Avengers: Endgame is hitting cinemas in only a months time as this long-awaited culmination of over a decade of filmmaking is sure to capture the attention of the world over. The final convergence of super soldiers, gods, spies, archers and rage-fuelled green monsters is sure to pack a ton of ridiculously large-scaled action and, to be honest, super complex storytelling that the ordinary filmgoer may not be so caught up on. The other night, I was discussing with my friend the downsides of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how if you miss one movie, well, the next one is kind of balls-to-the-walls confusing. In the last few years, Marvel have efficiently serialised cinema, where every entry in their long-running franchise can no longer be surmised as an “instalment” of a film series, but more an “episode” in a very expensive T.V. show. So, coming off the news of Kevin Fiege finalising the title of the last decade’s wave of MCU films as ‘The Infinity Saga’, I thought why not do a recap of the last twenty-one films Marvel have released… you know, for those people who don’t have enough time to sit down and watch over twenty, two and half hour, movies each.
Just to let you know, I won’t be recapping behind-the-scenes nonsense at Marvel Studios, like their transition from Paramount to Disney or the exit of Edgar Wright, but more-or-less just the overall narrative of the series, from film to film, so you know exactly what is happening when the opening titles of Avengers: Endgame flicker onscreen… so, without further ado, here we go.
In 2008, the self-proclaimed genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, Tony Stark is captured by an assembly of terrorists known as the Ten Rings. Close to death, Stark is installed with a magnetic arc reactor to keep further shards of shrapnel from entering his heart. Ordered to manufacture weapons for the terrorist organisation, Stark instead, with the assistance of the prisoner, Yinsen, develops a weaponised suit of armour to fight his way out of his cave imprisonment and return to the comforts of his home in Los Angeles. Once safe, Stark decides to cancel any further production of weapons from his multibillion-dollar company – Stark Industries – and instead pursues further advancements and redesigns of his weaponised armour. Utilising his new-found invention to join the war on terror, Stark dons the name Iron Man and faces off against his power-hungry business partner, Obadiah Stane, for control of Stark Industries. Prevailing against his foes and revealing to the world his identity as Iron Man, Stark is later approached by Nick Fury, the mysterious director of a peace-keeping organisation entitled S.H.I.E.L.D., who offers Stark a place in his plot to launch the “Avengers Initiative”.
A little while later, a well-rounded scientist known to the world as Bruce Banner, flees the U.S. military as a high target fugitive after an experiment involving gamma radiation and the reworking of super solider serum transforms him into a giant, green goliath whenever enraged. Known only as the Hulk, General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross takes to alarming lengths in order to capture and detain the beast for further military use; employing his most trusted mercenary, Emil Blonsky, to undertake a genetically advanced alteration in order to carry out Ross’s orders. In Harlem, Banner, along with his confident and the daughter of General Ross, Betty, seek a way to reverse Banner’s inflictions but Blonsky ambushes them. Injecting himself with Banner’s DNA, Blonsky morphs into an “abomination” to which only the Hulk manages to stand against. Surviving the ordeal and defeating Blonsky, Banner retreats once again to the wilderness to seek a way to repress his anger and come to peace with the Hulk.
Around the same time, the annual Stark Expo kicks into gear as, early on into the event, Tony Stark learns that his arc reactor is simultaneously killing him whilst also keeping him alive. Leading him to become more irresponsible with his technology, Stark’s actions attract the attention of the U.S. government, the U.S. military and SHIELD. When an illegal Russian arms manufacturer, Ivan Vanko, replicates Stark’s technology and uses it to launch a public attack, Stark is forced to retreat from the public eye. Under the watchful view of SHIELD agents, Nick Fury, Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanoff, otherwise known as the Black Widow, Stark sets to work in synthesising an undiscovered element left behind as the summation of his father, Howard Stark’s lifework. Meanwhile, Vanko is recruited by Stark’s business rival, Justin Hammer, to construct a series of android weaponry to oppose Stark’s Iron Man suit designs. Using the innovative element to power his newly built arc reactor, Stark, along with his loyal friend, Col. James Rhodes, suit up as Iron Man and War Machine to defeat Vanko and his army of Hammer financed drones. Although having successfully warded off Vanko’s attack and saving his love, Pepper Potts, Fury decides to deny Stark a position on the Avengers due to his lack of responsibility; instead, Stark attains a position as a consultant for SHIELD.
