9 MCU Movies To See Before Endgame

9 Marvel Movies You Have To Watch To Prepare For 'Avengers: Endgame'

You have 8 full weeks to get watching - so here's what you need to do with your weekends to be ready.

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"Avengers: Endgame" is THE most anticipated movie of the year. (Although I would entertain cases for "Spiderman: Far From Home, the new "Star Wars", or the live-action "Lion King".) You had to have been living under a rock last April and May to have missed the massive success of its predecessor, "Avengers: Infinity War". So, if you really want to be at all culturally competent for the upcoming summer months, you probably will find yourself in a theater watching "Endgame".

And while I will completely welcome so last-minute bandwagon Marvel Fans (for I, myself, was a bandwagon fan at 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger" - but what can I say, Chris Evans won me over), if you want to understand the storylines - and not annoy the massive number of MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) fans that will most definitely populate the theater (probably for 3+ viewings) - you're going to have to get a little background knowledge. Or find your resident fan-friend and be ready for a sit-down seminar that can quickly turn into a dissertation on the inter-workings of the MCU. And while this may not seem like a big deal, the MCU does consist of over 20 films that each run around 2 hours and 20 minutes apiece. In fact, it would take nearly 44 hours and 14 minutes to watch them all, all the way through. And as any good Marvel fan knows, you have to watch all the way to the end - those Easter Eggs are important!

So, if you have 1 full day and over 20 hours to spend (and don't need to sleep) - I would highly recommend watching all of them. But no one really has that time, so I'm sure most people just want the basics. What do I need to know to at least (mostly) get this new film? While I can't guarantee anything, since Marvel is ridiculously good about keeping the plot of their films under-wraps, I can give you *my* suggestions for what movies you should definitely see before walking into the theater on April 26th.

1. "Iron Man" (2008)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSfPFm4Irrc

This is the one that started it all. It gets to acclimated to what is to come, and intro to RDJ's Tony Stark, and really gives you an idea on what Marvel built off of.

2. "The Avengers" (2012)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVjgyI-R4w0

While all the intro-solo movies between "Iron Man" and "The Avengers" are important, you should be able to fill in the blanks by watching some of the more recent films later on in this list. A lot of what happens in there is alluded to later - so just watch for context clues.

But "The Avengers" is a must-watch. If you can only watch one on the list - it's this or "Infinity War." There are rumors that events from this film will directly influence "Endgame". I can't vouch for this, but I can and will say this is my favorite Marvel film. It also introduces you to more Avengers faces and Thanos for the first time.

3. "Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d96cjJhvlMA

Another group of heroes in the MCU, originally kept very separate from The Avengers, are the Guardians. This is also the highlight film for when the MCU mad its comedic transition, and Chris Pratt is as hilarious as ever. This is another good film for getting acclimated to characters (although if you want the more recent escapes of these heroes you can watch Vol. 2 also).

4. "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPpfK1K1qNU

Many would argue that this is the weakest Avengers installment, and I wouldn't disagree. But it is still something that you should watch if you want to get the whole arc and impact of "Endgame". This film will give you more insights into the personal lives and psyches of the Avengers, be the epicenter of legislation that will impact all the following MCU films, and introduce you to a few more important characters.

5. "Captain America: Civil War" (2016)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPpfK1K1qNU

This movie is jokingly called the Avengers 2.5, and it does include almost all the characters that you've been introduced to so far. The impact of this film directly relates to how the characters engage in "Infinity War" and resolving these differences will likely be a big-emotion aspect of "Endgame." Plus it would (if you follow this list) be your first viewing of Paul Rudd's Ant-Man and introduces Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and Tom Holland's Spiderman, so that's another big plus.

6. "Black Panther" (2018)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxWvtMOGAhw&t=7s

If you missed this last February - where were you? It was recently nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and all the other awards shows on the circuit. It even won a couple of them. This film definitely one of Marvel's most critically successful.

