How to watch the Marvel movies in order

With Avengers: Endgame behind us, 2020 is the perfect time for a Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) marathon. Most of the Marvel movies are now available to stream on Disney Plus, and Black Widow will soon be kicking off Phase 4, making this a huge year for Marvel-related media.

Watching the Marvel movies in order isn’t totally simple, though, even if you already bought them all. You can enjoy the Marvel movies in chronological order, starting with Captain America: The First Avenger in WW2, as Cap fights the Red Skull in the ’40s. But you can also watch the Marvel movies in release order, meaning your starting point will be 2008’s Iron Man, where Tony Stark makes his MCU debut.

Watching the MCU films in order will give you context for new entries like Black Widow and The Eternals, but also for the Disney Plus Marvel TV shows coming in 2020, like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision. Below, you’ll find lists of the chronological and release orders, and a list of the best Marvel movies, ranked by user score. That means you can avoid the bad ones as you watch the Avengers movies in order, if you choose (sorry, The Incredible Hulk). We’ll also explain which Marvel movies you’ll find on Disney Plus in 2020. Now, let’s jump in to the best superhero films of the modern age…

How to watch the Marvel movies in order: chronological order

A Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline is probably what you’re searching for. This lists all the Marvel films chronologically from The First Avenger to Avengers: Endgame. The main upside of watching the Marvel movies like this means you’ll see key events as they unfolded in the MCU. You’ll follow the Tesseract across the decades, see how Captain Marvel landed on Earth in 1995, and see Thanos’ journey to getting the Infinity Stones.

This is the chronological viewing order of the Marvel movies:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (takes place during WWII)
  • Captain Marvel (takes place in 1995)
  • Iron Man (takes place in 2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (takes place after Iron Man)
  • The Incredible Hulk (time unspecified, pre-Avengers)
  • Thor (time unspecified, pre-Avengers)
  • The Avengers (takes place in 2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (takes place six months after The Avengers)
  • Thor: Dark World (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
  • Captain America: Winter Soldier (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (sometime in 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (after Guardians)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (takes place in 2015)
  • Ant-Man (takes place in 2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (post-Civil War, pre-Infinity War)
  • Doctor Strange (takes place in 2016)
  • Black Panther (takes place in 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (takes place in 2017)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (ambiguous, but fits nicely between IW and Endgame)
  • Avengers: Endgame (starts in 2017, finishes in 2022)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (post-Endgame)

When 2020 Marvel movies Black Widow and The Eternals are released, along with canonical Disney Plus shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we’ll add them to this list when we know exactly how they fall in the MCU timeline. Black Widow, for example, is officially set after Captain America: Civil War, but since you can’t actually see that movie yet, we’ve left it off the list above for now.

Marvel movies in order: release date

If you’d rather see the MCU as it was originally released in theaters, however, you should follow this list that starts with the original Iron Man in 2008 and continues all the way up to Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Not only is it a fun nostalgia trip to start with the earlier movies, but you’ll see how the Marvel movies steadily became more refined with bigger budgets.

Phase One

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Phase Two

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)

Phase Three

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Phase Four

  • Black Widow (May 1, 2020)
  • The Eternals (November 6, 2020)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021)
  • Untitled third Spider-Man movie (July 16, 2021)
  • Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5, 2021)

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • Black Panther 2 (May 6, 2022)
  • Captain Marvel 2 (TBA 2022)
  • Ant-Man 3 (TBA 2022)
  • Blade (TBD)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBD)
  • Untitled Fantastic Four film (TBD)