Marvel Movies In-Order: Exact Order First-Time Fans Should Watch The Marvel Cinematic Universe

By Richard Nebens Updated:
MCU, Infinity Saga movies, Marvel Studios logo

Almost 16 years have passed since Iron Man kickstarted the global phenomenon that has become the MCU. Now, Marvel Studios is preparing to deliver its 34th movie this summer with Deadpool & Wolverine. So for those first-time viewers looking to join the franchise now, what is the best watch order?

MCU fans have varying opinions on the best order to experience the franchise, with the chronological timeline order being a rather popular option.

But for those looking to take their first dive into the MCU, the best order to experience the story is how Marvel Studios intended: release order.

For MCU viewers both new and old, the exact release order of the 16-year and 34-film franchise is detailed below:

Every MCU Movie In Order of Release

1. Iron Man

Iron Man, Marvel Studios logo
Marvel

Release Date: May 2, 2008

Tony Stark's first solo film kicked off the MCU in exciting fashion, showing off his evolution from playboy billionaire to superhero as he built his original Iron Man suits. Robert Downey Jr.'s hero finds himself entrenched in a difficult internal struggle, coming to terms with the consequences of his actions as a weapons maker while discovering a new way to do good in the world.

Iron Man is available to stream on Disney+ and FuboTV.

2. The Incredible Hulk

Edward Norton, Hulk, logo
Marvel

Release Date: June 13, 2008

Edward Norton brings a new version of Bruce Banner to life in a story that showed him on the run from General Thaddeus Ross and the United States army. With Banner looking for a way to rid himself of his gamma-induced situation, he has to adjust his goals and learns how to control the angry green rage monster inside of him.

The Incredible Hulk is available to stream on HBO Max and DirecTV, and fans can watch it on Disney+ through a VPN as well.

[ Incredible Hulk 2: New Details on Cancelled MCU Sequel Revealed (And It Sounds Amazing) ]

3. Iron Man 2

Iron Man, Iron Man 2 logo
Marvel

Release Date: May 7, 2010

Six months after the events of Iron Man, Tony Stark is in search of a new element to power the arc reactor in his chest, which is killing him via palladium poisoning. With Don Cheadle replacing Terrance Howard as Colonel James Rhodes and Scarlett Johansson's introduction as "Natalie Rushman," Tony quickly finds out what lies in the new world now that he's brought new dangerous technology into the equation.

Iron Man 2 is available to stream on Disney+.

4. Thor

Chris Hemsworth, Jane Foster, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, Thor
Marvel

Release Date: May 6, 2011

The MCU goes cosmic for the first time in 2011 by introducing Chris Hemsworth's Thor, who finds himself banished to Earth after starting a war with the Frost Giants. Tom Hiddleston's Loki becomes a breakout star alongside Hemsworth and Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, with the God of Thunder coming to grips with his humanity as he tries to regain his place alongside his family in Asgard.

Thor is available to stream on Disney+.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger logo, Chris Evans
Marvel

Release Date: July 22, 2011

Steve Rogers/Captain America's origin takes place before any other movie in the MCU timeline, sending him out as a mascot for the U.S. Army during World War II before he takes control of his own destiny. Learning how to become a superhero, he leads the Howling Commandos into battle against the Red Skull, who uses an incredibly powerful weapon known as the Tesseract to accomplish goals even far beyond those of Nazi Germany.

Captain America: The First Avenger is available to stream on Disney+

6. The Avengers

The Avengers, logo
Marvel

Release Date: May 4, 2012

After five MCU solo movies, Phase 1 comes to an epic end as the Avengers assemble for the first time against Loki, who seeks to take over Earth after feeling cheated out of ruling Asgard. This forces the four leading heroes from the rest of Phase 1, along with Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton, to join forces in order to stop the first alien invasion that Earth has ever seen.

The Avengers is available to stream on Disney+.

7. Iron Man 3

Tony Stark, Iron Man suits, Iron Man 3 logo
Marvel

Release Date: May 3, 2013

After the Avengers' first team-up effort, Tony Stark/Iron Man had to come back to reality and face his own demons, grappling with his place in the universe while also revisiting his past with former colleague Aldrich Killian. Uncovering the mystery of the Mandarin, a new supervillain who looks to inflict terror on the world while reviving the Ten Rings organization, Tony has to come to terms with his new reality while continuing to evolve as Iron Man.

Iron Man 3 is available to stream on Disney+.

