Your MCU Cheat Sheet Before You Rush To Watch “Avengers Infinity War”
Our 10-year long journey with the MCU culminates with the release of Avengers Infinity War. But not everyone might know the MCU like the back of our hand as we do. Thankfully, we're here to save the day. Here's a cheat sheet of everything you need to know before you head out to theaters for Infinity War.
So Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War is finally releasing this week. There have been a lot of articles speculating who’s going to die (my bet’s on Iron Man), where the sixth infinity stone is (again my bet, Heimdall) and articles breaking down each and every second of the trailers that Marvel so playfully puts out. While all these are food for thought for those who’ve watched all the movies so far, I know there are some of you who haven’t watched ALL the movies (case in point, my roommate). While she has watched a few movies, she has completely skipped some and in all honesty, doesn’t remember much except the main plot points of those she has watched.
So I wanted to put pen to paper and write this article for all those out there who don’t know the MCU like the back of their hands. Since there isn’t much time to binge, just have a read and book your tickets for Avengers Infinity War this weekend:
1. Iron Man (2008)
The granddaddy of the MCU, where it all started. Tony Stark is introduced to us as a billionaire, tech smart, playboy whose company is into weapons manufacturing. He gets kidnapped by terrorists and creates an arc reactor to save his own life. This arc reactor ends up powering his makeshift suit and helps him escape from his captors. Post that he gets rescued by his friend Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes.
After his rescue, disturbed by the things he saw while being captive, Tony announces that his company will no longer manufacture weapons much to his father’s old partner and his manager Obadiah Stane’s displeasure. His assistant/knows-more-about-his-life-than-he-does Pepper Potts, his bodyguard Happy and his AI assistant J.A.R.V.I.S are other important characters in this film.
After a showdown between Tony (in his new Iron Man suit) and Obadiah Stane (in his giant-ass suit) sees the latter beaten, the movie ends with Tony Stark admitting to the world that he is IRON MAN. The post-credits scene shows the director of S.H.I.E.L.D, Nick Fury, explaining to Tony Stark that there are others out there like him and proposes the AVENGERS INITIATIVE.
2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
This movie was the first and last (so far) independent Hulk movie from the MCU. Dr. Bruce Banner, after exposure to gamma radiation, becomes The Hulk for brief periods of time – whenever he gets angry. Main things to remember from this movie are that The Hulk flees New York at the end of the movie and Tony Stark in a cameo with a mention of THE AVENGERS.
3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Post the first film, Iron Man is donning his kick-ass suit and helping people across the world. His suit and the arc reactor gain notoriety. We’re shown that Tony’s dad, Howard Stark, at some point in the past had pissed off a guy and his son is out for revenge against Tony.
Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow makes her first appearance in this movie first as a replacement to Pepper Potts at first (Pepper being made the CEO of Stark Industries). Later, Nick Fury reveals that Natasha is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Phil Coulson, makes his entry into the MCU as the honest but sometimes annoying agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Rhodes gets his own suit called War Machine. Tony and Pepper get together in this movie.
The movie ends with Iron Man kicking the bad guy’s ass (big surprise) and the post credit scene setting up the Thor movie where Agent Coulson reports the discovery of a large hammer.
4. Thor (2011)
Thor is the heir to the throne of Asgard, and Odin’s son. Thor has a step-brother named Loki who is the primary villain of the movie. Thor is banished to earth by Odin and his magical hammer gets taken away from him. He falls in love with a scientist called Jane Foster and after some soul searching, wins the right to wield his hammer once more.
The movie ends with Loki in the post-credits scene with a blue glowing cube that he seems extremely interested in. Hawkeye makes his first MCU appearance in this movie although for an extremely short time.
5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The movie is set during the 1940s and a Nazi Johann Schmidt discovers the blue cube that we saw at the end of the Thor movie. This blue cube is the first of the infinity stones to make their appearance in the MCU – The Soul Stone.
Steve Rogers a.k.a Captain America is a scrawny little kid from Brooklyn who wants to serve in the army with his best friend Bucky Barnes. He gets injected with some super steroids that the US army is testing and becomes the buffed up, Captain America. The serum was developed by Howard Stark, Tony’s father. Howard also gives him a cool shield made of a mysterious metal called Vibranium.
