Order of marvel movies

Table of Contents

With Avengers: Endgame behind us, 2020 is the perfect time for a Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) marathon. Most of the Marvel movies are now available to stream on Disney Plus, and Black Widow will soon be kicking off Phase 4, making this a huge year for Marvel-related media.

Watching the Marvel movies in order isn’t totally simple, though, even if you already bought them all. You can enjoy the Marvel movies in chronological order, starting with Captain America: The First Avenger in WW2, as Cap fights the Red Skull in the ’40s. But you can also watch the Marvel movies in release order, meaning your starting point will be 2008’s Iron Man, where Tony Stark makes his MCU debut.

Marvel movies in order: quick links

Watching the MCU films in order will give you context for new entries like Black Widow and The Eternals, but also for the Disney Plus Marvel TV shows coming in 2020, like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision. Below, you’ll find lists of the chronological and release orders, and a list of the best Marvel movies, ranked by user score. That means you can avoid the bad ones as you watch the Avengers movies in order, if you choose (sorry, The Incredible Hulk). We’ll also explain which Marvel movies you’ll find on Disney Plus in 2020. Now, let’s jump in to the best superhero films of the modern age…

How to watch the Marvel movies in order: chronological order

A Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline is probably what you’re searching for. This lists all the Marvel films chronologically from The First Avenger to Avengers: Endgame. The main upside of watching the Marvel movies like this means you’ll see key events as they unfolded in the MCU. You’ll follow the Tesseract across the decades, see how Captain Marvel landed on Earth in 1995, and see Thanos’ journey to getting the Infinity Stones.

This is the chronological viewing order of the Marvel movies:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (takes place during WWII)
  • Captain Marvel (takes place in 1995)
  • Iron Man (takes place in 2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (takes place after Iron Man)
  • The Incredible Hulk (time unspecified, pre-Avengers)
  • Thor (time unspecified, pre-Avengers)
  • The Avengers (takes place in 2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (takes place six months after The Avengers)
  • Thor: Dark World (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
  • Captain America: Winter Soldier (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (sometime in 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (after Guardians)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (takes place in 2015)
  • Ant-Man (takes place in 2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (post-Civil War, pre-Infinity War)
  • Doctor Strange (takes place in 2016)
  • Black Panther (takes place in 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (takes place in 2017)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (ambiguous, but fits nicely between IW and Endgame)
  • Avengers: Endgame (starts in 2017, finishes in 2022)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (post-Endgame)

When 2020 Marvel movies Black Widow and The Eternals are released, along with canonical Disney Plus shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we’ll add them to this list when we know exactly how they fall in the MCU timeline. Black Widow, for example, is officially set after Captain America: Civil War, but since you can’t actually see that movie yet, we’ve left it off the list above for now.

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Marvel movies in order: release date

If you’d rather see the MCU as it was originally released in theaters, however, you should follow this list that starts with the original Iron Man in 2008 and continues all the way up to Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Not only is it a fun nostalgia trip to start with the earlier movies, but you’ll see how the Marvel movies steadily became more refined with bigger budgets.

Phase One

Phase Two

Phase Three

Phase Four

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel movies on Disney Plus: more coming in 2020

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Here’s a list of the Marvel movies you can watch on Disney Plus in the US as of early 2020. There’s a good reason you won’t see The Incredible Hulk and the two Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland here: Universal owns the distribution rights to the former, while Sony made the latter two as part of a deal with Disney. Disney will have to license the movies if it wants to have the full set of MCU films on its streaming service.

Here’s the list:

  • Iron Man
  • Thor
  • Iron Man 2
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • The Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Doctor Strange
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Captain Marvel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Thor: Ragnarok

Then throughout 2020, these MCU movies will be added on specific dates. It’s likely Black Widow will land on Disney Plus in 2020, too, with The Eternals following in 2021.

  • Black Panther (March 4, 2020)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (June 25, 2020)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 29, 2020)

(Image credit: Marvel)

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Best Marvel movies

Maybe you don’t want to waste your time with the worst Marvel movies, like the boring Thor: The Dark World or muddled Iron Man 2. With that in mind, we’ve also ranked the Marvel movies in order of quality, based on their IMDB scores. The biggest surprise? Captain America: The First Avenger is really low down this list. It’s such a fun movie! Anyway, as the rankings change in 2020, we’ll continue updating this best-of list, and add newer movies when they release.



Marvel Studios has released Avengers: Endgame and Spiderman: Far From Home, so we’re officially on to the next phase of the MCU.

If you’re new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which includes the films produced by Marvel Studios, the comic books by Marvel Comics, and the TV shows from Marvel Television, we’ve created a guide to help you get up to speed. You can’t watch the Marvel films in the order they released. They’re not chronological, which is confusing if you love timelines.

That’s why we’re showing you a different order – arranged by when the events in each film happen. While the MCU officially started in 2008, with the release of Iron Man, it’s not the first film you should watch. You should start with Captain America: The First Avenger. It released in 2011 and is the fifth film from Marvel Studios. But it’s set, initially, in 1942 – decades before Iron Man.

There will be a few spoilers below. If you want to avoid that, go to the bottom. We have an at-a-glance list with only the Marvel films, and it’s free of spoilers. Along with that list, we’ve compiled two others: One is a complete MCU Timeline list with both the movies and the TV shows; the other is a speed-run list with only the most important Marvel films you must watch before Endgame.

Sorry, Marvel comic book nerds, these guides are just for people who want to watch the Marvel films and TV shows in the correct order.

Marvel movies: Best viewing orders
Chronological movie order (spoilers) Chronological movie order (spoiler-free)
Movies and shows order (spoiler-free) Must-watch order (spoiler-free)

Every Marvel film in the right order


Marvel Entertainment

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America is the fifth Marvel Studios film, with Iron Man, The Hulk, and Thor all having films before Cap. But it’s the first film on our list because the events take place first – during World War II. We see the creation of the super-soldier portrayed by Chris Evans, as well as his first battle with Hydra and its leader Red Skull. The film also introduces the Tesseract, which we later discover is the first Infinity Stone, one of the powerful gems that control reality.


Marvel Entertainment

Captain Marvel (2019)

The second film on our list hit theatres just last year. In Captain Marvel, which is set in 1995, we see the Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson, fall to Earth and begin a hunt for the shape-shifting Skrull aliens. There’s as much action here as there is nostalgia, especially if you’re a 90s kid, thanks to scenes with Blockbuster stores and even dial-up internet.


Marvel Entertainment

Iron Man (2008)

According to the official Marvel timeline, Iron Man takes place in 2010. It’s all about genius/inventor/philanthropist/playboy Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. He is captured by a terrorist organization, the leader of which wants the latest weapons system designed by Stark. However, Stark designs something even more powerful to help himself escape: The first Iron Man suit.

Marvel Entertainment

Iron Man 2 (2010)

The second Iron Man picks up where the first left off: Tony Stark grappling with his Iron Man identity being revealed. The government wants the technology behind his suit, and when Stark refuses to hand it over, another weapons manufacturer shows he’s willing to do anything to get his hands on it. This film also introduces fellow Avengers the Black Widow and War Machine.

Note: Technically, you could watch The Incredible Hulk before Iron Man 2. Marvel said The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor all happen around the same time – though The Incredible Hulk released a couple years before the others. Confusing, we know. We’ve followed Marvel’s official guidance, however, and recommend you watch Iron Man 2 first for consistency purposes.

Marvel Entertainment

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk follows Bruce Banner on the run from General Thunderbolt Ross and the US Military. Realising he can’t ever hope to control or contain the Hulk, Ross decides to create his own version of the Hulk using another soldier, but he quickly loses control. The Incredible Hulk stars Edward Norton, but Mark Ruffalo replaced him in 2012 and has been the big green man ever since.

Marvel Entertainment

Thor (2011)

The God of lightning has been banished to Earth from Asgard by his father Odin, all thanks to the trickery of Loki. In order to earn his powers back and control his hammer, Thor, portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, must prove he’s worthy. Luckily, he meets a nice Earth scientist, played by Natalie Portman, who can help him set things right before Loki assumes total control of Asgard.

Marvel Entertainment

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers is the culmination of the so-called “Phase 1” of the MCU. With all the main heroes having been introduced, the real challenge was finding something daunting enough to force them to work together. The combined power of Loki, the Tesseract, and an alien horde invading New York City proved to be the match that made these superheroes become friends in life and on the frontline.

Marvel Entertainment

Iron Man 3 (2013)

The third and final standalone Iron Man film takes place six months after the giant fight in New York City. Tony Stark is dealing with the memories of the battle that took place (and nearly killed him). The memories lead him to build an army of Iron Man suits so he can always be prepared.


Marvel Entertainment

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

The second Thor film sees its hero return to Asgard after the Loki-led invasion of New York City. He doesn’t have much time to rest, however, as the ancient Dark Elves return. They were once defeated by his grandfather and thought to be extinct. They’re back now and seeking the Aether, a powerful weapon that is later revealed to be an Infinity Stone, or one six powerful gems in the MCU.

Marvel Entertainment

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America has been working for Shield, a special government agency, since the events of The Avengers, but he finds himself questioning the motives of the organization as he learns more about its plans. On top of that, his closest friend returns from the dead and becomes an adversary, the Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan. This film also introduces The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie.

Marvel Entertainment

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, a rogue scavenger who stumbles across an Infinity Stone hidden in the ruins of an alien world. In a race against time, he forms a ragtag group of outcasts that includes a talking raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot the talking tree, and others. Together, they must stop Ronan the Accuser from wielding the Infinity Stone.

Marvel Entertainment

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)

This sequel picks up a few months after the original. Peter Quill is falling deeper in love with Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. And he is forced to confront the mysteries of his past when he comes face to face with a godlike entity known as Ego, played by Kurt Russell. Part of the challenge of placing these Guardian of the Galaxy films in the MCU Timeline is that they seem separate and all take place in outer space.

Marvel Entertainment

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2014)

The Avengers reunite to confront a mistake created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner: the AI known as Ultron, voiced by James Spader. If a single robotic version of Ultron is left standing, he can continue fighting the Avengers. This film also introduces new Avengers: The Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olson), Quicksilver (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and Vision (played by Paul Bettany).

Marvel Entertainment

Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd as a cat burglar recruited by Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym to dawn the Ant-Man suit in order to stop the technology from becoming weaponized. Pym’s former prodigy (played by Corey Stoll) has recreated the technology in the form of a yellow jacket suit, and Ant-Man must battle him and ultimately save the day on the smallest scale imaginable.

Marvel Entertainment

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Although it’s a Captain America film, Civil War features almost every single Avenger while adding two more heavy hitters to the lineup: Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Unfortunately, the Avengers are split into different factions due to Captain America wanting to save his friend Bucky Barnes, who appears to be responsible for the bombing of a UN session.


Marvel Entertainment

Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)

The wall-crawling web-slinger makes his solo debut here, where he faces off with Michael Keaton’s Vulture, a construction foreman who’s become a black market weapons dealer after recovering technology from the New York City battle in the first Avengers film. On top of all that, Peter Parker is also dealing with all the usual problems that come with being a freshman in high school.

Marvel Entertainment

Doctor Strange (2016)

Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a world-class surgeon, and he knows it. Strange is insufferable to almost everyone who has to deal with him until a tragic accident takes away the use of his hands. Strange then travels the world searching for a cure that will give him back the use of his hands – and he does find an answer, in the form of some ancient magic.

Marvel Entertainment

Black Panther (2018)

After the UN bombing in Captain America: The Civil War, T’Challa must return home to Wakanda and be named king. Once there, he is confronted with the continuing policy of isolation that has helped protect Wakanda. He also faces a mistake from his father’s past in the form of Eric Killmonger, who is played by Michael B Jordan and might be the best villain in any Marvel film.

