MCU Chronological Viewing Part Three: Thor, Avengers, and Iron Man 3

Aaaaand we’re back! I’ve been making some steady progress on my MCU checklist and I have another round up to share with you today. If you are new to this series, you can see the original post here, Part One here, and Part Two here. I was especially excited for this leg of the race as it meant I got to watch two movies featuring my second husband, Chris Hemsworth. And like a bad, bad wife, I had never seen the original Thor. Gasp. But all that has been remedied now, and I am happy to report that this section fared much better in my mind that Part Two. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on Thor, The Avengers, and Iron Man 3.

Thor

The Basics: Released in 2011 by Paramount, Thor stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins. It appears to be the last of the MCU not fully distributed by Disney, which may account for some of the low budge aspects to the film. As of this posting, Thor is available to rent on Amazon for $3.99

Important Plot Points: Though this is the first of the Thor movies, it is not really a creation story like many of the others in that Thor didn’t undergo any kind of transformation. He has always been the God of Thunder. In the beginning of the film, Thor is an egotistical ass who is about to take over the throne of Asgard from his father Odin. Odin doesn’t like that Thor wages an ill-advised battle without consulting him, and so Odin casts Thor out and sends him to Earth, along with taking away his hammer. On Earth, Thor meets Jane (Portman) an astrophysicist and they of course, fall in love. Back on Asgard, Loki realizes that he was born a Frost Giant and is not actually his father’s biological son. Thor’s friends start to think that Loki might have had something to do with Thor being cast down to Earth. Loki sets up a plot to have both his father and Thor killed. Thor battles the Destroyer, the giant metal robot guy Loki sent to kill him, with the help of his friends from Asgard. Back on his home planet, Thor battles Loki, who ends up falling off the broken Bifrost bridge (meaning Loki has fallen off into the ethers, and Thor can no longer travel to Earth). Coulson is also involved in this movie, as SHIELD is investigating the site of Thor’s hammer crash-landing on Earth. We also meet Barton for the first time.

End Credits Scene: Fury is showing Jane’s mentor, Erik Selvig, the Tesseract and explaining some of its dangers and powers. We see that Loki is actually possessing Selvig.

My Reaction: I didn’t hate this one as much as I thought I would. Based on how much I don’t like some of the other earlier films, I thought I would have more issues with this film, but overall, it was okay. It is very surface level in terms of character development, and I could have used another 20-30 minutes exploring Thor’s transformation from narcissistic asshole to worthy hero. I also think there should have been more development in terms of the relationship between Thor and Jane. While I love Natalie Portman, and I am all about showing a woman astrophysicist, I found Jane to mostly be annoying. In particular, I hated how giggly she was every time she was in Thor’s presence. I mean, I totally get being overcome by the gorgeousness that is Chris Hemsworth, but I was not a fan of the scatter-brained schoolgirl traits this educated, intelligent woman displayed. One of my favorite parts of the movie was seeing the beginning of the relationship between Thor and Loki, since it is so central to the MCU as a whole. I am very interested to see what happens to them in Infinity War, especially since we left off on such a high note at the end of Ragnarok.

My Rating: 7.5 out of 10, not the kind of movie I’m going to watch again and again, but it was better than I expected it to be.

The Avengers

The Basics: Produced  by Paramount and distributed by Disney, The Avengers was released in 2012. The film stars pretty much everyone from the original individual films, with the major change/addition of Mark Ruffalo as Hulk. As of this posting, Avengers is available to rent on Amazon for $3.99.

Important Plot Points: At the beginning of the film, Fury and Co. are dealing with the Tesseract, which is freaking out. It becomes a portal, through which Loki enters Earth and possesses Barton and Selvig, with a few other SHIELD agents as well. The whole SHIELD facility is blown to smithereens. Fury sends Coulson and Natasha Romanoff to assemble the Avengers, who are scattered across the globe. Captain America is the first to join up, and when Coulson meets him he totally fangirls over Cap. Natasha brings in Bruce Banner, Coulson brings in Tony Stark. Cap’s first mission is to take down Loki, who is infiltrating a black tie event in Germany in order to steal some important chemical or something. Cap and Iron Man are able to bring him in, but Selvig and Barton get whatever it is that they need. Nat interrogates Loki. Bruce and Tony bond over being huge engineering nerds. Thor tries to take Loki back to Asgard so he can face justice for the crimes he committed, but the others refuse to let him go. Cap discovers that SHIELD has been attempting to harness the power of the Tesseract to make weapons, which the crew has mixed feelings about. Loki’s team of possessed agents attacks the airship that is acting as SHIELD’s base. Thor and Bruce are sent flying back down to Earth. Coulson is killed during the battle. Fury uses Coulson’s death to bring the remaining team together.The team members descend on New York, where Loki has opened a huge portal in the sky above Stark Tower. Hundreds of crazy robot things come out of the air and wreak havoc on the city. There’s a lot of fighting and destruction, leaving basically the entire city of New York decimated. Nat figures out how to close the portal, but by the time she gets in position to do so, the government has sent a huge missile to New York, figuring it is better to blow up the city than let the aliens continue to invade. Iron Man is able to grab the missile and send it through the portal, barely making it back in time before Nat closes the portal for good. Everyone survives (except for Coulson…but more on that later) and Thor takes both Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard.

End Credits Scene: This is the first movie with more than one. In the first, we see the Other (Loki’s backer) telling an unknown that challenging the humans on Earth is futile. We then see that the unknown is actually Thanos. In the final credits scene, we see the team sitting around a table at a destroyed restaurant, eating schwarma.

