Now that we have talked about what is coming up in Phase 4 of the MCU, it is time for us to look back over the past three phases. It is time to go back to the beginning – which is, after all, a very good place to start.
There is no way the MCU would be what it is today without a little film called Iron Man and a small-time actor named Robert Downey, Jr. From the first clink of the pounding hammer in an Afghan cave to the last time we hear it (bonus soundbite during the Endgame credits), we knew that something special was happening.
Just when Marvel fans thought they had finally seen a movie worthy of the origin material, it went to the next level as Sam Jackson stepped out of the shadows of Stark’s house. Our Nick Fury had arrived.
Many fans don’t like to acknowledge the pre-Mark Ruffalo Hulk with Ed Norton helming The Incredible Hulk, but it is canon and brought the Hulk into the MCU. Much of the struggle (outside of rumored cast issues) was that they were taking a well-known hero that had not only a recent film with 2003’s Hulk but an old television series.
Iron Man 2 introduced Agent Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow. There are no words to describe how well Scarlett Johanssen did bring the beloved assassin to life in one graceful slide.
Another hero joined the MCU by being banished to earth in Thor. Though fans are often torn on how they feel about the first two installments of the Thor franchise, no one can deny that Chris Hemsworth was born to play the part. We got to meet Loki and Hawkeye as well, and it was better than most ever imagined.
Later in 2011, the original superhero marched onto the scene in Captain America: The First Avenger. Gotta say, still a fan of Skinny Steve. From the Howling Commandos to Bucky Barnes and the delightful Agent Carter, this was full of Stan Lee's goodness and set the tone for the end of Phase I.
On May 4, 2012, (Yes, Star Wars Day – the irony is not lost), the culmination of a delightfully woven, the intricate universe appeared on screens – and The Avengers brought the franchise to a level never before attempted, and still not matched. In the final fight, when the six originals are standing back-to-back in a circle, every Marvel fan cheered – many out loud, some internally.
Though there was a feeling of fulfillment and a sense of excitement for Phase 2, no one could imagine precisely how great it would be. We hadn’t seen anything yet.