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Old 06-06-2019, 11:17 AM
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What Marvel Cinematic Universe movies should/do I need to watch before Avengers Endgame?


Well so many people have been talking about the latest Marvel movie and I figured I may as well watch it to see what its all about.

The MCU seems....extensive...which movies do I need to watch to get the finale, and which movies should I watch just because they're worth watching?

I've seen Captain America: The First Avenger...and that's about it...

btw I'm neither American or a comic book fan and from my very limited knowledge I always thought Captain America was a silly flag-waving character, I had to take it back after watching the movie, he's actually rather awesome.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:22 AM
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I don't remember any of it, but I remember liking Infinity War more as the movie went on and it's definitely necessary.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:44 AM
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This question seems to come up a lot and I could post my usual list of essential movies based around characters and Infinity Stones but instead I'll ask my own question.

Why?

Why do you want to watch the finale of a series you've never seen? It loses all emotional impact without the weight of 22 movies before it. While there are definitely some skipable ones,why not just start from the beginning (Iron Man)? If after a few movies you decide it's not for you, then it's not for you.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:49 AM
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Here's the most recent thread asking practically the same question:

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=875273
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:51 AM
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Minimal would be Infinity War...I'd only missed Captain Marvel when I saw Endgame, so I'm not the best judge, but it shouldn't be too hard to follow with just that.

Just to get to know all the key players and major side-characters you need to watch: Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel... (Yes, you can skip both of the first two Thor movies. Avengers is as a good an intro to Thor and Loki as the first one.)

For a couple key plot points, Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 and Ant-Man and Wasp are must watch. You could get away with subbing GotG2 and AM&W for the first movies in their series, if you want to minimize the number you watch, but both of them flow better if you've seen the original (but, like Infinity War, shouldn't be too hard to follow if you skip them). (Also, AM&W is way better than Ant-Man, so...)

I WOULD recommend, but wouldn't say are necessary:

Thor: The Dark World (while Loki's character arc is a bit erratic, TDW is an important step in getting to where he is in Ragnarok...also it gets a callback in Endgame).
Iron Man 3 (explains Tony's situation at the beginning of Infinity War).
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:18 PM
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All of them. There is no reason to skip any of them just to rush to Endgame. Endgame is great because its the capstone to 10 years and 22 movies worth of stories, not for itself.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalC View Post
All of them. There is no reason to skip any of them just to rush to Endgame. Endgame is great because its the capstone to 10 years and 22 movies worth of stories, not for itself.
Well, except that tracking down all 22 movies in time to see Endgame while it's still in theaters might not be feasible. And you should really see Endgame on a big screen.
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Old 06-06-2019, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic Alex View Post
Well so many people have been talking about the latest Marvel movie and I figured I may as well watch it to see what its all about.

The MCU seems....extensive...which movies do I need to watch to get the finale, and which movies should I watch just because they're worth watching?

I've seen Captain America: The First Avenger...and that's about it...

btw I'm neither American or a comic book fan and from my very limited knowledge I always thought Captain America was a silly flag-waving character, I had to take it back after watching the movie, he's actually rather awesome.
You can have the essence of what is going on if you watch the following:

Iron Man
Thor
Avengers
Avengers 2
Captain America: Civil War (which is really Avengers 3, but for some reason, they decided to make it be a Captain America movie, probably because of how the story line originally came about in the comics).
Avengers 3 (Infinity War)
I would add watching Guardians of the Galaxy, not because I think it's essential, but because it at least gives you the basics of what is a large portion of the cast of Avengers: Endgame.

BUT, having said that, I'm going to kind of echo enalzi here. A large part of why Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame had the emotional impact on me that it did is that I've spent 11 years watching these movies (including almost all the ones that I didn't list; the only one I didn't watch was the Hulk movie) in the theater. It's like a television series that you grow with over time. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is important to me not because of some contrived emotion occurring in just the latest movie. Rather, I've watched her story line grow over the years since she was first introduced in the MCU in Iron Man 2. So if you haven't been watching all the movies all along, even if you binge watch a few of them, you're simply not going to get the same emotional buy-in.

So don't be shocked if you aren't over-whelmed by the movie when you go see it. A lot of the emotional highs and lows will be less effective.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:48 PM
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Thanks for the answers everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by enalzi View Post
instead I'll ask my own question.

Why?

