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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 thinking about lining up a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) marathon, you need to know how to watch the Marvel movies in order. On this page, we'll explain exactly that – you'll see how to watch the Marvel movies in both chronological and release orders, so you understand how the wider story fits together. The beginning of Phase 4 of the MCU has been pushed back this year, but the TV show WandaVision has been confirmed for release in 2020. Black Widow, meanwhile, has been delayed until May 2021.

It's the perfect time to watch the Marvel movies in order to pass the time, then, especially since most of the MCU films are streaming on Disney Plus around the world in 4K. We've got two main lists to help you enjoy these films: how to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order, starting with Steve's origins as Captain America in The First Avenger, and another list on how to watch the Marvel movies in release order. That one's more straightforward, starting with 2008's Iron Man. 

Both lists of Marvel movies currently end with Spider-Man: Far From Home. That'll change, though a wait is in order: after Black Widow finally releases next year, The Eternals is coming in November 2021. As well as WandaVision, too, The Falcon and Winter Soldier has resumed filming – both are canonical MCU TV shows that will continue the story of the Marvel movies on Disney Plus.

Watching the the MCU movies in order is a very rewarding experience: it's like the world's most expensive TV shows in a lot of ways. Plot threads like the Infinity Stones take years to pay off, but when they do, it's incredibly exciting – there's a reason the Marvel movies are such massive box office successes.

Below, then, we'll explain how to watch the Marvel movies in chronological and release order, and we'll also rank the best Marvel movies and list those that can be streamed on Disney Plus right now.

Let the MCU marathon begin...

How to watch the Marvel movies in order: chronological order

A Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline is likely what you're here 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 incentive to watch the Marvel movies in this order is pretty straightforward: you get to experience the sequence of events as they happened, and see how Red Skull's grab for the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger directly influences the events of The Avengers years later. You'll also see how the events of Captain Marvel in the '90s connect into the early days of the MCU – particularly when it comes to SHIELD and Nick Fury. 

Here 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 (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, for example, is confirmed to be set after Captain America: Civil War yet before Infinity War, but with its release date delayed until 2021, we've left it off this list for now.

Avengers movies in order

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Marvel movies in order: release date

If you want to know how to watch the MCU movies in release order, you'll want this list, which starts 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 a terrific nostalgia trip, and you'll see how the MCU films get better over time with increased budgets and better casts. We've also included the future MCU Phase 4 release dates below for your reference, which are changing a lot as you'd expect, with Spider-Man: Far From Home's sequel most recently being delayed to December 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 September 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 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...?. These dates are tentative, though, and we expect the global pandemic to push them back a little.

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

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Best Marvel movies

What are the best Marvel movies? That's a big question. Below, the Marvel movies are ranked based on user opinions, which is derived from IMDb. The list gets some things correct (Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk are definitely lesser movies), and other things rather wrong (Ant-Man and the Wasp is worse than Captain America: The First Avenger, in our opinion). Interestingly, 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.