Road to Avengers: Infinity War #1: Iron-Man

I’m starting an ongoing series I’m calling: “The Road to Avengers: Infinity War.” These posts will be for anyone who wants to make sure they are fully caught up for Avengers: Infinity War, but maybe don’t have time to watch 18 movies before May. Think of these posts as cliff notes for Marvel movies. I’m going in chronological order of film release, starting with 2008’s Iron-Man and going all the way through the upcoming Black Panther. With any luck I’ll finish in time.

For my full MCU viewing guide, click here.

Let’s get started!

Iron-Man (2008)

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Tony Stark is the billionaire, genius CEO of Stark Industries; a weapons development and manufacturing company inherited from his dad after both parents died in a car accident. Most of the tech at Stark Industries is developed by Tony himself; having graduated from MIT around age 18 at the top of his class.

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  • Tony lives the playboy lifestyle, and has some very destructive habits including (but not limited to) drinking, gambling, and women.

Important Characters Introduced

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Colonel James Rhodes (“Rhodey”): head of Weapons Development for the US Air Force. Actor Terrence Howard plays him only in the first film before being replaced by Don Cheadle. Rhody will eventually get his own suit called War Machine and join the Avengers.

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Obadiah Stane is a family friend and second in command at Stark Industries. Stane is the closest Tony has to a father figure until he turns against him.

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Pepper Potts is Tony’s loyal personal assistant who handles all of his day-to-day needs. She also becomes Tony’s love-interest.

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Happy Hogan is Tony’s chauffeur and will later become his security detail, or as Tony likes to joke “forehead of security.”

Yinsen is imprisoned along with Stark, from a nearby town. Yinsen has some degree of medical/technical training and is highly intelligent as he speaks several languages and not only saves Tony’s life but also helps him build the first Iron-Man suit.

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JARVIS is the audible AI that runs Tony’s house. Once he has perfected his Iron-Man suit, Tony uploads JARVIS to the interface, who going forward assists Tony in the operation of the suit, especially in combat.

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Agent Coulson works for SHIELD, a secret government group that we learn in later movies, tracks individuals with special abilities and powers.

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Nick Fury (after credits scene): Director of SHIELD. He is the mastermind behind the “Avengers Initiative.”

A Change of Heart

  • During a trip to the Middle East to demonstrate his latest weapons to the military, Tony is captured by a terrorist group known as The Ten Rings.
  • Tony is gravely injured during his capture, when he learns the hard way that the terrorists somehow are using his own weapons. A Stark Industries missile lands and explodes nearby, sending shrapnel tearing into his chest. He passes out and is captured.

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  • When Tony comes to, he’s in a cave with a fellow prisoner, Yinsen who informs Tony that he was the one who worked to keep Tony alive. Despite his efforts, however there was shrapnel that could not be removed without killing him.
  • Yinsen was forced to attach an electro-magnet to his chest to keep the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. The two get to know each other during their capture and become friends. Yinsen’s words of wisdom also make Tony realize that with all of his accomplishments in life, he has nothing to show for it.

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  • After learning the terrorists will kill them both unless Tony builds one of his new prototype missiles, he decides instead to build the first crude version of the Iron-Man suit out of the materials available in order to escape.

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  • He also builds a device called a miniaturized “arc reactor:” a smaller version of a power source technology Stark created for his plant. He replaces the magnet on his chest with this device, which will keep the shrapnel from moving without needing to be hooked to a car battery as a power source (often refered to as his “chest piece”).
  • During their escape, Yinsen is mortally wounded. He tells Tony with his last words; “Don’t waste your life.” Tony escapes by revealing his suit is capable of flight, however he doesn’t make it far before the suit stops working and he crashes in the sand. He walks the desert for an amount of time until a military search party led by his friend, Rhodey finds and rescues him.

