So, are you one of the 6 people that haven't seen Avengers: Infinity War yet? Well, this article is for you! While it's possible to go into Marvel's newest ensemble flick without having seen any of the previous movies, it's not recommended. In fact, this film works best if you've seen them all and you're invested in the characters. If you don't have time to check them all out, here's a recommended viewing list. These will give you enough of a footing in the mythology and characters of the universe.
The Avengers (2012)
While phase one gives an introduction to all of the main characters, you're able to skip ahead to the first meetup between the heroes. 2012's The Avengers brought the main team together for the first time on the big screen. It lets you learn who everyone is and gives you a good footing on the world. If you're in a time crunch, The Avengers is the best place to start.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy opens up the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe which will ultimately play a huge part in the Infinity War saga. Think of the Guardians as the intergalactic Avengers. This one is like funny Star Wars. It's a nice space opera that somehow manages to make you care about a talking raccoon and a giant tree. This was definitely a surprise in phase two of the MCU!
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers: Age of Ultron brings the band back together to face another world ending terror. This time, the villain is the Tony Stark creation Ultron, a sentient robot that wants to save the planet by eliminating the biggest threat to it, humanity. Age of Ultron introduces the new characters Scarlet Witch and Vision and finally sees one of the core Avengers learn about the infinity stones.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: Civil War follows up with the fallout following Age of Ultron. The Avengers are split down the middle with half opposing superhero registration with the other half in favor of it. Civil War pits Tony Stark and his team against Captain America's anti registration forces. With the stakes getting bigger with each movie, Civil War scales it up but also tones it down to make it a more emotional story. The MCU introduction to Spider-Man happens in this one while also introducing King T'challa, aka, The Black Panther!
Doctor Strange (2016)
Doctor Strange is the one "if you can, you should, but you don't have to" on the list. It would be helpful if you do see it, but you don't necessarily have to. It opens the door to magic in the MCU and introduces you to the arrogant Dr. Stephen Strange, who plays a major role in Infinity War. The final act of this one is amazing and truly shows the ingenuity of these heroes and what they're willing to go through to save everything. Doctor Strange is the only true solo flick on the list.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok leads directly into the events of the Avengers: Infinity War. It reconnects the Hulk with Thor while developing both of the them into multi dimensional characters. It's also quite possibly the funniest film in the franchise. Despite world ending stakes, it manages to stay light while keeping it's intensity. Thor: Ragnarok turns Thor from one of the worst Avengers to possibly everyone's favorite. There's a nice balance of cosmic and Earthly goodness which plays heavily into Infinity War. This one is just flat out good times. If you'd like to see my review of it, here you go!
So there you go, instead of sitting through 18 films before checking out Infinity War, this list of 6 will give you enough knowledge of the franchise to keep you in the loop. Now, I'd recommend you going back and watching from the beginning to fully enjoy Infinity War. They throw you in right from the start and if you know nothing, you'll be completely lost. It's the biggest strength and weakness of Avengers: Infinity War!