My Reaction: To me, this is the movie that really set the tone for all of the MCU films that follow. It is by far the most complex and interesting in the MCU up until this point, and I think this movie is responsible for a lot of the success enjoyed by the later movies in the universe. This movie has everything you could ever want: action, humor, memorable characters, and awesome effects. It gave us such memorable lines as “He’s adopted” and “I understand that reference”. It has heart, humor, and no shortage of kickass fight scenes. It set the bar that the MCU continues to meet and surpass. This movie makes me like characters I previously didn’t, namely Tony and Bruce. Seeing Tony as part of the Avengers makes him seem more human, and it makes me like him more in Iron Man 3 (more on that in a minute). This is the kind of movie that makes non-Marvel fans become fans.

My Rating: 9 out of 10, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn close.

Iron Man 3

The Basics: Released in 2013 by Disney and Paramount, Iron Man 3 stars the IM regulars, along with Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce. At the time of this post, Iron Man 3 is available to rent on Amazon for $3.99.

Important Plot Points: The movie opens with a flashback to 1999, pre-Iron Man, when Tony Stark is just an egotistical asshole, instead of an egotistical asshole who also saves people. We see him totally dismiss a scientist who wants to work with him, Aldrich Killian, and we see him have a one night stand with another scientist, Maya. Both come back to haunt him in this movie. Back in the present day, Tony is still reeling from the events in New York that took place at the end of The Avengers, namely his near-death experience¬† delivering the missile into the portal and barely escaping. He is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, has been making countless suits, and starts to have panic attacks. In the meantime, a terrorist named the Mandarin is infiltrating the American airwaves and committing terrible acts against US citizens and soldiers. The government’s response is to paint Rhodey’s War Machine suit red, white, and blue and rename him the Iron Patriot. Aldrich shows up at the Stark offices for a meeting with Pepper, who he knows. Since 1999 Aldrich has turned himself into quite the business man, and he proposes Pepper invest in his latest project, Extremis. Pepper turns him down because of the potential to weaponize the project. Things are strained between Tony and Pepper, since he is working around the clock, and seems to be suffering from some kind of PTSD. Happy, who has become head of security at Stark Industries, decides to follow Aldrich’s bodyguard because he didn’t like the whole meeting between Pepper and Aldrich. While following him, Happy is lead to a meeting between Savin (the bodyguard) and a former soldier, who becomes a human bomb and blows up Graumann’s Chinese Theater, putting Happy in a coma. This blow sends Tony over the edge. He tells a group of reporters, on air, his home address, then goes home and works with Jarvis to figure out who is responsible for the explosion. They uncover a similar incident occurred in Tennessee, so Tony has Jarvis set a flight plan in his newest suit. Maya shows up at Tony’s house to warn him of an attack, which follows shortly after she shows up. Savin and his men descend on Tony’s Malibu home and destroy it. Pepper and Maya survive, mostly because Tony sends one of his suits to cover Pepper. It seems like Tony has died in the attack, but a suit finds him and flies him to Tennessee. Tony crash lands and finds a random workshop to use to fix his suit, where he meets a kid named Harley. Harley takes Tony to the site of the other explosion and then Tony meets up with the victim’s mom, who has a classified file of information prepared for someone else she is supposed to be meeting. Using all kinds of random help, Tony is able to figure out that the two former soldiers who exploded were part of the Extremis program. Meanwhile, Rhodey is hunting the Mandarin, but is led into a trap that allows the Mandarin’s men to steal his suit.¬† Tony successfully tracks the Mandarin to Miami, but arrives to find that the Mandarin is a front–he is a paid actor who is mostly just a sloppy drunk. He has no idea who is in charge of the operation or where he is. Savin uses the Iron Patriot suit to sneak onto Air Force One, with the full knowledge of the Vice President, to attack the President. He sends the President to Miami in the suit so that he can be strung up and publicly executed. Tony and Rhodey engage in an epic battle with the Extremis soldiers using all of the Iron Man suits Tony has created. Pepper has been captured by Aldrich and dosed with the Extremis serum, and it is she who finishes off the fight. Aldrich admits to being the Mandarin before he is killed. Tony then destroys all of the remaining suits, in an effort to show Pepper he is going to focus on her, and maybe try to get his shit together. He cures Pepper, and has surgery to remove the shrapnel from his heart, meaning he no longer needs to arc reactor to live.

End Credits Scene: We see Banner and Tony sitting together in an office, Banner is sleeping and Tony is recounting the story to him, as if he has been narrating the entire movie to Banner, who has been asleep for most of it.

My Reaction: This is definitely my favorite of the Iron Man movies, who is by no means my favorite of the Avengers. Tony felt like a real person with real problems in this movie, and his interactions with the kid Harley in particular, showed a softness to him that I think was needed. There are some pretty breathtaking moments in this movie, but the one that stands out to me is Tony using the “Barrel of Monkeys” approach to save thirteen people who have been thrown out of Air Force One. The way he manages to save them all is pretty cool looking. That along with the final battle make this one of the better looking Marvel films in terms of the action sequences. I also like how this movie picks up from the Avengers, but also ties into future projects (namely Agents of SHIELD) which will be covered in future posts. I still don’t like Gwenyth Paltrow, but I think this is the last time she appears, so that’s cool. Also, the end credits of this movie are awesome. It’s like a four minute montage of all the highlights of Iron Man, from the first movie to this one. It’s a nice little look back at all that has happened to Tony.

My Rating: 8 out of 10, Iron Man will never be my favorite, but this was the most enjoyable of his movies for me.

Holy moly, that was a long ass post. The deeper we get into the MCU, the more in depth these stories become so the longer these posts are going to be! Up next is Agents of SHIELD, so stay tuned!

 

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