Is Watching the Entire Marvel Cinematic Universe Necessary?
Attention: spoiler alerts are ahead, please read at your own risk. Whether you’re a vivid watcher of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or not, you’ve noticed the talk about the television series’ and how they connect to the universes that Marvel creates, essentially a huge universe full of different superheroes. Do they serve as prequels? Or sequels? And how do we know which ones to watch and in what order? These are the questions going through the mind of someone who watches only a few MCU films or shows or even someone who watches every single one. What purpose do they serve, whether good or bad?
Side Note: What is similar that I will mention is Marvel Easter Eggs, in which Marvel hides clues about all kinds of things into their shows and films—sometimes indicating the MCU as a whole, or what’s to come or even how the Universes connect. They will hide certain costumes from certain superheroes either in the back of the frame, or dialogue; but, it is mostly foreshadowing that they may come in later or that they were in a different TV show. They foreshadow MCU ideas that you wouldn’t see the first time around until you watch it again and look very closely; but, there are articles on the interwebs about it as well.
Agents of SHIELD (S.H.I.E.L.D)
For starters, let’s touch on the first television series to come out. Agents can serve as a prequel or a sequel, but it doesn’t have to. You learn extra information, that is true; but, you don’t learn much that leads into the films. That is because Agents is simply another set of SHIELD, they are a smaller team that deal with the things The Avengers don’t have time to deal with. The Avengers deal with bigger, tearing apart NY incidents. The Avengers don’t deal with regular people with regular powers, they can’t save everyone, so they created a team that does something similar to that. Now, Agents does deal with HYDRA they also mention other villains and the tesseract. They actually dealt with the tesseract and/or mentioned it also in one of the episodes (possibly more than one, in the first season around the time Thor: The Dark World was coming out).
There is a pro of watching Agents, such as before you watch Avengers: Age of Ultron, (which starts in the middle of a scene). You don’t get background information on where they are or how they got there, you are simply just thrown in. While Agents doesn’t provide any new information unless you don’t know much about the Universe—for someone who does, it wouldn’t be much of a prequel or sequel. What you have with Agents is essentially extra information or information of the in-between aspect. What are the Avengers doing in-between the time the films come out? That’s essentially what you can learn from Agents, it does mention the Avengers on minimal occasions by name.
Age of Ultron is followed by Captain America: The Winter Solider but the aftermath of The Winter Solider is followed through on Agents; now, was it necessary to watch? Probably not. Is it useful information? Yes. Agents continued with the demolishment of SHIELD and how they were going to adapt with Nick Fury being “dead”; so, in order to “re-make” SHIELD they started with a minimal team, which consisted of Coulson and a handful of others that are on the show. Agents have dealt with HYDRA on many occasions and they’ve had Nick Fury on a few of the earlier episodes.
The “enhanced” storyline, where you see Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver from Age of Ultron ties into Agents. They are continuing the storyline of how they began the experimentation, or how they got to have their powers in general. This is an instance where you see the back story of characters and how Wolfgang von Strucker got the tesseract to begin with. What happens with attempting to watch the show at the same time is you don’t necessarily know what episodes to watch and when. The topic of enhanced beings in the world of SHIELD has been a re-occurring theme for the majority of the season of SHIELD, so that should come as no surprise; but, the second season is really focusing on HYDRA and how enhanced people began.
By the time Age of Ultron starts you do know a little bit about HYDRA already, so it isn’t much of an astonishment that they are going against HYDRA (it was at the post-credit ending scene of The Winter Solider as well). The Winter Solider really focused on HYDRA and the story behind it, so seeing that you do know a little about it already. We do see certain episodes that you can say are prequels if you want, but one thing that is favorable about the MCU is that they never really throw you into a film. They always make sure you get the gist within the first five minutes; so, therefore, it is possible to watch just the films and get the storyline, most of the post-credit scenes are like mini Agents episodes. Dr. List who appears in plenty of the episodes of Agents is a semi-important character, but you don’t necessarily need to know about him. Most of everything gets implied in the movies through dialogue or backstory of HYDRA.
Like stated above, it could be useful to watch Agents, very useful. If you want to know another area of SHIELD and was totally gutted about Coulson “dying” and want to know what he’s up to and how he is even back alive, it is a great show. It’s a great show regardless, but as far as the MCU you could survive the Universe by not watching it and come out with minimal scratches.
If you wanted to watch Agents there is a particular order you would be advised to watch them in, in order to get the gist of events happening in the movies:
- After Iron Man 3, you would watch Season 1, Episodes 1-7 of Agents.
- Season 1, Episodes 8-15 would be watched after Thor: The Dark World.
- Season 1, Episodes 16-22 would be after Captain America: The Winter Solider.
- Season 2, Episodes 1-19 would be after Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Season 2, Episodes 20-22 would be after Avengers: Age of Ultron.
This is helpful if you do want to watch them in order and you feel like you might get some benefit from the entire MCU storyline. I didn’t watch them in order, I just watched them scattered and you still get the gist.
Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist’s Netflix TV Shows
Daredevil is Matt Murdock, he is a blind superhero, he is a vigilante in a sense, similar to Arrow. Now, Daredevil doesn’t deal with The Avengers, but he does deal with the MCU slightly. It’s a darker universe of the MCU (and you thought The Avengers was dark). What Daredevil does is provide us with another form of the MCU on the street level view. He is saving people in the neighborhood, he’s not saving the universe or the world like The Avengers are. Jessica Jones is the same way, she is a neighborhood hero.
It is a great break from the MCU—seeing The Avengers being mentioned or seeing them in a film and that is what Daredevil is. They are that break from the MCU that you need, sometimes not everything is about saving the world, even though it is great. Sometimes people save neighborhoods as well. Daredevil saves his friends, he saves people he doesn’t know, just for the sake of himself; now, Daredevil could be connected to Agents is some aspects, more so than the MCU entirely. Murdock’s father fights a guy named Creed (The Absorbing Man) in a flashback in one of the earlier episodes and we are also going to see Creed in Agents (if you haven’t caught him already); but, so far, that’s all we are getting from Daredevil to Agents.
Daredevil does consist of plenty of MCU Easter eggs, though. Such as Urich’s office you see the paper Peter Parker works for on the wall. Daredevil’s costume at the beginning of the series, until half way through, is from the comics. Matt also met his instructor Stick at a place called St. Agnes Orphanage, Skye from Agents brought up in this orphanage as well. Josie’s Bar is also in Hell’s Kitchen, which is a famous place in the Daredevil comics. What the Netflix show consists of is many adaptations from the comics, it sticks true to what it comes from; but, as far as it being a prequel or a sequel to the MCU or Agents, it has no qualities. It stands on its own. Just like Jessica Jones and Iron Fist will more than likely do as well.
As far as Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Daredevil being the Netflix Marvel shows, they won’t necessarily be something you see intertwining with each other anytime soon. Simply because they weren’t cast in time and then again, we don’t necessarily need them to intertwine anyway. The basis of these shows is to get a good glimpse of the non-glamorized characters of the Marvel world. That’s something that could be great about these shows because these are the nerds of the crop, these are the ones that do just as good of work as The Avengers, but it isn’t glamorized and you rarely see that. Bringing them to the surface could be a very important endeavor.
The sole purpose that Agent Carter serves is watching it before or after the first Captain America. Agent Carter does prove the purpose of the back story for the entire SHIELD Universe. Not the MCU, but the SHIELD aspect of it. Agent Carter and Howard Stark created SHIELD and you really get that in-depth with the show. It is positive they are going to show her relationship with Captain America or mention it a few times as well, if not already. Since Peggy being Agent Carter is about 70 years into the past, it is separate from the MCU. It doesn’t really have much to do with it, aside from the back story; which, is why you would watch it after Captain America: The First Avenger or even before if you wanted.
It plays the role of being a back story for everything you need to know about SHIELD, but it also has a great storyline that is enjoyable and it’s such a delight to watch. It is another one of those breaks you get from the MCU that proves to be very helpful and enjoyable.
Jarvis is important as well as Howard Stark. Jarvis is Iron Man’s computer system, but in Agent Carter he’s an actual human being instead. If you wanted to see his story and how he came about, it could possibly be an aspect of Agent Carter that could be apart of the story line; so, that is something interesting about Agent Carter.
So, Do you Need to Watch All of the MCU’s Creations?
You don’t necessarily have to, it provides a good story that you can continue in-between releases of the shows, yes; but, it’s not like Assassin’s Creed, you don’t need to watch every single piece of Marvel in order to get the whole MCU. That’s not to say you can’t—by all means, it is very informal to see how it pans out and how everything works; but, if you read the comics or have read them, you don’t need to watch Agents. It tells you everything you already know, it’s neat to see it on the screen, but that’s about it. It’s similar to Grand Theft Auto, you don’t need to play all of them to get the gist of the game. You can buy GTA IV and never have played in your life and you’ll be A-ok. It then depends on the person and if you want to watch all the shows, Daredevil is a great watch, but as the creators said, it doesn’t provide anything for the MCU that’s useful. It is not going to give us insight on Infinity War, or Civil War that’s for Agents.
Not watching Agents and watching just the films, you will be fine; but, it doesn’t hurt to watch them all either. Ultimately, it’s up to you to take the time to learn the rules of the MCU.
- Petrakovitz, Caitlin. “How to Watch Every Marvel Property in the Perfect Order.” C|net. N.p., 10 Sept. 2015. Web.
- Overmental. “27 Daredevil Easter Eggs and Marvel Connections.” Moviepilot.com. N.p., 15 Apr. 2015. Web. .
- Sciretta, Sciretta. “Daredevil TV Connections: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agents Of SHIELD and Netflix.” Film RSS. N.p., 10 Apr. 2015. Web.
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