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Marvel

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Basics
The Avengers
Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Thor
Captain America
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Ant–Man
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Spider–Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarök
Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War
Ant–Man and The Wasp
Captain Marvel
Spider–Man: Far from Home

The 'Marvel Cinematic Universe'

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a cinema phenomenon, with a worldwide gross (up to April 2019) of between $11 billion and $18 billion – depending on which Wikipedia page you read. The $18 billion figure compares with $9.2 each for Star Wars and Harry Potter, and James Bond's $7 billion.

And yet, in my experience, it's comparatively rarely mentioned in quizzes. It certainly comes up less frequently than the three other franchises mentioned above – less frequently, in fact, than several other less successful franchises. The only explanation I can suggest for this is that to be perfectly frank, there is little crossover between the type of people who do quizzes and the type of people who go to see Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Basics

The agency that the Avengers work for (originally Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division; changed in 1991 to Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate) Click to show or hide the answer

To date (June 2020) there have been 23 films, released in three 'Phases':

TitleDirector Released

Phase One:

Iron ManJon Favreau2008
The Incredible HulkLouis Leterrier2008
Iron Man 2Jon Favreau2010
ThorKenneth Branagh2011
Captain America: The First AvengerJoe Johnston 2011
(Marvel's) The AvengersJoss Whedon2012

Phase Two:

Iron Man 3Shane Black2013
Thor: The Dark WorldAlan Taylor2013
Captain America: The Winter SoldierAnthony and Joe Russo2014
Guardians of the GalaxyJames Gunn2014
Avengers: Age of UltronJoss Whedon2015
Ant–ManPeyton Reed2015

Phase Three:

Captain America: Civil WarAnthony and Joe Russo2016
Doctor StrangeScott Derrickson2016
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2James Gunn2017
Spider–Man: HomecomingJon Watts2017
Thor: RagnarökTaika Waititi2017
Black PantherRyan Coogler2018
Avengers: Infinity WarAnthony and Joe Russo2018
Ant–Man and The WaspPeyton Reed2018
Captain MarvelAnna Boden, Ryan Fleck2019
Avengers: EndgameAnthony and Joe Russo2019
Spider–Man: Far from HomeJon Watts2019

Phase Four

Phase Four kicks off with:

Black WidowCate Shortland November 2019

The Avengers (2012)

Up to June 2020, The Avengers had grossed just over $1.5 billion worldwide; this figure had changed hardly, if at all, by June 2020. At one time it was the third highest grossing film of all time – after Avatar and Titanic – but by June 2020 it'd been overtaken by five more films, including both of its own sequels: Infinity War (2018) and Endgame (2019). The latter had become the highest grossing film of all time, taking just a fraction under $2.8 billion.

The Avengers was the last film in what has been called Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, and as it brought together most of the main characters from the previous five films it would seem to be a good place to start looking at the cast list:

Tony Stark / Iron Man – a self–proclaimed genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist, with an electromechanical suit of armour of his own invention Click to show or hide the answer
Steve Rogers / Captain America – a World War II veteran who was enhanced to the peak of human physicality by an experimental serum and frozen in suspended animation before waking up in the modern world Click to show or hide the answer
Dr. Bruce Banner / (The Incredible) Hulk – a genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated. (Note that in the 2008 film featuring Hulk – see below – Banner was played by Edward Norton) Click to show or hide the answer
Thor – The crown prince of Asgard, based on the Norse deity of the same name Click to show or hide the answer
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow – a highly trained spy working for SHIELD Click to show or hide the answer
Clint Barton / Hawkeye – a master archer working as an agent for SHIELD Click to show or hide the answer
Loki – Thor's adoptive brother and nemesis, based on the Norse deity of the same name Click to show or hide the answer
Phil Coulson – an agent of SHIELD who oversees many of the division's field operations Click to show or hide the answer
Dr. Erik Selvig – an astrophysicist and a friend of Thor under Loki's control Click to show or hide the answer
Nick Fury – the director of SHIELD, who was revealed in previous films to be coordinating the "Avengers Initiative" Click to show or hide the answer
Maria Hill – a high–ranking agent of SHIELD, who works closely with Nick Fury Click to show or hide the answer
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts – Tony Stark's love interest Click to show or hide the answer

The remaining sections look at the other films in chronological order.

