With the Infinity Saga well behind us and Marvel in a bit of a lull before its next feature, now is as good a time as any to binge all the past Marvel Cinematic Universe entries. It's a rather easy thing to do given the sheer quantity of Marvel movies that are available on streaming, but plenty of people may be intimidated by the almost-50-hour-long commitment (give or take) that's necessary to run through all these movies.
What if I told you that by removing six movies from this equation, you could get this runtime down to well under two days? It can be done, and while viewers may miss out on some fun MCU moments skipping through the below movies, they can happily press ahead without feeling lost in regards to other events that get mentioned in other movies. If you're committed, and looking to save a little over 14 hours, be sure to drop these MCU movies from the list. Oh and it should be noted that most of these stories are still fantastic, and should definitely be revisited when you have a bit more time.
Iron Man 3
While Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man is an essential part to nearly every ensemble story in the MCU, his solo movies aren't quite as integral to the overall story. This is especially the case in Iron Man 3, where even the main villain ends up not being the person he claims to be. Not much of Iron Man 3 is relevant in the grand scheme of things, save the knowledge that Tony finds a way to stop the shrapnel in his heart and remove his old arc reactor.
In fact, the MCU almost goes out of its way not to acknowledge Iron Man 3, including Tony's promise to step away from being Iron Man. Tony goes on to appear in no less than five major adventures after that. Granted though, most of them were potentially world-ending conflicts much larger than the events of his movies. Nevertheless, viewers have ample chances to check in on Iron Man's life, and won't feel bad chopping this two hour and 11 minute-long feature from their marathon re-watch.
The Incredible Hulk
Remember when Edward Norton was The Hulk? I wouldn't be surprised if the answer is no, because a combination of factors has made The Incredible Hulk as relevant to the MCU as Ang Lee's Hulk... which isn't at all. A large part of this is that Edward Norton was a one-and-done portrayal of Bruce Banner, which ultimately led to Mark Ruffalo being hired to play Bruce in The Avengers and every Hulk appearance onward.
Much of what happened in The Incredible Hulk is irrelevant regarding to the MCU at large. Thaddeus Ross did become an important character in Captain America: Civil War, and has made a couple of small appearances since then, but that's about it. A large part of Hulk's diminished role in the MCU comes from Universal not wanting to pursue more solo films with Marvel Studios, which restricts him to being a supporting character or ensemble player in other movies. Skip The Incredible Hulk and save two hours and 15 minutes.
Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2
James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is full of laugh-out-loud moments, surprising effects and a real gut-twisting emotional scene. It's also largely unnecessary in regards to the MCU's story, maybe even arguably less relevant than that Howard The Duck post-credits sequence in the first movie. Hey, at least Howard had a small part to play in Avengers: Endgame's climactic battle.
The most game-changing moment in the Guardians sequel is when it is revealed Peter Quill has Celestial powers, but those powers are relinquished once he kills his father, Ego. There are a few plot points that happen towards the end that may be revisited when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 comes along, but even then it's hard to see how any of that will play into the big picture of what's happening in the MCU. Knock this film off the list, and save two hours and 18 minutes.
Though Doctor Strange is the first movie to feature the Time Stone, there really isn't a lot that happens in this movie that affects the MCU at large. That's a somewhat harsh take considering it's Stephen Strange's origin story, but c'mon, once you learn that he performs magic, that's the long and short of it. I'd go further to say all of the magic Strange conjures in this movie is less impressive than what he does in later movies, which makes sense given its an origin story.
Most of what Stephen Strange does and is about is covered well enough in Avengers: Infinity War, and the Time Stone is about the most straightforward of the Infinity Stones. Unless you're just really desperate to watch Strange get killed by Dormammu in an insanely elaborate number of ways, this one can be skipped and save the viewer one hour and 55 minutes.
Black Panther is Marvel Studios' highest grossing solo hero adventure, and a great movie overall, but it's largely self-contained. Most of what happens in the movie only affects the people of Wakanda, with the exception of the ending, where T'Challa revealed the true state of Wakanda to the world at large. Even then, we're not entirely sure how all fleshed out for the world, at least not yet anyway.
Part of what lessens Black Panther's influence is the fact that it came out two months before Avengers: Infinity War. T'Challa was one of the heroes "blipped" at the movie's end, and he didn't re-appear until everyone was brought back in Avengers: Endgame's third act. Basically, the MCU hasn't really had a chance to show what all is happening with T'Challa and Wakanda since then, though I'm sure the hero will become a more vital part of the MCU in future phases. Removing Black Panther from the equation will save a viewer two hours and 15 minutes.
Spider-Man's official introduction in the MCU came via Captain America: Civil War, but it wasn't until Spider-Man: Homecoming that audiences really got to know Peter Parker. It was a neat look at how the character was portrayed compared to past incarnations of the hero, but like with T'Challa and Stephen Strange, a lot of what was learned wasn't really that impactful on the MCU as a whole.
Of course, Spider-Man: Homecoming suffers from the same problem Black Panther did. It came out not long before Avengers: Infinity War, so there wasn't a ton of chances for Peter's past adventure in the MCU to be relevant. Provided things don't go south between Marvel Studios and Sony again though, Spider-Man does seem to have a significant part to play in the MCU, as well as Sony's new SPUMC. Knocking this movie off the list takes out two hours and 13 minutes.
Are there any other MCU movies that you think could be cut to save even more time? Drop your suggestions down in the comments below and be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest and greatest in movies and television.
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Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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