We're about to enter the Third Phase of Marvel movies and at times, it feels like Phase One was such a long, long time ago. I haven't thought about these movies in a long time and it kind of feels like they came out decades ago.
But when I came across Jakub Ignarski's Phase One retrospective, I couldn't help but feel all those old feelings again.
The Retrospective (above) spans the Marvel movies that came out between 2008 and 2012, which is something that is insane to me. I guess I never think about the amount of time that passes while it's happening but looking back, I couldn't believe that all these movies came out over the course of 4/5 years.
I had been a year out of High School. And a year before that Marvel's Civil War run revitalized my interest in comic books. I've never been a Capes and Cowls kind of guy, so buying the first issue of Civil War was something that I was reluctant to do. But as I read each page and as each issue got pushed back another month, I remember feeling so enraptured by the story.
Steve McNiven's art grabbed me and for a while it was hard to read anything that wasn't drawn by him (he's that good). I remember I was still pretty active on some message boards and when the new issue would come out, I would go on and talk to all my friends about the events that I had just read. And it was in that same community where we talked about a rumored Iron Man movie.
We were doubtful but we had high hopes. And we'd speculate that maybe there would be an Avengers move to come out. But that would never happen. Comic books didn't appeal to anyone other than those who read them/grew up with them, not studio executives. The last couple superhero movies I watched were average at best.
But then Iron Man came out. And we all watched it a handful of times. We saw Nick Fury. Coulson mentioned S.H.I.E.L.D. and we were excited but still very, very skeptical. I was happy enough to get one good superhero movie.
I was in a pretty good relationship. I was getting ready to transfer from my Community College to a Private College. Everything felt like it was working out for me. But for some reason, I had forgotten -- or not kept up with -- all the movies that were coming out that month. And when it occurred to me that the Avengers movie had come out, I was ecstatic.
My girlfriend (at the time) and I decided to make a date out of it. She was excited to watch the movie because of Joss Whedon (she loves Buffy and Firefly) and I was excited because of the Avengers and my youth as a comic book junkie (I had a pull list that cost me around 60-80 dollars a week, don't ask how I pulled it off, I don't know).
We got a giant bucket of popcorn to share and sat pretty close to the screen. I was fine with this, I normally like sitting in the front anyway. And as the movie started I felt chills crawl up and down my spine. I felt like a kid. I forgot I was there with my girlfriend. My eyes might have been glossy the whole time. When all of the Avengers showed up on screen, I definitely started crying.
It wasn't a soft, loud, or sad cry. It was a triumphant cry. We had done it. I thought to myself. I am really here. In this world. Where The Avengers have their own fucking movie. Thinking about it now, I can still feel those same emotions.
And now that Phase Two is done and we're slowly entering Phase Three, I still feel like we've accomplished something. And even though, I can look at these movies critically and see how they can be problematic, that doesn't mean I won't continue to enjoy them.