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...

marvel movies in order
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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

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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—especially 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

2. The Incredible Hulk

3. Iron Man 2

4. Thor

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

6. The Avengers

Phase Two

7. Iron Man 3

8. Thor: The Dark World

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

10. Guardians of the Galaxy

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron

12. Ant-Man

Phase Three

13. Captain America: Civil War

14. Doctor Strange

15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming

17. Thor: Ragnarok

18. Black Panther

19. Avengers: Infinity War

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp

21. Captain Marvel

22. Avengers: Endgame

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home

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

2. Captain Marvel

3. Iron Man

4. Iron Man 2

5. The Incredible Hulk

6. Thor

7. The Avengers

8. Iron Man 3

9. Thor: The Dark World

10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

11. Guardians of the Galaxy

12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

13. Avengers: Age of Ultron

14. Ant-Man

15. Captain America: Civil War

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming

17. Doctor Strange

18. Black Panther

19. Thor: Ragnarok

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp

21. Avengers: Infinity War

22. Avengers: Endgame

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home

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

2. The Incredible Hulk

3. Iron Man 2

4. Thor

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

6. The Avengers

7. Iron Man 3

8. Thor: The Dark World

9. Guardians of the Galaxy

10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

12. Avengers: Age of Ultron

13. Ant-Man

14. Captain America: Civil War

15. Spider-Man: Homecoming

16. Black Panther

17. Doctor Strange

18. Thor: Ragnarok

19. Avengers: Infinity War

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp

21. Captain Marvel

22. Avengers: Endgame

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Marvel TV shows - where do they fit in the Marvel movies order?

As well as new and upcoming Marvel movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is also expanding through a range of TV shows that are coming to Disney+. These shows tell the stories of what happens next to some of our favorite characters as well as introducing us to some new ones.

WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen (as Wanda Maximoff) and Paul Bettany (as Vision) was released weekly on Disney+ earlier this year and tells the story of what happens directly after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Following that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showed on the platform to give us some insight into what Captain America’s closest friends, Sam Wilson and Sam Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes, have been up to.

And now TV show Loki hits Disney+ to show us what happened in a new alternative timeline after the Avengers went back to the past and experienced a few timeline mishaps.

  • WandaVision (whole series available on Disney+)
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (whole series available on Disney+)
  • Loki (releasing week-by-week on Disney+ from June 2021)
  • Ms Marvel (late 2021)
  • Hawkeye (TBA)
  • She-Hulk (TBA)
  • Moon Knight (TBA)
  • Secret Invasion (TBA)
  • Ironheart (TBA)
  • Armor Wars (TBA)
  • Wakanda series (TBA)

Where to watch Marvel movies

Marvel movies on Disney+

If you have a Disney+ membership then you’re in luck, as 20 of the 23 Marvel movies can be found on the relatively new streaming service. When the platform launched in the UK back in March 2020, it did so with the bulk of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise in tow—and even has its own snazzy tab complete with three different ways to watch the Marvel movies in your preferred order.

The top runner on Disney’s Marvel page presents the series in chronological order by release date—albeit reverse release date, so if you’re new to the franchise be sure to swipe all the way through to start with Iron Man otherwise you’ll be met with some serious spoilers in Avengers: Endgame!

If you like to deal with things from a more organised point of review, then you can tackle each different section of the franchise—Marvel Cinematic Universe phase one, phase two and phase three—one by one.

how to watch the 23 Marvel movies in order

(Image credit: Alamy)

Or if you’re a sucker for immersing yourself in the action from the characters’ point of view, then Disney+ also presents the Marvel movies in timeline order so that you can go all the way from Captain America in World War II to the Avengers coming together in Endgame, set in 2023, and then following on with the new phase four releases.

How to download Marvel movies

For the Marvel movies that are available on Disney+, you can download them on the app to make them available offline.

Simply go to the film that you want to download and click the download button. However you will need to make sure you have enough memory on your device to hold the 20 movies available!

Unfortunately Tom Holland’s two Spiderman films are not on Disney+, as they are owned by Sony—although he still does star in the crossover movies. The second of the films, Spiderman: Far From Home is available on Netflix for anyone watching in the UK. Ed Norton’s 2008 The Incredible Hulk is also not included, as that was made by Universal before the character was taken over by Mark Ruffalo in the main series. However, you can get hold of the movies on Amazon Prime, where each is available to buy or rent.


How to watch the Marvel movies in the US

Just like in the UK, the Marvel movies are available to stream on Disney+ in the US.

If you’re not already signed up, you can register for $6.99 per month or save a bit of money buying in bulk and pay in pay $69.99 for the year.

Best Marvel movies

With 23 movies (and counting) there are a lot to choose from when it comes to picking the best Marvel movies.

Of course, it is down to personal preference (we’re fans of Black Panther, Civil War and of course all four Avengers films). However if you’re after a definitive guide, then you can go off the ratings on IMDb (Internet Movie Database).

On the site, they are ranked as follows:

  1. Avengers: Endgame (IMDb score: 8.4)
  2. Avengers: Infinity War (IMDb score: 8.4)
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy (IMDb score: 8)
  4. Avengers Assemble (IMDb score: 8)
  5. Iron Man (IMDb score: 7.9)
  6. Thor: Ragnarok (IMDb score: 7.9)
  7. Captain America: Civil War (IMDb score: 7.8)
  8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (IMDb score: 7.7)
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (IMDb score: 7.6)
  10. Spider-Man: Far from Home (IMDb score: 7.5)
  11. Doctor Strange (IMDb score: 7.5)
  12. Spider-Man: Homecoming (IMDb score: 7.4)
  13. Black Panther (IMDb score: 7.3)
  14. Avengers: Age of Ultron (IMDb score: 7.3)
  15. Ant-Man (IMDb score: 7.3)
  16. Iron Man 3 (IMDb score: 7.2)
  17. Ant-Man and the Wasp (IMDb score: 7.1)
  18. Thor (IMDb score: 7)
  19. Iron Man 2 (IMDb score: 7)
  20. Captain Marvel (IMDb score: 6.9)
  21. Captain America: The First Avenger (IMDb score: 6.9)
  22. Thor: The Dark World (IMDb score: 6.9)
  23. The Incredible Hulk (IMDb score: 6.7)

What’s the best order to watch the Marvel movies?

When it comes to the best way to watch the Marvel movies in order, it is of course up to personal preference—but there are pros to all three orders.

The most common way to watch them is in chronological order by release date, as not only can you enjoy the progression of the graphics quality, but you can follow the story just as fans have done since 2008.

If you want to immerse yourself in the stories from the characters’ perspectives, you can watch it in timeline order—however, we’d suggest avoiding this if you’re new to the series.

First, you may struggle to remember the relevance of certain characters and backstories—especially with a film like Captain Marvel that sits in such opposing positions among the two different orders. 

how to watch the 23 Marvel movies in order

(Image credit: Alamy)

And second, it’s definitely easier to pick up cross-references and inside jokes when watching the films in order of release date.

That being said, if you’ve raked up more rewatches than the Friends series, having a marathon by timeline order can offer a different perspective on the movies and give you a unique insight into certain characters’ backstories.

And if you’re considering taking on the Marvel movies in spaghetti order—it definitely takes some commitment so we’d reserve that one for true MCU virtuosos!