Update: 17 MCU movies down, four to go. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve managed to stay spoiler-free… so far.

avengers-endgame-poster-square-crop
See you April 26.

Marvel Studios

My head is full of Marvels.

In anticipation of Avengers: Endgame coming out on April 26, I’ve spent a good chunk of my recent evenings watching the first 17 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — just over 36 hours worth.

Before I started this crazy project exactly a month ago, I’d never seen even a Marvelmovie all the way through. It’s been a lot of fun fixing that cultural blind spot. I’ve ingested more superhero awesomeness than any mortal should. I’ve managed to avoid spoiling anything so far, which would make the Russo brothers happy. And I’ve also been live-tweeting my random dumb thoughts as I watch, because sharing is caring.

Now, with four movies to go before the Endgame — Thor: RagnarokAvengers: Infinity WarAnt-Man and The Wasp and Captain Marvel — I’m in a bit of a bind: which order do I watch them in? I’ve been following the official CNET watch order so far and it’s been great. But some fans disagree (imagine that!). So I asked Twitter.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

I’m watching every @Marvel movie (for the 1st time) before and I need your help. Assuming I skip the mid & end credit scenes from AM+Wasp and Captain Marvel to avoid spoilers, which watch order should I follow? Chrono by release or ending with 3 wars?

See David Katzmaier’s other Tweets

No matter which order I follow, I’m expecting great things from these four. I’ve enjoyed all 17 so far in their way, some much more than others. Here’s my progress, impressions and tweets, including my personal rankings among the ones I’ve seen (note: I am not a real expert).

Captain America: The First Avenger

I really liked it. I was totally unfamiliar with the story. The CGI’d small-to-large hero, the Captain’s stage career and the period setting in general were refreshing highlights.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

This scene from Captain America reminds me of the perspective shot from Fellowship with huge Gandalf and tiny Frodo on the wagon.

17 people are talking about this

Iron Man

Even better. Tony Stark’s playboy character threw me at first, but the awesomeness of his gadgets, his personal quest to make real power armor, and the overall humor really won me over.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

Starting Iron Man. I can’t imagine any scion of a military contractor getting such scads of good press today. Also, there were a lot more magazines in 2008. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/avengers-endgame-my-mcu-race-to-finally-watch-every-marvel-movie/ 

17 people are talking about this

The Incredible Hulk

Not good. It had its moments, particularly during the setup and with the introduction of wacky Mr. Blue. But overall it’s much more of a downer than the first two, and kinda plodded along.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

The Incredible Hulk. People have told me it’s one of the worst, totally skippable, etc. But I’m no skipper. I’m in it for the whole enchilada. And it’s Edward Norton. How bad can it be? https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-mcu-race-to-finally-watch-every-marvel-movie/ 

28 people are talking about this

Iron Man 2

Not as good as the first one but still thoroughly enjoyable, especially after The Incredible Hulk. The quintessential scene was Tony drunk at his own birthday party shooting the watermelon. Priceless.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

My biggest question going into this one is how he can openly be a super hero, no secret identity, just living his billionaire life as Iron Man. Also, psyched to see Samuel L’s real Nick Fury credit!

18 people are talking about this

Thor

All of a sudden the superheroes are gods. There’s magic, space travel and mythology set in a breathtaking new fantasy multiverse. To this nerdy D&D alum, Thor was manna from Asgard.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

Frost Giants, magical melee weapons, a whirlwind LOTR-style catchup voiceover intro covering Norse mythology: I’m in my element already with this one. Psyched. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-mcu-race-to-finally-watch-every-marvel-movie/ 

19 people are talking about this

The Avengers

Easily the best one yet, and a contender for my top 10 favorite movies of all time. All those personalities, motivations and superpowers kept me enthralled without becoming entangled. Another level altogether.

Iron Man 3

I came out of The Avengers hoping for more superhero world-building, but what I got was all-too-human Tony dealing with PTSD and getting help from a scrappy kid in Tennessee. Still a lot of fun despite the narrower scope.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

Post-Avengers and the Thanos cameo at the end, remembering how Tony nuked that mothership full of invaders before falling back to Earth, guessing he tries to go it alone in this one, hoping the ensemble shows up anyway. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-mcu-race-to-finally-watch-every-marvel-movie/ 

27 people are talking about this

Thor: The Dark World

This one was a disappointment — barely better than The Incredible Hulk — and not just because the dark elves were meh. It seems like the most generic superhero of the series so far: too much empty action, not enough care.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

From Drizzt Do’Urden to Eöl, Morrowind to Menzoberranzan, Dark Elves have never let me down. Hoping this isn’t the first time. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-mcu-race-to-finally-watch-every-marvel-movie/ 

25 people are talking about this

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Going in, I’d heard from multiple people that this was their favorite MCU movie overall, and I can see why. It’s a masterpiece of tight pacing and unbelievable action tempered by nuanced character building and, yes, realism in a comic book movie.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