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Home Again: A New Direction

  • Returning home, Tony has indeed had a change of heart. He decides to stop making weapons and to focus instead on his prototype “arc reactor” technology as a possible source for renewable clean energy. Obadiah Stane is troubled by the decision.
  • Tony also gives up some of his bad habits and grows closer with his assistant Pepper, realizing that she has stood by him for years when most refused. They both begin to have feelings for each other, but are unsure about showing it.
  • Secretly, Stark begins a series of experiments, perfecting his Iron-Man suit idea (which is also powered by his chest piece). iron-man-bootsf658ac656650242638ca09a2890f54ad_MTonyReturnsHome-IM2

A Shocking Discovery

  • Tony attends a fundraiser ball and is informed that Obadiah Stane has been approving the sale of Stark Industries weapons to terrorist groups. Stark decides to use his upgraded suit to find those weapons and destroy them: starting with a group of The Ten Rings who have attacked Yinsen’s hometown with Stark weapons.

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  • Rhodey discovers what Tony has been up to when the Air Force picks up Iron-Man on radar in a no-fly zone and sends in two fighter jets to intercept.

  • Pepper discovers more of Stane’s dirty dealings: that he also paid The Ten Rings to capture and kill Tony in order to gain control of Stark Industries. When she is sent to the office by Tony to retrieve shipping manifests from the company’s database, she stumbles onto the secret files revealing everything.
  • Stane travels to the Middle East to meet with the leader of The Ten Rings, learns how Tony escaped, kills the leader of the group and his men, and steals the remnants of the “Mark I” suit left after Tony crashed. He has Stark Industries scientists build a much larger version (known as Iron Monger in comics).ku-xlarge.jpg
  • After his team is unable to figure out how to miniaturize the arc reactor tech as Tony had, Stane goes to Tony’s home, uses a device on Tony that temporarily causes paralysis and steals Tony’s chest piece, leaving him to die. Stane also admits to paying to have him killed so he could take over Stark Industries.tony-stark
  • Pepper meets with Agent Coulson from the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division (SHIELD), who has been trying to meet with Tony in order to debrief him on the events surrounding his escape. Pepper fills Coulson in on everything and they return to Stark Industries to confront Stane. However, Stane has already activated his suit and rampages out of the building.

The Ultimate Test Run

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  • Tony luckily still has an outdated version of his chest piece. He puts it in and flies over to fight Stane. Tony, who has already told him about his Iron-Man suit, asks Rhodey to keep the skies clear long enough for him to take out Stane.

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  • Tony fights Stane, but is easily outmatched by the much larger suit and his outdated chest piece; quickly running out of power.
  • The fight ends when Tony lures Stane to the top of Stark Industries and has Pepper overload the arc reactor below. This sends a massive energy blast up through the roof. Stane falls through the roof and dies in a massive explosion. Tony barely survives.

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  • A few days later, Tony holds a press conference to try to keep the situation contained. Agent Coulson gives him an alibi to keep it a secret that he was the one in the suit as the press has suspected and even called him the “Iron-Man.”
  • Pepper thanks Agent Coulson who says they will be hearing from SHIELD again.
  • Stark begins the press conference and starts to read the cards, however half way through Tony changes his mind, and the movie ends with Tony telling the audience, “The truth is…I am Iron-Man.”

After Credits Scene

  • (After Credits Scene) Tony returns home after the press conference to discover someone has broken into his house and deactivated JARVIS. The man reveals that he is Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD, and that he’s there to talk to him about the “Avengers Initiative.” Cuts to black.nick fury iron man

The next post will be 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. That will be an extremely short post, as it isn’t a great movie and provides very little needed info going forward in the MCU.

Geek to the Future’s Official Marvel Cinematic Universe Viewing Guide

Avengers: Infinity War will be, without a doubt, the biggest cinematic event of 2018. The entire Marvel franchise has been building to this moment almost from its beginning. With that in mind, this post will be geared mostly towards those movie goers who are interested in seeing Infinity War, but maybe haven’t had a chance to watch the entire MCU line up and want to catch up before May. Even if you’re a veteran, you might want a refresher. With 18 movies spanning over the last decade, it can be confusing to know where to start or what order.

Below is my guide for the recommended viewing order for the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until this point. Because each movie builds on the last (similar to a series of comic books) the best method is to watch in the order they were released. Of course, if you want to get the absolute most out of Infinity War, I would recommend watching every movie (except maybe The Incredible Hulk).

