(Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for every MCU film other than Guardians of The Galaxy 2, Iron Man 2 & 3, Ant-Man, and Thor but only under the headings of the title of each film.)
Avengers: Infinity War has been 10 years, 17 films, and 21 seasons of TV in the making and, in case you haven’t been keeping up to date on it all, I have compiled the below list of important events in chronological order to avoid confusion in Avengers: Infinity War. Totalling at an incredible total runtime of 9,581 minutes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has all been leading to this and spans events over almost 100 years, so here is everything you might want to know happened before seeing the film.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Starting in the 1940s, Steve Rogers meets Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Scientific Reserve and, after being refused a place in the US military for health reasons, volunteered for an experiment designed by Howard Stark in which he was given the ‘super-soldier serum’ and became Captain America.
He proceeded to take on a mission to defeat Red Skull (not known to be Red Skull at the time) and his best friend, Bucky Barnes (above) dies from a fall off a moving train into snow. Steve, having confronted Zola and Red Skull and prevented them from using the Space Stone for the Nazis, flies a plane into icy waters and is frozen. He wakes up, about 70 years later, and discovers that the Allies won the war and Carter had set up an agency called S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tony Stark, a billionaire that has made his millions selling weapons, is kidnapped and forced to build a bomb for a middle-eastern group of terrorists. Instead of doing so, however, he creates the Iron Man suit and goes on to escape and go back to defeat the group. While doing so, he creates an artificially intelligent butler, J.A.R.V.I.S., named after his father’s butler of the same name.
In the post credit scene, Stark is confronted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and told about the ‘Avengers Initiative’.
Loki, the god of mischief and brother to Thor (right), makes a deal with the Chitauri and uses the mind stone (in his sceptre) to control Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Eric Selvig (the scientist from Thor) before opening a portal over New York City using the space gem (the tesseract) to let in the Chitauri invasion force. The Avengers assemble to deter this force and save planet Earth.
Thor: The Dark World
Though probably one of the weaker MCU films, Thor: Ragnarok is fairly important in the location of the Infinity Stones. In the film, Thor defends the nine realms from Malekith (above), who is using the reality stone to take over/destroy them. At the end of the film, more importantly, the warriors 3 give the reality stone to the collector (Benicio Del Toro) for safe keeping.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America, after discovering that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a cover for the evil agency Hydra, employs the help of Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to defeat the Winter Soldier (a Russian super soldier sent to kill them). The Winter Soldier, however, is revealed to be the aforementioned Bucky, Steve’s childhood friend. Also, Nick Fury, having revealed the true nature of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Captain America, is ousted and goes on the run as an enemy of the state.
The Guardians of the Galaxy
A rag-tag group of criminals (above) including Star-Lord (a human and son of a planet, abducted from Earth at a young age) and Gamora (daughter of the mad titan Thanos himself) must work together after being imprisoned for various reasons around the attempted robbery of the power stone. After breaking out, they fail to give the stone to the Collector as his collection is blown up (and, in doing so, the power gem is lost). They then proceed to work together, on the run from the galactic government, to save the galaxy from Ronan the Accuser, who plans to destroy it with the power stone under orders from Thanos. At the end of the film, the stone is given to the Nova Corps for safekeeping in a vault.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Stark accidentally creates Ultron, an evil AI that plans to wipe out humanity with an army of makeshift Iron Man suits and the help of the Maximov twins: Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. Stark also creates F.R.I.D.A.Y., a replacement for J.A.R.V.I.S., who, in turn, is put in a synthetic body with the use of the mind gem, creating Vision (Paul Bettany). In trying to prevent the destruction of mankind by Ultron, the Eastern European city of Sokovia is raised off the ground and dropped, killing many including the family of Helmut Zemo.
Captain America: Civil War
Following the Sokovia incident, a movement is made to create laws controlling super-heroes that divides the Avengers in two. The newly divided Avengers fight each other to prevent the passing of the accords, introducing Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and paralysing War Machine/James Rhodes (Don Cheadle).
Helmut Zemo, spurred on by the death of his family in the destruction of Sokovia, formulates a plan in which the Avengers would be ‘torn apart from the inside’ in which he reveals that the Winter Soldier (now back under the control of Bucky and part of the Avengers) killed Starks parents (under hypnosis). This only furthers the fight and leads to a fall-out between Captain America and Iron Man. At the end of the film, however, Rogers sends a phone to Stark with a contact in it. Also, in an end-credits scene, Bucky/Winter Soldier goes to Wakanda and gets put in cryogenic suspension until his mind is truly healthy.
After being in a car accident that permanently damages his hands, Stephen Strange goes to the Orient and masters other-worldly arts under the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). In doing so, he discovers the time gem in the Eye of Agamoto and uses this to prevent Kaecillius (Mads Mikkelson) from taking over the mystical realm.
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War Peter Parker returns to school in NYC and, until the Vulture, a man seeking revenge on Tony Stark for destroying his life, starts causing issues in the city, attempts to balance being a superhero and school life. He must confront Vulture (Michael Keaton) and, in doing so, goes to Washington D.C. and fights him in the skies over NYC. At the end of the film, however, his secret identity is found out by Aunt May, undoubtedly causing a few changes at home
After Thor’s hammer (Mjolnir) is destroyed by Hela, the goddess of death (and his half-sister), Thoris outcast to the Planet of Sakaar, where he finds (and must fight) Hulk in a gladiator ring run by The Grand Master (Jeff Goldblum). The two proceed to escape with the help of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi), Loki, and Meek. The six escape and go to Asgard to save it from Hela, who is attempting to take over as Odin has died. They fail to save the planet but save most of the people by loading them onto a ship before killing Hela and escaping. The group all escape together, with Loki and Skurge (Karl Urban), Hela’s newly-found right-hand man.
Following the events of the film (which don’t have a massive effect on the MCU), Wakanda opens its borders and shares its valuable resources with the world. It also sets up outreach centres for the poor (headed up by Lupita N’Yongo’s Nakia) and for technological advancements (headed up by Letitia Wright’s Shuri). Also, in a post credit scene, Bucky is brought out of cryogenic suspension and given the role of White Wolf (protector of Wakanda). For more on what the events of Black Panther mean for the MCU, check out my article here.
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