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What You Need to Know For Avengers: Infinity War

April 27, 2018

Finally, today is the day–the day–that Marvel fans have been waiting for. Avengers: Infinity War opens today to massive fan anticipation as they eagerly await to experience the end of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

In order to really appreciate the movie, you’ll need to understand how all the characters and plot points from previous movies fit together.  But unless you have exactly one day, 12 hours and seven minutes to sit down and watch all the MCU movies from Iron Man to Black Panther, you might be in need of an alternative.

Luckily, I have sat through all those movies, and have a pretty solid understanding of what happened in all eighteen flicks. So, let’s go through and recap the MCU in order of the official timeline–in other words, the order in which the events take place (but not when the movies actually came out).

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, with the introduction and origin story of Steve Rogers becoming Captain America (Chris Evans). The story takes place during WWII, where a Super-Soldier serum is used on soldier Steve Rogers to transform him into an extremely powerful and athletic superhero. The story is simply an origin story, and is used for the purpose of introducing both Captain America and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who later becomes the character known as “The Winter Soldier.”

Iron Man (2008)

The movie Iron Man actually started the 10-year-long journey of the MCU. The film introduces Tony Stark as Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), where Stark gets the inspiration for creating the Iron Man suit after being struck by multiple pieces of shrapnel in Afghanistan. The film serves as a fair introduction into the series, setting the tone that will continue throughout its existence. Iron Man also introduces the character Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and SHIELD agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), and foreshadows the creation of the Avengers.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Yet another origin story, The Incredible Hulk is the MCU’s second movie, this time for Hulk (Edward Norton). The Incredible Hulk has by far the least impact on the MCU (and has been pretty much ignored by fans due to its uninspiring plot and lead). The majority of the Hulk’s character development has come in later MCU movies after the actor playing Hulk switched to Mark Ruffalo–a good choice, in my view.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 follows the events of its predecessor, building on the reveal of Tony Stark as Iron Man to the entire world.  Now that everyone knows about the power of the Iron Man suits, people want it for themselves, including Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), the son of one of Tony’s father’s allies. Overall, Iron Man 2 had little impact on the majority of the MCU movies, the only real major occurrence being the reveal to the MCU world that Iron Man is actually Tony Stark.

Thor (2011)

Yet another origin story comes in the form of Thor, also known as the “God of Thunder,” a character and plot based on Norse mythology. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) exiles his son Thor (Chris Hemsworth) from Asgard, a planetary body which is home to the Norse gods. Thanks to his pride, Thor temporarily loses the power of his hammer, Mjolnir, but comes to earth and works with scientists to defeat his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

The Avengers (2012)

The culmination of the past few origin stories comes in the form of The Avengers. SHIELD, a secret government program, has gained a mysterious item, called the Tesseract, which attracts the attention of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who was given a scepter with immense power. Loki invades the SHIELD base and mind-controls multiple scientists and agents, including super archer Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). The Avenger Initiative is put into effect, recruiting Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Iron Man (Robert Downy Jr.), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to stop Loki, reclaim the Tesseract, repel the impeding Chituari invasion, and try to somehow get along in the process.

The Avengers is the first movie in the MCU to directly show off the Infinity Stones, since the Tesseract is actually the Space Stone. One of the end credit scenes shows the Mad Titan, Thanos, for the first time.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

The events of The Avengers have left Tony Stark in a dark state, with his only way to escape his inner demons being creating new Iron Man suits. A new villain called the Mandarin (Guy Pearce) makes multiple terrorist attacks, and calls out Tony directly, leading to Tony getting stranded in Tennessee with only a prototype suit. A distinct improvement on Iron Man 2Iron Man 3 rounds out the Iron Man trilogy, leaving Tony’s character to become an influence in other MCU films, and at the forefront of the coming Avengers movies.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World serves one purpose: to introduce the Reality Stone, which is being wielded by the villain of the film, Malekith. Overall, this is my least favorite of the MCU movies, since the plot is rather weak and it doesn’t really build off of anything, except for the introduction of the Reality Stone. Arguably, the most important scene in Thor: The Dark World is its end credits scene, where the Reality Stone is given to the Collector (who appears later in The Guardians of the Galaxy with yet another Infinity Stone).

Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)

After a nostalgia rush, Steve Rogers is on the hunt for his best friend, Bucky Barnes, who apparently survived his fall in the first Captain America movie. Steve pairs up with Black Widow and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to hunt down the “Winter Soldier” and get Steve’s best friend back. Captain America: Winter Soldier is the ultimately setup for the future of both Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes.

