Our family has a movie night once a week. Usually we take turns picking a movie, enabling everyone in the family to share their favorites and for us all to discover something new. It (mostly) works quite well and is something we all look forward to.
Over the past few months we completed all of the Marvel movies, official MCU only, in chronological order. Now, you can watch the movies in any order you choose. Some prefer the order of release, some go the chronological route, some focus only on one character or sets of characters, some just go random. But since the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is connected via an overarching storyline, this was a fun way to do it. It’s also helped a lot when watching the three new Marvel series on Disney+, also related, but that’s a topic for another day.
Since these movies are all still pretty fresh in our heads, I thought it would be fun to run through them, in order, and give quick reviews. To assist me here, I have recruited my oldest daughter, Tessa, to give her opinions with me. She is every bit the fan of these movies as I am if not more, so this should be fun. We will try to keep this spoiler free, but come on y’all, it’s been ten plus years that these films have been out, so no blaming us if you are not up to speed. We will present this in two separate posts so that a.) you don’t get too bored and b.) we don’t get too bored.
Rating system is as follows. I will rate on my standard scale of up to 5 Daves, and Tessa will rate up to 5 Y’s. Y’s, of course, standing for Yaaaaaas! Anyway…
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (4.5 Daves, 5 Y’s)
Tessa: I like this one because it sets up Cap’s character really well, it shows off his priorities and good motives that are important throughout the rest of the MCU. It also sets up Bucky and Peggy, two of my favorite characters.
Dave: Captain America rules. Red Skull rules. End of story.
CAPTAIN MARVEL (4 Daves, 4 Y’s)
T: I like Captain Marvel because it’s the MCU’s first female lead movie, and it doesn’t have a cheap love story or anything, it focuses on her journey as a superhero and they treat it like they would if it were a man’s story. Also I like Goose. It does cause one or two minor plot holes with Nick Fury, but all in all I like it.
D: This gets a lot of hate from the online fanboy community, and I’m not sure why. Intimidated by a strong female character, are we? Grow up. I think this is a very entertaining entry, and I believe it will set up some storylines for the next phase of movies, which is cool. Contrary to popular opinion I think Brie Larson did a great job, and I am looking forward to the next film.
IRON MAN (4 Daves, 4 Y’s)
T: I think Iron Man sets up the MCU very well. It shows Tony Stark’s growth as a character and introduces us to very important characters (Tony, Pepper, Happy, etc.) Tony is a very important character, and you can tell right from the beginning of his story that he’s going to be the one who takes charge of the MCU and makes it what it is now.
D: One of the best movies to watch as a stand alone. I don’t think the Marvel people were 100% committed to the “it’s all connected” theory yet and that Nick Fury’s appearance in the post credit scene was more of a giant “easter egg” for fans of the comics, but boy did it take off from there! Robert Downey Jr. is perfectly cast.
IRON MAN 2 (3.5 Daves, 3Y’s)
T: This movie was good, and dove further into Tony’s character, but it was somewhat forgettable. There were some important things that happened, like the introduction of Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), the formal introduction of Fury, and a tease at Thor’s hammer, but ultimately this isn’t one that stays in my head as a monumental Marvel movie, ya know?
D: I like this one a little better than some, but I think it’s a little overly complex for what it is. It’s not as much fun as the first one, but it moves the character along nicely.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2.5 Daves, 2 Y’s)
T: I didn’t really like it, and it’s not Mark Ruffalo so what’s the point?
D: This is Marvel’s biggest miss in my opinion. I love Edward Norton as an actor, I think he is one of our finest. However, he is just completely and utterly miscast here as Bruce Banner. The rest of the movie is fine. Not great but not bad, it’s just that Norton is so wrong for this character it brings the whole thing down.
THOR (4 Daves, 3.5 Y’s)
T: I liked this movie. I did not like Thor’s haircut, which is why it’s a 3.5 and not a 4. I think it was a good way to set up Thor, and set up the side characters really well too. Darcy and Loki will always be my favorite characters in the Thor series, and I’m excited to see Jane again in the next Thor movie.
