It’s pretty easy to talk about what movies and characters we want to see in Marvel’s cinematic Phase Two, leading up to the “Avengers” sequel in 2015.
We’re already know we’re getting “Iron Man 3” in just a few days, the “Thor” sequel this fall, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” after that. “Ant-Man” fits in there somewhere.
But what’s the spirit of what we want to see in the next set of movies?
The “this is new and exciting” feel of the original “Iron Man.” We’d seen a lot of superhero movies before 2008, but “Iron Man” was the first to create such a believable universe – the Marvel universe – of characters. You knew even before Nick Fury’s walk-on at the end that we were going to see this universe explored.
The surprise of “The Incredible Hulk.” Yes, the Hulk was better in “The Avengers.” Yes, Joss Whedon got the characters of Bruce Banner and “The Other Guy” just right. But 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” had some great moments, including even non-Greenskin moments, especially the scene where Bruce Banner leads a pack of Thunderbolt Ross’ soldiers on a chase through the slums of a South American city. It was a very “Bourne” sequence and had little in the way of typical superhero effects. But it sure was cool. “Ant-Man” has the potential to surprise us like that.
The heart of “Captain America.” We will be lucky indeed if the “Cap” sequel or any of the other Phase Two movies have the old-fashioned heart of Joe Johnston’s original. Cap’s story could have been corny. But this “kid from Brooklyn” was heart-warming and endearing and exciting at the same time.
The spectacle of “The Avengers.” It had never been done, but Joss Whedon did it. He made a movie about a bunch of super-powered heroes that didn’t feel crowded or outlandish but had more than its share of large-scale scenes and epic battles. We need that in Phase 2. Imagine how wowed we could feel when we see The Falcon take flight in the “Cap” sequel.
The feel of “there’s a greater universe out there” of all the Phase One movies. It’s not just about loading the movies with guest stars and recurring characters. It’s implying – with greater or lesser degrees of subtlety – that there’s a bigger story lurking just around the corner from what’s happening on screen. Remember wondering how SHIELD played into all these stories? Who the heck that guy Thanos was at the end of “Avengers?” If we’re lucky, Phase Two will leave us wondering and wanting more.