marvel cinematic universe timeline
[Photos via Marvel]

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 delayed until later this year, there’s no better time for a Marvel marathon. The launch of Disney+ placed the majority of these films in one convenient location, making binge-watching them even easier.

With over 10 years of Marvel magic under our belts, trying to figure out the perfect order to watch all of our favorite superhero films can be quite daunting. So, we’ve created a list that puts every film in chronological order for your viewing pleasure. 

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Not sure where to stream those select few films that are elusive to Disney+? Have no fear. We’ve taken care of those, too. There’s nothing wrong with watching the movies in release order, especially with post-credit scenes blending beautifully into the next release. However, if you’re looking for a more story-based timeline, then we’ve got you covered.

You should note, however, that listing up the MCU storyline requires a little bending in regards to the timeline. For example, Doctor Strange begins before Civil War but finishes after Civil War. There are a few films that bounce around in timelines, but overall, this is the closest to a chronological order.

Prepare yourself for Phase 4 of the MCU with a full list of Marvel movies in story order below!

Captain America: The First Avenger (1940s)

Available on: Disney+

Taking place in the 1940s, Captain America: The First Avenger kicks off the chronological list. The film follows fan-favorite Steve Rogers as he attempts to join America’s armed forces. Eventually he gets accepted into an experimental program that turns him into Captain America. The movie gives us our first real look at HYDRA. It also introduces us to Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter, two key characters in forthcoming Marvel films. The movie jumps around the chronological timeline a bit, ending 70 years later in present day.

Captain Marvel (1995)

Available on: Disney+

Marking the MCU’s first female-led film, Captain Marvel pushed things higher, further and faster in the Marvel Universe. The movie takes place in 1995, following Kree warrior Carol Danvers as she lives her life on Earth. She attempts to uncover the secrets from her past with the help of Nick Fury. While we’ve seen plenty of Fury in films based on release order, this is the first introduction in story order.

Iron Man (2010)

Available on: Disney+

If you’re watching in order of release, then Iron Man will be the one to kick you off. The first film in Marvel’s Phase 1, Tony Stark captured the hearts of millions with his philanthropist playboy attitude. Iron Man takes place in 2010 and also gives us a first look at female badass Black Widow

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Iron Man 2 (2011)

Available on: Disney+

Shortly following the first Iron Man film in the chronological timeline, we see the ramifications of the world finally being aware that Stark is Iron Man. Powerful new enemies and pressure from the military continue the journey through the Marvel timeline in Iron Man 2.

The Incredible Hulk (2011)

Available on: Amazon Prime

The second film released by Marvel in 2008, fans are introduced to incredibly smart scientist Bruce Banner. Struggling to find a cure for the gamma radiation that transformed him into The Hulk, Banner finds himself face to face with a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination. Universal owns the film’s rights, so unless that changes, don’t count on it heading to Disney+ with its Marvel counterparts.

Thor (2011)

Available on: Disney+

Released in 2011 and taking place then, Thor gives fans a glimpse at the world of Asgard, gods and more. The film acts as a key piece in setting up crucial info about the nine realms, with the post-credit scene giving us a further look into the Tesseract from the first Captain America film. 

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The Avengers (2012)

Available on: Disney+

Initiating a superhero recruitment effort, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Fury forms a “dream team” of Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America and Hawkeye in an attempt to defeat Earth’s latest threat. The first Avengers film of four, there are plenty of Easter eggs scattered throughout giving clues for future installments. 

Iron Man 3 (2012)

Available on: Disney+

Following the events of The Avengers and the chaos and destruction that rained down on New York, Stark finds himself consumed by worry and insomnia on how to keep the world safe in Iron Man 3. After a powerful enemy known as The Mandarin strips Stark of the suits he so heavily relies on, Stark must turn to his instinct and ingenuity to protect not only the world but the people he loves the most.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Available on: Disney+

The sequel to Thor isn’t exactly a fan favorite in the MCU. But it does play a crucial role in setting things up for the future Avengers films. It’s not our first glimpse at the Infinity Stones, but the film’s post-credits scene does mark the first time the term “Infinity Stones” is used while also referring to the Aether as one. It may not be everyone’s go-to when they want to watch a Marvel film, but it’s key in laying down the foundation for Avengers: Infinity War.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Available on: Disney+

Who doesn’t love a good film about conspiracies? Joining forces with Black Widow, Captain America is forced to deal with an unexpected enemy that hits a bit too close to home. Not only do we get a further look into Black Widow’s past, but we’re also reintroduced to Barnes in his new role as The Winter Soldier as well as Captain America’s new ally The Falcon.

Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Available on: Disney+

A band of misfits and an exciting space adventure, Guardians Of The Galaxy expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into, well, the universe. The film also introduces us to another Infinity Stone—the Power Stone—while providing more info and development into the storyline. 

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2014)

Available on: Disney+

The Guardians return once again as Marvel fans get a better glimpse behind our band of misfits. Old foes become new allies as the team finds themselves fighting to keep their little family together, all while Peter Quill’s true parentage is revealed. 

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Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

Available on: Disney+

The Avengers are forced to reassemble after Stark’s peace-keeping program goes awry, turning into Ultron, who is hellbent on human extinction. Along the way, we’re introduced to powerful newcomers Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Ant-Man (2015)

Available on: Disney+

While unknown at the time of its release, Ant-Man would prove to play a key role in the final installment of the Avengers films. This hilarious MCU movie introduces fans to Pym Particles, a term we’d become all too familiar with in Avengers: Endgame.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Available on: Disney+

As a new system of accountability surfaces following the events in New York and Sokovia, the Avengers find themselves divided over the Accords in Captain America: Civil War. As the debate escalates, members are forced to choose sides, with ramifications that will ripple throughout the MCU.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)

Available on: FX and Amazon Prime

Tom Holland’s loveable Spider-Man character makes his solo film debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming. As he learns to embrace his new superhero identity under the watchful eye of Stark, Peter Parker must soon put his powers to the test as he faces the evil villain Vulture. Similarly to The Incredible Hulk, with Sony owning the rights to the Spider-Man films, you won’t find these Marvel movies coming to Disney+ anytime soon. 

Doctor Strange (2016-2017)

Available on: Disney+

Following a neurosurgeon who’s forced to turn to the mystic arts for healing, Doctor Strange gives Marvel fans their first look into the multiverse and the power of timelines. Make sure you don’t skip this one, as it plays yet another key role in providing background information for the final two Avengers films. 

Black Panther (2017)

Available on: Disney+

After T’Challa returns home to Wakanda following the tragic death of his father, he finds himself challenged for not only the role of king but Black Panther as well. It’s a brilliant film that won over the hearts of Marvel fans everywhere, making the phrase “Wakanda Forever” a well-known saying among MCU die-hards. 

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Available on: Disney+

In what’s probably the most comical of the Thor films, our hero finds himself in a gladiator contest against his fellow Avenger, The Hulk. In a race across the universe and against time, Thor must prevent his sister Hela from destroying Asgard. The film’s ending sets up Avengers: Infinity War, so make sure you watch this one all the way through. 

Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)

Available on: Netflix

The sequel to Ant-Man finds our hero forced to figure out how to balance his home life with his new superhero responsibilities. While the exact timeline for this film was left ambiguous on purpose, it’s believed to take place either just before or during the events of Infinity War, as the post-credits scene takes place during the movie’s final moments. You can find this one on Netflix until the previously agreed upon contract runs out, sending the film over to Disney+ July 29.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Available on: Netflix

What many refer to as the beginning of the end, our beloved Avengers find themselves battling their greatest enemy yet—Thanos. With the fate of human existence hanging in the balance, the Avengers must endure their greatest challenge yet while attempting to keep Thanos from getting all six Infinity Stones. Similarly to Ant-Man And The Wasp, Infinity War will make the jump from Netflix to Disney+ June 25.

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Avengers: Endgame (2018-2023)

Available on: Disney+

The heart-wrenching conclusion to the Avengers saga, Endgame left us all with crushed hearts and tears in our eyes. The film opens with our heroes dealing with their disheartening defeat as they try to figure out a way to undo the damage caused by Thanos. What unfolds is an epic ending to an incredible storyline in the MCU.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2024)

Available on: Starz and Amazon Prime

While Endgame was originally expected to conclude the Infinity Saga, Marvel President Kevin Feige later revealed that Spider-Man: Far From Home would finish up the MCU’s first three phases. Like the first standalone film, with Sony owning the rights to this one as well, we, unfortunately, won’t see this one on Disney+ anytime soon.

Originally, Phase 4 was slated to kick off May 1 with the highly anticipated release of Black Widow, but unfortunately, the film’s release was delayed to Nov. 6 due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to rumors surrounding the film, it’s set to take place after the events of Civil War.

This year will also see the release of Disney+ shows such as The Falcon And The Winter Soldier and WandaVision, which will also fall into the MCU canon. 

How are you planning to prepare for Phase 4? Sound off in the comments below!