How to watch the 23 Marvel movies in order—by timeline and release date

How to watch all the Marvel movies in order if the Marvel Cinematic Universe has you entranced or you’re ready to jump on the bandwagon...

A trio of images of actors from Marvel movies
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to watching the Marvel movies in order, there’s some debate. But whatever your stance on superhero movies, there’s no denying that the Marvel Cinematic Universe does them well, so it’s worth trying to figure out the best order for your enjoyment.

For more than a decade until 2020, not a year went by without at least one MCU blockbuster taking over our local theatre screens, with the multi-billion dollar franchise dishing out a whopping 23 flicks overall as part of their Infinity Saga. And post-Infinity Saga era, there’s still more to come with new Marvel movies on the horizon and Marvel TV shows already airing on Disney+—which is the most convenient place to watch all of the Marvel movies in order.

With loyal fans still hooked on rewatching the Marvel movies in order and the series still gaining more and more followers each day—despite its famous Infinity Saga coming to a head with its extravagant finale back in 2019—it must be doing something right.

And while we enjoyed the Infinity Saga, which in itself was a lot to focus on and get your head around the best way to watch those first 23 Marvel movies in order, there is still so much more to come—and it all fits into the vast storyline in different places.

Fans have already soaked up every episode of WandaVision, which was released earlier this year and was set just weeks after Avengers: Endgame. It explored the story of Scarlet Witch and Avenger Wanda Maximoff and her love, vibranium-synthezoid Vision, who was created in one of our favorite Marvel movies—Avengers: Age of Ultron. Flitting between the lens of retro sitcoms and the real world, the show explores Wanda’s inner turmoil as we learn about her history.

Marvel then released its second new TV show to Disney+, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which followed Captain America’s dedicated friends Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes after the events of Avengers: Endgame and showed the pair dealing with the fallout of the Avengers finale.

how to watch the 23 Marvel movies in order

(Image credit: Alamy)

And there’s still more to come with further Marvel TV shows to be released over the coming years and films on their way too. The first of the Marvel movies to come to screens as part of phase four will be Black Widow, which will come to Disney+ in July as part of its Premier Access service.

Fans can also expect to be treated to Loki this month and a new character hitting the franchise in Ms Marvel later this year. But with the new phase four movies and TV shows fitting into different times of the MCU and the first three phases already containing so many different stories, there are different orders in which you can watch the Marvel movies.

Whether you’re new to the superhero franchise or already well-practiced in keeping up with the Avengers and their folk, taking on a whole series viewing (or rewatch) is quite a challenge to embark on—after all, we've all Googled how to watch Married at First Sight Australia and how to watch Gossip Girl online recently and found ourselves hooked! But it's especially a challenge when it comes to picking the best order in which to watch the Marvel movies.

So we’ve laid out the Marvel movies in the different possible orders so that you can decide the best way for you to watch all of them. Better get that popcorn in the microwave—you’re in it for the long-haul now...

What are the Marvel movies in order?

There are actually a few different orders in which you can watch the Marvel movies. We’ve laid out the two most common below. They are release date order, in which you follow the story as originally conveyed when the films came out, and timeline order, which follows the overall storyline in the fictional order of when the events took place.

We’ve also laid out the spaghetti order option, which involves next watching whichever film is alluded to in the post-credits scene of the movie you’re on.

Marvel movies in order of release date

Phase One

1. Iron Man

Image

Director: Jon Favreau | Released: May 2008 | Rating: 12 | Length: 126 min

Starring Robert Downey Jr. as industrialist Tony Stark who creates a high-tech suit after he’s captured by terrorists, Iron Man kicks off the famous MCU franchise with this action-packed origin story.

2. The Incredible Hulk

Image

Director: Louis Leterrier | Released: June 2008 | Rating: 12A | Length: 112 min

After exposing himself to high levels of gamma radiation, Dr Bruce Banner (played by Edward Norton in this film, before Mark Ruffalo took over the role for The Avengers), transforms himself into The Hulk.

3. Iron Man 2

Image

Director: Jon Favreau | Released: May 2010 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min

As Tony Stark faces pressure from the government to share his cutting-edge Iron Man technology, he faces a ruthless foe from his father’s past.

4. Thor

Image

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Release year: May 2011 | Rating: 12A | Length: 115 min

After being exiled to Earth by his father Odin, king of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) becomes entangled with government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. as he saves the planet and himself from the villainous intentions of his brother Loki.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

Image

Director: Joe Johnston | Release year: July 2011 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min

Taking us right back to the era of World War II, this origin story gives fans an insight into the humble beginnings of S.H.I.E.L.D. while introducing us to Captain America (Chris Evans), who tranforms himself into a soldier using a special serum in order to fight a Nazi organisation.

