Soon I will write a post full of spoilers about Infinity War. This is not that post. This post is for those people who haven’t seen it yet and are wondering if they should see it since everyone is talking about it and it’s looking like it might be an actual cultural phenomenon.
Yes. You should go see it but you need to see a few other movies first. Some people will tell you that you need to see every single marvel movie but I would argue that you don’t. Here’s a link to a page that has all of them. You’ll notice that there are eighteen films on the list. You probably don’t have the time and the money to watch all of those before some bastard spoils Infinity War for you.
Here are the ones that you need to see in order for Infinity War to make sense. These aren’t the best Marvel films. It misses out two of the greatest superhero movies ever made and includes some of the weakest Marvel movies. It also includes a massive argument between my spouse and I but we’ll get to that.
The Stick Of Doom Marvel Essentials list
- Iron Man. I didn’t see this in the cinema because I just didn’t believe the hype. I watched it at my brother’s house because he made me. This is the film that built the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). It’s funny and clever and Tony Stark is an arsehole but he’s a brilliant arsehole who is trying to be better.
- Thor. Some fans don’t like this film and claim that it’s a little poe faced. I disagree. You need to see this to know who Thor and Loki are and to understand how Loki ended up where he is at the start of Avengers Assemble. I’ve missed out The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. I like both of them but the Hulk is adequately explained later on and the second Iron Man film is the weakest and adds least.
- Captain America: The First Avenger. I love this film. My kids love this film. My Mother loves this film. You need to see this to know who Captain America (Steve Rogers) is, to understand how he’s tied to Tony Stark and to get at least some of the origin of the Tesseract which is going to be a major macguffin.
- Avengers Assemble aka Marvel’s The Avengers. So good they named it twice. Actually the first name is how it was released in the UK. This is the film that Justice League was trying to be. You need to see this because it has the first mention of Thanos and the Mind Stone. Also you need to know who the Avengers are.
- Iron Man 3. This is the source of the fight I mentioned earlier. While I love this film and I agree that it helps explain Tony Stark’s personal journey I don’t feel like it’s necessary viewing. However my spouse disagrees and feels that both the tech that Tony uses in later films and the mistakes that he makes with it require some context.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This film sets up characters that are going to be vitally important in later films. You need to see this in order to understand what’s going on with Tony and Steve in Infinity War. I missed out the second Thor film, Thor: The Dark World. I liked it but it’s generally regarded as the weakest entry in the MCU and it doesn’t add much to the overall narrative. Also the important bits are explained at the beginning of the third Thor film. Watch only if you really like Tom Hiddleston or you’re desperate to know more about the Reality Stone.
- Guardians of the Galaxy. Absolutely vital watching. Loads of stuff about Thanos and it introduces several major characters. Also its a brilliant film and the beginning of the movies becoming a little more fun.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron. Yes you do have to watch it even though it’s my pick for the weakest film in the MCU. There’s just too much plot and too many important new characters to leave it out. And even a weak Marvel movie is still better than we thought a superhero movie could be for a long time.
- Captain America: Civil War. This is why Tony and Steve aren’t speaking in Infinity War. Also it introduces T’Challa, resolves many of the story lines and introduces Spider-Man. I’m suggesting that you skip Ant Man even though I really like it and I think that it’s criminally underrated. You don’t need to see it to watch Infinity War and you can save it to watch when you need cheering up.
- Thor: Ragnarok. Yes I did just suggest that you skip Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. They’re both brilliant and you should watch them at some point but you don’t need to watch them right now. However you can’t skip the third Thor film because so much happens in it that you almost won’t recognise the new and improved God of Thunder if you do. I also suggest skipping Doctor Strange. All you really need to know is that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Doctor Stephen Strange, brilliant but unpleasant surgeon, who became the Sorcerer Supreme.
- Black Panther. Much as I love the rest of the MCU you don’t really have to watch any other film in order to watch this one but even a film this good can’t set up Infinity War on it’s own. You need to watch it so you’ll understand what Wakanda is.
And that’s it. Eighteen films cut back to eleven, ten if you skip Iron Man 3. And always watch to the end of the credits. If the post credit scene doesn’t make sense you might want to ask a comics reading friend to explain. Just warn them that you haven’t seen Infinity War yet.