Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order

by | May 6, 2020 | Entertainment | 0 comments

There’s already an extensive list of all Marvel movies on this website, along with some other lists of movie franchises, but it appears a lot of people are actually searching for the correct watching order of Marvel movies, so in order of the chronological MCU timeline. Now that AllYouNeedIsLists.com is being rebuilt, I figured it was time to meet that need by creating a sub-list of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies in order of the chronological MCU stories. That means a lot of Marvel movies are left out, like X-Men, Venom and Deadpool.

One of the reasons for this difference in MCU appearances is that Marvel sold some of the character movie rights in times of need, back in the 90s when they, like, didn’t make one or two billion dollars per Marvel movie. Deadpool and the X-Men, for example, are property of 20th Century Fox and not Marvel Studios. However, even though Spider-Man is property of Sony Pictures, he still makes regular appearances in MCU Avengers movies and even his own feature films. The Walt Disney Company (owner of Marvel Studios) recently made a deal with 20th Century Fox to include the X-men in future MCU movies, but that probably won’t happen before 2021 or 2022.

Here’s a quick overview of Marvel movie characters and their respective owners, visually portrayed by The Geek Twins:

marvel movies in order - marvel mcu watching order chronological visual guide to marvel character movie rights the geek twins - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Visual Guide to Marvel Character Movie Rights – by The Geek Twins

Now that you have some background information, let’s find out how to watch the Marvel MCU movies in chronological order.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies captain america the first avenger 2011 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) original movie poster

This MCU movie takes place during World War II, so between 1940 and 1945.

  • MCU timeline period: 1940-1945
  • Original character by: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Joe Johnston
  • Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson
  • Budget: $140 million
  • Box Office: $368.6 million

IMDB link

Captain Marvel (2019)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies captain marvel 2019 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Captain Marvel (2019) original movie poster

The movie is set in 1995, so you can expect lots of 90s nostalgia.

  • MCU timeline period: 1995
  • Original Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) character by: Roy Thomas, Gene Colan in 1968
  • Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
  • Written by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet
  • Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn
  • Budget: $175 million
  • Box Office: $1.128 billion

IMDB link

Iron Man (2008)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies iron man 2008 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Iron Man (2008) original movie poster

We meet Tony Stark (Iron Man) in 2010.

  • MCU timeline period: 2010
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Jon Favreau
  • Written by:Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard
  • Budget: $140 million
  • Box Office: $585 million

IMDB link

Iron Man 2 (2010)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies iron man 2 2010 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Iron Man 2 (2010) original movie poster

An actual date is never mentioned in Iron Man 2, but the storyline picks up where Iron Man (2008) left off in 2010, so we’ll assume it’s around that same time.

  • MCU timeline period: around 2010 or 2011
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Jon Favreau
  • Written by: Justin Theroux
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Budget: $200 million
  • Box Office: $623.9 million

IMDB link

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies the incredible hulk 2008 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: The Incredible Hulk (2008) original movie poster

The Incredible Hulk of 2008 is another MCU movie without any mention of a time period, but it certainly takes place before the Avengers (as The Hulk is part of the Avengers team of heroes). This places the movie around the same period as Iron Man 2 and Thor (below). The only thing to note is that Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton in later Hulk appearances, but the character is from the same MCU storyline.

  • MCU timeline period: around 2010-2011
  • Original character by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Louis Leterrier
  • Written by: Zak Penn
  • Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth
  • Budget: $150 million
  • Box Office: $263 million
Another list you might like:   List of All Star Wars Movies in Chronological Order

IMDB link

Thor (2011)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies thor 2011 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Thor (2011) original movie poster

Thor is being selected up as a potential Avengers hero by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in the post-credits sneak preview scene, which places the movie at around the same time as Iron Man 2 (2010) and The Incredible Hulk (2008).

