So you don’t consider yourself a Marvel fan, but you still want to see Endgame? Not to worry – I’ve got you covered!
If you’re feeling REALLY ambitious, then you can watch every single Marvel movie. The chronological order is as follows (after-credits scenes will not be in order):
- Captain America: The First Avenger: recap (good character intro to Steve and Peggy but not very important for events of series)
- Captain Marvel (not necessary but fun)
- Iron Man: recap
- Iron Man 2: recap (really just a setup for Avengers and an introduction to Black Widow and War Machine, very skippable)
- The Incredible Hulk (hardly in the universe, easy to skip)
- Thor: recap (good intro to Asgard, Thor, and Loki, but not 100% necessary)
- The Avengers: recap
- Iron Man 3 (not important for plot)
- Thor: The Dark World (really not important except that Loki “dies”)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier: recap
- Guardians of the Galaxy: recap
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (not necessary for plot)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: recap
- Ant-Man (not necessary for plot)
- Captain America: Civil War: recap
- Spiderman: Homecoming (not necessary for plot)
- Doctor Strange (not necessary for plot)
- Black Panther (not necessary for plot)
- Thor: Ragnarok: recap
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (not necessary for plot)
- Avengers: Infinity War: recap
Yes, it’s ambitious; but it’s fun! If you’re looking for recaps of the most important ones, I’ve linked those above. If you want a full recap of the universe, there’s a good one here.
If you’re trying to watch the least movies possible to at least know what’s going on, here’s what I suggest:
- The Avengers
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Captain America: Civil War
- Avengers: Infinity War
At least that way, you’ll know all the characters and their relationships. If I had to add in one more it’d be “Thor: Ragnarok” since a) it’s amazing and b) it gives more context to Thor and Hulk’s relationship, Thor and Loki’s relationship, and the character of Valkyrie.
If you’re only going to watch one movie, it’s got to be “Avengers: Infinity War”. “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” are essentially 2 parts of the same movie, and it’s going to be confusing if you don’t see the first. If you’ll watch two, “Captain America: Civil War” is actually very important despite not being an Avengers movie because it introduces Black Panther and Spiderman, features Ant-Man and the Winter Soldier, and sets up one of the central conflicts of Endgame.
Important plot/character points to know before the movie (pretending you have seen Infinity War – really, you have to if you want to understand what infinity stones are):
- In Age of Ultron, after the events of Avengers, Tony and Bruce fear future alien threats and attempt to create a “shield around the world” by creating AI tech to protect the earth. Steve finds out and is not happy. Tony’s plan fails disastrously, leading to the Sokovia Accords.
- Steve (Captain America) and Tony (Iron Man) have not talked since Civil War, in which they fought over the UN’s Sokovia Accords – a document the limited the Avengers’ power and put them under government supervision. Tony signed; Steve refused to. They also fought over Steve’s best-friend turned mind-controlled supervillain Bucky, who killed Tony’s parents while under mind control. The Avengers divided into two sides: Iron Man, Rhodey/War Machine, Spiderman, Black Widow, Black Panther, and Vision vs. Captain America, Sam/Falcon, Bucky/The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, and Wanda/Red Witch. In the battle, Natasha switches to Cap’s side. Everyone on Cap’s side is afterwards arrested (Hawkeye and Ant-Man take plea deals and go on house arrest) or escapes to go on the run or the next 2 years (Sam, Natasha, Steve, Bucky, and Wanda).
- Tony is basically a father figure to awkward teenager/avenger-in-training Peter Parker (Spider-Man).
- Bruce (Hulk) took off in a ship after Avengers: Ultron, where he was mind-controlled to cause a lot of damage. He ended up on the planet Sakaar, where he was forced to battle as the Hulk in a number of Gladiator tournaments. Thor and Loki find him there and help him turn back into Bruce, then escape to try to save Asgard from ruin. They can’t, and the Asgardians (and Bruce) end up on a ship in space. BTW, Thor has lost an eye and his long hair. Bruce and Thor have not seen the other Avengers in years, and are not aware of the events of Civil War.
- SHIELD (a government organization that the Avengers previously operated under in the first film) was actually run by HYDRA, a nazi science faction. Natasha and Steve expose this in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and bring it down.
- Captain Marvel is the most powerful Avenger, but none of the Avengers know her. She is, however, good friends with Nick Fury, from back in the 90s.
And that’s pretty much it! I suggest watching as many films as possible – there are a ton of nods to the past films in Endgame, and it makes it all that much more enjoyable. But it’s not necessary – the film is fun regardless!