The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a sprawling, gargantuan series of comic-book-based movies that can be viewed in a number of ways, from release order to character-specific arcs, to the good old-fashioned chronological method. But what is the best marvel movie watch order? Let’s explore a couple of the best Marvel movie viewing orders to prepare you for a Marvel movie marathon.
Disney and Marvel have done a fantastic job in crafting a lived in Marvel universe that neatly includes easter eggs and references while crafting a galaxy so huge that it gives Star Wars a run for its money.
Today we’re going to show you how to watch every single Marvel Cinematic Universe (otherwise know as the MCU) movie in the order that they were released and then how to navigate the MCU timeline in the order that the events occur. The best thing is now that Disney has released Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp, you can binge every single one on Disney+ (with the exception of The Incredible Hulk and the two Spider-Man movies from Sony, sadly).
Let us know your favorite Marvel movie watch order in the comments below.
Watch the Marvel Movies in Release Order
Marvel fans let’s start with the most straightforward watch order of marvel movies with the complete list of the MCU films in the order that they were released. If you want to tackle the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the way that Disney and Marvel Studios intended, here you go.
1. Iron Man (2008, Director: Jon Favreau)
Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark as he trades in his life of luxury to stop selling weapons and become the invincible Iron Man in this revolutionary first movie in which he creates the Iron Man suit and uses it to escape captivity.
2008’s Iron Man tells the story of Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.
2. The Incredible Hulk (2008, Director: Louis Leterrier)
Edward Norton is introduced as the MCU’s Bruce Banner / The Incredible Hulk. He and Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) go on the run and eventually come face to face with the hideous Abomination. Tony Stark then appears in a post-credits scene, foreshadowing The Avengers for the first time.
In this new beginning, scientist Bruce Banner desperately hunts for a cure to the gamma radiation that poisoned his cells and unleashes the unbridled force of rage within him: The Hulk. Living in the shadows–cut off from a life he knew and the woman he loves, Betty Ross–Banner struggles to avoid the obsessive pursuit of his nemesis, General Thunderbolt Ross and the military machinery that seeks to capture him and brutally exploit his power. As all three grapple with the secrets that led to the Hulk’s creation, they are confronted with a monstrous new adversary known as the Abomination, whose destructive strength exceeds even the Hulk’s own. One scientist must make an agonizing final choice: accept a peaceful life as Bruce Banner or find heroism in the creature he holds inside–The Incredible Hulk.
3. Iron Man 2 (2010, Director: Jon Favreau)
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Don Cheadle’s War Machine make their MCU debut in this direct sequel. Mickey Rourke stars as Whiplash, an evil scientist with ties to the Stark family.
With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts and “Rhodey” Rhodes by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy.
4. Thor (2011, Director: Kenneth Branagh)
Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor Odinson, an alien God from the planet Asgard. He must defeat his scheming brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and reclaim his place as the prince of Asgard.
As the son of Odin, king of the Norse gods, Thor will soon inherit the throne of Asgard from his aging father. However, on the day that he is to be crowned, Thor reacts with brutality when the gods’ enemies, the Frost Giants, enter the palace in violation of their treaty. As punishment, Odin banishes Thor to Earth. While Loki, Thor’s brother, plots mischief in Asgard, Thor, now stripped of his powers, faces his greatest threat.
5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011, Director: Joe Johnston)
During WWII a skinny boy named Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to undergo experimental treatment to turn himself into the world’s first super soldier; Captain America. With the help of his friend Bucky Barnes and love interest Peggy Carter, Rogers must take down the evil Red Skull, the leader of HYDRA.
Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” focuses on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America.
6. The Avengers (Marvel’s Avengers Assemble) (2012, Director: Joss Whedon)
Loki returns and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury assembles the Avengers for the first time to stop him. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk (now played by Mark Ruffalo) all team up to fight in the battle of New York and reclaim the Tesseract.
Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures “Marvel’s The Avengers”–the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
7. Iron Man 3 (2013, Director: Shane Black)
Set at Christmas, this movie takes place shortly after the events of The Avengers. Tony Stark must overcome his personal demons and face his greatest foe yet: The Mandarin.
Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man
8. Thor: The Dark World (2013, Director: Alan Taylor)
Thor and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) take on the evil Dark Elves and encounter the aether, which is later revealed to be one of the infinity stones.
In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014, Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo, better known as the Russo Brothers)
Captain America meets a new hero; Sam Wilson / The Falcon as well as an old friend turned enemy. The heroes must uncover a conspiracy at the very heart of SHIELD to save the world.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy–the Winter Soldier.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, Director: James Gunn)
In our first real look at the cosmic MCU we meet an unlikely team of heroes who fight to stop the evil Ronan The Accuser from obtaining the power stone. Ronan is also revealed to be working for a greater threat; Thanos.
An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits–Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon; Groot, a tree-like humanoid; the deadly and enigmatic Gamora; and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand–with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015, Director: Joss Whedon)
The Avengers return to fight a villain of their own making; Ultron. The evil AI teams up with ‘enhanced’ brother and sister Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to destroy the world using vibranium.
Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
12. Ant-Man (2015, Director: Peyton Reed)
Scott Lang becomes the MCU’s smallest hero as he inadvertently becomes Ant Man. After being trained by Hope Van Dyne and Hank Pym, Scott undertakes the heist of his life and tangles with the villainous Yellowjacket.
The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Doctor Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
13. Captain America: Civil War (2016, Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo, better known as the Russo Brothers)
The Avengers clash over a set of accords intended to hold them accountable for their actions and are split into two sides led by Iron Man and Captain America respectively. Meanwhile, an African prince reveals himself as the mystical Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
Steve Rogers leads the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.
14. Doctor Strange (2016, Director: Scott Derrickson)
An arrogant doctor by the name of Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has his world rocked when a car accident leads him down a path of magic and mysticism. Strange must embrace his role as the Sorcerer Supreme and defeat the evil Dormammu.
From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange,” the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. Before long Strange—armed with newly acquired magical powers—is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
15. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (2017, Director: James Gunn)
The Guardians are back and must contend with a living planet claiming to be Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)’s father. They also take in a new member who can control emotions; Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.
16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Director: Jon Watts)
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) learns the ropes from his mentor, Iron Man, and encounters the first of his extensive rogue’s gallery: The Vulture (Michael Keaton).
A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017, Director: Taika Waititi)
Thor takes on his toughest opponent yet when his long-lost sister returns. Lost in another world and without his hammer, Thor must rediscover what it means to be the God of Thunder with a little help from The Incredible Hulk, Loki, and a rock monster named Korg.
Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk!
18. Black Panther (2018, Director: Ryan Coogler)
T’Challa / Black Panther becomes king following the tragic death of his father. A challenge from within Wakanda may become his undoing as he takes on the sinister Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018, Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo, better known as the Russo Brothers)
Worlds collide as The Avengers splinter and team up with The Guardians of the Galaxy in an attempt to stop Thanos (Josh Brolin) from wiping out half of all life in the universe.
An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.
20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018, Director: Peyton Reed)
Set just before Infinity War, Scott Lang is under house arrest. Can he and The Wasp overcome the new threat of the Ghost (Hannah John- Camen)?
From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink: “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.
21. Captain Marvel (2019, Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck)
Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel in this 1990s prequel. Danvers must remember who she is with the help of a much younger Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and end the Skrull – Kree conflict.
Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.
22. Avengers: Endgame (2019, Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo, better known as the Russo Brothers)
It all ends here. After a disastrous defeat five years ago, the remaining Avengers introduce time travel into the MCU in a last-ditch effort to undo Thanos’ snap.
The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, “Avengers: Endgame.”
23. Spiderman: Far From Home (2019, Director: Jon Watts)
A distraught Peter Parker deals with the loss of his mentor by going on a school vacation. What he doesn’t count on is meeting Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal); a hero from another world.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
24. Black Widow (2021, Director: Cate Shortland)
Natasha Romanoff goes back to her roots and takes on the evil Taskmaster in this superhero prequel.
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Use Disney+ to binge-watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga in order
The advent of Disney+ has made watching the Infinity Saga a much less arduous process (cheers, Disney). No longer will you have to switch discs between Iron Man 2 and Thor, or Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange.
