These days, you may think you need a 'how to watch the Marvel movies in order' degree to know the best way to binge watch them. With so many Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films and shows already out in the wild – not to mention all the others that are in development – it can be a daunting task to determine how you should watch them.
The recent release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness only makes things more difficult, too. The latest Marvel Phase 4 project is packed with all many of comic book cameos, as well as further introducing the concept of the multiverse to MCU fans. The Marvel movies in order timeline has become increasingly harder to follow with the multiverse's arrival (plus the time jump we witnessed in Avengers: Endgame), so you may need a hand working out the best way to watch these films ahead of your next movie marathon.
We're not ones to blow our own trumpets, but we reckon we can provide you with more than a helping hand. Below, we'll run you through the two major ways in which you can watch the Marvel movies in order – that's chronologically or via their release dates – as well as explaining why each superhero flick and Disney Plus series falls where it does in the MCU timeline.
That's not all, either. You'll also find even more information about how to watch the Marvel movies in order, including the release date for every forthcoming film and Disney Plus show. We reveal the score for each movie and TV show on IMdB, too, plus we confirm which MCU movies are available to stream on Disney Plus right now.
For more Marvel-based content, check out the latest news concerning the MCU. Read up on which director and producers have reportedly boarded Marvel's Fantastic Four movie, why Thor 4 may not be a laughs-a-minute film, and what Ms Marvel's co-creator thinks about the superhero's "controversial" superpower change for her upcoming TV series.
All caught up? Great. Here's how you can watch the Marvel movies in order, from Iron Man right up to Doctor Strange 2.
Stream Marvel movies and TV on Disney Plus
Every MCU movie (apart from The Incredible Hulk and Tom Holland's Spider-Man films) is available to stream on Disney Plus. A subscription costs $7.99 a month in the US (£7.99 in the UK/AU$11.99 in Australia), but you can also buy an annual subscription for a discounted $79.99 (£79.90/AU$119.99). If your country's Disney Plus price isn't listed here, check out our subscription cost guide.
How many Marvel movies are there?
How to watch the Marvel movies in order: how many are there?
28 MCU movies have been released in theaters so far. Marvel Studios' wildly popular franchise started with Iron Man in 2008, and is currently bookended by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which arrived in May 2022.
That number is set to increase to 30 by the end of 2022. By the time the whole Marvel Phase 4 film slate has launched, there'll be at least 34 films out in the wild, many of which already feature in our best superhero movies guide. That is, unless Blade and Fantastic Four also arrives in cinemas as part of Phase 4, in which case that number will grow to 36. So, determining how to watch the Marvel movies in order is only going to become harder to answer.
How to watch the Marvel movies in order: chronological
How to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order
Let's start with the Marvel movies in order by chronology, which means you'll be watching them in the order of the year that they take place in.
You'll start with Captain America's origin story in WWII and end with Doctor Strange 2, which we think takes place in early 2024. A couple of MCU Disney Plus shows are set sometime around Doctor Strange's second solo outing, but we'll get to those shortly.
Eternals, whose ending contains a wild cameo, makes things tricky as there are flashbacks to time periods that precede Captain America's creation. But, to prevent any further confusion about Eternals' place on the MCU timeline, we've slotted it in just before No Way Home.
Some other timings are similarly ambiguous. For example, Black Widow (read about its ending here), Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther and Doctor Strange all occur around the same time period. Without an exact timeline breakdown from Marvel Studios, it's hard to pinpoint where these MCU movies fit around one another. So we've done our best with the knowledge available to us.
With the Marvel TV shows also fitting around the movies since Avengers: Endgame, we've included them as well. So, technically, this isn't just a Marvel movies in order article anymore, but needs must, eh?
WandaVision takes place a few weeks after Endgame, while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (check out our explainer hub here) is set six months after Endgame – so both shows take place before Spider-Man: Far From Home. Loki, meanwhile, is technically set after 2012's The Avengers, but in an alternate timeline – so we'd advise watching it after Avengers: Endgame.
