9 Marvel Movies You Have To Watch To Prepare For 'Avengers: 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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If You Remember 'Shazaam,' The Movie That Doesn't Exist, You Aren't Alone

A scientific phenomenon or a massive conspiracy?
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Anyone who has ever misplaced an item or gotten in a feud about what really happened at the last party they attended can affirm that sometimes our memories can be unreliable. Misremembering an event is by no means unheard of or uncommon, but what if it was not just you who misremembered that event. What if a whole bunch of people misremembered the same exact thing even if there is no evidence to support it?

If you were a kid or teenager growing up in the '90s, you might remember a movie called ‘Shazaam’ with popular television comedian Sinbad playing the principle role of a genie. As the plot goes, two children (a pre-teen boy and his younger sister) find a genie in a lamp and decide to use their wishes to restore love to their single father’s life. It is a comedic tale involving the genie and children who use their three wishes for domestic activities, often failing comically. The culmination of the movie takes place at a pool party related to the father’s work in which the children successfully use their final wish to make their father happy. What a marvelously cheesy ending!

Some of you reading this might be nodding, recalling having watched this movie, and you are not alone. There is a large community of people who can remember quite vividly watching this movie with their friends and family. So what seems to be the problem? Well, the movie ‘Shazaam’ does not exist, and it never has. The rumor of its existence has gained so much traction that even Sinbad himself had to set the record straight on Twitter.

You can scramble the Internet and old video stores nationwide, but you will not find any proof that there ever was a movie named ‘Shazaam’ with Sinbad playing a genie. If you are at all dismayed by this fact, you are not the only one.

An ever-growing number of confused '90s kids have flocked to the Internet to adamantly insist that there was indeed a movie called ‘Shazam,’ and Sinbad was definitely in it. Just peruse the countless threads about it online, and you will find that there are hundreds of people who can provide their own accounts of having seen the movie. Most people agree that the movie was released in 1994 and concur with the supposed movie plot described above.

How is it that so many different people can all recall specific details of a movie that does not exist? The ‘Shazaam’ case has come to be known as a famous example of the "Mandela Effect," a term coined by author and researcher of the paranormal, Fiona Broome, creator of mandelaeffect.com, which is defined as “a collective misremembering of a fact or event."

The name “Mandela Effect” came from the most famous case of the Mandela Effect involving the shocking amount of people who believe that former South African President Nelson Mandela died while in prison, when the truth holds that he was released in 1990 and died in 2013.

Another famous example of the Mandela Effect is the common misremembering of the Bible verse Isaiah 11:6. A large amount of people, including many priests who were interviewed, will swear that the verse reads “The lion also shall dwell with the lamb...” but pull out your trusty Bible and the correct verse is “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb.” This verse discrepancy makes many Christians uneasy because the protective image of a lion is replaced with the crafty and destructive image of a wolf. Some even believe that the verse change is a sign of the existence of the antichrist.

There is even scene in the 1941 movie ‘Sergeant York’ in which the character Gracie walks past an old man in a rocking chair who recites the Bible verse using the lion, which has many people firmly insisting that the correct version includes a lion, but that something in recent history has caused it to be changed.

Some examples of smaller instances of the Mandela Effect are the common misrememberings of the name of the classic animated TV show, “Berenstain Bears” (most people remember it as “Berenstein Bears”), the existence of a dash in the brand name “KitKat” (there has never been one), and other misspellings of logos.

Many conspirators believe that the Mandela Effect is the result of a jump between parallel universes in which slightly different alternate realities exist, but Snopes.com, a famous reference website dedicated to documenting and debunking urban legends, has offered some more logical explanations for instances of the Mandela Effect.

“A leading psychological theory holds that memory is constructive, not reproductive,” Snopes says, “— i.e., the brain builds memories out of various bits and pieces of information on the fly as opposed to playing them back like a recording. Memories aren’t pure. They can be distorted by any number of factors, including bias, association, imagination, and peer pressure.”

For example, the common misconception that Nelson Mandela died in prison might be a case of a faulty connection of two isolated facts —(1) Nelson Mandela went to prison and (2) Nelson Mandela is dead. Or with the Berenstain Bears, it is quite rational to believe that people just assumed that the name was spelled “Berenstein” because that is a far more common spelling of the name.

So what about ‘Shazaam’? A reasonable explanation is that people are simply mistaking it with the 1996 movie ‘Kazaam’ in which Shaquille O’Neal plays a genie and helps a teenage boy who happens to have a single mother (similar to how the children in the alleged ‘Shazaam’ had a single father).

Additionally, other shows and movies at the time could further muddle people’s memories. There was a movie called ‘Legend of the Seven Seas’ with a character named Sinbad the Sailor and a Hannah Barbera cartoon called ‘Shazzan’ about the adventures of a genie and the two children (a teenaged boy and girl) who released him.