It also means that you can see Thanos’ long-term plan to find every infinity stone play out in the MCU timeline one Marvel film at a time. If you’re super hardcore, you can also work in the Marvel tv shows, such as the Netflix shows; Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. However, with Disney+ quashing the Marvel Netflix dream, it’s unclear how canonical these are anymore.
What certainly are canon, however, are the official Marvel Universe TV shows like Agent Carter and Marvel‘s Agents of SHIELD. If you’re talking about an in-universe Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, Agent Carter comes just after Captain America: The First Avenger, while Agents of SHIELD splits depending on which season you’re watching.
But this isn’t the only Marvel movie watch order…
Different ways to spice up your Marvel watch order
Not content with watching your Marvel movies and TV shows by Marvel phase? Well, this Marvel superfan decided to cut together every MCU movie by scene, painstakingly coming with an MCU viewing order that is completely chronological.
Watching each MCU film in the order that they were meant to be seen in is a must for any Marvel fan. There’s something so fun about switching on Disney, starting with Iron Man and spotting all the Easter eggs and little details that you may not have seen the first time around. Move over Star Wars and Harry Potter, there’s a new series of movies to binge-watch, and it’s called the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, we’re also going to give you our recommendation for the best way to view the Infinity Saga: chronologically. Our Marvel movie watch order will follow a simple A to B structure, by trying to work out what year each movie is set in. From there we’ll order each Marvel movie downwards to show what the most complete way to view this cinematic universe is.
Many sites have given their own take on the best Marvel movie watch order such as the famous official concession stand order. However, we’re going to start with Captain America: The First Avenger in 1942 and move all the way up to that iconic moment in Avengers: Endgame where Cap smacks Thanos with Thor’s hammer and shouts “Avengers Assemble!” Let’s do this, MCU fans!
Watch the Marvel Movies in Chronological Order
We’ve done our best to work out, or at least give our best guess of the chronology of the MCU and create a chronological Marvel movie viewing order. Some scenes are obviously set in the past and one or two films use flashback, so we’ve only gone for entire movies that feature in a specific year. It’s worth stating that most MCU movies don’t confirm which year they’re set in, so we’ve had to make some educated guesses!
We’ve also only mentioned some of the TV shows, as this is a cinematic viewing order. However, shows with characters from the movies like Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD seem to be more directly tied into the wider story, so we’ve put them down as ‘suggested viewing’ where appropriate. We’ve also included the Marvel Netflix shows as ‘extra reading’, as despite not featuring any Marvel movie characters, they occasionally allude to the Battle of New York as well as tenuous references to characters like The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.
So, without further ado, here is our attempt at putting the Marvel movies in the order that they occur, to create a full Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline that features every film. If you have any comments, including where other tertiary shows like Cloak and Dagger or the Marvel one-shots like All Hail the King fit in, please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! As it is, here’s our chronological Marvel movie watch order.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Suggested TV viewing: Agent Carter
Though a flashback in Guardians of the Galaxy technically places the beginnings of the MCU billions and billions of years ago with the forming of the infinity stones, we’ll start with this movie, thank you very much. The 1940s introduced us to Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Red Skull, and Bucky Barnes, who all return in later movies. If you’re a real sucker for continuity you can pause the post-credits scene where Steve wakes up in the modern world and play it directly before The Avengers. We don’t recommend that, though unless you’re trying to spot signs that the movie predicted the events of 2020.
This MCU movie also marks the first time in the Marvel Universe that we see an infinity stone, (though we don’t know that it is one at the time).
Agent Carter picks up four years later in 1946, and features Stark and Carter in a post-Captain America world, setting up the beginnings of S.H.I.E.L.D.
This surprise prequel explores the origins of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. We know it’s the 90s because of the various littered references, including a Blockbuster — thanks, Disney. We also meet a young Nick Fury and Phil Coulson. Fun!
The Incredible Hulk
Here’s where things become a little more obvious, for now. The Incredible Hulk is clearly set after the events of Iron Man as it features a post-credits scene where Tony Stark approaches General Ross about the Hulk joining the Avengers. Iron Man 2 and Thor presumably follow in their respective years.