Occurring during the same week as the Stark Expo, in New Mexico, the scientists, Jane Foster and Erik Selvig, along with their intern, Darcy Lewis, find a man in the desert, claiming himself to be the Asgardian God of Thunder – Thor. Before their discovery though, far amidst the cosmos, within the Nine Realms, king of the Asgardians, Odin, decided to banish his son, the soon-to-be-crowned king, Thor, to Earth after his reckless behaviour costs Asgard its already shaky peace with the villainous Frost Giants. Thor, separated from his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, embarks on a mission to retrieve it from a heavily guarded SHIELD base, run by Phil Coulson. Although, learning himself to no longer be worthy of wielding the hammer, Thor succumbs to his father’s banishment and accepts a life alongside Foster, whom he sparks a relationship with. In Asgard though, Thor’s brother, Loki, the God of Mischief, learns he is in fact the son of a Frost Giant, kept by Odin to one day become the key to peace within the Nine Realms. When Odin falls into a deep sleep, an enraged Loki assumes position as king of Asgard, sending a destructive guardsman, the Destroyer, to kill Thor. Learning humility, Thor sacrifices himself to the Destroyer to save his new-found friends, earning him back Mjolnir – with it, Thor returns to Asgard to dethrone Loki and save the Frost Giants from Loki’s genocide of their home planet. In order to do so, Thor destroys the Bifrost – the only way in and out of Asgard – but in doing so, loses Loki to the deep vacuum of space and rids his chance of reuniting with Foster. Odin awakes as Thor resumes his position as prince, accepting his unreadiness to lead.
Flashback to the early 1940s, where Johann Schmidt, also recognised as the mutilated Red Skull, the leader of Hydra – the NAZI science sector – secures the cosmic cube, otherwise known as the Tesseract, and employs it as a means to power advanced cosmic weaponry to assist in the war effort. In Brooklyn, a sickly boy named Steve Rogers attempts numerable times to join the U.S. army with his close friend, James “Bucky” Barnes, to courageously serve his country. Rogers is finally given a chance to prove himself when Dr. Abraham Erskine recruits him for a secret project to build the world’s first super soldier. The procedure is a success but Erskine is assassinated immediately after, leaving Rogers as the sole consumer of the genetically advanced serum. After a long stint as the propaganda icon, Captain America, Rogers finally manages to join the war when he undertakes a suicide mission to rescue captured troops – including a biologically tortured Barnes – from a Hydra base. Rogers, with the help of high-ranking official, Peggy Carter, and a young Howard Stark, leads his team, the Howling Commandoes, on countless missions to bring down Hydra with one said mission claiming the life of Barnes. In a final push to defeat Schmidt and his formidable forces, Rogers intercepts a Hydra aircraft carrying timed bombs directed towards global capital cities. Schmidt, in a final effort to claim the power of the Tesseract, is sucked through a portal into space by the cosmic cube, presumably killing him, as the Tesseract falls into the ocean below. Rogers decides to sacrifice himself by plunging the bomb-riddled aircraft into the Arctic ocean – missing his pre-planned date with his newly realised true love, Carter. Thanks though to Rogers, the Second World War comes to a close as Carter and Stark begin to build the organisation, SHIELD, after Stark manages to uncover the Tesseract. Almost seventy years later however, SHIELD recovers Rogers from his frozen state in the Arctic, awaking him in Manhattan, in the year 2012.
Still in possession of the Tesseract, SHIELD continues their experimentation with the cosmic cube, plotting an eventual endgame to utilise the Tesseract’s power to create new weaponry. Yet, one night, the Tesseract seemingly rouses, opening a portal to the other side of the galaxy, allowing a wayward Loki to resurface on Earth. Utilising a mysterious mind controlling sceptre, Loki brainwashes an array of SHIELD agents and scientists, forcing them to assist him in thieving away the Tesseract for an assignment tasked to him by the Other – the leader of an intergalactic race known as the Chitauri. In response to Loki’s attacks, Nick Fury decides to initiate his original plans of assembling the Avengers – Earth’s mightiest heroes. The agents, Natasha Romanoff and Phil Coulson, gather Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner, to assist SHIELD in locating Loki and the Tesseract. The heroes are joined by Thor in their apprehension and imprisonment of Loki on SHIELD’s floating airbase, the Helicarrier. Loki manages to manipulate a situation on the Helicarrier to enrage Banner, furtherly releasing the Hulk. Chaos ensues, allowing Loki to escape the Helicarrier, killing Coulson in the process. In possession of the Tesseract, Loki opens a portal over Manhattan, allowing the Chitauri to evade New York City. The Avengers – now joined by the previously brainwashed archer, Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye – assemble in the city to oppose the endless wave of Chitauri fleets. Fury’s superiors, the World Security Council, attempt to end the invasion by nuking the city; although, Stark manages to intercept the missile, flying it through the space portal to destroy the Chituari’s intergalactic base, successfully ending the invasion. The Avengers defeat Loki as Thor returns his brother and the Tesseract to Asgard. The Avengers dissemble as Fury rests easy believing that, one day, the Avengers will return when the world truly needs them…
Later that year, over the Christmas holiday season, Tony Stark finds himself suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, after his near-death experience flying a missile into space during the Battle of New York. To cope with his growing paranoia and evident insomnia, Stark begins building an endless line of Iron Man suits, simultaneously crippling his relationship with Pepper Potts, the CEO of Stark Industries. In the meantime, an infamous terrorist entitled the Mandarin claims a string of bombings to which one seriously maims Stark’s Head of Security and close friend, Harold “Happy” Hogan. Stark sends the Mandarin a televised threat, insisting the terrorist confront him at his Los Angeles home; doing so, the Mandarin sends gunship helicopters to destroy Stark’s place of residents, leaving the public to believe Stark to be dead. Going into hiding with the assistance of a ten-year-old boy named Harley, Stark begins to investigate the Mandarin’s various bombings and their mysterious undetectable nature. Stark learns the bombings were linked to Extremis, an experimental regenerative treatment, manufactured by A.I.M., an organisation founded by a past bitter admirer of Stark’s, Aldrich Killian. Teaming with James Rhodes to infiltrate the Mandarin’s base in Miami, Stark further learns that the Mandarin is, in fact, a fake portrayed by an actor called Trevor Slattery and employed by Killian to cover up for the explosive nature of his failed attempts at refining Extremis. Kidnapping the United States President, along with Potts, Killian schemes to broadcast the death of President Ellis on live television. Calling in the assistance of his amassed variety of Iron Man suits, Stark, along with Rhodes, go head-to-head with Killian and his Extremis soldiers, saving the President and Potts whilst doing so. Defeating Killian, Stark finally agrees to retire as Iron Man, destroying his suits and removing his arc reactor in an effort to continue a loving relationship with Potts.
