MCU Infinity Saga: 5 Must-See Movies

A Saga of Infinite Potential

Tony Stark: “You’re missing the point — there’s no throne, there’s no version of this where you come out on top. Now, maybe your army comes and maybe it’s too much for us but it’s all on you. Because if we can’t protect the Earth you can be damn well sure we’ll avenge it.

The Avengers (2012)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed like a pipe dream. Superhero movies were popular, but stringing them together? Building up to an Avengers movie over the course of five films? And then somehow keeping the streak of successful movies going for over a decade? Preposterous. You would be laughed out of any boardroom after making that pitch.

And yet, it worked.

The MCU now clocks in at more than 48 hours and twenty-two movies not counting the Netflix MCU, Agents of Shield, or other spinoffs. The release of Avengers: Endgame closed the book on what is now officially called the Infinity Saga.

With a new era of gods and monsters looming, let’s look back and discover which Infinity Saga movie were the best. Our only criteria is one movie per hero.

#5 Thor Ragnarok

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hiddleston

Thor: [to Hulk] “So much has happened since I last saw you! I lost my hammer… like, yesterday. So that’s still pretty fresh.

Plot Synopsis: Thor returns to Asgard and finds his father, Odin, missing. He and Loki search for Odin and inadvertently release Hela, the Norse goddess of death. Hela lays siege to Asgard and traps Thor on the planet Sakaar. Forced to fight as a gladiator, Thor plots to save Asgard with help from a long lost Valkyrie and The Incredible Hulk.

Why this Movie: Thor: Ragnarok is a tale of two movies. The Sakaar side of the plot features a science fiction tone, non-stop comedy, and character development for the protagonists. We also get new characters like the inept revolutionary Korg, hard-drinking Valkyrie, and overgrown child The Grandmaster.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Hela’s apocalyptic onslaught against Asgard. The gods and heroes of Asgard must struggle to survive the goddess of death, her undead armies, and her kaiju-sized wolf, Fenrir.

Surprisingly, Thor: Ragnarok is the best Hulk movie ever made. We finally get to see the not-so-jolly-green-giant as more than a mindless berserker. He’s noticeably smarter, can speak full sentences, and has become the most beloved warrior on Sakaar.

#4 Spider-Man: Homecoming

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Zendaya

Tony:Don’t do anything I would do. And definitely don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. There’s a little gray area in there, and that’s where you operate.

Peter:What, does that mean that I’m an Avenger?“

Tony:… No.”

Plot Synopsis: Ever since he was recruited by Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man has been trying to make a name for himself as a superhero. He comes across a gang of high tech arms dealers led by The Vulture and decides to take them down to prove himself.

Why This Film: Spider-Man: Homecoming understood that most viewers were familiar with Spider-Man’s origin. Instead of another rehash, we get a coming of age story where Spider-Man struggles to find his place in a world filled with heroes and villains. 

Unlike most heroes in the Infinity Saga, Spider-Man isn’t shown as a perfect hero. He’s constantly screwing up his personal life and has difficulty fighting even lower tier villains like Shocker and Vulture. It sounds lame, but helps sell Peter Parker as a teenager who is in over his head.

Homecoming also acts as a quasi-sequel to the Iron Man series. Iron Man keeps popping up as a hero, mentor, and Uncle Ben surrogate. When combined with Infinity War, Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home, you can see a torch being passed from RDJ’s Iron Man to Holland’s Spider-Man as the star of the MCU. 

#3: Guardians of the Galaxy

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel

Ronan: [Sees the Guardians holding the Power Stone] “You’re mortal! How?!

Star Lord:You said it yourself, bitch. We’re the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Plot Synopsis: An intergalactic outlaw called Star-Lord discovers a powerful relic. Others attempt to steal the artifact, including the infamous assassin Gamora, the vengeful brute Drax, and bounty hunters Rocket Raccoon and Groot. This rag-tag group learns to work together to keep the relic away from Ronan the Accuser and his dreaded master, Thanos.

Why This Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest risk Marvel took with the Infinity Saga. Even major fans generally didn’t know these characters, including a talking tree and a raccoon with a gun sounds. But somehow, they made it work.

With the success of Guardians, nothing is off limits. The Eternals? Go for it. Shang-Chi: The Master of Kung Fu? Sure thing. A series of TV shows starring Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K. and freaking Hit-Monkey? Why the hell not? The floodgates are open and the inmates are running the asylum.

Guardians of the Galaxy is an enjoyable standalone that also sets the stage for later cosmic movies like Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War. And if nothing else, it has a killer soundtrack full of 70’s hits that made our Top 5 Superhero Soundtracks list. Give it a listen and see if you don’t get hooked on a feeling.

Our review of Guardians is here.

#2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Starring:  Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan

Falcon: “You’re going after him.

Captain America: “You don’t have to come…

Falcon: “I know. When do we start?

Plot Synopsis: Captain America struggles to cope in a world where time has passed him by. To make matters worse, he has to deal with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ruthless espionage, the return of a super-powered assassin, and a conspiracy that’s been manipulating the planet since World War II.

Why This Movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier is where the Infinity Saga’s tone changes. Situations grew darker, the actions had consequences, and the heroes finally found a problem they couldn’t just punch out. And all of it was tied up in a spy flick that wouldn’t look out of place as a James Bond movie.

The idealistic Captain America has to deal with several moral quandaries. Is it just to try and stop crimes before they happen? How does he deal with more ruthless allies like Black Widow and Nick Fury? Some of the issues get sidestepped by the big reveal, but it’s still more thinking than most superhero movies require.

#1 Avengers: Endgame

[The Avengers are squaring off with Thanos’ army]

Captain America:AVENGERS!…assemble.

Plot Synopsis: Following the cataclysmic events of Infinity War, The Avengers are struggling to move on. Ant-Man suddenly appears with information on how to build a time machine. The Avengers realize they can save everyone who died in Infinity War and reunite to steal the Infinity Stones before Thanos ever gets his hands on them. 

Why This Movie: Marvel spent eleven years and twenty-one movies building up the Infinity Saga to Endgame and it shows. You can’t go three minutes without seeing a callback to one of the previous movies. It’s like watching a superhero version of Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead.

The Time Heist provides plenty of opportunities for future scenes. You could have the modern Avengers trying to blend in during the Battle of New York in the first Avengers. Long dead characters like Queen Frigga, Howard Stark, and The Ancient One get to appear on the silver screen again. The list is endless.

The final battle is a masterpiece. It starts as just Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor against Thanos. It builds up as more forces join the fray until both sides have an army. Thanos and his mooks against the MCU’s heroes. Everyone from Spider-Man to Howard the Duck shows up for the fight. And somehow it doesn’t devolve into an incoherent mess.

Do you agree with our list? Is there a movie you’d swap out? Let us know with a comment.

Avengers Endgame image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

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