Guardians of The Galaxy (2014)

Guradians of The Galaxy is the MCU’s first attempt at exploring the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, and it was a major success. The film introduces Peter Quill “Starlord’ (Christ Pratt), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Groot (Vin Diesel) going on a quest to save the galaxy from the villan Ronan (Lee Pace). Guardians of The Galaxy not only shows the cosmic side of Marvel, it also shows the power of the Infinity Stones and Thanos for the first time since The Avengers (This time it’s the Power Stone)

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Almost immediately following the events of Guardians of The Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the story of the Guardians, with the same cast alongside Yondu (Micheal Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) joining the team to fight against Peter Quill’s father Ego (Kurt Russell) The events also set in motion the Guardians heading to Earth for Avengers: Infinity War.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron continues with the Avengers hunting down Loki’s scepter, which has been mysteriously stolen. During the attack, two “enhanced” characters, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) attack the Avengers. Afterwards, Loki’s staff is examined by Tony and Bruce, who proclaim it as a form of AI (artificial intelligence). Tony suggests using the AI to create Ultron (James Spader), an artificial intelligence that will protect Earth.

To the Avengers’ shock and dismay, Ultron destroys Tony’s computer, Jarvis, and attacks the superheroes. The group must band together again to defeat Ultron, which has created a body using the Mind Stone inside of Loki’s scepter in order to “evolve.” Somehow, a part of Jarvis survives and becomes the character called Vision. The team hunts down Ultron leading to a final battle in Sokovia, where Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver join up with the Avengers to save the city and stop Ultron.

The entire city is destroyed in the process, but the world is saved from Ultron. And in what is most likely the most consequential MCU end credits scene ever, Avengers: Age of Ultron shows Thanos taking up the Infinity Gauntlet, preparing to finish the job himself.

Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man is the first heist movie in the MCU, with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) using the Ant-Man suit to shrink down to extremely small sizes. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), an ex-SHIELD scientist who developed the Ant-Man suit’s technology, which is eventually given to Scott after he breaks into Pym’s house with a group of criminals. Scott has to fight against Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who uses the Yellow-Jacket suit. Ant-Man is yet another origin story, which has importance in the next film in the MCU, Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

After the tragedy of the battle of Sokovia, the world believes that the Avengers need to be put in line. The Sokovia Accords are created, which ends up splitting the team into two groups and a Captain America-versus-Iron Man conflict. Alongside this, Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) intends to revert Bucky Barnes back to the Winter Soldier, and recover the other soldiers corrupted by Hydra. While the Sokovia Accords are being voted upon, the king of the remote African nation of Wakanda is killed in an explosion, forcing his son an heir–super hero Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)–to take up the mantle and chase down his father’s murderer.

Captain America: Civil War has easily one of the best scenes in all of the MCU. This epic “airport battle” pits Captain America and his team of Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Bucky Barnes, against Iron Man and his team of War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow, The Vision, Black Panther, and Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange brings in the magic into the world of Marvel, introducing Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as the worlds best doctor, who gets into a horrific car accident which destroys his hands and medical career. In a desperate attempt to fix himself, he goes to Nepal to search for the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). In this quest, he learns how to use magic, and must stop Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) from awakening Dormammu, an ancient celestial being. In Strange’s quest, he acquires the Eye of Agamotto, which is actually the Time Stone.

Spider-man Homecoming (2017)

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man is left to be just a “neighborhood Spider-Man.” Despite warnings from Tony Stark to focus on school and teen life, Peter Parker chases down a weapon dealer, who is using Chituari-powered weapons. Peter hunts down the source of the weapon deal, only to find out that he has an unforeseen connection to the villain Vulture (Michael Keaton).

Black Panther (2018)

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa, the Black Panther, returns to Wakanda to take up rule. However, the son of an old Wakanda Tribe Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) challenges T’Challa, and wins. After claiming the throne and the power of the Black Panther, Killmonger enacts his plan of revealing and releasing the weapons and technology of Wakanda to the world.  Black Panther is a great fit in the MCU,  and was released at the perfect time, since Wakanda seems to have major importance in Infinity War.

 

And, that’s everything: all 18 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The past 10 years have been building up to this moment, slowly introducing important characters and plot points. And Avengers: Infinity War will be the official culmination of those 10 years of work.

Prepare to be surprised, happy, and sad, since the directors, the Russo brothers, won’t be pulling any punches.

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