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How to watch the Marvel movies in order: making sense of the MCU timeline

Our guide to watching all the Marvel movies in order

Baby Groot's eyes light up as he smiles at something off camera in I Am Groot on Disney Plus, the latest entry in our Marvel movies in order guide
I Am Groot is the latest addition to the MCU's growing list of productions.
(Image: © Marvel Studios)

Determining how to watch the Marvel movies in order is becoming increasingly difficult. Not only was the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline upended by the time travel elements of Avengers: Endgame, but the increasing number of Marvel Studios projects means there are more films and TV shows to factor into the equation.

With our help, though, you'll soon be an expert at working out the correct order of every MCU movie and TV series. Below, we'll run you through the two best ways to watch the films in, including the most recent Marvel movies, before explaining which method we think is best. That includes every property from MCU Phase 1 to MCU Phase 4, too, such as the recent spate of Marvel Disney Plus shows.

There's plenty more information in this guide as well. We reveal the names of the next Marvel movies and TV shows set to be released, how many films there are in the MCU, and how we've ranked every Marvel film to date. Finally, we'll tell you where you can stream all of Marvel Studios' productions. Spoiler warning: the vast majority are available on Disney Plus.

Here, then, is how to watch the Marvel movies (and TV shows) in order.

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Stream Marvel movies and TV on Disney Plus
(opens in new tab)Every MCU movie (apart from The Incredible Hulk (opens in new tab) and certain Spider-Man (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

The cost of Disney Plus is set to rise later this year (opens in new tab), too, so grab a subscription now at its cheaper price while you have time.

Marvel movies in order: how many MCU films are there?

A promotional image showing the Marvel superheroes that star in Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame is largely responsible for the Marvel movie's messy timeline. (Image credit: Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)

29 MCU movies have been released in theaters so far. Iron Man kicked things off in 2008, while Thor: Love and Thunder, which arrived in July 2022, is the latest to arrive. Be sure to check out our Thor 4 ending explainer if you're unsure about how it, well, ended.

By July 2024, there'll be 36 films to fit on the MCU timeline. Marvel announced six new movies as part of its Phase 5 slate, including official release dates for Blade, Captain America 4, and the Thunderbolts

Marvel also revealed three films that'll make up Phase 6, too – Fantastic Four, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and Avengers: Secret Wars – so there'll be 39 MCU films (at least) by the end of 2025. Expect more to be announced for Phase 6 and beyond, though, which will take the total over 40.

How long does it take to watch all the Marvel movies?

In order to binge watch every MCU film to date, you'd need to set aside 3,812 minutes – that's 63 and a half hours, or 2.6 total days, for those of you who would try to complete a couple of all-nighters in one long streaming session.

Factor in the TV shows, however, and you'd need to set aside a whopping 5,957 minutes (99.2 hours or 4.1 days) to watch them all. You don't need to tell you that plenty of bathroom breaks, snacks, and power naps would be required for that mammoth marathon!

Marvel movies in order: how to watch chronologically

Let's start with the Marvel movies and shows in order by chronology, which means watching them in the order of the year they're set. You'll start with Captain America's origin story in WWII and end with Thor: Love and Thunder, which apparently takes place in 2025.

Some MCU entries are ambiguous. For example, Black Widow, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange occur around the same time. Without an exact breakdown from Marvel Studios, it's hard to pinpoint where these movies fit on the MCU timeline. So we've done our best with the knowledge available to us. 

With the Marvel TV shows also factoring into the equation, we've included them as well. So, technically, this isn't just a Marvel movies in order article anymore.

Here's how to watch the Marvel movies in order chronologically, with the TV shows slotted in where applicable:

Marvel movies in order: how to watch by release date

A screenshot of the Eternals cast standing on a cliff in the aptly named Marvel movie

Eternals is a complicated entry to insert in our Marvel movies in order list. (Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Want to watch the Marvel movies and series in order of release date? Try this list instead.

Again, we've listed the MCU TV shows alongside the films, so we've slotted them in alongside the movies in the phases they were released in.

Wait, what do we mean by 'phases'? Marvel Studios breaks its movies and TV shows down into groups – what it calls phases – so you can watch certain films and TV series in unison. It helps to break the MCU's overarching storyline into chunks, which makes them easier to binge.

Currently, the MCU comprises four Phases. The first ran from 2008 to 2012, while Phase 2's movies arrived between 2013 and 2015. Marvel's Phase 3 slate consists of films released between 2016 and 2019. Finally, Phase 4 – which is ongoing – began in 2020 and will end in December 2022.

Phase 5 will start in February 2023 and run until July 2024. Phase 6 will then take over, beginning in November 2024 and, as far as we know, will draw to a close in November 2025.

For now, here's how to watch every MCU film and show 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)
  • Ms Marvel (TV show, 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
  • I Am Groot (TV show, 2022)

What's the best order to watch the Marvel movies in?

Black Widow surveys a wreckage site in her solo Marvel movie

Black Widow fits neatly into our 'how to watch the Marvel movies in order' list. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Purists will tell you release date order is the best way, while others will want to see the Marvel timeline play out by order of chronology.

