The Only Films You Need To Watch To Prep For ‘Avengers: Endgame’
Here's the bare minimum you need to watch.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it will change beyond recognition with Avengers: Endgame. This is a fact. We cannot overhype this.
Everything has been moving towards this moment, ten years of Marvel superhero films all, in some way, helping construct this giant tottering narrative, all leading to this one point. Thrilling!
Not only is the MCU all pointed towards this one (giant) movie, but we know that it will definitely be the end of some of our favourite heroes.
Death is famously a dramatic way to end things — and a whole bunch of Marvel stalwarts (Robert Downey Jnr, Chris Evans, etc) have come to the end of their contracts, so we know someone’s getting bumped.
So, what we’re saying is that Avengers: Endgame is going to be an EVENT. The hottest nightclub in town is Avengers: Endgame. It’s got everything: a climactic finale, character deaths, and that thing where a movie goes for three and a half hours.
But, we’re also cognisant of the fact that there’s a LOT of movies preceding this film, and you might not have the time nor inclination to watch all 21 films to prepare. You’ve got things to do, a modern lady trying to have it all. But here’s the good news — you don’t need to watch them all! Not every single film is of dire importance. You can cheat!
So here’s the most integral films you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame, in order of watching, extremely minimal spoilers:
6. The Avengers (2012)
The very first Avengers film is a no-brainer.
It serves as the best and most efficient introduction to the main cast of heroes that will be fighting in Endgame, as well as the literal introduction to the circumstances that make them a team. Plus, it’s still just a really good dang film. You gotta watch it!
It’s about some unlikely friends who get together and learn how to trust, and also fight aliens.
Sure, you COULD go and watch the origin stories of all the heroes — the Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor trilogies all have absolutely brilliant films in their mix, but you don’t NEED to watch them. The Avengers introduces the characters perfectly adequately for Endgame.
It basically kicks off the beginning of this long tale too, with the invasion of New York by the alien Chitauri being the first inkling of involvement by Endgame‘s big-bad Thanos with Earth and Earth’s mightiest heroes.
5. Doctor Strange (2016)
Alright — Doctor Strange honestly has a larger role in Avengers: Infinity War than I ever really expected.
Doctor Strange is about a grumpy surgeon who becomes a grumpy wizard.
In his film, he’s set up as a being with fairly niche responsibilities, that tend to keep him away from the rest of the MCU, such as “guarding our reality” whatever that really means. Doctor Strange is also a fairly by the numbers Marvel origin film, which does have some admittedly pretty cool and mind-bending magic battle scenes. Normally I’d say give it a skip.
However, as well as introducing the good doctor himself, it also introduces the Time Stone, one of the pretty gems that Thanos is obsessed with. It seems like the Time Stone and time-travel are going to be a huge part of Avengers: Endgame.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Basically every character who wasn’t in The Avengers is in Guardians of the Galaxy — that’s just science!
It’s a film about some space-friends who steal a fancy jewel.
One of the best and most fun movies in the entire MCU, it’s worth a watch just for that tbh. But, it’s also a very good way of discovering who the hell the majority of the goofy Chris Pratt style characters are, and what goes on in the MCU outside of Earth.
3. Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)
You gotta keep up to date with the Avengers — if you jumped straight from when they were little babies in their first movie to Endgame, you’d be dang confused.
In Age Of Ultron, Tony Stark creates a homicidal and very smart robot — with unintended consequences! Who could have foretold that his unfettered desire to create sentient killbots would backfire? Not I.
Things have gotten a bit darker since those early days, and Age of Ultron helps illustrate those tensions, which will undoubtedly still be playing out and referenced in the next film. It’s not the best Avengers film, but it does good work with the characters — and that’s what’s important going in to Endgame.
2. Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)
Look, just keep in mind that the Ant-Man franchise is just meant to be pretty fun and low stakes — because this is not a wonderful film. It’s enjoyable, but just a bit… meh.
Ant-Man And The Wasp is about a nice dumb-dumb criminal named Paul Rudd, who wants to help rescue his girlfriend’s mother from being way too small!
BUT — Paul Rudd is a delight and things being shrunk a whole bunch is still fun to watch.
The only reason you need to watch this is that we’re around 90% sure that Avengers: Endgame is going to venture into the Quantum Realm, which is basically what it says on the label: a realm of quantum. I dunno. They’re probably going to try and travel back in time through it.
Ant-Man And The Wasp will certainly help you understand wtf that all is — although I can’t imagine that Endgame won’t also contextualise it.
1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
I mean, duh.
Basically, Infinity War and Endgame are the same movie split into two giant halves. I cannot stress this enough — Endgame will probably not make a lick of sense if you don’t see Infinity War!
It’s a film about a huge purple man named Thanos, who wants to collect a sparkling handful of special jewels — but not just because they’re fabulous. He needs them because of maths. Luckily, The Avengers and friends want to stop him.
Oh my god, why are you arguing with me? This is the bare minimum.
Avengers: Endgame is in cinemas April 24th 2019.
Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.