL set up a shared universe.



MARVEL

AVENGERS
DaCottDamnBatman - 11/25/2012, 10:35 PM
@LOGICOFLAME I ACTUALLY AGREE WITH NIKGRID WHILE IT WAS ENTERTAINING THE AVENGERS WAS JUST A PILE OF SHIT PUT TOGETHER AND BY PILE OF SHIT I MEAN GOOD IDEAS. THE INCREDIBLE HULK ACTUALLY HAD A STORY AND THE ACTION WAS AWESOME. AS FUN AS IT WAS THE AVENGERS IS JUST LIKE NOLAN'S BATMAN.... OVERRATED. DON'T GET ME WRONG I ENJOYED THE MOVIE BUT IF YOU REALLY PAY ATTENTION ITS REALLY UNDERDEVELOPED AND RUSHED
Funsize - 11/25/2012, 10:38 PM
Iron Man's great. The rest were decent. My favorite was Thor since he's my favorite marvel hero. I really wish there was more asgard scenes though but it was still good.
DoodPool - 11/25/2012, 10:48 PM
My Favs besides Avengers?

1 Ironman
2 Thor (why the hate on this movie? i don't know what it is that made me like it, but i enjoyed every second of it)
3.Incredible Hulk
4. Captain America (wasn't a convincing enough period peice i would have liked to see in a captain america origin, but the hitler punch joke was good)
5. It's as good a iron man...more of the same
rockerdude22 - 11/25/2012, 10:48 PM
This would be my order:

1) Iron Man
2) Cap
3) Thor
4) Incredible Hulk
5) Iron Man 2

I would put The Avengers above all of them haha
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