Before Avengers: Infinity War, I came up with a list of essential films for newcomers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Why you would only want to watch a few of the greatest franchise in movie history is another thing, but everyone’s not obsessive like me.
Joe and Anthony Russo realize some people don’t have that kind of commitment. In an interview with ComicBook.com, they broke down the must-see Avengers: Endgame marathon to just three films. This list isn’t all that surprising and if I were to narrow it down to three, these would be my choices as well.
‘[Captain America:] Civil War and [Avengers:] Infinity War without question because the events of Civil War directly affected Infinity War, and we would argue that the reason they lost to Thanos is because of Civil War,’ Joe Russo said. ‘Clearly, that carries over to Endgame. If you’re going to add one more in there, I’d probably say [Captain America: The] Winter Soldier, only in that those are the four movies we directed, and they’re all thematically connected to one another.’
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Some people could chalk that up to The Russos just hyping up the films they directed, but those three are in my Top 5 best Marvel Studios films so clearly they’re on to something. Winter Soldier’s importance in that mini-marathon can’t be ignored as it reinforces the bond and sense of loss Captain America has regarding Bucky. It’s his one blind spot and possibly the only thing that could fracture the Avengers beyond Stark’s ego.
Just as important, Winter Soldier establishes Cap’s increasingly closer bond with Black Widow — a bond that becomes one of the most significant through the course of the three films. It’s Black Widow who helps Cap and Bucky get away from Black Panther in order to stop Helmut Zemo and who joins Cap and Falcon after the fallout. As we see in the trailers, Black Widow remains just as tight with Cap after the Decimation.
I like how The Russos have operated under the mindset that together the Avengers possibly could have stopped Thanos and the Black Order in Avengers: Infinity War, but their split was the opening Thanos needed to collect all the Infinity Stones. Accounting for Star-Lord’s emotions might be another thing entirely.
I think that list is pretty good. I’m sure The Russos will be able to quickly summarize the events from Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and The Wasp to make sense of their importance to the story. And if you’re going for a quick-hit this is arguably the strongest trilogy of MCU films you could watch.