On April 26, 2019, the arguably most anticipated film in cinema history will be released in theaters around the world: Avengers: Endgame.
And that’s not an overstatement; this movie currently holds the world record for most pre-sale tickets bought online (using the websites Fandango and Atom) for a film.
And as much as a global phenomenon as Endgame is sure to be, you might just be a little unfamiliar with the story of the Avengers leading up to this film. Or maybe you may just need a refresher to get back in the game. Or maybe you’re like me and you just want to get even more hyped up for this movie than you already are, but you don’t know where to start.
Well, if you are any of these people, have no fear – the Official Unofficial Avengers Endgame Pregame is here for you.
Let’s start from the beginning. The first movie you should watch to get yourself ready for this blockbuster is the original 2008 Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau. This film was the first to lay the groundwork of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it also hosted one of its most popular characters to date – Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. And while Tony will just be a small piece of what is to come in Endgame, it is likely that this may be his last ride, and it is likely that his character will be pivotal to the plot of the upcoming film.
There are other solo films pre-dating 2012 that may be worth mentioning – such as Captain America: The First Avenger or Thor – but none of them are very compelling origin stories quite like Iron Man was. However, when the team comes together for the first time, it is something of wonder, which is why 2012’s The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, is next on this list. While the villain of the film is Loki, a character introduced to us in Thor, this film takes enough care of the viewers who haven’t seen Thor so that it isn’t necessary to go back and watch it just to see The Avengers. The dynamics of the different characters interacting n this film are so incredibly entertaining to watch, and the magic of watching the team successfully complete their mission together is Marvel’s gold.
Next up, we have some time to fill. First, you’ll need to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which will not only be a perfect real introduction to Steve Rogers but will also perfectly set up 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. Having seen Iron Man and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the two characters who you have now seen the most of are Tony Stark and Captain America, and Civil War revolves around the relationship between these two characters and how it affects those around them. This film also introduces two huge characters: Spiderman and Black Panther. It also ushers in Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang – a.k.a Ant Man – as a half-member of the Avengers (while Scott did previously have a solo film, other than introducing his character, it doesn’t do much to help set up Endgame). The events that take place in this film are vitally important in the following Avengers’ films to follow.
Finally, before getting into Thanos territory, the last film you should watch on this list (technically) is 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi. While it is certainly a lot later than Steve Rogers or Tony Starks, this will serve as your real introduction to Thor, as I do not recommend watching either of his previous two solo films. Plus, while this movie is not only packed with action, comedy and super-powered shenanigans, it also leads directly into “Avengers: Infinity War,” which Endgame is a direct follow-up to.
I, of course, excluded Avengers: Infinity War from this list because I felt that it goes without saying that you would want to watch that movie to get ready for Endgame. While I’m not saying you shouldn’t watch it, I excluded Captain Marvel from this list seeing as we don’t know how important her character will be in the upcoming Avengers title. I also excluded films such as Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy for reasons more along the lines of wanting to keep this list realistically short (there are 21 MCU films to date).
So now you’re ready. Get out there, champ. You go watch those movies, I’ll be rooting for you every step of the way. Confused fans, aspiring aficionados, and supreme superfans: you’re welcome.
And I’ll see you on April 26.