By Kevin Trout
Avengers: Infinity War is set to hit theaters April 27th and I have decided to pass that time by running through the past ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In doing so I am reminded of just how many moving pieces there are for this event. So as we prepare for a decade of stories to collide in Infinity War here are five things to know about our headlining team. These articles are meant to be short, but I am not sure Infinity War will allow that. Fair warning, this article will contain spoilers for previous MCU movies. If you haven't caught up yet, no better time then the present.
1. Who are the Avengers? This might seem a bit silly, but the excitement for Infinity War will no doubt bring in people who don't have the time or desire to watch all 18 movies associated with the MCU; let alone the tv shows associated with them. And while there are many wonderful videos on YouTube to help catch people up (e.g. The 10th Anniversary Tribute by The Captain), we will take a quick look at who exactly makes up the Avengers.
Brought together by then-director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury the Avengers consist of heroes Iron Man, the billionaire genius tech-engineer who builds and fights in an impressive suit of armor. Captain America, the super-solider with a heart of gold from a bygone era. The Hulk, genius Bruce Banner's alter ego a powerful and durable “rage monster”. Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder (or perhaps better to say lightening?). Black Widow, the former super-spy and still kick-ass warrior recruited by Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. And Hawkeye, the capable former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and master of the bow and arrow.
Over the course of the MCU many heroes have helped and become heir-apparent members. These include, Black Panther, the King of Wakanda and its protector harnessing super-strength and reflexes and a vibranium tech-suit. Scarlet Witch, awakened with magical powers by the Mind Stone which allows her to affect minds and have destructive capabilities. Vision, an android created through the merger of Tony's A.I. Jarvis, an artificial body created by Ultron, and the Mind Infinity Stone. Doctor Strange, a former neurosurgeon turned sorcerer in possession of the Time Infinity Stone. And Spider-Man, a teenager with super-human strength, reflexes, and spider-sense.
Other heroes who have helped out and been a part of the main events include Falcon, a solider and friend of Captain America who uses specialized gear with wings. War Machine, solider and friend to Tony Stark who uses one of Tony's special suits of armor, modified by the U.S. Military. Ant-Man, a cunning ex-theft with a suit that allows him to shrink to the size of an Ant (or as seen in Civil War, grow larger than an airplane). Wong, a Master of the Mystic Arts of Kamar-Taj who helps safeguard New York with Dr. Strange. We will also get to see previous villains Loki, adopted brother of Thor, Asgardian God of Mischief. And the Winter Solider Bucky Barnes, friend of Captain America.
Lastly we have the group the Guardians of the Galaxy which, while not Avengers, will also be dropping in to lend a hand. There are strong family ties to Thanos here with his adopted daughters Gamora and Nebula very keen on ending Thanos' threat permanently. Star-Lord, a self-proclaimed legendary outlaw with good taste in music. Rocket, a brilliant engineer trash panda who is a bit of a jerk. Groot, a tree-like being, friend of Rocket, and moody teenager these days apparently. And Drax the Destoryer, a fierce warrior seeking personal revenge against Thanos.
2. When are we? The timeline of the Avengers does not sync up to the movie release dates. While Iron Man began the MCU in 2008 and Nick Fury's post-credit scene set the stage for the Avengers, technically Captain America: The First Avenger is indeed the first Avengers movie. This is due to it taking place years before the events in Iron Man. Ant-Man and the Wasp will be released later this year (July 6th), but the events will take place before Avengers Infinity War. Black Panther takes place before Thor: Ragnarok even though it was released after. The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 takes place before Avengers Age of Ultron, meaning our next section uses a lot of guesswork to try and figure out where everyone is at the start of Infinity War. But as it stands, all previous movie events have happened with Thor: Ragnarok being the most recent both theatrically and chronologically.
If you really want to try and tackle the MCU in the week before release as I am doing than I recommend chronological order which fortunately has already been tackled by Aaron Robinson at C-Net. This will allow you to better understand the journey of our heroes as they face their greatest threat yet.
3. Where are they now? When we last visited our heroes the ambitious super team was left divided by what role heroes should play in regards to world politics; the Sokovia Accords. With a fractured team and the complexities of the MCU timeline it can be difficult to remember where our heroes are. So a quick recap on the Avengers current whereabouts.
