So, you've decided to watch Marvel Cinematic Universe movies leading to Avengers: End of the gamebut you know it is too late to look at them all without submitting to an unholy marathon. You fucked. You know that what you did was wrong. The question is, how are you doing things right?
End of Game is essentially the end of a series of 22 films that started with 2008 Iron Man, but not all entries in this series are essential to understanding the fundamental issues and arcs that end on April 26th.
The first wave of the MCU consisted of six films that resulted in The Avengers of Marvel, a team film whose success proves the viability of Marvel's approach to long-term cinematic narrative. Only half of the movies end up being essential. Louis Leterrier's The incredible Hulk and Kenneth Branagh's Thor do not tell you about characters that will not be better explained later, while The Iron Man 2 There is so much to build in the world that he is making no progress.
Iron Man (2008)
To appreciate the end of something, it is good to become familiar with the beginning. Most important, Iron Man begins Tony Stark on a character arc that runs through MCU movies despite several writers and directors. In the first film, Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. present a character made vulnerable by his own weapons of mass destruction, then dedicate his life to the protection of the world.
Keep in mind: The relationship between Tony and Pepper Potts is as important to the character of Iron Man as his relationship with Steve Rogers, as evidenced by all the evidence. End of Game trailer trailer that we have heard so far.
Captain America: The first avenger (2011)
The first Marvel superhero, chronologically, draws a story of origin led by Joe Johnston who leads the skinny Steve Rogers in the Second World War as Captain America thanks to a serum of super-soldier that is administered by the government American (and Tony Stark's father). Steve meets and falls in love with Peggy Carter, one of the founding agents of SHIELD. The first avenger also offers the first and largest MCU Infinity Store, the Space Stone. Here, they simply call it "The Tesseract".
Keep in mind: The story of Steve Rogers begins with the fact that he has enough faith in a cause greater than that of a person to sacrifice himself. The central part sees him exchanging this faith for his old friend Bucky. Will Steve Rogers ever find a greater uncompromising good worth the ultimate sacrifice?
The Avengers of Marvel (2012)
If you jumped Thor and The incredible Hulk, the first slow act of the Avengers will allow you to familiarize yourself with all the bases before the team meets to face a Loki brandishing Tesseract. The film also explores the relationship between Black Widow and Hawkeye, a band previously introduced as a cameo. The finale of the "Battle of New York" is the key event of the future of the Marvel film universe. For our core team of Avengers, this is the moment when they finally realize their potential as a group. Then, in the end, we have a very ugly but exciting overview of Thanos.
Keep in mind: Leaked pictures of the game End of Game suggest that the ins and outs of the New York Battle could play an important role in the defeat of our heroes at Thanos. Moreover, since the release of the film, the official Marvel story shows that Loki was influenced by the scepter to serve Thanos, since the mental stone is in the scepter, making Loki technically the first being we see brandishing two stones Infinity Maw a liar!)
Phase Two also features three films that can be ignored if your catch-up is tight in time. Iron Man 3 is a good follow up of The Avengers Tony Stark solo, but provides no character motivation that Avengers: the era of Ultron does not make it obvious. Thor: The World of Darkness There is no significant contribution outside of The Aether (The Stone Reality) coming into The Collector's possession in a post-credit scene. Finally, Ant-Man is a fun original story, but its appearance in Captain America: Civil War feels like a reintroduction tied with Black Panther and Spider-Man.
Captain America: the soldier of the winter (2014)
Captain America's transformation from a SHIELD soldier to a vigilante fighter HYDRA, who slowly regained control of the organization throughout the 20th century, is a version of The Iron Man 2 it really works. Both films are bogged down by a ton of buildings from around the world that include second-rate information infiltrations to explain, but Captain America's suite manages to silence the Winter Soldier by reviving Bucky and accentuating the urgency.
Keep in mind: Cape Allegiance allegiance to his friend on the government will eventually tear The Avengers, and the friendship between Steve and Natasha becomes a cornerstone for both.
Guardians of the galaxy (2014)
The MCU is leaving the planet for the first time to introduce Guardians of the Galaxy. We meet Gamora and Nebula, the girls of Thanos, and we will see the great man himself (voiced by Josh Brolin) in a floating chair. The main object of the film is the Orb, a container for the power stone. As a bonus, The Collector retraces the story of the Infinity Stones and we take a first look at the series of six.