In the meantime, far out in the cosmos, Loki awaits trial back on Asgard for his crimes against Earth. Bringing peace to the Nine Realms, Thor is startled when the all-seeing sentry of the Bifrost, Heimdall, alerts him to the fact that Thor’s beloved Jane Foster has disappeared. Promptly returning to Earth, Thor is reunited with Foster only to learn her body has seemingly merged with an ancient power known as the Aether. Taking Foster to Asgard for further investigation, Thor learns from Odin that the Aether was once the possession of an ancient race entitled the Dark Elves whom once attempted to use the Aether to plunge the universe back into its original state of complete darkness – although they were defeated by Asgardians and forced to retreat. Foster’s interaction with the Aether seemingly awakens the Dark Elves, leading their forces to command an assault on Asgard to regain the Aether. The Dark Elves fail to attain the Aether from Foster, killing the Asgardian Queen, Frigga, in order to escape. Brought together by the death of their mother and in defiance of their father, Thor and Loki decide to take Foster to the Dark Elves in order destroy both the Aether and the Elves from within the same proximity; their plan fails however as the Elves absorb the Aether whilst Loki is killed in battle. Thor and Foster manage to locate a portal returning them to Earth where Thor is given a final chance to face off against the Elves in London before they plunge the universe into eternal darkness. Narrowly defeating the Dark Elves and re-imprisoning the Aether, Thor returns to Asgard one final time to decline Odin’s offer for the position as king, in exchange to live on Earth alongside Foster… yet, against Thor’s knowledge, Loki has taken to impersonating Odin on the throne of Asgard.
Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers has achieved status as a high-ranking agent of SHIELD. When Nick Fury is seemingly assassinated before his very eyes, by a ghost assassin, known only as the Winter Soldier, Rogers learns that SHIELD has in fact been infiltrated by Hydra, ever since their founding towards the end of the Second World War. Targeted by SHIELD’s most senior officer and loyal member of Hydra, Alexander Pierce, Rogers is forced to go undercover to seek a means to end Hydra’s assent to power. Partnered with Natasha Romanoff and former pararescueman, Sam Wilson, Rogers is confronted by the aforementioned Winter Soldier, whom Rogers soon learns to actually be his best friend from his past life, Bucky Barnes, brainwashed and preserved by Hydra as their secret, most lethal weapon. Discovering Hydra’s plans to use new, state of the art, SHIELD Insight Helicarriers to assassinate global threats to Hydra in a matter of minutes, Fury – who faked his own death to stay hidden – recruits Rogers, Romanoff and Wilson in order to sabotage Hydra’s plot and dismantle the Helicarriers. Whilst Fury and Romanoff oppose Pierce, Rogers and Wilson begin rewiring the Helicarrier’s systems only to be confronted, yet again, by the Winter Soldier. Successfully destroying the Helicarriers, Rogers attempts to liberate Barnes from his brainwashed state, leading Barnes to furtherly rescue Rogers from the destruction of the Helicarriers and promptly disappear. With Pierce dead, both SHIELD and Hydra become compromised as Romanoff releases once top-secret SHIELD data to the public eye in the hopes to finally snuff out any last morsels of Hydra factions. Using his supposed death as a cover, Fury returns to the shadows to continue tracking any remaining agents of Hydra whilst Rogers and Wilson and agree to continue hunting Barnes.
