The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a vast and interconnected franchise that has taken the world by storm with its superhero stories and thrilling action. With over a decade of films and numerous characters, it can be challenging to determine the correct chronological order in which these movies should be watched. In this article, we will guide you through the Marvel movies in chronological order, ensuring you get the most out of your Marvel movie marathon.
Marvel Studios has released its movies in a carefully crafted narrative that spans multiple phases, each contributing to a larger storyline. While the release dates of the mcu movies do not follow a chronological order, the events within the films are interconnected, creating a cohesive universe. To watch the Marvel movies in order, we need to rearrange them according to their timeline within the MCU.
Marvel Movies in Chronological Order
Phase One (2008-2012)
Iron Man (2008)
The film follows the story of Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor. After being captured by terrorists while on a business trip in Afghanistan, Stark is forced to build a powerful weapon for them. Instead, he creates a suit of armor that enables him to escape captivity. Realizing the potential of the suit, Stark improves and refines it, ultimately becoming the superhero Iron Man.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The movie stars Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner, a scientist who, due to a failed experiment involving gamma radiation, transforms into a giant, green, superhuman creature known as the Hulk whenever he becomes angry or agitated. Fearing the destructive potential of the Hulk, Banner lives a nomadic life, trying to find a cure for his condition while evading the pursuit of General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, played by William Hurt.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
In “Iron Man 2,” Tony Stark faces several challenges both personally and professionally. He is dealing with the consequences of revealing his identity as Iron Man to the world and is under pressure from the government to hand over his advanced technology. Additionally, Stark is confronted by Ivan Vanko, also known as Whiplash, who seeks revenge against the Stark family.
The film follows the story of Thor, the arrogant and impulsive prince of Asgard, a realm of gods. Thor is about to ascend to the throne when his reckless actions lead to a conflict with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. As a result, his father Odin (played by Anthony Hopkins) banishes him to Earth, stripping him of his powers and his enchanted hammer, Mjolnir.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The film is set during World War II and follows the journey of Steve Rogers, a physically weak and frail young man who desperately wants to serve his country but is repeatedly rejected due to his physical limitations. However, his determination catches the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine, a German scientist working for the United States government. Dr. Erskine recruits Rogers for a top-secret experiment called the “Super Soldier Program.”
The Avengers (2012)
In the film, the Earth is threatened by Loki, the adopted brother of Thor and an antagonist previously seen in the 2011 film “Thor.” Loki acquires a powerful artifact called the Tesseract and plans to use it to conquer Earth with the help of an alien army known as the Chitauri.
Phase Two (2013-2015)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
The events of “Iron Man 3” take place after the events of “The Avengers.” Tony Stark is dealing with the aftermath of the battle of New York and experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. A new threat emerges in the form of a terrorist known as the Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. The Mandarin launches a series of bombings, targeting symbols of American power.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The events of “Thor: The Dark World” take place after the events of “Thor” and “The Avengers.” The story follows Thor as he faces a new threat to the Nine Realms known as the Dark Elves. Led by their leader Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston, the Dark Elves seek to unleash a powerful weapon called the Aether, a substance with the ability to plunge the universe into darkness.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
The events of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” take place after the events of “The Avengers.” Steve Rogers is now working for the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D., led by Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. As Rogers adjusts to the modern world, he becomes increasingly suspicious of the motives and operations of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The story follows Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, who is a charismatic and adventurous space scavenger. After acquiring a mysterious orb, Quill becomes the target of various factions, including the powerful villain Ronan the Accuser, played by Lee Pace. In order to evade Ronan and protect the orb, Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a group of misfits.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The film begins with the Avengers—Iron Man (Tony Stark), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Thor, Hulk (Bruce Banner), Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), and Hawkeye (Clint Barton)—working together to retrieve Loki’s scepter, which contains the powerful gem known as the Mind Stone. Tony Stark, driven by his desire to protect the world, utilizes the scepter’s power to create an artificial intelligence system called Ultron.
The story revolves around Scott Lang, a talented thief and electronics expert who is trying to turn his life around for the sake of his young daughter. He is recruited by Dr. Hank Pym, portrayed by Michael Douglas, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and the inventor of the Ant-Man suit. Pym wants Scott to become the new Ant-Man and use the suit’s incredible shrinking and ant-controlling abilities for a heist that could save the world.
Phase Three (2016-2019)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The story revolves around the ideological divide between Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, played by Chris Evans, and Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. The events of the film are set in motion when the Avengers, while on a mission, inadvertently cause collateral damage and civilian casualties.
Doctor Strange (2016)
The story follows Dr. Stephen Strange, a skilled and arrogant surgeon whose life takes a dramatic turn when he gets involved in a car accident that damages his hands. Despite numerous medical treatments, he is unable to regain full control of his hands, which ends his career as a surgeon.
In search of a cure, Strange travels to Nepal and encounters the Ancient One, portrayed by Tilda Swinton, a powerful sorcerer who introduces him to the mystical arts and the existence of multiple dimensions. Under her tutelage, Strange learns to manipulate reality and harness magical powers.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
The story picks up shortly after the events of the first film, with the Guardians—Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)—acting as mercenaries for hire. They encounter a powerful alien race called the Sovereign, led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), who hires the Guardians to protect valuable batteries from an interdimensional monster.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
The story takes place after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and focuses on Peter Parker‘s high school life in Queens, New York. Peter is eager to prove himself as a worthy superhero under the mentorship of Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. However, he struggles to balance his responsibilities as a student, a friend, and a superhero.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
The story picks up after the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Thor: The Dark World.” Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, finds himself imprisoned on the planet Sakaar without his mighty hammer, Mjolnir. He is forced to participate in gladiatorial games and faces off against his old friend and fellow Avenger, the Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo.
