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Road to Avengers Infinity War: Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 Recap

Avengers Infinity War will be releasing in Malaysian cinemas on 26th April 2018, which is a mere five weeks away. I will be recapping the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) from the very first movie until the most recent one.

In Part 1, I will focus on what was Marvel Studios’ Phase 1 of the MCU. Phase 1 started with Iron Man in 2008 and ended with the first Avengers movie in 2012, comprising a total of six movies.

1) Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man 2008 Poster

Let’s begin with the one that started it all, the birth of the MCU. This was Marvel Studios’ debut movie and no one knew what to expect. When Iron Man released in 2008, it set the world on fire. I can go on and on about all this but let’s get straight to the recap.

Genius billionaire playboy and philanthropist Tony Stark created his Iron Man suit and returned to the US after being imprisoned by the Ten Rings terrorist organization. He then swears to stop manufacturing weapons but his father’s old partner and Stark Industries second-in-command Obadiah Stane advise Tony not to do so. It turns out that Stane has been supplying weapons to Ten Rings all along and now wants to claim Tony’s arc reactor. They fought and Stane died in the end. The movie ends with Tony confessing to the public that he’s Iron Man.

This movie is notable for being the first MCU movie to feature and later popularize the post-credits scene. Iron Man’s post-credits scene has SHIELD Director Nick Fury visit Stark, telling him that he’s not the only superhero out there. He also wants to discuss the Avengers Initiative. And thus the MCU officially begins!

2) The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk 2008 Poster

The second movie in the MCU was The Incredible Hulk, which was also released in 2008. The events of this movie have now proven to be less significant to the MCU as a whole, due to Bruce Banner’s role recasting from Edward Norton in this movie to Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers movie, which functioned as a soft reboot for the character.

Nevertheless, I will still recap this movie’s events. It features Bruce Banner on the run from General Thunderbolt Ross, who is also the father of his girlfriend Betty. Five years later, Banner is discovered in Brazil, where General Ross sends special ops Emil Blonsky to hunt him down. However, Blonsky became injured in the fight against Hulk and later drank a serum which turns him into the Abomination. Hulk fights and beats him on the streets of Harlem.The Hulk / Bruce Banner then flees from New York and goes on the run again.

In The Incredible Hulk’s post-credits scene, it turns out that Bruce went to Canada and found a way to transform into the Hulk in a controlled manner. This is important for what will happen in The Avengers. In another scene, Tony Stark approaches General Ross at a bar and tells him that a team (The Avengers) is being assembled.

3) Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 2010 Poster

The third movie in the MCU was Iron Man 2. This was the first movie in the MCU to truly feature other comic book characters and hint at what’s to come in the near future.

The villain in this movie, Ivan Vanko, wants revenge against Tony Stark for what Tony’s father Howard did to his father Anton Vanko. He builts an arc reactor similar to Iron Man’s and attacks him. He lost and wounds up in prison, where he is saved by Stark’s rival Justin Hammer, who wants Ivan to build suits of armor for him. Nick Fury reappears in this movie and reveals that Stark’s personal assistant is actually Natasha Romanoff AKA the Black Widow, an agent of SHIELD. Fury gives Stark something Howard left for him, which is actually an unfinished recipe for a new chemical element. This new element helps Tony overcome his blood poisoning problem. In the end, Tony defeats Ivan Vanko with the help of his friend Colonel James Rhodes who now possesses a heavily modified version of Stark’s Mark II armor.

In Iron Man 2’s post-credits scene, agent of SHIELD Phil Coulson discovers a hammer in a crater in New Mexico, which is actually Thor’s hammer Mjolnir.

4) Thor (2011)

Thor 2011 Poster

The fourth movie in the MCU was Thor. It was significant since it introduced the mythology of the Asgardians and established that there was intelligent life beyond humanity. It was Marvel Studios’ biggest risk back then since non-comic book readers had no idea who Thor was unless they also had knowledge about Norse mythology.

The movie starts with Asgard preparing for Thor’s ascension to the throne after Odin steps down. However, the Frost Giants from Jotunheim crashed the coronation to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters in the Asgardian Vault. Thor stopped them and wanted revenge, so he gathered the Warriors Three and Loki to attack Jotunheim. Odin found out and punished Thor by banishing him to Earth and stripping him of his hammer Mjolnir. On Earth, Thor meets Jane Foster, Dr. Erik Selvig, and Phil Coulson. We’re even introduced to Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye in this movie. After Odin went into his hibernation (Odinsleep), it turns out that Loki was the one behind everything. He sent the Destroyer to Earth to kill Thor but Thor manages to prove himself worthy again and uses Mjolnir to destroy the Destroyer. He returns to Asgard to stop Loki’s plans but the Bifrost bridge connecting the Nine Realms are destroyed during the battle. The movie ends with Loki falling into the abyss between realms and Thor deciding he’s not ready to be king of Asgard yet.