Our opinion? Watching the Marvel movies in order of release date is the best way to binge them if you're a first time viewer. Sure, chronologically is a great choice, and one established fans may want to try, but it can still feel slightly messy from a Marvel movie 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. This ends up making it difficult to follow the franchise's overarching story if you watch the Marvel movies in order this way.

Our personal preference, then, is to watch the Marvel movies in release date order. 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.

Marvel Phase 4: MCU movies and shows coming soon

Jennifer Walters looks shocked as she stares at her phone in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will be the next major MCU project to launch. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel Phase 4 will end in December 2022 with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney Plus. That means there are only four more projects – and only two major ones – set to arrive before this phase ends:

  • She-Hulk (August 18)
  • Werewolf By Night Halloween Special (expected in October)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11) 
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (expected in December) 

What Marvel Phase 5 and 6 projects have been announced?

Here's a list of every post-Phase 4 MCU movie and TV series:

- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023)
- What If...? season 2 (TV show, early 2023)
- Secret Invasion (TV show, spring 2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
- Echo (TV show, mid-2023)
- The Marvels (July 28, 2023)
- Loki season 2 (TV show, summer 2023)
- Blade (November 3, 2023)
- Ironheart (TV show, late 2023)
- X-Men 97 (animated TV show, late 2023)
- Agatha: Coven of Chaos (TV show, late 2023/early 2024)
- Daredevil: Born Again (TV show, early 2024)
- Captain America: New World Order (May 3, 2024)
- Marvel Zombies (animated TV show, mid-2024)
- Thunderbolts (July 26, 2024)
- Spider-Man: Freshman Year (animated TV show, 2024)
- Fantastic Four (November 8, 2024; Phase 6)
- Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (May 2, 2025; Phase 6)
- Avengers: Secret Wars (November 7, 2025; Phase 6)

How to watch the Marvel movies

A screenshot of the Marvel movies that are available to watch on Disney Plus

Disney Plus is the best place to watch the Marvel movies in order. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

You can stream Marvel movies in order on Disney Plus, as well as the MCU's batch of TV shows, but there's a slight catch with some entries. Every MCU film is available on the streamer except for The Incredible Hulk and some Spider-Man movies. 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 on HBO Max – that is, in nations where the streamer has launched. Meanwhile, Spider-Man films were previously only available on Netflix

However, a new deal between Marvel and Sony means that select Spidey flicks are now streamable on Disney Plus. 2002's Spider-Man, 2004's Spider-Man 2, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming are all available on Disney's streaming platform. It's unclear when other movies starring the webslinger will arrive, or if Sony's Spider-Man spin-off films, such as Venom and Morbius, will also come to Disney Plus.

When is Thor: Love and Thunder coming to Disney Plus?

Currently, the answer is a simple one: we don't know.

However, based on when other Marvel movies have landed on Disney Plus, we have an idea of when Thor 4 could make its Disney Plus debut. Check out our Thor 4 Disney Plus guide for more details.

Marvel movies in order: all MCU films ranked

Shang-Chi prepares to fight his father in his solo Marvel movie

Shang-Chi is an underrated MCU movie. (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

For us, the Avengers movies are the best MCU films around, but the whole thing is subjective. You can check our ranking of the best Marvel movies for our full thoughts on the matter.

Below, we've also ranked the Marvel films and TV series in order based on their IMDb (opens in new tab) user scores. The votes are pretty expected for some films – Eternals is nobody's favorite, is it? – but others surprised us. Everyone thinks Captain America: The First Avenger is better than Ant-Man and the Wasp, right?

By the way, we haven't included Sony's Spider-Man spin-off films. Until Sony categorically confirms it, the likes of Venom and Morbius don't technically exist in the MCU, so they haven't been included.

  • Avengers: Endgame (2019) – Rating: 8.4
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – Rating: 8.4
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – Rating: 8.3
  • Loki (2021) – Rating: 8.2
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Rating: 8.0
  • The Avengers (2012) – Rating: 8.0
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – Rating: 7.9
  • WandaVision (2021) – Rating: 7.9
  • Iron Man (2008) – Rating: 7.9
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016) – Rating: 7.8
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Rating: 7.8
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Rating: 7.6
  • Hawkeye (2021) – Rating: 7.5
  • Doctor Strange (2016) – Rating: 7.5
  • Moon Knight (2022) – Rating: 7.4
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) – Rating: 7.4
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Rating: 7.4
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – 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
  • I Am Groot (2022) – Rating: 7.1
  • Iron Man 3 (2013) – Rating: 7.1
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) – Rating: 7.0
  • Thor (2011) – Rating: 7.0 
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) – Rating: 7.0
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – Rating: 6.9
  • Iron Man 2 (2010) – Rating: 6.9
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) – Rating: 6.8
  • Captain Marvel (2019) – Rating: 6.8
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Rating: 6.7
  • Black Widow (2021) – Rating: 6.7
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Rating: 6.6
  • Eternals (2021) – Rating: 6.3
  • Ms Marvel (2022) – 6.2
Tom Power
Tom Power

As TechRadar's entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot (opens in new tab).

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.