The Marvel 'Infinity Saga' Films - In the Order You Should Watch Them...
Wind back a few years and the only time you could watch a movie was when it was released at the cinema, when it was shown on terrestrial TV, or if you had bought the DVD.
Now, in the days of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple iTunes we can choose from thousands of movies in a few seconds.
But, we also live in the age of cinematic universes, re-boots, sequels, prequels, spin-offs and TV tie-ins, it can be bewildering to work out how things actually fit together.
Which ones should you watch first? Especially when the order films are released in, isn’t necessarily the order they run in.
So, in our “In the Order You Should Watch Them…” series of blog posts, we provide a bit of background and paint a simple picture. The rest, well, that’s up to you. Perhaps you’ll watch them backwards, maybe that’s just how you roll…
This week, the Marvel 'Infinity Saga' films.
As we sit and write this, it is three days before the release of Marvel’s “Avengers : Endgame”. This film brings to a close a saga of 22 films that Marvel Studio’s president Kevin Feige is now calling ‘The Infinity Saga’.
It began back in 2008 with the release of “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk”, but, it nearly didn’t happen at all…
Marvel’s story begins in Martin Goodman’s company, “Timely Publications” and its first edition, “Marvel Comics”, comic #1. Released in October 1939, it included characters such as ‘the Human Torch’, ‘the Sub-Mariner’ and the detective ‘Angel’. The comic was an instant success, selling over 900,000 copies.
In 1941, Timely’s editor Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby teamed up to create “Captain America”, comic #1. Released in March 1941, it also went on to sell nearly one million copies.
Stanley Lieber, later known as Stan Lee, was hired in 1939, later becoming the company’s ‘editor of comics’.
The first comics that we would recognise as ‘Marvel’, were published in 1961 and bore the ‘MC’ (Marvel Comics) logos on their cover. Around this time Stan Lee began to introduce more complex characters aimed at a more mature market, such as “The Amazing Spider-Man”, where Peter Parker was portrayed as a typical adolescent, harbouring the same hang-ups and insecurities as the comics’ readership.
Characters such as Ant-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel would follow, all sharing a common world – the Marvel Universe.
Over the following decades, the company would experience ups and downs and a few changes of ownership as it grew and eventually became a financial toy for big money companies.
The Birth of Marvel Studios
By December 1996 Marvel was losing money and had significant debts (including owing over $1M to Disney). It had no option but to file for bankruptcy and lay off a third of its workforce.
For a quick injection of cash, the company sold off the film rights to big characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men to Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. The resultant films made hundreds of millions of the studios, but a relative pittance for Marvel.
In 2003 an American film maker and Broadway producer, David Maisel, pitched to Marvel the idea of creating their own movie studio, making their own films and retaining all of the profits for themselves.
It was two years before the Marvel board agreed a seven-year plan to create Marvel Studios. It wasn’t without risk. If the plan failed, the financers demanded the rights to nearly all Marvel’s creative assets. It would finish the company.
Marvel actually financed the studios first film “Iron Man” (2008) itself (Maisel was executive producer). It would make $500M.
Another twenty films later, The Marvel Cinematic Universe stands as the highest grossing film franchise of all time, having taken a total box office of over $18B.
We also imagine that “Avengers : Endgame” will end up challenging James Cameron’s “Avatar” for the highest grossing film of all time.
It is risky, but, sometimes it pays off to bet big.
The Right Order to Watch the Marvel Films
Below is our Infographic showing the right order (the chronological order) to watch the Marvel ‘Infinity Saga’ films (click the image to enlarge it).
You will notice a note on “Ant-Man and the Wasp”. This film is set before “Avengers : Infinity War”, but, the scenes hidden within the credits are set after it, so, resist temptation and watch those later!
'Phase 4' of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins soon with "Spider-Man : Far From Home" being released later this year. Plans for a film based on 'Shang-Chi' are also well advanced. Given the superb execution of the studio's strategy over the past decade, we imagine there is another 10 years already meticulously mapped out.
If you'd like to download a PDF copy of the Marvel time-line, just click below.
Original movie posters for the Marvel Cinematic Universe have become highly collectable. We are always hunting for good examples, and, you can find out which ones we currently have available here.
Adam and the Art of the Movies team.