Road to Endgame: Phase 3
Welcome back to Road to Endgame. My weekly series leading up to Avengers: Endgame. In this series of articles, I am looking back on all the MCU movies. Not really a review but just look back at the time what I remember and my life a the time. Previously we looked at Phase 1 of the MCU and last week we looked at Phase 2. Now we are at the end of the current MCU with Phase 3. We have looked at a lot of movies and how my life has changed throughout the years and now we are coming to the present time! So, let us get on board this week we are looking at Captain America: Civil War all the way to Captain Marvel. There are a ton of movies and things happening in Phase three so let’s get started!
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Man, I was super skeptical about Civil War being the 3rd Captain America film. How were they going to adapt that comic book storyline? How are they going to handle all these characters? If the Russo brothers hadn’t done such an incredible job with Winter Soldier I would have been really scared, but Civil War turned out great. I love that we follow up with the “New Avengers” team from Age of Ultron and the story picks up from there. The movie never feels overstuffed it is still very Cap-centric. I really wish they could have kept Spider-Man a secret though. I understand why they put him in the trailer but that would have been an awesome surprise.
Man, now thinking about it a ton of stuff happened in Civil War. We get our first introduced to Black Panther. Who looks awesomely cool. We get Spider-Man’s first appearance in the MCU. One of the best things I loved from Civil War was Flacon’s and Winter Soldiers begrudging friendship. They had some great scenes together and I am hip for the Falcon Winter Soldier show on Disney+. Plus when Falcon says “so you like cats” to Black Panther is a classic line. That whole airport scene was like a comic book come to life! Just pure comic book madness! Just so much fun
But probably the biggest thing was the revelation that Bucky killed Iron Mans parents. I remember gasping when that was revealed! Great villain as well, and Black Panther was just incredible in that end scene with him when he gives Zemo that speech. I love the teaser ending as well as setting up Black Panther with “Let them try”.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Doctor Strange is a character I have never had too much fondness for. I mean I don’t hate him and I have read somethings I enjoyed him in but overall as a solo character he never worked form. Which obviously made his solo debut a challenge for me. I don’t hate it, but Doctor Strange also doesn’t really stand out to me
Of Course, Benedict Cumberbatch was an excellent casting choice for the Sorcerer Supreme. I really loved the Ancient Ones first getting Cumberbatch to “believe” scene. The ending with Dormammu was probably the highlight of the film for me as it did a little something different with the big end battle. With Strange basically outsmarting him.
I don’t really remember much about seeing Doctor Strange it was okay and I liked it, but it also doesn’t stand out much to me either.
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
The second outing for the Guardians had a little hill to climb for me. In that, after the first Guardians, we kind of knew what to expect. We knew these “wacky” characters so it had to bring something a little different to be surprising yet still hit that same charm. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did that. It is another heart-wrenching family story.
We focus a lot of Nebula and Gomora’s sister relationship and Peter Quills father/mother bonds. Which we get to see Kurt Russell enter the MCU as Ego. Which was a whole other level of weirdness? Guardians 2 has the same charm as the first and boast another great soundtrack. My wife also fell in love with the Youngster Groot, I mean how can you not think little Groot in the Ravagers costume is not adorable?
Gunn also throws in the “OG” Guardians; yes that is Sly Stallone in the MCU! Plus Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has the hands-down funniest scene in the MCU in “ I am Mary Poppins Y’all”. I legitimately laughed way too hard and way too loud in a packed theatre. Had tons of fun watching this movie.
Spider-Man: Home Coming (2017)
I was really hyped for Spider-Man: Homecoming. For one the director kept saying things like John Hughes movies like the Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles as kind of themes he was going for in the movie. And I love me some John Hughes movies so hyped level achieved. Plus I am putting this down right now Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man. Look I was prime-time for 2000 Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire Peter Parker, I was 13 and loved it. Tom Holland wins out, sorry dude is Peter Parker period.
Really just amazed how fun Homecoming was. I know it gets crapped on a little, but I liked the relationship between Peter Parker and Tony Stark. It really builds up that mentorship between a young hero and veteran he looks up to not only in a hero way but also an intellectual way as well. The whole cast is great as well. Plus how could you hate on Michael Keaton as the Vulture? Number 1 they made the freaking Vulture look awesome and menacing on the big screen. Number 2 that whole car ride to the dance and him figuring out Peter is Spider-Man is pure perfection!