Somewhere, meanwhile, in the furthest reaches of the galaxy, Earth-born Ravager, Peter Quill, stumbles upon a supposedly powerful relic recognised only as the Orb. Quill soon learns the Orb to be the desire of the Kree supremacist, Ronan the Accuser, who is promised the annihilation of the planet Xandar, by the Mad Titan, Thanos, if successful in attaining the Orb. Thanos gifts Ronan his highly-trained mercenary daughters, Gamora and Nebula, whom the former of which manages to track and almost detain Quill, but due to the interference of a bounty hunter named Rocket Raccoon and his sidekick, a humanoid tree named Groot, the four are arrested by the Xandarian Nova Corps and sent to the Kyln prison. There, Gamora reveals to Quill, Rocket and Groot her plot to betray Ronan and Thanos by transporting the Orb to an obsessive artefact collector, Taneleer Tivan, on the mining colony of Knowhere for money. With the help of the blood-thirsty Drax the Destroyer – a sworn enemy of Ronan – the squadron of criminals escape the Kyln and deliver the Orb to Tivan, only to learn the Orb houses an ancient substance known as the Power Stone – one of six ancient, all-powerful Infinity Stones. Ronan arrives on Knowhere, claiming the Orb and defying Thanos by merging with the Power Stone to assimilate to God-like status, setting a course for Xandar to perpetrate endless destruction of the Xandarian empire. Deciding to put aside their differences for the sake of the universe’s survival, the newly named Guardians of the Galaxy, with the help of Quill’s adoptive father, the Ravager leader, Yondu Udonta, decide to join forces in order to assist the Nova Corps in their attempts to defeat Ronan. After Groot sacrifices himself to protect his new-found family, the Guardians manage to build up the might to separate Ronan from the Power Stone. Using his bare hands, Quill wields the Power Stone and unleashes its power on Ronan, killing him. In the aftermath, the Guardians gift the Power Stone to the Nova Corps, who reveal to Quill his biology is partly an ancient alien lifeform, lending credence to why he was able to wield the Power Stone. Expunging their records, on the proviso they remain in the bounds of the law, the Nova Corps allow the Guardians of the Galaxy to freely roam the cosmos as a make-shift family of misfits whilst Rocket plants one of Groot’s last remaining twigs, allowing his friend to regrow.
Back on Earth, the fallout of SHIELD has forced the Avengers – Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Thor, Bruce Banner and Clint Barton – to reunite in their efforts to eradicate the last remaining branches of Hydra, hidden away in the Eastern European country of Sokovia. On a routine mission to dismantle a small Hydra science ring, the Avengers are opposed by two super-powered Sokovian youths, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, who’s powers originated as a result of experimentation with Loki’s sceptre. Using her mind-contorting abilities, Wanda shows Stark a possible future where the Avengers have been killed and Earth is overrun by a second alien invasion. Fuelled by his vision, Stark attains the sceptre for himself and, after noticing it contains a highly-advanced cosmic artificial intelligence, uses it to commission his plans to build a peace-keeping organism labelled the Ultron program. Although, amidst his creation, Ultron immediately identifies mankind as the greatest barrier for gaining world-peace and, with the help of the Maximoff twins, sets in motion a plan to cleanse the world from humanity. Ultron uses the Avenger’s ally, Dr. Helen Cho, to build him a new indestructible android body out synthetic-tissue, Wakandan vibranium and the gem powering Loki’s sceptre from the inside. Recognising Ultron’s ultimate plot is to “evolve”, the Avengers manage to steal the android from Ultron and, against the rest of the team’s orders, Stark uploads the conscious of his original artificial intelligence, J.A.R.V.I.S., into the body. Powered by Thor, the android awakes, suitably referred to as the Vision, as Thor reveals the gem from Loki’s sceptre, now residing in the Vision’s temple, is the Mind Stone – an Infinity Stone. Joined by the Maximoff twins who grow to oppose Ultron’s worldview, the Avengers fly to Sokovia in a final effort to defuse Ultron’s plan of lifting a city into orbit and furtherly dropping it to cause a meteorite event. In the ensuing battle, Pietro is killed saving civilians who are transported away from the aerial battle by Nick Fury in a revived Helicarrier. Stark and Thor obliterate the city before its collision with the Earth whilst Vision erases Ultron’s consciousness from existence for good. Building a new facility in Upstate New York, the Avengers update their roster as Stark and Barton retire to settle down with their loved ones, Thor departs to space to investigate the Infinity Stones and the Hulk banishes himself from Earth after believing his presence to be too dangerous. Rogers and Romanoff assemble a new team of Avengers consisting of James Rhodes, Sam Wilson, Wanda and Vision.
A few months later, petty thief, Scott Lang, is finally released from a brief stint in prison with the intentions of restoring the faith of his young daughter, Cassie, into him. Although, persuaded by his conman allies, Lang decides to pull off one final heist by stealing a supposed motorcycle suit from the house of a mysterious elderly man. Curious of the suit’s importance, Lang tries it on only to be shrunk down to the size of ant. Eventually approached by the elderly man who identifies himself as the scientist, Hank Pym, Lang learns the suit was Pym’s 1980s Ant-Man stealth suit, powered by Pym Particles which would allow the wearer to shrink in size but grow in strength. Pym offers Lang the suit in exchange for Lang’s assistance in stealing back Pym’s technology from his ex-protégé, Darren Cross, who plots to sell the invention of Pym Particles to warmongers on the black market. In an effort to make his daughter proud, Lang agrees to help Pym. Trained by Pym’s assertive daughter, Hope Van Dyne, Lang’s time in the company of the Pyms has him learn of the quantum realm, a subatomic reality for which Pym’s wife and partner, Janet, was lost to when she tampered with her Wasp suit regulator to shrink small enough to defuse a Soviet bomb. On the night of the caper, Cross dons his own version of the Ant-Man suit, the Yellowjacket, to defend his sales of Pym Particles from Lang. The two engage in a miniscule brawl that soon comes to endanger the life of Cassie, forcing Lang to take drastic measures and shrink down into the quantum realm to defuse Cross’s suit. Utilising his quick thinking, Lang escapes the quantum realm and is celebrated as a hero by Pym, Van Dyne and, lastly, Cassie. Beginning to set his life back on track, Lang is tipped off by a series of sources, that the Avengers need him for a new assignment.
