Seeing as how Avengers: Endgame is clocking in at over three hours long, it’s probably safe to say you’re not looking to spend a whole lot of time catching up on all 21 prior movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But, these movies are certainly epic events, and more than a fair share of all of us are going to have to watch some Marvel movies before Avengers: Endgame, the final conclusion of this epic saga. A true conclusion for any Marvel phase isn’t something that comes around every day.
Obviously, you have to watch Avengers: Infinity War before Endgame, since that was the first part of this two-part epic conclusion. Also watching Infinity War will prepare you for the feeling if what it’s like to have your heart ripped out and turned to dust, because that’s the emotion that you’ll have as the closing credits roll. But what else should you watch from the extensive MCU library? If you don’t have roughly 45 hours to binge every other movie (because that’s actually how long it would take) here’s what you absolutely need to watch before heading to the theaters for Endgame.
Avengers: Infinity War
If you do only have time to rewatch one movie before Endgame, make sure it’s Infinity War. It’ll refresh your memory as to what’s happening, who’s where, and who’s been turned to dust. Infinity War definitely sets in motion everything that’s going to happen in Endgame, and it’s the first time we get a glimpse into exactly what Thanos has been planning all along. It’s a doozy, but it’s a must-watch.
The Mid-Credit Scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp
You should watch all of Ant-Man and the Wasp because it’s the first instance of a woman leading a Marvel movie, and also Paul Rudd is just a delight. But, if you don’t have the time to make it through the entire movie just skip to the very end and watch the end credits. The very end of Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place at the exact same time as the events of Infinity War, including Thanos’ snap. Scott Lang (Rudd) accidentally ends up trapped in the quantum realm, and also Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) says some interesting things about a “time vortex.” There’s a theory that Endgame will involve time travel, and Janet might hint at it here.
There’s honestly not a huge need for you to watch Thor: Ragnarok before Endgame, but it’s just a really good movie, okay? But, some characters that don’t make it into Infinity War but show up in Endgame are first introduced in Ragnarok, like Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Also, the fact that Korg (Taika Waititi) and Miek, two fan favorites from the movie, got their own emojis is maybe a hint that we’re going to be seeing more of them. (Please?)
A lot of Infinity War takes place in Wakanda, and it’s likely that we’re heading back there at some point during Endgame. Rewatching Black Panther will give you a refresher on everything vibranium and also why Okoye (Danai Gurira) is a badass. Also, call me a Shuri (Letitica Wright) Truther, but I really don’t believe she was dusted at the end of Infinity War and it’s a major fakeout. It’ incredibly possible that she’s holding down everything in Wakanda, and might take on the Black Panther mantel herself.
The only Avenger who hasn’t met any of the other Avengers yet is Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). That being said, she’s also possibly the most important Avenger. Even though her movie takes place in 1995, it leads directly into Avengers: Endgame. At the end of Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers gives Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) a pager so he can call her if she’s ever needed don earth; at the end of Infinity War, Fury uses this pager. Considering she hasn’t popped up in any other Avengers movies yet, it’s important to get a little bit of a backstory about her, and why Thanos (Josh Brolin) should be super scared.
Just the Farmhouse Scenes from Avengers: Age of Ultron
Here’s another movie you don’t need to watch all the way through, but it does set up some important things. Midway through Age of Ultron, the Avengers need to hideout and head to Hawkeye/Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) secret farmhouse and meet his secret family. Meeting his family explains why Hawkeye is MIA during all of Infinity War. Also, there are maybe some clues planted about Fury being a Skrull via the way he cuts bread in the Barton House. Listen, it sounds crazy, but also the evidence is there to support it.
If you’re looking for a real nostalgia trip back to the very beginning of the MCU, watch Iron Man. Even though we’re 21 movies past the one that started it all, nothing will ever be more exciting than Nick Fury showing up in Tony’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) house saying he wants to talk about “The Avengers Initiative.” Back then, no one could have ever predicted the success of this film franchise, and it’s crazy to watch so many things set up all the way back in 2008. Tony Stark also makes a MySpace reference like 10 minutes into the movie, which is bonkers enough as it is.
And, if you've refreshed all of these (or taken the full 45-hour journey through the entire MCU catalogue) you should be in pretty good shape come April 26.