'Captain Marvel': Why You Should Rewatch 'Captain America' First

Now that we’re 21 movies and 11 years into the grandeur that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it can get pretty hard to keep timelines and events straight, especially as Captain Marvel shifts things back to the mid-‘90s to introduce a brand-new character. Based on that setting, you might be thinking there’s no need to brush up on your MCU by rewatching any old movie, but you’re wrong. Before heading to theaters to see Captain Marvel, the one other Marvel movie you should really watch again is Captain America: The First Avengers.

Warning: This article teases light spoilers from Captain Marvel.

Putting aside various flashbacks and crucial events in the history of this universe, Captain America and Captain Marvel are the two earliest MCU stories chronologically, and both titular superheroes are some of the first to interact with S.H.I.E.L.D. in a way that eventually defines Nick Fury’s Avengers initiative.

Without knowing anything that happens in Captain Marvel, it’s reasonable to assume that remembering everything that happens in 1942 during Captain America might help fans understand the state of the universe in 1995, if only so they have a firm grasp on the early years of the MCU as we know it.

But there’s more to it than that.

'Captain America: The First Avenger' should be considered essential viewing.

Marvel Studios

We’re here to tell you, having seen the movie, that rewatching Captain America should be considered essential viewing going into Captain Marvel.

In fact, much of what happens in earlier MCU films like Thor and The Avengers helps inform how Captain Marvel fits into the broader story — and even how she’ll connect to Avengers: Endgame.

How well do you remember the Captain America ending? What was the Thor post-credits scene? Where are each of the Infinity Stones during the 1990s? If you can confidently answer all of these questions, you might be fine. If you can’t, then definitely give Captain America a rewatch and even The Avengers if you have time. Maybe even look up that Thor post-credits scene.

It won’t take an astute person long to see the narrative throughline that connects all of these pieces mentioned here. We won’t spell it out too much, but take our word for it and don’t look back.

In a way, this does feel like a slight failing on the part of Marvel Studios that even someone who’s steeped in the lore of this universe might come away from Captain Marvel slightly confused about how it connects with the stories that happen before and after. Many Marvel films function as decent standalone adventures that are only enriched when you’re familiar with the broader universe, but Captain Marvel feels more reliant on the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe than many other stories.

That said, it’s still a great movie that most fans will enjoy, but rewatching the first Captain America ahead of time will give the entire experience some much-needed context.

Captain Marvel hits theaters Friday, March 8.