Iron Man (2008)

Obadiah Stane / The Iron Monger – Stark's business second–in–command Click to show or hide the answer

Also featured: Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

There was a previous Hulk film, entitled simply Hulk. Released in 2003, it was directed by Ang Lee and starred Eric Bana as Dr. Bruce Banner. It received a mixed reception from critics but was a commercial success – grossing almost a quarter of a billion dollars worldwide, although it did cost more than half of that amount to make.

Notable facts about the 2008 film:

Dr. Bruce Banner / Hulk Click to show or hide the answer
Voice of Hulk (also played him in the television series, 1977–82) Click to show or hide the answer
Betty Ross – a cellular biologist, and Banner's love interest Click to show or hide the answer
General Thaddeus E. 'Thunderbolt' Ross – Betty's arrogant father – US Secretary of State and former army general, who has dedicated himself to capturing the Hulk Click to show or hide the answer
Major Emil Blonsky / The Abomination: a Russian–born UK Royal Marines Commando, injected with various serums by General Ross to transform into a monster more powerful than the Hulk himself Click to show or hide the answer

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes – an officer in the US Air Force, and a close personal friend of Tony Stark Click to show or hide the answer
Ivan Vanko – a Russian physicist and ex–convict who builds his own weapon to exact vengeance on the Stark family Click to show or hide the answer

Also featured: Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Thor (2011)

Dr. Jane Foster – a scientist, and Thor's love interest Click to show or hide the answer
Heimdall – the all–seeing, all–hearing sentry of the Bifröst bridge – based on the Norse deity of the same name Click to show or hide the answer
Odin – ruler of Asgard, father of Thor and adoptive father of Loki – based on the Norse deity of the same name Click to show or hide the answer

Also featured: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddlestone as Loki, Stellen Skarsgård as Erik Selvig.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Chester Phillips – the US Army colonel who recruits Steve Rogers to join the secret experiment that creates the super–soldier known as Captain America Click to show or hide the answer
Johann Schmidt / Red Skull – Captain America's nemesis. Adolf Hitler's head of advanced weaponry, whose own plan for world domination involves a magical object known as the Tesseract. Red Skull is the commander of the terrorist organization Hydra Click to show or hide the answer
Peggy Carter – an officer with the Strategic Scientific Reserve, and Captain America's love interest Click to show or hide the answer
Sgt. James Buchanan 'Bucky' Barnes – Steve Rogers's best friend Click to show or hide the answer
Howard Stark – Tony Stark's father Click to show or hide the answer

Also featured: Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Aldrich Killian – creator of the Extremis virus and the founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), who adopts the mantle of the Mandarin (see below) as his own Click to show or hide the answer
Trevor Slattery – a British actor with substance–abuse problems, hired by Killian to portray the Mandarin (a terrorist persona in jammed television broadcasts, in which he is depicted as a leader of the international terrorist organization The Ten Rings) Click to show or hide the answer
Powered exoskeleton used by 'Rhodey' Rhodes (Don Cheadle) Click to show or hide the answer
Director of the two previous Iron Man films, appears as Harold 'Happy' Hogan – Tony Stark's former bodyguard and chauffeur, now Stark Industries head of security Click to show or hide the answer

Also featured: Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Don Cheadle as 'Rhodey' Rhodes / Iron Patriot.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Malekith – ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim Click to show or hide the answer

Also featured: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddlestone as Loki, Stellen Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, Natalie Porter as Jane Foster, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Anthony Hopkins as Odin.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier turns out to be (Steve Rogers' best friend, who was captured and experimented upon during WWII) – see above Click to show or hide the answer
Alexander Pierce – a senior leader in SHIELD, a member of the World Security Council and an old comrade of Nick Fury Click to show or hide the answer

Also featured: Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as 'Bucky' Barnes, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This film introduced a new cast of characters that had not featured in previous Marvel Universe films. The title characters are a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are fleeing after stealing a powerful artifact, and with whom the central character Peter Quill forms an uneasy alliance.

