How to watch the Marvel movies in order

Thomas Lucero
6 months ago

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become one of the biggest franchises in cinematic history for over two decades. With so many characters, plots, and storylines to keep track of, fans may be wondering: what is the best way to watch the entire MCU? The answer is simple – chronological order by release date. We will tell you more about it.

Table of contents

  1. Why should you watch Marvel films in chronological order?
  2. Сhronological Viewing Order
  3. The Infinity Saga
  4. The Multiverse Saga
  5. Best Marvel movies by IMDb scores
  6. What’s the best way to watch the Marvel movies in order?

Why should you watch Marvel films in chronological order?

Watching the MCU movies in release order allows viewers to experience each movie’s narrative arc as they originally unfolded in cinemas. It also lets them follow along with various plot threads that carry over from one film to another. Starting with 2008’s “Iron Man”, viewers can follow Tony Stark’s evolution and see how his decisions shape the course of events in later movies. 

When watching the MCU in release order, viewers should keep in mind that not all of the films are part of the narrative arc. The two “Avengers: Endgame” follow-up shorts, “Marvel One-Shot”, and “Team Thor” do not need to be watched as they are not officially part of the MCU canon. Fans who want to watch every movie in release order should also skip over any television programs, such as “Agents of SHIELD’ or “The Defenders”. 

Watching the entire MCU from start to finish can take from 30 hours up to several days, depending on how quickly you want to get through it. Make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand and maybe even a few friends to help keep track of each movie’s plot lines! 

Сhronological Viewing Order

The chronological viewing order of Marvel movies is as follows:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (1942)
  2. Captain Marvel (1995)
  3. Iron Man (2010)
  4. Iron Man 2 (2011)
  5. The Incredible Hulk (2011)
  6. Thor (2011)
  7. The Avengers (2012)
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  9. Iron Man 3 (2012)
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  14. Ant-Man (2015)
  15. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  16. Black Widow (2016, excluding post-credits scene)
  17. Black Panther (2016)
  18. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)
  19. Doctor Strange (2016-2017)
  20. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  21. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2017)
  22. Avengers: Infinity War (2017)
  23. Avengers: Endgame (2017-2022)
  24. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2023)
  25. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2023)
  26. Eternals (2023, excluding flashbacks)
  27. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2024)
  28. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2025)
  29. Thor: Love and Thunder (2026)
  30. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2026)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008 with the release of “Iron Man” and has grown exponentially since then. We’ve put together this chronological viewing order of all the Marvel movies. 

Starting with the earliest release, “Iron Man” is the perfect place to begin your MCU journey as it introduces Tony Stark who would later become one of the most important characters in subsequent films. After that comes “The Incredible Hulk”, followed by ‘Iron Man 2″ and “Thor”. “Captain America: The First Avenger” takes you back in time before bringing you back up to present day for “The Avengers” which is the first movie in the MCU to bring together all of its heroes. 

After “The Avengers”, Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins. This phase includes “Iron Man 3”, “Thor: The Dark World”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, and “Ant-Man”. Then comes Phase Three, with “Doctor Strange” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, leading the way before finally culminating in “Avengers: Infinity War” and its sequel “Endgame”. 

These movies aren’t just enjoyable for their action scenes. They also provide an overarching story that ties them all together in a unique cinematic universe. It can be difficult to keep track of the chronology but this viewing order allows you to follow along and appreciate each movie for its place in the larger narrative. 

The Infinity Saga

“The Infinity Saga” is a popular Marvel storyline that follows the adventures of several superheroes as they battle against powerful cosmic forces. The saga includes iconic characters, such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and others. It begins with the events of 2012’s “The Avengers” and culminates in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame”. 

You should watch these films in the following order:

Phase One

  1. Iron Man (May, 2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (June, 2008)
  3. Iron Man 2 (May, 2010)
  4. Thor (May, 2011)
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22, 2011)
  6. Avengers Assemble (May 4, 2012)

Phase Two

  1. Iron Man 3 (May, 2013)
  2. Thor: The Dark World (November, 2013)
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April, 2014)
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy (August, 2014)
  5. Avengers: Age of Ultron (May, 2015)
  6. Ant-Man (July, 2015)

Phase Three

  1. Captain America: Civil War (May, 2016)
  2. Doctor Strange (November, 2016)
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May, 2017)
  4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July, 2017)
  5. Thor: Ragnarok (November, 2017)
  6. Black Panther (February, 2018)
  7. Avengers: Infinity War (April, 2018)
  8. Ant-Man and the Wasp (July, 2018)
  9. Captain Marvel (March, 2019)
  10. Avengers: Endgame (April, 2019)
  11. Spider-Man: Far From Home (July, 2019)

This epic story arc takes viewers on an incredible journey through time and space. Heroes will fight against villains, such as Thanos, Loki, and Ultron, as they attempt to save the universe from destruction. Along the way, viewers will be introduced to new worlds filled with incredible powers, amazing creatures, and thrilling action sequences. 

“The Infinity Saga” goes through a powerful underlying theme: the importance of teamwork and friendship. As each character embarks on their own journeys, they must also work together to help one another to succeed. This ultimately leads to a climactic battle between good and evil that changes both the fate of our heroes and the entire universe itself. 

