Avengers: Endgame opens in Hong Kong on April 24, and in most of the rest of the world on April 25. It is the culmination of a whole load of storylines, with characters from the past 11 years and 21 movies; there’s a lot to process.
We’re not suggesting anyone try to watch all 21 movies before they see the latest, but if you do feel you need a reminder of some of what has come before, Netflix is your friend.
Iron Man (2008)
The movie that started it all. We’re introduced to the titular anti-hero: Tony Stark is brash, rich, and has never really suffered. he also reveals his secret identity almost as soon as he takes it on. It’s the opposite to what most superheroes do, and it was in this movie that it was clear Marvel was working on a series of films that would appeal beyond the hardcore fans of the source material.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
The episode where Stark realises he can’t save the world all by himself. He accepts that he needs the help of his buddy James Rhodes, aka War Machine, and we’re introduced to Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. We also learn that a massive hammer has been discovered in a desert, leading to ...
An important film, as Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, turns out to be a pretty important character in the MCU. It also hammered home the idea that superhero films can be comical as well as action-filled: Thor’s interactions as a immortal banished to small-town Earth are hilarious.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
A complete change of pace: the first Captain America film is set mostly in the second world war, and focuses on a weedy young man who is transformed into a super-soldier. Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, goes on to become one of the most important members of the Avengers Initiative.
The Avengers (2012)
This is where films and story arcs really started to be woven together, and casual watchers started to realise that perhaps there was (much, much) more to the MCU than mere popcorn entertainment. You need to keep up.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
In which Tony builds literally dozens of versions of his Iron Man suit, and undergoes some pretty major surgery; and Oscar-winning, knighthood-wielding Hollywood legend Sir Ben Kingsley is really, really funny.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
It turns out Steve isn’t the only WWII soldier to have been cryogenically frozen - but maybe is the only good guy to have undergone the procedure. The soldier of the movie title is apparently hellbent on destroying S.H.I.E.L.D, the spy agency that set up the Avengers.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
This 2014 addition to the Universe took a 180-degree turn, with a space setting, alien good guys and general madness. Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord character makes Tony Stark look humble by comparison. Oh, and that soundtrack: introducing a whole new generation to cassette tapes. Thanks for the history lesson, Marvel!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)
James Gunn brings his comedic touch to the second Guardians movie as its writer and director, expanding the outer space side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film also introduces another member of the Guardians, Mantis, who plays a critical role in the later confrontation with Thanos in Infinity War.
The teen superhero’s first solo movie after his debut in Civil War, Homecoming is less about earth-shattering heroics (though there are still plenty of those), and more about the character dramas of a young man growing into his responsibilities and the conflicts he has with his mentor figure, Tony Stark, bringing a younger touch to the MCU.
Additional reporting by Wong Tsui-kai
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