One big memory I have from Spider-Man: Homecoming is the final end credits sequence with Cap. The final, final credits scenes had been a little jokey for a while in the MCU. But this one was just poking fun at the fact you sat around this whole time. I thought it was funny, my wife was not so much amused, that yes we sat around and waited to see this, but you know “patience” (plus all the other Caps PSA’s in the movie).
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Marvel completely flipped the script with the Thor series with its third installment. Bringing in director Taika Waititi to inject some new life into the franchise…and what a new life. Thor badly needed some fresh legs and Ragnarok brought that. The new director and new look reinvigorated everyone for the characters new outing.
Waititi brought some goofy humor to Thor and he also recognized Chris Hemsworth excellent comedic timing. From the trailer, you knew this was going to be a “different” Thor movie. I know some people had a little distaste for how silly some things were. But any comic book reader worth his or her salt should know different creators bring different themes and tones. Some series turn serious others funny, just depends; heck Thor was a legit Frog for a few issues in Walter Simonson’s run (which is joked about in the film).
Thor: Ragnarok also doubled as stealth Hulk movie as well. Combining the Planet Hulk comic storyline with Ragnorok was a great way to get into the Hulk character without having his own movie. Tessa Tomkins as Valkyrie also shines bright and you can’t forget the stunning Kate Blanchett as Hela. That costume has no right looking so good on the big screen!
I think Thor: Ragnarok is a massive achievement even for the MCU. They took there own Thor “franchise” and completely switched it up and reinvigorated it.
Black Panther (2018)
Man, I was hyped for the Black Panther movie. After Chadwick Boseman premiering as the character in Civil War I wanted more of him. Black Panther was one of my favorite heroes growing up. Remember when I said I was a Biology/Zoology major for a little bit in college. Well, that came from an obsession with animals growing up. I loved nothing more than watching the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet (big cats and leopards being my favorite animal).
When I found out about a character named Black Panther being a Marvel Hero (from the 90’s Fantastic Four cartoon episode none the less). He immediately became a favorite just for the name and powers. Quick fact Black Panther was the first sketch I ever got at a con when I was about 6 years old.
Back to the Movie
So I was hyped to see Black Panther hit the big screen in a solo outing. Too bad I got the flu opening weekend! So, here I was at the house reading about how great Black Panther was and how much money it had made. I finally got better and was able to get out on Tuesday and see it. Like everybody else, Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger performance absolutely stole the show. When he shows up in Wakanda and bust in with the “Auntie” line that whole sequence was brilliant.
The world they built in Wakanda was truly amazing. Everything looked great, from the different tribes within the city to the advanced technology, plus how can you hate on War Rhinos? I still loved Andy Serkis performance as “Klaue” he just has such a weird attitude to him that is great. Was glad to see him back after Civil War. Black Panther also defeats M’Baku with a nice reverse triangle armbar so BJJ for the win (keen eye grapplers will also notice Cap took out Bucky with some slick BJJ in Winter Soldier as well).
I will admit watching Black Panther in theatres for the first time I was a little underwhelmed. Maybe reading everything I hyped it up too much or I was still a little sick from the flu and didn’t feel 100%. But when I re-watched it I enjoyed it a lot more and caught so cool things I had missed while watching it in theatres. That chase scene with the cars is still incredibly fun to watch! My wife really enjoyed the film and always comments on how good it was.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Oh my… I am going to try to keep this short, but I could do a whole article on Avengers: Infinity War. The Hype around this film was unreal and like nothing, I had experienced before. When that first trailer dropped and Thanos says “Dread it, run from it, destiny still arrives” my head exploded! I don’t think I have pre-ordered movie tickets but I did for Infinity War. Well, I preordered and then canceled and then checked with my wife since it was coming out the weekend of our Anniversary (just like Endgame will). Luckily I have the greatest wife and we found a theatre with reserved reclining seats (our new favorite theater) and got tickets for that Saturday.
Like everybody else, I had no idea what to expect from Infinity War and I sat there with my jaw open the whole time. After the big break up in Civil War what would happen? When Thanos absolutely wrecked the Hulk (with some superb boxing skill I might add) it was game on. We knew the Russo brothers were good but Infinity War put them on another level!
From Cap first showing up, to Thor meeting the Guardians this film was chocked full of greatness! I can’t believe everything they put in this film. I think I leaped for joy in the battle of Wakanda scene when Cap and Black Panther are sprinting toward battle together. Scarlett Witch got to show how powerful she is (nobody hardly talks about what a powerhouse she is).
