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The Ultimate Guide to (Not) Watching the MCU Before Avengers: Infinity War

Over the past several weeks, so many friends have come to me and said, “So, which of the Marvel movies do I need to have seen before watching Avengers: Infinity War?” (which comes out April 24) My answer, invariably, has been “Uhm. . . all of them?”

I then realize most of my friends are nowhere near as obsessive as I am and haven’t been planning this for months. That’s completely fair. And, as was said quite well on Twitter by film writer Jason Bailey:

Well, the root word of “fan” is “fanatic,” right? So, forgive some of us our ridiculous indulgences. I’m the guy who, in preparation for The Last Jedi watched not only all of the Star Wars movies in chronological order, but also almost all of The Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon shows. I started before Thanksgiving.

But this is for everyone else, written with what you should watch, in what order, and what you need to know in Cliff’s Notes form to get ready.  Speaking of, here’s what you need to know, even if you don’t watch any of the movies: The Avengers, “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” are in shambles after a devastating difference of opinion split it into two factions led by Iron Man and Captain America. Meanwhile, an alien of phenomenal power named Thanos has been trying to collect six “Infinity Stones” to place into a gauntlet which would give him, basically, unlimited power. Each stone grants power over an element or concept: space, time, reality, power, mind, and soul. So far over the last decade and eighteen movies, five of the six have shown up.

So, first, figure out exactly how many movies you want to watch, and I’ll give you the right order to watch them in. I’ll start with the fewest movies, and end with two different ways to watch all of them.

NOTE: These are NOT judgments on the quality of the individual films. Indeed, the BEST film of the MCU (Captain America: The Winter Soldier — fight me) is only on the list of watching all or almost all of the films, while some of the lesser quality films (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World) are featured frequently only because they explain the background of the Infinity Stones.

If you only watch ONE movie

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Wha? But that movie has, like nothing to do with Thanos and the Infinity Stones? Right?

Yes, but the MCU’s saving grace is that it has always been more about characters and less about the other trappings. And in a movie like Infinity War that aims to balance the stories of two dozen protagonists, it’s best that we know where the majority of them ended up. And it’s worth knowing the personal stakes for everyone. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of the best films of the series (I rated it my #1 film of 2015)

So that’s all fine and good, but what else do I need to know?

Remember that Thanos is trying to collect all six of these stones, so we can assume that is central to the plot. At the end of the 18 films, here are the last known confirmed locations of the Infinity Stones (and their colors):
The Space Stone – Blue – “The Tesseract” was in Odin’s Treasure Room, but presumably Loki nicked it before Asgard was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok
The Reality Stone – Red – “The Aether” was last seen being delivered to Taneleer Tevan aka The Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World
The Power Stone – Purple – “The Orb” was put in the Nova Corps’ vault on Xandar at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy
The Mind Stone – Yellow – Previously housed in Loki’s Scepter, the Mind Stone is now firmly set in the middle of Vision’s forehead, as last seen in Captain America: Civil War
The Time Stone – Green – Housed in “The Eye of Agamato,” this is presumably either in Stephen Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenich Village, New York City or around his neck, as seen in the end of Doctor Strange 
The Soul Stone 
– Orange – ???

Other characters? There are lots of people who weren’t involved in the Avengers Civil War. Where are they?
The Hulk, Thor, and Loki – Asgard got blowed up in Thor: Ragnarok. Last we saw the surviving Asgardian refugees, they were escaping in a spaceship, and in an after credits scene were confronted by Thanos’s ship. Eep.
The Guardians of the Galaxy – Gamora and Nebula were raised by Thanos. It was an abusive relationship, and they now oppose him. Starlord aka Peter Quill was raised on Earth but his father was an ancient celestial being that tried to murder all of them. This, however, gave him power to (briefly) wield the Power Stone. Drax the Destroyer’s main goal is now to kill Thanos, who ordered the death of his wife and daughter.