[ First Look at Iron Man 3 Star’s Return In MCU Wonder Man (Set Photos) ]

8. Thor: The Dark World

Thor, Jane Foster, Odin, Loki, Thor: The Dark World logo
Marvel

Release Date: November 8, 2013

Reuniting with Jane Foster in this sequel, Thor has to take on a new enemy in Malekith and the Dark Elves, who are trying to plunge the world into eternal darkness with the Aether, "an ancient force of infinite destruction." The God of Thunder learns even further about loss and sacrifice in his next battle after dealing with his brother, Loki, balancing his life as an Asgardian God and an Avenger on Earth.

Thor: The Dark World is available to stream on Disney+, Starz, and DirecTV.

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier logo, Chris Evans
Marvel

Release Date: April 4, 2014

Steve Rogers is thrown into the middle of a major political conspiracy in Joe and Anthony Russo's first MCU outing, with Captain America learning what the 21st century has to offer. Teaming up with SHIELD agent Natasha Romanoff and meeting former pararescue soldier Sam Wilson, Captain America comes across a dangerous but familiar enemy in the Winter Soldier while also confronting an old foe from his past.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is available to stream on Disney+, Starz, DirecTV, and Sling.

[ Captain America 4 Star Reveals the Sequel's Key 'Winter Soldier' Connection ]

10. Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy logo, Groot, Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax
Marvel

Release Date: August 1, 2014

Peter Quill/Star-Lord gains possession of a mysterious orb before being thrown into prison alongside Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax the Destroyer as they decide to team up in order to gain their freedom. Starring in the MCU's first movie that takes place almost completely off of Earth, Star-Lord and the Guardians have to work out some massive differences with one another while getting a taste of the cosmic power that they'll have to face for years to come.

Guardians of the Galaxy is available to stream on Disney+ and Starz.

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Ultron, The Avengers, Age of Ultron logo
Marvel

Release Date: May 1, 2015

Teaming up once again to stop Hydra, Earth's Mightiest Heroes later find themselves with a new potentially world-ending threat in the menacing artificial intelligence program known as Ultron, created by the Avengers themselves. The team later learns of two new powered individuals in the Maximoff twins, Wanda and Pietro, who only add to the trouble that Ultron delivers when he seeks to annihilate the planet.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is available to stream on Disney+, DirecTV, Syfy, Sling, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.

[ MCU Rumor Sets Up Ultron’s Live-Action Return After Phase 4 ]

12. Ant-Man

Ant-Man logo, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
Marvel

Release Date: July 15, 2015

Closing out Phase 2 is Paul Rudd's first solo movie as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, showing the character's story after being released from prison as he teams up with Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne. Lang learns how to be Ant-Man in order to steal dangerous technology from Darren Cross/Yellowjacket in a movie that explores the Quantum Realm for the first time, all while Scott gets a tease of how big the Avengers' world really is.

Ant-Man is available to stream on Disney+, DirecTV, Syfy, Sling, TBS, and TruTV.

13. Captain America: Civil War

Captain America, Iron Man, Civil War logo
Marvel

Release Date: May 6, 2016

After years of leaving collateral damage in their wake, the Avengers are questioned when the United Nations approve the Sokovia Accords, splitting Earth's Mightiest Heroes into teams led by Captain America and Iron Man. In a movie that introduces Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU, this story throws the entire group into an epic duel, putting them in danger of breaking apart for good.

Captain America: Civil War is streaming on Disney+, DirecTV, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.

14. Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange logo
Marvel

Release Date: November 4, 2016

Benedict Cumberbatch made his long-awaited MCU debut as Doctor Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands before diving into the ways of the Mystic Arts. This solo story opens the door to all things supernatural and magical in the MCU as Strange learns how to unlock his potential as a hero while moving past his devastating injury.

Doctor Strange is available to stream on Disney+, DirecTV, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.

15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 logo, Guardians
Marvel

Release Date: May 5, 2017

Taking place only months after their first solo movie, the Guardians find themselves on the run from the Sovereign, leading to them coming into contact with Mantis and Peter Quill's father, Ego the Living Planet. This movie shows Peter Quill the truth about his true heritage, although the Guardians have to go through yet another emotional journey as they learn what being a family truly means.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is available to stream on Disney+.

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming logo, Spider-Man
Marvel

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Tom Holland's first solo Spider-Man movie sets him back in Queens only a short time in the MCU timeline after Civil War, allowing him to take on the local crime scene as he finds out about bigger dangers in his neighborhood. Going through his normal high school life, while trying to earn Tony Stark's respect, Peter eventually has to stop the efforts of the Vulture as he learns what it truly takes to be an Avenger.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is available to stream on Starz and DirecTV, and it can be streamed through a VPN on Disney+.