On top of its critical success, it also makes for one amazing movie. It expands on the country of Wakanda and the Black Panther, introduced in "Age of Ultron" and "Civil War" respectively. Plus, a large chunk of "Infinity War" took place in Wakanda, so spatially this movie is really helpful for a novice.

7. "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZfuNTqbHE8

This basically goes without saying, since "Endgame" is basically part II of the Thanos storyline that came to the forefront in this film. This movie gives you a culmination of all your hard work - the Avengers, the Guardians, Spiderman, and Black Panther all come together to fight a massive threat encompassing the entire universe. Plus if you're following my list, this is the first you'll see of Doctor Strange, and who doesn't love Benedict Cumberbatch?

But Warning: Be ready to cry at the end.

8. "Ant-Man and the Wasp" (2018)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUkn-enk2RU

This is where my list starts getting a bit theoretical - you have to at least watch the end credits scene because it directly relates to "Infinity War." But, as fan-theory rumors would have it, the plot and Quantam Theory explored in this movie could play a big part in "Endgame", so this could be some good background knowledge to have if you want to understand that potential plot-thread.

9. "Captain Marvel" (March 8, 2019)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LHxvxdRnYc

Where should you be this Friday? In a theater - watching "Captain Marvel." This movie, released on International Women's Day (nice marketing Disney), is the first stand-alone MCU movie for a female hero. It is already extremely hyped and test-audiences are loving it. The one (probably) sure fact of "Endgame" is that Captain Marvel will be introduced to help the Avengers fight Thanos, so it'll be helpful to be familiar with this most recent addition to the MCU.

So hopefully you'll end up in the theaters on Friday, and again on April 26th!

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The 9 Eras Of Disney Animation

The evolution of Disney animation over the years
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As a kid I always loved movies, and no movies did it quite for me like Disney movies did. Whether they were old or new, there was something about Disney movies that just spoke to me. The music the characters, the stories-- they all helped to shape some of my fondest childhood memories and are responsible for many of my interests and beliefs today. But what I always found most interesting is the history behind these films, how the time they came out influenced their themes and meanings. So today I’ll be exploring just that-- the nine eras of Disney animations.

1923-1928: The Silent Era and the Origins of Disney

The history of Disney begins with the Silent Era. In 1923, Walt Disney, working for Laugh-O-Gram studios out of Kansas City, Missouri, created a short film called Alice’s Wonderland, which would serve as the first of the Alice Comedies. After the company declared bankruptcy, Walt moved to Hollywood, where he and his brother Roy formed Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios. They worked out a deal with Winkler Productions to produce the Alice Comedies and eventually, in 1926, moved their company to Hyperion Street, where it was renamed Walt Disney Studios. After the decline of the Alice Comedies, Walt created his first ever original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and produced 26 short comedies starring the character before a falling out with Charles Mintz, who had by 1928 taken over Winkler Productions. Legally, Oswald belonged to Mintz and his company, so he took the character and four of Disney’s animators and started a new animation company, Snappy Comedies.

1928-1937: Pre-Golden Age and Mickey Mouse

The Pre-Golden Age saw Walt recovering from the loss of Oswald and also set the stage for Disney as we know it today. In 1928, Walt, in collaboration with Ub Iwerks, created a new character that he originally named Mortimer Mouse. However, his wife didn’t like the name, so he renamed him Mickey (I think we can all agree this name is much better). Mickey made his first appearance in 1928 in a test screening of the short film called Plane Crazy. However, the film failed to pick up a distributor, so Walt went back to the drawing board and created Steamboat Willie, which was released in 1928. The film was an immediate success due to the fact that it was the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and established Mickey as the mascot of Disney. After this, a series of Mickey Mouse cartoons were released. This series also saw the introduction of many Disney staple characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy. Donald Duck, another iconic Disney character, first appeared in Disney’s Silly Symphonies, a series of animated short films that were popular for their innovative use of Technicolor. With this, Walt had successfully bounced back from the hardships of the Silent Era and set the stage for the Golden Age of Disney.