 

If you only watch THREE movies

It’s not unreasonable to watch a trilogy of movies. For people with limited time and attention, here are three to watch and why:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy – This film gives the best explanation of the Infinity Stones, shows us Thanos actively trying to collect them, and introduced the Guardians.
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron – We see the power of the Mind Stone, and Thor explains more about them
  3. Captain America: Civil Warsee above

So what else do I need to know?
Three other Infinity Stones have shown up in various places: The Space Stone (in The Avengers and elsewhere), The Time Stone (in Doctor Strange), and The Reality Stone (in Thor: The Dark World). Also, Thor, Loki, and the Hulk were last seen in a spaceship that had just encountered Thanos’s ship. Eep. Also, in Guardians 2, Nebula and Gamora make up after bonding over the fact that Thanos would make them fight in mortal combat for his amusement and to make them better weapons.

 

If you only watch SIX movies

This is, in my opinion, the sweet spot. It gives you the locations of all of the Infinity Stones and sets up most of what’s going to happen next. Six movies may seem like a lot, but is it really any different than binge watching a favorite show? You may notice #6 is Black Panther rather than Thor: Ragnarok 

  1. The Avengers – The Space Stone, The Mind Stone, The Avengers first assemble, and a post credit teaser of Thanos
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy – The Power Stone, The Guardians. See above for more info
  3. Avengers: Age of Ultron – not the best movie, but the most about the Infinity Stones
  4. Captain America: Civil War – the best movie, but no Infinity Stones.
  5. Doctor Strange The Time Stone makes an appearance
  6. Black Panther – YES, go see Black Panther, again if you haven’t seen it yet. With a large portion of the action likely happening in Wakanda, you’d do yourself a big favor to check it out. Why see this instead of Thor: Ragnarok? For the same reason Cap: Civil War is on this list. Character over plot, and because Okoye, Shuri, and Wakanda’s fighting prowess isn’t in any other movie. We have several other movies with Thor and Hulk.

What are you missing? “The Aether” aka The Reality Stone was in Thor: The Dark World, and at the end of that movie, Odin decided it wasn’t smart to keep two Infinity Stones in the same place, so he gave it to Taneleer Tevan, The Collector, who you meet in Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s still holding on the Reality Stone as far as we know. Also, Hulk, Thor and Loki (and presumably the Space Stone) and what’s left of Asgard encounter Thanos at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. 

If you only watch ELEVEN movies

This is the most essentially complete you can get without watching all of the movies. This gives us the final locations of all of the Infinity Stones, all of our major characters, all appearances of Thanos, plus adds back in the best movie of the MCU, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (fight me).

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. The Avengers
  3. Thor: The Dark World
  4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  7. Captain America: Civil War
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  9. Doctor Strange
  10. Thor: Ragnarok
  11. Black Panther

What am I missing? Iron Man, Spider-Man, Ant Man, Ed Norton as The Hulk. I recognize for a lot of people these are their favorite parts. If so, sprinkle in your favorite bits where they fit, as a commitment to watch 11 movies, welp, you may as well make it a baker’s dozen, amirite? But watching all of these you will know everything you (likely) need before watching Avengers: Infinity War.

If you watch ALL of the MCU

There’s two ways to do this: chronological order by release date, or chronological order by where the majority of the events of the film happen (majority, as in, not counting opening flashbacks like in Ant Man or Guardians of the Galaxy). I prefer release date, just because I think the way things play out is a little more even. Chronologically, you get both of your Guardians of the Galaxy movies and the first two Iron Man movies back to back. A little separation is not a bad thing.