Iron Man 2
There’s nothing too notable here in Tony Stark’s second adventure, bar the introduction of Black Widow. If you’re using our order, you’ve already met Nick Fury in Iron Man.
Marvel‘s The Avengers
Suggested TV viewing: Agents of SHIELD and the Marvel Netflix Shows
We know for a fact that The Avengers is set in 2012, and it’s made explicitly clear in Avengers Endgame. All straightforward so far, providing you accept that The Incredible Hulk is now far more Mark Ruffalo looking. In the now-iconic Marvel post-credits scene, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (as it’s known in the UK) also marks the first appearance of (a non-Josh Brolin) Thanos.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD picks up not long after The Avengers, though it catches up with the movies at various points, so switch off when they start talking about Hydra towards the end of season one.
The Marvel Netflix shows (Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Defenders) also allude to the battle of New York, and can, therefore, be enjoyed concurrently. Quite obviously, 2012 is notable for marking the first time that the Avengers assemble as a team; a landmark date both in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and our own. Avengers also introduces Loki’s scepter which contains the second infinity stone: the mind stone.
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Iron Man 3 marks the beginning of Marvel phase two, but otherwise, this period is pretty self-explanatory. Thor: The Dark World introduces a third infinity stone and is confirmed to be set in 2013 by Avengers Endgame while Iron Man 3 deals with Tony Stark’s anxiety directly after the Battle of New York.
Iron Man 3 does feature a flashback to New Years’ Eve 1999, however, but we’re not mad enough to factor that into our MCU timeline.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
James Gunn confirmed that Guardians vol 2. is set a mere two months after the ending of the first, which is supported by the presence of the adorable Baby Groot. It’s worth mentioning that Guardians 1 marks the first time that Thanos speaks on-screen and we also meet our fourth infinity stone; the power stone.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Age of Ultron features the one and only appearance of Ultron, which represents a big step in Tony Stark’s personal character arc. Agents of SHIELD also ties into this one with the titular agents helping out at the Battle of Sokovia while Ant-Man shows us a de-aged Hank Pym and Howard Stark in a flashback that’s set before Captain Marvel, but after Captain America. Phew.
Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War kicks off Marvel phase 2 with a bang and marks the second time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline that the Russo brothers direct. It’s also notable for being the closest Marvel film to an Avengers movie without bearing the name.
Black Panther and Spider-Man Homecoming directly follow characters introduced in Civil War with reference to the events of that movie as if it happened recently. It seems more recent in the mind of Peter Parker, so we’re going to say that Spider-Man Homecoming comes before Black Panther. Not to mention the fact that significantly more time needs to have passed for Bucky to become the White Wolf in Wakanda.
As for Doctor Strange: it was released in 2016 and needs to come before 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok for Benedict Cumberbatch’s cameo to make sense, so placing it in this part of the MCU timeline is obvious.
Ant-Man and The Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War
Thor Ragnarok ends with the cliffhanger that leads directly into Infinity War, so it definitely at least ends in 2018 and obviously takes place earlier, before the Asgardians settle into their new life as ship dwellers. With Ant-Man and the Wasp and Avengers Infinity War itself; they occur around the same time, though Ant-Man and the Wasp quite clearly take place a few days/weeks before the conflict in Infinity War before catching up to Thanos’ climactic snap at the end. This is a lot neater, as Infinity War works better heading straight into Avengers Endgame, than randomly digressing with the slightly less universe-ending adventures of Scott Lang and co.
When Black Widow releases, it’s likely to fit in somewhere between these three as it takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers Infinity War. Thor: Ragnarok is also notable for including the destruction of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, which wouldn’t be recovered until the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Avengers: Endgame obviously picks up directly after Infinity War, then time skips five years. Spider-Man Far From Home deals with Peter’s grief at the loss of Iron Man and both Thanos’s and The Incredible Hulk’s snaps are directly referenced as well as the “deaths” of Captain America and Black Widow. Simples.
Watching the Marvel movies in chronological order
Putting each film in our chronological Marvel movie viewing order creates a tidy MCU timeline that covers every movie but omits the Marvel tv series, lest we be here all night.
You can also place the upcoming Black Widow somewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, but that should become more clear when the movie is finally released.
