We're currently experiencing a new era for superhero movies.
A decade ago, when we saw trailers and posters of superhero films, we were quick to say production studios riding on yet another Hollywood trend. But Marvel Studios, who seems to be always a step ahead, had a greater cinematic vision. It brought our childhood heroes to the big screen. It dug into its rich comic history to open up different dimensions, unearthing the most interesting antagonists and story arcs for our viewing pleasure.
While we gotta hand it to the folks at Marvel for taking cinemagoers by surprise (catch up, DC!), it didn’t take long for fans to realize that each movie was part of a bigger picture. Fans are aware that Marvel’s flicks are shown in phases, and the production studio currently has four chapters in its book.
It’s been almost a decade since Iron Man premiered, and with 18 films and counting, Avengers: Infinity War is possibly the most awaited Marvel film of all time. How do we know? It’s only got the most viewed movie trailer, like, ever.
You can actually watch all the films before Infinity War hitscinemas, if you have a weekly Marvel movie night. Black Panther will be showing in theaters in February, and it seems to play a vital role in the upcoming Avengers film with scenes from the teasers being set in Wakanda.
With this MCU refresher course, you'll hopefully be more prepared for all the awesome chaos that's about to go down during Infinity War.
1) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Steve Rogers is your typical wimpy kid, whose patriotism will never be enough to get him listed into the Army to fight in World War II. After the Super Soldier program, Rogers only ends up as the war’s propaganda mascot, armed with a vibranium shield designed by Howard Stark. In true hero fashion, he foils the evil Red Skull’s plans of blowing up Manhattan by crashing a HYDRA plane in the Arctic.
Plot twist: He gets frozen and wakes up 70 years later, effectively missing his date with Peggy Carter.
2) Iron Man (2008)
Tony Stark is kidnapped by a group of Afghans after he exhibits the “Jericho” missile (which turned out to be orchestrated by his business partner/Iron Monger Obadiah Stane). In the ambush, the infamous genius, billionaire, and playboy gets hit by a grenade. Shrapnels are lodged near his heart and he is operated on and given a battery-powered device to keep his heart beating. Stark tweaks it with a makeshift version of his father’s Arc Reactor technology. To flee his captors, he built and blew up an iron suit—we gotta say that metal creation is still way better than the 1978 version.
3) Incredible Hulk (2009)
The Hulk is a freak of nature that resulted from an unsuccessful attempt to recreate Abraham Erskine’s Super Soldier serum (and exposure to hazardous amounts of gamma radiation, of course). Bruce Banner, who is a genius scientist in the fields of fields of biochemistry, nuclear physics, and gamma radiation, was tricked into joining the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project by none other than his girlfriend’s father, General Ross. He goes into hiding in South America after his genes are mutated, transforming him into a gigantic green monster that cannot be controlled. The US government tries to hunt down the Hulk to weaponize him against terrorist threats, but all Banner wants is to get cured.
4) Iron Man 2 (2010)
Turns out the Arc Reactor technology wasn’t designed by Howard Stark alone, and Ivan Vanko (Whiplash) is out for revenge, determined to discredit the Starks. Vanko creates a suit with Arc Reactor-powered whips that are capable of cutting through cars.
5) Thor (2011)
Thor’s coronation as new king of Asgard is disrupted by the Frost Giants trying to ransack Odin’s treasure fault for the Casket of Ancient Winters. Thor set out to destroy Jotunheim with his own hands, a quest against Agardian law. The God of Thunder was then banished to Earth. His hammer is enchanted with a spell that will only let Thor lift it and allow him to regain his powers when he has proven himself worthy. In Thor’s absence, Loki discovered he was merely adopted and that he originally belonged to the line Jotunheim’s kings. This drives the trickster to scheme his way to the throne. Like all banished gods, Thor falls in love with a human, interdimensional scientist Jane Foster. Loki, of course, tries to kill Thor, and the fallen god must destroy the portal to Earth to protect its people.
