In case you haven’t heard, oh who am I kidding, you know that Avengers: Endgame is coming out this weekend. Marvel is tying up the loose ends on the story it has been telling for 11 years and 22 movies. But what if you haven’t seen any of these movies or you didn’t want to rewatch all 21 movies that came before Endgame? If only you knew someone who spent their life preparing for this moment and could help get you ready to watch Avengers Endgame. If only… alright fine, you’ve convinced me, I’ll do it.
What happened to bring us here?
Let’s start with the big question and to truly do this we need to start from the very beginning of the Universe. No, I’m serious. The history of the Marvel Universe begins with the single most important moment to everything that has happened since. Time to get all up in this deep lore.
Before the Big Bang there were six singularities. When the Universe was formed, these singularities became the six Infinity Stones. Gems with immense power each with the ability to manipulate certain aspects of the Universe and the potential to basically make whoever can combine them and wield them successfully into a god. But they are too powerful for any normal being to wield. The stones scattered to the far reaches of the Universe though they basically seemed to all end up on Earth eventually. We will check back in with the stones as they come up but now let’s get to the rest of the events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the MCU for short, and we’ll do it in chronological order.
Steve Rogers wants to fight in World War 2 but is a weak man who no one takes seriously except for his best friend Bucky. That is until Dr. Erskine and Howard Stark give him the Super Soldier Serum, basically super steroids, and he becomes Captain America. He punches Nazis, his best friend Bucky falls off a train to his death (or did he????) and he defeats the Red Skull who wanted to use the Tesseract for weapons development and ends up being flung into space by it to his death. Steve Rogers crashes a plane into the Arctic and disappears, presumably drowning in the ocean. Howard Stark goes looking for his body and finds the Tesseract instead, which he hands over to SHIELD for research purposes. Guess we’ll never see that again. Oh wait. We will. A lot.
Carol Danvers is a test pilot in the 90’s who crashed and experimental jet, gained superpowers and then was abducted by the Kree aliens. She loses her memory but still finds her way back to Earth and figures out who she is and what she needs to do. SHIELD had used the Tesseract to develop faster than light flight and the Kree wanted it but the Skrulls needed it to escape the Kree. Danvers, also known as Captain Marvel saves the day and takes off into space to help the Skrulls find a new home after leaving Nick Fury with the Tesseract as well as a pager to contact her.
Now the one everybody knows. Tony Stark is a billionaire, genius and playboy who uses his incredible intellect to develop weapons. After being taken hostage by terrorists with shrapnel stuck in his chest, he develops a power source called an arc reactor that can keep the shrapnel from killing him and allows him to also power a mechanical supersuit so he can escape. Coming home he refines the design along with his AI friend JARVIS and then he becomes Iron Man, a superhero who Nick Fury reaches out to to join the Avengers Initiative.
We are going to speed through some of these character introductions because besides the fact the characters exist, they don’t hold much weight in the over all plot. Bruce Banner undergoes an experimental procedure trying to replicate the Super Soldier Serum and turns into an unstoppable rage beast named Hulk. Thor is just a Norse god who fights with his adoptive brother Loki for control of Asgard and Loki falls to his death only to survive and make it elsewhere in the Universe. Black Widow is a SHIELD spy who first spies on Tony Stark and later helps him defeat Whiplash alongside War Machine, Tony’s friend who gets an Iron Man suit of his own. Hawkeye is a guy with a bow and arrow. Hey, they can’t all be winners.
Now, the big one. Decades after his crash into the Arctic, Captain America is found in the ice and it turns out he is still alive. SHIELD has still been experimenting with the Tesseract and Loki appears with a new magic scepter to claim the Tesseract. Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye eventually team up as The Avengers and stop him. Thor retrieves the Tesseract and takes it back to Asgard while Loki’s scepter is still missing.
