A “Brief” Recap of the MCU Timeline (Part Four)

Click here for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of our MCU Breakdown!

Everything’s led to this – the Russo Brothers’ epic finale to the Infinity Saga: “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame”! This two-part storyline builds on ALL the MCU movies that came before, from Phases 1 through 3, and works best if you’ve seen all the Marvel movies leading up to it, from “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Iron Man” to “Guardians of the Galaxy – Vol 2” and “Thor: Ragnarok”. And it all cleverly sets up where the MCU currently is in Phase 4, with all the new MCU movies and shows! (now streaming on Disney Plus)

If you somehow haven’t watched these two, be warned that there are some serious *spoilers* ahead!

The most ambitious crossover ever? Absolutely.


Directed by the Russo Brothers (Winter Soldier, Civil War), and heavily inspired by “The Infinity Gauntlet” comics (written by Jim Starlin, with art by George Pérez and Ron Lim), “Infinity War” begins with the introduction of Thanos (Josh Brolin) as he boards the Sakaaran ship with the Asgardian refugees, moments after the end of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’.

Thanos was first teased at the end of ‘The Avengers’, before being featured in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, and was last seen at the end of ‘Age of Ultron’, where he first took up the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos monologues: “I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail nonetheless. It’s frightening, turns the legs to jelly. I ask you to what end? Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now it’s here. Or should I say, I am.”

We learn that Thanos and his Black Order decimated Xandar to acquire the Power Stone (see: “Guardians of the Galaxy”), before attacking the ship in search of the Tesseract (which Loki stole during “Thor: Ragnarok”). Hulk goes toe to toe with Thanos and gets a beat down! A mortally wounded Heimdall uses the last of his strength to save Hulk, whisking him away to Earth (Midgard). Loki attempts to protect Thor from the Mad Titan, but is killed by Thanos. Thanos then takes hold of the Tesseract and extracts the Infinity Stone within. With the power of the Space Stone, Thanos is able to teleport away.

Banner crashes through the window of the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, where he warns Doctor Strange and Wong of the impending threat. Doctor Strange and Dr. Banner interrupt Tony Stark’s date with his fiancé, Pepper Potts and they portal him back to the Sanctum, where Wong catches them up on the saga of the six Infinity Stones that Thanos is after. They explain that two of the stones are on Earth: the Time Stone, kept within the Eye of Agamotto pendant (see: “Doctor Strange”), and the Mind Stone, which used to be a part of Loki’s scepter, gave Wanda Maximoff her powers, and was later used by Ultron to bring The Vision to life. Stark catches Banner up on the events of “Captain America: Civil War”, explaining that he and Cap are no longer on speaking terms.

Suddenly, a massive alien ship appears in the skies above New York! Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian approach the Sanctum. Tony activates his brand new nano-tech armor from his latest arc reactor. Strange, Wong, and Iron Man face off against the two super-powered enforcers. Across town, Peter Parker’s spider sense goes off and he swings into action. Maw captures Strange, bringing him aboard his ship, while Iron Man and Spider-man stow away onboard. Stark gives Peter a new nano-tech ‘Iron Spider’ armor that morphs around his suit.

On the other side of the galaxy, Thor is found floating in space by Peter Quill and his crew. Rocket gives Thor a new cybernetic eye, and Gamora explains that Thanos’s goal is to wipe out half the universe with the Infinity Gauntlet. The Guardians decide to split up: Thor heads to Nidavellir with Teenage Groot and Rocket Raccoon to seek out help from the dwarf, Eitri (Peter Dinklage) to help him forge a new weapon, while Star Lord, Drax, Mantis, and Gamora head for ‘Knowhere’ to try and intercept Thanos before he can take the Reality Stone (aka The Aether’) from The Collector (see: “Thor: The Dark World”).

The Vision and Wanda Maximoff are both living together as civilians in Scotland, but are ambushed by Corvius Glave and Proxima Midnight. During the battle, they are aided by a bearded Steve Rogers, Black Widow, and The Falcon, who were updated by Banner.

At Knowhere, the Guardians witness Thanos interrogating The Collector, Gamora attacks Thanos, seemingly killing him, but it’s all revealed to be an illusion created by Thanos wielding the Reality Stone! It turns out that Gamora is the only one that knows the location of the elusive Soul Stone. Thanos easily captures Gamora and teleports away.