Note: This film follows the events of Captain America: The Civil War, so you could watch it after that film, but Marvel prefers you watch it here.


Marvel Entertainment

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The third solo film for Thor finds the hero jettisoned across space after the death of his father and the destruction of his hammer by his long-lost sister, Hella, played by Cate Blanchett. He finds himself stuck in gladiator fights pitted against the Hulk, who hadn’t been seen since the Avengers defeated Ultron. Together, Thor and Hulk team up with Loki and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie to take on Hella.


Marvel Entertainment

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Scott Lang is back, but he has been placed on house arrest following his role in the Civil War and siding with Captain America. He’s been estranged from Hank Pym and Pym’s daughter, Hope. But he reluctantly agrees to help them, thinking that Pym might be able to retrieve Hope’s mother from the Quantum Realm. (Head’s up: Save the post-credits scene until after you’ve seen Infinity War.)


Marvel Entertainment

Black Widow (2020)

Black Widow is finally getting her own self-titled film on 1 May 2020, but unfortunately, it took her demise in Endgame for it to finally happen. Still, the next Marvel film is set to follow Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanov during a period of exile in her life. It takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but before Infinity War and the Snap.

Black Widow will meet some of her old friends and family as she explores her past, including a fatherly figure, played by David Harbour, who is known as the Red Guardian, or basically the Soviet Union’s answer to Captain America. Still, while this movie is being built up as a prequel to explain Black Widow’s background, it wouldn’t shock us if there’s a big reveal that factors heavily into the future of the MCU.

Note: Obviously, this film has not yet premiered, so, currently, you’d watch Infinity War (below) after Ant-Man and The Wasp. But, when Black Widow debuts, this is where you’d squeeze it into your re-watch.

Marvel Entertainment

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

After years orchestrating things from behind the scenes in order to find all the Infinity Stones, Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) has decided to go get them himself. The only thing standing in his way are the Avengers, who are currently spread across the universe. To raise the stakes even more, Thanos’ only reason for seeking the power of the stones is to wipe out half of all life in the universe.


Marvel Entertainment

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

After Thanos snapped away half of all life, leaving the universe in total chaos, the Avengers must try to make things right. Five years pass and a slim chance emerges for them to undo it all, but before that can happen, Captain America and Tony Stark need to make peace and reunite the Avengers one final time.


Marvel Entertainment

Spiderman: Far From Home (2019)

Far From Home is the latest Marvel film and it serves as our first look at the MCU post Infinity War, as we see everyone who was snapped by Thanos return to life five years later.

The freshly unsnapped Peter Parker heads to Europe for a field trip, but he’s surprised by Nick Fury and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, who need his help against enemies known as Elementals.

The complete MCU Timeline at a glance

List 1: Every Marvel film in the right order

OK, so here is the at-a-glance version of the list above, which only features the Marvel Studios films in the MCU:

List 2: Every Marvel film and show in the right order

Once Marvel became hugely successful with its films, it began creating more Marvel content for the small screen. Its Marvel Television shows take place in the same universe as the films and usually focus on the fallout caused by the films. They’re not necessary to watch, but if you’re like us and trying to consume every last drop of Marvel before Endgame, then check them out.

However, if you’re trying to watch them in the correct chronological order, it gets a little tricky. With that in mind, here’s an expanded at-a-glance list that includes where the Marvel Television shows fit in with the Marvel Studios films. The TV shows appear below in bold.

List 3: The must-watch Marvel films before Endgame

So, if you want to quickly get up to speed before watching Avengers: Endgame, and you don’t have the time to hammer out 21 films let alone numerous Marvel TV shows, you’re in luck. You can simply watch the important films, skip the unnecessary ones (*cough* The Incredible Hulk *cough*), and you’ll still know what’s going on when you finally do watch Endgame.

We’ve compiled a third at-a-glance list with all the Marvel Studios films that are crucial to understanding the plot and events in Endgame.

Did you like this?

Then maybe you’ll like our guide for all the other upcoming Marvel films:

  • Upcoming Marvel movies: What’s next after Avengers Endgame?

We also have a Star Wars guide for those of you who want to watch those films in the Machete order:

  • What order should you watch all the Star Wars films?

Now that most of the best Marvel Movies are on Disney Plus, you can binge watch most of your favorite heroes all you want. But Disney Plus doesn’t have everything, and it’s not the only way to watch the MCU. So, if you’re trying to to catch up, we’ve got a complete guide that puts the Marvel movies in order, from Iron Man’s first flight to Spider-Man’s latest adventure.


Grizzled veterans of the Infinity Saga might find more value in our list that organizes Marvel movies in order of the events that take place in the films. Flashbacks might complicate this, but it’s not that complicated.

Arguably the biggest Netflix competitor to date and the new home for many new forthcoming Marvel shows, Disney Plus launched with 16 Marvel movies, including Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Endgame.

If you’re looking to jump into the sea of spandex, swords and Vibranium shields just now, that’s an overwhelming amount of existing media to parse through before even thinking about the future of Marvel content. Heck, even if you’re a casual or hardcore fan looking to do a rewatch, that’s overwhelming. So, like Avengers ourselves, we’ve assembled the 23 films that comprise the MCU Infinity Saga into a few handy lists so you can watch the Marvel movies in order, no matter your level of fandom.

We’ve also got dates for when two of the remaining MCU movies will actually arrive on Disney Plus. And about those three that we don’t have release dates for, we’ve got details on why we’re not holding our breath for them to arrive on the streaming service.

Marvel movies in order of chronological events

(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)

All of the Marvel movies in order of release

(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.

Phase One

Phase Two

Phase Three

Upcoming Marvel movies in order of scheduled release

Phase 4

Upcoming Marvel films

Disney Plus: Waiting to have all the Marvel movies in order

(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 movie (Thor: Ragnarok) 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. Black Panther and Ant-Man and The Wasp, however, should be on in due time, once contracts with Netflix expire.

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.

Other places to watch the Marvel movies in order

(Image credit: Future)

The cheapest option would be to hurry and watch whichever films are still available to stream on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video now, then 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!

Yes, even The Incredible Hulk.

Our picks for the top 10 Marvel movies

(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):

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.

The Marvel movies you could 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:

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.


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.


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.

(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 Phase 4 of the MCU, Marvel Studios plans to release the much-anticipated Black Widow solo 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.

  • MCU Phase 4: Movie List, Timeline, Shows and More
  • The 10 Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Sidekicks
  • Disney Plus: Everything You Need to Know

Your Full List of All Upcoming Marvel Movies — With Key Details!

After months of speculation – and Black Widow set photos – Marvel Studios finally confirmed its Phase 4 film slate at Comic-Con International: San Diego and fleshed out some of those titles at the D23 Expo. And they’ve been dropping tidbits ever since, including a recent update on Ant-Man 3. If you’ve been following our regularly updated list of upcoming Marvel productions, some of the films announced may not have been a surprise, but some of the details were certainly shocking. Others were downright thrilling: Mahershala Ali as Blade? Natalie Portman to play a new Thor? We’re in. Disney and Marvel doubled down then at D23 in August, revealing new footage from Black Widow that shed some light on where the film’s story is going, and introducing the full cast of Eternals with images of their full costumes. That cast includes – in a big surprise for fans – Kit Harington, who will reunite with his Game of Thrones co-star Richard Madden in the film. But all the while, trouble brewed across the summer as Disney and Sony could not come to an agreement about Spider-Man. Happily, the two studios have made an accord and Peter will continue to have a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For now, at least. It’s been an eventful summer and fall for the MCU and we’ve added all the big new Marvel revelations from the last few months into this comprehensive guide of every upcoming Marvel movie so you gave a one-stop shop. And if you’re looking for details on what Marvel has cooking on new streaming service Disney+, well, we’ve got that too.

As always, we will continue to update this page frequently as new details emerge. And be careful, if you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame or Spider-Man: Far From Home, there are spoilers ahead. (Want to see what the other camp is up to? Check out our full breakdown of upcoming DC movies.)


These are the projects Marvel announced and dated at the Comic-Con presentation and D23. They represent the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fourth phase and feature a number of sequels – but at least one new concept will likely become your latest Marvel obsession.

Black Widow

Release Date: May 1, 2020

What We Know: Confirming our guesses, Marvel has announced that the Scarlett Johansson-led film will be the first project to emerge from the studio next year. First revealed in January of 2018 with Jac Schaeffer writing the script, the film became Marvel’s fastest-track project ever with Lore’s Cate Shortland signing on to direct in July of last year. The film is currently in production with David Harbour as Alexei – a.k.a. The Red Guardian – Florence Pugh as Yelena, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina.The film is likely a prequel to the events of Avengers: Endgame and set just after Captain America: Civil War – although it is still possible the film may all be a phantasm of sorts as Nat’s soul rests on Vormir. But if it is a true prequel, expect it to still make some reference to the Phase 4 conflict and Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) space fleet.

How It Fits in the MCU: Flashbacks to Nat’s training in Avengers: Age of Ultron tie back to ideas explored in the short-lived Marvel television series Marvel’s Agent Carter – a series we know the films acknowledge thanks to Edwin Jarvis’s (James D’Arcy) cameo in Endgame – in which a Soviet-trained deep cover agent is assigned to eliminate Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Investigating the operative, Peggy discovers the brutal facility charged with creating these sleeper agents using methods teased in the Ultron flashbacks. Both Nat and Yelena came out of this program, known by their time as the Red Room.


(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios)

Release Date: November 6, 2020

What We Know: In April of 2018, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed a film based on the Eternals comic book and concept was in development. Soon after, The Rider’s Chloe Zhao became its director. Based on characters and situations imagined by Jack Kirby, the Eternals are a race of fantastically powerful proto-humans engineered by the Celestials (more on them in a moment) to harness vast amounts of “cosmic energy.” Generations of infighting and wars against another Celestial experiment, the Deviants, followed. According to reports, the film will center on an Eternal named Sersi with the powers of flight, strength, immortality, and molecular manipulation, but as of the Comic-con presentation, the part has not been cast. Confirmed cast members include Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Angelina Jolie as Thena.

How It Fits in the MCU: Because the Eternals and the Celestials are old and powerful — the Celestials are some of the oldest creatures in the universe — they run into just about everyone. When the Kree happened to learn about the Eternals, they tried duplicating the Celestial experiment and created Inhumans on Earth. In Marvel’s 616 universe, Thanos is himself related to the Eternals thanks to their colonization of Titan in the distant past. Meanwhile, the Celestials have already appeared in passing during both Guardians films. In the first film, one appears in a hologram during The Collector’s (Benicio Del Toro) explanation of the Power Stone. And in the second film, Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father Ego (Kurt Russell) self-identified as a Celestial. Whether or not this means Ziran the Tester will feature in Eternals or any other MCU film remains to be seen.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings

Release Date: February 12, 2021

What We Know: In March, Short Term 12’s Destin Daniel Cretton emerged as the director of a film based on Marvel’s 1970s comic book The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu. In the comics, Shang-Chi was the son of legendary literary villain Fu Manchu. Learning the truth about his dad’s business, he used his martial arts prowess against his father and any other Marvel baddie ready to go against his mighty hands. But considering Fu Manchu is one of the few IPs not owned by the Walt Disney Company, fans online are already speculating Shang-Chi’s father – whom Marvel later turned into a different immortal villain in the comics – may turn out to be the “real” Mandarin teased in the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray short film “All Hail the King.” At Comic-Con, Marvel announced the full title, the release date – replacing our guess of a Black Panther sequel – and the cast, which includes Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Awkwafina in a to-be-announced role, and HardBoiled‘s Tony Leung as the real Mandarin.

