'Avengers: Endgame': Why You Should Rewatch 'Age of Ultron' First
Rewatching Avengers: Infinity War before stepping foot in a theater to see Avengers: Endgame is a no-brainer. Dedicated Marvel fans will probably also rewatch Captain America: Civil War for emotional reasons and The Avengers because set photos already pretty much confirmed a time-travel visit to the Battle of New York. But a surprising contender for a “must rewatch” before actually goes to one of the most overlooked Marvel movies of the bunch, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it’s not just because the Endgame title was seeded in Tony Stark’s monologue from that movie.
Age of Ultron hit theaters on May 1, 2015, and chances seem high that a decent number of fans probably haven’t watched it since. We’re here to tell you, having submitted ourselves to all of the various leaks and spoilers over the last week, that if you haven’t rewatched Age of Ultron yet, do so at some point over the next week. You won’t regret it.
Light potential spoilers follow for Avengers: Endgame.
If The Avengers marked the rise of this superhero team, then the fall is obviously Civil War. Right in the middle of these two epic stories lies Age of Ultron, one of the MCU’s most maligned entries if the Rotten Tomatoes score of 75 percent is any indication, placing it above than Iron Man 2 but worse than Thor. Even if people don’t love this movie, it remains a crucial turning point in the Infinity Saga, the story pivots directly towards the Infinity Stones.
Despite the team resenting Tony Stark for creating Ultron, Age of Ultron shows us the Avengers at their absolute peak. The opening fight sequence remains one of the MCU’s wildest and most surprising spectacles, and the epic final battle against the horde of Ultron bots on the floating city of Sokovia somehow tops it. The whole party sequence is also a delight in terms of team chemistry.
With so many heroes dusted in the MCU, Endgame leaves the door wide open for the survivors to take up more emotional “real estate”. That includes the original Avengers team. As such, getting a refresher on the connections between these characters is essential.
Ultron has the best Hawkeye story in the entire series, dropping the revelation about him having a family. Based on his new Endgame Ronin persona, they probably died. Their deaths might even be part of the film’s opening.
Ultron also further develops Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner’s romance. It explores Bruce’s guilt at the damage done as the Hulk (not to mention revealing Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor) and Romanoff’s insecurity about what her assassin training did to her body. They bond over both being “monsters,” a problematic assertion in the script, but an emotive one nonetheless.
They shared a tense reunion in Infinity War, but in the weeks and months following Thanos’ Decimation, who knows how their relationship might develop. Scarlet Johansson herself has spoken about the “devastation” she felt filming scenes with Mark Ruffalo for Infinity War and Endgame.
Even more importantly, Age of Ultron firmly establishes the idealogical differences that eventually drive Tony Stark and Steve Rogers apart in Civil War, and they’re still not on speaking terms throughout the entirety of Infinity War. Their reconciliation will be long overdue in Endgame, but the beginning of the end happened during Ultron.
Even if the dusted heroes do return during Endgame, that probably won’t happen until the very end, so there’s really no need to rewatch the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Black Panther, Spider-Man: Homecoming or Doctor Strange. Anything Ant-Man-related probably just involves the Quantum Realm, and everybody saw Ant-Man and the Wasp less than a year ago.
If Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t the single most important MCU film to rewatch before Avengers: Endgame, then it’s definitely in the top three or four. Now that we’re less than a week away from Endgame’s full release, there’s only so much time left to catch up on the MCU, but leaving this movie out of your rewatch would be a huge mistake.
Avengers: Endgame opens in theaters on Friday, April 26, 2019.