We've been re-watching the marvel movies in the lead up to Infinity War. There was this neat little graphic that laid out the plan to watch one a week from, I think December, until the release in May.
Three things happened:
1. The movie release got bumped up to April 27.
2. We are really bad at watching movies in a timely manner
3. I forget what the third one was
As I write this, we're watching Age of Ultron. All things said, it's one of my least favorite in the MCU. I think Iron Man 2 is below it, but that might be it. It has moments, and James Spader, but there are problems with it. (Hi Joss Whedon)
I love how the movies have different 'voices'. The Thor movies, especially Ragnarok, fall on a far more 'lighthearted' side, even when dealing with dark topics. Guardians movies are also goofy in a way that Captain America and Iron Man aren't.
Though we've taken our time with it, it's been interesting to watch them in somewhat near succession. There's a lot more character development from movie to movie than you'd think for action flicks. Once you get to phase two and three, everyone from phase one looks wide eyed and naive. Worlds get more complex, plans backfire, friends and loved ones get lost along the way.
The MCU takes it's time, and it sees a bigger picture. It's not flawless, of course, but by the time you get to the first Avengers movie, you've spent at least one movie with each main character. That makes the payoff even better. Once they've all met, the movies start intermingling, and the world gets tighter. Characters start popping up in movies that aren't theirs, and it works. It makes the world feel fleshed out - the consequences of things that happen in Ultron are played out in Civil War. I see that Andy Serkis is in Ultron - and also in Black Panther. It's not only a universe in name, but in practice.
That's part of what makes these movies so engaging, that what happens in one carries on to the next. That's also why I'm so nervous about Ininity War. So many characters ... so much danger. I'm afraid that characters I've grown to know and love over the past decade won't make it through.
And that, right there, is how you know Marvel has done something right.