How It Fits in the MCU: Seeded in Iron Man, but never carried out to fruition as the Infinity Saga took shape, the Ten Rings is a crime league embedded across the world, but owing allegiance to no country. The group gives Shang-Chi a nice international opponent with an established MCU footprint. Also, the 10 rings the Mandarin wears have cosmic origins which may play into the larger Phase 4 story. And, we’ll be honest, we hope he uses them to conjure up legendary Marvel Comics creature Fin Fang Foom.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios)

Release Date: May 7, 2021

What We Know: Director Scott Derrickson finally signed on to return in December of 2018, suggesting the film will end up as one of the Marvel releases for 2022 (as we always assumed). But at Comic-Con, Marvel revealed the film will take the spot we originally reserved for Shang-Chi in May 2021. Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the Sorcerer Supreme with Elizabeth Olsen joining him as the Scarlet Witch in what Derrickson calls “the first scary MCU movie.” Though not announced as a participant in The Multiverse of Madness, we still think Strange will face Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as he tries to amass all the magic for himself, a notion teased in the first film’s post-credit stinger.

How It Fits in the MCU: The mystic realm of the MCU is still ripe for exploration, even as Endgame tied it closer with the underpinning of its universe. The film will also tie into Olsen’s upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, illustrating Marvel Studios’ plans to connect the streaming service’s limited series to the ongoing film world.

Spider-Man 3

(Photo by JoJo Whilden / © Columbia Pictures / © Marvel )

Release Date: July 16, 2021

What We Know: After a tense summer in which, it seemed, Spider-Man would blip out of the MCU again to face off against Venom (Tom Hardy), Sony Pictures and the Walt Disney Studios agreed to produce a third film with Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Considering the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, we expect the film to be called “Spider-Man: Homeless” and see the web-slinger clearing his name while evading those who would bring him in — including whichever Avengers might be active at that time. While the fine details of the studios’ new agreement are not known — beyond Disney reportedly increasing its share of the profits to 25% — we do know Spidey will appear in one additional MCU outside of his third solo film.

How It Fits in the MCU: Nick Fury has big plans for Peter, but will he be able to set everything in motion before Sony calls him back to their Spider-Verse? Considering the film will slot into Phase 4, one imagines it will push forward the overall storyline even as Peter clears his name. It almost has to considering how precarious his existence in the MCU continues to be. But with one additional appearance guaranteed after the third film, maybe the first Phase 5 film will revolve around his multi-versal instability.

Thor: Love And Thunder

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios) Release Date: November 5, 2021

What We Know: Shortly before Comic-Con, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi signed on to return for a fourth installment in the God of Thunder franchise. At the time, we assumed it would be the November 2021 release and were proved correct. Chris Hemsworth will return as the wandering Odinson, but not as Thor. In a surprise move, Marvel revealed Natalie Portman is returning to the series as the new Mighty Thor, a twist pulled from an excellent Thor comic book series by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and others. Meanwhile, Tessa Thompson will return as Valkyrie, the king of New Asgard who must find a Queen, and we assume Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – in either of his manifestations – will return to mercilessly tease his now nameless brother.

How It Fits in the MCU: Since Loki will be the star of his own Disney+ limited series before the film’s release, events in that series will probably determine the character’s more villainous tendencies should he appear in Love and Thunder. Also, as the film will predate Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, you can expect Rocket (Bradley Cooper) to offer a tearful goodbye as Odinson leaves the group to deal with his loss of name and status.


Feige also made a few strategic teases about Phase 5 during the Comic-Con presentation, which will begin after the release of Love and Thunder. Plus, we got some new release dates at D23 (Hello, Black Panther 2). Also, there are some films we definitely think will happen in Phase 5 or beyond.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios)

Release Date (Our Guess): February 18, 2022

What We Think Might Happen: Now that the saga of James Gunn’s expulsion from the film has ended with him back in the director’s chair and Endgame has revealed the Guardians’ fates through Phase 3, we can speculate wildly about Vol.3. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) will presumably search for Gamora (Zoe Saldana) while Rocket continues to get over the absent Odinson. There is also the often-delayed debut of Adam Warlock to consider. The character very nearly appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Infinity War, but fell away as both movies were stuffed to the air ducts with characters. It is possible he will finally do something in the MCU besides sit in an egg. Also, before Gunn’s temporary departure, he referred to the film as a conclusion to the story he began telling in the first installment, so it is possible the film will have an Endgame-like resolution. Is Star-Lord long for this universe?

How It Fits in the MCU: It all depends on Gunn’s plans for Vol. 3 and if it takes place during the Infinity Saga. Like the way Vol. 2 occurred shortly after the first Guardians film, it could take place not long after the death of Yondu (Michael Rooker) and detail how the Guardians found, stole, or were awarded with the Benatar. More likely, it will be set after Avengers: Endgame – as we suggest above – and see the Guardians finding a new normal after the losses of Gamora and Odinson.

Black Panther 2

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios)

Release Date: May 6, 2022

What We Think Might Happen: Thanks to Endgame’s five-year gap, we’re pretty confident the Black Panther sequel will address T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) reclaiming the throne. Since the moment we saw him turn to dust in Infinity War, we’ve assumed M’Baku (Winston Duke) took power. Then again, considering how quickly Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) mobilized Wakanda to fight Thanos in Endgame, it is possible the throne sat empty as the country hoped for T’Challa and Shuri’s (Letitia Wright) return. If he resumes his duties with a minimum of fuss, then the film’s plot will probably arise from T’Challa’s decision to reveal Wakanda to the world. Whatever stress that might’ve caused before the Blip will no doubt come to a head with the return of 3 billion-plus people. At Comic-Con, Marvel merely teased the film as an eventuality, but director Ryan Coogler has signed on for the sequel.

How It Fits in the MCU: Since Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa has been a popular figure in fan circles, but the stunning success of Black Panther suggests there will be more Wakanda throughout the MCU. Shuri and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) could be fast friends, while the embassies and outreach programs T’Challa proposed at the end of Black Panther open for business in other films.

Ant-Man 3

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios)

Release Date: July 29, 2022

What We Think Might Happen: Picking up sometime after Endgame, Scott still needs to put his life back together – granted, he does that constantly. This time, though, he is an acknowledged hero, which should help some. Although, one imagines his relationship with Cassie (Emma Fuhrmann) will be fairly different. Also Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Hank (Michael Douglas), and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) will need to adjust to life after returning from the Snap.

How It Fits in the MCU: Considering the film will be part of the MCU’s Phase 5, it is difficult to forecast how it will fit into the large scope. Also, the Ant-Man movies have always been plucky outliers when it comes to the grand tapestries Marvel likes to create.


(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios) Release Date: TBA

What We Know: Feige stunned the Comic-Con crowd by announcing Mahershala Ali will be the MCU’s version of Blade. The daywalker will appear in his own film sometime during Phase 5, but specific details about the project will likely come to light at next year’s Comic-Con.

How It Fits in the MCU: While the MCU is a realm of science, mysticism, cosmic entities, and traditional crime, it lacks for genuine monsters. Emerging from Marvel Comics’ The Tomb of Dracula, Blade will no doubt be our guide into a darker corner of the MCU where one find things that go bump in the night. Luckily, he’s pretty good with a sword and can vanquish them with relative ease. Of course, the literal demons of the Marvel Universe may present more of a challenge.

Captain Marvel 2

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios)

Release Date: TBA

What We Think Might Happen: It all depends on when the film is set. It could continue with Carol’s (Brie Larson) adventures in space as she chases Ronin (Lee Pace) back to the Kree border. It could be set after Endgame with Carol finally building an Avengers-like coalition on other worlds. It could also be an unknown tale about her returning to Earth sometime in late 1990s or early 21st century to teach Monica Rambeau how to fly. Her complete lack of concern for Monica or Maria (Lashana Lynch) in Endgame suggests she knew exactly where they were the whole time. But fans of Carol’s family would certainly love more clarity on that issue. That said, Monica will debut as an adult in Disney+’s WandaVision in the form of actor Teyonah Parris.

How It Fits in the MCU: Considering the continued cosmic emphasis post-Endgame, it is entirely possible Captain Marvel 2 will follow-up on ideas from Guardians of the Galaxy and Eternals. But as the Captain Marvel story spans decades, the possibilities are endless. Also, we think Carol will be quite interested in Fury’s armada.

The Fantastic Four

Release Date: TBA

What We Think Might Happen: At Comic-Con, Feige merely mentioned he “ran out of time” to discuss the Fantastic Four or mutants. While both concepts will eventually make their way into the MCU, we expect integrating Marvel’s first family will be the priority and maybe even the whole point of Phase 5. Like many on the internet have suggested, placing them in the 1960s during their first film – but making the world forget about them for decades – is an elegant way to introduce them and acknowledge their absence all this time. In that context, they also serve as a great replacement for the similarly time-lost Captain America.

How It Fits in the MCU: The Fantastic Four bring with them a surprisingly robust rouges gallery. To be honest, we’re a little more excited to see Doctor Doom, Annihilus, and Galactus make their MCU introductions than the Richards clan. It would also be a thrill to see the Baxter Building join the New York skyline.


May 1, 2020 – Black Widow

November 6, 2020 – Eternals

February 12, 2021 – Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings

May 7, 2021 – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

July 16, 2021 – Spider-Man 3

November 5, 2021 – Thor: Love and Thunder

February 18, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 1

May 6, 2022 – Black Panther 2

July 29, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 3 (Out guess: Ant-Man 3)

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Thumbnail image courtesy © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Marvel Studios

Last updated: December 17, 2019

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to dominate the worldwide box office, there are plenty of other Marvel movies on the horizon – from Sony Pictures and Disney’s recently-acquired subsidiary 20th Century Fox – that have release dates set in between future MCU films. In 2019 alone, audiences saw five Marvel movies released, while 2020, 2021, and 2022 are delivering their fair share of spinoffs, reboots, and even more sequels.

On one hand, the superhero genre has never been stronger in Hollywood, equating to positive critical reception, as well as massive box office returns (just look at Avengers: Endgame’s absolutely staggering $1.2 billion opening weekend). That being said though, anyone suffering from superhero fatigue should seriously consider bracing themselves.


Studios have become substantially more confident in the genre following the massive success of franchises like The Avengers and X-Men, so we’re now in the midst of seeing studios take bigger (and necessary) risks. They’re adapting standalone properties, offering lead roles to women and people of color, and having the confidence to choose directors with distinct trademark styles, while also offering them more creative control (see: Thor: Ragnarok). The cinematic superhero genre is evolving, and this upcoming slate is just a taste of things to come.


The New Mutants – April 3, 2020

Joining the cinematic ranks of young superheroes is The New Mutants, adapted from the comic series of the same name. Locked away in a secret facility, but desperate to fight their way to freedom, the young cast includes recognizable names like Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, The Witch), and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things). With YA roots courtesy of Josh Boone, who directed the adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, The New Mutants also walks a fine line between sci-fi and horror. It was originally meant to release April 2018, but was pushed back at the last minute by more than a year to allow for reshoots, and has just kept getting delayed. Disney now has the film dated for April 2020.


Black Widow – May 1, 2020

A solo Black Widow movie is officially headed to theaters in spring 2020, with Cate Shortland taking the reigns as director, thus becoming Marvel Studios’ first solo female director (after Anna Boden co-directed Captain Marvel). Fans have been clamoring for a standalone adaptation of Black Widow with Scarlett Johansson since Natasha Romanoff first turned up in Iron Man 2, and ten years later it’ll finally happen, albeit after Natasha’s death in Avengers: Endgame. The Black Widow solo movie is set following the events of Captain America: Civil War, and sees the former KGB assassin confronted by the ghosts of her past. David Harbour joins the MCU as villain Red Guardian, while Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz play other trained Black Widows.


