Fan’s redux brings Marvel Cinematic Universe to the wilfully ignorant


Image courtesy of IMDb.

Ethan Glick, Entertainment Editor

Ah yes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s become a staple in modern-day pop culture. Kevin Feige – whom I’ve affectionately dubbed The Feigmeister – has assembled a glittering array of heroes and villains across a revolutionary format for connected cinema. By introducing heroes in standalone movies and linking them together with post-credit scenes, building to films that merge the standalone series in epic team ups, The Feigmeister has redefined the superhero-action genre. 

However, there are people that either aren’t interested in the MCU or don’t know where to start. Luckily for you, whether you want me to or not, I’m here to help. The MCU, since the beginning, has been divided into phases. This comprehensive guide will break down the phases and the movies within them. Phases 1-3 are known as “The Infinity Saga” and 4-6 are known as “The Multiverse Saga.” 


Phase 1: Phase 1 is, obviously, the introduction to the heroes we all know and love. It includes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (although this film is widely excluded when talking about the MCU), Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Phase 1 culminates in the unification of these heroes and a couple other characters that were introduced in the aforementioned films with the legendary Avengers. Up until this point, the unification of the Avengers had really only been theorized, so when those theories were realized, and the most ambitious crossover in film history up until that point was produced, it was hugely successful.


Phase 2: Marvel Studios and The Feigmeister had just done the impossible, and fans had no idea where the MCU would go from the massive success of Avengers. Phase 2 was kicked off with Iron Man 3 and includes Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of The Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron and ending with Ant-Man. This phase is the middle phase between two insanely ambitious projects, and it feels like that. The movies in this phase are some of the more controversial films in the MCU, with three of the six widely disliked by the fanbase. That being said, I encourage you to watch them and decide for yourself.


Phase 3: This is it. This is the pièce de résistance and the magnum opus of the MCU. Feigmeister really outdid himself here. Buckle up you crazy kids, because Phase 3 includes a total of 11 films, making it the chunkiest phase so far

Phase 3 kicks off with Captain America: Civil War, which has major ramifications for the characters and the universe as we know it and also debuts the MCU’s Spider-Man. The next few films are Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and Spider-man: Homecoming. The next film is Thor: Ragnarok, and in this film we see a massive tonal shift for the Thor series, due to the visceral letdown that was The Dark World. Ragnarok leans much more heavily into the comedic side of genres, and does it beautifully, making Ragnarok one of the best Marvel films to date. That being said, that tonal shift and the success of it would have ramifications for the rest of the films, especially Phase 4.

Phase 3 continues with Black Panther, a culturally and cinematically legendary film, featuring the first time a black superhero was in the spotlight of a superhero film. Beyond that, Black Panther’s cast and crew was mostly composed of people of color, and the film set a benchmark for inclusivity in cinema. After Black Panther, we have the first part of the climax of “The Infinity Saga,” Avengers: Infinity War. Then we have Ant-Man and The Wasp, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. Endgame broke multiple records and is widely considered the greatest superhero crossover film of all time. Oddly enough, Avengers: Endgame was not the final movie of Phase 3, despite it being a clear finale to a decade-long era, and the final film of Phase 3 is Spider-Man: Far From Home.


Phase 4: Congratulations, you’ve caught up with the current Phase of The Feigmeister’s master plan. Phase 4 introduced TV shows streaming exclusively on Disney+. Because of this, Phase 4 is the most content-heavy yet, with a total of 17 separate pieces of content. In Phase 4 we have WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Loki, What If…?, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Hawkeye, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Moon Knight, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Ms. Marvel, Thor: Love and Thunder, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Werewolf by Night, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. 

I know that’s A LOT of content, but here are some films and TV shows I think are worth pointing out. WandaVision was the first TV show Marvel made, and it set the bar HIGH. It has an incredibly unique sitcom style while still maintaining the superhero genre. Spider-Man: No Way Home is a solid contender for the best Marvel film in existence, and Werewolf by Night is a very spooky thriller, which is a nice change from the more comedic turn that The Feigmeister took with Phase 4.

Well, there ya have it, folks: a complete breakdown of everything in the MCU up until this point. Hope this was helpful, and I’ll catch ya on the flipside.