Keep in mind: The film establishes Star Lord's ability to hold a stone of infinity as part of his celestial lineage, though this has not yet borne fruit in an Avengers movie. The Power Stone is guarded on Xandar, which is destroyed off the screen before Thanos attacks the Asgardians.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
In the most annoying MCU movies, you have to look to understand End of GameTony Stark's obsession with protecting everyone goes too far when he creates a protective artificial intelligence of Earth that turns out to be a devilish robot with James Spader's voice. Steve Rogers begins to be wary of Tony's intentions. Created by the power of the mental stone in the scepter of Loki, the Red Witch and his brother … What was his name? Fast guy? … give the mental stone to Ultron, who creates Vision (even though Thor brings the automaton to life after having a vision of the Gauntlet of Infinity in a cave). To defeat Ultron, the Avengers must destroy an entire fictional city without the permission of a government, which is bad!
Keep in mind: This is the beginning of Thor's story about the Avengers movies, which is odd, because Thor's side quest is one of the worst parts of the movie. Hulk and Thor both leave Earth at the end and we have not seen all the original Avengers. The vision has in its head an infinite stone, the same as that used to create the scarlet witch.
During the third phase, Marvel Studios did much better at forming story arcs, probably because there was an end in sight for the first time. You can jump Strange doctorit's not a bad movie as much as it's not important to End of Game beyond the introduction of the stone of time. The Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is essential to understanding the hearts of these characters, but does not provide us with any relevant new information about the final battle. Black Panther could be the best MCU movie after The Avengersbut apart from the introduction of Wakanda as a location, does not contribute to End of Game this Civil war and War of Infinity do not provide as well. Finally, Captain Marvel, although playful and important for the future of the Marvel Film Universe, most of the time only presents the new idea that Carol Danvers draws her powers from the Space Stone (Tesseract).
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War This is the explosion of each internal conflict of the Avengers team. Tony's and Steve's worries and worries are exacerbated by both Bucky and the growing uneasiness of a group of superheroes crisscrossing cities as cities break down because of the problems they have created. In addition, we have introductions for Black Panther and Spider-Man.
Keep in mind: At the end of this film, Cape and Iron Man fight, Cape looses his shield and we have not seen Steve and Tony, nor Steve and his shield, in the same place since.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
This one is almost sizable, with the exception of the relationship between Tony and Peter Parker, who will then attempt to be a responsible superhero. As Tony was unable to avenge his parents, he falls back on the protection of those dear to him, and, surprisingly, it concerns Peter as much as Pepper.
Keep in mind: Before this film, we had only seen Peter Parker dedicate himself to the screen to Aunt May, a deceased Uncle Ben, or to his romantic interest. Replace Uncle Ben's Absent Approval with Tony Stark Marks War of InfinityThe end is devastating.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
All of Thor's films have a similar theme in which Thor is depowered or attacked and, upon regaining that power, he learns a hidden truth from the history of his people or his responsibilities as a god. The only key payment is Ragnarok, aka the most fun. Thor's hammer is broken, Dr. Strange arrives and explains himself, Loki regains control of the Tesseract, and Asgard is destroyed so that the refugees can go to Thanos at the end. Oh, okay, and we found Hulk. Welcome, Hulk (spoiler alert: do not get used to having Hulk around)
Keep in mind: When War of Infinity begins, the fates of Valkyrie, Korg and Meek are still unknown. Although Thor does cool things in Ragnarok and War of Infinitynone of his great battles resulted in a victory.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Although Ant-Man and the Wasp came out after War of Infinity and the post-credits scenes for the film take place after the fall of Thanos, most of the Ant-Man and the wasp deals with the consequences of Civil war (so many wars!) All the important characters from the first film are back, but this time we learn more about the original Wasp and the Quantum Realm. The ant man and his suite are just as fun, but it's essential to understand End of Game.
Keep in mind: Scott is trapped in the quantum realm where the "swirls of time" mentioned by Janet Van Dyne in the medium credit scene may or may not be the key to cancel the devastating events of End of Game, but the van with Hank Pym's Quantum Portal will certainly play a role.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: End of the game was originally announced as "Infinity War Part 2. "So, yes, watch the first part of the film before watching the second part of the film.
Keep in mind: War of Infinity and End of Game have been written and filmed simultaneously, so any questions you have after War of Infinity are left there on purpose: where was Hawkeye? Why should Tony be alive for the "finale"? Does the Gamora baby meeting Thanos in the orange post-snap world mean that she is somehow savable? What will Captain Marvel do? We will know in April.
Dave Gonzales is an entertainment writer and podcaster. Find it on Twitter @ Da7e.