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Scene Creek’s Road Map to Infinity War

It’s 2008 and Jon Favreau has just blown the minds of most comic book fans with Iron Man. We’d seen comic book films before, but with the release of The Incredible Hulk in the same year, and a simple post credit cut scene in a bar, the possibilities became endless.

An entire decade of filmmaking, comprising of eighteen films, has lead to this point. Infinity Wars.

The films have arguably become bigger than their comic book origins, gripping more than just fanboys with each new release. People around the world have flocked to theaters to watch Thor wield his mighty hammer, or Cap sport the red, white, and blue. Most recently, Black Panther became the first film shown in a theater in Saudi Arabia in more than thirty years! The film also held strong roots socially, using the platform to push the conversation of racial diversity in Hollywood. The excitement for this event goes beyond the films, but it does start there, with those eighteen cinematic treats that we’ve all come to love.  

This article will stand as the definitive Road Map to the Avengers: Infinity War. Whether you haven’t seen any of the films and you want to know what all the hype is about, or you’re just searching for a refresher before you step into the theater, we’ve got you covered. There is a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started.


What is “the Infinity War” and “the Infinity Stones”?

The Infinity War is a Marvel Cinematic Universe story line inspired by the 1991 “Infinity Gauntlet” and 2013 “Infinity” comic book events from Marvel. In these story arcs Thanos comes to Earth in search of the final Infinity Stones to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, a glove that holds the stones, and essentially gives the holder control over every imaginable aspect of the universe. The Infinity Stones are actually concentrated elements from the creation of the Universe that give dominion over time, space, reality, power, mind, and soul. Scary stuff. You see, Thanos is the definition of a tyrant. He’s gone through the universe enslaving whole planets, and destroying the ones that have opposed. Infinity War is the final chapter to his search, and Earth is his final destination. With five of the six Infinity Stones already seen throughout the films, it literally all comes down this.

The Master Plan

Do I need to watch all of the films to understand Infinity War? The short answer is no.

This event is centered around the Infinity Stones storyline, which all the films build towards, but don’t demand a view to walk into the theater informed. That being said, these films are much more enjoyable when you understand the characters and storylines of each individual hero. You can also truly appreciate just how big this event is once you’ve enjoyed them all.

Here are the films in their Marvel Cinematic Universe Chronology! You’ll find the release year beside it as well as a rating out of five (allowing you to gage if a film is really worth your time).

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) (3/5)
Iron Man (2008) (4/5)
Iron Man 2 (2010) (3/5)
The Incredible Hulk (2008) (3.5/5)
Thor (2011) (3/5)
The Avengers (2012) (4/5)
Iron Man 3 (2013) (2.5/5)
Thor: The Dark World (2013) (3/5)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) (4.5/5)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) (4/5)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)(4/5)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) (3/5)
Ant-Man (2015)(4/5)
Captain America: Civil War (2016) (4.5/5)
Black Panther (2018) (5/5)
Dr. Strange (2016) (4/5)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) (4/5)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) (4/5)

Infinity Stones 101
The entire eighteen film stretch can seem daunting, but luckily they’re not all needed to understand the specifics of Infinity War. What you need to wrap your head around are our central heroes, their connections to Thanos, and the current location of the five Infinity Stones we’ve seen in the MCU (remember, there are six, but we’ll discuss that later).

The films you need to watch for a thorough education on the Infinity Stones, and why you need to watch them are listed below. I’ve also provided a suggested viewing order. This is not a chronologically specific order, but in my opinion, the best way to take in the story to date.