Steve becomes Captain America and goes on an unsanctioned mission to rescue Bucky and a few more guys who were kidnapped by Johann Schmidt who reveals himself to be the supervillain Red Skull. Red Skull is the leader of Hydra, a secret bad guy organization. Captain America’s mission is successful and he instantly becomes an American hero, falls in love with Peggy Carter and all is well till Bucky apparently dies during one of their missions. Captain America and Red Skull fight it out and Red Skull gets defeated while the cube is lost in the ocean and Captain America crashes a bomb-laden plane into the Arctic.
Years down the line, Howard Stark fishes the cube from the ocean. Cap wakes up in the present, frozen all this time, and is recruited by Nick Fury into the Avengers.
6. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Loki is back, now with a cool mind control staff. He has been sent by an alien race to get the Tesseract (the blue cube we’ve been talking about) in exchange for a huge alien army. Nick Fury gets Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk (actor changed), Iron Man and Hawkeye. The Avengers don’t get along at first but when Loki murders Agent Coulson, the team works as one and after some insane action sequences, Loki is defeated. Thor takes the Tesseract to Asgard and S.H.I.E.L.D takes ownership of the mind control staff.
The post-credit scene shows us Thanos, the big bad alien behind all the alien attacks on earth to get the Tesseract.
1. Iron Man 3 (2013)
This is the worst of all the Iron Man movies and the only things you need to remember from this movie are that he destroys all his Iron Man suits towards the end and Bruce Banner makes an appearance in the post-credit scene.
2. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The second Infinity Stone, The Reality Stone, is introduced in this movie which is being used by a bad elf man Malekith to open up portals all around the world… for some weird reason. Loki (who everyone believes dead, pretends to be Odin and takes his place as the ruler of Asgard. A few Asgardians, who are Thor’s friends, take The Reality Stone to a guy named “The Collector”.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
This is till date, my favorite MCU movie. It’s got great action, an awesome storyline and is just pure, good fun. What you need to take away from this film is that Bucky Barnes is still alive and has been frozen in time similar to Cap. He, however, is now a brainwashed killer for hire called The Winter Solider.
The storyline explains how Hydra has been slowly growing within S.H.I.E.L.D., has now taken over, and Captain America & Black Widow are labeled as fugitives. They’re aided by Captain America’s new friend & jogging buddy, Sam Wilson a.k.a. The Falcon.
Together, they manage to thwart Hydra’s evil plans, destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. and help Bucky find his old self again.
The post-credits scene reveals that a bad guy has Loki’s sceptre (from the first Avengers movie) in a secret Hydra lab. He’s using it give the Maximoff twins superhuman-speed and telekinetic abilities respectively.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
We’re introduced to the rag-tag team of Peter Quill a.k.a Star-Lord, Gamora (Thanos’ adopted daughter), Rocket (not a raccoon), Drax the Destroyer (literal Batista), and Groot (a tree with a limited vocabulary) collectively known as the Guardians of the Galaxy.
They come across The Power Stone and attempt to sell it to “The Collector”, who explains to them that the stone is one of six immensely powerful “ingets” known as the Infinity Stones. Generic villian Ronan the Accuser takes the stone from them at the behest of Thanos. But with the help of Thanos’ other adopted daughter Nebula, he keeps the stone for himself to reach his goals.
Ronan becomes super-powerful and tries to destroy the planet Xandar. But the Guardians save the day by using the stone to blow Ronan to bits. Groot sacrifices himself to protect his friends but is reborn in the end as a baby-bonsai version of himself. The Power Stone is taken for safekeeping by peacekeepers, The Nova Corps. Everyone’s happy.
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Age of Ultron picks up sometime after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Avengers are back together cleaning up the remnents of Hydra and come across Loki’s septre hidden at the secret Hydra lab as seen at the end of Captian America 2. Tony Stark takes possession of it but not before Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (the one with telekenitc abilities) makes him see a vision of a doomed Earth with all his teammates dead. Obsessed with preventing this, he & Bruce Banner use the sceptre to create Ultron, a Skynet-ish AI which believes that the only way to save Earth is to cleanse it of The Avengers and the human race.
Ultron grows strong, enlists the Maximoff twins to his cause, takes on the Avengers and kicks their ass. Hulk is mind-warped and almost destroys an entire city. Thor also sees an apocalyptic vision and leaves to find out more. Ultron reveals that the sceptre actually houses an Infinity Stone, The Mind Stone. He uses it to build himself an indestructable vibranium body. Before he succeeds, the Avengers step in. With the help of Iron Man’s good AI assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. & a bit of Thor magic, they free the body and bring it to life as The Vision, a powerful android with the Mind Stone at its helm.