It just so happens that the Avengers have found themselves in some hot water – a mission led by Steve Rogers, in Lagos, culminates in Wanda Maximoff’s telekinetic abilities accidently exploding a nearby building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers. Rogers and the Avengers are approached by the United Nations who reveal their intentions to pass the Sokovia Accords which shall grant the UN full power to oversee and control the Avenger’s actions. Tony Stark, feeling blamed for the creation of Ultron, decides to support the Accords despite Rogers disagreeing with the UN’s decision, leaving the team definitively divided. During the formal ratifying of the Accords, an explosion kills the king of Wakanda, T’Chaka, as security footage indicates the lead suspect to be Bucky Barnes. T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, vows revenge against Barnes, forcing Rogers and Sam Wilson to break the Accords in order to protect him. Believing the true bomber to be a Sokovian ex-colonel named Helmut Zemo, who’s grown a hatred for the Avengers after their battle with Ultron resulted in the death of his family, Rogers, Wilson and Barnes go into hiding to investigate Zemo’s true plan. Discovering that a secret abandoned Hydra base in Serbia houses a team of lethal Winter Soldiers trapped in cryogenic sleep, Rogers, Wilson and Barnes believes it is Zemo’s plan to release them under his order. Assembling a team of Avengers who oppose the Accords, including Clint Barton, Wanda Maximoff and Scott Lang, Rogers, Wilson and Barnes attempt to steal the Avenger’s quinjet at Leipzig/Halle Airport to make it to Serbia before Zemo, although the team are confronted by Stark. Having built his own team of Avengers in agreeance with the Accords, including Natasha Romanoff, James Rhodes, T’Challa, Vision and the wild card teenager named Peter Parker, otherwise recognised as the vigilante, Spider-Man, Stark tries to capture Roger’s team in service of the UN. In the midst of a battle at the airport, Rogers and Barnes escape with the help of Romanoff who betrays Stark, terminating her contract with the Accords and forcing her to go into hiding. The battle concludes when Rhodes is accidently paralysed by Vision as Stark manages to only apprehend Wilson, Barton, Maximoff and Lang, all of which are imprisoned in the ocean fortress for super-powered criminals, entitled the Raft. Learning that Zemo did, in fact, frame Barnes, Stark decides to make peace with Rogers in Siberia to help defeat Zemo; although, at the Hydra base, Zemo reveals his true plan after killing all the Winter Soldiers in their sleep and broadcasting archival footage of Barnes, as the Winter Soldier in the 1990s, murdering Stark’s parents, Howard and Maria. Enraged, Stark attacks Barnes with the intention to kill, prompting Rogers to defend his best friend by shutting down Stark’s suit and escaping, whilst simultaneously dropping his title of Captain America. T’Challa, hearing the news of Barnes’ innocence, arrests Zemo, whilst Rogers breaks free his fellow Avengers from the Raft, sending Stark a phone to contact him if he is ever needed again.
Earlier in the same year, the arrogant New York neurosurgeon, Doctor Stephen Strange, shatters the tools of his trade – his hands – in a horrendous car accident. Finding no sufficient way to heal, Strange isolates himself, only surfacing when he learns from a former paraplegic, Jonathan Pangborn, of a place in Nepal called Kamar-Taj where miracle recoveries are said to take place through heavily mysterious methods. Travelling to Kathmandu, Strange meets the Ancient One, an eternal sorcerer who commands great power over the mystic arts. Despite his initial disbelief of magic, Strange is shown by the Ancient One the greater possibilities found in learning and mastering the mystic arts and soon agrees to become a student of Kamar-Taj. During his time as a pupil, Strange stumbles upon the Eye of Agamotto – a precious relic used to manipulate time – though is quickly refused usage of the item. Soon, a once talented pupil of the Ancient One, Kaecilius, corrupted by the power of the Dark Dimension, launches a series of attacks on the three Sanctums – a trio of buildings that generate a shield to deter threats from other dimensions found in London, New York and Hong Kong – in order to weaken Earth’s defences, allowing his master, the all-powerful dark sorcerer, Dormammu, to take control of reality. Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One as Strange learns she had been channelling power from the Dark Dimension in order to sustain her immortality; before she dies, the Ancient One insists Strange too bends the rules to ward off an invasion from Dormammu. Gaining the Cloak of Levitation and also the Eye of Agamotto, Strange learns that time does not exist in the Dark Dimension and schemes to trap Dormammu in a time loop until the sorcerer agrees to leave Earth unharmed along with his zealots, including Kaecilius. Strange gains status as a Master of the Mystic Arts and, with fellow sorcerer, Wong, takes to becoming the official guardian of the New York Sanctum, despite the defiance of code enforcing sorcerer, Karl Mordo. Casually, Wong informs Strange that the Eye of Agamotto happens to contain an Infinity Stone – the Time Stone.
