I Want to Know What all this Avengers Endgame Stuff is About

So, everyone I know besides my kids has seen this Endgame movie 2 or 3 times and has been crying over it this week. I have seen zero of these movies. I told my friends and co-workers to feel free with the spoilers because I don’t care.

Let’s say I wanted to catch up on this because I’m bored and wouldn’t mind relating a little to whatever the big pop culture of the moment is. Where do I start and how many movies do I have to watch before I see Endgame to know what is going on?

Honestly at this point, unless you want to sit through 22 movies to get yourself caught up, I’d just head over to the Wikipedia page on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, go through the list of movies, and read the plot synopses and list of major characters for each one.

All you need to do is watch 21 previous films

Here you go.


You absolutely don’t have to watch all the previous movies. You could understand it pretty well with far fewer and probably still get almost all the emotional weight with 2/3rds ish.

I’d probably recommend:
[li]Iron Man[/li][li]Thor[/li][li]Captain America: The First Avenger[/li][li]The Avengers[/li][li]Captain America: The Winter Soldier[/li][li]Guardians of the Galaxy[/li][li]Avengers: Age of Ultron[/li][li]Captain America: Civil War[/li][li]Doctor Strange[/li][li]Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2[/li][li]Thor: Ragnarok[/li][li]Black Panther[/li][li]Avengers: Infinity War[/li][li]Avengers: Endgame[/li][/ul]

I haven’t seen the MCU Spiderman film, but I hear it’s good. There are some plot points in the second Ant Man and introduction of Captain Marvel in her film, but neither is that important. Honestly you could probably drop Black Panther, the second Guardians, and Doctor Strange too but they’re pretty fun. You could also drop Thor if you’re ok with him just being in the first Avengers movie without backstory.

Absolute minimum, IMO, would be something like:
[li]Iron Man[/li][li]Captain America: The First Avenger[/li][li]The Avengers[/li][li]Captain America: The Winter Soldier[/li][li]Guardians of the Galaxy[/li][li]Captain America: Civil War[/li][li]Thor: Ragnarok[/li][li]Avengers: Infinity War[/li][li]Avengers: Endgame[/li][/ul]

Well, it seems that some of James Cameron’s fanbois have suddenly discovered the previously irrelevant concept of “adjusting for inflation” when threatened with the possibility of seeing their idol dethroned by a grubby Comic Book Movie[tm]…

Oh. You’re asking about the actual movie, and not some tangential, albeit amusing, “stuff” associated with its box office success. If you aren’t interested in watching but want to keep current with pop culture* the Wikipedia thing Shoeless suggested is probably the simplest option.

*Look on the bright side – you don’t have to catch up with seven decades’ worth of it.

I’d agree with this list. I saw Avengers before seeing Thor and saw Civil War before seeing Ant-Man or Black Panther and didn’t feel as though I was missing anything in those movies. Not that the movies aren’t entertaining, you just don’t need them if you’re going in fast as possible.

You could, of course, just read the plot synopsis for each film but why even bother seeing the capstone film at that point? The whole reason people have had any reaction to it is because they have investment in the characters brought on by a decade of films.

I’d agree with Snarky_Kong’s lists, for the most part. Those are definitely the hits of the “universe.”

If you were REALLY pressed for time, I’d say you could even go:

The Avengers
Guardians of the Galaxy (semi-optional)
Captain America: Civil War
The Avengers: Infinity War
The Avengers: Endgame

You’ll be confused and there will be a ton of characters you don’t recognize, but those movies most directly set up the plotlines that run into Endgame.

And I actually know somebody who watched Infinity War as their first Marvel movie and found it entertaining.

But, really, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not watching at least a handful of the recommended movies. Marvel has done something pretty remarkable, both just in how they’ve redefined the idea of a “blockbuster” and how they’ve made the concept of an interconnected film franchise work in a way nobody ever has (or possibly will again).

Endgame is the Biggest movie ever made, bar none. The scope of the story is huge and the stakes are incredibly high. The quality of the filmmaking and visual effects are wildly high. The cast is enormous and phenomenal and the directors managed to not waste the talents of so many top-tier actors.

It’s a movie that could have easily sucked or been cookie-cutter or felt predictable and simple. But it’s not – it’s surprising, engaging, and fun; filled with heart and humor and soaring action and genuine drama. It takes risks throughout, and it manages to make things work that many other blockbusters have failed to pull off.

I’ll admit to being a fan of the series from the start, but, even if I wasn’t, I think I would be the first to say that it’s just a damn impressive piece of pop culture.

I don’t even think you really even need to see that whole set, if you’re familiar with the basic concepts and characters.

I mean, I’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy (1 and 2), Thor: Ragnarok, Dr. Strange, Black Panther and Avengers:Infinity War. I’ve also seen most of Iron Man, most of Avengers: Age of Ultron, about half of the original Thor, and part of the original Captain America.

But I’m familiar with the comic milieu and a lot of the characters, so I haven’t had that much trouble following the movies that I have seen.

ISTM that knowing the histories of the Infinity Stones is key to understanding, or at least appreciating, Endgame.

I’ve seen almost all of the movies, but my memory is pretty bad these days. And I could look this up, but I’m pretty sure that several people here know the answer off the top of their head: In which of the MCU films do the Infinity Stones appear?