Cap, Widow, Falcon, Banner, Wanda, and Vision regroup at the Avengers compound and meet with Rhodey. They decide to regroup in Wakanda where their scientists might be able to separate Vision from the Mind Stone and destroy it before Thanos can get his hands on it.

At Nidavellir, Thor convinces Eitri to help him stop Thanos and together they craft ‘Stormbreaker’ – an axe that can channel the Bifrost! Thor takes on the full might of a neutron star to activate the forge, and Groot sacrifices one of his arms to form the handle!

Thanos tortures Nebula in front of Gamora to get the location of the Soul Stone: Vormir. Nebula later manages to free herself and sends a signal to the Guardians to rendezvous on Titan.

After Iron Man and Spider-man save Doctor Strange, they arrive on Titan where they are immediately ambushed by Star-Lord, Drax, and Mantis! Doctor Strange uses the Time Stone to peek into a myriad of alternate timelines, and comes to the conclusion that out of the ‘fourteen million six hundred and five’ scenarios, they were victorious in only one…

Thanos and Gamora arrive on Vormir where they’re greeted by The Red Skull who was exiled there by the Tesseract (see: “Captain America: The First Avenger”). The Red Skull explains that the only way to retrieve the Soul Stone is to sacrifice someone you love, “A soul for a soul.” With tears in his eyes, Thanos hurls his daughter over the cliff.

In Wakanda, Cap is reunited with Bucky (who now has a virbanium arm). T’Challa greets them and says “Get this man a shield.” Shuri works to remove the Infinity Stone from Vision’s head, while the rest prepare to defend the city from Thanos’s forces. A massive alien army led by Proxima Midnight and Cull Obsidian breach the force field and a massive battle ensues!

Cap, Bucky, Falcon, War Machine, Black Widow, and Banner suited up in one of Stark’s “Hulkbuster” suits fight alongside Black Panther, and the Wakandan Royal Guard. Just when things are looking dire however, Thor arrives with Rocket and Groot to turn the tide!

Back on Titan, Thanos faces off against Doctor Strange in an epic showdown. At one point, Strange, Drax, and Spider-man manage to pin Thanos down long enough for Mantis to use her power to subdue him. However, just before Tony can remove the gauntlet, Peter Quill ruins everything – after hearing what happened to Gamora, he loses it and attacks Thanos, snapping him out of the trance!

Thanos uses the full might of the gauntlet against them (including pulling chunks of a moon out of orbit!), and easily defeating them all, and nearly killing Iron Man. At the last second, Doctor Strange hands over the Time Stone, knowing that there’s no other choice.

Back on Earth, the Avengers defeat the Black Order, just as Thanos arrives on the battlefield, seeking the final infinity stone. Thanos defeats each of the Avengers one by one, with ease. Steve Rogers holds his ground against the Mad Titan with sheer willpower, impressing him, but his efforts are ultimately futile.

In desperation to stop Thanos from getting the Mind Stone, Vision pleads with Wanda to destroy it. She uses her power to vaporize him, but Thanos simply reverses time and snatches the Mind Stone out of Vision’s head, killing him again. Thanos places the last stone in the gauntlet, but before he can act, Thor arrives, lodging Stormbreaker in his chest!

Thanos leans in close and whispers, “You should have gone for the head!” before snapping his fingers, using the full might of the infinity gauntlet to wipe out half of all life in the universe. Thanos uses the last of his power to teleport away, leaving the defeated heroes to watch in horror as several members of the team vanish into dust. T’Challa, Groot, Falcon, Wanda, Drax, Mantis, Star Lord, Doctor Strange, and Spider-man all crumble into ash. A distraught Tony Stark is left behind, stranded on Titan, with Nebula…

To be continued!?

The post-credit sequence shows Nick Fury pulling out an old pager to call on Captain Marvel, before vanishing as well.


The movie begins with heartbreaking scene where Hawkeye loses his entire family to the ‘snappening’, leaving him alone and distraught.

Captain Marvel finds Tony Stark and Nebula adrift in space, and brings them to Earth where they reunite with the rest of the remaining Avengers: Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, James Rhodes, and Rocket Raccoon. The team soon tracks down Thanos’s location on a rural planet, intending to reverse the damage, but they soon learn that Thanos used the power of the Gauntlet to destroy the stones. Unable to set things right, Thor takes Thanos’s head in revenge, and walks away in defeat.