6. The Avengers

Image

Director: Joe Johnston | Release year: May 2012 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min

When our world is once again targetted by Asgardian Loki, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury puts a team together made up of ‘Earth’s mightiest heroes’ who are forced to put aside their differences to protect the planet from alien invaders.

Phase Two

7. Iron Man 3

Image

Director: Shane Black | Released: May 2013 | Rating: 12A | Length: 130 min

Tony Stark and his inner circle face a dangerous terrorist as the superhero is haunted by mistakes from his past and the lives of the ones he loves are put at risk.

8. Thor: The Dark World

Image

Director: Alan Taylor | Released: November 2013 | Rating: 12A | Length: 112 min

Thor sets out to save the Nine Realms after the universe is threatened by the leader of the Dark Elves—but as he joins forces with an unlikely ally, the lives of those closest to him are left in the balance.

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: April 2014 | Rating: 12A | Length: 136 min

Steve Rogers attempts to move on with his new life as he is forced to pus together a scrappy team in an attempt to uncover the secrets behind a deadly and complicated foe.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy

Image

Director: James Gunn | Released: August 2014 | Rating: 12A | Length: 121 min

Wayward space dweller Peter Quill gets himself into a bother after getting hold of a valuable orb that is coveted by many different dangerous groups, as he falls into an unlikely friendship with a bunch of lone wolves.  

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Image

Director: Joss Whedon | Released: April 2015 | Rating: 12A | Length: 141 min

After Tony Stark unwittingly creates a genocidal A.I. villian, the Avengers must once again save the world from destruction—but this time just their power alone might not be enough to get the job done...

12. Ant-Man

Image

Director: Peyton Reed | Released: July 2015 | Rating: 12A | Length: 117 min

Master thief Scott Lang must tap into the good side of his character after he is recruited by the owner of a powerful suit that can control his size.

Phase Three

13. Captain America: Civil War

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: May 2016 | Rating: 12A | Length: 148 min

When the governments of the world come together to exercise control over the Avengers, strong opinions threaten to divide the team, while a manipulative foe attempts to break down relationships by revealing dark secrets from the past.  

14. Doctor Strange

Image

Director: Scott Derrickson | Released: November 2016 | Rating: 12A | Length: 115 min

After brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon Stephen Strange loses the ability to use his hands, he embarks on an adventure that transforms his personality and turns him into a powerful sorcerer.

15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Image

Director: James Gunn | Released: May 2017 | Rating: 12A | Length: 136 min

The Guardians struggle to keep their team together after they come across a man who claims to be Peter’s father—but everything may not be how it seems...

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Image

Director: Jon Watts | Released: July 2017 | Rating: 12 | Length: 133 min

In an attempt to prove himself as an Avenger, Peter Parker does everything he can to use his powers for good, but he gets caught up in a dangerous situation when he tries to balance this with his ordinary high school life.

17. Thor: Ragnarok

Image

Director: Taika Waititi | Released: November 2017 | Rating: 12A | Length: 130 min

After a savage battle with his long-lost sister Hela, Thor is joined by a surprising colleague from Earth as he fights to save his Asgard home.

18. Black Panther

Image

Director: Ryan Coogler | Released: February 2018 | Rating: 12A | Length: 135 min

After his father is tragically killed, T’Challa takes on the mantle of King of Wakanda, before he is challenged by a formidable foe from his father’s past who threatens his life, his country and his people.

19. Avengers: Infinity War

Image

Director: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo | Released: April 2018 | Rating: 12A | Length: 149 min

The Avengers go their separate ways to team up with different fighters across the galaxy to protect the universe from powerful, genocidal villain Thanos.

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp

Image

Director: Peyton Reed | Released: July 2018 | Rating: 12A | Length: 125 min

Scott Lang is enticed to break his house arrest to join Hank Pym and the Wasp to enter the quantum realm on an important mission—but the group faces rivals along the way.

21. Captain Marvel

Image

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck | Released: March 2019 | Rating: 12A | Length: 125 min

After Kree warrior Vers lands on earth back in the 1990s, she embarks on a mission to destroy her enemies (with the help of a young Nick Fury), but ends up finding out more about her past than she bargained for.

22. Avengers: Endgame

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: April 2019 | Rating: 12A | Length: 182 min

In this epic finale to the Infinity saga, the Avengers come together one last time as they put everything on the line in a desperate battle against Thanos to save the universe.

