Here were are folks. Avengers: Infinity War releases on April 27th, three weeks from now. I just saw Black Panther a second time and it’s crazy to think that we’re almost at the main event. We’re in a unique position with Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in that it’s not done yet. Even after Infinity War releases, there’s still three more films, including another Avengers film to wrap it all up. As such, I’ve had to base the See it or Skip it verdict on predictions based on Infinity War‘s marketing and certain details found in the films, so I’m sure I’ll have to come back and update this post at some point.
It’s been a lot of fun writing this up and I thank you all for humoring me by reading it. Let’s not waste anymore time; there’s movie watching to be done! Here are the films in Phase Three (so far) that you must see.
Captain America: Civil War
Synopsis: The UN has decided that the Avengers and all other superpowered beings must be put under control by a special panel following the destruction seen in previous films. Tony Stark supports this while Steve Rodgers opposes, and the Avengers fraction as a result.
Importance to the MCU: This movie is as much an Avengers film as it is a Captain America film. It changes the status quo of the MCU more so than any film before it and sets up the whole arc for Phase Three. It also follows through on the Winter Soldier storyline from the previous Captain America film, which is very important not only for Cap himself, but for many other characters as well. And speaking of characters, this movie is full of them, including a few newcomers: T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther and Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man. Believe me, seeing all these character on screen at once is one of the most exciting and awesome things you’ll see in these films.
Verdict: See it. If you can only watch one of the Phase Three films before Infinity War, it better be this one.
Synopsis: When neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) injures his hands in a car wreck, he goes on a journey of healing that leads him to the Ancient One, who trains him in the mystic arts.
Importance to the MCU: Doctor Strange opens the door to some crazy shit. Magic and alternate dimensions is something we’ve yet to see at this point, and the list of implications of what it means for MCU is endless. There’s also another Infinity Stone present in the film. With all that said, it’s too early to tell just how important Strange will be in Infinity War. It’s certainly a good movie though.
Verdict: I’m going with either or on this one. I would recommend erring on the side of caution and watching it, but if you’re looking to cut out as few movies as possible, I have a feeling you’ll be okay. Plus, Strange makes an appearance in a later film you’ll find below.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Synopsis: The Guardians have a lot on their plate, but chief among them is meeting a man named Ego (Kurt Russell), who claims to be Peter Quill’s long lost father.
Importance to the MCU: Vol. 2 is just as good as the first film and it resolves and develops several character arcs. However, I don’t see it as being an essential watch. There’s not much that happens that I consider a need-to-know thing. Obviously if you loved the first movie you’re gonna want to watch it, but if you’re just trying to trim down your watchlist, you’ll be fine without it.
Verdict: Skip it unless you really liked the first film and want more.
Synopsis: Following the events of Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is eager to move onto bigger things outside of the petty crimes of New York City. That bigger thing comes in the form of Adrian Toomes a.k.a. Vulture (Michael Keaton).
Importance to the MCU: Here’s another film more about character development. Seeing Peter struggle with not being an Avenger is a fun arc to watch unfold and he bumps heads with Tony Stark on more than one occasion. Vulture is also one of the better villains the MCU has to offer, no small thanks to Keaton. All that said, this film isn’t that important. You know who Spider-Man is and what he can do, so unless you’re a big fan you’re not missing a lot here.
Verdict: A fun film, but it’s a skip unless you’re a big Spidey fan.
Synopsis: When Hela, Goddess of Death, takes over Asgard, Thor must fight his way back to his home and put a stop to her reign. He’ll have to endure several challenges first, including an encounter with The Hulk.
Importance to the MCU: It’s the best Thor film first of all. It’s also important for the arcs of several characters including Thor himself, Loki, and Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Most importantly, it leads directly into Infinity War, so you’re going to want to watch this to know what’s going on.
Verdict: See it.
Synopsis: T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, assumes the mantle of King of Wakanda following the events of Captain America: Civil War. Not everything thinks he deserves the title, especially Erik Killmonger. T’Challa must face his new adversary and decide how he will use his power to help the world.
Importance to the MCU: Wakanda has been hinted at as far back as Avengers: Age of Ultron. The implications of such a technological utopia means a lot could happen in the MCU’s future. It’s also clear that Black Panther is going to be an even more prominent hero in future films. As far as Infinity War goes, Wakanda has been featured heavily in the film’s marketing, so you’ll want to be familiar with the world and its characters.
Verdict: See it. It’s still in theaters as of today, April 6th. However, if you’re not going to get the chance or you just don’t want to for some reason, that doesn’t mean you’ll be completely lost in Infinity War. You might just need someone to help fill in the gaps for you.
Avengers: Infinity War
Synopsis: Thanos, the Mad Titan, seeks to gather the Infinity Stones and bring untold destruction upon the universe. Heroes from all corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe must come together to stop him.
Importance to the MCU: Do I even need to tell how how important this film is going to be? It’s the whole reason I’ve been writing these guides the past five months or so. The only film that’s going to be more important than this film is the next Avengers film coming in 2019.
Verdict: See it. Obviously.
Now, let’s take a final look at all the films that I’ve dubbed as essential viewing for Infinity War:
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy (at some point before Infinity War)
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Captain America: Civil War
Nine films out of a total eighteen. Now, hopefully you’ve watched at least a few of these movies by now. If not, well, you still have time to plow through them all.
Aaaaand that’s it! The See it or Skip it guide is complete! Well, at least for now. There are three more films in Phase Three, including another Avengers film that will very likely mark the end of an era. For reference, here are the rest of the films that will round of Phase Three of the MCU:
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6th 2018)
Captain Marvel (March 8th 2019)
Untitled Avengers Film (May 3 2019)
I’ll be sure to update the guide with the release of each film. Until then, enjoy your movie marathon! Expect to see my thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War soon!