5 years later – in 2023, Scott Lang (Ant-Man) reappears in San Francisco, from the Quantum Realm (see: “Ant-Man and the Wasp”), when a rat randomly triggers the portal’s controls. He’s shocked to find that not only have 5 years passed, and his daughter is now a young adult, but that half the population has vanished without a trace.

Scott regroups with the Avengers at the compound, where Natasha is currently running the team. Scott proposes that they might be able to use the quantum realm to travel back in time and change things, so they reach out to Tony Stark – who has a daughter of his own now with Pepper Potts, and Dr. Bruce Banner – who has since gained control of his Hulk persona.

The remaining Avengers reunite and begin to plan a time heist, to reassemble the Infinity Stones and undo Thanos’s plan. Banner and Rocket head to New Asgard in Norway to recruit Thor – who has really let himself go, drinking and playing video games all day with Korg. Meanwhile, Natasha tracks down Barton who’s masquerading as ‘Ronin’ – a vigilante hunting down the Yakuza.

Before the Avengers go through with their time heist, Hawkeye agrees to do a test run, but not before Rhodes, Banner, Nebula, and Scott get into a heated debate about the nature of time paradoxes, referencing a dozen time-travel stories from pop-culture. Cap then gives the Avengers a rousing speech, before they head into the past, “Most of us are going somewhere we know, that doesn’t mean we should know what to expect. Be careful. Look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives.”

The first team: Rogers, Stark, Banner, and Lang go back to the Battle of New York in 2012 (during the events of “The Avengers”) to try and retrieve the Mind Stone from Loki’s scepter, the Space Stone from the Tesseract, and the Time Stone from the Eye of Agamotto. Banner approaches the Ancient One at the Sanctum Sanctorum for the Time Stone, but she refuses. She only relents after he reveals that Doctor Strange had given it to Thanos in the future. Meanwhile, Rogers manages to retrieve Loki’s scepter from a group of Hydra agents disguised as SHEILD agents, but ends up being forced to fight a younger version of himself in the process!

However, Scott and Tony lose the Tesseract to Loki who manages to get his hands on the cube and teleports away! (More on that later.) They then decide to travel back even further to a SHEILD base in 1970. Rogers manages to grab some more Pym particles from the lab, but nearly runs into Peggy Carter, while Tony manages to snatch the Tesseract, but inadvertently has a run in with his own father, Howard Stark, before he was even born!

Thor and Rocket arrive on Asgard in 2013 (during the events of “Thor: The Dark World”) to collect the Aether, while it’s bonded to Jane Foster. Thor accidentally encounters his mother, Frigga and has a heartfelt goodbye, knowing her fate. Before returning to the present, Thor manages to call on his hammer, Mjolnir, realizing that he is still worthy.

Nebula and Rhodes arrive on Morag in 2014 (the opening of “Guardians of the Galaxy”), waiting for Peter Quill to arrive so they can knock him out and steal the Power Stone. Something goes wrong though and Nebula’s mind syncs with her past self, which alerts the past version of Thanos to what’s going on.

Elsewhere, Black Widow and Hawkeye head for Vormir where they meet the Red Skull and learn that one of them must sacrifice themselves to obtain the Soul Stone. Natasha and Clint, who both care for each other deeply, fight one another, in order to save each other’s life, but ultimately Black Widow makes the sacrifice in the hope that Barton will be able to reunite with his family one day.

Back in the present, after they lament the loss of Natasha, Tony constructs a new Infinity Gauntlet to wield the stones to reverse the damage that Thanos caused 5 years earlier. Banner / Hulk offers to use the Gauntlet, since he can withstand the gamma radiation from the snap. While he’s successful in bringing everyone back from Thanos’s first snap, it severely injures his arm.

Before the Avengers can reunite and celebrate, the evil variant of Nebula from the past opens a time portal, allowing the younger Thanos and his army to come through! Thanos’s ship unleashes all of it’s weapons on the Avengers facility, completely decimating it, turning the entire complex to rubble!