The MCU's first animated series in What If...? – read our spoiler-free review – is like Loki. It's set in the wider multiverse, so it plays out around events that we've seen on the big and small screens. Hawkeye, whose ending left us with plenty of questions, is set a year post-Endgame and, finally, Moon Knight is seemingly set in the 'present day', so around 2024 like Doctor Strange 2.
Here's how to watch the Marvel movies in order by chronology, with the studio's Disney Plus shows included:
- Captain America: The First Avenger – takes place during WWII
- Captain Marvel – occurs in 1995
- Iron Man – takes place in 2008
- Iron Man 2 – takes place after Iron Man
- The Incredible Hulk – time unspecified, pre-Avengers
- Thor – events occur 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 Vol. 1 – sometime in 2014
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – set after Guardians
- Avengers: Age of Ultron – occurs in 2015
- Ant-Man – takes place in 2015
- Captain America: Civil War – post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War
- Black Widow – takes place right after Civil 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 – occurs in 2017
- Ant-Man and The Wasp – ambiguous, but fits nicely between Infinity War and Endgame (so around 2017)
- Avengers: Endgame – starts in 2017, finishes in 2022
- WandaVision – three weeks after Endgame
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – around six months after Avengers: Endgame
- Spider-Man: Far From Home – set eight months after Endgame
- Loki – post-The Avengers in 2012, but best watched after Endgame
- What If...? season 1 – technically, this spans the entire multiverse, but it's best watched after Endgame
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – set in the 'present' day of the MCU, i.e. 2022
- Eternals – set in the 'present day' of the MCU, although it travels through 7,000 years of human history
- Spider-Man: No Way Home – mostly set in the MCU's 'present' day, but its first 10 minutes take place right after Far From Home
- Hawkeye – one year after Endgame
- Moon Knight – set in the 'present day' of the MCU. By this point, that's likely to be around 2024
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – believed to be set three months after No Way Home, so sometime in 2024
How to watch the Marvel movies in order: release date
How to watch the Marvel movies in release date order
Want to know how to watch the Marvel movies in order based on their release date? Try this list instead.
Below, you'll learn how to watch the Marvel movies in order of release date. That starts with Iron Man in 2008 and ends with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022.
Again, we've slotted in the MCU TV series in alongside the films. This is because TV shows like WandaVision were released before Black Widow. As such, they have to slot alongside the movies in the phase that they were released in.
This is how to watch the Marvel movies in release date order:
- Iron Man (2008)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- The Avengers (2012)
- 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)
- 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)
- WandaVision (TV show, 2021)
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV show, 2021)
- Loki (TV show, 2021)
- Black Widow (2021)
- What If...? (TV show, 2021)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
- Eternals (2021)
- Hawkeye (TV show, 2021)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
- Moon Knight (TV show, 2022)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
What Marvel movies order is best for you?
What's the best order to watch the Marvel movies in for the first time?
Now for the age-old question: how should you watch the Marvel movies in order? Purists will tell you that the release date order is the best way, while others will want to see the Marvel timeline play out by order of chronology.
Our opinion? How to watch the Marvel movies in order by release date is the best way to binge them if you're a first time viewer. Sure, chronological order is a solid choice, but it can still feel slightly messy from an MCU timeline perspective.
If you start with Captain America's story in WWII, its final scene still plays out in the late 2000s when he wakes up in present-day New York. He meets Nick Fury not long after, either, but this isn't the first time we're supposed to see the ex-director of SHIELD – it's supposed to be in 2008's Iron Man, with events in that film preceding the end of Captain America.
Our personal preference, then, is to watch the Marvel movies in order by their release date. MCU fans will have their own ways of watching them – some even include the TV shows during the marathon binge watch. But, in our view, the answer to watching the Marvel movies in order is a simple one: binge them in the order that they were released.
How to watch the Marvel movies in order: Phase 4 projects
What Marvel movies are coming out in 2022?