Iron Man (2008) (4/5)
This film is the bedrock of everything the Marvel Cinematic Universe is built on. Laying the foundation of everything that is to come, we meet Tony Stark in his first outing with his iron suits. We are brought into the story at a time when Tony Stark himself is still involved in arms manufacturing, which plays a large part in almost all of the Marvel stories, but specifically the Avengers one. Jon Favreau gave life to something larger than I think he’ll ever realize with this release.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) (3/5)
Enter Captain America, and the first of the Infinity Stones, the Space Stone, which is held inside of an artifact called the Tesseract. It’s 1942 and the Red Skull plans to use the Tesseract for World Domination. Typical. Steve Rodgers must become the First Avenger, a super soldier with the codename Captain America. This story also bridges the gap of time, showing us how the Tesseract and Captain America both end up in modern day New York City.

The Avengers (2012) (4/5)
The first major Marvel event arrives and unites Earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers. SHIELD, a militarized organization that protects the world has been experimenting with the Tesseract, which as we all remember is the Space Stone. This is quickly interrupted by Loki, brother of Thor, who has been sent by Thanos to retrieve the stone. Taking control of Hawkeye and a ragtag group of scientists with a staff containing the Mind Stone, Loki begins his plan to transport an alien army to Earth and rule. Having to try and overcome their vast differences, very quickly, we see the first team up of Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, the core group of the first Avengers.

Thor: The Dark World (2013) (3/5)
Easily one of the weakest entries in the entire MCU, Thor: The Dark World, sees the team up of Thor and Loki, a treat for many comic book fans. It also serves as the introduction to the Aether, which is actually the third stone we’re introduced to, the Reality Stone. In the film, a Dark Elf by the name of Malekith (coolest name ever), plans on using the Aether to bridge the gap between the Dark World and take over all nine realms. As far as Infinity Stones go, and without ruining the plot (too much), we are reminded that the Tesseract is being kept safe in Asgard, which leads us to the introduction of the Collector, who plays a larger role in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. He is left with the Reality Stone at the end of the film, with the hopes of keeping the Infinity Stones separate. Like most sleazy men with bleached white hair, he has less than honest plans.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) (4/5)
Up until this point, Thanos has been in the background as subordinates attempt to acquire the stones for him, but in Guardians we finally meet the tyrannical leader himself. Thanos has once again outsourced work to a radical in the galaxy, this one going by the name of Ronin. His job is to find the Power Stone, and deliver it. This is where we meet Peter Quill, a scavenger who happens to steal the stone as a bounty. The Power Stone is revealed to be strong enough to wipe out a planet with a single touch to its surface. Complete annihilation. Before finding out just what he’s stolen, he teams up with a bunch of misfits from around the galaxy, including Thanos’ enslaved daughter Gamora, to cash in on the stone. However, once they uncover the truth about the stone via the Collector, they are forced to come together and become something more than their individual selves to save the galaxy. We also meet the Nova Corps, the police of the galaxy, who ultimately become the keepers of the Power Stone.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) (3/5)
Back with our feet firmly planted on Earth, the Avengers have gotten their hands on Loki’s scepter, which Jarvis will soon reveal contains the Mind Stone. The stone contains a limitless amount of code on it, which Tony Stark and Bruce Banner wisely use to create an artificial intelligence named Ultron, who is made to out-date the Avengers, and protect the human race from that point on. However, Ultron, after reviewing all the data in the world, quickly realizes that the true enemies of the planet are humans, specifically the Avengers. To beat them, he must become better than a robot and attempts to build a synthetic body made with Vibranium and powered by the Mind Stone. That’s promptly interrupted by the Avengers, who steal the synthetic body, and send it back to Tony Stark (the world’s mightiest heroes with the dumbest ideas). Tony Stark turns around and decides to create another robot, because the first time went so well. This is where we meet Vision, a being beyond man or machine based on Jarvis’ code. Thor also goes on a spirit quest mid-film and sees visions of four Infinity Stones, Thanos, and the Infinity Gauntlet. After warning the others and helping save Earth, he takes it upon himself to being searching the universe for the stones. Hulk, who’s romance with Black Widow has developed, decides to leave Earth due to the danger he presents to everyone. It’s a downer, but nothing is more depressing than how they dropped the ball on one of the best story lines the Avengers comics had to offer.