Black Panther (2018)
The story takes place shortly after the events of “Captain America: Civil War.” Following the death of his father, T’Chaka, T’Challa returns to his homeland of Wakanda, a technologically advanced African nation hidden from the world. As the new king, he must not only navigate the responsibilities of ruling but also protect Wakanda’s most precious resource: vibranium, a powerful and versatile metal.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
The story follows the Avengers, along with their allies and the Guardians of the Galaxy, as they face their most formidable threat yet: Thanos, played by Josh Brolin. Thanos is on a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, powerful artifacts that grant immense power over different aspects of the universe. With the stones, Thanos plans to wipe out half of all life in the universe, believing it to be the only way to restore balance and prevent overpopulation.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
The story takes place after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and follows Scott Lang as he grapples with the consequences of his actions as a superhero and a father. Under house arrest for his involvement in the Avengers’ conflict, Scott tries to balance his responsibilities while facing new challenges.
Captain Marvel (2019)
The story is set in the 1990s and follows Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who becomes caught in the middle of an intergalactic conflict between two alien races: the Kree and the Skrulls. After a mission gone awry, Carol finds herself with extraordinary abilities and is taken to the Kree homeworld of Hala, where she becomes a member of an elite Kree military unit known as Starforce.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
The story picks up after the events of “Avengers: Infinity War” and follows the remaining Avengers as they grapple with the devastating consequences of Thanos’ snap, which wiped out half of all life in the universe. The film showcases the Avengers’ desperate attempt to reverse the effects of the snap and bring back their fallen allies.
With the help of Scott Lang, also known as Ant-Man and played by Paul Rudd, who returns from the quantum realm with a potential solution, the Avengers devise a plan to travel back in time and collect the Infinity Stones before Thanos can use them. This leads to a series of intricate heists and encounters with past versions of the Avengers.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
The story takes place a few months after the events of “Endgame” and follows Peter Parker as he embarks on a school trip to Europe with his classmates. While trying to enjoy a vacation and express his feelings for MJ, played by Zendaya, Peter is approached by Nick Fury, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. Fury recruits Peter to help deal with a new threat, the Elementals, powerful creatures wreaking havoc across the continent.
Phase Four and Beyond (2021-2022)
Black Widow (2021)
The story takes place between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” and explores Natasha’s past and her journey before reuniting with the Avengers. The film delves into her origins as a Russian spy and the covert training program known as the Red Room.
Natasha finds herself on the run from the authorities and reunites with her estranged “family” consisting of Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh, Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, portrayed by David Harbour, and Melina Vostokoff, played by Rachel Weisz. Together, they confront the dangerous conspiracy surrounding the Red Room and its leader, Dreykov, portrayed by Ray Winstone.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
The story follows Shang-Chi, who has been living a quiet life in San Francisco under an assumed identity. However, when his past catches up with him, Shang-Chi is drawn into a world of ancient secrets, martial arts, and extraordinary powers. He must confront his father, Wenwu, also known as the Mandarin and played by Tony Leung, and uncover the truth about his family’s connection to the Ten Rings.
The story revolves around the Eternals, a race of immortal beings created by the Celestials, cosmic entities with immense power. The Eternals have been tasked with protecting humanity from their enemies, the Deviants. However, after thousands of years of inactivity, they are forced to reunite and confront a new threat that could have devastating consequences for both humans and the world.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
The film features Tom Holland reprising his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, along with Zendaya as MJ, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. The cast also includes several notable actors from previous Spider-Man films, such as Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, creating a multiverse crossover event.
The plot of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” revolves around Peter Parker’s struggle with his identity being revealed to the world and the consequences that follow. Seeking help, he turns to Doctor Strange to make everyone forget that he is Spider-Man, but an unexpected mishap with a spell leads to the emergence of dangerous villains from other dimensions. Peter must confront these threats and discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man in order to save his world and the multiverse.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021)
The storyline of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness revolves around Doctor Strange protecting America Chavez, a teenager who has the ability to travel through the multiverse, from Wanda Maximoff’s chaotic powers. Together with Wong and other allies, they face multiple threats, including other-universe versions of Doctor Strange, who pose a danger to the entire multiverse.
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
The film follows Thor as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and attempts to find inner peace. However, his plans are disrupted by the arrival of Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks to eliminate all gods.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
The story of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever focuses on the people of Wakanda as they fight to protect their home from intervening world powers while mourning the death of King T’Challa. The movie explores the rich mythology and technological advancements of Wakanda, a fictional African nation known for its vibranium resources and advanced civilization.
Phase Five (2023-2024)
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
The film follows the adventures of Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne as they continue their journey as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Along with Hope’s parents, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, the family explores the Quantum Realm, encounters new creatures, and embarks on an extraordinary adventure that pushes their limits. Jonathan Majors joins the cast as Kang, an antagonist in the film
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the third installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy film series. It continues the adventures of the superhero team and explores the aftermath of previous events. The film has been well-received and is expected to arrive on Disney Plus in August for streaming audience.
What movie is first in Marvel?
The first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is “Iron Man,” released in 2008. It kick-started the interconnected universe of Marvel movies that followed.
Should you watch Marvel in chronological order?
Watching Marvel movies in chronological order can be an interesting and immersive experience. It allows you to follow the timeline of events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and witness the story unfold in a linear fashion. However, it’s worth noting that MCU movies are typically released in a different order known as the release order. Both approaches have their merits, so it ultimately depends on your personal preference. Chronological order provides a chronological narrative, while release order allows you to experience the movies as they were intended to be seen, with post-credit scenes and references that build on previous films.