Why do you want to watch the finale of a series you've never seen? It loses all emotional impact without the weight of 22 movies before it. While there are definitely some skipable ones,why not just start from the beginning (Iron Man)? If after a few movies you decide it's not for you, then it's not for you.
Because I'm curious to see what all the talk is about? I can't go back in time 11 years and advise young me to watch the series from the get go so this is the next best thing.

Edited to add: 'Watch all of them' is a perfectly valid answer but usually in these things some parts are more essential than others.

Last edited by Atomic Alex; 06-06-2019 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:57 PM
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Essential to what? you need almost nothing to understand the overall plot, you need all of them to get the emotional impact.
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:32 PM
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You should really watch all of them, but if that is not feasible, I'd definitely say watch:
Iron Man
Thor
The Avengers
Thor the Dark World
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Guardian of the Galaxy
Captain America: Civil War
Infinity War
Ant Man and the Wasp
  #12  
Old 06-07-2019, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic Alex View Post
Well so many people have been talking about the latest Marvel movie and I figured I may as well watch it to see what its all about.

The MCU seems....extensive...which movies do I need to watch to get the finale, and which movies should I watch just because they're worth watching?

I've seen Captain America: The First Avenger...and that's about it...

btw I'm neither American or a comic book fan and from my very limited knowledge I always thought Captain America was a silly flag-waving character, I had to take it back after watching the movie, he's actually rather awesome.
I think you need to watch everything that had to do with the stones.
So:
Captain America: First Avenger - Tesseract
Avengers - Tesseract, Sceptre
Thor: Dark World - Aether
Guardians Of the Galaxy - Power
Avengers: Age of Ultron - Mind
Thor Ragnarok - Tesseract
Dr. Strange - Time
Infinity War - All
Captain Marvel - Tesseract
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic Alex View Post
Btw I'm neither American or a comic book fan and from my very limited knowledge I always thought Captain America was a silly flag-waving character, I had to take it back after watching the movie, he's actually rather awesome.
Steven Attewell has done some great writing on comic world CA and how jingoistic versions are 180-degrees off the character’s essential nature. This is a good piece to start with: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/...-just-any-hero
Quote:
But the real reason I had to chime in was that Steve Rogers is my favorite superhero. Why? Because unlike other patriotism-themed characters, Steve Rogers doesn’t represent a genericized America but rather a very specific time and place – 1930’s New York City. We know he was born July 4, 1920 (not kidding about the 4th of July) to a working-class family of Irish Catholic immigrants who lived in New York’s Lower East Side.[1] This biographical detail has political meaning: given the era he was born in and his class and religious/ethnic background, there is no way in hell Steve Rogers didn’t grow up as a Democrat, and a New Deal Democrat at that, complete with a picture of FDR on the wall.
I recommend the whole piece and others he’s done on CA. (For example, this one on CA taking on Nixon: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/...k-13-cap-nixon) It reminds us that CA is foremost an opponent of Nazism and its cousins, abroad and at home. EDIT: in other words, he was a “premature anti-fascist!”

Last edited by snoe; 06-07-2019 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:24 PM
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To me it seems the MCU did more building off itself with later movies than with its earlier ones (there's still a ton of building, but just... not as much?) Or maybe I don't remember it as vividly since I only saw each movie once, so the older ones would be older memories?

I saw Black Panther only after Infinity War, it wasn't necessary for my understanding of that movie. Captain Marvel can be skipped in that you don't need it to understand other things (but it was fun on its own).

I never liked the Captain America stand-alone movies, so only ever finished Civil War. I don't think I missed too much that I couldn't piece together, but I am less attached to Captain America than others seem to be.

The question of which are important to see is a bit inaccurate -- they're all important, but which ones are most important based on the constraints you have? If you can only see one movie, watch infinity war. If you can watch 2, then infinity war and age of Ultron, etc., and it builds from there.

My opinion:

These are ranked in order of importance. Determine how many movies you have time to see, but then watch them in order of their release, reading the synopsis of any movies that came out in between that you don't have time to see:

All 3 prior Avenger's movies
Civil War
Guardians 2
Thor 3
Ant-Man 2
Dr. Strange
Iron Man (probably #1, but I think any of them would suffice in a pinch)

If you have time for more (again, as them in based on release date):
Guardians 1
Thor 1
Ant-Man 1
The other Iron Mans

Still more time?
Might as well watch the rest of them. I would prioritize Spider Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel last (I haven't seen spider man, the others don't contain anything that you can't figure out from context in the other movies)
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