This week, we have another convergence (see what I did there!) Whether you’re watching Chronologically or in Release Date Order, you should have watched Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier for Week 4. The Road to Infinity War is winding along and getting closer and closer to the big day!
Which…to remind you, lands in theaters on April 27th. In case you forgot…what am I saying? As if you could forget! It’s only the biggest movie of the year (arguably!)
Thor: The Dark World
When Malekith, the Dark Elf, tries to use the Aether (the Reality Stone) against the Nine Realms, Bor, father of Odin, must step in and stop his evil purposes. But is that the end of the Dark Elf Malekith…nope!
Many decades later, during the reign of Bor’s son, Odin, a portal to another dimension opens up on Earth, sucking Jane Foster into it. Turns out the portal was created by the “Convergence,” a very rare event that happens only when the Nine Realms are aligned. The astrophysicist and love interest of the god of Thunder is infected with the Aether. Because of this, the Aether is awakened, as is Malekith, the Dark Elf. (If this is sounding like a convoluted plot line to you…you are correct!)
There’s a lot going on in Thor: The Dark World. But one thing that is very important is the introduction of a new Infinity Stone, the Reality Stone.
After Heimdall discovers that something is not right with Jane, Thor goes to investigate, ultimately bringing Jane back to Asgard to figure out what is wrong with her. While all this is going down, Loki is rotting away in prison after trying to take over Earth with the Mind Stone. But when the Dark Elf threatens the Nine Realms, Thor sees fit to bring Loki into his plan to save the universe. Whether it’s out of genuine brotherly love or a sense of revenge on Malekith for killing their mother, Loki does help Thor, but still keeps a few tricks up his sleeve in the end.
Other Things to Note
Notice that Fandral has been recast, replacing Josh Dallas (who played Prince Charming in Once Upon a Time) with Zachary Levi (from Nerd HQ and the TV show, Chuck. Soon to be seen on the DC side of the pond in Shazam.)
If you’re watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as part of your Road to Infinity War, the episode titled The Well, in season 1 has a direct tie-in to the events of Thor: The Dark World, including an appearance, on the show, from Lady Sif herself.
Mid Credit Scene
We are introduced to Taneleer Tivan, aka, The Collector when we see Lady Sif and Volstagg bringing him the Aether for safe keeping. This is a tie-in to his future appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy.
End Credit Scene
This scene is less important, unless you’re a big fan of the Jane Foster/Thor ship. Basically, it’s the end of their Marvel rom-com, where they get to have their big kiss scene. The whimsical addition of the Jotunheim Beast playing with a flock of birds in London, is a nice touch!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This is the movie that changed everything for the MCU. Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. have been working together since the events of The Avengers. But there are secrets Nick Fury is keeping from Cap and it’s causing a wedge to form between them. The events of The Winter Soldier are hard on Steve, because everything he’s been taught leads him to trust authority. What happens when the authority he thought he could trust and ultimately believe in is being secretly run by the organization he fought against decades ago? Hydra.
What happens when his enemy is the best friend he thought died all those years ago? That’s what we see Steve struggling with most in this film…trust. Trust in his friend and colleague, Natasha Romanoff. Trust in his boss, Nick Fury. And the trust he wants to have in his former best friend, Bucky Barnes.
After the “death” of Nick Fury at the hands of Hydra, Steve and Natasha are forced to go off the grid to figure out how to bring Hydra to it’s knees. Enter Sam Wilson, aka, The Falcon. Quickly becoming a valuable member of Team Cap, Sam helps Widow and Cap fight the good fight. He’s also a pivotal player in future movies and fan favorite thanks to the acting talent of Anthony Mackie!
At the end of this film, we see the fallout of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s breakdown. Agent Maria Hill must seek a job elsewhere and finds a home at Stark Industries. Natasha secrets are out, along with Hydra’s, and she has no choice but to go take care of business. Nick Fury, for all intents and purposes, is dead. By the end of The Winter Soldier, Hydra has been revealed, but the team is fractured. For Steve and, out of loyalty and friendship, Sam Wilson, their purpose becomes finding Bucky Barnes and getting him back in the world.
Other Things to Note
The events of this movie have a massive impact on the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, they serve to make the show so much better! The show had largely been struggling to find it’s voice and to find it’s way into the greater story of the MCU. But in one fell swoop, many of the Agents of SHIELD are revealed to be Hydra agents, including characters no one expected to be the enemy. If you are watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on your Road to Infinity War, the episode that begins the big tie-in is: Turn, Turn, Turn.
Keep an eye out for Agent 13, who’s related to fan favorite Agent Peggy Carter. The phrase “Keep it in the family” will have new meaning for you. Robert Redford is brought into the MCU as an old friend and colleague of Nick Fury’s. But not even Nick knows his friend is on the Hydra side of things.
Mid Credit Scene
Loki’s scepter is being analyzed in a secret facility by someone who is definitely not an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. But is, instead, a sleeper Hydra agent. He has been using the scepter to test the Mind Stone’s powers on a pair of twins. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff are a pair of players who have major roles later on in Avengers: Age of Ultron. (But don’t call them mutants…they are not mutants. Not in the MCU at least. Not yet…)
End Credit Scene
With the words from his former friend, Steve Roger, still ringing in his ears…Bucky Barnes makes his way to the Smithsonian to learn about the friend he can’t remember and about himself.
Release Date Order
See the descriptions above because this week they are the same…