Morbius – July 31, 2020

After playing the Joker in Suicide Squad, Jared Leto is returning to the world of comic books in a role that should offer him a bit more screen time. Sony’s Morbius, the Living Vampire movie has already begun filming and will release in July 2020. Leto plays Michael Morbius, a doctor who tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease but instead imbues himself with vampire-like traits, including a lust for human blood. Morbius is directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) and will also star Doctor Who alum Matt Smith.


The King’s Man – September 18, 2020

The King’s Man is a period-set prequel to the main Kingsman film franchise, once again directed by Matthew Vaughn. Ralph Fiennes stars as the Duke of Oxford, while Harris Dickinson plays his protege Conrad. Their early version of The Secret Service must stop Rasputin and his evil alliance from causing a war that kills millions. The King’s Man was originally scheduled to be released in 2019, but was later delayed to February 2020, then ultimately settled in September 2020.

Venom 2 – October 2, 2020

Though many doubted it, and reviewers panned it, the Tom Hardy-led Venom proved to be an unstoppable juggernaut, grossing $855 million at the worldwide box office and more than securing a sequel. Venom 2 will see writer Kelly Marcel returning to pen the script, though director Ruben Fleischer ended up too busy with Zombieland 2 to come back for the sequel. Venom 2 is headed to theaters in October 2020, and will see the proper introduciton of popular villain Carnage aka Cletus Kassady (Woody Harrelson). Naomie Harris is also rumored to play Shriek.


The Eternals – November 6, 2020

In fall 2020, Marvel Studios introduces The Eternals to the MCU, in a film that sees The Rider director Chloe Zhao in the director’s chair. Written by Matthew and Ryan Firpo, The Eternals story will cover over 7000 years of time, while chronicling the lives of the titular immortal alien race. It’ll also presumably become the launch pad for a more cosmic MCU in Phase 4 and beyond. Angelina Jolie leads the cast as Thena, and is joined by Richard Madden as Ikaris, a newly buff Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Gemma Chan, as Sersi, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, and more.


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – February 12, 2021

Promising to bring hardcore martial arts action into the MCU, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a priority for Marvel in Phase 4. The movie is based on comics about the son of Fu Manchu, who has his eyes opened to his father’s wickedness after being sent on a dark mission, and decides to become a superhero instead, fighting for those who need him instead of the father who would command him. Shang Chi will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and hit theaters in winter 2021. Simu Liu stars as the MCU’s first Asian superhero, while Tony Leung has been cast as The Mandarin (the real one, not his Trevor Slattery imitation).


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – May 7, 2021

Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War earned him widespread acclaim, which is partly why Marvel Studios finally moved forward with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With Scott Derrickson returning to direct, and Jade Halley Bartlett now handling script duties, Doctor Strange’s second solo adventure won’t see him entirely alone, as Scarlet Witch will play a large role in the story, the bulk of which is still being kept under wraps.


Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 – July 16, 2021

It doesn’t have a title yet, but now that Disney’s brief spat with Sony is over, Spider-Man is confirmed to receive a third MCU solo film in summer 2021. Director Jon Watts and writing duo Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers are returning on the creative end for Spider-Man: Homecoming 3, while Tom Holland reprises the title role. Kraven the Hunter has been heavily rumored to be the villain this time out, but it’ll be interesting to see what the ramifications of Spider-Man: Far From Home’s wild post-credits scene end up being.


Thor: Love and Thunder – November 5, 2021

With Thor: Love and Thunder, the Asgardian warrior becomes the first MCU hero to get a fourth solo movie. Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi returns to write and direct the proceedings, and while it’s still unknown what exactly Thor will be doing, Love and Thunder will mark the return of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster to the MCU. Jane will become a female version of Thor, while new Asgardian king Valkyrie will be on the hunt for her queen.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 – April 8, 2022

In addition to developing the story, it took several years to create the animation style that’s seen in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which released in December 2018 and quickly became one of the most beloved superhero movies ever released. Shortly before Into the Spider-Verse hit theaters, Sony Pictures confirmed plans to produce a sequel. While story details are scarce, Into the Spider-Verse set up two sequels that allow for Miles Morales’ story to branch off in multiple directions. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 has officially webbed up a 2022 release date, and will include the addition of Japanese Spider-Man.


Black Panther 2 – May 6, 2022

Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther quickly became one of the biggest movies of all-time in the United States, and while its international gross wasn’t on the same level as Avengers: Infinity War (which no one expected it would be), there’s no denying that it was an astounding success – critically and commercially – for Marvel Studios. So, it’s no wonder that Black Panther 2 is set to happen, with Coogler back in the director’s chair, and Chadwick Boseman back as the King of Wakanda. As usual, story details are scarce this far out from its spring 2022 release.


2022 & 2023 Unassigned MCU Release Dates

Marvel Studios has booked three unassigned MCU release dates for 2022, and four for 2023. These are February 18, July 29, and October 7, 2022, as well as February 17, May 5, July 28, and November 3, 2023. It’s unclear which films will take those slots, but some candidates from the MCU development slate include Blade, Captain Marvel 2, Ant-Man 3, and movies involving the X-Men and Fantastic Four.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Spinoff – Release Date TBD

Another Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follow-up movie is going to be an all-female Spider-Man film, which will see Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Gwen return at the forefront. Furthermore, the spinoff movie will introduce audiences to Silk and Spider-Woman. While the Into the Spider-Verse spinoff is in development, it’s unclear when it will release or if it will even be put into production before the Into the Spider-Verse sequel releases in theaters.


Kingsman 3 – Release Date TBD

Another Marvel Comics property most casual viewers may not have realized belonged to Marvel Comics (it’s part of the Icon Comics imprint) is the Kingsman franchise, from comic book writer Mark Millar (who also wrote Marvel’s Civil War story arc). Writer/director Matthew Vaughn has some ideas as to how the trilogy will end (assuming it does end), stating that he had been unofficially prepping Kingsman 3 while working on The Golden Circle. Kingsman 3 was originally planned to arrive before the above prequel, The King’s Man, but’s currently without a solid release date.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – Release Date TBD

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has already had a rocky road to production, with director James Gunn being fired by Disney after offensive jokes he made on Twitter years earlier resurfaced. After both fans and colleagues came out fiercely in support of Gunn, the decision was ultimately made to rehire him – though not before he’d already been snapped up by Warner Bros. to direct upcoming sequel/soft reboot The Suicide Squad. Since he’ll be focusing on that first, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 reportedly won’t start filming until February 2021, which means it’ll be a while before we see the team back in action.


Key Release Dates Share Tweet Email Comment advertising About The Author

Danny Salemme is a Lead Editor and Features Writer at Screen Rant. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Danny studied Film at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, spent some time working in production on both the east and west coasts before refocusing his career toward entertainment journalism, studied Improv and Sketch Comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Manhattan, and is an independent filmmaker. Unbeknownst to his mother, he spent his youth watching bargain bin horror movies at his babysitter’s house. When he’s not sending celebratory GIFs to Screen Rant’s crack writing team, Danny’s writing and producing short films and rewatching Bob’s Burgers on a perpetual loop. His favorite childhood Halloween costume is a toss-up between Mrs. Doubtfire and Jason Voorhees, he’ll never say no to making-of documentaries, and awards season is his weakness. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @DannySalemme and check out his interviews, published work, and creative writing at dannysalemme.com.

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Marvel movies on Disney Plus: Where to stream all the MCU titles, including Endgame

Assemble on Disney Plus

Marvel Studios

Prepare yourself Marvel fans, Disney Plus just announced even more MCU films will available to stream at launch. Originally we thought it would just be a handful: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Captain Marvel, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man. But after pushing up the home release of Avengers: Endgame so you can stream the biggest movie of all time beginning Nov. 12, Disney has announced even more Marvel movies are headed to the streaming service.

Here’s the thread of the just announced additions, bringing the total MCU films available on Disney Plus at 16 (our full list is below), and making the service *a lot* more enticing for Marvel fans at launch.

Avengers: Endgame pic.twitter.com/m6UyJRx6fJ

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) November 11, 2019

Here’s a helpful guide on how to watch all of the MCU in order, and the following list is based on that epic timeline; we just cut out the TV shows since you *really* don’t have time for those. (If you have one day, one weekend or one week, here’s a short list of what to watch to catch up on the entire MCU quickly.)

Most Marvel films rent for $2.99 (SD) or $3.99 (HD), and a digital purchase usually ranges from $9.99 to $19.99. Note that all of the movies below support Movies Anywhere, so if you buy them on one service, you can cross-link to others. In other words, you can buy Ant-Man on Amazon and it can automatically be ported to iTunes and Vudu, or vice versa, at no additional charge.

As far as “free with subscription” options, the list is dwindling outside of Disney Plus, so here’s how to sign up for that streaming service.

Disney Plus launch titles (new additions have an asterisk)

  • *Captain America: The First Avenger
  • *Captain America: Winter Soldier
  • *Captain America: Civil War
  • *Doctor Strange
  • Iron Man
  • *Iron Man 2
  • Iron Man 3
  • *Thor
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • *Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Ant-Man
  • Captain Marvel
  • *The Avengers
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Avengers: Endgame

Still available on Netflix

  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp

Available on Amazon Prime and Hulu

  • Iron Man 2

For more info on where to just stream all of these titles, check out TV Guide.

Now playing: Watch this: Top 5 things Avengers: Endgame sets up for the future 2:58

Captain America: The First Avenger

Subscription streaming options: Nope.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Iron Man

Subscription streaming options: Disney Plus

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

The Incredible Hulk (but still skippable)

Subscription streaming options: Nope.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

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Iron Man 2

Subscription streaming options: Amazon Prime, Hulu

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube


Subscription streaming options: Nope.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

The Avengers

Subscription streaming options: Nope.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Iron Man 3

Subscription streaming options: Disney Plus

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Thor: The Dark World

Subscription streaming options: Disney Plus

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Subscription streaming options: Nope.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Guardians of the Galaxy

Subscription streaming options: Disney Plus

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Subscription streaming options: Disney Plus

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube


Subscription streaming options: Disney Plus

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“Captain America: Civil War” no longer streams on Netflix in the US.

Marvel Studios

Captain America: Civil War

Subscription streaming options: Nope.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Doctor Strange

Subscription streaming options: Nope.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Subscription streaming options: Nope

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Thor: Ragnarok

Subscription streaming options: Netflix

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Black Panther

Subscription streaming options: Netflix

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Avengers: Infinity War

Subscription streaming options: Netflix

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Subscription streaming options: Netflix

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Captain Marvel

Subscription streaming options: Disney Plus when it launches on Nov. 12

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Avengers: Endgame

Subscription streaming options: Beginning Nov. 12, Endgame will be on Disney Plus.

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Subscription streaming options: Nope

Other rental/purchase options: Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

You can watch them all, it just takes some…days.

This article was originally published March 10, 2018, and is updated as needed to reflect streaming changes and purchase promotions.

How to Stream Every Marvel Movie

After the events of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was changed forever. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) both sacrificed themselves to save the world, while Cap (Chris Evans) traded in his iconic shield for a happy ending with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) in the past after returning the Infinity Stones to their rightful places in the timeline. Then Spider-Man: Far From Home picked up in the emotional aftermath as Peter Parker (Tom Holland) coped with his mentor’s death.

