How to Watch Every MCU Movie in the Order They Were Released

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU for short) is a giant, sprawling, connected universe of media including movies, TV shows, novels, and comic books. It can be daunting, especially if you're not the biggest comic book fan. The best way to experience the MCU for newbies, in my opinion, is to watch the films in the order they were released. This order lets you experience the MCU as the hardcore fans did, only you don't have to wait months, and sometimes years, between films.

As a note, I included every film that has been released and all films from Phase 4 that are currently in production or awaiting release. As new films get announced, I'll add them to the list.

Second note, most of these films can be viewed on Disney+. Some of the movies are missing from that service due to licensing issues, but for the rest, the House of Mouse has you covered.

Third note, I did not include the TV shows, such as WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, on this list. To find out where they fit into the MCU, check out the MCU Master List (coming soon).

Here's a handy PDF version so you can check off the films as you watch them.

MCU Release Order - Films Only
Download PDF • 165KB

Phase 1

1. Iron Man (2008)

If you were paying attention to Marvel, movies, or Marvel movies in the 2000's you may be excused for wondering why in the hell they wanted to make an Iron Man movie. They screwed up Daredevil, nearly killed Spider-Man, and staked Blade through the heart. Why would they take one of their least popular heroes, played by that guy from Alley McBeal, and put the dude from Swingers in charge? If you thought that, you were wrong. And so was I. I apologize and bow down to the sheer awesomeness this film represents. What a hell of a way to start the largest connected universe of films since the discovery of fire.


2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Don't get too used to Edward Norton as Bruce Banner (or Terrance Howard from Iron Man, for that matter) because he is recast after this outing. Many people find issues with this movie, and some criticisms are valid, but I love this film. It's fun, Hulk smashes stuff, and Tim Roth is the bad guy. What else do you want?


3. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Disney bought Marvel in 2009. They promptly used their vast wealth to reanimate the corpse of Mickey Rourke and make him shamble around uttering vaguely human noises for a couple of hours. Also, they invited Sam Rockwell to dance a bunch. The result is this film. This movie also introduced Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, replaced Terrance Howard with Don Cheadle, and hinted at the connected nature of these films by pointing to a "disturbance in New Mexico".


4. Thor (2011)

At this point, it seemed obvious that Disney was taking this new purchase seriously. We were getting more Marvel movies at a faster pace than ever before, and they were kinda good. Chris Hemsworth came out of nowhere, playing the Son of Odin as a Shakespeare character, but it worked. Also, many women (and men) argued who was hotter, Hemsworth or Hiddleston? Dumb muscle or cool brooding? We're still having that fight. Also, Hawkeye is introduced in this movie, but he doesn't really get to do anything... yet.


5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Wait, The Human Torch is Captain America now? Yes, and he's awesome. This movie somehow manages to be Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan, and Superman all rolled into one. I hope they make more of these Marvel movies...


6. The Avengers (2012)

Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye team up for the first big Marvel Mash-Up. This movie is a classic, in spite of Joss Whedon. Mark Ruffalo takes over as Bruce Banner, but other than that, it's all the heroes we've been introduced to over the last five films. I remember being a bit bummed when this movie came out because I thought this would be it for the connected Marvel film universe. Boy, was I wrong.


Phase 2

7. Iron Man 3 (2013)

This movie made me realize that this MCU thing was going to be around for a really long time. Super hero movies can be campy, corny, flashy, and fun, but they rarely deal with real issues that make us think differently about the world or inspire us to step into another's shoes. This movie deals with what happens to a super hero when he suffers from PTSD. Tony uses his suits as a security blanket. What happens when he suffers a panic attack, but he doesn't have a suit? Who is Tony without the armor? Also, Shane Black is amazing. This is my favorite Christmas movie... fight me.


8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)


9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)


10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)


11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)


12. Ant-Man (2015)


Phase 3

13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)


14. Doctor Strange (2016)


15. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017)


16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)


17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


18. Black Panther (2018)


19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)


20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)


21. Captain Marvel (2019)


22. Avengers: Endgame (2019)


23. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)


Phase 4

24. Black Widow (2021)


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


26. Eternals (2021)


27. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)


28. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)


29. Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)


30. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)


31. The Marvels (2023)


32. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 (2023)


33. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)


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