[ Marvel Studios’ 2nd Choice for MCU Vulture Actor Revealed ]

17. Thor: Ragnarok

Chris Hemsworth, Thor: Ragnarok logo
Marvel

Release Date: November 3, 2017

Two years after Thor leaves Earth in Age of Ultron, he learns about the prophecized fall of Asgard as the God of Thunder seeks to save his world. When he's stranded on Sakaar and thrown into a reunion with the Hulk, Thor has to navigate through a hoard of hilarity and adventure in Taika Waititi's first MCU film, all leading to a battle with the Goddess of Death, Hela, with Asgard in the balance.

Thor: Ragnarok is available to stream on Disney+, DirecTV, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.

18. Black Panther

T'Challa, Black Panther logo
Marvel

Release Date: February 16, 2018

Moving only slightly forward in the MCU timeline after Civil War, Chadwick Boseman's King T'Challa returns to his home country of Wakanda as he looks to settle new turmoil in his country. Eventually, this leads to an incredible duel with Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, bringing one of the MCU's deepest hero vs. villain battles ever with T'Challa navigating his new responsibilities as King of Wakanda.

Black Panther is available to stream on Disney+.

19. Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War logo, Thanos, Iron Man, Gamora
Marvel

Release Date: April 27, 2018

The third Avengers movie pulls together nearly every hero across the galaxy with one goal in mind - stopping Thanos from collecting all six Infinity Stones and completing the Infinity Gauntlet. This brings more MCU characters into one movie than any of its predecessors, pitting the best heroes from Earth and the cosmos against the Infinity Saga's biggest villain in a fight to save the universe.

Avengers: Infinity War is available to stream on Disney+.

[ Only 2 Avengers Actors Were Allowed to Read Infinity War's Full Script ]

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp

Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp logo
Marvel

Release Date: July 6, 2018

Scott Lang is paying the consequences for his actions in Civil War before Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne seek out his help in their next mission. The story also fully introduces Michelle Pfeiffer's Janet Van Dyne as the family goes up against both Sonny Burch and the super-powered Ghost, bringing more Ant-power to this tiny sequel that helps set up the end of the Infinity Saga.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is available to stream on Disney+.

21. Captain Marvel

Brie Larson, Captain Marvel logo
Marvel

Release Date: March 8, 2019

Becoming the second jump back in time in the MCU, Brie Larson's first solo movie introduced arguably Marvel's most powerful hero in the story in a '90s-themed adventure. This movie throws Carol Danvers into an Earth-based adventure alongside a young Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, highlighting SHIELD's early MCU days while shaking things up in the MCU watch order.

Captain Marvel is available to stream on Disney+, DirecTV, Sling, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.

22. Avengers: Endgame

Avengers, Avengers: Endgame logo
Marvel

Release Date: April 26, 2019

The penultimate movie of the Infinity Saga puts the Avengers on their most emotional and difficult journey to date in a movie that was shrouded in more secrecy than any of its predecessors. After the team's battle with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, this sequel challenged to be the highest-grossing movie of all time and brought one heartstopping moment after another in its three-hour runtime.

Avengers: Endgame is available to stream on Disney+, DirecTV, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.

[ Robert Downey Jr. Had 1 Extreme Demand for Avengers: Endgame's Set ]

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Peter Parker, MJ, Nick Fury, Mysterio, Far From Home logo
Marvel

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Phase 3 and the Infinity Saga as a whole came to an end with Spider-Man's second solo MCU film, which sees him on vacation to Europe while Nick Fury attempts to recruit him to fight the Elementals. This story also sees Peter come face-to-face with Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio, one of the web-slinger's classic villains from the comics, although he doesn't come across as a bad guy from jump street.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is available to stream on Starz and DirecTV.

24. Black Widow

Black Widow logo, Scarlett Johansson
Marvel

Release Date: July 9, 2021

After an 18-month delay, Marvel Studios went back in the MCU timeline to give Scarlett Johansson her own solo movie in Phase 4, which takes place shortly after Civil War as she is on the run from the United Nations. She goes on an exciting journey alongside Yelena Belova and her Black Widow family as she encounters the skilled villain Taskmaster, with later stages of the story also showing off deep connections to the Hawkeye series on Disney+.

Black Widow is available to stream on Disney+.

[ Black Widow: 10 Things Fans Should Know Before Watching the Scarlett Johansson Movie ]

25. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Simu Liu, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings logo
Marvel

Release Date: September 3, 2021

Phase 4's first new character came with Simu Liu's Shang-Chi, going up against an MCU legacy character in the Ten Rings organization along with his father, the real Mandarin. As he discovers his heritage and moves into a collision course with his father, even encountering a couple of already-established MCU characters on the way, Shang-Chi uses his martial arts mastery to answer the questions that arise about his place in the world.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is available to stream on Disney+.

26. Eternals

Eternals, Marvel Studios logo
Marvel

Release Date:  November 5, 2021

Chloé Zhao's epic MCU outing brought thousands of years of history to the forefront, largely taking place after Avengers: Endgame in the MCU timeline the Eternals make their new home on Earth. Delivering a great deal of representation while introducing a dozen new heroes, these millennia-old heroes have to band together in order to learn the truth about their very existence as the Deviants rise to power and threaten life on a global scale.

Eternals is available to stream on Disney+.

27. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, No Way Home logo
Marvel

Release Date: December 17, 2021

The Multiverse is unleashed in Peter Parker's third solo MCU movie as he deals with the immediate aftermath of his identity being revealed, all before multiple villains from past Spider-Man movies find their way into Earth-616. Forced to team up with Doctor Strange in order to fix this problem, all while dealing with his own life problems crumbling down on top of him, Spidey is put through challenges that no 17-year-old kid could imagine.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is available to stream on Starz and DirecTV.

[ Sony Prevented 1 Spider-Man Villain from Appearing In No Way Home ]

28. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange 2 logo
Marvel

Release Date: May 6, 2022

Following Wanda Maximoff's solo story in Disney+'s WandaVision, she finds herself meeting up with Doctor Stephen Strange as the fate of the Multiverse is put into jeopardy. Jumping through a number of alternate realities alongside America Chavez, Doctor Strange discovers just how vast and expansive the Multiverse truly is as he advances as a sorcerer and faces threats that could very well be even more powerful than him.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is available to stream on Disney+.

29. Thor: Love and Thunder

Chris Hemsworth, Thor: Love and Thunder logo
Marvel

Release Date: July 8, 2022

After years of fighting solo and with the Avengers, the God of Thunder goes on a quest for inner peace as he tries to figure out who he truly is and where he fits in the galaxy. Teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy while reuniting with Natalie Portman's revamped Jane Foster, Gorr the God Butcher puts Thor's plans on hold as he threatens the existence of all Gods across the universe.

Thor: Love and Thunder is available to stream on Disney+.

[ Was Thor 4 a Flop? New Data Reveals the Truth ]

30. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther 2 poster
Marvel

Release Date: November 11, 2022

The second Black Panther movie becomes the latest release both in the MCU timeline and in the real-world release schedule, largely serving as an emotional tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa as Phase 4 came to an end. This movie also features heavy connections to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ as Wakanda finds itself entrenched in a battle with Namor the Sub-Mariner and his nation of Talokan, marking Namor's long-awaited first Marvel Studios adventure.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will begin streaming on Disney+ on Wednesday, February 1.

31. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-man and the Wasp Quantumania Image
Marvel

Release Date: February 17, 2023

Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicks off with the end of the Ant-Man trilogy, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The Ant-Family get sucked into the Quantum Realm where they have to deal with their biggest challenge yet, Kang the Conquerer

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily return as the titular Ant-Man and the Wasp, with Kathryn Newton, Jonathan Majors, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michael Douglas also starring.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is streaming now on Disney+.

32.) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy 3
Marvel Studios

Release Date: May 5, 2023

DC Studios' new co-CEO James Gunn had his final go-round with Marvel Studios with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. As one of their own's life hangs in the balance, the Guardians are taken on a galactic adventure where they take on the High Evolutionary and uncover the backstory of the infamous Rocket.

The trilogy-ending flick brings back the familiar cast of Guardians including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Pom Klementieff, with Chukwudi Iwuji also starring.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is streaming now on Disney+.

33.) The Marvels

The Marvels, Captain Marvel 2
Marvel Studios

Release Date: November 10, 2023

The MCU brings together plot threads and characters from both the big screen and its Disney+ series with The Marvels. The ensemble blockbuster sees the return of Captain Marvel as she teams up with young hero Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) and a now-superpowered Monica Rambeau - whom she met as a child in the '90s.

The Marvels is headed up by the all-female superhero trio of Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani, with Zawe Ashton taking on villain duties.

The Captain Marvel sequel is streaming now on Disney+.

34.) Deadpool & Wolverine

Deadpool 3 Wolverine and Deadpool
Marvel Studios

Release Date: July 25, 2024

Marvel Studios will only release one new movie in 2024 as Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman suit back up for the titular roles in Deadpool & Wolverine. After two solo movies under 20th Century Fox, Wade Wilson will return for a Multiversal adventure with connections to Loki's TVA and all corners of Marvel movie history.

Reynolds and Jackman will headline the threequel but are expected to be joined by familiar X-Men, Deadpool franchise icons, and plenty more characters from Marvel's past and the Merc with a Mouth finally makes his way to the MCU.

Deadpool & Wolverine hits theaters on July 25.


Finished watching all 33 movies released so far? Find out how to experience the MCU in chronological timeline order instead here.

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
Platform
Theaters
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.