Lots of fallout from this. Tony Stark suffers PTSD and begins to worry about future threats from space. Captain America finds out Bucky is still alive but he is evil now and going by the name the Winter Soldier. Also, SHIELD is secretly evil and has to be taken down completely by Captain America, Black Widow and new hero Falcon. Thor fights Malekith for the fate of the world and retrieves the Aether, basically kind of primordial energy of creation. He takes that to a man known as the Collector saying Asgard currently has the Tesseract and it is a bad idea to keep two Infinity Stones in one place.
While all this is happening, out in space Peter Quill is trying to steal an artifact to make some money but he makes some friends along the way: Rocket, Groot, Drax and Gamora, the daughter of Thanos. They also are being pursued by Ronan the Accuser and Nebula, another daughter of Thanos and Gamora’s sister. After many fun ups and downs, they find out that he stole an Infinity Stone and it is dangerous. They stop the evil Ronan from destroying a planet with it and Peter is able to hold the stone without instantly dying. More on that later. They give the stone to the Nova Corps and the newly minted team of Guardians of the Galaxy takes off for more adventures with a great soundtrack.
The Avengers reunite after they have tracked down Loki’s Scepter in the hands of a HYDRA scientist wanting to use it to make weapons. But this time, the weapons are super-powered people, Pietro (Quicksilver) and Wanda Maximoff(Scarlet Witch). Scarlet Witch gives Tony a vision of a dark future leading him to create Ultron, an AI meant to protect the world but turns evil and tries to destroy humanity. Ultron tries to make a new body for himself using the scepter which turns out to have the Mind Gem in it. He fuses the mind gem to his new body but the Avengers put JARVIS in the body instead and The Vision is born. Together with the Maximoffs and Vision, the Avengers defeat Ultron at the cost of Quicksilver and a large portion of Sokovia. A little later, Scott Lang becomes Ant-Man who has the power to shrink and also be one of Lee Cruse’s least favorite Marvel movies. Ah well. Can’t win them all.
The next big moment comes in Captain America: Civil War. The governments of the world decide that the Avengers need to be regulated to keep them from doing reckless things like building killer robots out to destroy the world. You do that one time and you aren’t allowed back in Ikea. Trust me on that. The Sokovia Accords come into full swing when a terrorist attack, blamed on Winter Soldier despite the fact he is innocent, kills the leader of the African nation of Wakanda and his son, T’Challa, becomes king. This splits the Avengers in half with Iron Man leading a team of War Machine, Vision, Black Widow (at least, at first), Black Panther (T’Challa) and newcomer Peter Parker, aka the Amazing Spider-Man. Captain America leads his own team including Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Falcon and Ant-Man (who can also grow big now). Black Widow ends up helping Cap in the end and they stop the real bad guy, Baron Zemo, but Tony discovers that Bucky killed his parents and a rift forms between them that has yet to be healed. Cap’s team is arrested but escape when Steve Rogers comes to get them. Black Widow also goes on the run. Clint Barton and Scott Lang take deals to serve the rest of their sentences on house arrest and give up being superheroes.
While this is happening, you have new characters popping up all over the place. Dr. Stephen Strange studies magic to heal his broken hands so he can go back to being a surgeon but instead he saves the world and becomes the Sorcerer Supreme. He also gets the Eye of Agamotto, a magic artifact which has the power to alter time. Guess what, it’s an Infinity Stone, the Time Gem.
Peter Parker has to fight his girlfriend’s dad who is secretly a supervillain, proving that Marvel is the modern day Shakespeare. Thor finally got a good solo movie and all it took was the complete destruction of his homeland and his father’s life. Peter Quill and the rest of the Guardians meet Peter’s father Ego, who turns out to be a celestial, and his assistant Mantis, a telepath. Turns out Ego is evil and the Guardians of the Galaxy have to stop him.
Back on Earth, T’Challa is taking the throne in Wakanda, a hyper advanced society and then has to deal with a Civil War amongst his people brought on by his cousin, Erik Killmonger. He briefly takes control of Wakanda and leaves T’Challa for dead but T’Challa survives and takes his throne back. In the post credits scene, a newly unbrainwashed Bucky Barnes is seen in Wakanda.
