The Marvel Cinematic Universe has several great movies, but it only has three trilogies so far: The Iron Man trilogy, the Thor trilogy, and the Captain America trilogy. Now, Thor is soon to be a quadrilogy with Thor: Love and Thunder, and the Avengers series has four movies as well, but we’re talking STRICTLY trilogy here. The only movie trilogies that we have are Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, but by far, Captain America is the best, and I’m going to be spending this post, telling you why.
Why Not Iron Man or Thor?
When it comes to MCU, each trilogy does a good job of building its characters. Iron Man is shown in his first movie that he’s a selfish billionaire playboy, who doesn’t care about anything except himself, but by the end of the trilogy he learns how to protect others, and how to conquer his fears and ego. Thor learns throughout his trilogy humility and how he’s more than just the hammer, but he’s the god of thunder. Each of these characters has great character growth and building.
The problem with these trilogies, compared to the Captain America trilogy, is that these trilogies have at least one bad movie in them. Now, when I say bad movie, I don’t mean that they’re actually bad movies in themselves. I mean that they don’t have any real character growth for the characters. For Iron Man, this movie was Iron Man 2. In Iron Man 2, it seems like Tony is going to go through a character change in the beginning, but he never does. He shows his stress and how he’s trying to avoid his problems with drinking and partying, but then he builds a new element, and it ends the movie the same way it ended: With Tony not changing. He didn’t learn anything over the course of the movie, except that…nah. He didn’t learn anything.
Thor’s movie was Thor: The Dark World. This movie is considered one of the worst Marvel movies out there. To be honest, I didn’t mind it too much, when I first watched it. I thought it was actually kinda cool. Though, I was 13 at the time so, what did I know. But this movie is a snag for Thor as a character, because he doesn’t go through any change. If you ignore the fact that this movie has an infinity stone, it doesn’t change to MCU at all. The only difference is that Thor isn’t talking like Shakespeare anymore, and is talking a little more normal. He doesn’t go through any huge experience that changes his personality. A great example of this is Fat Thor. Although I’m not a huge fan of Fat Thor, I did think this was a bold character development choice, because it showed us how Thor has emotionally dealt with the outcomes of Infinity War. In Thor 2, nothing changes. You could say that his mom dying was a big experience, but he doesn’t even really react to it until Endgame.
You guys see my point? Thor and Iron Man’s trilogy were great, but they had at least one movie that held back their character growth.The Captain American trilogy, doesn’t have a single movie, that holds back its growth. Plus, the Iron Man and Thor movies aren’t really a trilogy. I mean, they are, but they don’t have anything to do with each other besides the main hero. The Captain America trilogy is an actual trilogy. Every movie is connected, and that is important for a good trilogy. You can get away with not doing this in an interconnected universe, like the MCU, but not in an actual trilogy. Their just sequels, which is fine. With that, we’re going to talk about every Captain America movie.
The Best Trilogy
The First Avenger
Every Captain America movie is pretty good. You could say that the first one is probably the worst, which isn’t that bad. The First Avenger does a good job explaining who Steve Rogers is. We’re told very early on, that Steve Rogers is a guy who wants to help people. That’s all he wants. We’re shown this several times with him fighting the bully in the alleyway, telling the scientist, “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.”, and even when he’s dressed up doing those skits around America. We’re shown that all Steve wants to do is to help people.
As the movie progresses, it goes down hill after he frees Bucky and the rest of the troops from a Hydra base. From here on, we’re shown quick clips of him defeating Hydra and the Red Skull, but we’re not actually shown it. This is a little disappointing, but it doesn’t hinder the movie too much. My biggest problem with the movie, is that we’re shown that Captain America is now a super human. Serious, he’s stronger than any actual human. Heck, in Winter Soldier he jumps out of an airplane with no parachute, and is perfectly fine, but we’re not shown this in The First Avenger.
The First Avenger just shows Steve using his gadgets with his side characters. There are clips of him using gadgets and then his friends using gadgets. The thing is, Steve doesn’t need the super serum to do this. This montage isn’t interesting because it doesn’t let us see the superhero aspect of Steve Rogers. I’ll get into this a little more detail later.