6. The Avengers (2012)
The Avengers Initiative finally takes into shape and Nick Fury assembles Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, and Black Widow. But there wasn’t any teamwork among these “special individuals” until S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent Coulson was killed by Loki. Thor’s brother was given a mind-controlling scepter as he was sent by Thanos on a mission to retrieve the Tesseract—he even has an army of Chitauri invaders at his command. The Chitauri attack is widely referred to as The Battle of New York (or The Incident) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
7) Iron Man 3 (2013)
A terrorist who calls himself The Mandarin has been setting off bombs all over the world. Aldrich Killian, the real Mandarin, developed the Extremis virus, which has regenerative capabilities and enhances the immunity and cerebral capacity of anyone injected with it—but it also allows them to be turned into human bombs.
This is also the film where we find out the Stark Mansion’s exact address: 10880 Malibu Point, 90265. And, after three standalone movies, Tony finally gets an operation to remove the shrapnels in his heart.
8) Thor: The Dark World (2013)
A forgettable Marvel film. It’s just important to note that The Aether (or The Reality Stone), which puts Jane Foster’s life in danger, ends up in the “safe” hands of The Collector.
9) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Plot twist: Cap’s best bud Bucky Barnes didn’t die. He was turned into a murderous cyborg by HYDRA.
10) Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Peter “Starlord” Quill is kidnapped as a child and grows up to be a Ravager, seeking treasures across the universe. But it doesn’t take long before he betrays his group and goes after an orb, which is later revealed to contain The Power Stone. Starlord meets all kinds of misfits Gamora (Thanos’ adopted daughter), bounty hunters Rocket Raccoon and Groot, and Drax The Destroyer, who just wants to kill Ronan The Accuser.
Vol. 2 is said to be set just three months after the first movie, so you can go ahead and jump on it. Peter’s long lost father, Ego, turns out to be a god. But that old guy is evil, set to terraform planets into his own extensions. But his plan required two celestial beings. The galactic fuckboy then impregnated thousands of female extraterrestrial species to create an offspring with the Celestial gene—and guess what, Peter turns out to be the only one who inherited it.
11) Age of Ultron (2015)
Ultron started out as an AI peacekeeping program that would eliminate the need for The Avengers. But the program was intelligent enough to be conflicted about his creators, The Avengers. Ultron tags them as a threat, conscripts Maximoff twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to go against them, buys vibranium in South Africa, and plans to levitate the whole of Sokovia to recreate the meteor impact that made dinosaurs go extinct.
And, in case you’ve forgotten: Only one of the Maximoff twins survived.
12) Ant-Man (2015)
Scott Lang, an ex-convict, is hired by Hank Pym to put on the Ant-Man suit and prevent his insecure apprentice Darren Cross from selling shrinking suit “Yellowjacket” to HYDRA representatives. Ant-Man’s suit is powered by legendary Pym Particle technology which allows matter’s size to be altered. Scott now has to learn how to maneuver and combat in the suit—plus talk to ants—to carry out the second and biggest heist of his life.
13) Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Iron Man and Captain America’s riff about the Sokovian Accords (requiring the registration of superheroes and enhanced individuals, gods included) is deepened by the revelation that the Winter Soldier caused the car accident of Tony’s parents. Don’t get confused, this isn’t counted as an Avengers movie.
14) Doctor Strange (2016)
Globally-renowned neurosurgeon Stephen Strange gets himself into an unfortunate car accident that renders his hands completely useless. In his search for a cure, he discovers the miracle of Kamar Taj. He later uncovers that it is not merely a place for healing, but the frontline for extinguishing interdimesional threats through Mystic Arts.
15) Spider-Man (2017)
The teenager from Queens, New York, gets to keep the suit Mr. Stark has designed for him, badgering Iron-Man to give him missions off the streets. But the web crawler found his own way out of it by challenging the Vulture, whose business was selling Chitauri technology in the black market.
The best thing about this film is the disabled Training Wheels Protocol which only tells us one thing: This third Spider-Man is here to show us some neat tricks.
16) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Thor and Loki find out they have an evil older sister who wants to relive Asgard’s age of aggression and destruction—a desire to conquer all the Nine Realms. Hella shatters Thor’s hammer and the God of Thunder finds himself sold as a gladiator in the weirdest part of the galaxy.
One thing’s for sure: we like this epic rock-n-roll version of Thor.
17) Black Panther (2018)
We finally get to see the exotic world of Wakanda on the big screen. Marvel’s only revealed little about the plot. When King T’Challa returns home, he must stop enemies who are plotting to bring down his kingdom.