1937-1942: The Golden Age

The Golden Age of Disney began in 1937 with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was the first full-length feature film to use traditional animation and was an immediate commercial success, establishing Disney as one of the leaders of animated filmmaking. Other films that were released during this time include Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi. Although all of these films would go on to become considered classics, at the time of their release only Snow White and Dumbo were commercially successful. What made this time considered the Golden Age wasn’t the commercial success of these films though, but rather the trends they created in terms of Disney filmmaking. Snow White was the first of the fairytale-based movies that Disney is known for and established the “Disney Princesses,” Pinocchio started the concept of taking well-known literature and turning it into a child-friendly film and Bambi explored the possibilities of making a movie through the eyes of a non-human character. Other Disney staples such as exaggerated villains, the use of music and prominent, comedic sidekicks were first introduced during this time as well. Another key characteristic of the films of this time was the inclusion of many dark scenes, which were usually sandwiched between upbeat and light scenes in order to create a mood shift. A similar, toned down version of this techniques would also be used in later films.

1943-1949: The Wartime Era

With the U.S.’s entry into World War II, Disney Studios faced lower budgets and a smaller team of animators as it entered the Wartime Era. Also known as the Package Era, the films of this time included Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, and The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad. What made these films distinct from the Golden Age films is that instead of telling a single, continuous story, these films consisted of multiple short films within each. These films are largely ignored and widely unpopular, with fans criticizing them due to their lack of consistency and tone in each short. The Wartime Era also Disney Studios producing wartime propaganda, which included anti-Nazi commercials and flyers encouraging Americans to support the war.

1950-1967: The Silver Age and the Death of Walt Disney

Disney’s Silver Age, also known as the Restoration Age saw the return of many of the trends set forth by the Golden Age of Disney. Films released during this time include Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book. What made these films distinct from its predecessors was the use of more ornate backgrounds and softer colors. Furthermore, the Silver Age also saw the use of lighter themes balanced with more complex characters, creating many of the well-known characters that are still considered fan-favorites today. The Jungle Book was the last film that Walt himself worked on before his death in 1966, and the movie’s release marked the end of the Silver Age

1970-1988: The Dark Age and the Decline of Disney

Hope you guys have a flashlight ‘cos we’re about to enter a dark place, or rather a dark age (see what I did there?). The Dark Age of Disney, also known as the Bronze Age, saw Disney Studios struggle to find their footing without Walt there to hold the reins. This was a time of trial-and-error in which the animators shied away from traditional storytelling tropes seen in the Golden and Silver Ages and instead shifted toward darker and more secular stories. Films released during this time include The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver and Company. With the exception of The Great Mouse Detective, which was both critically and commercially successful, most of these films only received little success, with The Black Cauldron being a box office flop. These films lacked Walt’s imagination and were criticized for only being intended to bring in money. The greatest criticism of these films was their departure from traditional animation and their use xerography. This saved both time and money, allowing animators to directly print their drawings onto cells. However, this process did have its limits and initially only black lines were possible using this method. As a result, films during this era are known as “Scratchy Films” because of the heavy black lines in their animation. While these films weren’t initially successful upon release, many have gone on to become cult classics. Also, the Disney Dark Age helped set the foundation for the pinnacle of Disney animation

1989-199: The Disney Renaissance and Birth of the Millennials

If you’re a millennial like me, then most of your favorite Disney moments and films likely come from the Disney Renaissance. The Disney Renaissance saw a return to the musical fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Golden and Silver Age while at the same time expanding on many of the themes and techniques introduced in the Bronze Age. Films released during this time include The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan. These films were also the first films that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken worked on, both of whom are key elements to Disney’s musical success. The films during this time also had many important themes that would influence the current views of millennials; Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame taught us not to judge people by their appearances; Mulan and Hercules taught us the importance of making sacrifices; and Aladdin taught us that there’s nothing wrong with being ourselves and that the circumstances of our birth don’t have to dictate who we grow up to be.