Overall, this movie is good. It does a good job on selling you the idea of Captain America and Chris Evans playing the role. It demonstrates his values and gives us the best relationship in all of the trilogies and probably the MCU: Peggy Carter.(The only relationship better than these two characters is probably Peter Quill, aka Star Lord, and Gamora.) The reason why Peggy Carter and Steve Roger are the second best couple in the MCU, is because of we’re not sure if they’re ever going to get together. The movie has spent a good amount of time building these two as a couple, and by the end, you want them to be together, but you know they’re not going to be. This relationship isn’t an off and on thing like Pepper and Tony, but it’s a situation where they want to be together from the star, but can’t because of Steve making the ultimate choice.
So, we spent a good amount of time talking about The First Avenger and how it did a good job introducing us to Steve and who he is, and now we’re going to get into the Winter Soldier, but before we get into this movie, I want to talk about two guys who are the reason why Captain America has the best trilogy.
The Russo Brothers
The Russo Brother are what made Captain America the amazing character that we know and love. They direct Captain America 2 & 3, in case you didn’t know, Avengers 4 & 5. Joe Johnston, director of the first Captain America movie, did a good job introducing us to the character, but the Russo Brothers show us the real Steve Rogers.
The Russo Brothers are huge comic book fans and nerds. I mean this in a good way. Actually, it’s probably the most important feature when directing a comic book movie like Captain America. The problem with some movie directors is that they don’t read comic books or know the essential properties of the comic book character. A sad, but great example of this is Zack Snyder. Zack Synder is not a comic book fan, and this is why he has RUINED my favorite superhero character: Batman. Zack Synder doesn’t know Batman’s morals, personality, characteristics, or even mission. He just thinks that Batman is a crazy detective who dresses up and kills people who are, bad. This is not who Batman is, at all. Sure he is a little crazy, but comic book Batman is nothing like Ben Affleck Batman. Comic book Batman doesn’t kill people. It’s his biggest code. This is why no one likes movie batman or superman. Because they’re not being represented properly on screen.
The Russo Brothers aren’t like Zack Snyder. At all! They love comic books. They’re fans like you and me, and this is great because they know what the comic book audience wants to see. The Russo Brothers took Captain America, and made him a superhero. Instead of him using gadgets and stuff like that, we see him using his strength, agility, and even his mind to get out of situations. This is why the sequels the Captain America are great! Because he’s an actual superhero. The Russo Brothers make Stever Rogers a great superhero, and now we’re going to explain this in Winter Soldier.
By the way, if you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t like comics.” You’re wrong. If you like Marvel Movies, you like comic books, because Marvel is good at creating comic book movies. Just wanted to make that clear.
The Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier is one of my favorite Marvel movies of all time. I would definitely put it in the top 5. It’s a movie that does a great job showing us how Steve has adjusted to his new life in the 21st century, and how he’s learning to add new fighting styles to his techniques. This movie is often referred to as a spy/thriller movie, and I can see that. It has great action sequences, with a villain who is interesting and able to be an actual threat to him.
As I said before, the Russo Brothers are what made the Captain America sequels great. They understood what we wanted as fans to see. I mention this again, because this is exactly why I love Winter Soldier. This movie is a wonderful comic book movie. I’ve read a decent amount of Captain America comics, and this feels like I’m reading one.
In this movie, we have several scenes that demonstrate to us that Steve is a force to be reckoned with. He spends a good amount of the movie fighting pirates and hydra agents. This movie is enchanting because of three reasons(and these are things that the last movie didn’t do): It gives us a villain worthy of Captain America, we’re constantly shown that Steve is a superhero, and we see a character growth that starts in this movie and ends in Civil War. These are great and crucial points that a Captain America movie needs.
When Steve realizes that Shield has turned his back on him, in the elevator, it’s one of my favorite scenes because it does all of those three points. It shows that he has a new villain(Hydra), we see him fight all of the agents in the elevator AND win, and we see the seeds of distrust for government begin to fester. The distrust of government/SHIELD is the character growth that we see in this movie and it continues through Civil War. This one scene does so many things at once, and a great movie will have multiple things happening in a scene at once.
