Jacob Osborn

How to Watch the Marvel Movies in Order | Man of Many

The MCU continues to unfold in carefully-planned segments or “phases.” Spanning years, each phase represents a block of specific and often interrelated stories. The main throughline tends to culminate with an Avengers film, even if that film doesn’t necessarily close out the respective phase. Phase Four includes both upcoming movies and upcoming TV shows on Disney+.

What Are the MCU Phases?

Amongst the different ways to watch the Marvel movies in order, chronologically might be the best. In this variant, you watch each film not in accordance with its release date, but in accordance with its place in the overarching storyline. Here we go.

MCU Movies in Chronological Order

Audiences first met Captain America in this somewhat underwhelming debut, which takes place during WWII. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, a determined patriot who gets rejected from military service. What’s a patriot to do but take an experimental “super-soldier” serum? Captain America is thus born.

1. Captain America: The First Avenger (1942)

The Earth is caught in the midst of a galactic war and only former US Air Force pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) can save it. Discovered by an alien race, Danvers takes on limitless power and the Captain Marvel moniker. It all goes down in the mid-1990s.

2. Captain Marvel (1995)

The first “Iron Man” kicks off a harrowing saga and blockbuster franchise with brilliant precision. Robert Downey Jr. stars as wealthy and outspoken defense contractor Tony Stark, who proves that necessity truly is the mother of invention. While not made entirely clear in the actual film, the story was later determined to take place in 2010.

3. Iron Man (2010)

Tony Stark aka Iron Man and his cohorts are back in this sprawling sequel. Grappling with health issues, the iconic superhero squares off against new enemies. That includes an electricity-wielding maniac named Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke.

4. Iron Man 2 (2011)

Before Mark Ruffalo, actor Edward Norton starred as scientist Bruce Banner and his unbound alter-ego, the Incredible Hulk. On the run from the government, Banner looks to cure himself of some serious anger management issues. As with “Iron Man,” this story was retroactively dated so as to fit in with the overarching timeline.

5. The Incredible Hulk (2011)

Cast out of Asgard, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must cohabitate with us petty humans in this Phase One instalment. We also meet Thor’s mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who plays an important role as the franchise unfolds. Shakespearean actor and director Kenneth Branagh directs.

6. Thor (2011)

If you’re watching just the Avengers in order, your journey starts here. Awash with spectacle, the film pits the world’s foremost superheroes against Loki and his alien army. Suffice it to say, Phase One went out with a bang.

7. The Avengers (2012)

Still recovering from the events of “The Avengers,” Tony Stark squares off against his most formidable opponent yet. Along the way, he struggles with issues of identity and heroism. And thus begins Phase Two.

8. Iron Man 3 (2012)

Dark Elves are on the attack and the fate of the universe lies in the balance. Who can save the day but the mighty Thor and his all-powerful hammer? While not a critical darling or fan favourite, the film plays an important role in the overarching MCU.

9. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Heralded for its fusion of sub-genres, Captain America’s second outing improves by leaps and bounds over its predecessor. Set against a backdrop of political conspiracy, it gives way to the ultimate showdown between the titular superhero and a worthy foe. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. make up a big part of the story, which has close ties to the Avengers saga. This also marks the first time that Anthony and Joe Russo (aka The Russo Brothers) direct an MCU film.

10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

A welcome surprise and unexpected smash hit, “Guardians of the Galaxy” centers on a group of intergalactic mercenaries. Leading this motley crew of misfits is former earthling Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), occasionally known as Star-Lord. Ultra-villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) looms over the action and makes brief cameos.

11. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Picking up soon after its predecessor, this hotly anticipated sequel once again mixes action and comedy to superb effect. In the midst of all kinds of conflict, Star-Lord comes face to face with his long-lost father. See the film and then buy the mixtape.

12. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2014)

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and this blockbuster sequel might very well prove it. In their effort to create world peace, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner unleash a global catastrophe.

13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” this fan favourite provides an extended dose of comic relief. Paul Rudd stars as the title character, who cranks massive heroics out of his microscopic alter-ego. Who knew that someone so small could save such a big world?

14. Ant-Man (2015)

If you’re watching just the Avengers movies in order, you’ll still need to catch this pivotal chapter (which is basically an Avengers film in all but name). Featuring most if not all of the major players, it centers on a disastrous rift between Captain America and Iron Man.

15. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Spider-Man finally came home to Marvel in the mid-2010s, even if Sony shared character rights. High school student Peter Parker (Tom Holland) doubles as the web-slinging superhero, who balances classroom drama and big-city crime.

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)

In the wake of a tragic car accident, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) embarks on a journey of dimension-spanning proportions. And so the MCU expands even further than we previously imagined.

17. Doctor Strange (2016-2017)

Avengers stalwart Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) gets a movie of her own and it jumps back a few years in time. Here’s hoping the film still meets its intended release date in November.

18. Black Widow (2017)

Take a trip to the nation of Wakanda in this massive hit, set on the heels of “Captain America: Civil War.” Chadwick Boseman stars as Prince T’Challa, who moonlights as Black Panther and faces adversaries on all sides.

19. Black Panther (2017)

Arguably Thor’s best outing, this one comes bursting to life with cheeky humour and vivid colour. Cate Blanchett plays the ruthless goddess Hela and she’s got Asgard in her crosshairs.

20. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

If you think this is just another side-hustle for the franchise, then you haven’t seen all the MCU films in order yet. Ant-Man teams up with the Wasp to uncover long-buried secrets. His micro-sized adventures pick back up in “Avengers: Endgame,” making this film more important than it may first appear.

21. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2017)

Thor is on the hunt for six Infinity Stones and if he finds them, life as we know it will come to an end. More than another Avengers instalment, this film is everything that makes the MCU great.

22. Avengers: Infinity War (2017)

With a little help from Ant-Man, the remaining Avengers unlock the secrets of time travel. That allows them to jump back five years to set things right. While not the official closing chapter of Phase Three, this record-breaking smash might as well be.

23. Avengers: Endgame (2018-2023)

Characters are still adapting to the consequences of time travel in this proverbial denouement, which still brings plenty of blockbuster action. Hoping to get a taste of that care-free teenage life, Peter Parker takes a class trip to Europe. As he soon discovers, superheroes don’t get time off.

24. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2023)

In lieu of chronological order, you can watch the MCU movies in order of their respective release dates. That list looks a little something like this:

MCU Movies in Release Order

Some say the best way to watch all the Marvel movies in order is the way that writer and spaghetti-lover Jonathan Sim watched them.

MCU Movies in Spaghetti Order

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