Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe started a little….rough. It is not that surprising as Avengers was not only hard to follow up with solo films but also left a lot of issues within the heroes that would need to be resolved.
That brings us to the title of this article. This is the MCU Phase 2 in Review, kind of, because the first movie in the Phase takes more than a few words to review. Truly. There is A LOT to unpack.
As they did in Phase 1, Feige and company led off with the man who helmed their multiverse – in real life and on-screen. Robert Downey, Jr. reprised his role as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3. By far the weakest of all the solo Iron Man films, this third film is rife with plot holes and story issues, as it
struggles to bring a comic arc into the established world of the MCU. From inadequately representing Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) or completely missing the mark of the Extremis virus, there was a lot that fans of the comics cringed at.
The biggest miss of the movie might have been the twist Marvel pulled with the Mandarin. Understandably, the character of a Chinese warlord created in the 1960s that very much represented a very dated view of “the Orient” of the time was a hard pill for studio execs to swallow. That does not change the fact that taking the villain that many Iron Man comic fans have long thought of as their hero’s biggest and best rival and turning him into a drug-addled, British actor was not easy for pure
fans to choke down.
The movie does have some good qualities as it was exceptionally well received and a box office hit. They take everything next level in the story. It is one of the first movies where Marvel threw exposition of every little thing out of the window and focused on the action and pace more than explaining how the bad guys could control Rhodey’s suit or why Pepper had Extremis removed.
The action is bigger and better than ever. The way that Marvel had Stark deal with PTSD from the Battle of New York is fantastic and honestly is what drives the emotions that sucked so many people into this phenomenon of a franchise. We not only watch these heroes be heroes, but the MCU then lets you see Tony having real issues from almost dying. It is the Marvel theory of our heroes are all perfectly imperfect, and it drives the audience to the place where they will root for these characters anywhere and at any time.
So Iron Man 3 is a movie that inspires a lot of conflicted emotions. It set the tone for the rest of the five films in Phase 2, keeping true to the precedence set in Phase 1.