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How to watch the Marvel movies in order

Here’s a chronological guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in order

If you're attempting a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) marathon in 2021, knowing how to watch the Marvel movies in order is a crucial piece of the puzzle. We're here to help: this page explains how to watch all 24 Marvel movies in chronological and release order, including Black Widow. We'll also tell you how Disney Plus shows fit into the MCU canon – including Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision.

Marvel movies are finally back in 2021. After a long delay, Black Widow landed last month in theaters and on Disney Plus, with three more set for release before the year ends: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel's The Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Along with our Marvel movies in order list below, you'll find release dates for upcoming MCU TV and movie projects, so you can piece together what's coming to Phase 4 and 5.

To kick off your MCU marathon, you'll need to pick which Marvel movies order list you're actually looking for. There are two main ways to watch the movies: the chronological order, which starts with the origin of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, set in the '40s, or the release order that begins with Iron Man in 2008. Clearly, the latter order is the one Marvel Studios intended to tell the story, but following the timeline of events as they happened is definitely a fun way to rewatch.

Whichever way you to decide to watch the Marvel movies in 2021, you're guaranteed a great time. The MCU is like a giant TV series, where the episodes are mostly comprised of movies that cost hundreds of millions of Hollywood bucks to produce. With the Disney Plus TV shows thrown in, too, marathoning the MCU will now take you quite a long time – which itself makes rewatching it all an exciting ritual.

Here, then, is how to watch the Marvel movies in order in 2021.

How to watch the Marvel movies in order: chronological order

Let's kick off with a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline, now including 2021's Black Widow! This explains how to watch the 24 Marvel movies in chronological order, starting with Captain America's origin in WWII, and ending (for now, anyway) with Peter Parker's trip to Italy in Spider-Man: Far From Home. 

This is the way to watch the Marvel movies in order if you want to follow how events happened in canonical order – the odd post-credits scene aside, this basically covers the entire MCU timeline. You'll also find a separate section below on when the Disney Plus shows are set relative to the movies, in case you want to factor them into your marathon.

Some of this is a little ambiguous – for example, Black Widow, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther and Doctor Strange all take place at roughly the same time, and they're set across varying lengths of time, which makes them hard to lock down. We've placed Black Widow first of this bunch, though, because it clearly follows the immediate events of Civil War where Natasha is being hunted down, and ends before the final shot of that movie.

Here's the chronological viewing order of the Marvel movies as of 2021:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (takes place during WWII)
  • Captain Marvel (takes place in 1995)
  • Iron Man (takes place in 2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (takes place after Iron Man)
  • The Incredible Hulk (time unspecified, pre-Avengers)
  • Thor (takes place six months before Avengers)
  • The Avengers (takes place in 2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (takes place six months after The Avengers)
  • Thor: Dark World (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
  • Captain America: Winter Soldier (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (sometime in 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (after Guardians)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (takes place in 2015)
  • Ant-Man (takes place in 2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
  • Black Widow (takes place right after Civil War)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (post-Civil War, pre-Infinity War)
  • Doctor Strange (takes place in 2016)
  • Black Panther (takes place in 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (takes place in 2017)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (ambiguous, but fits nicely between IW and Endgame)
  • Avengers: Endgame (starts in 2017, finishes in 2022)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (eight months post-Endgame)

Now for the Marvel shows order. WandaVision actually takes place mere weeks after Endgame. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after Endgame – so both shows take place before Spider-Man: Far From Home. Loki, meanwhile, is technically set after the events of The Avengers, but in another timeline – we'd advise watching it after Avengers: Endgame.

  • WandaVision (three weeks after Endgame)
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (around six months after Endgame)
  • Loki (technically post-The Avengers in 2012, but best watched after Endgame)

Avengers movies in order

Avengers: Infinity War was the first of a two-part finale to Phase 3.  (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Marvel movies in order: release date

Want to watch the MCU movies in release order instead? Try this list. Watching the Marvel movies in this order is how Marvel Studios intended you to see the story play out, and you'll get to enjoy how the movies got bigger and better over the years – especially as Disney took over ownership and started pumping up the budgets. You'll also find Marvel movies release dates for Phase 4 and beyond below, which is accurate as of the publication time at the top of this article.