In Thor’s post-credits scene, Dr. Erik Selvig is taken to a SHIELD facility where meets Nick Fury who asks him to study a cube-shaped object, which is actually the Tesseract, one of the Infinity Stones. It turns out that Loki somehow survived and is controlling Dr. Erik Selvig, prompting Selvig to agree to the task.

5) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America The First Avenger 2011 Poster

The fifth movie in the MCU was Captain America The First Avenger. It introduced a superhero who is arguably Marvel’s second most iconic character of all time. (Sorry, folks. Spider-Man is still number one to me.) This movie is unique so far as it actually takes place before all the events of the previous movies, in the 1940s during World War 2.

The movie starts with Johann Schmidt AKA the Red Skull discovering the Tesseract. In 1942, Steve Rogers is a weak and frail young man who wants to serve his country and prove himself. He fails to qualify for the military but his friend James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes does. Dr. Abraham Erskine allows him to enter the military if he participates in the Super-Soldier program. After receiving the Super Soldier serum, Dr. Erskine was killed in an assassination attempt. It turns out that the Red Skull and Dr. Arnim Zola, in charge of a Nazi division named Hydra, is trying to harness the energies of the Tesseract. Steve Rogers receives his iconic shield Howard Stark, Tony’s father. Rogers and Bucky manage to capture Zola but Bucky dies when he fell off the train. In the final battle, Captain America tries to stop the Red Skull from unleashing a weapon of mass destruction against major cities and is presumed to be dead when the aircraft he commandeered fell into frozen waters. The Tesseract is recovered from the ocean. Steve Rogers wakes up in a 1940s-style hospital room but deduces that something is wrong due to the radio broadcast being from a different year than his. He breaks out of the room and finds himself in Times Square, New York in present time. Nick Fury tells him that he’s been frozen in ice for the past 70 years.

In Captain America The First Avenger’s post-credits scene, Nick Fury approaches Rogers training in the gym and asks him to join a mission that will save the world.

6) The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers 2012 Poster

The sixth and final movie in Phase 1 of the MCU was the culmination of everything that came before. Back in 2012, this was the first time that anyone has ever witnessed anything like this. It was revolutionary and was arguably the biggest comic book movie of all time when it released.

The Avengers begins when Loki meets The Other, who gives Loki an army of Chitauri in exchange for locating the Tesseract. Loki interrupts the evacuation of the Tesseract at a secluded SHIELD facility where Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Phil Coulson, Dr. Erik Selvig and Hawkeye are. Loki takes the Tesseract and takes control of the minds of a bunch of people including Hawkeye. In response, Nick Fury reactivates the Avengers Initiative and sents the Balck Widow and Agent Coulson to recruit Bruce Banner AKA the Hulk and Iron Man. ick Fury himself recruits Captain America. When the Avengers capture Loki in Germany, Thor arrives from Asgard and confronts both Captain America and Iron Man. Thor then agrees to accompany them back to the helicarrier with Loki, where it turns out that it was Loki’s plan all along to get captured. Hawkeye, still under Loki’s control, attacks the helicarrier while Loki causes the Hulk to emerge enraged. Chaos ensues and Phil Coulson dies during the battle. The Avengers vow to avenge him and gets the chance to do so when Loki opens a wormhole in New York City to begin the invasion by the Chitauri army. They manage to beat Loki when Iron Man redirects the nuclear missile launched by the World Security Council into the wormhole, thereby destroying the mother ship and causing the army to shut down. The movie ends with Thor taking both Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard while Fury says that the Avengers will always be here when the world needs them.

In The Avenger’s mid-credits scene, the Other tells his master about what happened on Earth with the Loki, the Tesseract, and the Avengers. His master is Thanos, the main villain in Avengers Infinity War. In the post-credits scene, the Avengers eat shawarma at a restaurant.

All right, folks, That’s all for Phase 1 of the MCU. We’ll return soon with the recap for Phase 2 of the MCU. We’re going to make sure everyone’s up to snuff before Avengers Infinity War arrives next month. If you want to know more about where the Infinity Stones are right now, read my article here.


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