Several years earlier, following their defeat of Ronan, the ragtag family of misfits, the Guardians of the Galaxy, have lived a sustainable existence as heroes for hire, travelling the universe assisting numerous alien societies for payment. Whilst helping an advanced colony known as the Sovereign with a monster problem in order to regain Gamora’s criminal sister, Nebula, the Guardians come under fire when Rocket recklessly steals some of the Sovereign’s precious and valuable batteries. Escaping the Sovereign’s wrath, the Guardians crash land on an unknown planet where they are approached by a mysterious being calling himself Ego, whom claims to be Peter Quill’s birth father. Inviting Quill and the Guardians to his home planet, Ego reveals himself as a god-like celestial, leading Quill, Gamora and Drax to explore further whilst Rocket stays behind to rebuild the Guardian’s ship with an imprisoned Nebula and an adolescent baby version of Groot. Deciding to fulfil the Sovereign’s bounty on the Guardians, Yondu Udonta ambushes Rocket and Groot, but considers letting them go free, infuriating the Ravagers whom have grown tired of Yondu’s endless loyalty to Quill and his friends. The Ravagers agree to hold a mutiny against Yondu whilst allowing Nebula safe passage to escape; Rocket and Groot help Yondu escape the Ravager’s imprisonment as Yondu reveals that he was hired by Ego to transport Ego’s thousands of children to his planet in the hope they contained Ego’s celestial gene and could assist Ego in his domination of the universe. Meanwhile, on Ego’s planet, Gamora’s suspicions of Ego are confirmed when Nebula arrives, helping Gamora to uncover the bodies of Ego’s past children. Ego’s empathic confident, Mantis, informs Gamora, Drax and Nebula that Ego plans to control Quill – his only child with the celestial gene – to help him begin consuming countless worlds. Although, when Ego lets slip that he plagued Quill’s mother with cancer, eventually killing her, Quill breaks free from Ego’s control of him and reassembles with the Guardians, including Yondu, Rocket and Groot whom join the team in their plan to destroy Ego and his planet with the explosive power of the Sovereign’s batteries. The Guardians successfully eradicate Ego and his planet as Yondu sacrifices himself to ensure Quill’s safety in the ensuing destruction. The Guardians unite with the Ravagers to hold a funeral for Yondu – a truly redeemed hero.
Returning to the events surrounding the Avenger’s dismantling at the hands of the damaging Sokovia Accords, Peter Parker is forced to return to a mundane life as a teenager living in Queens after being given the chance to fight alongside Tony Stark and his heroes. Gifted a specialised redesigned Spider-Man suit, Parker agrees to follow Stark’s instructions, to “stay low” and operate purely as New York’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man with the promise he could one day gain official status as an Avenger. Months go by as Parker begins to question whether he will ever be considered for a mission from Stark, until, one night, Parker uncovers an arms-dealing ring, selling weaponry built from scrapped Chitauri tech from the Battle of New York. Parker investigates further to learn the mastermind behind the ring to be Adrien Toomes, known professionally as the Vulture with his weaponised winged suit. Parker takes the opportunity to bring Toomes to justice in order to gain the respect of Stark and prove his worthiness to become an Avenger. Yet, one of Parker’s attempts to defeat Toomes ends with the life-threatening destruction of a Staten Island ferry, leading Stark to relieve Parker of his new suit. Despite this however, Parker decides to continue his pursuit of Toomes when, on the night of his Homecoming dance, he learns his date, Liz, happens to be Toomes’ daughter. When Toomes goes to rob a plane carrying specialised Avengers tech, Parker confronts him, narrowly defeating Toomes and regaining the admiration of Stark. At the Avengers facility, Stark offers Parker a new suit and status as an official Avenger, though Parker refuses, deciding he, himself, to not yet be ready for such a title. Reunited with his original suit from Stark, Parker is caught donning his Spider-Man attire by his shocked aunt, May Parker.