Peter Quill / Star–Lord – leader of the Guardians, who discovers at the end of the film that he is half human and half alien Click to show or hide the answer

The Guardians have not yet entered the quiz lexicon – not in my experience, anyway – so in order to avoid redundancy I have not listed them here. I do however include a few characters who are played by notable actors:

Rocket Raccoon – a genetically–engineered raccoon who is a bounty hunter and mercenary, as well as a master of weapons and battle tactics Click to show or hide the answer
Groot – a tree–like humanoid and the accomplice of Rocket Raccoon Click to show or hide the answer
Nova Prime Irani Rael – leader of the Nova Corps, whose mission is to protect the citizens of the Nova Empire and keep peace Click to show or hide the answer
Taneleer Tivan / The Collector – an obsessive collector of interstellar fauna, relics and species, operating out of a place in space named Knowhere Click to show or hide the answer

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

This was a sequel to The Avengers (2012) and featured many of the same characters and cast: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner / Hulk, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill.

It also featured the following new characters:

Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver – a superhero who can move at superhuman speed Click to show or hide the answer
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch – twin sister of Pietro / Quicksilver, who can harness magic, hypnosis and telekinesis Click to show or hide the answer
JARVIS (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System) – Tony Stark's Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) system – also in previous films Click to show or hide the answer
Vision – an android superhero created by Ultron Click to show or hide the answer
Sam Wilson / Falcon – a friend of Steve Rogers, trained by the military in aerial combat using a specially designed wing pack Click to show or hide the answer
Ultron – the eponymous AI, repurposed by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner for a pilot peace program, which is overwhelmed with a "god complex" and now wishes to pacify the Earth by eradicating humanity Click to show or hide the answer

Also appearing: Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Erik Selvig, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Ant–Man (2015)

Armed with a super–suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

A former systems engineer at VistaCorp, and petty criminal, who acquires a suit that allows him to shrink in size but increase in strength ... and become Ant–Man. Played by Paul Rudd Click to show or hide the answer
A former SHIELD agent, entomologist, and physicist who became the original Ant–Man in 1963 after discovering the subatomic particles that make the transformation possible. He later mentors the above to take over the role. Played by Michael Douglas Click to show or hide the answer
Daughter of the above, and a senior board member of his company, who helps the following character to take it over. Played by Evangeline Lily Click to show or hide the answer
A former protégé of Pym's, who takes over his mentor's company and militarizes a similar version of the Ant–Man technology to create the Yellowjacket suit – "the next generation of Ant–Man's suit". Played by Corey Stoll Click to show or hide the answer
A police officer who is engaged to Lang's former wife Maggie. Played by Bobby Cannavale Click to show or hide the answer
Lang's former cellmate, and a member of his "crew". Played by Michael Peña Click to show or hide the answer

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Political involvement in the Avengers' affairs causes a rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

The Sokovian colonel–turned–terrorist who is obsessed with defeating the Avengers – played by Daniel Brühl Click to show or hide the answer
Making his debut as Peter Parker / Spider–Man Click to show or hide the answer

This film also features a whole host of characters that have appeared in previous films – all played by the same actors, and too numerous to list here!

Doctor Strange (2016)

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Title character – a neurosurgeon who, after a car accident that led to a journey of healing, discovers the hidden world of magic and parallel universes Click to show or hide the answer
Karl Mordo – a master of the Mystic Arts, close to the Ancient One (see below) and a mentor to Dr. Strange Click to show or hide the answer
Christine Palmer – Dr. Strange's love interest (Canadian actress) Click to show or hide the answer
The Ancient One (female version) – a Celtic mystic, who mentors the title character Click to show or hide the answer

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017)

The Guardians struggle to keep together as a team while dealing with their personal family issues, notably Star–Lord's encounter with his father, the ambitious celestial being Ego.