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Image

Director: Jon Watts | Released: July 2019 | Rating: 12A | Length: 129 min

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker attempts to move on with his quiet high-school life as he heads on a school trip with his friends, but bigger forces get in the way, forcing him to step up to the plate.

Marvel Movies Phase Four (and future)

With the Infinity Saga now done and dusted, Marvel has released its new line-up of upcoming movies. Some of the films deal with backstories from the story so far about which we are yet to be enlightened, while others deal with events after Phase Three.

However, do keep in mind that the current dates are provisional and could be changed due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

marvel

(Image credit: Alamy)
  • Black Widow (May 2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 2021)
  • The Eternals (November 2021)
  • Untitled third Spider-Man movie (December 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (February 2022)
  • Ant-Man 3 (TBC)
  • Black Panther 2 (July, 2022)
  • Blade (October, 2022)
  • Captain Marvel 2 (November, 2022)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (2023)
  • Fantastic Four (TBA)

Marvel movies in chronological order by timeline

The events that took place in the Marvel movies do not follow in the same order in which the movies were released. So if you're looking to spice up your watchathon, we’d tackle the Marvel films in order of when the events happened.

It’s a bit different to going by the MCU phases, but it definitely offers an alternative viewpoint to the storyline, as well as filling in some of the gaps that can be easy to miss during an initial watch.

1. Captain America: The First Avenger

Image

Director: Joe Johnston | Release year: July 2011 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min | Set: 1942 - during WWII

Taking us right back to the era of World War II, this origin story gives fans an insight into the humble beginnings S.H.I.E.L.D. while introducing us to Captain America (Chris Evans) who tranforms himself into a soldier using a special serum in order to fight a Nazi organisation.

2. Captain Marvel

Image

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck | Released: March 2019 | Rating: 12A | Length: 125 min | Set: 1995

After Kree warrior Vers lands on earth back in the 1990s, she embarks on a mission to destroy her enemies (with the help of a young Nick Fury), but ends up finding out more about her past than she bargained for.

3. Iron Man

Image

Director: Jon Favreau | Released: May 2008 | Rating: 12 | Length: 126 min | Set: 2010

Starring Robert Downey Jr. as industrialist Tony Stark who creates a high-tech suit after he's captured by terrorists, Iron Man kicks off the famous MCU franchise with this action-packed origin story.

4. Iron Man 2

Image

Director: Jon Favreau | Released: May 2010 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min | Set: 2011

As Tony Stark faces pressure from the government to share his cutting-edge Iron Man technology, he faces a ruthless foe from his father’s past.

5. The Incredible Hulk

Image

Director: Louis Leterrier | Released: June 2008 | Rating: 12A | Length: 112 min | Set: after Iron Man and before The Avengers

After exposing himself to high levels of gamma radiation, Dr Bruce Banner (played by Edward Norton in this film, before Mark Ruffalo took over the role for The Avengers), transforms himself into The Hulk.

6. Thor

Image

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Release year: May 2011 | Rating: 12A | Length: 115 min | Set: 2011 - six months before The Avengers

After being exiled to Earth by his father Odin, king of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) becomes entangled with government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. as he saves the planet and himself from the villainous intentions of his brother Loki.

7. The Avengers

Image

Director: Joe Johnston | Release year: May 2012 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min | Set: 2012

When our world is once again targetted by Asgardian Loki, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury puts a team together made up of ’Earth’s mightiest heroes’ who are forced to put aside their differences to protect the planet from alien invaders.

8. Iron Man 3

Image

Director: Shane Black | Released: May 2013 | Rating: 12A | Length: 130 min | Set: 2012 - six months after the Avengers

Tony Stark and his inner circle face a dangerous terrorist as the superhero is haunted by mistakes from his past and the lives of the ones he loves are put at risk.

9. Thor: The Dark World

Image

Director: Alan Taylor | Released: November 2013 | Rating: 12A | Length: 112 min | Set: 2013

Thor sets out to save the Nine Realms after the universe is threatened by the leader of the Dark Elves—but as he joins forces with an unlikely ally, the lives of those closest to him are left in the balance.

10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: April 2014 | Rating: 12A | Length: 136 min | Set: 2014

Steve Rogers attempts to move on with his new life as he is forced to pus together a scrappy team in an attempt to uncover the secrets behind a deadly but complicated foe.