Phase One 

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Phase Two

  • 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)

Phase Three

  • 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)

Phase Four

  • WandaVision (TV show)
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV show)
  • Loki (TV show – now releasing)
  • Black Widow (2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3, 2021)
  • The Eternals (November 5, 2021)
  • Ms Marvel (TV show – late 2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022) 
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (May 6, 2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (July 8, 2022)
  • The Marvels (November 11, 2022)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania (February 17, 2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including TV shows

  • Blade (TBD)
  • Fantastic Four (TBD)
  • Hawkeye (TV show – TBA)
  • She-Hulk (TV show – TBA)
  • Moon Knight (TV show – TBA)
  • Secret Invasion (TV show – TBA)
  • Ironheart (TV show – TBA)
  • Armor Wars (TV show – TBA)
  • Wakanda series (TV show – TBA)

Marvel movies on Disney Plus

Marvel movies on Disney Plus.

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Wondering which Marvel movies are on Disney Plus? The Incredible Hulk and the Spider-Man films are the only movies not available on Disney Plus, and that's because Universal and Sony own the distribution rights to them respectively. You'll have to buy or rent them on DVD, Blu-Ray or digital if you want a full Marvel movie marathon. 

These are the Marvel movies on Disney Plus in the US, UK and Australia:

  • Iron Man
  • Thor
  • Iron Man 2
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • The Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Doctor Strange
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Captain Marvel
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Black Panther
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Black Widow (from July 9, via Premier Access)

These are the Marvel TV shows available on Disney Plus, meanwhile:

  • WandaVision (now available)
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (now available)
  • Loki (June 9, 2021)
  • What If...? (summer 2021)
  • Ms Marvel (late 2021)
  • Hawkeye (late 2021)
  • She-Hulk (TBA)
  • Moon Knight (TBA)
  • Secret Invasion (TBA)
  • Ironheart (TBA)
  • Armor Wars (TBA)
  • Wakanda series (TBA)

Marvel movies: Iron man 3

Iron Man 3 remains a perennial favorite of ours among the Marvel movies. (Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Best Marvel movies

What are the best Marvel movies? We've all got strong opinions on this (Civil War, Infinity War and The Avengers are the winners for us) – but below, we've let the people have their opinion, ranking the Marvel movies based on user scores from IMDb. The peoples' votes are spot-on with some things (Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk are no one's favorite Marvel films), and other things extremely wrong (Ant-Man and the Wasp is surely worse than Captain America: The First Avenger?). Curiously, it's a tie between the last two Avengers movies, Endgame and Infinity War, for the best film of the MCU so far.

Best

  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – Rating: 8.4
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019) – Rating: 8.4
  • The Avengers (2012) – Rating: 8.0
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Rating: 8.0
  • Iron Man (2008) – Rating: 7.9
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) - Rating: 7.9
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016) – Rating: 7.8
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Rating: 7.7
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Rating: 7.6
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – Rating: 7.5
  • Doctor Strange (2016) – Rating: 7.5
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Rating: 7.4
  • Black Panther (2018) – Rating: 7.3
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Rating: 7.3
  • Ant-Man (2015) – Rating: 7.3 
  • Iron Man 3 (2013) – Rating: 7.2 
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) – Rating: 7.1 
  • Thor (2011) – Rating: 7.0 
  • Iron Man 2 (2010) – Rating: 7.0 
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – Rating: 6.9
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Rating: 6.9
  • Captain Marvel (2019) – Rating: 6.9 
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Rating: 6.7

Worst

How to download Marvel movies

If you want to download Marvel movies for later viewing, you can save offline copies via the Disney Plus app on your portable device (smartphone or tablet). You can't do this on a desktop PC or laptop, though.

You'll need enough storage space, but just look for the download symbol on any title in the Disney Plus app:

Click the download symbol on the right, here.

Content you download on your phone will stay in your device's main memory if it doesn’t have an external microSD card slot. That includes all Apple iPhone smartphones, iPad tablets and a few others handsets (like the Google Pixel 3a).

A 1-hour download takes about 400MB of storage depending on your download quality: High quality is six times better than standard quality while medium is 50% better than standard quality (which is the Disney Plus app’s default).

If you're happy to buy the movies, too, say through Amazon Prime, that'll also allow you to download Marvel movies locally.