After 11 years and 21 movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is taking audiences around the world to the Endgame. Before you take your seats for the last chapter in the Avengers saga, here’s a quickfire recap of the highlights so far…
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for the previous films!
Marvel Studios have been producing the superhero comic book movies since 2007, creating what is called the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Grossing over 17.5 billion at the global box office, Marvel Studios is the highest-grossing film franchise of all time.
Ok, first of all who and what are The Avengers? Let's pretend one second you've been living under a rock for the last decade...
Different people with great abilities (yes, superheroes...although you’ll never hear them calling themselves like that) live in our world, or in some case, just visit from others.
Each one has a different story and different background, but the main goal in one way or another is the same: save the world.
However, now enter Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – the eye-patched director of the S.H.I.E.L.D, a special espionage agency – who decides to corral them into a team of heroes, a united fighting force known as the Avengers...
THE SIX FOUNDING MEMBERS
In order to stop an alien invasion lead by Loki, the first team of Avengers includes:
THE NEW ENTRIES
Although not all officially part of the Avengers, other heroes joined the universe fighting against evil forces...
Vision (Paul Bettany) is the powerful android created when Tony Stark uploads his Artificial Intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S. programme into an synthetic body
Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) started as villain but eventually switched sides and joined the Avengers. She and Vision started a relationship.
T’Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) is the current monarch of the super technologic African nation of Wakanda. As the Wakandan monarch, he is also the current holder of the Black Panther mantle.
Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), he's the former professional criminal with the suit that allows him to reduce or increase size.
Hope Van Dyne aka The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), fighting alongside Ant-Man, she has a suit that allows her to shrink and fly.
Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland), the young high school boy who got his abilities from a mutated spider's bite and got initially recruited by Tony Stark.
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a powerful sorcerer and a leading member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Strange became the protector of the New York Sanctum in New York City, as well as Earth's protector from any inter-dimensional threats.
Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), former WWII soldier and brainwashed assassin, who changed his ways after meeting again his childhood friend Captain America.
James Rupert Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle), commonly known as Rhodey, is the officer of the United States Air Force, best friend of Tony Stark, who wears a heavily-armed battlesuit.
Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie), was a former United States Air Force pararescue airman, who joined Captain American in his quest to save Bucky Barnes.
WHO ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW
Guardians of the Galaxy
Two hit movies expanded the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, exploring new worlds and characters who fight to keep order in the galaxy:
Chris Pratt’s space pirate (Peter Quill), Bradley Cooper’s wisecracking racoon (Rocket), Zoe Saldana’s green-skinned assassin (Gamora), Dave Bautista’s troubled beefcake (Drax The Destroyer), Pom Klementief's young empathic alien (Mantis), Vin Diesel’s living tree (Groot).
And, although not officially part of the team, there is Gamora's sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), half woman and half machine., who seeks revenge against her adoptive father Thanos along her sister...
The last film released in the MCU is actually bringing us back to the origins...
Set in the 90's, we meet Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), with questions about her past she cannot explain, after experiencing unusual flashbacks. She manifests enormous cosmic powers that she gains more understanding of throughout the movie.
She's the first super hero Nick Fury ever met and she's the inspiration for what will be the project Avengers.
We last see Carol setting off into the far reaches of the galaxy to finish what her late mentor Mar-Vell had once started, expressing to Fury to only contact her in case of an extreme emergency...
The biggest of the bads, this purple-skinned, ditch-chinned warlord has been pulling the strings all along, revealed as the power behind the Chitauri invasion (the aliens invasion that brought the Avengers togheter for the first time) and Ultron’s mayhem (see below).
His main objective is to bring stability to the universe, as he believed its massive population would inevitably use up the universe's entire supply of resources and condemn it.
To complete this goal, Thanos set about tracking down the Infinity Stones, as the combined might could wipe out half the universe...
Although these villains don't play a central role anymore, you should definitely remember them to put all the pieces of the story together...
Thor’s adopted brother, who takes sibling rivalry to a whole new level with his slippery schemes.
At the start of that first ensemble movie, Loki agrees to steal the Tesseract on behalf of Thanos and the Chitauri, in exchange for their armies supporting his takeover of Earth.
Torn between good and evil, he eventually ended teaming up with Thor, but he got killed by Thanos himself.
After Loki's attempt to conquer earth, fast-forward to 2015’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
Tony Stark’s tinkering gets him and the others into trouble, as the peace-keeping Ultron robot, originally designed to make Earth a safer place, goes rogue and plots humanity’s extinction.
Ultron gets canned in a city-shaking showdown, but the credits footage of Thanos suggests the warlord was pulling the strings all along.
RED SKULL & HYDRA
HYDRA is an authoritarian terrorist-criminal-paramilitary organisation bent on world domination.
After its defeat at the hands of Captain America in 1945, HYDRA was secretly rebuilt inside S.H.I.E.L.D until it get defeated by the Avengers.
Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull was a former head of HYDRA who got teleported to the planet Vormire after touching the Tesseract. He became a 'stonekeeper', leading Thanos to to one Infinity Stone - the Soul Stone.
THE CIVIL WAR
After the events of Age of Ultron, things get a bit more complicated in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.
This movie drives a wedge between Captain America (who refuses to believe that his old friend, Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier, has turned to terrorism) and Tony Stark (who is haunted by the error of creating Ultron in the last film and is now helping the government hunt Bucky down). Also, the main debate is between those who think the Avengers should be a government run organisation (Iron Man’s team) and those who believe in the independence of the group (Captain’s team).
In the end, the Avengers split, leaving Tony Stark/Iron Man on his own trying to build a new team and Steve Rogers/Captain America going hiding with some members of the old team.
2018’s worldwide smash Black Panther introduced us to Wakanda, the most advanced country in the world, whose level of technology is at least several decades ahead of anywhere else on Earth.
T'Challa decided to open the advanced nation to the rest of the world and share its technology with them, announcing the end of Wakanda's isolation.
THE QUANTUM REALM
The Quantum Realm has featured in Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, and it's described as “a reality where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant”.
Access to the Quantum Realm was finally realised by scientist Doctor Hank Pym (father of Hope/The Wasp) through the use of Pym Particles, particles of an extra-dimensional nature that are capable of altering the size of beings or objects.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man was sent back into the Quantum Realm with a device to absorb quantum energy, but at present he got stuck into this world...
Key events to remember:
An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War brought to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time.
Thanos’ merciless quest for the Infinity Stones turned into the biggest threat all the universe had to face and every single hero we met united into different fronts to fight against Thanos' plan: wipe out 50% of all the livings.
Thor comes closest to defeating him with a blow from the Stormbreaker battleaxe, but couldn't stop him completing the Infinity Gauntlet (the only item which can hold all the Infinity Stones) and decimating half of all life in the universe...
Survivors and fallen heroes
Still alive: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Bruce Banner/Hulk, War Machine, Rocket, Nebula, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Okoye.
Fallen: Gamora, Vision, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Bucky Barnes, Scarlet Witch, Peter Quill, Groot, Drax, Mantis, The Wasp, Nick Fury.
Part of the journey is the end
There are no doubts that Avengers: Endgame, at ODEON cinemas April 25, is the event of the year. With the cast and crew gagged by non-disclosure agreements, this fourth instalment of the Avengers franchise is shrouded in mystery and swarming with fan theories.
We only know that adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to his girlfriend Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers -- Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner -- must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos...