Road to Infinity War: Week 1 Recap

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If you decided to join our Road to Infinity War, then you are officially one week closer to Avengers: Infinity War. That’s right, there are only 45 days till the big day. If you’re looking for a countdown clock…try THIS ONE! Depending on the path you chose to take, you may be at one of two different stops on your journey. Let’s take a minute to check in and see where we are…

Chronological Order

Captain America: The First Avenger

It’s Cap that we meet first on the chronological road. After all, there’s a reason he’s called The First Avenger. Steve Rogers wants nothing more than to join the Army and fight for truth, justice and the good ole American way. Given his unimpressive stature and less than preferable height, weight and medical history, doctors, officials and even his own best friend  just don’t think he has what it takes to serve. But does that stop our boy? No!

His best pal, James Buchanan Barnes, has joined up and his father died serving in World War I. The legacy to fight is strong for Steve. His sense of duty and moral compass will not let him go down without a fight. We see this early on when he’s being pummeled by a bully. He refuses to give up, no matter the cost. This spirit, this drive is what first draws Dr. Abraham Erskine’s notice of Steve Rogers as a potential candidate for the Super Soldier Serum in the first place. And it’s what ends up making him the perfect man to wield the Shield.

In Captain America: The First Avenger, we get a glimpse of our first Infinity Stone, the Space Stone. Housed in the Tesseract, the Space Stone has properties that are mighty attractive to resident Nazi bad guy, Red Skull. As head of advanced weaponry for Adolph Hitler and leader of Hydra, Red Skull is highly motivated to get his hands on one of the Infinity Stones. Skull also presents a perfect polar opposite to Cap’s ideology. They are two sides of a coin. The dichotomy of good and evil playing itself out throughout the course of the movie.

Other Things to Note

The introduction of Peggy Carter, love interest and founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bonus points to anyone who wants augment their Road to Infinity War by watching seasons 1 and 2 of Agent Carter (available on Hulu.) The “death” of James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, best friend and future nemesis/ team member of Captain America is also an important moment in, not only, Steve’s life, but also the life of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bucky is a key player and his “death” will have consequences in movies to come.

End Credit Scene

This is basically a trailer for The Avengers and doesn’t really function as an Easter Egg. But it does give us a first look at Nick Fury bringing Cap into the Avengers Initiative.

Iron Man

Next stop on the Chronological road is Iron Man. Tony Stark, founding member of the Avengers and “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” is the man who needed a change of heart (literally) to be ready to become the man he was meant to be. When we first meet him, he is cocky, selfish and completely obsessed with himself.

Until, he goes on a routine trip to Afghanistan to show off his new, shiny weaponry produced for the US Military. When the military convoy he is with is attacked, Tony is captured and gravely injured.  The men behind the kidnapping are looking to exploit the genius in Tony and use his skills as a weapon maker for themselves. They leverage his fame and talent in an effort to take their place on the world’s stage as a threatening entity.

While under control of the terrorists, Tony is forced to work on the Jericho Missile. But instead he starts to work on tech that will save himself and eventually power his Iron Man suit. With the help of Yinsen, not only in physical labor, but also in emotional motivation, Tony completes his mach 1 Iron Man suit and escapes. (RIP Yinsen…we barely knew you.)

Upon returning home, Tony decides to take Stark Industries in a new direction away from weapons manufacturing and towards sustainable energy. This is a decision that takes him away from the business side of things allowing him to fully embrace his destiny as Iron Man.

Other Things to Note

We see the first round iteration of Lieutenant Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes, played by Terrence Howard. And while we do get exciting reveals as far as the future of the character, don’t get too attached to Terrence himself. He won’t be sticking around.  We also get introduced to Pepper Potts, love interest and future CEO of Stark Industries, as well as fan-favorite Agent Phil Coulson in this movie.

End Credit Scene

Nick Fury is at is again and is here to bring Tony into the Avengers Initiative in this Easter Egg.

Release Date Order

Iron Man

We covered the details about Tony Stark above. But if you’re watching in Release Date Order, then you’re being introduced to Tony Stark first. He kicks off the entire MCU with those words uttered at the end of this movie (in the cockiest way possible):

You never forget your first Avenger! And watching in Release Date Order, that’s Tony!

The Incredible Hulk

Next stop on Release Date Order is The Incredible Hulk, starring (not long for this franchise) Ed Norton as Bruce Banner.

Mild-mannered Banner has already been exposed to high levels of Gamma radiation by the time we are introduced to him. We get a glimpse of his origin story in the opening credits. (I really appreciate when a movie honors it’s viewers by not retelling a story we already know or can get quickly with some well-placed imagery.)

After the events that turned him into a giant, green, rage monster, Banner flees America and ends up in Brazil, where we find him working in a bottling factory and attempting to keep a low profile and an even lower heart rate. At the same time, he is in contact with a mysterious Mr. Blue in order to try and find a cure for what ails him.

There’s a bad guy. There’s a love story. It’s enjoyable, but ultimately inconsequential. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross is a major player, but the rest of this cast basically gets thrown out with the bathwater. While it’s a fun movie to watch, it really doesn’t have a large impact on the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe

Other Things to Note

There’s a great nod to Bruce Banner’s tell-tale purple pants, found in the comic books.

End Credit Scene

We find Tony Stark approaching Thaddeus Ross about the secretive “team” that’s being put together. (This scene actually got bumped up to post movie, pre-credits in the DVD and digital release.)

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 finds our hero, Tony Stark, a little worse for wear. The palladium in his Arc Reactor is slowly poisoning him and his ego is…also slowly poisoning him. The burden of being a superhero seems to be a job he can’t handle. And we start to see him come unraveled. Rhodey steps in and eventually takes his War Machine suit from Tony, in an effort to present a force that will be able to save Tony from himself.

Meanwhile, Tony’s enemies are lining up to take a crack at him. From the unhinged son of Anton Vanko to the jealous fanboy, Justin Hammer. Vanko wants revenge on Tony Stark. His father worked with Tony’s father and was a key player at Stark Industries till he was found to be a traitor and was sent back to the Soviet Union disgraced and penniless. (If you watch Agent Carter, you get to see young Anton Vanko working with a young Howard Stark.)

Hammer is looking to fill the hole left by Stark Industries in weapons manufacturing and has recently been made to look like a fool by Tony Stark. There’s bad blood between them and Hammer decides to hire Vanko to work for him and create an Arc Reactor of his own.

S.H.I.E.L.D. finally has to step in and take control of their future golden boy. They not only provide him a cure to the palladium  poisoning, but they provide him with some much needed motivation in the form of Howard Stark’s old research and files. This sends Tony on a mission to find the clues his father left him and allows him to create a brand new element that will help fuel his Arc Reactor.

Other Things to Note

There’s a shiny, new Rhodey in this movie, played by Don Cheadle, who would have the longevity Marvel was looking for. We are introduction to Natalie Rushman, aka, Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. We find out that while S.H.I.E.L.D. is interested in the Iron Man tech, they find Tony Stark unsuitable to join the Avengers Initiative.

End Credit Scene

Agent Coulson is sent on a mission in New Mexico. A mysterious “meteor” has fallen to Earth and it’s shape looks suspiciously like a hammer!!

 

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