We are now 21 films deep into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the 22nd film—this April’s Avengers: Endgame—is being touted as the culmination of everything that’s come before. That’s a mighty exciting prospect to longtime fans of the MCU, but also a daunting one to people who maybe haven’t seen every Marvel Studios movie thus far. While the completionists would argue it’s essential to have seen all 21 films before heading into Avengers: Endgame, not everybody has that kind of time, and to be honest, there are a handful of MCU movies that are fairly inessential. Beyond that, while there are some Marvel movies that are utterly delightful—like Thor: Ragnarok and Iron Man 3—they don’t seem to have much bearing on the plot of Endgame, and thus could be skipped if need-be.
So as Endgame’s April 26th release date approaches, we thought it might be helpful to put together a list of the Marvel movies you need to see in order to understand just what exactly is going on in the Avengers sequel. Again, ideally one would simply watch all 21 Marvel movies, but for those who just want to be able to enjoy Avengers 4 without being confused, the below list is a “bare necessities” rundown. Behold, the nine Marvel movies you need to see before Avengers: Endgame.