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How to watch the Marvel Movies in order: Have your own Marvel movie marathon

Marvel movies in order: Marvel movie marathon time
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Looking to watch the Marvel movies in order? The arrival of Infinity War on Disney Plus just made it easier than ever. Our complete guide explains where to stream Marvel movies, as Disney Plus hasn't gone full Infinity Gauntlet yet, and some films are still in Netflix's grasp. 

We start our instructions for the quintessential Marvel binge-watch with the chronological sorting of the MCU movies and its distinct 'phases:' from Iron Man beta testing suits to Spider-Man's most recent trip.

MARVEL MOVIES IN ORDER | ON DISNEY PLUS?

Iron Man (2008): Yes
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
: No
Iron Man 2 (2010)
: Yes
Thor (2011)
: Yes
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
: Yes
The Avengers (2012)
: Yes
Iron Man 3 (2013)
: Yes
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
: Yes
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
: Yes
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
: Yes
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
: Yes
Ant-Man (2015)
: Yes
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
: Yes
Doctor Strange (2016)
: Yes
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
: Yes
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
: No
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
: Yes
Black Panther (2018)
: Yes
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
: Yes
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
: No (coming July 29, 2020)
Captain Marvel (2019)
: Yes
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
: Yes
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
: No

The easiest way to watch Marvel movies is Disney Plus, the home of most of the MCU (Disney doesn't own all of the films, so some may always stay far from home). While the service is still finding its way on originals that spark conversation, Disney owns Marvel, making its service a must unless you want to outright buy the movies on your own.

Inspired by Nick Fury, we assembled our lists of the 23 MCU films that comprise the Infinity Saga. So, for those who have already seen them all in order of theatrical release, we've gone above and beyond.

First off, we've organized the Marvel movies in order of the events that take place in the Infinity Saga. It's weird, right, that the films weren't released in that order, but the same is true for the Star Wars trilogies. This order isn't exactly perfect either, with flashbacks here and there that break the strict narrative arc, but you've got what it takes to grok the twists in the road from Tony Stark to Groot.

But what if a whole 23 movies is too much, even with any time off you might have? In the interest of not wasting a single second, we've got a list of the best Marvel movies, aka the ones you should not skip.

As for where you'll watch these movies, you'll likely start at Disney Plus, which is slowly acquiring Marvel movies, like Thanos going after the Infinity Gems. Netflix has two of the remaining MCU movies to give up, once contracts expire. For example, Black Panther arrived on Disney Plus in March 2020, long after the service started.

Oh, and as for the MCU films coming in the future? While we keep this story updated with the latest release dates, our Marvel movies release dates calendar is a complete guide to when your favorite superheroes will next fly to the big screen. We're tracking what Marvel Studios, Disney Plus and Sony have for Phase 4 and beyond, including the Spider-Man sequels. We've even got a list of the DCEU release dates, as we bet some of y'all will be interested.

We've also got the specific dates for those two remaining MCU movies will actually leave Netflix — as well as why you shouldn't expect the rest to arrive on Disney Plus any time soon.

Marvel movies in order of chronological events

Marvel movies in order: Captain America: The First Avenger

(Image credit: Jay Maidment/Paramount)

If you’ve seen most or all of the movies and you want to switch things up a bit, chronologically rewatching the Marvel movies in order, to see the events as they took place (with flashbacks thrown in just to throw you off), is a fun experiment. 

Some plot points might become stronger, while some plot holes might seem more obvious, but for a decade-plus-long story, it’s bound to be impressive. And after going from 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger to 2019’s Captain Marvel, the rest will surely seem more sensical.  