The Space Crew: Thor and Hulk were last seen flying a ship through space on their way to Earth with friends Heimdall, Valkyrie, Korg, and Loki. The Guardians of the Galaxy (Starlord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Drax) are also out somewhere in space on a Ravager ship after giving Yondu a proper send-off. The post-credit scene in Thor: Ragnarok looks to be our starting point for Infinity War, though how it all plays out is anyone's guess.
The Wakanda Crew: Captain America was left a fugitive on the run somewhere on Earth, with his last on-screen appearance in Wakanda where he leaves Bucky. Though isn't clear that he stayed. Bucky Barnes is clearly still in Wakanda after the events of Black Panther. This is also where Black Panther and Princess Shuri are considered to be (per the second post-credit scene in Black Panther).
The United States Crew: Doctor Strange and Spider-Man are both continuing their lives in New York. Tony Stark is more than likely at Avengers headquarters, where we last saw him. We can assume War Machine is somewhere nearby, still recovering. It makes sense Vision would also be back at Avengers headquarters. Ant-Man has a movie coming out later that takes place before the events of Infinity War so I assumed he is in San Francisco for that planned adventure, but the jury is still out on that one.
The MIA Crew: While Hawkeye has been strangely absent from promotional works, whether on a mission, on his farm, there is nothing previous which suggests his current location. Black Widow is also on the run somewhere on Earth with many assuming she might be helping Captain America still. This is probably where Falcon is as well, keeping by his friend's side. Scarlet Witch escaped with Captain America at the end of Civil War, but again we are not sure where exactly she is. Nick Fury has been curiously absent for sometime and his whereabouts are currently unknown.
4. A known enemy, of sorts. The Infinity Stones unsurprisingly play an important part in Infinity War, you're shocked I know. Of course our heroes are very familiar with these stones as well. This isn't the first encounter the Avengers have had with them.
The Tesseract has featured in a couple of movies and is the Space Stone. This was the core focus of the first Avengers movie (both Captain America and The Avengers). Along side the Tesseract was the Mind Stone which hid inside Loki's scepter for a couple of movies, beginning with The Avengers, before being exposed during the events in Age of Ultron and ultimately finding its home with Vision. The Guardians of the Galaxy found themselves in possession of the Power Stone in their first movie and even had to use it briefly to save the galaxy. Thor having dealt with the tesseract and Loki's scepter also encountered the Reality Stone in Thor: Dark World, albeit in a much different form. And Doctor Strange used the Time Stone and currently has possession of it.
This shows us the Avengers are not completely unprepared for facing the dangers of the Infinity Stones. We see Thor and Tony Stark both take the visions they had of deadly futures very seriously and begin searching for ways to protect their worlds and the people they love. While there is little to be done in preparing for the mad titan Thanos and his ability to wield the power of multiple stones at once, the Avengers are no strangers to the stones and containing them. If you want to learn more about the Infinity Stones, their locations, and powers, read our other article.
5. Reunions and Departures. One of the more exciting aspects of this movie is the shared screen time and interaction of multiple heroes at once. It has been one of the better parts of the MCU to see the chemistry and banter between multiple heroes. Which arguably is best exemplified in Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy. As mentioned, the last we saw of the Avengers the team was broken. Tony is trying to rebuild and Captain America and his lot are trying to prepare for the challenges to come as well. This will be a core part of the movie, the reunion of former friends and teammates and hopefully some reconciliation. I have a feeling that I will be identifying a lot with Spider-Man's excitement as these heroes meet and interact with one another; much like I did in Captain America: Civil War.
But there is a 'bring extra tissues' warning to be had with Avengers: Infinity War. The comic book story arc set the tone with many of the heroes falling to Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet. While it is clear the movie will not be following the comics strictly, it seems just as clear that some heroes will not be walking away from this movie. So enjoy your Avengers as they are now. You can take heart that some will survive through the power of movie contracts and studio requirements. After-all we haven't gotten our Black Widow standalone movie yet. But also be prepared to see the MCU change drastically as we say goodbye to some long standing members of the Avengers and welcome in a new phase for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What are you most excited for? Leave a comment below!
Comments will be approved before showing up.