With the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we here at It’s OK Guys, We’ve Got This thought it would be a good time to compile a definitive guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe so that you can get yourself up to speed with everything that has happened so far in this superhero saga.
Listed below is the recommended viewing order so that you are able to keep up with every reference and most of all, the post-credits scene in these films which give us a teaser into the next film in the saga. Once you are up to date with this list, we’ve got a list of the future films in this saga, which we will be updating with every release.
So grab some popcorn and begin the marathon.
Phase One introduces all the characters in this universe and tell us their origin stories whilst preparing us for the finale in The Avengers.
When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.
This comic book adaptation set the stage for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to flourish.
A grounded origin story of Iron Man that shows how spoilt billionaire/engineering mastermind Tony Stark creates the ultimate weapon to maintain peace and order in the war against terror.
They deviated from comic book lore by creating a terrorist organisation called The Ten Rings which was a nod to Iron Man’s arch-nemesis The Mandarin, who wore ten mystical rings that granted him the powers to take over the world. The character makes an appearance in Iron Man 3, so keep reading this guide to find out how they translate the character and his powers to the movies.
The Incredible Hulk
Dr. Bruce Banner, thanks to a gamma ray experiment gone wrong, transforms into a giant green-skinned hulk whenever his pulse rate gets too high. Meanwhile, a soldier uses the same technology to become an evil version of the original.
After the catastrophe that was Ang Lee’s Hulk starring Eric Bana, Marvel made the smart move to reboot the green giant in The Incredible Hulk.
We see Bruce Banner on the run, following the events of his Gamma radiation experiment which led to his ability to transform into the Hulk albeit uncontrollably. The film focuses on Banner’s attempt to control the beast whilst trying to find the way to neutrailse his new found power before the government use it to create their ultimate weapon.
Personally I felt that Edward Norton portrayed Bruce Banner and it was a shame that they weren’t able to keep him on for The Avengers further down the MCU timeline.
Iron Man 2
Tony Stark has declared himself Iron Man and installed world peace… or so he thinks. He soon realizes that not only is there a mad man out to kill him with his own technology, but there’s something more: he is dying.
The first sequel to superhero films tend to be a bit dull becuase 9 times out of 10, they focus on the impact of being a superhero on the lead character’s normal lives (with The Dark Knight being the exception to the rule). This film was no different and stuck to the tried and tested formula adopted by many superhero trilogies.
Make sure you stay for the post-credits scene which leads to…
The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.
I didn’t know much about Thor and frankly wasn’t that excited to watch this film but I was pleasantly surprised. Although it’s a filler in Phase One of the MCU, it would set the stage for The Avengers, especially as the post-credits scene leads on to…
Captain America: The First Avenger
After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending USA ideals.
This film suprisingly serves as a standalone film very well but does a great job of tying itself to the conclusion of Phase One of the MCU. The trailer had me pretty confused with how Captain America would be involved with The Avengers when he was in action during the late 40s but they managed to make it work in the end. The post-credits scene is actually a trailer for The Avengers that wets your appetite for the main attraction.
Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to form a team that must stop Thor’s adoptive brother Loki from subjugating Earth.
And the grand finale for Marvel’s Phase One Saga culminates in The Avengers. After years of preparation and familiarising with all the superheroes, the stage was set for all of them to meet each other.
This film easily falls into my list of fave films. It’s serious at the right places, funny at the right times, and the group dynamics just make it a fun watch. The Hulk stole the show in all his scenes with so many comedic moments.
Want to get more from the MCU? Carry on reading to our post on the films from Phase 2.