With numerous Marvel movies and TV shows on the way, the MCU juggernaut isn't slowing down anytime soon. Here's every upcoming Marvel Phase 4 project, as well as those that have been announced but may not fit into the current phase:
- Ms. Marvel (June 8, 2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8, 2022)
- Werewolf By Night Halloween Special (October 2022)
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11, 2022)
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (December 2022)
- She-Hulk (expected in 2022)
- Secret Invasion (expected in 2022)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
- The Marvels (July 28, 2023)
- Fantastic Four (TBA)
- Blade (TBA)
- Loki season 2 (TBA)
- Echo (TBA)
- Armor Wars (TBA)
- Ironheart (TBA)
- I Am Groot (TBA)
- What If...? season 2 (TBA)
- Black Panther spin-off series (TBA)
- Agatha: House of Harkness (TBA)
- X-Men 97 (TBA)
- Spider-Man: Freshman Year (TBA)
- Marvel Zombies (TBA)
- Nova (TBA)
How to watch the Marvel movies in order on Disney Plus
How to watch the Marvel movies in order on Disney Plus
You can stream the Marvel movies in order on Disney Plus, but there's a slight catch with some entries. Every MCU film is available on the streamer except for The Incredible Hulk and Tom Holland's Spider-Man trilogy. That's because Universal and Sony own the distribution rights to them, so they aren't technically part of the Marvel Studios family, despite their ties to the MCU.
The Incredible Hulk is available to stream on HBO Max – that is, in nations where the streamer has launched. Spider-Man: Homecoming is currently available on Netflix, too, but Far From Home and No Way Home aren't. So you'll have to buy or rent them on DVD, Blu-Ray, or digital if you want to binge the Marvel movies in order.
How to watch the Marvel movies in order: ranked
Marvel movies ranked best to worst
What are the best Marvel movies? For us, the Avengers movies mark the peak of the MCU. Infinity War and Endgame are the greatest Marvel movies of all-time, with Black Panther, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Iron Man, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier not far behind.
But the whole thing is subjective. Some fans prefer Thor: Ragnarok over some of the above, while others consider the first Avengers movie to be the best MCU ensemble film ever made.
Below, we've ranked the Marvel movies in order (and the TV shows) based on their IMDb user scores. The votes are pretty expected for some films (Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk are no one's favorite), but others, not so much in our view. Everyone thinks that Ant-Man and the Wasp isn't as good as Captain America: The First Avenger, right?
To make things as uncomplicated as possible: we haven't included Sony's Spider-Man spin-off films in this specific Marvel movies in order list. Until Sony categorically confirms it, the likes of Venom and Morbius don't technically exist in the MCU. As such, you won't find them included below, at least for the time being.
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – Rating: 8.4
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – Rating: 8.4
- Avengers: Endgame (2019) – Rating: 8.4
- Loki (2021) – Rating: 8.2
- The Avengers (2012) – Rating: 8.0
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Rating: 8.0
- WandaVision (2021) – Rating: 8.0
- Iron Man (2008) – Rating: 7.9
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – Rating: 7.9
- Captain America: Civil War (2016) – Rating: 7.8
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Rating: 7.8
- Hawkeye (2021) – Rating: 7.6
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Rating: 7.6
- Moon Knight (2022) – Rating: 7.5
- Doctor Strange (2016) – Rating: 7.5
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) – Rating: 7.4
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) – Rating: 7.4
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – Rating: 7.4
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Rating: 7.4
- Black Panther (2018) – Rating: 7.3
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Rating: 7.3
- Ant-Man (2015) – Rating: 7.3
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) – Rating: 7.2
- Iron Man 3 (2013) – Rating: 7.1
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) – Rating: 7.0
- Thor (2011) – Rating: 7.0
- Iron Man 2 (2010) – Rating: 6.9
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – Rating: 6.9
- Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Rating: 6.8
- Captain Marvel (2019) – Rating: 6.8
- Black Widow (2021) – Rating: 6.7
- The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Rating: 6.6
- Eternals (2021) – Rating: 6.3
If you're after another definitive ranking of the Marvel movies in order, though, check out our rankings of every Marvel film to date. And, while you're here, see how we've ranked every MCU villain to date.