Re: MCU Phase 3: Have it your way
I think I started a conversation that doesn't belong in this thread. Sorry...
Iron Man 2 pretty much introduced SHIELD as more than just Coulson running around. New Mexico (Thor) was mentioned, Cap's shield had a cameo, Fury had actual lines explaining some of SHIELD's back story. It also introduced Widow as someone to take seriously, lending credibility to SHIELD being badass. Fury and SHIELD also knowing about the element and the "cure" helps them seem legit and larger than just Coulson. SHIELD in Iron Man 2 helped make SHIELD in the Avengers believable. Without the story being filled in during Iron Man 2, I'm not sure SHIELD would have been taken as seriously as it had to be to support Avengers.
I mean, toss out what you know of SHIELD from Iron Man 2 and think about how believable SHIELD would be in Avengers. Agent Coulson has a Helli-carrier? What? Yeah, the Cap film creates the link between Howard Stark and SHIELD but you don't know that the science guys in Cap turn into SHIELD without Fury saying that Howard Stark was a founding member of SHIELD. As I am someone who doesn't read the comics, I wouldn't necessarily make that connection without being told.
Ivan Vanko (Whiplash) seemed like a weak character to start with. I think the better story was between Howard Stark and Anton Vanko but no one wants to see that on film. Anyone not in a suit or super-powered won't stand a chance against a dude in a metal suit, as we saw in Iron Man 1 when Tony went up against the terrorists in the town and the first encounter with Whiplash in IM2. Iron Man needs to stomp those guys otherwise he looks weak.
I think Iron Man 2 looks much better if seen as a SHIELD film with a focus on Iron Man rather than simply an Iron Man film, but it really shouldn't be exclusively categorized as either.
To try and be on-topic, It will be interesting to see what role SHIELD will play in Phase 3 considering the Avengers seemed to be acting without their direction. I like the inclusion of SHIELD to act as a narrator and help the audience keep track of the different heroes and events happening on Earth...and off of it.