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (World War II)
  • Captain Marvel (1995)
  • Iron Man (2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (after Iron Man 1)
  • The Incredible Hulk (occurs prior to The Avengers)
  • Thor (occurs prior to The Avengers)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (six months after The Avengers)
  • Thor: Dark World (after The Avengers, before Age of Ultron)
  • Captain America: Winter Soldier (after The Avengers, before Age of Ultron)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (ca. 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (after Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (after Age of Ultron, before Infinity War)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (after Age of Ultron, before Infinity War)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (after Age of Ultron, before Infinity War)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2017)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (after Infinity War, before Endgame)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2017 - 2022)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (after Endgame)

Marvel movies in order of release

Marvel movies in order: Iron Man

(Image credit: Credit: Zade Rosenthal/Paramount)

We recommend watching the Marvel movies in order of their release for a few reasons. It’s fun to see how the special effects and actors evolve over the years, you won’t feel as bad about skipping around if you don’t want to do a complete binge-watch and, quite frankly, the release order tells a stronger narrative — watching a movie like Captain Marvel out of release order might be more confusing than enjoyable. 

You'll see below that we've broken them out into Marvel's three Phases, the groupings it uses to show the major chapters of The Infinity Saga. This is the natural way to organize your own Marvel movie marathon.

Phase One

  • Iron Man (May 2, 2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (June 13, 2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010)
  • Thor (May 6, 2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22, 2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (May 4, 2012)

Phase Two

  • Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015)
  • Ant-Man (July 17, 2015)

Phase Three

  • Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017)
  • Black Panther (February 16, 2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (April 27, 2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6, 2018)
  • Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (April 26, 2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2, 2019)

Marvel movies in order of upcoming releases

Looking at the below list of movies, you might be wondering when exactly the Avengers will find their new leader. Speculation suggests that Carol Danvers herself will be taking the reins of the team, but we'll have to wait for July 2022 to see if there's any merit to that fan theory. Here is the short calendar of when to expect upcoming Marvel movies (in order of theatrical release).

Phase 4

  • Black Widow (November 6, 2020)
  • The Eternals (February 12, 2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (May 7, 2021)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (February 11, 2022)
  • Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022)

Upcoming Marvel films

  • Black Panther 2 (May 6, 2022)
  • Captain Marvel II (July 8, 2022)
  • Blade (To be announced)
  • Avengers 5 (To be announced)
  • Untitled Marvel Studios film (February 17, 2023)
  • Untitled Marvel Studios film (May 5, 2023)
  • Untitled Marvel Studios film (July 28, 2023)
  • Untitled Marvel Studios film (November 3, 2023)

Marvel movies on Disney Plus

Marvel movies in order: Endgame on Disney Plus

(Image credit: Future)

The big perk of Marvel movies hitting Disney Plus is that this means all of them can be saved for offline for your night flight(s). As much as we’d love to tell you that you’ll be able to stream all the Marvel movies in order on Disney Plus, that’s unfortunately not the case. Disney Plus launched with these 16 (out of 23) films, and added its 17th (Thor: Ragnarok), 18th (Black Panther) and 19th (Avengers: Infinity War) movies recently.

While we wish all 23 MCU movies will streamable on Disney Plus eventually, there's reason to suspect that The Incredible Hulk and both Spider-Man films won't make it, due to being owned by Sony and Universal, respectively. Ant-Man and The Wasp is due next month, once it contract with Netflix expire, making it a little easier to have a whole Marvel movie marathon on a single service.

For more, read our full Disney Plus review.

Marvel movies in order of critical praise

Not all Marvel movies are that great. Sure, there are some gems out there — critics loved Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok — but for every Endgame there's also a The Incredible Hulk (remember the pre-Ruffalo Hulk?). So, for those trying to find the best (or worst) MCU films, we have your back.

Trying to find the Marvel movies that are actually good? We've organized the Marvel movies in order of their Rotten Tomatoes scores, which give us a wealth of insight into how these movies were critically received. 

Marvel movies on other services

Marvel movies in order: The Winter Soldier on Disney Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Since the vast majority of the movies have moved to Disney Plus, the only other option left is Netflix. That's where you can watch Ant-Man and the Wasp before is leaves — which is happening quite soon.

Then, you'll turn to rent the rest through iTunes or Amazon for $1.99–$3.99 each. But if you’re a hardcore fan, a collector or simply looking for a reason to burn a hole in your wallet, you might wanna consider preordering the Infinity Saga Collector’s Edition box set from Best Buy. It’ll cost you — are you sitting down? — a whopping $549.99, BUT it contains all 23 films on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray; never-before-seen content; a letter from the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige; and lithograph art by Marvel artist Matt Ferguson. Plus then you’ll own them all forever (and be in complete control of your next Marvel movie marathon)!

