“Avengers: Endgame” is nearly here (no spoilers, so don’t worry!!). This, combined with the current offer on Marvel movies which are currently 2 for €15, makes this a great time to revisit the Marvel Cinematic Universe to catch up on stuff you might have missed, along with any clues that may have been dropped either purposely or by accident along the way. As of right now, there are 20 movies available to watch at home (“Captain Marvel is number 21, but has not been released yet having only left cinemas mere weeks ago), but what I’ve decided to do it whittle it down to what I feel are the five most important Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to watch before “Endgame”.
The film that started it all. If this one hadn’t worked, we wouldn’t have made it this far. It’s hard to believe that, at the time, casting Robert Downey Jr. as the lead was seen as something of a risk, given his prior reputation. However, by the time this film was being released, Downey had seemingly, and thankfully, exorcised his demons and made the character of Tony Stark his own. Looking at it now, it’s a pretty basic origin story, but it’s impact on popular culture can’t be understated, especially when you see the franchise that has grown from it.
The first big team up after we were introduced to Captain America and Thor in their own standalone film, this one is notable for the fact that it was the first film in the series to gross over a billion dollars at the box office, and still remains in the top five highest grossing films of all time. This is the film that solidified this series as the number one box office draw in the world, and since then six more Marvel movies have gone on to break the billion dollar mark worldwide. It’s helped by the fact that director Joss Whedon does a great job of balancing the story so that all the characters get individual moments to shine, and when the team finally come together, it feels like a real rewarding moment for sticking with the characters during their solo films.
“Thor” and “Avengers Assemble” brought aliens to our world, but we “Guardians” was the first time that Marvel had gone deep into space opera territory. It’s grounded by the character of Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) who was taken from Earth as a kid and has grown up in the far reaches of outer space. Like “Iron Man”, this film was a big risk because if people had rejected the setting of this film, and the more outlandish sci-fi aspects of it, the entire Infinity Stones/Thanos story would have been dead in the water. Nobody could have guessed that a smart aleck human, a green alien lady, a muscle man, a tree, and a talking raccoon, would have become so beloved but Marvel are seemingly at a point where they’ve built up enough goodwill with the audience that we’re willing to go along for the ride. This is also the first time we get a proper look at Thanos in all his glory.
The trailer for “Endgame” has teased a reunion of the two pillars of the MCU, Iron Man and Captain America. In order to understand why this is such a big deal, the roots of the rivalry that were teased in “Age of Ultron” come to a head in “Civil War”. This also is the film that introduces us to Black Panther before his own wildly successful solo film, and introduces Spider-Man into the MCU after being an island unto himself for so long. An “Avengers” film in all but name, this one features the huge hero on hero battle that has become one of the most memorable scenes in the franchise’s eleven year history.
It’s all lead to this. The showdown between the original team who have since been joined by Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, and The Vision, and the intergalactic menace that is Thanos. We catch up with Thanos as he is in the process of tracking down the last few Infinity Stones in order to wield the ultimate power in the universe. In addition to the extended Avengers family, we are also joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy too, because in this film Thanos’ grand plan doesn’t just concern Earth, but the entire universe. I’ve spoken at length about this film on this very site, so there’s no need to elaborate much further.
So that’s my take on how to do a quick catch up with the MCU before Endgame. The great thing about this series of films is that one persons list of essential Marvel movies might be totally different to the next person. Anyway, if you’re going to see “Endgame”, enjoy it!
These are the learned and insightful words and thoughts of our man Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff.
All of the above movies are available to buy at goldendiscs.ie and in all Golden Discs stores nationwide.
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