Phase Four of the MCU, which was announced at San Diego Comic-Con, is going to look drastically different, as Marvel moves on from many of our fan-favorite characters and expands into television with limited series starring some of our other fan-favorite characters. But if you’re like us, you probably want to be able to relive your favorite moments from the first three phases whenever you want. The good news is, you don’t need a time stone to do it — for the most part, you just need a Disney+ subscription, as most of the 23 films are available on the new streaming service. However, there are still a few films that aren’t available yet — Netflix still has a few of the streaming licenses — so below you’ll find where you can stream every single movie in the MCU so far.

Will Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Phil Coulson Appear in Avengers: Endgame?

Avengers: Infinity War

Photo: Marvel

Iron Man (2008) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

The Incredible Hulk (2008) — Stream it on: Amazon (buy or rent)

Iron Man 2 (2010) — Stream it on: Disney+, Hulu, Amazon

Thor (2011) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

The Avengers (2012) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Iron Man 3 (2013) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Thor: The Dark World

Photo: Marvel

Thor: The Dark World (2013) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Ant-Man (2015) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Captain America: Civil War (2016) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Captain America: Civil War

Photo: Marvel

Doctor Strange (2016) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) — Stream it on: Amazon (buy or rent)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) — Stream it on: Netflix; Amazon (buy or rent) — (Coming to Disney+ on Dec. 5)

Black Panther (2018) — Stream it on: Netflix; Amazon (buy or rent) — (Coming to Disney+ on March 4, 2020)

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) — Stream it on: Netflix; Amazon (buy or rent) — (Coming to Disney+ on June 25, 2020)

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) — Stream it on: Netflix; Amazon (buy or rent) — (Coming to Disney+ on July 29, 2020)

Captain Marvel (2019) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Avengers: Endgame(2019) — Stream it on: Disney+, Amazon (buy or rent)

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) — Not yet available to stream

Black Panther

Photo: Marvel

Updated Nov. 12, 2019


Given how dominant Marvel Studios has been at the box office the past two years — three movies earning more than $600 million domestic and five pulling in over a billion worldwide — it’s a shock to realize we’re on hiatus for the moment, with no more Marvel flicks scheduled until next year. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was the last one until “New Mutants” next spring — unless that oft-delayed movie gets pushed back yet again.

So yeah, no more MCU movies, and no non-MCU Marvel movies for the rest of 2019. We’re getting a bit of a break from comic book movies in general, with only DC’s “Joker” origin movie remaining on the calendar.

So that makes now an exceptionally good time to rank all these decades’ worth of Marvel movies, from “Howard the Duck” to last year’s “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Deadpool 2,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” — and this year’s “Captain Marvel, “Avengers: Endgame,” “Dark Phoenix” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” So let’s get to it.

58. “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”

Just a nightmare. A total nightmare. There have been a number of bad superhero movies, but from the talking gas cloud the filmmakers cast as Galactus to Jessica Alba‘s dye job, this one transcends bad.

57. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

A totally chaotic stir fry of nonsense that tells the story of how Wolverine got his claws. Features an early version of Deadpool (also played by Ryan Reynolds) whose mouth is stapled shut, which should tell you all you need to know about it.

Also Read: The Weird and Diverse Comic Book History of ‘Captain Marvel’

56. “Elektra”

That five minutes when they tried to turn Jennifer Garner into an action star went about as well as it should have.

55. “X-Men: The Last Stand”

Just a total mess, incoherent from the word “go.” After losing director of the first two X-Men films Bryan Singer to the first Superman reboot attempt, replacement Matthew Vaughn gave way to eventual director Brett Ratner, who might have killed off the superhero genre entirely were “Spider-Man” not blowing up the box office.

54. “Fantastic Four” (2015)

There could maybe have been a good movie in here somewhere — the cast (Michael B Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara) certainly warranted one. But this Frankenstein of a film is a behind-the-scenes horror story, and you can see it in the totally disjointed final product.

53. “Daredevil”

This was basically “Early-2000s: The Movie,” with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell and Michael Clark Duncan as the main players. The cherry on top of this turd sundae was that damn Evanescence song.

Also Read: It’s Super Weird That ‘Captain Marvel’ Doesn’t Have Anything to Do With ‘Avengers: Endgame’

52. “Fantastic Four” (2005)

Tim Story‘s first “Fantastic Four” is just sort of there, challenging you to remember it exists. With Chris Evans, who played the Human Torch here, going on to embody Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that gets tougher every year.

51. “The Punisher” (2004)

This is the Punisher as a straight revenge thriller, and it’s not bad. Thomas Jane performs admirably, but the whole thing is missing that extra something that would have elevated it beyond standard genre fare. Setting it in Tampa didn’t help.

50. “Spider-Man 3”

Maybe the bad outweighs the good here, but Emo Peter Parker’s dance number remains one of the greatest single moments in any comic book movie, sorry, haters.

49. “Howard the Duck”

A notorious flop at the box office and, yeah, it’s not exactly “good.” But now, 30 years removed from its premiere, “Howard the Duck” is pretty fun as a relic of the ’80s.

Also Read: ‘Captain Marvel’: So Where Did Carol Go for 25 Years Before ‘Avengers: Endgame’?

48. “The Punisher” (1989)

Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett Jr. star in a low-rent ’80s grunge C-level classic. This one’s all novelty value.

47. “Ghost Rider”

For a movie starring Nic Cage about a dude who rides a Harley and turns into a flaming skeleton, this is a surprisingly mundane movie.

46. “The Amazing Spider-Man”

We may never figure out what went wrong with Marc Webb‘s Spider-Man duology, but his choice of Andrew Garfield to play Peter Parker is still brilliant. It just sucks that this movie doesn’t really make any sense.

45. “X-Men”

The beginning of the current wave of theatrical superhero movies, “X-Men” was kind of a cheapie and it showed. Novel at the time, now it just comes off as unremarkable mid-budget action fare as Fox was merely sticking its toe in the superhero waters. Timid.

44. “The Incredible Hulk”

It’s sometimes hard to remember that this one counts as part of the MCU, since it placed Ed Norton in the Dr. Banner role since inhabited by Mark Ruffalo in the “Avengers” films. It’s also hard to remember because it’s generally not memorable.

43. “Thor”

The fantasy Marvel movie is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who covers the whole movie in canted angle shots and theatrical stylings. It’s pretty boring, also, but at least it looks cool.

42. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

More of the same impossible-to-follow hack-n’-slash plotting from the previous movie, offset by Andrew Garfield continuing to be awesome and Jamie Foxx going way over the top as the big bad.

41. “Thor: The Dark World”

“The Dark World,” in contrast to the first “Thor” movie, is certainly not boring. If anything, it suffers the opposite problem, going so hard and fast that it loses substance.

40. “Blade: Trinity”

Starring a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds basically playing a vampire-slaying Deadpool, throwing out one-liners like his mama’s life depended on it, this may not a “good” movie, but it sure is fun.

39. “X2: X-Men United”

A big step up from the first “X-Men” both in production values and quality, it still lacks much in the way of energy. Which is inexcusable when you’ve got Alan Cumming as the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler all over your movie.

38. “Spider-Man”

Sam Raimi truly assembled the prototypical superhero movie with this first entry in the “Spider-Man” franchise, in 2002. Like “X-Men” before it, “Spider-Man” is a bit underwhelming today, but unlike “X-Men” it was proud of its nerd roots.

37. “X-Men: Apocalypse”

Could have been a bizarre ironic summer classic if it were structured like a real movie and had any character development whatsoever. Instead it’s just a shot of visual adrenaline that I’ll probably want to revisit at some point — but not when I’m sober.

36. “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

“Ultron” is frustrating for what it lacks — chiefly the feeling that it’s advancing the overall story arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But as with the first “Avengers” movie its weaknesses are balanced by pretty good character work.

35. “The Avengers”

The story is a total mess, relying heavily on moviegoers’ memories of previous MCU films (if you didn’t remember or know coming in what the Tesseract was, hoo boy). And while the novelty of the Marvel’s first big superhero team-up was irresistible, there are large chunks of this movie that feel like a better title would have been “Toxic Masculinity Avengers.” Steve Rogers challenging Tony Stark to a fight? Come on, man.

34. “Blade”

Pure B-movie trash, which is fine because that’s precisely what it aims for: bloody, crass, awesome.

33. “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”

For the sequel, they tapped the “Crank” director duo known as Neveldine/Taylor. It was an inspired choice, because “Spirit of Vengeance” was exactly as nutty as you’d hope a PG-13 comic book movie would be. Shame that it was apparently stressful enough to break up the tandem of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.

32. “Captain America: The First Avenger”

A lot of folks like to complain that all superhero movies are the same. But this was actually a pretty good World War II movie, too.

31. “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Plot-wise, it never really adds up to anything, but the strength of the cast and the bizarre world they explore more than make up for it.

30. “Blade 2”

Beloved nerd Guillermo del Toro took over for this one and ramped everything up to 11. More vampires, more blood, more people getting sliced up — and of course baddies whose jaws can split open and swallow a person’s head whole.

29. “Big Hero 6”

Disney Animation Studios made a Marvel movie, and it’s really sweet. Sure, it’s the kiddie version of Marvel, but that doesn’t prevent it from being a wholly satisfying experience.

28. “Captain Marvel”

It’s fine, but “Captain Marvel” feels like a movie from before Marvel Studios really hit its stride in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Right now it’s a movie that seems very much out of place.

27. “Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2”

An improvement on the first film, and an absolute delight from moment to moment — but it never quite coalesces into a coherent whole because so many subplots distract from the core story and rob it of its emotional impact. Would be a top 5 comic book movie if it had just reigned in the plot.

26. “Iron Man”

It was Robert Downey Jr.‘s reemergence on the big screen, and he’s flawless in this origin story that takes Tony Stark from billionaire playboy weapons manufacturer to billionaire playboy other-things manufacturer. It’s weirdly low key compared with the rest of the MCU, and it works even so.

25. “Avengers: Endgame”

This movie is, frustratingly, far from perfect. In fact, it’s kind of a huge mess. But it’s also awesome and thrilling and hilarious and contains some individual moments that are perfect. I wish it was better, but with everything required of a movie that exists to wrap up 21 movies’ worth of story arcs, I’m glad it’s as good as it is.

24. “Hulk”

In 2003 the modern wave of superhero movies was still in its infancy, and Ang Lee — still the best filmmaker to do a comic book movie — got experimental with “Hulk.” And what he made was an incredible melodrama with visual stylings meant to ape comic book panels. It didn’t sit well with audiences, but “Hulk” remains one of the most compelling and interesting Marvel movies to date.

23. “The Wolverine”

This was, like, just a legitimately enjoyable melodramatic action movie. Sure, it turns into a video game boss battle by the end, but for most of its running time it’s just an actual movie.

22. “Punisher: War Zone”

Whereas the previous “Punisher” movie was melodramatic and contemplative, this one is just murderous. And it’s awesome.

21. “Venom”

How can anybody resist the pull of Tom Hardy doing comedy? This movie knows exactly what it’s trying to be, and what it’s trying to be is dumb and fun and nothing else. And it is extremely fun.

20. “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Its time travel logic is a bit iffy, but “Days of Future Past” is still tremendously entertaining because, while epic, it’s not overly serious. As “Back to the Future” taught us long ago, you can get away with a lot of logical leaps if you strike the right tone.

19. “Iron Man 2”

Gets a bad rap because it’s a huge mess, but I think it’s aged pretty well with its topic of corporate exploitation and Sam Rockwell delivering a spot-on performance as a Trump-esque weapons guy.

18. “Deadpool”

In the angsty and angry times we live in, “Deadpool” is perfect. Aggressively violent and flippantly meanspirited, it’s the exact emotional release we needed at that moment.

17. “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”

The main series “X-Men” movies have never achieved any sort of greatness, but at least “Dark Phoenix” ends the whole thing with one of the best efforts of the bunch. And that sequence on the train in the third act is easily the best action sequence of these movies.