Without spending too much time trying to remember which movies I’ve seen and not, out of these I’ve seen the bolded:

[li]Iron Man[/li][li]Thor[/li][li]Captain America: The First Avenger[/li][li]The Avengers[/li][li]Captain America: The Winter Soldier[/li][li]Guardians of the Galaxy[/li][li]Avengers: Age of Ultron[/li][li]Captain America: Civil War[/li][li]Doctor Strange[/li][li]Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2[/li][li]Thor: Ragnarok[/li][li]Black Panther[/li][li]Avengers: Infinity War[/li][li]Avengers: Endgame[/li][/ul]

So not your recommended minimum list, but a similar number. I’ve also seen Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, which I’d put on the list of “should see before this movie”, but I’d put it more like this:

If you watch a bunch of these movies, including some of the later ones that are in and of themselves full of references to previous movies, and you enjoy them despite noticing plot points and references that are quite obviously from a movie you haven’t seen, then you could enjoy this after having watched just a few of these.

One or more of the movies that have the main characters, and preferably the latest installments prior to Infinity War, would be my recommendation if you’re aiming at as few movies as possible.

There more of them you’ve seen, the more sense various references will make, but as long as you’re happy even when knowing you’re missing certain things, that doesn’t matter.

The Tessaract/Space Stone first appears in the post credits scene in Thor, when Nick Fury asks Erik Selvig to research it. It’s the central item in Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers, and Thor takes it back to Asgard with him at the end. We see Loki steal it at the end of Thor: Ragnarok.

The Reality Stone first appears in Thor: The Dark World, not seen again until Infinity War.

The Power Stone first appears in Guardians of the Galaxy, not seen again until IW.

The Mind Stone actually first shows up in The Avengers inside Loki’s scepter, and makes another appearance in the post credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We find out about the Mind Stone in Avengers:Age of Ultron. It’s in Captain America: Civil War since it’s now part of Vision.

The Time Stone first shows up in Dr. Strange as the Eye of Agamotto, not seen again until IW.

The Soul Stone first shows up in Infinity War.

I knew someone would know! Thanks, muldoonthief!

I think this is pretty much right-on.

I might also suggest Ant-Man (though I don’t think it’s as much of a “must-see” as the above list) – while it’s not integral to the overarching plot surrounding the Infinity Stones, it introduces the Quantum Realm, and Pym particles, which play an important role in Endgame.

You don’t need to catch every detail to enjoy the movie. You can watch just Infinity War and then see Endgame and understand 98% of what you see.

You don’t have to have watched the movies you just have to know the characters.
It is best to have seen a bunch because if you are not emotionally invested in the characters then you will miss some of the emotional punch of the movie. But it is understandable on its own.

Honestly, if nothing ever attracted you to watch any of these movies in the first place maybe these movies aren’t for you. I’m a semi-fan, have seen all of them, and while I’ve found them entertaining they are far from being any of my favorite movies.
It’s a lot of time to invest for something you have a mild interest in.

I mean, you can quit anytime you want. If you don’t like Iron Man, then probably don’t watch more and you only wasted 2 hours. It’s not an all or nothing proposition.

You really need to see Avengers: Infinity War before you see Avengers: Endgame. They’re essentially a single two-part movie.

The rest of the MCU introduces all of the characters and sets up the background. But you’d be able to figure out what’s happening without seeing them.

Eh, you don’t need to see any of the previous movies. Here’s a primer for the important stuff going on in this film:

[spoiler]There’s this big purple dude named Thanos who has this idea that the universe is overpopulated, and wants to do something about it. He gets a bunch of these magic stones, puts them in a glove, and uses them to erase half of all life in the universe, including most of the superheroes. The ones who survive are:

Steve Rogers/Captain America, who was frozen in ice at the end of WWII, and thawed out in the 21st century.

Tony Stark/Iron Man, who’s basically Elon Musk but cool, and has a fancy suit he invented that’s full of lasers. Steve and Tony used to be besties, but had a falling out.

James Rhodes/War Machine, Tony’s other bestie. Tony made him his own suit full of lasers.

Thor, Viking god of thunder.

Bruce Banner, who turns into the uncontrollable rage monster The Hulk when he gets mad.

Natasha Romanov/Black Widow, a former Russian assassin. (Doesn’t have a Russian accent.)

Clint Barton/Hawkeye, an American Black Ops type who uses a bow and arrows. Used to be Black Widow’s partner.

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, a human who was exposed to magic space radiation and now can fly and punch space ships until they explode. Hasn’t been on Earth pretty much at all since the late '80s.

Rocket, a genetically modified raccoon from outer space.

Nebula, Thanos’ adopted cyborg daughter who has recently switched sides to be a good guy.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man, a thief who stole a suit that lets him grow or shrink, and then started dating the daughter of the guy who invented the suit.

Of the heroes who are dead at the beginning of Endgame, the only one you need to know about is Doctor Stephen Strange, a wizard. He used to have one of the magic stones Thanos used to kill half of everybody, and used it to look into the future to find the one reality that would lead, eventually, to Thanos losing. Apparently, letting Thanos win in the previous movie was part of this strategy.

At the beginning of the movie, Iron Man and Nebula are marooned on a derelict spaceship. Scott Lang is stuck in an alternate dimension called the “Quantum Realm,” and has missed the whole Thanos thing entirely. Captain Marvel is helping refugees in a different galaxy, and also missed the whole Thanos thing entirely. Everyone else is on Earth, or dead.[/spoiler]

A ton of the new movie consists of clever callbacks to events that happened in the other 21 films in the series. You won’t get most of those jokes, and the big emotional beats probably won’t land, but you should be able to figure out most of what’s going on plot-wise from context.

This references something in the spoiler box, but I think it’s fine …
Not a raccoon! :wink: