Avengers: Infinity War is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It serves as the culmination of 18 prior movies which introduced the Avengers, more Avengers, and other characters in the Marvel universe such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Black Panther. One way to prepare for the film would be to view all prior 18 movies. While that would make for a super-extreme weekend of binge watching, many of us don’t have the time to do that. Not to worry! This GraphGist will help you understand the key points you need to know.

The film will center around Thanos, the Avengers, and the Infinity Stones introduced in the previous films. In short, Thanos wants the Infinity Stones and the Avengers want to stop him. But who are the Avengers? Will they fight Thanos alone? Will they fight themselves? This Gist hopes to answer these questions. Unfortunately we won’t have time to go into Vibranium, Captain America’s beard, or Thor’s destroyed Hammer, but don’t worry, we’ll have plenty to talk about!

MATCH (stone:InfinityStone)
OPTIONAL MATCH (pp:PlotPoint)-[:ABOUT]->(stone:InfinityStone),
WITH stone, as movieName
ORDER BY movieName
RETURN as infinityStone, collect(distinct movieName) as movies
ORDER BY infinityStone

The Avengers - The Early Years

The Avengers are a group of super-human characters put together by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk all had their own movie leading into The Avengers, where they were joined by Natasha Romanoff and Hawkeye to round out the team. They battled Loki, Thor’s brother, who opened a space portal to let an alien race called the Chitauri invade. This set of movies is called Phase 1 of the MCU.

MATCH (c:Character)-[:PART_OF]->(g:Group {name:'Avengers'})
RETURN as avenger
ORDER BY avenger

In Phase 1, we are introduced to the Tesseract, a blue cube that initially surfaced in Captain America: The First Avenger. The Tesseract powered energy weapons wielded by Hydra. Later on, in The Avengers, it is revealed that the Tesseract’s true purpose is to open portals into space. The Tesseract houses an Infinity Stone, one of six stones that Thanos is after. In The Avengers, Thanos is acting through the Chitauri and Loki, so he isn’t directly involved yet. The Avengers save the world from the Chitauri invasion, but not without giving Iron Man (Tony Stark) some mental issues that affect his decisions in future films. Thor takes the Tesseract to Asgard, they eat shawarma, and all is good.


The Avengers - Phase 2

The second block of MCU movies is referred to as Phase 2, and culminates in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In Phase 2, we have new chapters in Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, and we add a new non-avengers Marvel group called the Guardians of the Galaxy. We start adding more characters, and more Infinity Stones in Phase 2. In Thor: The Dark World, Thor’s girlfriend Jane Foster gets infected with the Aether, which is an amorphous energy that can be very powerful when wielded by the correct person. It eventually ends up with the Collector, given to him by Thor’s Asgardian companions, who did not want two Infinity Stones on Asgard (they already had the Tesseract).

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians of the Galaxy introduces the Orb, also called the Power Stone, when Star-Lord acquires it on the planet Morag. Ronan is the antagonist, and he sends Gamora to retrieve the Orb. Gamora and her sister Nebula happen to be the daughters of Thanos. Gamora and Star-Lord fight, Rocket and Groot get involved, they get imprisoned, and then are joined by Drax as they escape from prison. They try to sell the Orb to the Collector, but things don’t work out (lab goes ka-boom!) so Ronan gets the Orb and tries to destroy Xandar. Ronan is stopped with an epic air/space battle followed by an epic dance battle, where by the Guardians win and leave the Orb with the NOVA Corps of Xandar.

MATCH (c:Character)-[:PART_OF]->(g:Group {name:'Guardians of the Galaxy'})
RETURN as guardianOfGalaxy
ORDER BY guardianOfGalaxy


Meanwhile, following along with Avengers plot-line, Tony is concerned that another threat like the Chitauri will surface, so he creates an A.I. called Ultron. Tony and Bruce Banner use Loki’s staff from the first movie, and it is revealed later that the staff actually contains the Mind Stone, another Infinity Stone. The Mind Stone brings the total count of Infinity Stones to 4 (Tesseract, Aether, Orb, Mind Stone) out of 6. Ultron is supposed to protect the Earth, but instead decides not to protect the Earth (are you surprised?) by attempting to create an extinction level event. Ultron also wanted a new body for himself, but that plan fails, and instead an android called Vision is created - by combining the Mind Stone, a body made out of Vibranium, and Tony Stark’s previous A.I. assistant called J.A.R.V.I.S. The Mind Stone actually becomes embedded in Vision’s forehead. In order to thwart Ultron’s final plan, new members Falcon, War Machine, Vision, and Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) help out and eventually join the Avengers. At the very end of the movie, Thanos is shown saying "Fine, I’ll do it myself", referring to his desire to obtain the Infinity Stones.

MATCH (c:Character)-[r:BECOMES_AVENGER|IS_AVENGER]->(e:Event {name:'Add Avengers'})
WITH c, CASE WHEN type(r) = 'BECOMES_AVENGER' THEN 'New Avenger' ELSE 'Existing Avenger' END as isNew
RETURN as avenger, isNew
ORDER BY avenger
avengers age of ultron

Avengers Disassemble

In Phase 3, we find out good things never last, and the Avengers start infighting over something called the Sokovia accords. Not only that, but it turns out Captain America’s good buddy Bucky Barnes, who was previously brain-washed to become the deadly assassin the Winter Soldier, is blamed for also killing the King of Wakanda. The King of Wakanda also happens to be the father of Black Panther who wants revenge on the Winter Soldier. There was previously some infighting amongst the Avengers anyway - Thor vs Iron Man, Thor vs Hulk, Iron Man vs Hulk, but this takes it to a new level. The Avengers eventually split into two sides, and recruit additional super-powered folks to join in the fray. I have named the two sides CapSide (for Captain America and friends) and IronSide (for Iron Man and friends). Don’t be surprised if in Avengers: Infinity War, the avengers start off not-assembled. This in-fighting occurs primarily in Captain America: Civil War, but serves to tie in Ant-Man, and to introduce Spider-Man and Black Panther, each of which had their own films.

captain america civil war
MATCH (c:Character)-[:PART_OF]->(g:Group)
WHERE IN ['CapSide','IronSide']
RETURN as cantWeJustGetAlong, as groupName
ORDER BY groupName, cantWeJustGetAlong

The Time Stone

In yet another parallel thread, Doctor Strange learns how to counter super-natural, mystical threats by learning what is for all intents and purposes, magic. One of the special artifacts Doctor Strange encounters and learns to use is the Eye of Agamotto, which contains the 5th Infinity Stone, the Time Stone. Of course, Earth faces yet another grave threat, but with the Time Stone, Doctor Strange is able to defeat Dormammu (from the Dark Dimension), and save Earth. Except for the Time Stone, Phase 3 really doesn’t delve too much into the Infinity Stones. There is a brief glimpse of Loki passing the Tesseract in Asgard, so it is presumed that Loki has it as this point. This image shows the important plot points that link the movies to the Infinity Stones.

infinity stones

Avengers: Infinity War

Finally, we cap off these first 18 movies, with the 19th movie, Avengers: Infinity War. The Soul Stone has yet to surface. Does Thor’s companion Heimdall have it? Is it in Wakanda somewhere? Based on previews and sneak-peak articles it appears that Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and any other Marvel character already introduced who is not Thanos are going to be fighting on the "AvengersPlus" side, against Thanos. Previously, we have Thanos cameos and mentions in both the Avengers films and the Guardians of the Galaxy, so this film should bring them together.

But I just remembered something - I think the 19th movie might actually be Part 1 of a 2-Part installment, so will it really be over? I guess there is only one thing to do, see the movie, and don’t leave when the credits start rolling. You know important future movie info is usually revealed sometime half-way through the credits.

MATCH (c:Character)-[:PART_OF]->(g:Group)
WHERE IN ['AvengersPlus','Guardians of the Galaxy']
RETURN as aLotOfSuperHeroes, as groupName
ORDER BY aLotOfSuperHeroes
avengers infinity war

There is a lot more to explore in the data, so feel free to poke around!

MATCH (pp:PlotPoint)-[r:ABOUT]->(stone:InfinityStone),
RETURN pp, r, stone, r2, c, r3, l