That being said, not everyone will want to sit through roughly 36 hours of movies before May, so I’ve also ranked each movie by how necessary it is in relation to the Infinity War story. If you’re looking for a “bare bones” crash course through the MCU, just hit the essential movies. Be warned though, Marvel is famous for adding easter eggs and references from previous movies so the more you watch, the more you’ll catch and enjoy.

Also, just to be clear, these rankings have nothing to do with movie quality, only relevance to Infinity War. Virtually all of the MCU is fantastic and worth your time.

Here are the ranking definitions:

“Essential”: The bread and butter of the MCU and a must watch. These movies deliver key back story elements that build up to Infinity War (9 movies total).

“Important”: Try to fit these in if you have time. They will give you a more well-rounded understanding of the back story going into Infinity War, but you’ll still be fine without them (2 movies total).

“Not Necessary”: While great additions to the franchise, these movies are not a prerequisite for Infinity War. Watch them to learn more about each specific movie’s characters (6 movies total).

“Don’t Bother”: This rank is awarded to only one movie in the MCU. Watch if you want to say you’ve seen them all.

One final piece of information if you’re new to watching Marvel movies: make sure you sit through the credits. Every Marvel movie has at least one after credits scene and they usually give nuggets of info that build the franchise further. Ok, let’s get to it!

Phase One

1. Iron Man (2008)

Rank: Essential

Why: While this movie was too early on to set up anything for Infinity War, it is the movie that kicked off the MCU and should be watched for that reason alone.

2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Rank: Don’t Bother

Why: Marvel was still working out the kinks with its movie strategy. Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner before being recast by Mark Ruffalo, and you can see why…this movie is a mess. Watch only if you really want to see every movie in the MCU. By the way, don’t confuse this movie with the older Hulk movie with Eric Bana…it’s even worse.

3. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Rank: Essential

Why: Full introduction into the inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the start of Nick Fury’s “Avenger Initiative.” We also get to see the origin of War Machine.

4. Thor (2011)

Rank: Important

Why: The Thor movies are the least necessary to watch in regard to Infinity War. However, you should at the very least watch the first one to have a basic understanding of the characters.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Rank: Essential

Why: The Captain America movies are some of the most important movies to understanding the MCU. This is Cap’s origin story and helps to set up the plot of Avengers, including what will be the first Infinity Stone.

6. Avengers (2012)

Rank: Essential

Why: Here we have the first look at Thanos, as well as the first Avengers team up. The story has a large impact on future movies.

Phase 2

7. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Rank: Not Necessary

Why: This movie is important to Tony’s story arc post Avengers but is not vital in regards to Infinity War.

8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Rank: Not Necessary

Why: This movie introduces a power source called the Aether which is only significant because it will become another Infinity Stone. Watch if you want more back story on Thor, or to watch him battle space-elves.

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Rank: Essential

Why: First appearance of Winter Soldier, and the story has a large impact on the MCU going forward.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Rank: Essential

Why: Introduction to the Guardians and another Infinity stone. Also, surprisingly this movie is where we have learned the most about Thanos and the history of the stones so far.

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Rank: Essential

Why: Introduction of new characters that will be in Infinity War and events will have impact on the MCU going forward.

12. Ant Man (2015)

Rank: Not Necessary

Why: Intro to Ant Man and short glance at a younger S.H.I.E.L.D. Knowing that Paul Rudd plays a wise cracking criminal-turned hero, and can shrink to the size of a…well…ant is enough to get you by if you’re trying to shave off a few movies.

Phase 3

13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Rank: Essential

Why: The fallout of this superhero showdown has a tremendous impact on setting up Infinity War. Also we get a small Spider Man introduction.

14. Doctor Strange (2016)

Rank: Not Necessary

Why: Introduction to Doctor Strange and another Infinity stone. This movie was a little too Strange for some moviegoers. Knowing he uses magic and has an Infinity Stone is enough to get you by if the Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t interest you.

15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Rank: Not Necessary

Why: A great movie that furthers the Guardians’s story but not essential to the overall MCU leading up to May. The character Mantis is introduced who will be in Infinity War. Other than that they’re still funny and still hate Thanos.

16. Spider Man: Homecoming (2017)

Rank: Not Necessary

Why: The full introduction to Marvel’s friendly, neighborhood…well you know. A fantastic movie but knowing that Spidey is the rookie of the group and Iron Man has taken on the role of mentor is enough to get you by.