I loved, loved, loved Bucky picking up rocket and them doing a 360 shooting shot! Or what about when Tony got stabbed? Just total shock I thought he was really gone. I also about fell out of my seat when the Red Skull showed up! Maybe the best scene is Thor showing up with Groot and Rocket at the battle of Wakanda and the epic “bring me Thanos!” line.
So many great things in this film. But you can’t talk about Avengers: Infinity War without talking about Thanos and the “snap”. First how great is Josh Brolin as Thanos? This really was like a Thanos movie. We get into his head and just what his motivations are. Then they end the movie with the “snap: and half of our favorite characters being “dusted” along with half of the living population. Even though you know most are coming back, it was still incredibly shocking to see and end the film with. I remember the theater was just silent after showing Thanos smirking and ending the film. Just like “oh wow they really just did that!”.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
So after the epic-ness of Avengers: Infinity War Marvel drops Ant-man and the Wasp. Marvel is like we know Infinity War was heartbreaking, but here is a fun little movie! I already talked about how much I love Paul Rudd and his charm comes on full force once again in this film. The whole crew is back and Luis is as hilarious as ever. Evangeline Lilly shines as the Wasp. How cool is that costume, love the design for it. Once again they do some crazy cool action sequences with the size-changing abilities.
Again like Ant-Man, it was smart of Marvel to release this “smaller” toned down movies after the huge Avengers: Infinity War. Ant-Man and The Wasp also drops a ton of hints toward Endgame with the Quantum realm playing a huge role and rescuing the original Wasp (played by Michelle Pfeiffer none the less) from there. Scott gets trapped in the Quantum Realm. Janet, Hope, and Hank dusted! Way too bring a happy movie down. My wife turned to me and said: “oh no, I forgot about that!”. Again the gal of Marvel to end a hugely fun movie like Ant-Man and The Wasp with that sad ending. I really hope we get to see the whole Ant-Man crew interact with the rest of the MCU at some point in time.
Captain Marvel (2019)
We are here! Our final movie in the MCU before Avengers: Endgame. And it is a period piece a look back at an earlier version of the MCU set in the 1990s (thanks for making me feel old). Captain Marvel makes her big screen debut after a wonderful little teaser in Infinity War. How great was the pairing of Sam Jackson and Brie Larson? They work so well together (you can see them together in Kong: Skull Island as well, along with “Loki” Tom Hiddleston). They have great chemistry together. That de-aging technology surprisingly held up throughout the film as well. Skrulls, finally Skrulls in the MCU!
I really loved that fight scene with No Doubts “I’m just a girl”. Yeah, it was a little on the nose but I dug it. Plus I think Captain Marvel might have done some BJJ in that fight scene. My wife pre-ordered our tickets to our new favorite theatre that we saw Infinity War in to see Captain Marvel as it came out on my birthday weekend. Captain Marvel was also the first MCU character my wife asked for a t-shirt for just by seeing the trailer. I got a shirt with some killer artwork as well. Side note does anybody else feel a little weird going to watch the movie with the characters on a shirt?
That stinger was fantastic as well I was totally not thinking they would show Captain Marvel showing up with the other Avengers in that teaser! I loved the audience’s reaction to Goose as well. As a comic book reader, I knew it was coming and the reaction of the crowd when “Flerken” was unleashed was fantastic!
Phase 3 (almost complete)
Wow phase 3 of the MCU is long! We are still in Phase 3! It officially ends with Avengers: Endgame. So, during Phase 3 I and my wife did a huge adult thing and became homeowners! Craziness I know! I turned into Hank Hill caring about my lawn and getting serious about mowing “I tell ya what”. Oh, I also started writing for Word of the Nerd in 2016. I always thought about writing about my love of comic books and other nerdy stuff and this website let this weird guy with no writing experience take a shot at it and I am very grateful.
Also during Phase 3 of the MCU I earned my black belt in BJJ, you notice I talk about Jiu-Jitsu a lot. Been training for 13 years and counting so that was crazy. I also started teaching some boxing lessons and a box fit class. Madness all around when I think about everything that happened in my life during Phase 3 of the MCU!
So, that gets us current with the MCU we have been through Captain America: Civil War all the way to Captain Marvel. Only one movie left in Phase 3 of the MCU and that is Avengers: Endgame. So, come back next week as I close out my Road to Endgame series with a look at what I am looking forward to/ hoping to see in Avengers: Endgame, plus what to look forward to in Phase 4 of the MCU!