April 9, 2014 11:23 AM   Subscribe

I have seen Iron Man and The Avengers (I liked both). I have also seen four episodes of Agents of SHIELD. I'm now curious about the other movies, what with all the good press for the new Captain America and all the Loki gifs everywhere. Which movies in this universe should I watch and in what order?

I still haven't heard anything appealing about AoS (at episode 10 or 12ish, a friend whose tv opinions mesh well with mine told me not to bother), though I could catch up if I were convinced it eventually got better -- I do know there's supposed to be some interaction betwen AoS and Captain America, but am not sure what. I don't want to read comics.

I'm okay with skipping movies (seeing Iron Man 3 and not 2, for instance, catching up via Wikipedia) but not tv episodes. I would much prefer to watch those movies -- if they exist -- that have actual female characters who are active. I get bored by movies and tv really easily so I want fun and watchable and for the plot to hold up until at least the credits.
posted by jeather to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Were I you, I would watch them in the order they were released because they often reference each other and events/characters in other films. It's not a requirement, of course, but it does enhance the viewing of them.
posted by greta simone at 11:36 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

My personal opinion in order of watching:

x-Men First Class
Wolverine Origins
X-Men 1 + 2
Cap America
Cap America 2
Spider-Man 1 with Tobey
Thor 2
Dr strange (cartoon movie)
Hulk with Ed Norton
Fantastic 4

If you are still starving for content you could watch the second wolverine, third x-men, rest of the Spider-Man movies and *shudder* Daredevil.

The x-men films are going to give you the strongest female parts, though sue storm from fantastic 4 is great.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 11:37 AM on April 9, 2014

Others may disagree but I think AoS got REALLY good with last night's episode and changed a lot of things. It also had a really innovative tie-in with the second Captain America movie (the one currently in theaters), so if I were you, I'd go see that first thing, then go back and start the series. It takes a few episodes to hit its stride, but it does eventually and IMO is totally worth it.
posted by jbickers at 11:37 AM on April 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

I am only referring to the movies in the Avengers world, btw.
posted by greta simone at 11:38 AM on April 9, 2014

Also: AoS has some very, very strong female characters.
posted by jbickers at 11:38 AM on April 9, 2014

Oops, that's all marvel universe, I may have misunderstood the question. Delete me if need be.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2014

I mean, in the scheme of things there really aren't that many; in order of release it's Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, IM2, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, IM3, Thor 2, CA2. Of those Incredible Hulk and IM2 are the weakest, but not unwatchable by any means.

None of the X-Men, FF, or Spiderman Movies tie into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe in any way, but X-men 1, 2, and First Class are good. The second Wolverine movie is ok. The first two Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire are good, and the reboot with Andrew Garfield (Amazing Spider-Man) is ok.

Oh, and the first two Blade movies are lots of fun too.
posted by Oktober at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would just watch them all from the beginning (Iron Man 1). Some people might say Iron Man 2 is bad, but I would counter it's just not great, and it does introduce the Black Widow character (featured in The Avengers and Captain America 2).

here is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (in order):

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Captain America
Iron Man 3
Thor 2
Captain America 2

I just saw Cap 2 and it was great. Cuardians of the Galaxy comes out later this summer and looks to be a lot of fun.
posted by joelhunt at 11:44 AM on April 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've heard that Captain America: The Winter Soldier actually takes place before Iron Man 3, which makes a throwaway line in CA: TWS make sense--but they are okay either way.

Iron Man 3 and possibly Thor pass the Bechdel test, if you're not too strict about it. I also get bored by movies and I fell asleep during both Thor movies, but loved Iron Man 1 + 3 and Captain America 1.

If you are into cartoons, check out Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes for a slightly different version of the Avengers. More female characters, slightly goofy writing. Do NOT watch Avengers: Assemble!, for it is crap.
posted by chaiminda at 11:52 AM on April 9, 2014

Which movies in this universe should I watch and in what order?

Since you've already seen Avengers try this order: IM3, Thor 2 and then CA2. Cap 1 and Thor 1 aren't bad, but they aren't great either. They're the sort of thing you watch on rainy afternoon when there's nothing else to do or you're as background filler when you're repainting the living room.

