This MCU Madness matchup is between two of the most heavily criticized teams in Round One. On one side you have Avengers: Age of Ultron, the only Avengers movie to not receive a first-round bye. And on the other, Thor: The Dark World, a movie that sparked a complete overhaul in the God of Thunder franchise. Scrutinized villains, under-explained cosmic entities and all of the Chris Hemsworth hair you can handle. Who will advance in this Phase Two battle? Vote down below!
Director: Joss Whedon
Box Office: $1,405,403,694
Synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble. As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron, a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen)...
Pros: If there is one thing that Avengers: Age of Ultron does as well as any other Avengers film, it is world-building. This movie starts with our first look a fully-functioning Avengers team in the MCU. This movie manages to move the universal plot forward while laying the seeds for virtually countless MCU storylines - the Maximoff twins, the Barton family, Vision, Klaw, Wakanda, Civil War, and the Infinity Stones... just to name a few.
Cons: While this movie undoubtedly does its part to enhance future MCU films, it is regularly called out on its structural flaws. It begins with a villain in Ultron who seemingly can't decide if he is meticulous or insane. And ventures through a major exploration scene in a cave that is briefly explained at best. Sandwiched between one of the most structurally sound movies in the saga (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and a later movie that many fans believe to be a better team-up film (Captain America: Civil War), this movie tends to have a hard time sticking out.
Director: Alan Taylor
Box Office: $644,571,402
Synopsis: In ancient times, the gods of Asgard fought and won a war against an evil race known as the Dark Elves. The survivors were neutralized, and their ultimate weapon -- the Aether -- was buried in a secret location. Hundreds of years later, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) finds the Aether and becomes its host, forcing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to bring her to Asgard before Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) captures her and uses the weapon to destroy the Nine Realms -- including Earth.
Pros: Thor: The Dark World is the kind of movie that has all the pieces in place but lacks execution. Those pieces in place, however, are the bright spots of this movie. Thor, Asgard, the dynamic familial relationships and of course, Mew Mew. Exploring the depth of the previously surface-level character of Thor Odinson gives this movie its heart.
Cons: And heart be damned, this movie lacks the driving forces to become a comic book movie that's worth going back to. A villain in the MCU is what creates the individual dynamics of the solo films. And despite amazing ships and black hole grenades, Thor's enemy in this film fails to engage most audience members. And after seeing what becomes of Thor's character in later films, this iteration seems lackluster by comparison.
Other Round 1 Matchups: