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Best Marvel Movies Watch Order: How to Watch the Full MCU in Order

Yes, it's "chronological."

Avengers 2012 assemble

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has given audiences all over the globe some of the most unforgettable cinematic experiences in recent memory. The expansive franchise has now grown to include 30 movies so far, with more on the way.

With so many movies to crack on with (not to mention TV shows), where does one start? Here’s how to go about it.

How to watch the full MCU in order

For first-time viewers, it may be best to stick to the release dates of the films. This way, you can appreciate how the universe has grown over time and get a sense of the characters’ development.

However, for those who have seen all the movies already and want to watch them again in a different order, you can do so in chronological order according to the year that the film is set in the MCU.

Here’s how to watch the full MCU in chronological order:

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 1942-1943

Captain America: The First Avenger is the perfect place to start your MCU marathon. Not only does it introduce us to Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, but it also gives us a much-needed refresher on the events of World War II.

Captain America: The First Avenger follows Steve Rogers as he’s transformed into the super soldier we all know and love. it’s a heartwarming origin story that will leave you cheering for the good guys.

Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 1995

After Captain America: The First Avenger, you must watch Captain Marvel. Although it may seem weird to watch it now since you have to go over several more films before the character’s next appearance, this is the best way to do it. Not only will you get a sense of Captain Marvel’s power, but you’ll also see how important she is to the entire story.

Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2010

Next up is Iron Man after Captain Marvel. It’s considered one of the best origin stories in superhero movies. In this movie, we are introduced to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a billionaire weapons manufacturer who is captured by terrorists. He then creates an armored suit to escape and becomes Iron Man.

We are also introduced to the concept of the “Infinity Stones” in this movie, which plays a major role in the MCU. This is also the first movie released in the MCU.

Related: The 61 celebrities who have played themselves in the MCU on We Got This Covered

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2011

After being introduced to Iron Man, we see Bruce Banner/Hulk in his own standalone film. This is a great movie to watch if you’re a fan of the comic books, as it features many references to the Hulk’s long history.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2011

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark is dealing with the aftermath of being revealed as Iron Man. He’s also trying to find a replacement for the arc reactor that’s keeping him alive. At the same time, he’s battling Justin Hammer, who is trying to take over his company. And then there’s Ivan Vanko, who wants revenge against Tony for his father’s death.

The film introduces Black Widow, Nick Fury, and S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s also the first time we see Tony’s alcoholism begin to take over his life.

Thor (2011)

Thor
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2011

The next Avenger who gets his own movie is Thor, the god of thunder. The first Thor movie is one of the weaker MCU entries but it’s still a fun ride. It sets up the Norse mythology that will be important in later movies and it introduces Thor’s long-time adversary, Loki.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Marvel’s The Avengers
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2012

After Thor, you will want to watch The Avengers. Loki has taken the Tesseract, a powerful energy source, from Asgard to Earth in an attempt to conquer it. The Avengers are formed to defeat him, marking the very beginning of Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2012

Once you’ve seen The Avengers, you have to check out Iron Man 3, where Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) deals with the aftermath of the Battle of New York by, well, almost destroying himself. It gives further insight into his character, and how he deals with his PTSD along with his relationship with Pepper Potts.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2013

In this film, we see the aftermath of the Avengers’ battle with Loki and the Chitauri. As a result of the destruction caused by the aliens, Thor is now working to clean up Asgard while Loki is in prison. Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest, becomes infected with a powerful artifact known as the Aether. When Malekith, an ancient enemy of Asgard, returns to try and claim the Aether, Thor must team up with Loki to stop him.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is pretty essential to understanding what’s going on in Avengers: Age of Ultron since it’s all about Hydra secretly infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D., and it also sets up the Sokovia Accords storyline from Captain America: Civil War.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2014

While most of the MCU films can be watched in any order, Guardians of the Galaxy is best viewed after Captain America: The Winter Soldier and before Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is because the film contains several references to events that happen in those films, and it helps to have some prior knowledge before watching Guardians.

The film introduces the Guardians, a team of unlikely heroes who band together to protect the galaxy from threats. The team is made up of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2014

In Vol. 2, the Guardians of the Galaxy are hired by Ayesha, the ruler of an alien race called the Sovereign, to protect their valuable batteries from thieves. When Rocket steals some of the batteries, the Sovereign sends their forces after the Guardians. Gamora betraying her team to save Nebula and Ego’s planet and destroying himself are key events in this movie.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2015

This is the movie that begins Phase Two of the MCU, and it features all of the original Avengers as they team up to take on a new threat. In this film, the team is pitted against Ultron, a powerful A.I. that wants to destroy humanity. It sets up the conflict that will eventually lead to the events of Captain America: Civil War.

Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2015

This standalone film introduces Scott Lang, a criminal with a heart of gold who becomes Ant-Man after being recruited by Hank Pym. Although it doesn’t have as high of a budget as some of the other MCU films, Ant-Man is a hilarious heist movie that sets up the importance of family in the MCU.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2016

The film takes place after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and sets up the conflict between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers that will continue throughout the Infinity Saga. It introduces Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Bucky Barnes’ Winter Soldier as important players in the MCU.

Black Widow (2021)

Black Widow
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2016

Black Widow is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and follows Natasha Romanoff as she confronts her past. While the first few minutes of the movie show flashbacks of Natasha’s childhood, the majority of the film is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2016

This is another movie in the MCU that is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War. In this movie, Peter Parker is trying to balance his life as a high school student and his life as Spider-Man. He also has to deal with the Vulture, who is a new villain in the MCU.

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2017

The first Black Panther movie is set in the year 2018, one year after Captain America: Civil War. In this movie, T’Challa becomes the new king of Wakanda after his father’s death. However, he must face off against Erik Killmonger, who wants to take over Wakanda for himself.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2016-2017

Doctor Strange is the fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is the first film of Infinity Saga’s Phase Three. In the film, Stephen Strange, an egotistical neurosurgeon, is injured in a car accident that damages his hands.

He is then visited by the Ancient One, who teaches him the mystic arts and helps him stop the evil Dormammu from taking over Earth. It sets up the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2017

In this film, Thor must face off against his sister Hela, who has plans to take over Asgard. It introduces new characters like the Grandmaster and Valkyrie, and sets up Thor and the Asgardians’ journey across the galaxy for future films.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2017

Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War. In this movie, Scott Lang is placed on house arrest after his involvement in the Airport battle.

While under house arrest, he has visions of Hope van Dyne, also known as The Wasp. It is revealed that Hank Pym and Hope have been working on a way to rescue Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm. Scott is recruited by Hope and Hank to help them with their plan, which he agrees to do.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2017

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. It’s one of the most pivotal moments in the MCU and sets up Avengers: Endgame.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2018-2023

Of course, you should watch Endgame right after Infinity War for better continuity. This is the movie that ties up all the loose ends in the MCU and completes Thanos’ story arc.

The film is long, but it’s packed with so much fan service and callbacks to the previous movie, such as the appearance of Tony Stark’s daughter Morgan. You won’t even notice the time passing.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Spider-Man: Far From Home
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2024

Next up is Spider-Man: Far From Home, which takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. In this movie, Peter Parker and his friends go on a school trip to Europe, where they are attacked by the evil Mysterio. This is a must-watch for any Marvel fan, as it brings the story of the MCU full circle.

Eternals (2021)

Eternals
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2024

The Eternals are a race of super-powered beings that were created by the Celestials. They were designed to protect Earth from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. The film follows the story of Ikaris and Sersi, two members of the Eternals who fall in love with each other.

While it may not seem like part of the main story arc, the film does take place in the same universe as the other MCU films. It is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame and introduces a new race of beings into the MCU.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2023-2024

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is part of the Multiverse Saga in the MCU and takes place in between 2023 and 2024. It introduces Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu, who must stop the Ten Rings from taking over the world. The movie also features the return of The Mandarin, who was last seen in Iron Man 3.

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2024

The film takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and features Tom Holland’s Spider-Man teaming up with other Marvel characters. No Way Home tells how Peter Parker’s life changed when his identity as Spider-Man was revealed to the public.

It features amazing cameos by Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, and Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus. Of course, there’s also the much-awaited reunion of the different Spider-Mans played by Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire.

Spider-Man: No Way Home sets up the events for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the remaining movies in Phase Four or the Multiverse Saga.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2024

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens with America Chavez, aka Miss America, and Doctor Strange being chased by a giant, interdimensional monster through the New York City streets. Strange casts a spell that opens a portal and they jump through it, narrowly escaping the creature.

In the film, they team up to take down the monster, but their fight takes them through different dimensions and realities, including a dark world that is home to an evil version of Doctor Strange. It also sees The Scarlet Witch as she continues to struggle with her mental health and the loss of Vision.

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Thor: Love and Thunder
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2025

Thor: Love and Thunder also sees the God of Thunder and the Guardians of the Galaxy after the events of Avengers: Endgame. In the film, Thor is reunited with Jane Foster, who becomes the new Thor after Mjolnir attaches itself to her. Tessa Thompson also returns as Valkyrie, and is now leading Asgard after the events of Thor: Ragnarok.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Marvel Studios)

Year in MCU: 2025

The latest entry in the MCU, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and addresses Chadwick Boseman’s absence as T’Challa, due to his death in 2020. The film sees T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri take up the mantle of Black Panther, as she is the one who is best suited to defend Wakanda now that her brother is gone.

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