Walt Disney Co.
By Eliana Dockterman
Updated: March 28, 2019 3:28 PM ET

Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of 11 years and 21 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will finally hit theaters on April 26. There’s a lot riding on this potentially massive movie: First, it has to resolve the major cliffhanger from the end of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. It also has to wrap up the storylines for several major characters — from Iron Man to Captain America to Thor — who may not return in future Avengers films or even fight crime in their own movies.

In order to understand how the Avengers came together and fell apart, allowing Thanos to accomplish his goal of destroying half of all life in the universe, fans may want to embark on a rewatch of every single Marvel movies that has premiered since Iron Man debuted in 2008.

Here’s how you can binge on every single Marvel movie created by Marvel Studios.

Iron Man (2008)

The movie that started it all: Robert Downey Jr. makes his debut as Iron Man and builds the suit that a decade later will carry him into space to fight Thanos.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Probably not! Although it’s not a bad starting point.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Edward Norton stars as the Hulk in this standalone film. Mark Ruffalo eventually took over to play the character in the Avengers films, but it’s still worth checking out Hulk’s early solo outing.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Absolutely not.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Iron Man 2 (2010)

With the introduction of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man 2 hints at the larger Avengers universe to come.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Nope.

Free With Subscription: Amazon Prime, Hulu

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Thor (2011)

The first Thor movie expands the scale of the Marvel films and brings the action into space for the first time.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Nah.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline goes all the way back to World War II for Captain America’s origin story, and introduces the first of six Infinity Stones — the Tesseract — that will become the all-important MacGuffins of the Avengers universe.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Only if you want extra credit for the Infinity Stone.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

The Avengers (2012)

The first Avengers movie brings together Iron Man, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) for the first time, setting up the biggest movie franchise of all time.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. Avengers chronicles the first collaboration between the original Avengers team (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk and Hawkeye). Conveniently, all those characters survived Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War, so their reunion will probably be a crucial part of Avengers: Endgame.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Iron Man 3 (2013)

The third Iron Man solo outing reckons with the fallout of Avengers — Tony Stark struggles with PTSD — and begins to test the bounds of the superhero formula.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

No way.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World carries all the Shakespearean weight of the first movie and brings back fan-favorite villain-turned-hero Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Only if you really love Loki.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The Russo brothers, who directed this film, were inspired by noir thrillers while working on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Russos will eventually helm Marvel’s biggest movies, Captain America: Civil War, Avenger: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Negative.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Marvel sets out to prove that it’s ready to take some risks with a movie that stars a talking raccoon and trisyllabic tree.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. Gamora’s relationship with her adoptive father, Thanos, and her adopted sister, Gamora, is established in this film. Thanos’ love for Gamora was a major plot point in Avengers: Infinity War, and his complicated connection to Gamora will probably factor into Avengers: Endgame.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Tony Stark faces a reality check when one of his inventions turns against the Avengers. And the super-team begins to expand with the addition of Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Nah.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Ant-Man (2015)

While Ant-Man is largely a fun diversion from the main Avengers story, the movie introduces technology that may turn out to be crucial to Avengers: Endgame.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Wait for the sequel.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Iron Man and Captain America clash in this ensemble film that leaves the Avengers team divided just when Thanos (Josh Brolin) decides to strike in Avengers: Infinity War.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. Iron Man and Captain America come to blows in this movie and break up the Avengers team. Thanos took advantage of that rift within Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Infinity War. Iron Man and Cap still haven’t resolved their differences and will need to bury the hatchet to defeat Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Doctor Strange (2016)

The Avengers fight on earth. The Guardians of Galaxy fight in space. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) fights in another dimension. The movie expands what’s possible for these films, and redefines the types of enemies that can attack Marvel’s heroes.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. Fans have speculated that the Avengers will have to travel through time in order to undo Thanos’ actions. There is a chance that the Time Stone, which features heavily in Doctor Strange, will play a role in their strategy.

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

The second Guardians of the Galaxy movie is a romp that has little effect on the larger trajectory of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — except when it comes to Gamora and Nebula, who confront the tortured childhoods their adoptive father Thanos concocted for them.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. The Gamora-Nebula relationship is fleshed out even more in this movie. To understand Nebula’s motivations in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, you probably should re-examine the sisters’ relationship in this film.

Free With Subscription: Netflix

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Marvel Studios and Sony struck a deal to collaborate on a Spider-Man movie, folding Spidey into the Avengers universe. Iron Man pops up as Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) mentor in the movie, an important arc that will play out in Avengers: Infinity War.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark proved to be the emotional touchstone of Avengers: Infinity War. The resonance of that relationship will probably factor into Avengers: Endgame. Plus, Spider-Man: Far From Home premieres this summer after Endgame, so you will probably want to rewatch this film anyway.

Free With Subscription: Starz

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director Taika Waititi approaches Thor’s usually serious story with a newfound sense of humor. This one is also a must-watch for fans who want to understand the opening minutes of Infinity War.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

No.

Free With Subscription: Netflix

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Black Panther (2018)

The first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, Black Panther stands out among critics as one of the best superhero films of all time.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Nope.

Free With Subscription: Netflix

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Every single Marvel film was building to this: A showdown between Thanos, the alien pulling the strings in many of the other Marvel movies, and the Avengers as they race to find (or destroy) all six Infinity Stones.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. If you haven’t already watched Avengers: Infinity War, you will probably be very confused walking into Avengers: Endgame.

Free With Subscription: Netflix

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Many fans are predicting that the Quantum Realm that is central to the Ant-Man and the Wasp plot will play an equally important role in Endgame.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Yes. Fans are theorizing that the Avengers team will travel through the Quantum Realm in Avengers: Endgame. The science behind that technology is fully explained in Ant-Man and the Wasp and will probably be essential to understanding the Avengers’ strategy in Endgame.

Free With Subscription: Netflix

Rent or Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Captain Marvel (2019)

The final installment before Endgame’s will not be on streaming services before Avengers: Endgame comes out. But the movie is still playing in many theaters.

Do you need to watch before Avengers: Endgame?

Not unless you really want to see the post-credits scene.

Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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