Which brings us to Avengers: Infinity War and also Ant-Man and The Wasp. They happen simultaneously so we will piece it together. Thanos attacks Thor and the survivors of Asgard, kills Loki and takes the Tesseract, which is also the Space Gem. He has already claimed the Power Gem from the Nova Corps but before he can destroy Thor’s ship, Heimdall sends Hulk to Earth as a warning. Bruce Banner crashes into Dr. Strange’s house and tells Strange, Wong and Tony Stark that Thanos is coming. Thanos sends two henchmen to take the Time Gem for Dr. Strange who gets kidnapped when he won’t let go of it. Iron Man and Spider-Man board the spaceship on a rescue mission. The Guardians find Thor and then Split up with Peter, Gamora, Drax and Mantis going to Knowhere to keep Thanos from getting the Reality Gem that the Collector has (that was the Aether) while Thor, Rocket and Groot go to get him a new hammer.
The Vision is attacked while on a romantic getaway with Scarlet Witch but manages to escape with the aid of Captain America’s team of Avengers. They eventually decide to separate Vision from the Mind Gem in his head so that Scarlet Witch can destroy it and keep Thanos from achieving his goal. Vision is taken to Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, in Wakanda who begins the process to separate Vision. Back in space, Thanos gets the Reality Gem and takes Gamora hostage, forcing her to tell him where the Soul Gem is. Iron-Man and Spider-Man save Dr. Strange and meet Quill’s Guardians team minus Gamora and they decide to take the fight to Thanos on the Planet Titan. Thor has to reignite a forge by taking the full force of a star if he wants his new hammer. I guess Home Depot was closed.
Thanos sacrifices Gamora to a giant pit in order to be given the Soul Gem. He then goes to Titan where he fights a group of Avengers led by Iron Man and the heroes almost succeed until Peter Quill finds out Thanos killed Gamora and starts punching him. Thanos then wrecks them and is prepared to kill Tony when Dr. Strange offers Thanos the Time Gem for Tony’s life. Thanos takes that deal and heads to Earth.
In Wakanda, everybody is fighting. Giant battle between Thanos’ army and Wakanda’s army with some Avengers backup but the Champions of Earth seemed to be on the ropes. At least, they are until Thor shows up with his new axe-hammer Stormbreaker and turns the tide of the battle. Don’t get too hopeful though. Thanos shows up to take the Mind Gem himself. The Avengers try to hold him off and Scarlet Witch has to destroy the Mind Gem, killing the robot that she loves. It looks like the heroes have won but at a heavy cost. Well, it looks that way until Thanos turns back time to restore the Mind Gem and takes it from Vision, killing him all over again. Thor tries a last second hammertoss to save the Universe but his aim is off and Thanos snaps his fingers, eliminating half of all life across the Universe, including Dr. Hank Pym, his wife and their daughter which leaves Scott Lang, Ant-Man, trapped in the microverse with seemingly no way out. Meanwhile, Thanos escapes and stares blissfully out at his perfect Universe while the Avengers mourn their heavy losses which include: Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Drax, Mantis, Peter Quill, Groot, Black Panther, Falcon, Winter Soldier, and Scarlet Witch. Just when everything seems hopeless, you see Nick Fury and Maria Hill get dusted too but not before Fury calls in reinforcements, namely one Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel.
That brings us all the way back to Avengers: Endgame. Will the Avengers be able to defeat Thanos and save those who have already been turned to dust? Will Captain America and Iron Man finally forgive each other? Who will still be alive at the end of all of this? We will just have to wait and see when it hits theaters this weekend. Also, I had to skip over a lot of character moments to mainline the big events that happened in this wrap up if you are interested in the journeys of specific characters, I would check out this video from Fandom Entertainment. Until next time, this is your master of the geekly arts signing out.