Release date order:

  1. Iron Man (2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  4. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – First appearance of “The Tesseract” aka The Space Stone
  5. Thor (2011)
  6. The Avengers (2012) – Second appearance of The Tesseract, First appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, First appearance of Thanos
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013) – First appearance of The Aether aka The Reality Stone, first appearance of Taneleer Tevan aka The Collector, who takes The Aether in an aftercredits scene and remarks “One down.”
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – First appearance of “The Orb” aka The Power Stone, explanation of the origin of The Infinity Stones by Taneleer Tevan, second appearance of Thanos
  11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Second appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, which provided the powers for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, spawns Ultron and then ends up in Vision’s head, and Thor takes a bath and sees a vision about the Infinity Stones and the destruction of Asgard. Third appearance of Thanos, who, in an after credits scene, announces, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”
  12. Ant Man (2015)
  13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  14. Doctor Strange (2016) – First appearance of The Eye of Agamato, which contains The Time Stone.
  15. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 (2017)
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – Third appearance of The Tesseract, which it is implied Loki steals before Asgard is destroyed. Fourth appearance of Thanos, or at least his ship, as it encounters the refugee Asgardian ship in the after credits scene.
  18. Black Panther (2018)

Chronological order:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger  – First appearance of “The Tesseract” aka The Space Stone
  2. Iron Man
  3. Iron Man 2 
  4. The Incredible Hulk
  5. Thor 
  6. The Avengers – Second appearance of The Tesseract, First appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, First appearance of Thanos
  7. Iron Man 3 
  8. Thor: The Dark World  – First appearance of The Aether aka The Reality Stone, first appearance of Taneleer Tevan aka The Collector, who takes The Aether in an aftercredits scene and remarks “One down.”
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy – First appearance of “The Orb” aka The Power Stone, explanation of the origin of The Infinity Stones by Taneleer Tevan, second appearance of Thanos
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 
  12. Avengers: Age of Ultron – Second appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, which provided the powers for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, spawns Ultron and then ends up in Vision’s head, and Thor takes a bath and sees a vision about the Infinity Stones and the destruction of Asgard. Third appearance of Thanos, who, in an after credits scene, announces, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”
  13. Ant Man 
  14. Captain America: Civil War
  15. Doctor Strange – First appearance of The Eye of Agamato, which contains The Time Stone.
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  17. Thor: Ragnarok – Third appearance of The Tesseract, which it is implied Loki steals before Asgard is destroyed. Fourth appearance of Thanos, or at least his ship, as it encounters the refugee Asgardian ship in the after credits scene.
  18. Black Panther

Captain America: Civil War Off to Great Start with $14.9 Million

Captain America Civil WarWhile the film doesn’t start to role out in the United States until May 5, Captain America: Civil War opened Wednesday in 15 territories with $14.9 million so far. That’s just behind Avengers: Age of Ultron last year.

The film earned $2.4 million in France, $1.1 million in Hong Kong, $1.5 million in the Philippines, $4.3 million in South Korea, $1.4 million in Taiwan, and $1.1 million in Thailand. The film earned the top opening day in 2016 so far in France.

When the weekend is up the film will have opened in 63% of the foreign marketplace and is expected to earn about $200 million overseas. Avengers: Age of Ultron earned $201.2 million in 44 markets when it opened.

Avengers: Age of Ultron went on to earn $1.4 billion, while Captain America: The First Avenger earned $370.6 million and Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned $714.4 million. On average the Marvel Cinematic films have earned $757 million worldwide during their theatrical runs.

Big Hero 6, Guardians, X-Men, and Cap all Get Oscar Nods

hr_Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_46The nomination for this year’s Oscars were announced this morning, and there was a lot of Marvel movies on the list, though none of the nominations were shocking.

The highest profile nomination was Big Hero 6, the animated film based on the Marvel comic, but done by Disney. That movie was nominated for best “Animated Feature Film.” It will go against The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, and The Tales of the Princess Kaguya. Shockingly, The Lego Movie which was one of the highest grossing films of the year and loved was snubbed in the category, it did pick up one nod in “Music – Original Song.” Especially since Song of the Sea is yet to be released.

