The Marvel Cinematic Universe kick-started in 2008 with Iron Man, and after 21 movies so far, Avengers: Endgame is set to bring an end to phase 3 of the most popular and highest-grossing franchise in history.
The movies which started it all are not necessarily the first in the MCU because even though it’s timeline is awesome, the order the movies have been shown are as screwed up as Thanos’ plot to end half the life in the universe because of lack of resources.
So before you watch Endgame, here is the complete description and rundown of the MCU timeline from the first movie up till just before the movie that is set to bring phase 3 to an end.
The MCU officially kicked off with Captain America: The First Avenger, in which he took out Red Skull (who was transported to Vomir by the Tesseract to be the keeper of the Soul Stone,) and sacrificed himself to save America by plunging the aircraft in ice. Then Captain Marvel found her way to Earth years after the war (while Captain America was still in ice), met a young Nick Fury, and left earth to help The Skrulls to find a new home. It was here that Nick Fury first got the idea for the Avengers initiative. (I called this by the way in Everything you need to know about Captain Marvel before watching the movie).
A couple of years down the line, Nick Fury got bald, became the director of SHIELD, and met Tony Stark, who had just finished defeating his Uncle, Obadiah, in Iron Man, and then Nick went on to help and guide Iron Man to find a cure for his arc reactor that was killing him in Iron Man 2. It was also here that Black Widow made her first appearance, fighting the bad guys, while Iron Man and War Machine fought and defeated Whiplash.
Hulk then rampaged through Harlem and defeated Abomination in an awesome battle of the beasts in The Incredible Hulk, and Tony Stark met General Ross to ask him for the whereabouts of the Green Beast, who went laying low in Brazil. Meanwhile, Agent Coulson ran into Thor who became unworthy and was almost shot by Hawkeye. Thor then got worthy of Mjolnir, defeated The Destroyer, destroyed the Bifrost and defeated Loki who faked his death, only to run into Thanos, who gave him the Chitauri army to invade earth.
Loki and his army were stopped by The Avengers, and they went their separate ways shortly after. Iron Man started having anxiety attacks and was almost killed by the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, Thor took Loki back to Asgard to answer for his crimes, and the Asgardians were attacked by Malekeith and his Dark Elves in Thor: The Dark World. The god of thunder defeated Malakeith, Loki faked his death yet again, Odin was tricked into leaving earth by Loki, and the nine realms were in a state of serious disarray.
Captain America fought his best friend, Bucky (The Winter Soldier), destroyed SHIELD totally with the help of Falcon and Black Widow and went back to meet up with the other members of the Avengers.
Back on Earth, after trying to see who was worthy of Mjolnir, Ultron was born and he gave The Avengers a seriously tough time. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch started out as villains due to a grudge they had with Stark Industries but were converted to the good guys by Hawkeye. Vision was born, they all fought and defeated Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron and from that point, things didn’t remain the same again in the MCU. Thor went back to Asgard, Hulk was lost, and Iron Man decided to lay low.
After The Avengers building got destroyed, they moved upstate and Ant-Man embarrassed Falcon in a quick battle to get a piece of equipment that would help him and The Pyms defeat Yellow Jacket in Ant-Man. Then thanks to the events of Age of Ultron, Avengers, Winter Soldier, and all the other MCU movies before, a Civil War broke out between the heroes and Ant-Man fought on the side of Captain America. It was here we were introduced to both Spider-Man and Black Panther for the first time.
Shortly after the Civil War ended, Doctor Strange became a master of the mystic arts and bargained with Dormammu in a bid to defeat Kaecilius and the other dark dimension worshippers. Black Panther went back to Wakanda to be crowned King, was defeated by Kilmonger, and won back his throne again, while Tony Stark was mentoring Spider-Man, who proved that he was ready to join the big leagues by defeating Vulture and saving Tony Stark’s and The Avenger’s many gears and pieces of equipment from being stolen in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Thor, who went to Asgard after the events of Age of Ultron, watched his father (Odin) die, lost Mjolnir and fought side by side with Loki to save the other Asgardians from their sister Hela, even though that ended up bringing about Ragnarok. While Ant-Man and The Wasp had to fight Ghost in order to save Janet Van Dyne from the Quantum Realm.
Then all the heroes (save for Ant-Man, who was in the Quantum Realm), got their asses handed to them by Thanos in Infinity War and lost their first battle ever, along with their friends, comrades, and half the universe in Avengers: Infinity War.
… And that brings us to Avengers: Endgame, which is the last movie in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What a ride it has been so far, no? Now that you’re all caught up, let’s hope Endgame delivers and Phase 4-6 of the MCU will be just as awesome as 1-3.