16. “Spider-Man: Far From Home”

It’s frustrating that it doesn’t really deal with the immense fallout from “Avengers: Endgame,” but it’s still as visually creative as any movie in the MCU, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is an all-timer of a villain. Dude goes all the way out in this.

15. “X-Men: First Class”

The first “X-Men” movie that could be described as “fun.” It’s basically two movies crammed into one, story-wise, but director Matthew Vaughn‘s touch is so breezy and enjoyable that it totally works anyway, thanks in large part to a brilliant cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy.

14. “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

Not quite the best “Spider-Man” movie, but still an absolute delight, with a cast full of scene stealers. Michael Keaton as the Vulture makes for one of the best Marvel villains ever.

13. “Deadpool 2”

While you may get whiplash from the “Deadpool” sequel’s occasional very serious and emo scenes, the rest of the movie is thoroughly delightful, somehow managing to be even funnier — and more hilariously violent — than the original.

12. “Ant-Man”

“Ant-Man” represented a first for the MCU by being a straight-up comedy. And it’s a very good one, with a cast that’s perfectly suited for it. Aside from Paul Rudd who plays Ant-Man himself, Michael Pena is the true standout as Scott Lang’s best friend and former cellmate.

11. “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

It’s ever so slightly frustrating that this one doesn’t fully integrate into the “Infinity War” situation, but even so it’s thoroughly a delight. Evangeline Lilly is so good at the Wasp that I’m retroactively irritated that she didn’t don the suit in the previous “Ant-Man” movie.

10. “Doctor Strange”

If it weren’t hamstrung with all the requisite elements of an origin story, “Doctor Strange” might have been the best Marvel movie ever. That’s the power of the astonishing visual imagination on display here. People love to talk about the nebulous concept of capturing some long lost childlike sense of wonder though the magic of cinema — “Doctor Strange” is one of the only movies I’ve watched as an adult that really accomplishes that.

9. “Spider-Man 2”

This is a movie that fully understands its main character and taps into what made him such a captivating figure for so long. Yeah, Peter Parker’s a superhero, but he’s also a college kid working a minimum wage job to make rent while also taking university physics classes. Peter buckles under the pressure, something we can all relate to.

8. “Iron Man 3”

As far as I’m concerned this is the “Iron Man” movie. Somehow, Shane Black was able to infiltrate the MCU and make a legitimate Shane Black movie with all the wit and raw humanity you’d expect from him. It carries exactly the sort of authorial identity we should want all these movies to have.

7. “Thor: Ragnarok”

A thorough delight. This might be the most fun we had at the movies in all of 2017, and so we can’t help but love it.

6. “Captain America: Civil War”

Multiply the two previous best Marvel movies by one another and you get “Civil War.” It packs the sort of emotional payoff all the disconnected Marvel movies can’t really provide. And as an action film it’s easily the best of the superhero genre.

5. “Avengers: Infinity War”

You could certainly make the argument that “Infinity War” does not really hold up on as a complete movie on its own, because it kinda begins with the second act. But I don’t care. The culmination of this ten-year shared universe experiment should stand on the shoulders of the movies that came before it. The fact that it packs such a profound emotional punch, however, is what really makes it work.

4. “Black Panther”

It’s held back a little by being saddled with standard “origin movie” issues — introducing audiences to the world of Wakanda isn’t a quick and easy task, and it could use an extra 15-20 minutes to flesh out the supporting characters — but still manages to be the most substantial superhero movie ever. It’s kind of amazing that Disney let writer/director Ryan Coogler make this overt a political statement — it’s the most openly political mega-budget movie I’ve ever seen . Also, while I’m listing superlatives: Michael B Jordan delivers the best performance ever in a superhero movie. Good lord.

3. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

The best superhero movies, and movies in general, are the ones that are truly most human. And “Spider-Verse,” despite being animated, despite the wacky cast of Spider-People, despite the outlandish premise, is as real as movies get.

2. “Logan”

James Mangold’s small-scale western is a game changer for the entire superhero genre, daring to defy pretty much standard by which you expect these movies to operate. It’s just a great movie by any normal standard. Where “Civil War” elevated the genre, “Logan” opts instead to be something else entirely and we’re all the better for it.

1. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

The Russo brothers, who made their entrance to the MCU directing “Winter Soldier” before taking the reigns on “Civil War” and, eventually, 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” really impressed with “Winter Soldier.” It’s a classic spy thriller with a superhero twist. And Robert Redford as the bad guy is a really nice touch. But what really pushes it to greatness is the way it just gets it. It gets people. It gets the world. It pushes the idea that you gotta do what you gotta do even when you know it’s not gonna work out. It’s strangely morose, even, something you don’t generally expect from these things (angry, sure; sad, not so much). This movie is real.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: the story so far

This article contains major spoilers for all of the MCU movies, including Captain Marvel. If there are any of the films that you haven’t seen, proceed with caution…

With Avengers: Endgame finally upon us, now is as good a time as any to get up to speed with the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But if you don’t have time to watch the movies, here’s our attempt at putting all of the key information from the first 21 films into some kind of coherent story (in the order in which they take place in the MCU timeline).

During World War 2, Steve Rogers is rejected from the army for being medically unfit. Luckily for everyone, he’s chosen to be the test subject for a new breed of super-soldier! Although they only get around to making one. Rogers becomes Captain America, the world’s first (?) superhero. Along with Peggy Carter, Howard Stark and the Howling Commandoes, Steve manages to help defeat the paramilitary organisation HYDRA who are using the power of the Tesseract – a strange device which contains one of the Infinity Stones – to defeat the allied forces. During the fighting, Steve’s best friend Bucky is apparently killed but the Red Skull’s plan to attack America is stopped. Unfortunately, Steve and the Red Skull are apparently killed and the Tesseract lost when the plane crashes in Antarctica – until Steve’s body and the Tesseract are recovered from the ice and reawakened by SHIELD in the present day.

Kree Starforce member Vers, who suffers from amnesia, is led on an away mission by her mentor Yon-Rogg to track down a group of enemy Skrulls. When her unit is ambushed, she’s kidnapped by Skrull commander Talos, who attempts to unlock her memories, but she manages to escape and crash lands on Earth in the mid-’90s. There, she meets up with SHIELD agent Nick Fury and discovers her Earth-born heritage and her real name: Carol Danvers. While looking into her past, Fury and Danvers – a former US Air Force pilot – uncover details about a secret project she was involved with: an experimental warp engine powered by the Tesseract and built by Dr Wendy Lawson. Talos hunts them down, before explaining that his Skrulls are in fact refugees, and were being helped by Lawson – aka rogue Kree scientist Mar-Vell – to find a new home out of reach of the Kree. Mar-Vell was killed by Yon-Rogg and the engine destroyed; the resultant blast gave Carol her powers but wiped her memory.

Danvers, Talos and Fury locate Mar-Vell’s cloaked lab in Earth’s orbit, where they find the Tesseract and the rest of Talos’ family and fellow refugees in hiding. Yon-Rogg and the Kree attack, but Carol’s full powers manifest and she defeats them, while the Tesseract is safely recovered thanks to a cat-like alien Flerken named Goose. Danvers leaves Earth to help the Skrulls find a new homeworld, but leaves her new pal Fury with a modified pager that’s able to contact her in case of emergency. The SHIELD agent, blinded in one eye by a scratch from Goose, conceives the idea of a team of heroes like Danvers and names the fledgling initiative after her old call sign, “Avenger”.

When weapons manufacturer, inventor and absolute cad Tony Stark (the son of Howard Stark) is captured by the terrorist organisation the Ten Rings in Afghanistan, he secretly builds a mechanical suit of armour powered by his father’s arc reactor technology to escape – and keep him alive after bomb shrapnel gets lodged in his chest. When he returns to the US he builds a new version of the armour and turns over a new leaf, neutralising warzones as the superhero Iron Man. When Stark refuses to turn the armour and reactor into a product his business partner Obadiah Stane attempts to create his own version, though he later dies in battle with Stark. When the dust settles, Stark reveals to the world’s press that he is Iron Man. Afterwards, Nick Fury – now director of SHIELD – visits Stark at home and suggests they talk about the Avengers Initiative…

The victim of a strange gamma radiation accident, Bruce Banner is tempted back from exile in Brazil in search of a cure – however, the military forces led by General Ross are determined to capture him. When one of Ross’s soldiers, Emil Blonsky, is injured in battle with Banner’s alter-ego The Hulk, he undergoes an experimental procedure that turns him into the Abomination. Hulk and the Abomination fight in Harlem and the Hulk wins, though the destruction caused leads Banner to return to exile.

The US government insists that Stark give them a version of the Iron Man suit, so he eventually allows an older (but ultimately much cooler) model to be piloted by his best friend James Rhodes, aka War Machine, aka the best MCU superhero. Meanwhile, Ivan Vanko – the son of Howard Stark’s business partner – is recruited by Tony’s rival, Justin Hammer, to build Iron Man suits. Vanko tricks Hammer and creates humanoid drones that he sends against Tony and Rhodes, although they are ultimately victorious. Tony’s new assistant reveals herself to be the Black Widow, an agent of SHIELD, and helps them defeat Hammer and Vanko. Tony and his former assistant Pepper (who we probably should have mentioned earlier but she doesn’t do a lot to be fair) begin a relationship.

Heir to the throne of Asgard, Thor is exiled to Earth after disobeying his father Odin. His brother Loki, who is jealous of Thor, attempts to prevent his return and eventually sends the Destroyer to kill Thor. Aided by Jane Foster, Eric Selvig and the Warriors Three, Thor manages to defeat the Destroyer, proving in the process that he’s worthy enough to wield his hammer and return to Asgard. Also Jane and Thor fall in love apparently, it’s sort of hard to tell from watching the film. Also, Hawkeye’s around for about 8 seconds. Thor comes home just in time to save his father from exiting the franchise early at the hands of Loki’s betrayal, and Loki is cast into the exterior darkness.

Avengers Assemble

Loki returns to Earth in an attempt to recover the Tesseract and conquer Earth. Nick Fury assembles the Avengers to stop him. Loki mind controls Hawkeye and Eric Selvig but he’s eventually captured by a combination of Iron Man and Captain America and later Thor turns up to recover him. The Black Widow convinces Bruce Banner to return from exile to assist the team. Hawkeye is rescued, but Loki escapes and apparently kills Agent Coulson who has only been making cameos up until now so you’ll have to trust us that this mattered. Loki then attempts to open a portal so that a Chitauri army can attack Earth, but the Avengers succeed in defeating them and capture Loki. In a post-credits sequence, it’s revealed that Thanos is the one who sent Loki to get the Tesseract.

In what is arguably the best MCU movie (depending on who you’re arguing with), Tony Stark is recovering from his experiences defeating the Chitauri when a terrorist named “The Mandarin” begins to threaten his life. Meanwhile, War Machine is rebranded by a thinktank named AIM as the Iron Patriot. It soon emerges that AIM is behind both Iron Patriot and the Mandarin, who is actually a disgraced actor named Trevor Slattery. They kidnap the President and Tony succeeds in rescuing him. He also gets the shrapnel removed from his chest, so we don’t have to worry about that plot device anymore.

When a planetary alignment breaks down the walls between dimensions, Jane Foster wanders into an ancient vault and is attached to the Aether, another infinity stone. Thor brings her to Asgard and Malekith and the Dark Elves attack, while Frigga dies protecting Jane. Malekith gets hold of the Aether and Thor gives chase with Loki, who is apparently killed. Thor battles Malekith across the dimensions and eventually defeats him with Jane’s help. After rejecting the throne of Asgard, Thor returns to Earth to be with Jane, and Loki is revealed to be alive, but posing as Odin to rule Asgard.

