From 'Iron Man' to 'Captain Marvel'
Can you believe the Marvel Cinematic Universe turned 10 last year? In the past decade, the Disney-owned studio has redefined classic heroes like Iron Man and Captain America; turned “New York” into a goofy euphemism after bringing the Avengers together to fight an alien invasion; paid Vin Diesel to say the same three words over and over again; taken us to the Afrofuturistic world of Wakanda, which is now a thing with which even non-comic readers are obsessed; and so much more. Marvel celebrated this anniversary with Avengers: Infinity War, the long-awaited team-up that brought together almost every corner of its vast world for a truly epic story. Now a year later, its sequel, Avengers: Endgame, the conclusion of Phase 3, is set to open April 26.
In preparation for Infinity War, EW’s Marvel Movie Club revisited every Marvel movie that came before it. Each week, Chancellor Agard (and the occasional guest star) dove into one Marvel movie to reassess its strengths and reflect on how it fits into the universe. As you prepare for Endgame, check out each column below:
Iron Man was the movie that started it all. Rewatching it 10 years later, it’s hard not to be impressed by how much the film accomplished. Robert Downey Jr., director Jon Favreau, and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige turned a hero who was lesser known to mainstream audiences into a household name — and spawned an entire cinematic universe in the process. Read more here.
After Iron Man came The Incredible Hulk, which starred a moody Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, a scientist with an anger-management problem. Even though this was the second film in the MCU, it’s pretty much ignored because it lacks many of the MCU’s trademarks. When you watch the movie a decade later, you can tell the studio was still searching for its winning formula. Read more here.
One of Marvel’s weakest films also happens to be one of its most interesting. Directed once again by Favreau, Iron Man 2 had the unfortunate task of trying to expand the then-nascent Marvel Cinematic Universe (hello, S.H.I.E.L.D. problem and Black Widow) while also furthering Tony Stark’s journey (hello, daddy issues!). Read more here.
Director Kenneth Branagh looked to the stars in Thor, which expanded the still-fledgling Marvel universe and marked the first appearance of fan-favorite villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Read more here.
Human Torch, who? Chris Evans is Captain America from the first moment he steps on screen; however, Evan isn’t the only star of the endearingly retro movie. Captain America: The First Avenger has a stacked cast of familiar faces in roles that range from impressively forgettable and thankless (Aunt Hailey from The O.C. as a nameless S.H.I.E.L.D. agent) to instantly iconic (Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter) (#JusticeForAgentCarter). Read more here.
EW’s Chancellor Agard and Christian Holub joined forces to reflect on first time Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, the Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye assembled on screen. Read more here.
We took a break from our regularly scheduled programming to check in with Black Panther, which opened in February 2018. The film featured two credits scenes that not only teased future developments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also reinforced what made Ryan Coogler’s movie so great. Read more here.
Directed by Shane Black, the threequel is an irreverent film that seems uninterested in the Avengers and doesn’t care about serving any greater universe scheme — or superheroics in general, really. Read more here.
EW’s Christian Holub revisits the much maligned Thor sequel and discovers that it may contain more inklings of the glorious Thor: Ragnarok than you may have assumed. Read more here.
EW’s Chancellor Agard and Devan Coggan dive into the second Captain America movie and discuss everything from Steve and Bucky’s relationship, which is at the heart of the movie, to how Winter Soldier changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read more here.
Chancellor and EW correspondent Dana Schwartz make a valiant attempt to rank the titular heroes James Gunn’s colorful space adventure. Read more here.
Chancellor and Christian join forces once again to tackle Joss Whedon’s messy, sad, and thought-provoking MCU swan song, and grapple with the fact that Ultron may have a point. Read more here.
Clunky world building and the frustrating treatment of Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne detract from Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd’s pretty pleasant Ant-Man. Read more here.
Chancellor and EW’s Marvel-Netflix expert Shirley Li push EW to the brink of civil war as they debate whether or not Daniel Brül’s Helmut Zemo is an effective villain and so much more. Read more here.
A notable example of the Marvel Studios formula, Doctor Strange also introduced several interesting elements to the MCU, including another Infinity Stone and some mind-bending visuals. Read more here.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 manages to be both bigger and smaller than the original in the best ways possible (most of the time). Read more here.
In the penultimate Marvel Movie Club entry, Chancellor and Devan discuss how Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok break away from the Marvel Studios formula and point the way forward beyond Avengers 4. Read more here.
In this installment of the series, we look back at our trip through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read more here.
Christian breaks down what the Ant-Man sequel’s credits scene means for Avengers: Endgame. Read more here.
Nobody ever really dies in comic books, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marvel Movie Club returned from the great beyond to break down the highs and lows of the Marvel Studios’ 21st film, Captain Marvel, which introduced Brie Larson as the photon-blasting Carol Danvers and featured a scene-stealing cat. Read more here.
This post was originally published March 7, 2018, and most recently updated April 18, 2019.