MCU Sequels: How do they stack up against their original films?

5 of 6

Credit: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures; from Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron

One of the benefits of sequels is the ability to jump right into the action now that the original film provided all the introductions and set up.  With Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon took advantage of this dynamic by opening with the entire Avengers squad gathered together to take down Strucker’s Hydra base and retrieve Loki’s staff.

The first Avengers required the team to assemble and the third saw the group broken apart from a Civil War, remaining relatively scattered throughout the epic Infinity tale. Age of Ultron could be the one Avengers movie fondly remembered for having the core team together for most of its running time (this is to be determined based on what happens in Avengers 4).

Was the second Avengers better than the first and third? Well those are two mammoth successes that featured many overwhelming moments that fans have never seen before and have only previously dreamt about seeing in live-action. Age of Ultron was still a spectacular entry with immensely watchable sequences, such as the party at Avengers Tower, Scarlet Witch putting a spell on each of the Avengers, Hulk vs. Hulkbuster, and Thor swimming in a mystical pool… that last one is a joke, but the way Thor swoops in and electric shocks Vision to life was particularly outstanding.

Age of Ultron was also memorable for a lot of nice character moments, from Clint reuniting with his wife, to Cap and Tony arguing over each other’s superhero philosophies, to Hawkeye’s sensible pep talk to Scarlet Witch in the middle of the final battle. The best may be Vision’s contemplation of humanity with a skeptical Ultron right before Vision terminates him.

Just like with the Iron Man franchise, it is difficult to top such a perfectly made original, yet Age of Ultron was engaging from beginning to end. So far, The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron are the superior seconds in the MCU.