Mandatory Marvel - What to Watch for Infinity War

With Infinity War coming up fast there may be a lot for some folks to catch up on to enjoy the spectacle.  With 18 total films leading up to the first part of the grand finale for the current MCU, what films MUST you see in order to be up to date for what you are about to see.  Not everyone has the time to complete the entire set, so what films should you invest the time into?  

For me, this question does not get answered by knowing what the infinity stones are.  It does state it in the films, to lesser and greater degrees, what stone does what but not extremely well.  Some folks, as followers of the books, are able to connect what is what but I cannot imagine Infinity War does not goes full exposition for a scene and spell out what does which.  

For me, caring about the players matters more than knowing that the Tesseract is.   Knowing that more than likely it's with Loki does not matter ½ as much as knowing WHO Loki is and the relationship with his brother Thor.  Same towards the relationships between Widow and Hawkeye, Bucky and Cap, and Cap and Stark.  

So with that in mind, here are my Mandatory Marvel films in order of release.  


IRON MAN - It all started here and so should you.  You need to understand Tony to be invested in what follows for the character.  The post-credit scene here started a wave that has been going ever since.  It’s massive.  It’s mandatory.  


THOR - To know Thor is to know Loki and you need that.  You also get introduced to the "magic as science" idea in the MCU which is important.  Really though, you need to learn of Thor and Loki because their relationship possibly impacts the MCU greater than any other.  


CAPTAIN AMERICA : THE FIRST AVENGER - Cap is the heart of the MCU and you need to recognize the line “I can do this all day”.  It encapsulates Captain America.  You also meet two others who are quite important.  One being the woman who affects Cap more than any other and his best friend Bucky who is a major player in later films.  We also get our first infinity stone.  


MARVELS THE AVENGER - The first team up is the best and it has a lot of important players introduced that make a larger impact further down the line.  We meet future threats, present conflicts of personality and show how the Avengers can fail AND succeed as a team.  


CAPTAIN AMERICA : THE WINTER SOLDIER - This is the best film in the MCU and therefore is a must.  Again, Cap is the heart of the series and this continues his path.  It does not have larger implications for Infinity stones and all the better for it.  It also sets the table for Civil War which is massive going forward due to what it does to the team of The Avengers.  


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - We see another Infinity Stone here and are introduced to what will undoubtedly be large figures in the Infinity film.  From The Collector and what he shares in a bit of exposition to the team of the Guardians itself, this is a must see.  


AVENGERS : AGE OF ULTRON - It’s a messy film that spreads itself too thin and has a toothless villain but we see the cracks in the Avengers team widen.  We also meet Vision who is vital going forward if the trailer is to be believed.  James Spader is great as Ultron but they really make him inneffective.  


CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL WAR - The full explosion of differing beliefs and the introduction of Black Panther is more than enough to explain why this is a must see.  It does great work on character relationships and leaves us wondering where we go from here.  


DOCTOR STRANGE - Actual magic is introduced into the MCU.  Not "science we do not understand", actual magic.  We meet a major cog in the future of the MCU in the good Doctor and are introduced to the Time Gem.  Also, Wong.  Wong is awesome.  


THOR : RAGNAROK - You need to understand Thor and Loki.  It also leads up to the (possible) opening scene of Infinity War.  Jeff Goldblum is in this.  So, see it. 











The obvious missing piece of the puzzle here is the upcoming BLACK PANTHER.  I will update this after its release.  We are still missing one gem...

As a closing thought, you may wonder why no THOR : THE DARK WORLD since it also introduces an Infinity Gem.  I just do not feel it's needed.  Trust me, we will get full exposition on what gem affects what as Thanos makes the rounds.  Their power will be displayed individually to inform a larger audience what the hell is going on.