Yes, even The Incredible Hulk. 

Marvel movies in order of our preference

Marvel movies in order: Endgame

(Image credit: Disney Studios)

Now, if you want to watch the best of the best, that list is going to look a little different. Here are our top 10 (sorted in release order) based purely on the quality of the film itself (and no, this was not an easy list to make): 

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Though others will undoubtedly have a different top 10, most of us can agree on one thing: There’s almost no reason ever to have to watch The Incredible Hulk.  

Marvel movies you shouldn’t skip

So you’re not a completist but want to familiarize yourself with the MCU as quickly as possible? We get it. Not everyone has 48 whole hours to devote to just one franchise. Here’s where it gets a little tricky, though: Some of the best films aren’t necessarily the most important to watch for a greater understanding of the overarching narrative of the MCU. 

For example, Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming are two of our all-time favorites, but they’re almost the cinematic equivalents of “bottle episodes,” in that they’re very fun one-off stories that don’t do a whole lot to further the larger story leading up to Endgame.

If you want a shortened version of the main narrative, we’d suggest watching at least these eight films:

  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)

These should give you a cursory understanding of the heroes, villains and Infinity Stones, enough not to feel lost by the time you get to Endgame. 

How the Marvel shows fit in 

Not overwhelmed enough yet? Good, because the MCU doesn’t stop at just the movies. There are also a boatload of shows that connect (some more than others) to the super hero blockbusters.  

ABC

Agent Carter: Starring Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) from the Captain America films, this super-fun period spy drama is best watched in conjunction with Captain America: The First Avenger. 

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: As its name suggests, this show follows the previously sidelined agents who keep our favorite heroes in check in the films. It’s also one of the most closely tied shows to the movies, which makes it difficult to say how best to watch. For example, a game-changing Winter Soldier reveal directly affects a season-one episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. that aired the same week the movie was released. Because the movie tie-ins continue to happen throughout its six seasons, we’d suggest just bingeing the whole show after you’ve caught up with all the movies. 

Netflix

The Marvel Netflix shows exist in the MCU, but they’re more closely related to one another than to the films. For that reason, after having at least watched Marvel’s The Avengers, we’d suggest bingeing the Netflix Originals in release order: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders and The Punisher. (But, honestly, you can skip Iron Fist altogether.) 

Hulu & Freeform

Chronologically, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (Freeform) takes place shortly after the events of Civil War, and the show cleverly gives a lot more backstory to the corrupt Roxxon company that operates in the background of the films. Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu) also takes place around this time but is much less connected to the films. We mention them here together because the two shows will cross over when season three of Runaways premieres Dec. 13, so you’ll definitely want to catch up on both before that happens. 

What’s next 

Marvel movies in order: Hawkeye in Endgame

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Once you’re done watching, rewatching or catching up, there are a ton of new films and TV shows on their way for you to look forward to. Dates on most are still tentative, but you have at least until May of next year before being inundated with new content. 

To kick off MCU Phase 4, Marvel Studios plans to release the much-anticipated Black Widow movie in May 2020. Plot details are scarce, but it sounds like the film will follow our favorite KGB assassin turned Avenger following the events of Civil War, with flashbacks to her early Red Room training. 

The Eternals also has an expected 2020 release date. The huge ensemble cast was announced at San Diego Comic-Con and includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Barry Keoghan, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington. 

In 2021, we’re expected to get Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange follow-up Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, featuring Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Goddess of Thunder. 

If those aren’t enough, Marvel has already announced a Black Panther sequel, Blade, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a Captain Marvel sequel and (yet another) Fantastic Four. It’s currently unclear whether these movies will be released in 2021 or later.

After canceling all of its Netflix Originals, Marvel has big plans to further its TV-verse and make it even more connected to the movies. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, starring Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie, will arrive later next year. In 2021, we’ll get Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as Loki in the aptly titled Loki; Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision (respectively) in the perhaps too aptly titled WandaVision; and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in, you guessed it, Hawkeye

Other announced shows include What If?, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight and She-Hulk.