Guardians of the Galaxy received two nominations. The first of which was for “Makeup and Hairstyling.” For that category the film is up against Foxcatcher and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

“Visual Effects” is where most of the “comic” films got nominated. Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Solider, and X-Men: Days of Future Past all got nominations in this category. Also nominated was Interstellar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

You can catch the full list of nominees here, and congrats to everyone!

The Oscars will air live on February 22nd on ABC.

Transformers Reigns at the 2014 Box Office, Snowpiercer Shows Strength

Transformers-Age-of-Extinction-Poster-Optimus-and-GrimlockTransformers: Age of Extinction ruled the 2014 box office, bringing in $1.087 billion at the box office. It was the top earning film worldwide of the year earning hundreds of millions more than the next film. It was also the most profitable. Taking away its estimated budget, the film made $877.4 million what was 4.18 times its budget, the best of the bunch for both stats.

Domestically, Guardians of the Galaxy was the top earner, bringing in $333 million. Globally that film earned $772.6 million.

But, when it comes to films with the best legs, Snowpiercer blows all the competition out of the water. The film opened to limited release, and earned $171,187 its first weekend domestically. The film went on to earn $4.6 million. That’s an earning of 26.66 times what it opened with. Fellow small film We Are the Best!, which was based on a graphic novel, earned 10.22 times what it opened with.

All together films based on comics, or had a comic tie-in, brought in $7.7 billion. Films based on Marvel properties earned $2.94 billion of that.

2014 Comic Film Earnings

Big Hero 6 Drops to Fifth, Inches to $200 million

big hero 6This past weekend Big Hero 6 came in fifth place, adding an additional $6.145 million to its total. The film is getting closer to $200 million and so far has earned $185.3 million domestically.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier dropped to third place over this past week as far as domestic gross. It was passed by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 which is about $60 million away from passing Guardians of the Galaxy.

Here’s where everyone stands currently when it comes to “comic” movies in 2014.

Domestic Gross

1. Guardians of the Galaxy – $332.3 million
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $259.8 million
5. Transformers: Age of Extinction – $245.4 million
7. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $233.9 million
8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – $208.5 million
9. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $202.9 million
10. Godzilla – $200.7 million
12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $191.2 million
13. Big Hero 6 – $185.3 million
23. Mr. Peabody & Sherman $111.5 million
24. 300: Rise of An Empire – $106.6 million
28. Edge of Tomorrow – $100.2 million
38. Hercules – $72.7 million
48. Robocop – $58.6 million
111. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – $13.8 million
131. Snowpiercer – $4.6 million
299. We Are the Best! – $180,590

Worldwide Gross

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction – $1,087.4 billion
2. Guardians of the Galaxy– $771.9 million
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $746 million
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $714.1 million
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $709 million
7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – $708.3 million
11. Godzilla – $525 million
13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $477.2 million
16. Edge of Tomorrow – $369.2 million
21. 300: Rise of An Empire – $331.1 million
24. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – $272.9 million
26. Big Hero 6 – $253.5 million
28. Hercules – $243.4 million
29. Robocop – $242.7 million
62. Snowpiercer – $86.8 million
99. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – $39.4 million
277. We Are the Best! – $181,000

Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Has Hit $700 Million Worldwide

Credit: Marvel

Credit: Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy has been dominating the box office in every which way and now the film has officially passed the 700 million mark. WE ARE GROOT!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, GOTG is the third Walt Disney Studios’ release this year to pass that mark. The film’s numbers are $326.7 million domestically and $378.4 million overseas and that makes for $705.1 million overall. It is also the 4th Marvel film to reach $700 million with the other films being Marvel’s The Avengers, Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So in other words, Guardians of the Galaxy is owning life and with the film opening in Italy soon, it’ll surely get much higher grossing numbers. Can it hit $800? Oh, and it’s also the 6th top grossing film of 2014 so far. It’s definitely one of the best, maybe even the current best, film from Marvel. It’s still being quoted all around the world, and will be on everyone’s Christmas wish lists this year.

Have you seen the film? 

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