The movie has great character building, not only for Steve, but for Black Widow as well. Instead of her just being a fighter, like in the Avengers, you see her go through a personality crisis when she realizes that Hydra has taken over Shield. This movie does a great job building her as a character, and other movies learned from this and give her more character building afterwards.
Even though I love this movie, and it’s a good movie, there are things that hold it back, but they’re not nearly as bad as the last movie. First, I don’t think it was a good idea of introducing Peggy Carter as an old woman with dimension. I think its an unnecessary plot in the movie. I think that if Peggy had died, then when he realizes that Bucky is alive it makes his relationship with Bucky even stronger. Because now, he’s the only real thing that ties him back to that life. I personally believe that would be better than what they decided to go with, but it’s not a huge deal for me. My second point is Sharon Carter, but I’ll talk about that in Civil War.
Finally, the last draw back for this movie, isn’t actually for the movie, but for the rest of the MCU. Nick Fury goes underground at the end of the movie, and when I first saw the movie I thought, “Ok, he’s either gonna lay low for awhile, or he’s going to start rebuilding Shield, the way it was suppose to be.” But it doesn’t really work like that. Instead, the next time we see him is in Age of Ultron, where he’s…just there. He finds a Helicarrior and evacuates some people out of Sukovia. I didn’t feel like him going underground was really necessary, but like I said, that’s not for this movie, but for the rest of the MCU. We won’t focus on it too much.
In the end, Winter Soldier is amazing. Most people agree that it’s better than The First Avenger, and it’s considered one of the best movies in Phase 2. There are flaws, but they’re small in comparison to the other trilogies.
We got the first two movies of the trilogy out of the way. We talked about the First Avenger and how it did a good job of introducing us to Steve Rogers, but had a lot of flaws in it. The second movie was The Winter Soldier. Now, that we know Steve Rogers, it’s time to see the superhero aspect of Steve. Plus, this movie also plants the seeds of Rogers distrust for government. We can see that these movies have a set a good foundation for the third movie. In order for this next movie to be better than the last AND to finish off the trilogy it has, to end the way it started, which we’ll see in Civil War. Before we talk about Civil War, I need to talk to you guys about types of movies.
Black and White Movies and Grey Movies
The last two movies did a good job introducing us to Steve, and showing us his powers, but in order to finish this series, we got to give Steve a situation that isn’t like the ones he’s faced in the past. The last two movies have been, what I like to call, Black and White movies or BW. A BW movie means there’s a very clear picture they’re trying to send across: You have a good guy and you have a bad guy. They fight, one wins, and movie ends. I love BW movies. They’re suppose to make you cheer for the hero and in a way they can be a little cheesy. The original Star Wars movies are great examples of BW movies.
You have a good guy(Luke), who goes on a quest to fight a bad guy(Darth Vader). Over the course of the movie(s) our hero gains friends and has major victories and losses, but in the end he defeats the bad guy and saves the day. That’s a BW movie.
The last two Captain America movies were BW movies and this is great. It’s a good way to introduce a character and to make them like able. The first two movies did that very well, but it’s usually best not to make an entire trilogy like this. Reason being, is this theme can get old, especially if you use the same movie structure as the last. The first two Captain America movies were BW movies, but it didn’t like you were watching the same movie because the first one was a very basic BW movie, but the second one was a little more complicated, with having Bucky and other elements. Now, you can make a BW movie simple or complicated, but if you make too many of them, people are going to start to feel like they’re all the same. This is why its better, in a trilogy, to make your last movie a Grey movie or a G movie.
A G movie is like a BW movie, but instead of having one side be completely bad and the other side be completely good, both sides are a little messy. Now, G movie are a lot easier to screw up. Again, a good example of this is Star Wars. Most of the Star Wars prequels are G movie, and the reason why they didn’t resonate with audiences that well is because the heroes were jerks and the villains were stupid. When you make a G movie it has to let you see the villains point of view. Maybe the villain has a bit of humanity to him, and maybe the hero isn’t as good as a typical BW hero. Now, that I’ve explained the concept of Black and White movies and Grey movies, we’re finally going to talk about Civil War.
