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How to watch the Marvel movies in order

Here’s a chronological guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in order

If you're doing a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) marathon, you'll want to know how to watch the Marvel movies in order. In this guide, we'll explain how to watch the Marvel movies in both chronological and release orders, helping to explain how the MCU timeline works.

Disney Plus is a good starting point if you want to watch the Marvel movies in order, simply because it has most of them streaming in 4K. It's also where the long-awaited MCU TV shows will stream, beginning with WandaVision in January 2021. We've got a long wait until Phase 4 kicks off at the movies – Black Widow, after being delayed, now arrives in May 2021. It's not a bad time to catch up on the Marvel movies, and remind yourself of what you've been missing. 

You've got two ways to watch the Marvel movies in order: there's the chronological order, beginning with Steve Rogers' World War 2 origin in Captain America: The First Avenger, while watching the 23 Marvel movies in release order begins with Iron Man back in 2008. We'll explain both orders below, so you can pick the one that works for you. 

Both lists of Marvel movies in order currently end with Spider-Man: Far From Home. 2021 will change that – first with WandaVision and Black Widow, and later with The Eternals and Shang-Chi, both due out next year. We expect more Marvel TV shows to continue Phase 4 of the MCU, too, like The Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Ms Marvel, She-Hulk, Moon Knight and Nick Fury. All these shows will be part of the canon. 

Watching the MCU movies in order is great fun: it's like a massive serialized TV show made with hundreds of millions of dollars. Characters change over time, and plot threads pay off years down the line – it's enormously rewarding to rewatch them. Below, we'll explain how to watch the Marvel movies in chronological and release order, and we'll also rank the best Marvel movies. 

Let's begin your MCU marathon. 

How to watch the Marvel movies in order: chronological order

A Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline is likely what you're searching for. Here's how to watch the Marvel films in chronological order, starting with Captain America: The First Avengers and finishing with Spider-Man: Far From Home (for now). The reason to watch the Marvel movies in this order is pretty simple: you'll see events play out as they happened, beginning with Red Skull's search for the Tesseract, and ending with Peter Parker's Venetian vacation. Eventually, the story will continue...

Here's 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 (takes place six months before 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 2021 Marvel movies like Black Widow and The Eternals are finally released, along with Disney Plus shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, we'll update this MCU timeline accordingly. Black Widow is meant to be set after Captain America: Civil War – but it's unclear if parts of the film will be set earlier or later, so we've left it off of the list for now. 

Avengers movies in order

Avengers: Infinity War was the first of a two-part finale to Phase 3.  (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Marvel movies in order: release date

Want to watch the MCU movies in release order? You'll want this list, which begins with Iron Man in 2008 and ends in 2019 with Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Watching the Marvel movies in release order is arguably a better nostalgia trip, and you'll see how the MCU films get better over time with increased budgets and better casts. The story was meant to be enjoyed in this order, after all. 

We've also included the future MCU Phase 4 release dates below for your reference, but there won't be any Marvel movies or TV shows in 2020 now, thanks to the pandemic. WandaVision on Disney Plus is next up on January 15, 2021.

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 7, 2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 9, 2021)
  • The Eternals (November 5, 2021)
  • Untitled third Spider-Man movie (December 17, 2021)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (February 11, 2022)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022) 

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe 

  • Black Panther 2 (May 6, 2022)
  • Captain Marvel 2 (July 8, 2022)
  • Untitled Marvel movie (likely Ant-Man 3, October 7, 2022)
  • Blade (TBD)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBD)
  • Untitled Fantastic Four film (TBD)

Marvel movies on Disney Plus

Marvel movies on Disney Plus.

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Wondering which Marvel movies are on Disney Plus? The below list is correct in US, UK and Australia as of November 2020. The Incredible Hulk and the Spider-Man films aren't on Disney Plus because Universal and Sony own the distribution rights to them respectively. You'll have to buy or rent them on DVD, Blu-Ray or digital if you want a full Marvel movie marathon. 

These are the Marvel movies on Disney Plus:

  • Iron Man
  • Thor
  • Iron Man 2
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • The Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Doctor Strange
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Captain Marvel
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Black Panther
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp

Finally, here are the all original Marvel Disney Plus TV shows in the works, which will also fit into MCU continuity, with the exception of animated show What If...?. Aside from WandaVision, these dates are tentative. 

  • WandaVision (January 15, 2020)
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (was August 2020, now TBA 2021)
  • Loki (Spring 2021)
  • What If...? (Summer 2021)
  • Hawkeye (Fall 2021)
  • Ms Marvel (TBA)
  • Moon Knight (TBA)
  • She-Hulk (TBA)
  • Nick Fury (TBA)

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Best Marvel movies

What are the best Marvel movies? We've all got an opinion (Civil War, Infinity War and The Avengers are the winners for us) – but below, we've let the people have their opinion, ranking the Marvel movies based on user scores from IMDb. The list gets some things right (Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk are definitely below-average), and other things rather wrong (Ant-Man and the Wasp is surely worse than Captain America: The First Avenger?). Curiously, it's a tie between the last two Avengers movies, Endgame and Infinity War, for the best film of the MCU so far.

Best

Worst

How to download Marvel movies

If you want to download Marvel movies, you can save offline copies via the Disney Plus app on your portable device (smartphone or tablet). You cannot download any video via your desktop browser, though.

You'll need enough storage space, but just look for the download symbol on any title in the Disney Plus app:

Click the download symbol on the right, here.

Content you download on your phone will stay in your device's main memory if it doesn’t have an external microSD card slot. That includes all Apple iPhone smartphones, iPad tablets and a few others handsets (like the Google Pixel 3a).

A 1-hour download takes about 400MB of storage depending on your download quality: High quality is six times better than standard quality while medium is 50% better than standard quality (which is the Disney Plus app’s default).

If you're happy to buy the movies, too, say through Amazon Prime, that'll also allow you to download Marvel movies locally.