17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Rank: Important

Why: Ragnarok was a huge success this year and due to some major turn of events it’s important to know where Hulk, Thor and Loki will be at the beginning of Infinity War.

18. Black Panther

Release Date: February 16th, 2018

Rank: Essential

Why: Already introduced in Civil War, Black Panther / T’Challa is the King of Wakanda and will play a large role in Infinity War. My guess is that this will be the location of the final Infinity Stone…

19. Avengers: Infinity War

Release Date: May 4th, 2018!

Congratulations! You’re now ready for Thanos. It’s all led up to this!

Marvel Proves That While Infinity War May Turn The MCU Upside Down, They Have No Intentions of Slowing Down Any Time Soon

As you have undoubtedly seen and heard by now, the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War dropped this week, which will bring together every hero we’ve seen in the MCU so far:

In 24 hours it received over 230 million views, making it the “most viewed trailer of all time.”

In the blink of an eye, the argument about whether or not Justice League is a good movie lost importance. No one cares anymore. Hell, I’ve been fighting for that movie ever since it came out and I don’t care anymore. Marvel Studios has shown once again why they are currently the undeniable king of superhero movies.

Led by Kevin Feige, the studio has taken its time over the last 10 years to carefully craft a complex and interconnected universe. They are proof of what happens when you put character development and storytelling ahead of simply wanting to make a truckload of money…you end up making 10 truckloads. Each movie in this universe tells it’s own story, however they also contain pieces of a larger arc, and it has all been leading up to Infinity War.

The trailer itself (including Cap’s epic beard) is glorious. I’ve literally watched it around 20 to 30 times myself. It perfectly sets up the dire situation the Avengers will find themselves in: Over the last 20 movies, the characters have one by one discovered the 6 mysterious power gems called Infinity Stones. Any one of these stones has almost immeasurable power, and unknown to the majority of our heroes “the Mad Titan”, Thanos (first seen in 2012’s Avengers) is searching for them.

Thanos is one of Marvel’s most powerful villians. He has something called the Infinity Gauntlet, which will allow him to harness the power of all 6 stones at once. The only thing he is obsessed with more than power is death, and judging from the trailer, there will be plenty of death. This will be an epic all out war, which will take 2 movies to resolve. The title for the next Avengers movie after Infinity War has still not been revealed due to spoilers, and is so far just being referred to as Avengers 4.

Recently, Vanity Fair published an insightful article that celebrates the last decade of Marvel movies, but also sheds at least a little light on this 4th Avengers film. While, I highly recommend putting in the time to read it, as there’s some fascinating stories of the studio’s behind the scenes history as well as a cool photo shoot with every major character; there are also some small spoilers revealed:

”After Avengers 4, an ambitious multi-franchise crossover movie slated for release in 2019, at least some of the original characters who sit at the center of the billion-dollar Avengers team will be hanging up their capes and shields…[Feige] promise[d] a definitive end to the franchise that built Marvel. Avengers 4, he said, will “bring things you’ve never seen in superhero films: a finale.”

This is huge news. Whether they are killed or simply retire, some of the Avengers (most likely Evans and/ or Downey included) will end their roles. Not only will their contracts be up, but Marvel understands that in order to stay on top, they have to constantly grow and evolve their strategy. While it’s difficult to imagine the Avengers without the current key players, Feige is pulling from the same playbook as the comics, with heroes dying or for various reasons deciding it’s time to stop. Could we see the Winter Soldier or Falcon taking over the mantle of Captain America? Maybe Tony will retire from hero work, and become a full time superhero mentor? The possibilities are exciting, because while Avengers 4 will mark an end to the overall infinity stone/Thanos story arc, there will be more stories for Marvel to tell:

“Marvel is “22 movies in, and we’ve got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before—intentionally.”

No matter what happens in Avengers 4, it looks like we are still only in the middle of the MCU’s lifespan, with numerous new characters and stories to tell. For now, the Infinity War trailer is one of many examples of how Marvel has crafted a complex movie universe that so many people, comic and non comic readers alike, are deeply invested in.

Excelsior!