2000-2009: Post-Renaissance Era

Also known as the Second Dark Age, the Post-Renaissance Era was unique in that whereas previous eras were marked with having a common theme about them, this era was defined as a time in which Disney tried their hands at new methods in storytelling, similar to the Bronze Age. Films from this time include Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt. These films explored new storytelling elements marketed towards kids and more mature themes marketed towards the kids that had grown up during the Disney Renaissance that were now teenagers and young adults. While Lilo and Stitch was a commercial success, spawning several sequels and a T.V. show, most of the other films released during this time only received moderate success. This was in part due to the fact that they also had to contend with huge movie franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Despite not doing as well as their predecessors, the films released during the Second Dark Age are well known for their innovation. Dinosaur was the first Disney film that used CGI animation, which would become a popular element of this era’s successor.

2010-present: Marvel, Star Wars, and the Second Disney Renaissance

Just as a Renaissance followed the first Disney Dark Age, a Second Disney Renaissance followed this Second Dark Age. Also known as the Revival Era, this era marked a return to the fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Gold and Silver Ages as well as the first Disney Renaissance. During this time, Disney bought the rights to Marvel and Lucasfilm, meaning they no longer had to worry about trying to market their films toward older audiences since the MCU and Star Wars did that for them. Films released during this time include Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6. Like the first Disney Renaissance, the Second Disney Renaissance built off several things introduced by its predecessor. Tangled, for example, used the CGI techniques first used by Dinosaur. Most of the films of this era have been met with great popularity, with Frozen being the highest grossing animated film of all time and Big Hero 6 being the highest audience-rated film of this time period.

And there you have it, the nine eras of Disney animations. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about the history of Disney and its growth through the years. I personally loved writing this article and look forward to writing more like this one.

Cover Image Credit: Travel and Leisure

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'Avengers Endgame' Has Left A Hole In My Heart

21 movies, 3000 minutes, lots of tears shed, so what happens now?

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I have been waiting since 2008 for this finale, and it did not disappoint, considering I've seen it three times now. If you haven't seen "Avengers Endgame" yet, here is your warning for spoilers.

SPOILERS BELOW!


Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame - Official Trailer www.youtube.com

We watched as almost everyone came back for a happy ending, yet we had to lose our Iron Man. The movie was full of fun tactics and a tad bit more cussing than usual, but overall gave us the satisfaction that was promised.

We were able to see Thor at his lowest, given he has lost a lot: all his family members, half his city, and he couldn't defeat Thanos. I am glad we were able to see "Thicc Thor," it gave us a chance to see how Thor is not this mighty god all the time, but a being who has his low moments as well.

We saw Iron Man and his chance to finally have a happy ending, even though it ended. I'm glad that we got to see Tony say, "I love you 3000" to his little girl and even get to have that talk with his father. Although I appreciate the Spider-Man and Iron Man reconnect, I feel it was only in the movie to satisfy those who have seen "Avengers Infinity War." I think at his time of death, Spider-Man shouldn't have been there but Mrs. Potts should've. The scene felt rushed and uneventful and I feel they should've given him a tad bit longer.

I do have to say I loved the girls protecting Spider-Man, while it was minimal I do appreciate the #GRLPWR that was demonstrated in the film. When all the girls came together to protect him, I was on the edge of my seat and felt my palms sweating. I can say, though, they probably should've had more of those moments.

I felt exceptionally sad when we lost our beloved Black Widow. I do say that it gave her a lot of character though. It gave her the chance to finally have a family and to fight for something she cared about. Most people will dismiss her death, but we should remember she was the one who never gave up.

I'm not sure what I will do now since this phase is ending, but I plan to spend a tad bit more time creating theories and rewatching influential scenes. Marvel has taught me a lot about family, love, character, and overall being a better person.

Now that "Avengers Endgame" is out, we can prepare for "Spider-Man: Far From Home" Buy your tickets now and enjoy the last of Phase 3 of MCU.


SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME - Official Trailer www.youtube.com

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