The Definitive Marvel Cinematic Universe Watch Order

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been dominating the box office for over 10 years now, having started all the way back in 2008 with Iron Man. Considering the movies’ popularity, most people have seen at least a few of them. But if you want to get in on the fun just now, or have missed out on several films and want your catch-up marathon to be cohesive, it might be a bit daunting.

At 23 movies and 11 series, keeping track of what to watch and when isn’t easy. Even if you decide to ditch the shows and stick to the feature films, that’s still just shy of two dozen movies! Whether you want to watch them in release order or in chronological order, we have you covered.

The films span large periods of time, stretching back into the past and forward into the future, and the release order does not follow plot chronology – Captain America’s first movie outing is even subtitled “The First Avenger”, but the film was the 5th to be released, for example. But usually short intros and outros still make following the events easy when watching in release order. There’s also time travel involved!

Some of the upcoming films, like Black Widow, are entirely flashbacks as far as the plot is concerned. While some of the series, like Agents of Shield, ran long enough to coincide with multiple movies, which is something to keep in mind if you don’t plan on sticking just to the feature films.

When dealing with this much content, categorization helps a great deal. Marvel broke down their films into “Phases” and, presumably, “Sagas”, though only one Saga has been completed so far, so we don’t know if the naming convention will stick. Phases typically consist of multiple one-shot films focusing on one hero or a specific team, and end with large ensemble movies – but there have been exceptions. So far, three phases have been completed and Phase 4 will begin with Black Widow in May 2020.

Release Order

If you want to watch the Marvel movies in order of release, simply follow our watch order! We’ve included the TV shows for you completionists out there, but they’re colour coded to make it easy to parse for fans who plan on sticking to the films.

Phase One

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)

Phase Two

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Agents of Shield Season 1
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Agents of Shield Season 2
  • Agent Carter Season 1
  • Daredevil Season 1
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Agents of Shield Season 3
  • Jessica Jones Season 1
  • Agent Carter Season 2
  • Daredevil Season 2

Phase Three

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Agents of Shield Season 4
  • Luke Cage Season 1
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
  • Iron Fist Season 1
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • The Defenders Season 1
  • Inhumans Season 1
  • Punisher Season 1
  • Runaways Season 1
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Agents of Shield Season 5
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Jessica Jones Season 2
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Cloak & Dagger Season 1
  • Luke Cage Season 2
  • Daredevil Season 3
  • Iron Fist Season 2
  • Runaways Season 2
  • Punisher Season 2
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Cloak & Dagger Season 2
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Agents of Shield Season 6
  • Jessica Jones Season 3
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
  • Runaways Season 3

Chronological Order

If you’re interested in the chronological order to watch Marvel movies, we’ve put together a lit for that purpose as well, accounting for mid-season overlaps with TV shows! Since the Phase categories focus on release order, they cease having a great deal of meaning here. In broad strokes the Phases are still intact though, with some variation.

Pseudo Phase One

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Agent Carter (seasons one and two)
  • Captain Marvel
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Thor
  • The Avengers (Avengers: Assemble in the UK)

Pseudo Phase Two

  • Iron Man 3
  • Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 1 — 7)
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 8 — 16)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 17 — 22)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Daredevil (season one)
  • Agents of Shield (season two: episodes 1 — 19)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Agents of Shield (season two: episodes 20 — 22)
  • Ant-Man
  • Jessica Jones (season one)
  • Daredevil (season two)
  • Agents of Shield (season three: episodes 1 — 19)

Pseudo Phase Three

  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Agents of Shield (season three: episodes 20 — 22)
  • Luke Cage (season one)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Agents of Shield (season four: episodes 1 — 8)
  • Doctor Strange
  • Agents of Shield (season four: episodes 9 — 22)
  • Black Panther
  • Iron Fist (season one)
  • The Defenders (season one)
  • Inhumans (season one)
  • The Punisher (season one)
  • Runaways (season one and two)
  • Jessica Jones (season two)
  • Cloak and Dagger (season one)
  • Luke Cage (season two)
  • Iron Fist (season two)
  • Daredevil (season three)
  • The Punisher (season two)
  • Jessica Jones (season three)
  • Cloak and Dagger (season two)
  • Agents of Shield (season five, episodes 1 — 19)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Agents of Shield (season five, episodes 20 – 22)
  • Agents of Shield (season six)
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home

What’s Next?

There is plenty on Marvel’s plate right now, including several Disney+ series which tie into the MCU to even greater degrees than previous shows did, alongside countless new upcoming movies in 2020 and beyond.

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