11. Guardians of the Galaxy

Image

Director: James Gunn | Released: August 2014 | Rating: 12A | Length: 121 min | Set: 2014

Wayward space dweller Peter Quill gets himself into a bother after getting hold of a valuable orb that is coveted by many different dangerous groups, as he falls into an unlikely friendship with a bunch of lone wolves.  

12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Image

Director: James Gunn | Released: May 2017 | Rating: 12A | Length: 136 min | Set: 2014 - just weeks after its prequel

The Guardians struggle to keep their team together after they come across a man who claims to be Peter’s father—but everything may not be how it seems...

13. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Image

Director: Joss Whedon | Released: April 2015 | Rating: 12A | Length: 141 min | Set: 2015

After Tony Stark unwittingly creates a genocidal A.I. villian, the Avengers must once again save the world from destruction—but this time just their power alone might not be enough to get the job done...

14. Ant-Man

Image

Director: Peyton Reed | Released: July 2015 | Rating: 12A | Length: 117 min | Set: 2015

Master thief Scott Lang must tap into the good side of his character after he is recruited by the owner of a powerful suit that can control his size.

15. Captain America: Civil War

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: May 2016 | Rating: 12A | Length: 148 min | Set: 2016

When the governments of the world come together to exercise control over the Avengers, strong opinions threaten to divide the team, while a manipulative foe attempts to break down relationships by revealing dark secrets from the past.  

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Image

Director: Jon Watts | Released: July 2017 | Rating: 12 | Length: 133 min | Set: 2016

In an attempt to prove himself as an Avenger, Peter Parker does everything he can to use his powers for good, but he gets caught up in a dangerous situation when he tries to balance this with his ordinary high school life.

17. Doctor Strange

Image

Director: Scott Derrickson | Released: November 2016 | Rating: 12A | Length: 115 min | Set: 2016-2017

After brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon Stephen Strange loses the ability to use his hands, he embarks on an adventure that transforms his personality and turns him into a powerful sorcerer.

18. Black Panther

Image

Director: Ryan Coogler | Released: February 2018 | Rating: 12A | Length: 135 min | Set: 2017

After his father is tragically killed, T’Challa takes on the mantle of King of Wakanda, before he is challenged by a formidable foe from his father’s past who threatens his life, his country and his people.

19. Thor: Ragnarok

Image

Director: Taika Waititi | Released: November 2017 | Rating: 12A | Length: 130 min | Set: between 2017 and 2018 – with the end directly before Avengers: Infinity War

After a savage battle with his long-lost sister Hela, Thor is joined by a surprising colleague from Earth as he fights to save his Asgard home.

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp

Image

Director: Peyton Reed | Released: July 2018 | Rating: 12A | Length: 125 min | Set: 2018 - with the post-credits scene lining up to the end of Infinity War

Scott Lang is enticed to break his house arrest to join Hank Pym and the Wasp to enter the quantum realm on an important mission—but the group faces rivals along the way.

21. Avengers: Infinity War

Image

Director: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo | Released: April 2018 | Rating: 12A | Length: 149 min | Set: 2018

The Avengers go their separate ways to team up with different fighters across the galaxy to protect the universe from powerful, genocidal villain Thanos.

22. Avengers: Endgame

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: April 2019 | Rating: 12A | Length: 182 min | Set: between 2018 and 2023

In this epic finale to the Infinity saga, the Avengers come together one last time as they put everything on the line in a desperate battle against Thanos to save the universe.

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Image

Director: Jon Watts | Released: July 2019 | Rating: 12A | Length: 129 min | Set: 2023

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker attempts to move on with his quiet high-school life as he heads on a school trip with his friends, but bigger forces get in the way forcing him to step up to the plate.

Marvel movies in "spaghetti" order

If it weren’t already complicated enough, there’s third order in which to watch the Marvel movies, which is rising in popularity with true MCU fans.

The spaghetti order revolves around the bonus post-credits scene that appears at the end of each film. You start off with Iron Man (as this was the first released in the franchise) and then watch the movie that is referred to in the post-credits scene—and you keep on going like that.

Though this is quite an exciting way to immerse yourself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we would suggest that you opt for this order only if you’ve already seen all of the movies before—otherwise you could be in store for some major confusion and even more considerable spoilers.

1. Iron Man

Image

Director: Jon Favreau | Released: May 2008 | Rating: 12 | Length: 126 min

Starring Robert Downey Jr. as industrialist Tony Stark who creates a high-tech suit after he’s captured by terrorists, Iron Man kicks off the famous MCU franchise with this action-packed origin story.

2. The Incredible Hulk

Image

Director: Louis Leterrier | Released: June 2008 | Rating: 12A | Length: 112 min

After exposing himself to high levels of gamma radiation, Dr. Bruce Banner (played by Edward Norton in this film, before Mark Ruffalo took over the role for The Avengers), transforms himself into The Hulk.

3. Iron Man 2

Image

Director: Jon Favreau | Released: May 2010 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min

As Tony Stark faces pressure from the government to share his cutting-edge Iron Man technology, he faces a ruthless foe from his father’s past.

4. Thor

Image

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Release year: May 2011 | Rating: 12A | Length: 115 min

After being exiled to Earth by his father Odin, king of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) becomes entangled with government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. as he saves the planet and himself from the villainous intentions of his brother Loki.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

Image

Director: Joe Johnston | Release year: July 2011 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min

Taking us right back to the era of World War II, this origin story gives fans an insight into the humble beginnings S.H.I.E.L.D. while introducing us to Captain America (Chris Evans) who tranforms himself into a soldier using a special serum in order to fight a Nazi organisation.

6. The Avengers

Image

Director: Joe Johnston | Release year: May 2012 | Rating: 12A | Length: 124 min

When our world is once again targetted by Asgardian Loki, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury puts a team together made up of ’Earth’s mightiest heroes’ who are forced to put aside their differences to protect the planet from alien invaders.

7. Iron Man 3

Image

Director: Shane Black | Released: May 2013 | Rating: 12A | Length: 130 min

Tony Stark and his inner circle face a dangerous terrorist as the superhero is haunted by mistakes from his past and the lives of the ones he loves are put at risk.

8. Thor: The Dark World

Image

Director: Alan Taylor | Released: November 2013 | Rating: 12A | Length: 112 min

Thor sets out to save the Nine Realms after the universe is threatened by the leader of the Dark Elves—but as he joins forces with an unlikely ally, the lives of those closest to him are left in the balance.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy

Image

Director: James Gunn | Released: August 2014 | Rating: 12A | Length: 121 min

Wayward space dweller Peter Quill gets himself into a bother after getting hold of a valuable orb that is coveted by many different dangerous groups, as he falls into an unlikely friendship with a bunch of lone wolves.  

10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Image

Director: James Gunn | Released: May 2017 | Rating: 12A | Length: 136 min

The Guardians struggle to keep their team together after they come across a man who claims to be Peter’s father—but everything may not be how it seems...

11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: April 2014 | Rating: 12A | Length: 136 min

Steve Rogers attempts to move on with his new life as he is forced to pus together a scrappy team in an attempt to uncover the secrets behind a deadly but complicated foe.

12. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Image

Director: Joss Whedon | Released: April 2015 | Rating: 12A | Length: 141 min

After Tony Stark unwittingly creates a genocidal A.I. villian, the Avengers must once again save the world from destruction—but this time just their power alone might not be enough to get the job done...

13. Ant-Man

Image

Director: Peyton Reed | Released: July 2015 | Rating: 12A | Length: 117 min

Master thief Scott Lang must tap into the good side of his character after he is recruited by the owner of a powerful suit that can control his size.

14. Captain America: Civil War

Image

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Released: May 2016 | Rating: 12A | Length: 148 min

When the governments of the world come together to exercise control over the Avengers, strong opinions threaten to divide the team, while a manipulative foe attempts to break down relationships by revealing dark secrets from the past.  

15. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Image

Director: Jon Watts | Released: July 2017 | Rating: 12 | Length: 133 min

In an attempt to prove himself as an Avenger, Peter Parker does everything he can to use his powers for good, but he gets caught up in a dangerous situation when he tries to balance this with his ordinary high school life.

16. Black Panther

Image

Director: Ryan Coogler | Released: February 2018 | Rating: 12A | Length: 135 min

After his father is tragically killed, T’Challa takes on the mantle of King of Wakanda, before he is challenged by a formidable foe from his father's past who threatens his life, his country and his people.

17. Doctor Strange

Image

Director: Scott Derrickson | Released: November 2016 | Rating: 12A | Length: 115 min

After brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon Stephen Strange loses the ability to use his hands, he embarks on an adventure that transforms his personality and turns him into a powerful sorcerer.

18. Thor: Ragnarok

Image

Director: Taika Waititi | Released: November 2017 | Rating: 12A | Length: 130 min

After a savage battle with his long-lost sister Hela, Thor is joined by a surprising colleague from Earth as he fights to save his Asgard home.

19. Avengers: Infinity War