When Nick Fury is apparently killed, Captain America and the Black Widow uncover something rotten at SHIELD: the organisation has been infiltrated by Hydra, who are planning to use three new helicarriers to execute and control the population. While on the run, Steve and Natasha are pursued by the Winter Soldier and join up with Sam Wilson, the Falcon. Nick Fury reveals that he faked his death, and Steve realises that the Winter Soldier is his friend, Bucky, who is somehow alive but amnesiac. The four heroes take down SHIELD’s helicarriers and Nick Fury heads off to Europe for a vacation.

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Abducted from Earth as a child, Peter Quill finds himself on the trail of The Orb (spoilers: another Infinity Stone) as rival forces attempt to obtain it. Ronan, an agent of Thanos, and Nebula, Thanos’ daughter, manage to obtain the stone before Ronan turns rogue against his master and uses it to attack the Nova Corps homeworld. The Guardians, who comprise of Quill (Star-Lord), Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket, manage to stop him and in the process become a team of space adventurers and surrogate family. How nice. Although Groot is apparently killed but releases a seedling that later grows into a baby Groot. Also, the Nova Corps take possession of the Orb so they can keep it safe. Don’t forget that one.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Shortly after the events of the first movie, Peter Quill encounters his biological father, Ego, a celestial who has assumed the form of a planet who has assumed the form of Kurt Russell. The Guardians and Nebula discover Ego’s plan to… er… wait let us get back to you after we’ve read Wikipedia. Oh right. The Guardians and Nebula discover Ego’s plan to transform thousands of worlds into extensions of himself, and potentially apparently killing billions, and defeat him with the help of Yondu, the Ravagers, and Ego’s own ward Mantis. Sadly Yondu is apparently killed, but the Guardians are rewarded for their bravery as the galaxy’s foremost team of heroes.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

After assembling repeatedly, the Avengers have defeated Hydra and recovered Loki’s sceptre. After dismantling it, they realise it contains an Infinity Stone. After Tony uses the Mind Stone’s protective AI as the basis for a new global defence system called Ultron, the AI becomes self-aware and attempts to take over the world. Ultron enlists the help of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, two Sokovians who had been radicalised by Hydra and given superpowers. The Avengers put a combination of JARVIS and the Mind Stone into Ultron’s new body to create the Vision. When the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver realise that Ultron is evil, they turn on him and assist the Avengers, eventually defeating Ultron though Quicksilver is killed. Although they save the world, Sokovia is nearly destroyed in the process. Vision then executes Ultron although he does do it very nicely. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner returns to exile and Thor leaves to investigate the constant and worrying appearance of the Infinity Stones.

Reformed criminal Scott Lang is convinced to perform one last job, breaking into the home of former SHIELD scientist Hank Pym. There, he discovers the Ant-Man suit, which allows him to shrink and talk to ants. When Pym’s company is threatened by Darren Cross, an evil businessman, Hank’s daughter Hope teams up with Scott and his friends to defeat Cross and stop Pym’s technology being weaponised. Although they have a brief altercation with The Falcon when they attempt to steal a vital component from the Avengers HQ, they successfully defeat Cross. Proud of his daughter’s achievements, Hope gives her the equipment once meant for her mother so that she can become the Wasp.

Following the destruction of Sokovia, the World Security Council decides to regular the actions of super-powered individuals including the Avengers, causing an ideological split in the team – not least because Cap remembers how easily SHIELD was corrupted by Hydra. When the Winter Soldier resurfaces and is framed by Heinrich Zemo for a fatal attack on the Wakandan King, Cap and Iron Man find themselves on opposite sides of an extremely cool fight as Iron Man attempts to apprehend Bucky and Captain America attempts to prevent him from being apprehended. Although the team apparently reconciles, Stark discovers that it was Bucky who killed his parents and is unable to forgive him, or Cap for protecting him. Several Avengers are imprisoned for breaking the Sokovia Accords, though Cap – still at large – releases them from jail. Black Panther and Spider-Man are also hanging around being cool.

When expert surgeon Stephen Strange is injured in a car accident, he turns to mysticism to repair his hands. Under the tuition of The Ancient One, Strange masters the mystic arts even as the disciples of Dormammu attempt to undermine the entire magical order. When The Ancient One dies, Strange and his friend Wong are left to defend the world, and Strange manages to defeat Dormammu by using the power of the Eye of Agamotto – actually the Time Infinity Stone – by trapping them both in a loop until the demon backs down. Strange abandons his plans to return to surgery while his former partner, Mordo, renounces all magic and decides to remove it from the world permanently.

Following the death of his father at the hands of Zemo, T’Challa (the Black Panther) is crowned King of the futuristic African paradise, Wakanda. Unfortunately, his claim is challenged by Eric Killmonger, the son of an exiled Wakandan who believes the country’s isolationism has caused them to abandon the oppressed. He sort of has a point right? Unfortunately his plan is to wage war on the rest of the planet so that’s where the sympathy stops. Aided by his loyal family and generals – Shuri, Nakia and Okoye – T’Challa reclaims the throne and Killmonger chooses to die to make his point. Meanwhile, under T’Challa, Wakanda decides to open outreach centres across the globe to aid the oppressed. Wakanda forever!

Fresh from the events of Civil War, Spider-Man is given licence to be a superhero under the supervision of Tony Stark. Meanwhile, blue-collar worker Adrian Toomes sets out on a crime-spree after salvaging alien technology from Loki’s failed invasion. When Spider-Man defies orders to leave it alone, Iron Man strips him of his advanced suit, but Spidey pursues and eventually defeats Toomes. For proving himself, Tony plans to invite him to the Avengers, but Spidey declines in advance thinking it was just another test. At the climax of the movie, Peter is interrupted mid-costume change by his Aunt May…

Thor: Ragnarok

Unable to find information about the Infinity Stones, Thor returns to Asgard and finally uncovers the deception by his brother Loki. Aided by Doctor Strange, Thor and Loki attempt to find Odin on Earth just in time to witness him apparently die. With Odin gone, Thor and Loki’s sister Hela is released from imprisonment and slaughters many key recurring Asgardians, exiling Thor and Loki to a planet run by the Grandmaster, who puts Thor into his arena where he faces the Hulk, who was transported there following the events of Age Of Ultron. Aided by a former Valkyrie, Thor, Loki and the Hulk escape the Grandmaster and manage to take down Hela by releasing the fire demon Surtur. Asgard is lost, but not before Loki can steal the Tesseract from Odin’s vault. Thor and the remaining Asgardians head out on a ship to find a new world only to be confronted by Thanos’s vessel…

Thanos and the Black Order, having stolen the power gem from the Nova Corps, attacks the Asgardians in an attempt to recover the Tesseract from Loki. They succeed, apparently killing Loki, but the Hulk is able to return back to Earth while Thor is left adrift in space. There, he encounters the Guardians of the Galaxy who recognise him as a fellow warrior in the fight against Thanos and assist him in creating a weapon to defeat Thanos. Back on Earth, Banner warns Doctor Strange of the threat that’s coming and disbanded Avengers face the Black Order, though the Hulk refuses to come out and fight. Stark, Strange and Spider-Man head into space to fight Thanos, meeting the Guardians and Nebula along the way. Thanos, meanwhile, is assembling the rest of the Infinity Stones, and sacrifices his daughter Gamora to unlock the Soul Stone. Strange and pals directly assault Thanos but are unable to stop him escaping to Earth, and Strange points out that they are now in the endgame, which is a title that will become important later. When Thanos reaches Earth he kills the Vision and completes the set of Infinity Stones, then enacts his plan to wipe out 50% of the universe’s population. Most of the Avengers apparently die, Thanos retires to tend a farm, and then in a post-credits scene we see Nick Fury summon Captain Marvel on a pager before he too apparently dies.

Ant-Man And The Wasp

After being penalised for illegally assisting Captain America during the events of Civil War, Scott Lang is finally ready to leave house arrest and rejoin society. Unfortunately, he becomes re-entangled in the likes of Hope and Hank Pym when it turns out he has a connection to the missing Janet Pym, who has been trapped in the Quantum Realm. The group ends up fighting the Ghost, a villain who wants to use Scott’s connection to the Quantum Realm to cure herself. Working together with Hank’s former partner, Bill Foster, they are able to save Janet and work on a cure for the Ghost. However, in a post-credits scene, Hank, Janet and Hope apparently die and Scott is stuck in the Quantum Realm. This may become important later.

Last Updated: January 17, 2020

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been dominating pop culture for the past decade – building a sprawling superhero universe that spans movies and TV shows. With 23 MCU movies released so far, and plenty more already planned, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different superheroes and their respective franchises and team-ups. To help fans out, here’s our breakdown of every Marvel movie released so far (in chronological order).

In addition to a breakdown of the films, we’re also including release info and the final global box office total (unadjusted for inflation). Previously, we put together a complete MCU Movie & TV viewing guide; however, our new breakdown is the easiest way to keep track of all the movies, characters, and storylines that Marvel Studios has released in the ten-plus years they’ve been building a shared universe.

Iron Man

  • Director: Jon Favreau
  • Release Date: May 2, 2008
  • Box Office: $585.2 million

In many ways, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He made his debut in the first ever MCU movie, and Tony’s journey from selfish billionaire to flawed superhero has in many ways become the blueprint for MCU origin stories. Jon Favreau’s Iron Man received rave reviews and delighted comic book fans, especially when the post-credits scene teased the eventual arrival of the Avengers.

The Incredible Hulk

  • Director: Louis Leterrier
  • Release Date: June 13, 2008
  • Box Office: $263.4 million

You’d be forgiven for not realizing that Louis Letterier’s The Incredible Hulk is an MCU movie. It was the first and only MCU entry to be distributed by Universal Pictures, who still hold the Hulk solo movie rights (which is why Hulk has since only appeared in team-ups and guest spots). Bruce Banner actor Edward Norton was recast with Mark Ruffalo when Hulk returned in The Avengers, and Ruffalo has held the role ever since. Though plenty of fans enjoyed The Incredible Hulk, it remains the least successful MCU movie financially, and received mixed reviews from critics.

Iron Man 2

  • Director: Jon Favreau
  • Release Date: May 7, 2010
  • Box Office: $623.9 million


  • Director: Kenneth Branagh
  • Release Date: May 6, 2011
  • Box Office: $449.3 million

In the fourth MCU movie, little-known Australian actor Chris Hemsworth beamed down from Asgard to steal hearts (and smash cups), with his infectious grin and blond locks. True to the Tony Stark formula, Thor Odinson is a powerful and arrogant figure who is brought low, and learns a few important life lessons on his path to becoming a superhero. Thor introduced Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, in the start of a sweeping romance that would eventually end in an off-screen break-up. It also included the first appearance of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, as well as debuting fan-favorite villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Captain America: The First Avenger

  • Director: Joe Johnston
  • Release Date: July 22, 2011
  • Box Office: $370.6 million

After four present-day movies, Marvel went back in time to World War II and introduced a skinny kid called Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), who was determined to fight for his country despite being physically unfit to do so. Fortune shone down on Steve in the form of a super-soldier serum, which granted him incredible strength, speed, and agility, but left his good heart unchanged. The First Avenger also saw the first appearance of Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, who would later return as the Winter Soldier. Meanwhile, Steve’s love interest Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) went on to star in her own TV show. The movie also featured the first of the Infinity Stones: the Space Stone, which is contained in a vessel called the Tesseract.