Agents of Shield does indeed get better. Start with Episode 13 and go from there, reading a wiki to fill in any gaps.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:53 AM on April 9, 2014

Note that the Thor movies are very much filmed for the female gaze, if you... like that kind of thing.
posted by Andrhia at 12:14 PM on April 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

Thor passed the bechdel test in the first scene. I liked IM3 from a feminist perspective, too, though of course ymmv.

Personally, I'd watch them in the release order.
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's really a Marvel multiverse, not a universe, due to the arcane workings of rights and licensing. As it currently stands, Spider-Man, X-Men (including the Wolverine solo movies), Fantastic Four and the Avengers (and the attendant solo outings of its members) are all distinct and cannot cross over.

So there's no need to watch all the movies in chronological order if there are some of those character groupings you don't care so much about. But within each universe I can't think of any reason to skip any of the movies or watch them out of order unless you're impatient. Some are great, some are OK and a few are pretty bad, but even the bad ones have something worthwhile if you're invested in a particular track. Each track has bad ones btw.

You can obviously cherry-pick if you want. It's easier to say which ones to skip, provided you don't mind missing plot points that may be referenced in later films. Here's my list of what to skip if you don't want to see them all:

X-Men III, The Wolverine (the first of his two outings, I haven't seen the second one), both Hulk movies, Iron Man II, Spider-Man III and all the Fantastic Four (did they make more than two? I don't remember). I found the second Thor movie to be disappointingly generic from a plot standpoint. I can't exactly recommend you skip it, but if you're impatient go ahead and give it a miss.

Also, Spider-Man has been rebooted as The Amazing Spider-Man. I thought the first one was OK but not great, you can skip it unless Spidey is your fave.

The first time I saw the first Thor movie I liked it, but the second time I loved it. The visuals, especially when the Asgardians are doing something Asgardy, are astonishingly beautiful.

I just gave up on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For the record, I've seen all the episodes except the most recent one. I like the cast but that show is a snoozer with some really glaring internal inconsistencies. I think the writers are really letting the cast and the audience down. Every episode seems like a preamble for an interesting story they never bother to tell. My impression is that any crossover with the Avengers characters is a stunt to draw more viewers to the show. I obviously can't say if the most recent episode works that way since I haven't seen it, but when I decided to stop watching the show it never even occurred to me that I might miss something important to the Avengers universe. It just seems incidental, not integral.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:50 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oops. It looks like maybe your question was referring to the Avengers track, not any of the others. My bad.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:00 PM on April 9, 2014

I'd skip the Hulk movie. It was my least favorite of the bunch and the actor has been replaced with someone a lot better at the part anyway and you can probably easily find out the backstory of the Hulk anywhere.

Just go watch "Turn, Turn, Turn" at the very least of AoS, since that's where the action picks up.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:52 PM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Iron Man 2 should definitely be watched prior to the first Thor, as the post-credits stinger from the former is the setup for the latter.

The first Captain America should be seen after both of these.

The opening sequence on Captain America, while perfectly understandable on its own without having seen any of the other Marvel films, takes on new meaning if you've seen Thor first.

As for the relationship between Iron Man 2 and the first Captain America? Tony's father Howard Stark is an important part of both movie's plots.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:15 PM on April 9, 2014

You definitely should watch all of the Marvel Universe ones in order of release.
posted by empath at 10:05 PM on April 9, 2014

Yes, watch the MCU (i.e., Iron Man/Thor/Cap/Hulk/Avengers. They're all designed to loosely link to each other leading up to the team-up Avengers movies. [X-Men, Spidey, and Fantastic Four aren't part of the MCU due to filming rights stuff]) in order of release.

If you're interested in Loki and possibly wonder why there's so many Loki-as-woobie gifs out there, watch the first Thor for more background on him.

The Hulk movie is the weakest of the bunch, imo. Plus Mark Ruffalo kind of killed it as the Hulk in the Avengers, so now it's weird seeing Edward Norton in the role.

Iron Man 2 isn't the best, but it's got Natasha. And a great scene with Natasha and Pepper each doing what they do best to thwart a bad guy.

All the movies have post-credits scenes. Never get up in the middle of the credits at a Marvel movie!

There's also a series of Marvel 'one-shots', which are shorts set in the MCU that are included on the blu-rays. They're fun--I particularly love the Peggy Carter one.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:56 PM on April 9, 2014

I would give the entirety of AoS a pass and just wiki it. I really didn't find any redeeming qualities in it.
posted by Slackermagee at 5:23 AM on April 10, 2014

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