Now, with two years having passed since Ultron’s devastation of Sokovia, Thor finds himself at the climax of a long and arduous quest to locate the Infinity Stones, only to have failed in doing so and wounded up on a new mission to prevent the fiery demon, Surtur, from unleashing the doomsday event, Ragnarok, upon Asgard. Dethroning Surtur, Thor returns to Asgard with the demon’s crown only to find Loki has seemingly been sitting on the Asgardian throne for almost four years, impersonating Odin. Begrudgingly, Loki helps Thor retrieve Odin from his banishment on Earth where the All-Father informs his two sons that he is dying; once he officially passes away, Odin’s magical imprisonment of his eldest child, Hela, the Goddess of Death, shall fade, allowing her to regain full power and return terror to Asgard. True to his word, Odin dies as Hela awakens, destroying Mjolnir and banishing the brothers to the distant planet of Sakar, before crowning herself as the new queen of Asgard. On Sakar, Thor is enslaved as a gladiator whilst Loki is welcomed into Sakarian high society. In order to escape the planet, Thor agrees to battle Sakar’s strongest gladiator whom just so happens to be the Hulk – who crash landed on Sakar after departing Earth two years prior. Channelling a new surge of power as the God of Thunder, Thor manages to revert the Hulk back to Bruce Banner, recruiting Loki, an ex-Asgardian warrior, Valkyrie, and an army of gladiators to return to Asgard and revolt against Hela. Realising Hela’s source of power is Asgard, Thor and Loki awaken Surtur by uniting his crown with the Eternal Flame in Odin’s vault. Surtur decimates Asgard, along with Hela, as Thor and his allies escape via a Sakarian spacecraft. Finally crowned king of Asgard, Thor suggests his people rebuild Asgard on Earth.
Reverting back to a few weeks following the death of King T’Chaka, the African nation of Wakanda welcomes their new king, T’Challa, to the throne. Wakanda, appearing to in fact be a highly advanced society powered by their possession of a vibranium riddled meteorite, have hidden in secret from the world for centuries, choosing not to share their futuristic technology for the benefit of their nation’s safety. Arms dealer and notorious enemy of Wakanda, Ulysses Klaue, partners with a mercenary, Erik Killmonger, to traffic a shipment of vibranium, in order to stir the attention of the Wakandans. T’Challa, having consumed the vibranium laced Heart-Shaped Herb, officially takes the title of Black Panther and attempts to capture Klaue; although, the interference of Killmonger sees T’Challa fail. Killmonger, instead, murders Klaue and delivers his corpse to Wakanda, revealing his identity to the Wakandan elders to be the son of T’Chaka’s brother, N’Jobu, a supposed traitor of Wakanda who was secretly killed by T’Chaka to keep Wakanda’s secret secure. Following the death of his father, Killmonger was left to fend for himself as a boy in America, vowing vengeance on Wakanda. Plotting to eventually overthrow the king, Killmonger reveals his scheme to lead Wakandans into a new age of guerrilla warfare against the oppressors of Africans globally by exploiting Wakanda’s advanced weaponry. Killmonger succeeds in his plan, besting T’Challa in ritual combat and taking the crown and mantle of Black Panther for himself. With the help of his loyal comrades, Nakia and Okoye, his wildly intelligent sister, Shuri, his mother, Ramonda, past rival, M’Baku, and C.I.A. agent, Everett Ross, T’Challa regains his strength, consuming the last of the Heart-Shaped Herbs after Killmonger instructs his servants to burn the rest. T’Challa and his team destroy Killmonger’s warships and detain his army as T’Challa himself is forced to mortally wound Killmonger to end his reign. Succumbing to his wounds, Killmonger dies, leaving T’Challa to return to his place as king and position as Black Panther. In honour of Killmonger and other oppressed souls whom Wakanda refused to lend aid to in the past, T’Challa decides to officially open Wakanda to the rest of the world, lending the nation’s technology to people in need.
A convergence of sorts sparks in the universe as Thanos, equipping himself with the Infinity Gauntlet, begins a conquest spanning the galaxy to collect all six Infinity Stones to inflict his will over reality. Believing the universe is in need of salvation, Thanos plots to erase half of all life in existence to ensure the harmonious survival of the other half. Aided by his children, the Black Order, Thanos claims the Power Stone from the Nova Corps and the Space Stone from the Agardians, killing Loki in the process and leaving Thor to die in the vacuum of space. In a last-ditch effort to warn the Avengers of Thanos’ incoming, Thor sends Bruce Banner back to Earth where Banner recruits Tony Stark and Doctor Stephen Strange to defend the Time Stone from the Black Order. Deciding to take the fight to Thanos, Stark along with Strange and Peter Parker take control of the Black Order’s spacecraft, setting a course for Thanos’ home world of Titan. Meanwhile, Thanos, gaining the Reality Stone from Knowhere, kidnaps his daughter, Gamora, forcing her, through the torture of Nebula, to reveal the location of the Soul Stone. Succumbing to Thanos, Gamora leads him to the planet, Vormir, where the Soul Stone resides; although, in order to attain it, Thanos is forced to sacrifice Gamora. Arriving on Titan, Stark, Strange and Parker cross paths with an enraged Peter Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy who currently seek Gamora. Using the Time Stone to explore every conceivable outcome of their impending confrontation with Thanos, Strange reveals the heroes only prevail in one future. Working together, the Avengers and the Guardians ambush Thanos who arrives to claim the Time Stone, yet their efforts fail and the Mad Titan teleports to Earth to collect the final stone – the Mind Stone. Building a defence in Wakanda, Steve Rogers and T’Challa rally the remaining Avengers and their allies to protect Vision from Thanos tearing the Mind Stone from his temple. The war effort fails though when Thanos arrives, breaking the hero’s defences and killing Vision to complete his gauntlet by adding the Mind Stone. Despite Thor’s untimely arrival in Wakanda – having survived Thanos’ decimation of his people to forge a new weapon called Stormbreaker in an attempt to kill the Mad Titan – Thanos still manages to activate the gauntlet and erase half of all life across the universe. Completing his mission, Thanos retreats to an unknown planet to finally rest.
