6 Reasons Why Marvel’s Third Phase Will Be Its Best Yet

5) Marvel Knows How To Organically Set Up Future Films

Civil War Spider-Man

It used to be that Marvel had a difficult time teasing sequels in an elegant fashion. That was most readily-apparent in Iron Man 2, which awkwardly shoehorned in a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. scenes that were only intended to set up The Avengers. This destroyed the pacing and left many with a sour taste in their mouths, and to this day, it’s one of the most poorly-reviewed films in the MCU.

But over time, through trial and error, the studio has figured out exactly how to sow the seeds of future movies without disrupting whatever we’re currently watching. In Guardians of the Galaxy, for example, we learn a bit about Thanos and the Infinity Stones. That’s a teaser for Infinity War, but it’s also pertinent because it explains Ronan’s plan, and so it would serve a purpose even if Guardians was not part of any cinematic universe. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, a conflict between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers is established, subtly setting up a rift between the two that pays off in Civil War. (Thor’s vision sequence is a bit clunky, though.)

This continues with Civil War, which sets the stage for Phase 3 but without making us feel like we’re just watching commercials. Take the newfound friendship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker. Clearly, Marvel wants to get us hyped for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and their relationship will naturally lead into the 2017 film.

Yet, the scenes would serve a purpose in Civil War even if Spider-Man never returned, as Parker’s speech about responsibility is quite relevant to the themes of the movie. Compare that to Batman V Superman, where Warner Bros.’ idea of teasing us literally involves having a character read an email that previews their next several films.

As the MCU becomes increasingly complicated, fans should have tremendous faith in Phase 3 because Marvel has finally proven an ability to simultaneously focus on the story at hand while also setting up sequels.