Civil War is the last movie in the Captain America trilogy, and unlike the last two movies, this movie is a G Movie. For Steve, he has two “villains” in this movie. Zemo, who’s the main villain, and Iron Man is the second. I guess you could argue that the UN is the actual bad guy, but we’re going to say Iron Man is the second “villain”. I have villain in quotes there because Iron Man isn’t really the villain, but he isn’t a hero either. It’s a little hard to explain, but in either case, both of these villains aren’t BW villains. Iron Man, of course, isn’t a villain. He’s just fighting for what he believes is right. Zemo isn’t a BW villain either because he has some humanity to him. He’s attacking the Avengers because of what happened in Age of Ultron. He lost his family and just wants revenge for them. Both “villains” are just fighting for what they believe in, although Zemo is a little more on the BW side than Iron Man.
It’s good that we have a break in the cycle of BW movies because we get to see how Steve would react in a different situation. Instead of everything being black and white, now he has an internal conflict on how to handle this situation. He can’t just punch his way out of this one without their being consequences, which he pays at the end.
Unlike the other two movies, Civil War is going to challenge Steve on the personal side, and it’s also going to finish the work that Winter Soldier started: where his distrust in government has out weighed his use to be trust. This is a great character ark for the Steve because we see him develop from when he first gets into the army in The First Avenger, and how he’s basically a boy scout. He follows orders and does what he’s told, but in Winter Soldier these concepts are challenged with Shield making weapons to spy on everyone. Plus, Hydra infiltrating Shield as well didn’t help either, and even in Avengers: Age of Ultron, we see his conflict with Tony when he says, “The Avengers were suppose to be different than Shield.” Steve is learning that the government isn’t always on the right side, and that belief has fully circled in Civil War.
Besides the things I’ve already said about Civil War, it also does a great job with Iron Man and Steve’s conflicts, but I do think there are some problems with this concept. Like I said before, G movies are harder to do because you have to balance the villain’s point of view and the heroes. You got to make sure that either side doesn’t tip to far. The problem with the villains in Civil War is that Zemo and the multiple Winter Soldiers plot line is kinda unnecessary. The Winter Soldier plot goes no where, but anything that involved a conflict with Steve and Tony or with Zemo hatching plans, I was enjoying, but I did feel like there were too many things going on with this movie. If they had made one or two major plot points, than that would have been fine, but instead we have five separate plot lines going on and only one actually matters in the end: the accords.
Another issue with this movie, is Sharon Carter. I don’t like Sharon Carter, and that’s for one reason: her last name is Carter. I really don’t like the idea of Steve dating Peggy’s niece. It just seems creepy. If this wasn’t the case, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. In fact, I would have liked Sharon because it would have shown how Steve was moving on, and trying to live a normal life. It’s a small complaint in the overall trilogy, but it’s annoying. It’s like when someone keeps kicking your seat on an airplane. It’s annoying at first, but after a few seconds, you get really annoyed.
As you watch Civil War, you’re going to see Steve make decisions that are going to affect him in serious ways. He’s either going to get punished a lot for the choices he makes, and that’s a good thing. It’s something that didn’t really happen a lot in the last two movies. Seeing him have an internal conflict is great. This is also where I’m going to talk about how it wraps up the trilogy. Every Captain America movie has something to do with the other, and seeing the First Avenger start off with the legendary line, “I can do this all day.” And seeing Civil War end Steve and Tony’s fight with him saying the same line is a great way to end the series. As the movie begins to approach the end, you realize what Steve has gone through. He’s suffered a lot and has dealt with a lot of pain, but in the end Steve ends the series the way he started it, with his friends. I loved it when he breaks the Avengers who helped him out of jail. It just shows how no matter what happens, he wants to help the people he loves.
Well, that was me talking for a very long time on the Captain America trilogy. I love this trilogy, and I really think it’s the best in the MCU. There’s so much character work for Steve, and seeing this amazing superhero on the big screen has made me eternally grateful to Disney. The Russo Brothers are hugely responsible for all the greatness of Captain America. They took an old fashion character and made him a household name, which is no small task.
I hope you guys learned something from this post. Whether it was from me talking about BW and G movies or just my points on the trilogies in general. I really enjoyed making this post and I love Captain America. Have a good day guys!