Chris Pratt returns as Peter Quill / Star–Lord, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, and Vin Diesel as Baby Groot (the son of the character he played in the original film). Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro do not return.

Stakar Ogord – a high–ranking Ranger, who holds a grudge against Yondu (one of the Guardians) Click to show or hide the answer

Spider–Man: Homecoming (2017)

Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter–ego Spider–Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker / Spider–Man, Jon Favreau as 'Happy' Hogan, and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Evans appear as Pepper Potts and Steve Rogers / Captain America respectively.

Adrian Toomes / Vulture – a salvager turned arms trafficker Click to show or hide the answer
Anne Marie Hoag – the head of the US Department of Damage Control Click to show or hide the answer

Thor: Ragnarök (2017)

Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world.

Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. 

Hela – Thor's older sister and the goddess of death (based on the sister of Loki in Norse mythology – a ruthless villain who threatens to destroy Asgard Click to show or hide the answer
Grandmaster – one of the Elders of the Universe, ruler of the planet Sakaar, who enjoys manipulating lesser life–forms Click to show or hide the answer

Black Panther (2018)

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

Title role – King of the African nation of Wakanda, having ascended to the throne following the death of his father T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War; gains enhanced strength by ingesting the heart–shaped herb Click to show or hide the answer
Nakia – T'Challa's former lover and a War Dog, an undercover spy for Wakanda, from the River Tribe Click to show or hide the answer
CIA agent Everett K. Ross Click to show or hide the answer
Ramonda – mother of T'Challa and Shuri; the Queen Mother of Wakanda Click to show or hide the answer
Zuri – an elder statesman in Wakanda and the keeper of the heart–shaped herb Click to show or hide the answer
Ulysses Klaue – a South African black–market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster Click to show or hide the answer

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Various stars of the previous Avengers films – too many to list here – return.

Eitri – King of the Dwarves of Nidavellir, and weaponsmith, based on the dwarf of the same name from Norse mythology Click to show or hide the answer
Thanos – the principal antagonist: an intergalactic despot from Titan, who longs to collect all six of the Infinity Stones in order to "re–balance the Universe" and impose his will on all of reality Click to show or hide the answer

Ant–Man and The Wasp (2018)

As Scott Lang balances being both a Superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant–Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. Janet van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is handed down the mantle of The Wasp, and a suit similar to the Ant–Man's, from her mother.

Most of the principal characters and actors from the first Ant–Man film return – including Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant–Man.

Stan Lee, co–creator of the title characters, plays a cameo as a man whose car gets shrunk by accident. He died in November 2018 – five months after the film's release.

Janet van Dyne – Pym's wife and Hope's mother, and the original Wasp, who is lost in the quantum realm Click to show or hide the answer
Bill Foster – an old friend of Pym, who was once his assistant Click to show or hide the answer

Captain Marvel (2019)

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury, the future Director of SHIELD.

Title character – an ex–US Air Force fighter pilot and member of an elite Kree military unit called Starforce, whose DNA was altered during an accident, imbuing her with superhuman strength, energy projection, and flight Click to show or hide the answer
The Supreme Intelligence – the collective embodiment of the greatest minds of the Kree people, and the ruler of the Kree Empire. Appears in different forms to each person, specifically as Dr. Wendy Lawson to Vers (one of Carol Danvers's personae) Click to show or hide the answer
Yon–Rogg – the commander of Starforce, who trains Danvers to use her new powers Click to show or hide the answer

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos's actions and restore order to the universe.

All the usual suspects from previous Avengers outings return – along with others such as Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel.

Spider–Man: Far from Home (2019)

Peter Parker and his friends go on a European vacation, where Peter finds himself agreeing to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent.

Once again, various characters and actors from previous Spider–Man outings return.

Quentin Beck / Mysterio: an expert on the Elementals, who is recruited by Nick Fury to help Spider–Man stop them Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–20