Caught the recent? X-Men cameos, large mummy creatures, minotaurs, plenty of camera tilts to tell the time, loads of locations – including what looks like a Jurassic Park setting – and robots from 2015’s Avengers: L Age of Ultron are some of the items featured. Do not take notes, there will be no test.
At least let’s hope Marvel doesn’t expect everyone to jump into the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be 100% up to date with all 27 movies and 11 TV shows (not including the series). ABC Marvel). Things got, to quote the evil Doctor Strange variant, The Necromancer, which comes from Counter-Earth (according to the Marvel Database) – “out of control”.
If you dropped the ball keeping up to date with, refer to this handy guide for all titles in release order. Apparently that’s the perfect order to watch them – I was told by CNET’s Marvel experts that it doesn’t matter what order you watch phase four in. Thanks to Phase Four’s exploration of multiple universes, there’s no need to watch everything in chronological order (no exit). It could end up being more confusing.
1. Wanda Vision
The Disney Plus series follows Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), aka Scarlet Witch, and Vision (Paul Bettany) in the suburban town of Westview. Thanks to the combination of dark magic and Kathryn Hahn and Wanda’s love of sitcoms, the idyllic life is turned upside down. WandaVision is directly setting up Doctor Strange 2, so it’s lucky the series is at the top of this watchlist.
2. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
I’ll cut some slack for you if you choose to skip this one. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a Disney Plus buddy action series, pairs the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and – check the notes – the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) in a plot to stop an organization terrorist known as – check the notes – – the flag breakers. I’m going to cut a lot of slack for you if you choose to skip this one.
Put this on the high priority list. The Disney Plus series starring Tom Hiddleston as the god of mischief, or as he otherwise likes to be known, “Thor’s foster brother,” will go so far as to explain the multiverse. It also has a smashing original score.
4. Black Widow
Kevin Baker/Marvel Studios
The long-awaited Black Widow movie digging into Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlet Johansson) past doesn’t have much to uncover about the events of the Phase Four Multiverse. Don’t skip it, though. Watch for Florence Pugh’s performance as assassin Yelena Belova, aka Villanelle’s unofficial cousin from Killing Eve.
5. What if…?
I never doubted Marvel knew what they were doing with the What If…? Disney+ series. Never doubted where the question mark and ellipses should go. I never doubted it was animation or its connection to the rest of the MCU. Every episode of What If…? helps explore the idea of the multiverse, with the best episode (#4) featuring the evil Doctor Strange.
6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
A martial arts superhero movie? Shang-Chi may not have much to discover about the multiverse, but the first third involves lots of cool martial arts themes, before delving into more fantastical elements. It also introduces a wonderful new hero to Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in the Avengers.
One of Marvel’s most controversial movies hit Disney Plus in January, so there’s no excuse not to give it a watch. Not because you’re already paying for Disney Plus, but to see what it’s all about. On second thought, this probably won’t help you understand Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so you have permission to skip.
Hawkeye brought Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) to the small screen and introduced young archer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). For all intents and purposes, it’s a Christmas TV series, filled with multiple partnerships between friends (look for a Black Widow character), loudly dressed thugs who don’t understand the concept of not drawing attention to their activities and a dog named Pizza Dog. It’s not essential viewing, but it all sounds good, doesn’t it?
9. Spider-Man: No Coming Home
No Way Home can thank Loki (and Sony’s 2018 hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) for getting people used to the idea of the multiverse. No Way Home is a must, but be aware that it might also involve watching homework on previous Spider-Man films.
In short, the essential titles to watch before Doctor Strange 2 are Loki, WandaVision and Spider-Man: No Way Home, in any order. There are plenty more Marvel movies to watch, so if you’re ready to dive into the other three phases, head over.
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more
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