Since I’m watching these in the canonical order I started with the first Captain America. Now I’m finally up to the second. Much has happened, so much more to come. I do like winter. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-mcu-race-to-finally-watch-every-marvel-movie/ 

39 people are talking about this

Guardians of the Galaxy

I watched this one and Vol. 2 as a Friday night double feature, and both felt less connected to any of the other films. Still a blast though. I like this one better because it’s funnier — best rapid-fire dialog of the MCU — and I enjoyed meeting all the colorful characters for the first time.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

The 10th MCU installment already feels like something entirely new. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie/ 

41 people are talking about this

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Plenty of LOL moments and an absolutely killer final scene, but this one felt bogged down in the second half by a less-than-compelling villain, repetitive set-to-music scenes and running gags that ran long. Baby Groot was hella cute, but I like grown-up Groot better.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

I have some catching up to do, it’s Friday night and the first GoG just wrapped up so it’s double feature time. I expect more laughs, garishly pigmented skin, space dogfights and classic 70’s R&B. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie/ 

38 people are talking about this

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The first Avengers is still my favorite and sets a too-high bar. This one was packed with HUGE action and sets up Civil War perfectly, but it lacked the cohesiveness and little gems of character development that could put it over the top. Scarlet Witch is awesome though.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

So “Ultron” is a name I’ve never heard before. And I have no idea how old he or she is. Guess that’s about to change. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie-before-april-26/ 

38 people are talking about this

Ant-Man

Really entertaining, original and among the funniest installments, this one just kept giving unexpected gifts. I loved the innovative powers and how he uses them, as well as the great character development from all three protagonists.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

After Ultron I’m dying to know what happens with Tony and Cap and Thanos that new dude with the stone in his forehead. But first I guess a man with Ant powers. Since I don’t have Disney Plus yet so I’m just gonna rent is now OK? https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie-before-april-26/ 

34 people are talking about this

Captain America: Civil War

I didn’t quite buy the schism between our heroes, but that’s beside the point. Watching a team of “enhanced individuals” develop animosity and deal with all the realistic repercussions of powers in an otherwise normal world overcame my quibbles. That and the near perfect fight scenes.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

Captain America: Civil War. I’ve heard nothing but good things. After the Ant-man end credits I gather Tony won’t be much help with Bucky here. Beyond that, no clue. I’m strapped in and ready for action. https://www.cnet.com/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie-before-april-26/ 

45 people are talking about this

Black Panther

Epic in scale and beautiful to watch, this one maintained an approachability in its secondary characters and plenty of jaw-dropping action. The most original setting in the MCU was pure moviemaking joy to see realized.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

Bagheera was always my favorite from the Jungle Book. After meeting the enigmatic T’Challa in Civil War and knowing this was up for best picture, the anticipation is high. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie-before-april-26/ 

38 people are talking about this

Spider-Man: Homecoming

The most fun of any MCU installment yet, with a pitch-perfect high school hero who does more to endear himself in five minutes than some of these guys do over two or three films. And Michael Keaton as the antagonist gets a killer surprise twist that scared teenage me to death.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

I can’t believe this far into my MCU Odyssey I’m watching another Spider-Man movie. After Spidey’s surprise intro in Civil War I’m hoping they continue to keep it crispy fresh. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie-before-april-26 

29 people are talking about this

Doctor Strange

My third-least-favorite so far. It has a lot of cool-looking effects, plenty of magic and the best cloak ever, but the characters are poorly developed and I never got a good handle on the new mythology and storylines.

David Katzmaier

@dkatzmaier

I don’t know what this movie is about in any way, but I do know that’s no way to treat a librarian. https://www.cnet.com/news/avengers-endgame-my-marvel-race-to-watch-every-mcu-movie-before-april-26/ 

25 people are talking about this

KATZ’S MCU RACE SO FAR, RANKED

Rank Runtime (hours) Date watched
The Avengers (2012) 1 2:23 3/28
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) 2 2:16 4/4
Captain America: Civil War (2016) 3 2:27 4/12
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 4 2:13 4/15
Iron Man (2008) 5 2:06 3/19
Ant-Man (2015) 6 1:57 4/11
Black Panther (2018) 7 2:14 4/13
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) 8 2:04 3/17
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) 9 2:01 4/5
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2014) 10 2:21 4/9
Iron Man 3 (2013) 11 2:10 3/31
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017) 12 2:16 4/5
Iron Man 2 (2010) 13 2:04 3/23
Thor (2011) 14 1:55 3/25
Doctor Strange (2016) 15 1:55 4/16
Thor: The Dark World (2013) 16 1:52 4/2
The Incredible Hulk (2008) 17 1:52 3/21

If you want to follow along or have any comments or suggestions, hit me up on Twitter. Just one request: no spoilers.

Author name: J.M.Shepard

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