How to Watch the Marvel Movies in Chronological Order

The timeline is a little complicated

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"Spider-Man: No Way Home" (Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios)

It began with 2008’s “Iron Man,” a film that introduced the world to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark with the hint that he could be part of something greater. Thirty-two films later, the story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still being told, albeit with various tributaries and detours that introduce new characters and new worlds that may or may not cross paths one day. Each film in the MCU stands on its own to some degree, but like building blocks, they all connect as part of one interconnected universe. And in that way, watching the Marvel movies in order tells one grand story.

There are a couple of different ways to watch the Marvel movies in order, but below we run down how to watch the MCU in chronological and release date order. Indeed, some films like “Captain Marvel” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” are full-on prequels set in the 1990s and 1940s, respectively, and with such intricate storytelling throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, you can watch the films chronologically and it all continues to make sense.

But if you’re a purist, we’ve also included the release order list of MCU movies, as well as which Marvel films you can stream on Disney+ right now and where all the Marvel Disney+ shows fit in.

Marvel movies in chronological order

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Robert Downey Jr. in “Iron Man” (Marvel Studios)

Most of the Marvel movies take place one right after the other, but others chronicle events that occur concurrently with events from other films. For instance, the events of “Thor: Ragnarok” take place around the same time as the events of “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” with both films leading up to “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The MCU story is divided up into three phases that make up The Infinity Saga, a story that begins with “Iron Man” and ends with “Avengers: Endgame.”

Phase Four began with the Disney+ series “WandaVision” and also includes “Black Widow” and “Shang-Chi” and concluded with “Wakanda Forever.” Phase Five began with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

Here’s how to watch the MCU movies in chronological order of events:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Captain Marvel
  • Iron Man
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Black Widow
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Black Panther
  • Doctor Strange
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • Eternals
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  • The Marvels

Marvel movies in release order

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Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan in “Black Panther” (Marvel Studios)

Marvel Studios first began independently producing its own films with 2008’s “Iron Man,” and the first few MCU movies were distributed by Paramount Pictures (with Universal distributing “The Incredible Hulk”) before Disney bought Marvel and released every Marvel Studios movie after “Captain America: The First Avenger.” The exceptions are, of course, the three standalone “Spider-Man” films, which while official MCU canon, were released by Sony Pictures.

So here’s how to watch all the Marvel movies in order of release date:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s 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)
  • Black Widow (2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • Eternals (2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)
  • The Marvels (2023)

What’s the best way to watch the MCU: Chronological order or release order?

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The cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Marvel Studios)

While the overall story makes sense either way, if it’s your first time in the MCU, you should probably start by watching all the movies in order of release date. Not only is that the order in which the films were made, but you can also chart the evolution and refinement of MCU storytelling as Marvel Studios worked out the kinks and perfected how to make a Marvel movie.

But if you’ve seen most or all of the Marvel movies, watching them in chronological order is a fun experience. It doesn’t change any of the story, and it’s definitely weird to watch “Captain Marvel” so early and then wait 20 movies for Brie Larson’s character to ever be mentioned again. But it allows you to appreciate how well Marvel retrofitted its prequel movies into the existing timeline.

When do the Marvel Disney+ shows take place in the MCU timeline?

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Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in “WandaVision” (Marvel Studios)

When Marvel Studios first started making its own TV shows for Disney+, Kevin Feige promised that this would be a way for fans to enjoy the expanded mythology of the MCU. And while the first few shows — namely “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” — were heavily connected to events that were taking place in Marvel movies, that connectivity became less pronounced as the shows wore on.

In 2024, Marvel essentially made a “mea culpa” and announced that moving forward, the Marvel TV shows (now released under the Marvel Television banner) would be less tied to the mythology of the MCU and would be able to be enjoyed on their own. That means upcoming shows like “Agatha All Along” and “Daredevil Born Again” will operate more like TV shows and less like extensions of the movies — you don’t have to watch “WandaVision” to understand/enjoy “Agatha” and so on.

Regardless, here’s how to watch all the Marvel TV shows in chronological order of events.

WandaVision

The first Marvel Disney+ show takes place three weeks after the events of “Avengers: Endgame” and is nestled between “Endgame” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” takes place six months after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” but before the events of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

Loki

“Loki” begins in the immediate wake of “Avengers: Endgame,” but it’s unclear when the MCU-altering events of the Season 1 finale take place. Season 2 of the series picks up immediately after the Season 1 finale, so the whole show is taking place around roughly the same point in the timeline.

Hawkeye

“Hawkeye” takes place at Christmastime in 2024, about a year after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” and concurrent with the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Moon Knight

A specific timeline date for “Moon Knight” hasn’t been revealed other than the fact that it takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

Ms. Marvel

The teen-skewing “Ms. Marvel” clearly takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” and it seems like some significant time has passed since the world was saved.

She-Hulk

“She-Hulk” takes place an indeterminate period of time after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

Secret Invasion

“Secret Invasion” takes place after the events of “She-Hulk” and before the events of “The Marvels.”

Echo

“Echo” was released under the Marvel Spotlight banner and is thus less connected to the overall MCU, but takes place after the events of “Hawkeye.”

When does the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special take place?

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Marvel Studios/Disney+

The “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” isn’t quite a movie and not quite a TV show, so it gets its own little section here. Written and directed by James Gunn, the 44-minute special is set after the events of “Thor: Love and Thunder” — during which the Guardians dropped off Thor after the events of “Avengers: Endgame” — and before the events of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” James Gunn shot the holiday special during the production of “Vol. 3.”

Upcoming new Marvel movies

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Disney/Marvel Studios

And here’s a list of what’s next for the MCU in terms of confirmed films and their planned release dates.

Which Marvel movies are streaming on Disney+?

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Sony Pictures

Every MCU movie is streaming on Disney+ except for “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which is streaming on Fubo.

Here’s a complete list of all the Marvel movies streaming on Disney+ right now:

  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Thor
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Doctor Strange
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Captain Marvel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Black Widow
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Eternals
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  • The Marvels

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