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How to watch the Marvel movies in order

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

(Image: © Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)

With Disney Plus now streaming in certain countries around the world, Avengers: Endgame being available on Blu-ray everywhere and Marvel's Phase 4 movies coming soon, this is the perfect time for a Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) marathon. Not all of the MCU movies can be found on Disney Plus, unfortunately, so you'll still need to look elsewhere to fill some gaps, but it's a good start. 

Even if you have all the movies, watching them isn't necessarily that straightforward: you can watch the films in chronological order, starting with Captain America: The First Avenger, where Steve battles the Nazis and Red Skull in the 1940s. Alternatively, you can watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe films in release order, starting with the first Iron Man movie that hit theaters in 2008. 

There's plenty to watch, whether you're going through your old DVD and Blu-ray collection, or jumping on with the Disney Plus streaming service. Given there's a whole load of Disney Plus Marvel TV shows arriving beginning in 2020, it's the ideal time for newbies to jump in, or for comics fans to refresh their memories.

We’ll list both the orders down below, along with an additional list that ranks the films by score for all the non-Believers out there who only have the time to watch the best Marvel movies without forcing themselves to sit through Thor or, worse, The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton. We'll also explain which Marvel movies you'll find on Disney Plus, which you can expect to see in 2020, and which aren't likely to come to the service any time soon for various reasons.

Now, let's watch the best comic book blockbusters of the modern age.

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel films in chronological order 

Chances are good that this is the list you came for. This list contains all the Marvel films listed chronologically from The First Avenger to Endgame. The benefits of watching the films this way is that you’ll get to see the events as they unfolded in the universe. You can keep track of the Tesseract, watch Thor’s journey from hero to zero to hero and the Guardians of the Galaxy eke ever closer to killing Thanos. 

Here’s the correct chronological viewing order:

  • 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 (time unspecified, pre-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)

A still from Iron Man

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel movies ordered by release date 

That being said, if you want to see the films as they were originally released in theaters, you should follow this list that starts with the original Iron Man in 2008 and continues all the way up to Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home (which is still in theaters). Watching the films this way means that they’ll start out rough and only improve over time as the studio puts more money behind the box office behemoth, and makes for a fun walk down memory lane. 

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 (dates subject to change) 

  • Black Widow (2020)
  • The Eternals (2020)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe 

  • Black Panther II (TBD)
  • Blade (TBD)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBD)
  • Untitled Captain Marvel film (TBD)
  • Untitled Fantastic Four film (TBD)

The Marvel movies on Disney Plus: from launch to 2020

(Image credit: Disney)

From launch onwards, these are the Marvel movies you can watch on Disney Plus. Note that you can't watch The Incredible Hulk because Universal owns the US distribution rights. You can't watch the two Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, either, because the rights to those belong to Sony.

Here's the list:

  • 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: Endgame

Then in late 2019 and 2020, these MCU movies will be added on specific dates:

  • Thor: Ragnarok (December 5, 2019)
  • Black Panther (March 4, 2020)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (June 25, 2020)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 29, 2020)

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel movies ranked from best to worst 

Finally, if you don’t have time to waste with the worst Marvel films (*cough*) Thor (*cough*), we’ve also put together a guide to the films ranked from best to worst with the most highly acclaimed films like Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy right at the top.  (Scores are based on their IMDB ranking.)