Back in February, I got it into my head that I wanted a Marvel refresher before Infinity War came out. I like to be prepared. So I turned to the all-knowing internet to see what the chronological order would be. And that’s when I went down the rabbit hole.
You guys, there were a lot of helpful resources out there. If I wanted to just watch the movies, there were plenty of lists out there. But I have always preferred the Marvel TV shows to the movies – it was Netflix’s Daredevil that first sucked me into the MCU. I know, weird place to start, right? So I went for the lists that incorporated the movies AND the TV shows. There are even lists that include the One Shots and DVD extras. But I gotta draw the line somewhere.
Although these lists vary slightly, here are the guides I settled on – Digital Spy, Independent, and Cnet. The running time for all of these Marvel properties is approximately 160 hours. Challenge accepted!
I got off to a great start! Captain America: The First Avenger – I love a period piece. Plus my favorite Marvel character is in this one – Peggy Carter. Agent Carter is pretty badass. She can hold her own in a fight. She’s sharp, has great style and a killer lipstick…well, it doesn’t kill, but it’ll knock you out for a while. She helps to found S.H.I.E.L.D. and lives to 96. So immediately after finishing Captain America I jump right into Agent Carter. Oh, the bright colors, the British accents, the snappy dialogue – I’m in heaven! Unfortunately, Agent Carter only had 2 short seasons. So after 18 glorious episodes, it’s time to move on to Iron Man.
And here’s where I start to lose steam. I know Iron Man is beloved. But here’s two things – I’m not a fan of Robert Downey, Jr. or Gwyneth Paltrow. Sorry! So this makes the next stretch of movies a tough sell. I had never seen the Iron Man movies because of this. But I pushed through Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (Mickey Rourke??). The best thing about Iron Man is that we meet Phil Coulson, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D! If you don’t love Phil Coulson, I can’t help you. Next came The Incredible Hulk. Ok, I didn’t hate this one. I know it’s considered the worst movie of the bunch, but I liked it better than Iron Man 2 or 3. Edward Norton was not a good choice, though. C’mon. Mark Ruffalo is a waaaay better Hulk.
Then there was Loki’s little brother. I guess the movie’s title is Thor. Whatever. Just like I watched Captain America for Peggy Carter, Loki was the star of Thor. I’m not alone in that opinion. Just watch this clip from The Graham Norton Show. I know the plot was about a hammer and who Daddy liked best, and, oh yeah, Thor fell in love with Black Swan, but Loki was the star.
So then it was Avengers…or The One Where Loki Kills Phil Coulson!! What’s a girl to do when one favorite character kills another favorite character?? Keep watching the MCU timeline and see what happens! All of our big name superheroes with their own franchises (plus Black Widow and Hawkeye) get together to stop an alien invasion… and destroy parts of New York. And that closes out Phase 1.
Phase 2 begins with Iron Man 3. I did not like 3 but it did provide a great set up for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I watched the show as it aired and was a bit confused by the whole Project Centipede thing, but with Iron Man 3 it makes sense. So thanks for that. Next on the list is Season 1, Episodes 1-7 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now, as I’ve said I did watch the show. But I wasn’t watching the Marvel movies at the time. The show incorporates the movie plots and assumes you’ve been watching the movies. So going back NOW and watching everything in chronological order really helps. And it makes the show even more amazing to me! Bonus – Phil Coulson is not dead!! Thor: The Dark World lands in the middle of Season 1 of AoS (I’m tired of typing the whole thing out!) That was a weird movie, right? Dark elves, red smoke, time and space vortexes… oh my! Kat Dennings provided some much needed comic relief.
Now we pick back up again with Phil, Son of Coul (a tip of the hat to you, Thor), and his agents, who have to clean up the mess Thor and Christopher Eccleston’s evil elf made in Greenwich, England. This was when Ward was good and Fitz and Simmons were still innocent. Ah! And then we have The Winter Soldier. Hasn’t Cap suffered enough?!! Apparently not. His best girl aged 70 years while he was frozen. And now his best friend is a brainwashed assassin for Hydra. Oh the things Bucky Barnes has done! But Steve still sees the good in him and has to save his BFF. And then everything goes to hell.
Now over at Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, we see the repercussions of Hydra’s infiltration. Chaos abounds as agents turn on each other and you’re not sure who to trust. I’m looking at you, Ward! After completing season 1 of AoS, you get the treat of watching Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, back-to-back. Those 2 movies are great, in their own right. Great action, great CGI, great comedy. And it’s here that I started seeing clearly the pieces for Infinity War start to come together. You might be saying, “Hey dummy, weren’t you paying attention?!” All the information before was there, but here is where it clicked for me. Hey, Thanos!
This is where the lists start to differ; a lot of this stuff is all happening concurrently, so just pick a list and go with it. I will say this though – Season 2 Episode 19 of AoS leads directly into Age of Ultron and Episode 20 picks up right after Age of Ultron, so keep that in mind. I went with Daredevil Season 1 next. It wasn’t as good as I remembered. I guess I have a lot more to compare it with now. Don’t get me wrong, Daredevil is way better than Iron Fist, Runaways or Inhumans. It just wasn’t the non-stop awesome train that I remembered it to be.
Then it was back to AoS for Season 2 Episodes 1-19. Watching AoS again, this time in context, is a lot of fun, especially in the early seasons. This current season (5) broke my heart – I love you, Fitz! But the early seasons had “flash back” episodes with Agent Carter, drop-ins from Maria Hill and Director Fury, himself. There are even 2 episodes with Lady Sif.
As I said before, Age of Ultron falls nicely between those 2 episodes of AoS. There’s also a lot of important Infinity War information in Age of Ultron. Thor takes an electrically charged bath and has a vision of Thanos’s gauntlet with the stones. Boom! I missed that the first go ’round or it meant nothing to me. I was more focused on whether or not Hawkeye’s kids go to school. If Fury “set this up” for him, does he fly out and tutor them? Do they get bussed to a nearby town? Are they enrolled under fake names? Does Hawkeye’s wife home school them? That woman puts up with a lot! Welcome to the chaos that is my mind.
Today, I just finished the last 3 episodes of AoS Season 2. Goodbye Skye, hello Daisy. I’m close to wrapping up Phase 2. I just have Ant-Man, Jessica Jones Season 1, Daredevil Season 2 and the first 19 episodes of AoS Season 3. Just another 50 hours, give or take. At this rate, I’m hoping to see Infinity War (yes, I am the ONE person who hasn’t seen it yet) sometime in September.
I have mixed feelings about moving forward. I’m not stopping; I’m in too deep now! But I’m not looking forward to watching Inhumans or Iron Fist again. Once was too much. If you saw them, then you know. But I can’t wait to watch Jessica Jones (both seasons), Luke Cage and The Punisher again. Plus I’m excited to see Ragnarok, Black Panther and Infinity War for the first time. And hey, Cloak and Dagger premieres next week and Luke Cage Season 2 later in June. So there’s that, too.
The journey continues…