From Jon Favreau to Kenneth Branagh, some extremely proficient filmmakers contributed to the MCU’s first spherical of superhero blockbusters.
Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is effectively into Phase Four, Phase One looks like a distant reminiscence. Phase One consisted of 5 solo adventures – Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger – constructing as much as the primary Avengers film. The administrators of those films laid the groundwork for the MCU when it comes to tone, fashion, and characterization.
In the literal sense, these filmmakers constructed the world and established the visuals, however additionally they outlined the acquainted story formulation and all of the archetypes that Marvel Studios is now well-known for. From Jon Favreau to Kenneth Branagh, some extremely proficient filmmakers contributed to the MCU’s first spherical of superhero blockbusters.
5 Louis Leterrier
Best recognized for guiding Transporter 2, Now You See Me, and the Clash of the Titans remake, Louis Leterrier put his stamp on the MCU with The Incredible Hulk. Despite starring Edward Norton as a fancy, nuanced tackle Bruce Banner, The Incredible Hulk is among the most forgettable entries within the franchise. Along with Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 2, it normally locations low on rankings of the MCU’s movies.
Skipping the Hulk’s acquainted origin story – a transfer later replicated by Spider-Man: Homecoming – was a sensible choice, however the plot that takes the origin story’s place is plodding and aimless. The Incredible Hulk has some memorable motion scenes in its center act, however the massive finale is an easy smash-‘em-up.
4 Joe Johnston
Joe Johnston began out doing visible results for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films earlier than changing into a director with hit films like Jumanji and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In the MCU’s Phase One, Johnston helmed Captain America: The First Avenger as a roughly standard superhero blockbuster. There are a few subversive twists, like the federal government’s use of Steve as a propaganda device, however The First Avenger largely follows Marvel’s inflexible origin story beats.
Johnston and his spot-on casting alternative Chris Evans perfected Cap’s characterization from the get-go, however struggled to determine learn how to make a basic goody-two-shoes compelling. The story builds to a heartbreaking conclusion during which Steve makes the final word sacrifice, reawakens within the modern-day, and all he can concentrate on is the date he missed with Peggy. This was a terrific springboard for Cap’s MCU arc, but it surely wouldn’t actually take off till the Russo brothers sunk their hooks into the character.
3 Kenneth Branagh
A decade after helming the primary Thor film for the MCU’s Phase One, Kenneth Branagh released his most personal film so far, Belfast, primarily based on his personal childhood within the titular metropolis. In one scene, the younger protagonist (a stand-in for Branagh) will be seen studying a Mighty Thor comedian. The director is clearly passionate concerning the character. The God of Thunder’s solo films wouldn’t be perfected till Taika Waititi introduced in influences from Flash Gordon and Big Trouble in Little China in Ragnarok, however Branagh’s authentic Thor film obtained Chris Hemsworth’s MCU arc off to a terrific begin.
Before the Thor films had been outlined as cosmic Viking adventures, Branagh set the tone as pseudo-Shakespearean medieval fantasy. It made sense for Branagh to go on this path, since his sequence of movies based on Shakespeare’s classics made him Hollywood’s go-to man for Shakespeare. The Shakespearean superhero features don’t fairly land in Thor, however Branagh nails the humor of the fish-out-of-water scenes on Earth.
2 Joss Whedon
In concept, The Avengers shouldn’t have labored. It’s a film a few billionaire in a steel swimsuit, a Norse god, a giant inexperienced monster, and a cryogenically frozen World War II-era super-soldier all coming collectively to battle the minions of an evil alien overlord who needs to gather some magical stones. If Joss Whedon didn’t stick the touchdown with The Avengers, then the Infinity Saga may not have panned out. Iron Man laid the groundwork, however The Avengers solidified the MCU’s success.
Whedon’s razor-sharp script effortlessly combined the characters’ disparate worlds with a single unifying inventive tone. His path balanced the ensemble properly and laid the groundwork for each subsequent formidable Marvel team-up. Whedon returned in Phase Two for the primary Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron, however the plotting wasn’t as tight and the payoffs weren’t as earned the second time round.
1 Jon Favreau
Jon Favreau set the tone for your entire MCU with 2008’s Iron Man, the groundbreaking blockbuster that began all of it. Unlike a lot of its much less profitable imitators, Iron Man doesn’t focus on building a universe; it focuses on telling its personal story and introducing a flawed however noble hero value rooting for. Favreau’s authentic Iron Man movie would nonetheless maintain up as a robust standalone superhero journey if Marvel Studios by no means made one other film.
While Iron Man nonetheless stands as one of many MCU’s biggest films (and at all times will), Favreau’s status as a Marvel director is let down by Iron Man 2. That one is concentrated on universe-building and places its personal plot and characters within the backseat. But, Iron Man 2 however, The Mandalorian has proven that Favreau is clearly a grasp storyteller.
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