“The Infinity Saga” has become an iconic part of Marvel history and its impact can still be felt today. Its captivating story and amazing visuals have made it one of the most successful film franchises in history. 

The Multiverse Saga

“The Infinity Multiverse Saga” of Marvel Comics is filled with beloved characters, iconic locations, and epic battles. The Guardians of the Galaxy join forces with our favorite Avengers to protect the entire universe from Thanos’ nefarious schemes, while Doctor Strange unlocks secret magics and discovers ancient secrets in his quest for ultimate power. Characters like Captain America stand as paragons of justice, while villains like Loki seek to exploit their newfound abilities for evil purposes. 

These heroes and villains will clash in a series of spectacular events that will shape the fate of the multiverse. Along their journey, they’ll face adversaries, such as Ultron and Galactus, explore unknown realms, such as Knowhere, and discover powerful artifacts, including the Infinity Gauntlet. 

The viewing order of this Saga is the following:

Phase Four

  1. WandaVision (TV series) (January, 2021)
  2. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (TV series) (March, 2021)
  3. Loki season 1 (TV series) (June, 2021)
  4. Black Widow (9th July 2021)
  5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (3rd September 2021)
  6. Eternals (5th November 2021)
  7. Hawkeye (24th November 2021)
  8. Spider-Man: No Way Home (17th December 2021)
  9. Moon Knight (TV show -30th March 2022)
  10. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (5th May 2022)
  11. Ms Marvel (TV show – 8th June 2022)
  12. Thor: Love and Thunder (8th July 2022)
  13. She-Hulk (TV show – 18th August 2022)
  14. Werewolf By Night (TV special – 7th October 2022)
  15. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (11th November 2022)
  16. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (TV special – 25th November 2022)

Phase Five

  1. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (17th February 2023)
  2. Secret Invasion (TV show – spring 2023)
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (5th May 2023)
  4. Echo (TV show – summer 2023)
  5. The Marvels (28th July 2023)
  6. Loki season 2 (TV show – summer 2023)
  7. Blade (3rd November 2023)
  8. Ironheart (TV show – autumn 2023)
  9. Agatha: Coven of Chaos (TV show – winter 2023/2024)
  10. Daredevil: Born Again (TV show – spring 2024)
  11. Captain America: New World Order (3rd May 2024)
  12. Thunderbolts (26th July 2024)

Phase Six

  1. Fantastic Four (14th February 2025)
  2. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (2nd May 2025)
  3. Avengers: Secret Wars (1st May 2026)

Best Marvel movies by IMDb scores

If you want to learn more about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and understand its benefits through the best movies, you can check out the rating on IMDb. On this site, movie lovers from all over the world rate movies so this rating is as close to the unbiased one as possible. That’s why we have compiled to you the top 5 Marvel movies, according to the ratings of IMDb users.

  1. “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) – 8.5/10. The 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Avengers: Endgame”, is the culminating chapter of an unprecedented 11-year long story arc. It follows up on 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and brings together a wide array of superheroes from the Marvel universe to save the world from Thanos’ destruction. The film was widely praised for its powerful emotional narrative and visual spectacle, as well as its epic scale and ambitious scope. 
  2. 2. “Black Panther” (2018) – 7.4/10. Released in 2018, “Black Panther” became the first Marvel film with a black superhero as its protagonist. The movie tells the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who, after the death of his father, returns to Wakanda to take up his rightful place as king. It is celebrated for its bold themes of social justice, diversity, and respect for African culture, all wrapped up in an action-packed adventure story. 
  3. “The Avengers” (2012) – 8/10. Released in 2012, “The Avengers” was the sixth movie in what would eventually become known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Bringing together four individual franchises from previous films—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk—the movie follows the Avengers as they band together to save the world from a powerful alien invasion. It was praised for its witty dialogue and spectacular action sequences. 
  4. “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) – 7.8/10. “Captain America: Civil War” is the third installment of Marvel’s Captain America franchise. It shows Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers fighting against Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in a battle over ideological differences between superhero teams. The movie features some of the most beloved characters from the MCU and manages to balance an emotionally intense story with plenty of well-choreographed fight scenes, earning it both critical acclaim and commercial success. 
  5. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) – 8/10. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a surprise hit for Marvel in 2014. It follows a rag-tag group of interstellar misfits, headed by Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, as they try to save the galaxy from destruction. The film is known for its irreverent humor and infectious soundtrack, both of which helped make it one of the most beloved entries in the MCU to date. 

What’s the best way to watch the Marvel movies in order?

The best way to watch the Marvel movies in order is by following the release timeline. Start with “Iron Man” (2008) and work your way through “Captain America: Civil War” (2016). After that, you can watch any of the other films released before “Civil War”, such as “The Avengers” (2012), “Ant-Man” (2015), or “Doctor Strange” (2016). Following this timeline will also help you understand all of the intertwining plot threads and characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

You can also choose to watch them chronologically within their respective franchises. For example, if you are watching “Iron Man”, start with Iron Man 1, then move on to Iron Man 2 and 3 before watching “The Avengers”. This order will keep things cohesive and make the Marvel Cinematic Universe a bit easier to follow. 

Finally, if you want to take your viewing experience a step further, there are plenty of resources out there that can help. Various specialized websites have guides that provide an in-depth view of the timeline for each franchise.