Marvel Movies in Order: How to Watch Them Chronologically

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A Marvel movie marathon may be in order! With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Disney+ now and Thor: Love and Thunder fast approaching, you might be wondering which Marvel Cinematic Universe movies you should watch (or re-watch) to prepare for the next epic superhero event. Or perhaps you’ve just seen one of the Avengers movies and want to embark on a huge re-watch. But at this point, how exactly does one watch all the Marvel movies in order? Well, we’ve got you covered.

Fortunately, you don’t actually have to re-watch all 28 MCU movies and binge every single TV series to get caught up. We’re breaking down the essentials here, the ones that introduce key characters or deal directly with the Infinity Stones that are so important in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Be aware that while Disney+ series like Loki are open to inclusion, we’re ignoring earlier projects like Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and the various Netflix shows that may or may not be part of the official MCU canon. For completists, we’ve also put together a quick rundown of every MCU movie and D+ series in the proper chronological order. Read on for the list of Marvel movies in order, and make sure you’re up to date on the next Marvel movies and release dates too.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Every Upcoming Movie and TV Show

Beware of some spoilers ahead!

1. Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger

Steve Rogers’ character arc is a huge part of the first three phases of the MCU. That’s especially true in Endgame, as the man formerly known as Captain America comes to terms with his failures and inability to move on in a post-Decimation world. For that reason alone, it’s worth going back to the first Cap movie and reliving his early World War II exploits. Plus, this film gives necessary context to the Steve/Bucky relationship as the two friends are finally reunited (sans brainwashing) in Infinity War before being cruelly torn apart again.

There’s also the fact that Captain America: The First Avenger revolves heavily around the Tesseract, the Hydra artifact that Red Skull used to power his army and which contained the first Infinity Stone to be introduced in the MCU – the Space Stone. Not to mention that Infinity War finally addressed the fate of Red Skull himself.

2. The Avengers

The Avengers

The Avengers

The Avengers marks the first time Earth’s Mightiest Heroes banded together to fight a common enemy. This movie is the true launching point for much of what’s unfolded since in the MCU. Not to mention that it technically showcases the first conflict between the Avengers and Thanos’s forces, though that fact wasn’t made clear until the mid-credits scene.

Perhaps most importantly, The Avengers hinges on Loki’s efforts to steal the Tesseract and acquire it for Thanos. That story finally comes full circle in Infinity War.

3. Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World

While not generally regarded as one of the better MCU movies, Thor: The Dark World makes one important contribution by introducing another Infinity Stone, the Reality Stone, found in the destructive weapon known as the Aether. This film also sets the stage for the downfall of Asgard in later MCU movies, ending with Odin being betrayed and replaced by his adopted son, Loki.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Prior to Infinity War, most of Thanos’ screen time came in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This film more firmly establishes his role as a shadowy power player on the intergalactic scene, as well as his habit of raising women like Gamora and Nebula to be his fiercely loyal assassins. The Thanos/Gamora relationship is a crucial part of Infinity War, and Nebula has an equally important role in Endgame.

The first Guardians movie is also notable for introducing the Power Stone (encased in the Orb everyone is after in this film), which is among the first Thanos adds to his Infinity Gauntlet. Plus, one of the biggest selling points of Infinity War and Endgame are that they feature the first team-up between the Avengers and the Guardians, so it doesn’t hurt to see where the latter team got their start.

5. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The road to Infinity War becomes a lot clearer in the second Avengers movie. This film introduces the Mind Stone, revealing it to have been hidden within Loki’s mind-controlling staff and serving as the catalyst for the birth of Vision. Vision and his stone later became major plot catalysts in Infinity War and WandaVision.

But in a larger sense, Avengers: Age of Ultron is all about alluding to bigger, darker events awaiting the Avengers. Tony Stark has a nightmare/hallucination about the team being destroyed by an unstoppable cosmic threat, influencing his reckless decision to create Ultron. Similarly, Thor is haunted by visions of extinction – visions which would shortly come to pass for Asgard. This is all important foreshadowing for movies like Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok.

6. Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War

Every Avengers movie is essential viewing in the road to Endgame. And given that Captain America: Civil War is basically The Avengers 2.5, it’s among the most critical MCU movies. Civil War is most crucial when it comes to establishing the state of the Avengers in Infinity War, showing how the fallout of Age of Ultron and the ratification of the Sokovia Accords drives a wedge right down the middle of the team. One of the biggest challenges facing Cap, Iron Man and the rest in Infinity War is that they aren’t united against this powerful new threat. That thread pays off in Endgame when the gang finally gets back together.

Civil War also introduces two new MCU heroes who become vital in Infinity War – Spider-Man and Black Panther. Both characters have since had their own solo movies, but you learn everything you really need to know about the two in Civil War.

Every Marvel Movie and Series in Chronological Order

For those who prefer a more thorough binge of all things MCU, here’s a full list of every MCU movie and Disney+ series released to date and in chronological order (based on the reference book Marvel Studios: The First 10 Years and Disney’s own official release order on Disney+). Do note that Phase 4 can get a little tricky since it’s not always obvious when exactly these movies are taking place relative to one another. We’ve even added runtimes so you know exactly how much time to set aside.

  1. Agent Carter (18 episodes)
  2. Captain Marvel (124 minutes)
  3. Iron Man (126 minutes)
  4. The Incredible Hulk (112 minutes)
  5. Iron Man 2 (125 minutes)
  6. Thor (114 minutes)
  7. The Avengers (143 minutes)
  8. Iron Man 3 (131 minutes)
  9. Thor: The Dark World (112 minutes)
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (136 minutes)
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy (122 minutes)
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (137 minutes)
  13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (141 minutes)
  14. Ant-Man (117 minutes)
  15. Captain America: Civil War (147 minutes)
  16. Black Widow (134 minutes)
  17. Black Panther (134 minutes)
  18. Spider-Man: Homecoming (133 minutes)
  19. Doctor Strange (115 minutes)
  20. Thor: Ragnarok (130 minutes)
  21. Ant-Man and the Wasp (118 minutes)
  22. Avengers: Infinity War (149 minutes)
  23. Avengers: Endgame (181 minutes)
  24. Loki (6 episodes)
  25. Marvel’s What If…? Season 1 (9 episodes)
  26. WandaVision (9 episodes)
  27. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (6 episodes)
  28. Spider-Man: Far From Home (129 minutes)
  29. Spider-Man: No Way Home (148 minutes)
  30. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (132 minutes)
  31. Eternals (157 minutes)
  32. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (126 minutes)
  33. Hawkeye (6 episodes)
  34. Moon Knight (6 episodes)
  35. Ms. Marvel (6 episodes)

7. Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Infinity War marks the first time we see Stephen Strange and Wong fight alongside the Avengers, so it doesn’t hurt to go back and watch their MCU debut in 2016’s Doctor Strange. This film is also important in that it introduces the Eye of Agamotto, a time-manipulating artifact that houses the Time Stone. That stone, and the visions of the future it bestows to the doomed Doctor Strange, are both critical to Infinity War and Endgame.

8. Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok

The most recent Thor movie does quite a lot to alter the status quo of the MCU and pave the way for Infinity War. This film chronicles the destruction of Asgard, as hinted in Age of Ultron, and Thor’s rise to power as the new king of a homeless people. The post-credits scene directly sets up the events of Infinity War, as the resilient Asgard is finally decimated by Thanos and the Black Order.

Thor: Ragnarok is also a key chapter in the story of Thor’s relationship with his brother, Loki. It’s also a big movie for Hulk, explaining what the character has been up to in the years since Age of Ultron and why his return to Earth is such a big deal.

Who Is the Strongest Avenger?