Running concurrently with Thanos’ quest, Scott Lang finds himself nearing the end of his two-year house arrest after defying the Sokovia Accords to join the Avengers. Resulting from his time spent in the quantum realm, Lang finds himself subjected to a series of dreams where he seemingly merges consciousness with Janet Van Dyne, who may just still be alive inside the quantum realm. Re-recruited by Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne – who resent Lang for joining the Avengers and making them fugitives of the UN for harbouring the secret Ant-Man tech – to assist in retrieving Janet from the quantum realm due to his quantum entanglement with her, Lang is gifted with a malfunctioning, prototype Ant-Man suit to complete the mission. Pym also grants Hope control of a newly-designed Wasp suit as the trio’s plans are halted when a quantumly unstable woman named Ava Starr steals Pym’s shrunken lab with the help of Pym’s old associate, Bill Foster, in order to reach Janet themselves and absorb her energy to cure Starr. Managing to retrieve the lab, Pym completes his quantum tunnel to enter the quantum realm as Janet uses Lang to communicate to Pym her exact location. Pym embarks on his quest into the quantum realm whilst Lang and Hope attempt to prevent Starr and further enemies, like the arms dealer, Sonny Burch, from tampering with the shrunken lab. Pym resurfaces from the quantum realm with Janet who cures Starr whilst Lang makes it home in time before the FBI learn of his breach of house arrest. Later, while collecting quantum energy to continue healing Starr, Lang finds himself trapped in the quantum realm after Thanos’ snap erases Pym, Hope and Janet.
And back we go again, this time to the year 1995, where the Kree warrior Vers finds herself constantly suffering from realistic nightmares of a possible past life of hers, even though her memory continues to fail her and an unknown source of power surges inside her. Finally inducted into Starforce by the Kree’s Supreme Intelligence, Vers joins her mentor, Yon-Rogg, and his squadron on a rescue operation of a Kree spy captured by a unit of Skrulls – a race of shape-shifting aliens whom have long been the sworn enemy of the Kree – however, the mission goes awry and Vers is kidnapped by the Skrulls, who’s leader, Talos, examines Vers’ shattered memories to learn she is Earth-born and was once a companion of the undercover Kree scientist, Dr. Wendy Lawson, otherwise known as Mar-Vell. Vers escapes the Skrull’s hold on her and is catapulted down to Earth where she is promptly followed by the Skrulls who hope she can lead them to Lawson. Vers is discovered by the SHIELD agent, Nick Fury, who helps Vers locate information on Lawson, leading Vers to learn her true identity to be Carol Danvers, an ex-fighter pilot who was presumed dead in an air crash which also claimed the life of Lawson. To uncover more, Danvers reconnects with her old friend, Maria Rambeau, who’s home has been infiltrated by Talos and the Skrulls. Talos shares the black box from Carol’s air crash with her which reveals Lawson was a renegade Kree, testing a new light-speed engine when she was murdered by Yon-Rogg; in an effort to keep the Kree from the engine, Carol destroyed it, accidently absorbing its powers which eradicated her memory allowing Yon-Rogg to kidnap her and remodel her as the Kree warrior, Vers. As an extension, Talos explains to Danvers that the Skrulls, for centuries, have been wrongly accused of their crimes by the Kree, and are, in actual fact, refugees seeking a new home to which Lawson originally planned to help them achieve. Learning Lawson has a cloaked laboratory orbiting Earth, housing Talos’ family along with several homeless Skrulls, Danvers chooses to protect them from Yon-Rogg and his fleet of Kree warships. Overcoming Yon-Rogg and sending him back to the Kree empire with a warning that she shall return, Danvers proceeds to lead the Skrulls to a safe, new home beyond the stars. Before leaving Earth though, Danvers gifts Fury with a rewired pager to contact her when he needs her; inspired by Danvers, Fury begins work crafting the Avengers Initiative. However, twenty-three years later, after Thanos’ activates the Infinity Gauntlet, the Avengers recover Fury’s beeping pager to which leads Danvers back to Earth to join the Avengers.
… and big breath in… and big breath out…
So there we have it; a complete recap of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe – or the recently titled Infinity Saga – for you. I hope that was as informative and catchy for you to read as it was for me to write it. Although, I would recommend for you just to watch the movies; if writing this recap has taught me anything its that watching a film is way more fulfilling than explaining them, and, when looking back, damn, have Marvel really offered some honestly solid, entertaining movies that I could not recommend more.
So that’s my endgame, folks. Let’s look forward to Avengers: Endgame which is now only a month away!
- Marvel Studio’s Avengers: Endgame – Official Trailer (14 March 2019), YouTube video, Marvel Entertainment [Online], viewed 25 March 2019, <https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=avengers+endgame+youtube&view=detail&mid=DE16CC14EF1912A5312BDE16CC14EF1912A5312B&FORM=VIRE>