D: I like this movie a lot, both visually and from a world building point of view. It was directed by Kenneth Branagh, a favorite actor and director of mine, who thinks everything he does is Shakespeare. So it’s a little overly dramatic and heavy handed, but that works well for me when we’re talking about an epic film filled with Norse Gods.
THE AVENGERS (AKA AVENGERS ASSEMBLE) (4 Daves, 4.5 Y’s)
T: This is such an iconic MCU movie. I’ve talked a lot about setting up characters and the MCU, but I’m going to talk about it again. This movie did set up the Avengers, something so important to every following movie and the MCU as a whole. The only reason it’s not a full 5 is that it was kind of long, and even though they had a lot to do in one movie, it felt like it was a bit too long.
D: This is a good movie, and it’s a lot of fun to see all the heroes together for the first time. The downside here is that the film makers tried to put a little too much into the story, which is excusable since a lot of people would be watching this one that did not see anything leading up to it. So I feel it’s a little complicated for the casual viewer and a simplified version may have worked better. On the other hand, it really does put the overarching story into motion, and the begins to develop the working relationships between all of the major characters. It’s also where the MCU began to really start finding its style.
IRON MAN 3 (3 Daves, 3 Y’s)
T: There was a lot I liked about this movie. I loved the introduction of Harley, and even though he never made a large appearance after this movie, it was nice to see the way Harley intertwined into Tony’s character. I think having that person who looked up to you that you could mentor and teach was good for Tony. And that helped him as he later went on to do the same with Peter Parker, Morgan, and even Nebula in a way. And I liked when Pepper used Tony’s suit, because it foreshadowed her getting her own suit in Endgame. But just like Iron Man 2, even though there were a lot of good things, it stayed forgettable, other than one or two details.
D: The good: Everything without the kid in it. The bad: everything with the kid in it.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD (4 Daves, 3Y’s)
T: This movie is important and all, since it sets up the reality stone and stuff, but it’s boring. Loki and Darcy again stepped in to steal the show, and they were the only real good things about this movie in my opinion. Forgettable, yet watchable enough to deserve 3 Y’s.
D: Incorrect, Tessa. This movie is unfairly underrated by many. It has more humor than the first Thor film, though not as much as later entries. The stakes are much higher from a storytelling point of view, I like the character development between Thor and Loki, and I especially enjoy where they went with Dr. Selvig’s character. I admittedly had jumped on the bandwagon of this being a miss of a movie but after the recent viewing I have changed my mind and stand happily corrected.
T: Incorrect, Dad. A lot of what you said was true, about the humor and character development and all that jazz. But it wasn’t enough to save the movie for me. I low key (see what I did there) almost fell asleep. I do not like this movie.
D: Whatevs. Moving on.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER (4.5 Daves, 5 Y’s)
T: I love this movie! When we watched it as a family, that’s when I was finally hooked on the MCU. Without this movie, I would not be the fan that I am today. This movie is well written, did a great job at bringing back Bucky, introduces Sam, and dives deep into almost every Cap character’s backstory. This is my comfort movie. I’ll put it on whenever I’m bored or want to watch an MCU movie but don’t know which one to pick. It may be because of my love of Bucky Barnes, but I love this movie very much.
D: Another strong showing from Cap and friends. It introduces the Winter Soldier storyline, and is the first appearance of The Falcon. I grew up reading Captain America and Falcon comics, so this made me happy. Lots of cool S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra stuff too.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (4.5 Daves, 4.5 Y’s)
T: Guardians was the first movie that was intentionally comical, and it really payed off well. The MCU showed that it can do a funny movie, that also expands the universe and adds more depth to what we already know. I love Groot and Rocket, and Drax never fails to make me laugh. All in all, this is a great movie, and one I definitely will watch just on a random Tuesday if I feel bored. A *classic* to be honest.
D: Total winner. Apart from being hilarious, this movie does have some great action sequences as well, a really great soundtrack, and gives us interesting new characters. Although we caught a glimpse of Thanos’s power in the Avengers movie, here is where his character starts to earn his “big bad” status, and he’s not even in the film much at all. Marvel really knocked it out of the park with this one. Also, Howard The Duck makes an appearance and that makes me so happy I can’t even tell you.
Okay, that’s it for this post. See you next week for another MonDAVE.
Tessa will return.