An intense battle ensues as the Avengers try to keep the Infinity Stones away from Thanos and Nebula. During the chaos, Nebula saves her sister, the younger Gamora from her past self. Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America make a valiant last stand against the Mad Titan, and Cap manages to wield Mjolnir! Thanos cracks Cap’s shield with his blade and knocks Thor and Stark aside with ease. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, as Steve Rogers stands back up, ready to take on the full might of Thanos’s forces, he hears Falcon’s voice come in over his coms, “On your left”. Miraculously, a series of portals begin to open…

Black Panther steps through the first portal and nods at Cap, followed by another portal from the planet Titan, where Doctor Strange, Drax, Mantis appear, along with Spider-man who swings in with his Iron Spider suit! Soon Wong, and all the mystics of Kamar-Taj, and the Hong Kong Sanctum join the battle, along with hundreds of Wakandan and Asgardian warriors!

Even more portals begin to open as all the other resurrected heroes that vanished in the ‘snappening’, begin to reappear: Bucky marches forward beside Groot, Valkyrie rides in on a Pegasus, alongside Korg, Wanda, and the Wasp! Pepper Potts flies in with her Iron Maiden suit, and at that moment, Scott Lang bursts out of the rubble as Giant Man, and brings Hulk, War Machine and Rocket to the battlefield! Thor grabs his axe, smiling, and Tony gazes on in awe at this immense show of support. Doctor Strange asks Wong, “Is that everyone?” and he retorts, “You wanted more?!”

Captain America grabs Thor’s hammer and calls out to all the heroes, before charging forward: “Avengers… Assemble!” And an epic battle rages over the fate of the universe!

The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy work in tandem to keep the gauntlet away from Thanos! At one point Wanda confronts Thanos herself, seeking vengeance for the death of Vision. Wanda breaks his sword and nearly kills him, but he manages to escape with a missile strike from his ship. Captain Marvel swoops in from the sky to join the fight and helps to turn the tide, but Thanos is relentless, and manages to close in on the stones once again. Doctor Strange tells Stark that this is the future he saw, their one chance at victory. Tony nods in understanding and leaps at Thanos right as he gets his hands on the gauntlet. Thanos smugly pushes him aside, declaring, “I am inevitable.” before snapping his fingers, but nothing happens, he then realizes in horror that Stark snatched the Infinity Stones from the gauntlet!

Tony, with the Infinity Stones fused to his suit, answers back, “I am Iron Man!” before snapping his own fingers, willingly sacrificing himself to use the power of the Infinity Gauntlet to erase Thanos and his armies from the universe once and for all…

While the world celebrates the victory over Thanos, the Avengers mourn the death of Tony Stark. Thor makes Valkyrie the leader of New Asgard before joining up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, who welcome Nebula and the time-displaced Gamora into their ranks (who hadn’t yet met Peter Quill in her timeline).

The movie ends with Banner/Hulk sending Captain America back into the past to return the Infinity Stones, and Mjolnir, to their rightful places in the timeline. However, instead of reappearing from the time jump, an elderly Steve Rogers shows up on a nearby park bench. Sam Wilson (Falcon) approaches him and Rogers explains that after setting things right, he went back to the 40’s and met back up with the love of his life, Peggy Carter, and the two lived out their life together. He then presents Sam with the shield and asks him to take over as the new Captain America!

Next Time: Loki, What If…?, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Wandavision, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-man: Far From Home, Spider-man: No Way Home, Hawkeye, Eternals, Moon Knight, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness!

Upcoming Movies / Shows: Ms. Marvel, Thor: Love and Thunder, She Hulk, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Marvels, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Blade, Secret Invasion, Armor Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, and Fantastic Four!

For more Marvel content, check out the Comic Zombie podcast!

And be sure to check out Season 1 of Podcasters Assemble covering Iron Man to Endgame!

Erik Slader

Erik Slader is the creator of “Epik Fails of History” a blog (and podcast) about the most epic fails… of history. With Ben Thompson, Erik is the co-author of the Epic Fails middle grade book series, including The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving Into History and The Race to Space: Countdown to Liftoff. His latest book, “2299” is a sci-fi / noir novella. Erik is also an editor on Podcasters Assemble and a co-host on 2 Young 4 This Trek, as well as a contributor to Geek to Geek Media and ComicZombie.net! He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media, once managed a comic book shop, has a weakness for fancy coffee as well as retro video games, and currently lives in Green Cove Springs, Florida with too many cats.

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