‘Avengers: Infinity War’: Which Marvel Movies Do You Actually Have To See First?

Avengers: Infinity War

The first and most frequent question we’ve gotten here at Comic Book Club about Avengers: Infinity War is, “who dies in the movie?” We’re not going to tell you that; but we will answer the second most frequently asked question: what Marvel movies do you absolutely have to watch before you head to the theater?

Now, chances are you’ve seen all of them. 18 movies over 10 years? Easy. Chances are, you’ve also seen several of them several times, or been running your own mini-Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon for the past several weeks. But in case you did miss some, or need a refresher, good news: you don’t actually need to watch everything.

Having seen the movie, we can break this down into four categories, based on what’s actually necessary to understand the plot of the film. Mind you, there are bits of plot and beats you won’t get unless you’ve actually seen all 18 movies before Infinity War. But the movie does a solid job of bringing you up to speed; or, since you might have seen a movie in your lifetime before, you can intuit what went on.

We’re going to keep this 100% spoiler free, so won’t explain these choices so much as just gently nudge you in the right direction. Ready? Here goes:


These are the essential movies you need to watch before Infinity War. Without them, the plot of the movie won’t make a lot of sense… So at the very least, give yourself a Wikipedia refresher before you head to the movies.

Marvel’s The Avengers
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Doctor Strange
Thor: Ragnarok

Would Be Helpful

Though these aren’t 100% necessary plotwise, there are a few scenes that won’t make total sense without having seen these two (they’re also really good flicks).

Captain America: The First Avenger
Spider-Man: Homecoming

Only If You Have The Time

Both of these films would be helpful, but you can probably figure out what’s going on without them.

Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: Civil War

You Can Skip

To be clear: some of our fave Marvel movies are on this list. But you’ll be able to enjoy Infinity War even if you’ve never seen any of these movies. Yes, the entire Iron Man series is on here. Yes, you don’t actually need to see Black Panther (though why haven’t you?)

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Black Panther

That’s it! Happy watching, and be sure to check out the next episode of our comic book podcast for a breakdown of the movie…

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