The end of the movie sees Vision and the rest of the Avengers defeat Ultron but not before Quicksilver, the other Maximoff twin is killed, and the country of Sokovia is almost wiped off the face of the Earth. Hulk flies off into self-exile to prevent more damage & to protect Black Widow (whom he loves).
The post-credits scene shows us that Thanos, tired of his goons failing to do his bidding and get him the Infinity Stones, decides to “do it himself“.
6. Ant-Man (2015)
Fresh-outta-prison Scott Lang steals a suit built by genius Hank Pym that let him shrink to the size of, yes, an ant. He uses the suit to have a cool battle with The Falcon as well as explore the quantum realm. In the end, Scott and the gang defeat Hank’s former protege Darren Cross. Hank’s daughter Hope van Dyne will don her own shrinking suit as “The Wasp” when they return for Ant-Man and the Wasp in 2018.
1. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The governments and the U.N. use the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and a recent disaster in Nigeria involving Wakandans to enforce regulations on the Avengers. Tony Stark is all for these “Sokovia Accords” but Captain America is not, as he believes it will prevent them from doing the right thing.
At the signing of the accords, a bomb believed to have been set off by Bucky Barnes a.k.a The Winter Soldier kills the King of Wakanda. His son T’challa, now heir to the throne and mantle of “Black Panther”, vows to hunt Bucky down and kill him. The ensuing chaos splits The Avengers right in half.
Tensions lead to an all-out epic fight with the team of Cap, Bucky, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, and Ant-Man going against Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, Vision, Black Panther and Spider-man! Steve and Bucky escape to follow Helmut Zemo, the man everyone finds out is actually responsible for the bombing and everything that ensued.
Iron Man joins Cap and Bucky at an old Winter Soldier bunker in Siberia where Zemo reveals his plans. Bucky, while he was the brainwashed Winter Soldier, killed Tony Stark’s parents and Steve knew about it. An enraged Iron Man fights Bucky and Cap in an epic battle and gets his ass kicked.
Steve leaves his shield behind, as well as the Avengers but promises to return if Tony ever needs him. T’challa takes Bucky to Wakanda to cure his Hydra brainwashing once and for all.
2.Doctor Strange (2016)
We enter the mystical realm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Doctor Strange. Stephen Strange, arrogant surgeon extraordinaire, suffers a freak accident which damages his hands. In a last-ditch effort to heal himself, he heads to Katmandu, Nepal where he meets the Ancient One and trains in the mystic arts.
A huuge skeptic at first, the naturally gifted Strange eventually embraces the mystic and becomes a powerful sorcerer. An evil cult threatens to bring “Dormammu” and the dark dimension to Earth and in the process, the Ancient One is killed. But Doctor Strange, with the help of his fellow sorcerers and “The Eye of Agamoto“, manages to thwart the cult and “makes a bargain” with Dormammu that saves the Earth.
Now one of the most powerful sorcerers in existance, Doctor Strange takes up residence in the New York Sanctum and watches over the Earth as a Master of the Mystic Arts. A post-credits scene shows Strange deciding to help Thor, who has come to New York in search of his father, Odin.
Also, the Eye of Agamoto contains The Time Stone.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017)
We head back into outer space for Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. The galaxy-savers are back fighting inter-dimensional monsters and a rogue faction of the Ravagers. When in a fix after Rocket steals some batteries they were supposed to return to The Sovereign, Peter Quill’s dad Ego rescues them and invites everyone back to his home planet.
There, it is revealed that Ego is a god-like being known as a Celestial and that the planet is actually him. A father seemingly trying to make amends with his long-lost son quickly turns into a power-hungry god who wants to use Peter’s celestial powers to extend himself to every planet in the galaxy. When Peter learns that Ego is responsible for his mother’s death, he brings the fight to his dad.
With the help of the Guardians, Gamora’s sister Nebula, and good guy Yondu, Ego and the planet are destroyed. Yondu, in a heart-wrenching scene, sacrifices himself to save Peter. Gamora and Nebula get on the same page in wanting to kill Thanos.
There are no Infinity Stones in this movie, but baby Groot is the most adorable thing.
