Entertainment Marvel movies in order: working out the MCU timeline
Marvel movies in order: working out the MCU timeline
Determining how to watch the Marvel movies in order is easier than you think. Sure, there are nearly 30 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films and eight TV shows to contend with. But, while that number (and their runtimes) might seem daunting, you don’t need a PhD in Marvel movie studies to work out how to stream then.
In our view, there are two main ways to watch the MCU movies in order: chronologically and by release date. Below, we’ll talk you through how to stream Marvel’s superhero films and Disney Plus shows using this method. We’ll also reveal which way we think is best for MCU newcomers and long-time fans to enjoy.
That’s not all, though. You’ll also find a complete rundown of every forthcoming MCU Phase 4 and Marvel Phase 5 project, so you can see how the MCU timeline will become even messier as time goes on. Still, with our help, you’ll have no problem navigating the increasingly complex Marvel timeline no matter how you choose to watch the studio’s offerings.
There’s plenty more to read in this guide, too, such as where you can stream every MCU film and TV series – full disclosure: they’re not all on Disney Plus – and how the Marvel fanbase has ranked every film to date. So, without further ado, here’s how to watch the Marvel movies in order.
What’s the best order to watch the Marvel movies in for the first time?
For us, watching the Marvel movies in order of release date is the best way to binge them if you’re a first time viewer. That way, you’ll be able to keep track of the MCU’s overarching storylines as they progress in real time.
Streaming the MCU films and TV shows chronologically is a great choice and one established fans should try to mix things up. However, this method can feel slightly messy from an MCU timeline perspective, especially for newcomers.
If you choose the chronological path, you’ll start with Captain America’s story in WWII, with its final scene playing out in the late 2000s when Steve Rogers wakes up in present-day New York. Soon, he meets Nick Fury, 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 makes it difficult to follow the story that the franchise is trying to tell.
MCU fans will have their own preferred method for watching the Marvel movies in order. But, in our view, the answer to watching the MCU films for first timers is a simple one: watch them in release date order.
Marvel movies in order: how to watch chronologically
Best for: Marvel fans who want to try something new
Watching the Marvel movies in order by chronology means streaming them in the order of the year they’re set. You’ll start with Captain America’s origin story in World War II and end with Thor: Love and Thunder, which seemingly takes place in 2025.
Without an exact breakdown from Marvel Studios, it’s hard to pinpoint where each movie fit on the MCU timeline, so we’ve done our best with the knowledge available to us. The Marvel TV shows are also important MCU staples these days, so we’ve also included them in the list below:
Marvel movies in order: how to watch by release date
Best for: first-time MCU viewers
Want to watch the Marvel movies in order of release date? Try this list instead. You’ll start with Iron Man, which arrived in 2008 and end with MCU TV show She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – this Disney Plus series launching in August 2022.
It’s a simpler blueprint to follow than streaming MCU projects chronologically, so Marvel newcomers will want to stick with this method.
- 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)
- She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (TV show, 2022)
Upcoming Marvel projects
Marvel Phase 4 will end in December 2022. That means there are only three more projects – and only one movie – releasing before this phase ends.
- Werewolf By Night Halloween TV Special (October 7)
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11)
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday TV Special (expected in December)
What’s coming in Marvel Phase 5 and Phase 6?
Here’s a list of every film and TV series coming in 2023 and beyond:
– 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)
– Deadpool 3 (September 6, 2024)
– Fantastic Four (November 8, 2024)
– Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (May 2, 2025)
– Avengers: Secret Wars (November 7, 2025)
Deadpool 3, which will see Hugh Jackman play Wolverine for the first time in the MCU (and final time on the big screen), is the most recent addition to Marvel Studios’ slate. It’ll arrive on September 6, 2024.
Meanwhile, Marvel has confirmed Armor Wars, which was previously going to be a Disney Plus show, is being turned into a movie (opens in new tab). No release date has been disclosed yet, nor do we know which Phase it’ll fall into. We’ll add it to list above once those details are confirmed.
Lastly, Blade’s release date might end up being pushed back. Marvel’s reboot is currently enveloped in multiple development problems, so its production date isn’t likely to start until spring 2023. That gives it just six months to meet is current release date – which is highly unlikely to happen. Expect a release schedule restructure soon.
How many Marvel movies are there?
29 MCU movies have been released so far. Iron Man kicked things off in 2008, while Thor: Love and Thunder is the latest to arrive in theaters. Add in the TV shows, though, and She-Hulk is the latest MCU project. By the end of 2025, there’ll be at least 40 movies (at least) to fit on the MCU timeline.
If you’re thinking about watching all of the Marvel movies in order, you’ll need to set aside 3,812 minutes – that’s 63 and a half hours, or 2.6 total days. Add in the TV shows, though, and it’ll take a whopping 5,957 minutes (99.2 hours or 4.1 days) to watch them all.
How to watch the Marvel movies
You can stream the Marvel movies in order, as well as the TV shows, on Disney Plus, but there’s a slight catch. Every MCU film is available on the streamer except for The Incredible Hulk and some Spider-Man movies. 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 on HBO Max in nations where the streamer is available. Meanwhile, a new deal between Marvel and Sony means that select Spidey flicks are now on Disney Plus. The first two Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films, plus the Andrew Garfield-led webslinger flicks, are available to stream. Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as animated flick Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, are also available to stream on Disney Plus. Finally, 2007’s Spider-Man will swing its way on Disney Plus on October 21.
Into the Spider-Verse is, and Spider-Man 3 will be, only on Disney’s streamer in the UK, though. US fans can watch those on Netflix instead.
It’s unclear if Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off films, such as Venom and Morbius, will also come to Disney Plus. Stick with TechRadar for future updates.
Marvel movies in order: all MCU films ranked
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.
We’ve also ranked the Marvel movies and shows based on their IMDb (opens in new tab) user scores. Be aware that some TV series, such as She-Hulk and Ms Marvel, have been review-bombed by some users for their supposedly feminine agendas and Marvel’s apparent penchant to turn the MCU into the MSheU. Yeah, we think those claims are bizarre, frustrating, and not fully representative of the MCU’s overall fanbase, too.
Finally, we haven’t included Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off films or Netflix’s Marvel TV shows. Until Marvel, Sony, and Netflix confirm they’re all canon in the MCU, we’ve left them out.
- 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
- 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
- Moon Knight (2022) – Rating: 7.3
- 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
- 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
- I Am Groot (2022) – Rating: 6.8
- Captain Marvel (2019) – Rating: 6.8
- Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Rating: 6.8
- Black Widow (2021) – Rating: 6.7
- The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Rating: 6.6
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) – Rating: 6.4
- Eternals (2021) – Rating: 6.3
- Ms Marvel (2022) – 6.2
- She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) – 4.9
For more Marvel-based content, check out our guide on how to watch the Spider-Man movies in order. Alternatively, read up on how to stream the X-Men movies in order, or find out how we’ve ranked every MCU villain to date.