Are you ready for the Endgame? I’m counting the days until April 26th. I purchased my tickets. I am ready. In the meantime, however, I’ve been reading all the graphic novels and immersing myself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I also recently rewatched most of the films. Below are my top five out of the 21 movies leading up to the end of the saga. Yeah, there are 21 movies!

5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

This installment is necessary to the ongoing narrative of the MCU. I saw Infinity War on my day off, by myself, and was utterly devastated. None of my friends had seen it yet, so I had no one to share my misery. The more I thought about it I turned to the painstaking moments where I was able to see the whole team at both their best and worst. Like any saga, I had to come to accept that all heroes can fall. Which only made me anticipate their moment of redemption (which better come in Avengers: Endgame)!

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Yes, I’m a sucker. I just really like it when everyone is together. Although the Avengers were against each other, it made for quite the spectacle to have nearly everyone in the same film. Also, I enjoy how even though this is not an official “Avengers” movie like Age of Ultron or The Avengers, it was an introduction to the Russo Brothers. And also showed they could do so much with the personalities of the MCU and keep the story on track. Plus Spider-Man!

3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

I have an appreciation for taking a story that is obscure and creating a story beloved by so many. While at the time it was a stand-alone film, it connected us to the greater story that the MCU would eventually become. And don’t even get me started on the mixtapes. Yes, I bought the Awesome Mix Vol. I at Bookmans Northwest on vinyl. Can you imagine Endgame without them?

2. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Yep, this is a hot take to have this film so close to my number one. But something I enjoy about the Marvel films is that they give talented and perhaps lesser-known directors a chance at a big-budget movie. By the way, I’m so excited for Chloe Zhao directing The Eternals! Taika Waititi’s dive into Thor’s world was unlike the previous Thor installments. He brought humor and color to Thor’s story like I hadn’t seen before. I love a good struggle especially from one of our strongest heroes. And he did it in a tongue-in-cheek way. What a ride, and it highlighted some of the best comic book moments to boot. Oh, and Jeff Goldblum.

1. Black Panther (2018)

This film is very close to my heart. Before seeing the characters in Black Panther, I can only remember seeing black superheroes portrayed on the big screen like Storm from X-Men. Maybe one at a time, but seeing Ryan Coogler’s interpretation of Wakanda brought me to tears of joy for representation onscreen. This collection of amazing actors in a nuanced narrative made one of the best cinematic experiences I had last year. I definitely saw the movie four times in theaters. I just couldn’t get enough. And come Oscars season to see winners like Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler win for costume and production design was an affirmation of how blackness could be portrayed onscreen. Wakanda forever!

What are the top 5 MCU movies that you recommend seeing before we crash into Avengers: Endgame? Tell us in the comments!