The Avengers

  • Director: Joss Whedon
  • Release Date: May 4, 2012
  • Box Office: $1.519 billion

The crowning glory of the MCU’s Phase One, The Avengers brought together every superhero that had been introduced in previous entries for a massive battle against Loki and his Chitauri army. It also marked the first appearance (in a mid-credits scene) of cosmic baddie Thanos (Josh Brolin). The Avengers crystallized the cinematic universe model and, due to its success, has been perhaps the most influential movie event of the past decade. In the wake of The Avengers, everyone wanted to get in on the cinematic universe game: Warner Bros. announced a slate of connected DC movies; Universal put together plans for a shared monster universe; and Legendary Pictures planned another “MonsterVerse” that would bring together behemoths like Godzilla and King Kong.

Iron Man 3

  • Director: Shane Black
  • Release Date: May 3, 2015
  • Box Office: $1.214 billion

Marvel kicked off Phase Two with a movie that remains the most controversial entry in the MCU. Many comic book fans were outraged by a mid-movie twist that, they felt, did a great disservice to an iconic Iron Man villain. Beyond the audience of hardcore fans, however, Iron Man 3 was generally quite well received, with critics praising its blend of action and comedy. It created a connective tissue between Phase One and Phase Two by showing Tony Stark struggling to deal with the lingering trauma from the Battle of New York – a character arc that would continue to play out in Phase Two’s team-up movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Thor: The Dark World

  • Director: Alan Taylor
  • Release Date: November 8, 2013
  • Box Office: $644.6 million

Thor: The Dark World had a somewhat difficult road to the big screen. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was officially attached to the project for two months before she parted ways with Marvel, citing creative differences. Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor was then hired to direct, but difficulties during production culminated in Joss Whedon being flown in to work on certain scenes. Thor: The Dark World was a commercial success, far outperforming the first movie at the box office, but is generally regarded as one of the weaker entries in the MCU. It featured Christopher Eccleston as the villain, Malekith, and also introduced one of the five Infinity Stones: the Aether, or Reality Stone.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo
  • Release Date: April 4, 2014
  • Box Office: $714.3 million

Captain America’s second solo outing was the first MCU movie directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, and its critical and commercial success led to the duo being handed the reins to three major team-up movies: Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. The Winter Soldier saw Steve Rogers reunited with his old friend Bucky Barnes, who had been put in cryogenic stasis by Hydra and brainwashed into carrying out terrible deeds. The movie also introduced Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon, who (along with Black Widow) was one of Steve’s only allies while he was on the run from a Hydra-corrupted SHIELD, and who would later go on to join the Avengers.

Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Director: James Gunn
  • Release Date: August 1, 2014
  • Box Office: $773.3 million

After a team-up movie and three sequels, Marvel took what many saw as a big risk with Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie featured a superhero team that basically no one outside of comic book circles had heard of, which included a talking raccoon and a sentient alien tree who could only say “I am Groot.” It should have been too weird to work, but in the end its weirdness was exactly what made it work (well, that and an awesome soundtrack). Guardians of the Galaxy is also notable for giving the first proper, detailed explanation of what the Infinity Stones are and where they came from, as well as introducing the Power Stone.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

  • Director: Joss Whedon
  • Release Date: May 1, 2015
  • Box Office: $1.405 billion

The hype train for Avengers: Age of Ultron first got rolling with a Comic-Con trailer that featured a haunting, slowed-down take on the song “There Are No Strings On Me,” from Pinocchio. The movie’s titular villain, voiced by James Spader, was created by Tony Stark as an AI peacekeeping program, but since he was built using code from the Mind Stone, Ultron quickly developed a mind of his own. Age of Ultron introduced two new Avengers: Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) started out as a villain but ultimately switched sides, while Paul Bettany graduated from a voice-acting role as Tony’s AI butler JARVIS to the role of Vision, a powerful android with an Infinity Stone in his forehead.


  • Director: Peyton Reed
  • Release Date: July 17, 2015
  • Box Office: $518.3 million

Ant-Man was almost a decade in the making. Development began in 2006, and from then until pre-production began in 2013, Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) was attached to direct. It came as a shock, then, when in 2014 – just a few short months before filming began – Wright and Marvel announced that they were parting ways, citing creative differences. Peyton Reed (Bring It On) took over the movie, and Paul Rudd made his debut as thief-turned-superhero Scott Lang. Evangeline Lilly also debuted as Hope van Dyne, daughter of the original Ant-Man (Michael Douglas), and the movie’s mid-credits scene revealed that she would return as a superhero in her own right – inheriting the mantle of Wasp from her mother. Ant-Man concluded Phase Two of the MCU.

Captain America: Civil War

  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo
  • Release Date: May 6, 2016
  • Box Office: $1.153 billion

Effectively serving as The Avengers 2.5, Civil War was both a team-up and a break-up movie, with a marketing campaign based around pitting “Team Cap” against “Team Iron Man.” The rift began with the Sokovia Accords, a United Nations mandate that the Avengers would no longer rush into crisis situations without permission. Tony Stark, still wracked with guilt over his part in the destruction wrought by Ultron, pushed for superheroes to be regulated, while Steve Rogers argued that they needed to be able to help people without waiting for a green light. The movie ended with several of the Avengers on the run, having been broken out of prison by Captain America, and Tony left largely isolated. It also served to introduce Tom Holland’s Peter Parker to the MCU, after Marvel and Sony arranged to partner up on the Spider-Man franchise.

Doctor Strange

  • Director: Scott Derrickson
  • Release Date: November 4, 2016
  • Box Office: $677 million

Boasting trippy visuals and the first introduction to the mystical side of the Marvel universe, Doctor Strange starred Benedict Cumberbatch as an arrogant surgeon whose career is abruptly derailed by a car accident that cripples his hands. After exhausting all surgical treatments (and emptying his savings in the process), Stephen Strange travelled to Nepal in search of a rumored miracle cure, and instead found the training grounds of Kamar-Taj, where he trained in the mystical arts. By the end of the movie, Doctor Strange has been promoted to the Master of the New York Sanctum – one of three mystical hotspots on Earth that protect that planet from harm. The movie also introduced another Infinity Stone: the Time Stone, which powers the mystical artifact known as the Eye of Agamotto.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

  • Director: James Gunn
  • Release Date: May 5, 2017
  • Box Office: $863 million

The ragtag team of cosmic protectors returned for a second outing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (so-called because of the franchise’s mix-tape soundtracks). With a strong emphasis on the nature of family, this sequel saw Star-Lord reunited with his father, Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell), and also expanded the team with Ego’s assistant, Mantis, joining the Guardians at the end of the movie. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was an even bigger success than the first movie, and while reviews were slightly more mixed, a lot of people were moved by the very personal and often emotional tone of the sequel – especially when director James Gunn deployed Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son” in a certain scene.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

  • Director: Jon Watts
  • Release Date: July 7, 2017
  • Box Office: $880 million

Given that most of the Avengers are in their thirties or forties (or nineties – looking at you, Steve), Peter Parker stands out from the crowd as the MCU’s first kid superhero. While previous movie versions of Spider-Man have either had Peter graduate early on in the first movie (Tobey Maguire version), or at the end of the first movie (Andrew Garfield version), Homecoming embraced the fact that Peter is still very young and probably not mature enough to be running around in a super-suit with an “Instant Kill” mode. Watts’ film was, at its core, a coming-of-age story about a fledgling superhero letting go of his need for mentor approval and learning to stand on his own two feet.

Thor: Raganarok

  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Release Date: November 3, 2017
  • Box Office: $853 million

Thor, who shouldered a lot of the comic relief moments in The Avengers, went all-out comedy in his third solo outing, which was helmed by beloved Kiwi indie director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows). Hulk came along for the ride, finally re-emerging after his departure at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which had carried him all the way to the junker planet of Sakaar – where a collection of wormholes drops detritus from all over the galaxy. Sakaar is ruled over by the flamboyant Grandmaster (played by Jeff Goldblum at his Jeff Goldblum-est), and Thor and Loki end up there after an ill-fated fight with their long-lost older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett). Despite the fact that the movie’s title refers to the Nordic apocalypse, Ragnarok is a pretty light-hearted affair, with much of the movie’s runtime dedicated to Thor’s efforts to free himself from Sakaar and get back to Asgard.

Black Panther

  • Director: Ryan Coogler
  • Release Date: February 16, 2018
  • Box Office: $1.346 billion

Black Panther was easily the longest MCU movie in the making. First announced way back in 2005 as one of ten planned Marvel movies, on a list that included movies that did get made (Avengers, Captain America, Doctor Strange and Ant-Man) and also several movies that didn’t (Cloak and Dagger, Nick Fury, Power Pack, Shang-Chi, and a solo Hawkeye movie). The character finally made his big screen debut in Captain America: Civil War, with Chadwick Boseman playing the prince-turned-superhero, T’Challa, before taking center stage in his own explosively successful solo movie that went on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

Avengers: Infinity War

  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo
  • Release Date: April 27, 2018
  • Box Office: $2.048 billion

From the moment it was announced, it was clear that Marvel Studios’ two-part climax to what would be come to be dubbed The Infinity Saga would be special. However, what Avengers: Infinity War ended up being was a success beyond just about anything released up to that point. Featuring an enormous line-up of Marvel heroes, and the MCU’s best villain to date in Thanos, Infinity War set the stage for an epic final showdown with an ending that still drops fans’ jaws in retrospect.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

  • Director: Peyton Reed
  • Release Date: July 6, 2018
  • Box Office: $623 million

An entertaining diversion for Marvel fans after the heartbreaking of Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp gave moviegoers more of Paul Rudd’s wisecracking superhero, this time officially alongside Evangeline Lilly’s modern version of The Wasp. This sequel’s further exploration of the quantum realm and the weird way time works there also nicely set the stage for what to was to come in 2019’s MCU magnum opus.

Captain Marvel

  • Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
  • Release Date: March 8, 2019
  • Box Office: $1.129 billion

Captain Marvel served to introduce perhaps the MCU’s most powerful hero in Carol Danvers, while also taking Marvel fans back to the 1990s, and revealing how Nick Fury lost his eye. Brie Larson is a delight in the lead role, and instantly became a fan-favorite addition to the MCU in the eyes of many. While many were surprised just how small a role she played in the MCU’s next film, Captain Marvel’s solo debut was still a memorable adventure.

Avengers: Endgame

  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo
  • Release Date: April 26, 2019
  • Box Office: $2.797 billion

Literally the biggest movie of all time, Avengers: Endgame smashed through box office records, and right into the hearts of Marvel fans the world over. The Russo Brothers not only managed to craft a worthy follow-up to the nearly universally praised Infinity War, but did so while cramming in even more characters. Endgame also marked the end of an era, killing off Iron Man and sending Captain America off into retirement.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

  • Director: Jon Watts
  • Release Date: July 2, 2019
  • Box Office: $1.131 billion

Following up Avengers: Endgame was a tall order, but Marvel Studios left the job to their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Far From Home sees Peter head overseas for a class trip, only to encounter an incredibly obvious heel turn by Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. Anticlimactic reveal aside, Mysterio was a delightful villain, and the sequel’s post-credits scenes set up an interesting new reality for Peter Parker in the MCU.

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About The Author

Hannah has been with Screen Rant since the heady days of 2013, starting out as a humble news writer and eventually clawing her way up the ladder through a series of Machiavellian schemes and betrayals. She’s now a features writer and editor, covering the hottest topics in the world of nerddom from her home base in Oxford, UK.
Hannah enjoys weird horror movies, weirder sci-fi movies, and also the movie adaptation of Need for Speed – the greatest video game movie of all time. She has lived and studied in New York and Toronto, but ultimately returned home so that she could get a decent cup of tea. Her hobbies include drawing, video games, long walks in the countryside, and wasting far too much time on Twitter.
Speaking of which, you can follow Hannah online at @HSW3K

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