Captain America: Civil War (2016) (4.5/5)
Devoid of Infinity Stones (except for the one lodged in Vision’s forehead) and affectionately known to fans as “Avengers 2.5”, Civil War sees the introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther, and acts as the third major crossover in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Story wise, this film sets up a lot of what we will walk into come Infinity War, so pay attention! We see the fraction of the Avengers, as Iron Man and Captain America battle it out, causing most of the team to choose sides. This will also serve as a reminder as to why Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, is now in Wakanda with everyone’s favourite little sister, Shuri. This is also where we see the doomed romance of Vision and Scarlet Witch develop. Let it be known that that story line could potentially be one of the strongest Marvel comics have had in years and it is a relationship to keep tabs on.

Black Panther (2018) (5/5)
Why is this on the list? First off, it’s easily the best MCU film to date. The film builds on what a comic book movie can be and redefines the way we present these heroes. There are also a ton of new characters to meet, and a lot to learn about Wakanda, as is it is theorized that the final stone, the Soul Stone, is hidden there. Furthermore, the post credit scene opens the doors for the adventures of Bucky Barnes, who is now free from his Winter Soldier mind control in the land of Wakanda. He’s also going by the code name the White Wolf, which builds on a theory that Bucky might find a new home in the secret African city.

Dr. Strange (2016) (4/5)
The final Infinity Stone brought into play is the Time Stone, which is given the relic name “the Eye of Agamotto”. We are introduced to the stone via Doctor Steven Strange, an arrogant Doctor who looks for healing methods beyond his world of medicine when a career ending accident forces his life down a different road. His search brings him to the Ancient One, keeper of the Eye of Agamotto. She takes in Strange and teaches him the way of the Mystic Arts, something he seems to find a natural talent in. This is all while Kaecilius, past pupil of the Ancient One, attempts to awaken the god Dormammu, which as we can all guess means bad things for Earth. The power of the Eye of Agamotto ends up being shown off in one of the greatest final battles to grace the screen in an action movie, and the film is in general a VFX wonder.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) (4/5)
Thor: Ragnarok is easily the best romp of all the Thor films. It sees the destruction of Asgard, where the Space Stone was being kept, and the introduction of Hela. There are two key moments to take away from this film for our Infinity Wars story line. The first is Loki’s theft of the Tesseract before summoning Surtur. This is the final time we see the stone before Infinity War. The second is after Thor’s decision to bring the Asgardian people to Earth, where we see their ship being intercepted by a much larger ship that belongs to Thanos. What a cliffhanger!

Bonus Nerd Points: Hela, in her leather clad glory, is actually the soft spot to Thanos. The two actually have something of a relationship in the comic book world. I have no idea if this explored, but it is a super cool fact.

 


 

There you have it.

Of the six Infinity Stones, we currently only know of five and here are their current locations.

The Space Stone: Most likely with Thanos, but until we know otherwise, with Loki onboard a ship headed to Earth.
The Power Stone: The Nova Corps on Xandar
The Reality Stone: The Collector (Note: His place gets annihilated because of the Power Stone and most of his collection is seen floating in space)
The Mind Stone: Vision. Literally, in his forehead.
The Time Stone: The Eye of Agamotto, under the protection of Doctor Strange.

Writing this, the weight of everything that has been achieved over these films is undeniable. This is a cinematic feat no matter which way you want to spin it. It’s often noted that cinephiles and art house stars turn their noses up towards the MCU and the incredible individuals that pour everything into these portrayals. The films have garnered global success, and brought a lot of excitement back to the movie theater at a time when the future of the blockbuster was being questioned. Eighteen films and a decade later, the world that these individuals came together to create will reach a celebrated pinnacle. The excitement is real, and every bit justified.

Audience, ASSEMBLE!

*Avengers’ credit music*

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a Toronto based filmmaker and creative mad man. Legend has it that he spent most of his childhood locked away in a cell beta testing Netflix.