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has finally come back home to the MCU with his very own movie. Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark is mentoring the young Peter Parker, who is fighting his biggest battle yet… getting through high school. He also has a fancy new suit now, courtesy of Iron Man.
After seeing goons use stolen leftover alien tech from the previous Avengers movies, Peter warns Tony Stark and friend/bodyguard Happy but feels like they’re not taking him seriously. He decides to take matters into his own hands to stop the bad guys but ends up doing a lot of damage. An enraged Tony takes his suit away calling him unfit to be Spider-Man.
He tries to get life back on track by diving back into school & asking his longtime crush to prom. Everything seems a-ok until he finds out that the “The Vulture“, the boss bad guy, is none other than his girlfriend’s father! He manages to take down The Vulture before he robs the Avengers and proves that even without the suit, he’s still Spider-Man.
Tony Stark invites him to officially join the Avengers as well as get a brand new bad-ass suit. But Peter declines saying he’s gotta look out for the ‘little guy’ and he’s happy being the Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (for now..).
5. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
One of the best-reviewed entries in the MCU, the God of Thunder returns to Asgard after defeating the fire-demon Surtur, who wants to destroy Asgard by starting Ragnarok (basically wants to blow it up). Thor reveals that Loki is ruling Asgard by impersonating his father Odin, who is actually on Earth. The brothers arrive on Earth and Doctor Strange helps them locate their father. A dying Odin tells him that his firstborn and their sister, Hela, will return soon as he’s dead. And that’s exactly what happens.
Hela, the “goddess of death“, destroys Thor’s mighty hammer Mjölnir, chases them back to Asgard and casts them out into space. Thor crash lands on Sakaar, a trash planet surrounded by portals and ruled by The Grandmaster. Captured and forced into a gladiator arena, his opponent turns out to be The Hulk, who crashed on this planet after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Reuniting with Loki and the former Asgardian warrior Valkirye, Thor, Hulk and the gang head back to Asgard to save the people from Hela.
After losing an eye and figuring out Hela’s too strong for him to beat, Thor makes Loki bring Surtur back to life and starts Ragnarok. The whole realm of Asgard is destroyed along with Hela but its people are saved. They make their way to Earth to establish a new Asgard there.
Before Surtur is revived, it is implied that Loki took the Tesseract (containing the Space Stone) before Asgard was destroyed. A post-credits scene reveals that Thor & the gang are stopped by a MASSIVE ship, which is most definitely the flagship of Thanos.
6. Black Panther (2018)
The biggest blockbuster of 2018 (so far), set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, we follow the Black Panther T’challa to Wakanda, the world’s most advanced nation disguised & hidden from the world as a third-world country. It is also the source of all the Vibranuim on the planet. T’challa ascends the throne of Wakanda as the king and officially takes up the mantle of Black Panther.
After failing to apprehend elusive bad guy Ulysses Klaue wanted for stealing Wakanda’s Vibranuim years ago, T’challa is challenged by his long-lost cousin Eric Killmonger for the throne of Wakanda. T’challa is defeated and cast out.
Killmonger plans on using the technology and Vibranium of Wakanda to aid conflicts across the world. But T’challa returns with the Jabari army in tow and defeats Killmonger. Realising the good they can do to the world by sharing their knowledge & technology, T’challa decides to open up Wakanda to the rest of the world.
In the post-credits scene, we see Bucky Barnes (formerly the Winter Soldier), seemingly cured of his Hydra brainwashing by T’challa’s brilliant tech-wiz sister Shuri.
Avengers Infinity War
This long and entertaining journey which started in 2008 has now is now 10 years old and encompasses 18 movies.
For every Thor 2 and the Iron Man sequels, we got gems like Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther.
Grounded, relatable movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier were complimented by the outlandishly fantastic Doctor Strange.
For every pathetic villain like Malekith from Thor 2, we got groundbreaking bad guys like Eric Killmonger.
While Spider-Man tried to stay in Queens and look out for his neighborhood, the Guardians of the Galaxy were literally fighting planets.
The Hulk is larger-than-life Hulk but Ant-Man is larger-than-humanly-possible.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had something for everyone. The journey which started with Iron Man in 2008 now culminates with Thanos arriving on Earth to decorate his gauntlet with the Infinity Stones in Avengers Infinity War. With every major MCU character till date appearing in this movie, the stakes are higher than ever before.
Hearts are bound to be broken, but Avengers Infinity war promises to be the movie event of the decade.