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Captain Marvel
- Iron Man
- The Incredible Hulk
- Iron Man 2
- The Avengers
- Iron Man 3
- Thor: The Dark World
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War
- Spider-Man Homecoming
- Black Panther
- Doctor Strange
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Avengers: Endgame
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
When the Marvel Studios-Disney+ shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the Tom Hiddleston-led Loki launch, this is going to get even more complicated. Not to mention upcoming movies like The Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If you’re a complete Marvel fanatic, you can expand past the world of film and make your own list including the Marvel TV series.
Netflix shows Daredevil season one and the first Jessica Jones season pick up shortly after the events of the Avengers, while Agents of SHIELD season one also starts shortly after the Battle of New York, but soon becomes entangled with the HYDRA conspiracy that forms the basis of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Luke Cage also follow on directly from Daredevil season one, though all five are only tenuously linked to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with few vague references to Thor’s hammer and no conflict on the scale of a battle for an infinity stone.
Regardless of how you want to watch the MCU, there’s nothing better than sitting down with a load of friends and binging your favorite Marvel movies. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll get even more hyped for the release of Black Widow.
Viewing Marvel movies by Phase
Marvel movies are obviously famously split into different phases that cover mini-arcs over a whole lot of movies. Everything in the Infinity Saga for example covers phases one, two, and three (this also includes Spider-Man: Far From Home, for some reason). This is a different kind of Marvel movie watch order, though it’s just as valid. We’ll also include upcoming Marvel movies like The Eternals, though bear in mind these are subject to change.
Here’s how to watch each MCU movie by phase:
MARVEL PHASE ONE
- Iron Man (2008, Jon Favreau)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008, Louis Leterrier)
- Iron Man 2 (2010, Jon Favreau)
- Thor (2011, Kenneth Branagh)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011, Joe Johnston)
- The Avengers (2012, Joss Whedon)
- Iron Man 3 (2013, Shane Black)
- Thor The Dark World (2013, Alan Taylor)
- Captain America The Winter Soldier (2014, Anthony and Joe Russo better known as the Russo Brothers)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, James Gunn)
- Avengers Age of Ultron (2015, Joss Whedon)
- Ant-Man (2015, Peyton Reed)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016, Anthony and Joe Russo better known as the Russo Brothers)
- Doctor Strange (2016, Scott Derrickson)
- Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (2017, James Gunn)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Jon Watts)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017, Taika Waititi)
- Black Panther (2018, Ryan Coogler)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018, Anthony and Joe Russo, better known as the Russo Brothers)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018, Peyton Reed)
- Captain Marvel (2019, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019, Anthony and Joe Russo better known as the Russo Brothers)
- Spiderman: Far From Home (2019, Jon Watts)
- Black Widow (2021, Cate Shortland)
- The Eternals (2021, Chloé Zhao)
- Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021, Destin Daniel Cretton)
- Spider-Man: Homeless (title not confirmed) (2021, Jon Watts)\
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022, Taika Waititi)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022, Sam Raimi)
All of these movies have been announced by Marvel, but are yet to have a firm release date. Most have no directors or cast attached just yet, though sequels like Black Panther 2 and Guardians 3 are confirmed to retain their former directors. I just hope we get John Krasinski as Mister Fantastic and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool!
- Fantastic Four reboot
- Black Panther 2 (Ryan Coogler)
- Captain Marvel 2 (Nia DaCosta)
- X-Men reboot
- Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3 (James Gunn)
- Ant-Man 3 (Peyton Reed)
- Deadpool (something Deadpool, who knows where this will sit in continuity!)
Thank you Disney and Marvel for creating this incredible Marvel universe! We can’t wait to see what comes next so we can update our Marvel movie watch order!
Still, need more MCU content? Find out what huge X-Men / Fantastic Four Marvel Cinematic Universe news has been leaked, who is Chris Evans’ favorite superhero, or watch a montage of every time Cap gets punched in the MCU.
Have we made any errors in our Marvel movie watch order? Which MCU film is your favorite? Did you spot any easter eggs that might change our MCU timeline? Give us all of your Marvel Cinematic Universe comments below. Excelsior!