There was even a sketch in the wildly popular Nickelodeon show “All That” about a foreign exchange student dressed in genie-esque garb, and who was the actor? You guessed it...Sinbad! It seems perfectly reasonable that all of these similar media products could easily mix together after a certain amount of time, causing mis-memory that has been perpetuated by all of the hype on the Internet.

Another explanation that can be layered on top is the idea of 'memory conformity,' which states that people can remember events that they were told about or that were described to them as if they had experienced those events. In this way, many people may agree that they remember something that happened simply because someone else said it was so.

Pictured: The VHS cover for 'Kazaam' (left) next to a supposed VHS cover for 'Shazzam'


This may be a perfectly acceptable and scientifically logical explanation for the strange occurrence, but the plot thickens. When the theory was presented that people were simply mistaking the movie ‘Shazaam’ for ‘Kazaam’ and the like, the people who claimed to remember ‘Shazaam’ pushed back, vehemently claiming that they were well aware of Shaq’s movie ‘Kazaam’ and were certain that ‘Shazaam’ was a separate movie that preceded it. One woman named Meredith who was interviewed on the subject claimed:

“I remember thinking Shaq’s ‘Kazaam’ was a rip-off or a revamp of a failed first run, like how the 1991 film ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ bombed but the late ’90s TV reboot was a sensation...I am one of several people who specifically never saw ‘Kazaam’ because it looked ridiculous to rip off ‘Shazaam’ just a few years after it had been released.

Additionally, there was a reference to 'Shazaam’ on a TV show called ‘A Different World’ (1987-1993) in which Sinbad played Coach Walker Oates. In this scene (appearing in season 5 episode 13) the character Freddie is trying to hide a scarf with the initials “SZ” on it that she is making for her boyfriend, Shazza Zulu, from her friends, but when they discover it and ask what “SZ” stands for, she responds that it “could be for someone who loves Shazaam.”

So do you think the Sinbad movie is real or an urban legend?

Cover Image Credit: Slate.com

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Talking, Crying, Chewing, What Ever Happened To Movie Theater Etiquette?

The unofficial rules you should follow if you go to the theater.

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Dear Moviegoers,

Movies are often made to be viewed on the big screen, which is why we go to the movies. I personally like the experience. The loud sounds, the big screens, the popcorn and candy, the darkroom. I pay a lot for that experience.

That's why, at the risk of sounding petty, I have to ask: Please, stop going to the movies if you're just going to be annoying.

I mean, whatever happened to movie theater etiquette?

It's like people have forgotten how to behave in a movie theater!

I know it might seem silly, but I pay too much for tickets and snacks to have my seat kicked and listen to other people whisper. I don't know when it happened, but people seem to be disregarding the societal rules we've established to make going to the movies fun. In case you're one of those people who've forgotten how to act, let me remind you.

Please, for the love of god, arrive on time. It's distracting when someone shows up late and is awkwardly maneuvering around people to find a seat. At the very least, sit on the ends of the rows instead of climbing over other people to sit in the middle of the row.

Along with that, please remember that there is limited space in the theater. Whether you're finding your seat or simply readjusting during a long movie, be mindful of the space you have. I don't want my chair kicked repeatedly because you can't get comfortable. If you're sitting in the middle of the row, don't get up repeatedly. Keep your elbows in if you're sitting next to someone. Respect others' personal space.

Turning your phone off is another way to show respect for your fellow moviegoers. I don't want to hear your cell phone ring. If, for whatever reason, you really need it on, please silence it. If you're expecting an emergency call from your sister in labor or you're worried about the babysitter, maybe you shouldn't be at the theater.

Since you're expected to keep your phone quiet, you should be quiet, too. I don't want to hear you and your friends whispering behind me for two hours, and no one in the theater wants to hear your commentary. If something funny happens, feel free to laugh. If something terrifying happens, you can gasp. If you're at the theater solely to get attention, please take your over-the-top reactions to a sporting event or something.

If I go to see the newest Disney-Pixar film, I expect to see children there and it doesn't bother me. I don't care if you bring your toddler to a children's movie, especially since it was made for them. I do not, however, expect children to be in the audience if I go to see the newest slasher film. In that case, I will be annoyed. I mean, come on — who takes their young children to see an R-rated in the theater?

And, like, I would expect anywhere else, you should be eating and drinking quietly. Wait till a loud scene to open that candy wrapper (or be smart and sneak your own candy in — you can buy it at Target and put it into Ziploc baggies that don't make noise and can hold lots of candy). Don't suck on the straw when you're clearly out of soda. Chew with your mouth close.

Please, have some respect for other people.

I don't want to come off as a snob, but there are certain rules for seeing a movie in the theater that people seem to disregard nowadays. It might not be a big deal to you, but it is to me. I go because I'm interested in the film being shown and because I want to see it on the big screen with popcorn and a slushie. The cost of going to movies is expensive, but it's worth every penny when I can actually enjoy it.

Sincerely,

One Frustrated Moviegoer

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