With the MCU’s Phase 5 not featuring an Avengers film as part of its slate, the franchise is avoiding a problem that was evidenced by Avengers: Age of Ultron in Phase 2. While Phase 4 also did not feature an Avengers film, the reason for this largely stemmed from the various TV shows and films focusing on the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Phase 5, however, continued this unlikely trend by not featuring a project that centers on the MCU’s most famous super-team.
Instead, Marvel Studios are opting for two Avengers films as part of the MCU’s Phase 6 slate. Expected to round off the Multiverse Saga, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars will be the next Avengers-led movies in the MCU. By not including one of these films in Phase 5, the MCU will avoid a problem found with the second outing for the Avengers as seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Phase 2 Had To Create An Awkward Middle Installment Of Avengers
The problem in question caused by Avengers: Age of Ultron that impacted Phase 2 was that the film was a middle installment of the franchise. The film did not serve as the origins of the team, which greatly benefited The Avengers’ reasons for existing. Also, it did not act as the culmination of the Infinity Saga like Infinity War and Endgame.
As a result, Age of Ultron‘s story felt somewhat awkward. Despite the film being one of the MCU’s most underrated, Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s awkwardness came from the film’s stakes. It was clear that the events of the film would not impact the MCU massively, due to the teases of Thanos that general audiences knew would serve as the Avengers franchise’s culmination. Because of this, many elements of Ultron that did not work – such as the underutilization of the film’s titular villain – were due to the film’s middle stage in the Avengers series.
Thunderbolts Wisely Sidesteps This Marvel Issue For Phase 5
That being said, Phase 5 of the MCU still features a big team-up movie in the form of Thunderbolts. However, as this is not an Avengers movie, Phase 5 is still avoiding the issue that faced Phase 2. Thunderbolts is focusing on an entirely new team of heroes made up of anti-heroes that have been part of the MCU’s past. As a result, the film is highly unlikely to tie into the wider story of the Multiverse Saga or the Avengers.
Due to this, Thunderbolts is acting similarly to Guardians of the Galaxy from Phase 2 in that it is introducing a new MCU team who could play a big role in the future, without being tied intrinsically to the Avengers. Phase 5 then has a big, event-style team-up film while avoiding the issue of including another middle chapter of the Avengers’ story. Thanks to Thunderbolts, the problem that was found with Avengers: Age of Ultron is being avoided in Phase 5, all while leaving the two confirmed Avengers movies to tell a consequential story.