A Brief Recap of the MCU
Ever since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, with the launch of the its cornerstone film, “Iron Man,” every film in the MCU — 18 of them to be exact — has been leading up to this moment. In what’s said to be the largest and most epic franchise collaboration in the history of film itself, “Avengers: Infinity War” is expected to feature up to 76 main characters, uniting Earth’s mightiest heroes in a way audiences have never seen before. “Avengers: Infinity War” will bring together years and years of story preparation by Marvel execs, all in anticipation of a culminating final act to come in the fourth installment of the “Avengers” series in 2019.
But before venturing to the theater to embark upon the 160-minute whirlwind that is “Avengers: Infinity War,” preparation is the key to experiencing the massive scope of this film in the way it was intended. So, whether you’ve never seen a comic book movie in your life or you’re a complete Marvel junkie looking to binge a movie marathon before “Infinity War,” here’s everything you need to know prior to the film.
Who is Thanos?
Ah, yes, Thanos. A warlord from the planet Titan, the strongest and most fearsome villain the Avengers have faced to date, and possibly the most powerful being in the universe. Quite literally, Thanos wishes to destroy the world, or at the very least, reshape it to meet the standards of his own vision. He’s ruthless, relentless and takes pleasure in the destruction of the galaxy around him while on his quest for power. But in order to achieve his goal, he first must acquire all of the Infinity Stones, and then exterminate the very thing standing in his way — the Avengers.
Audiences first meet Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) in “The Avengers” (2012), as a mysteriously powerful being with an alien army at his beck and call. Later on, in a post-credits scene, we meet Thanos again as a large, looming purple figure with a sinister smile. That can’t be good, right? Fast forward to “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), in which we get to know Thanos on a more personal level, and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” where Thanos states he’ll “do it [him]self,” vowing to collect the Infinity Stones and destroy Earth of his own accord.
But wait, what are the Infinity Stones?
“Before creation itself, there were six singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence, and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots… Infinity Stones,” says The Collector in “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014).
In a nutshell, the Infinity Stones lie at the heart of all that is corruption, evil and power in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Countless times in the past, villainous figures have managed to get their hands on one of these Stones, launching them into a power-hungry rage to take over the planet and destroy the Avengers. As stated by The Collector (played by Benicio del Toro) in the quote above, there were six singularities, and thus there are six Infinity Stones. There’s the blue Space Stone, the red Reality Stone, the purple Power Stone, the yellow Mind Stone, the green Time Stone and the orange Soul Stone. The blue Space Stone, more commonly known as the Tesseract, currently resides with Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), who presumably took the stone from Asgard at the end of “Thor: Ragnarok.” The yellow Mind Stone exists as part of Vision (played by Paul Bettany), embedded into his forehead and supplying him with his supernatural abilities. Additionally, Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) manipulates the Time Stone, The Collector holds the Reality Stone and the Nova Corps protect the Power Stone — that is, after Star Lord (played by Chris Pratt) recovered it in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
So, where did the Avengers last leave off?
To say the least, prior to the start of “Infinity War,” the Avengers could be better. We last saw the beloved First Avenger, Captain America (played by Chris Evans), in “Captain America: Civil War,” in which the Avengers battled it out, not only leaving the team itself divided and on the run but also leaving the relationship between Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) rocky. Additionally, audiences last saw Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” in which he offered the teenage webslinger (played by Tom Holland) a spot in the Avengers squad. Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner (played by Mark Ruffalo), also known as The Hulk, have just recently escaped a demolished Asgard, aboard a ship with none other than the Guardians of the Galaxy. Lastly, Marvel’s most recent release, “Black Panther,” leaves the country of Wakanda ready to open its doors up to the rest of the world.
If you’re looking to get a firmer grasp on the history of the MCU before “Infinity War,” rather than slugging through all 18 films, here are six essential movie recommendations to watch in preparation: “The Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Thor Ragnarok” and “Black Panther.” Honorable mentions go out to “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Thor: The Dark World” and “Doctor Strange” as films that introduce different Infinity Stones into the universe.
Written by: Sydney Odman — firstname.lastname@example.org