9. Black Panther

Black Panther

Black Panther

In terms of its ties to Infinity War/Endgame, Black Panther isn’t quite as essential as the other films on this list. The title character himself is already introduced in Captain America: Civil War. That said, it’s still worth adding it to your watch list. One of the major action sequences in Infinity War takes place in Wakanda, and as one of the survivors of Infinity War, T’Challa’s bodyguard Okoye has a role to play in Endgame. Plus, Black Panther is one of the best MCU films to date, and there’s never a bad time to re-watch it.

There’s also the fact that the MCU will have to deal with the tragic passing of actor Chadwick Boseman. Marvel is moving ahead with a sequel called Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, one which will honor Boseman’s memory rather than recast the T’Challa role. However the MCU moves forward, Black Panther shows us why T’Challa and is kingdom matter so much.

10. Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War delivers a massive superhero epic that ties up most of the loose ends from the first decade of the MCU. The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy finally join forces to take on Thanos. And surprisingly, the movie ends not on a triumphant note, but with complete and utter failure. Infinity War raises the stakes as the survivors prepare to confront Thanos one more time in Endgame.

11. Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

As its name suggests, Endgame is the culmination of everything in the MCU up to that point. The fourth Avengers movie shows us a team grappling with its own failure, struggling to find a way to undo Thanos’ act of cosmic genocide. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of fun to be had along the way, culminating in the most epic and emotionally stirring battle scene in the entire MCU. Multiple heroes are given the sendoffs they deserve, while others are positioned for even bigger and better things.

12. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home

The second MCU Spider-Man movie is both an epilogue to Endgame and a taste of things to come in Phase 4 of the MCU. Most importantly, this sequel is all about Peter Parker stepping up to fill the void left by heroes like Iron Man and Captain America and becoming more than just a friendly neighborhood hero.

13. Loki

Loki

Loki

Loki isn’t the first Marvel series to hit Disney+, but it is the one with the clearest impact on the larger MCU. This six-episode series follows the Loki variant who escapes custody in Avengers: Endgame, as he’s forcibly recruited to help the Time Variance Authority stop another, even more dangerous version of Loki. The final episode is a real game-changer for this cinematic universe, setting the stage not just for Season 2 but also films like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and (presumably) the next Avengers movie.

14. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home

The third Spider-Man movie is even more important to the larger tapestry of the MCU than its predecessor. No Way Home opens immediately after Far From Home’s shocking post-credits scene, with Peter Parker facing the ultimate secret identity crisis. This sequel becomes the first MCU movie to delve into the concept of the multiverse, beating Doctor Strange 2 to the punch. And it also delivers Marvel movie fan service like no other, bringing back many of the iconic actors from Sony’s Spider-Man movies and (we hope) laying the groundwork for a full-fledged Spider-Verse movie in live-action. If you want a sense of Spidey’s role in the MCU going forward, this movie is essential viewing.

15. Eternals

Eternals

Eternals

As if having an Oscar-winning director like Chloé Zhao isn’t enough incentive, Eternals is worth watching for the hints it provides about the future of the MCU. Eternals sheds far more light on the cosmic beings known as the Celestials and their designs for Earth, with the promise of much more to come. Both the mid-credits scene and post-credits scene introduce pivotal new characters who will surely play a key role in Phase 4 and beyond.

16. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

No Way Home might be the first MCU movie to explore the multiverse, but Doctor Strange 2 digs far deeper into the concept as it sends Stephen Strange, Wanda Maximoff and America Chavez on a whirlwind journey across multiple worlds. Even though the main conflict proves surprisingly intimate for an MCU movie, Multiverse of Madness offers plenty of teases for what’s to come over the next few years. It introduces the superhero cabal known as the Illuminati and strongly hints that the MCU is preparing to adapt a major Marvel Comics crossover. This sequel has the added benefit of recapping the important beats from WandaVision, meaning you don’t have to watch that series if you don’t want to (though you should anyway).

This list was originally published in November 2021 but has been updated to reflect the latest releases and streaming information for 2022.

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Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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