- Release Date
- April 26th
After 10 years and 21 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally leading to its climactic end. However, watching 21 films to recap everything that has happened is a Herculean task so we have come up with the eight essential films to watch before Avengers: Endgame. These films are in chronological order so the timeline of the cinematic universe makes sense.
(WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW)
#1 – Captain America: The First Avenger
The oldest story in the MCU is also one of the most essential to prepare for Endgame. Steve Rogers is introduced to the MCU and instantly we see his charisma and internal conflict as his moral compass steers him to always do good. Pair that with the first appearance of Red Skull and the Space Stone AKA the Tesseract and this sets the stage for Thanos’ plan and ensuing conflict with the Avengers.
The most recent addition to the MCU is also the second oldest as it throws us back to the 90s. This story continues the storyline surrounding the Space Stone which seems to get around a lot while introducing a key player in Endgame: Captain Marvel. With twenty years between this origin and Endgame, it will be interesting to see what she has been doing and how much she knows, but her standalone film helps set up her place within the war to come.
#3 – Iron Man
Next on the list is the first MCU story and origin to one of its key players. While this story has no connection to the Infinity Stones or Thanos himself, the impact of Stark’s initial decision to become Iron Man caused shockwaves throughout this world and inevitably created this conflict. Watching this reminds us of how far Tony Stark has come, the struggles he has faced and the sacrifices he is willing to make for those he cares about.
#4 – The Avengers
This film is the first time all the Avengers are finally seen onscreen together as they fight to face a common foe. Not only does this set up the need for an Avengers Initiative, but it also shows Thanos’ ties to Loki and his desire to conquer Earth. Again the Tesseract plays a big role in this story as Thanos continues his quest for the Infinity Stones.
#5 – Guardians of the Galaxy
Skipping ahead to the first cosmic addition to the universe allows things to get a little more otherworldly. This ragtag team of heroes are introduced as they face off against another one of Thanos’ henchmen in Ronan the Accuser who has the Power Stone under his possession. The interaction of these characters paired with the discovery of another Infinity Stone helps pave the way to the climactic battle of Endgame.
Back on Earth, the Avengers are dealing with the political ramifications of the Avengers Initiative. After so much death and destruction, they have to decide what is best for the safety of the world. This causes a divide between the team members, particularly Captain America and Iron Man. While this does not directly tie into Thanos or the Infinity Stones, the collapse of the Avengers paves the way for him to make his move and attack Earth.
The final origin story on this list is that of Black Panther. Not only does it set up the character, but it brings us into the setting of Wakanda which is a key player in the war against Thanos. Being the most technologically advanced nation in the world gives them the best edge against alien invaders. This paired with the addition of many characters who parallel previously established characters helps to reacquaint us with the world and what is at stake.
The last film on this list is of course the first part in this two-part finale. Infinity War is essentially a big set up for Endgame and its eventual payoff. The characters and their stories are reintroduced, stakes are raised and the infamous villain finally makes his mark on this universe. After Thanos obtains all of the Infinity Stones and defeats the Avengers, his goal is complete and the Decimation wipes out the MCU as it was known. This leaves us with the ultimate cliffhanger leading into Endgame and what should be the cinematic event of the year.
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