  • MCU timeline period: around 2011
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and  Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Kenneth Branagh, Joss Whedon
  • Written by: J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Protosevich
  • Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman
  • Budget: $150 million
  • Box Office: $449 million

IMDB link

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies the avengers 2012 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: The Avengers (2012) original movie poster

This movie really sets things in motion as the Avengers first get together. The MCU timeline places this movie at the year of release, also considering Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) apparently blocked Thanos’ plans to take over Earth by sending a nuclear warhead into the portal, which was briefly mentioned in The Avengers: Infinity War of 2018.

  • MCU timeline period: 2012
  • Original character by:  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Joss Whedon
  • Written by: Zak Penn
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
  • Budget: $220 million
  • Box Office: $1.5 billion

IMDB link

Iron Man 3 (2013)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies iron man 3 2013 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Iron Man 3 (2013) original movie poster

Iron Man 3 (2013) takes place about 6-7 months after the huge fight in the Avengers, which took place in 2012 in the MCU timeline. The time of year is around Christmas, so let’s say late 2012 or early 2013 It is now safe to assume to most Marvel movies being released are set in approximately the same year as its release.

  • MCU timeline period: late 2012/early 2013
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Shane Black
  • Written by: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Budget: $200 million
  • Box Office: $1.2 billion

IMDB link

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies thor the dark world 2013 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Thor: The Dark World (2013) original movie poster

This second Thor movie takes place two years after the Bifröst or “Rainbow Bridge”, the portal between realms, was destroyed. There’s a brief mention of the Infinity Stones as a sneak preview of storylines to come in following Marvel movies.

  • MCU timeline period: 2014
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and  Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Alan Taylor
  • Written by: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus
  • Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
  • Budget: $170 million
  • Box Office: $644 million

IMDB link

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies captain america winter soldier 2014 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) original movie poster

Another movie that takes place two years after the huge battle for Earth in New York City, as depicted in The Avengers (2012)

  • MCU timeline period: 2014
  • Original character by: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Starring: Chris Evans, Frank Grillo, Sebastian Stan
  • Budget: $170 million
  • Box Office: $710 million

IMDB link

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies guardians of the galaxy 2014 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) original movie poster

The movie starts in 1988 when Peter Quill (“Star Lord”) is abducted from Earth Yondu Udonta’s Ravangers. The rest of the storyline takes place 26 years later, so that sets it around 2014.

  • MCU timeline period: 2014
  • Original character by: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (assembled by)
  • Directed by: James Gunn
  • Written by: Nicole Perlman
  • Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel
  • Budget: $170 million
  • Box Office: $772 million

IMDB link

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies guardians of the galaxy vol 2 2017 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (2017) original movie poster

Although this second Guardians of the Galaxy movie is released 3 years after the first, the timeline in this story is set only about 2 to 3 months after the end of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 1 (2014).

  • MCU timeline period: 2014/2015
  • Original characters by: Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita Sr. Romita, Herb Trimpe
  • Directed by: James Gunn
  • Written by: James Gunn
  • Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker
  • Budget: $200 million
  • Box Office: $863 million
Another list you might like:   List Of All Harry Potter Movies in order of release date

IMDB link

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies avengers age of ultron 2015 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) original movie poster

Because we definitely know Captain America: Civil War (2016) takes place in 2016 and there’s a mention by Tony Stark of the Ultron events taking place “last summer”, it is safe to say that this Marvel MCU movie is set in 2015. This movie also introduces new Avengers The Scarlet Witch, Vision and Quicksilver and reveals another Infinity Stone. So the correct watching order for Avengers: Age of Ultron is in between Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Ant-Man.

  • MCU timeline period: 2015
  • Original character by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Joss Whedon
  • Written by: Joss Whedon
  • Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, James Spader
  • Budget: $316 million
  • Box Office: $1.405 billion

IMDB link

Ant-Man (2015)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies ant man 2015 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Ant-Man (2015) original movie poster

This Marvel MCU movie has some mentions of the events at Sovokia from Avengers: The Age of Ultron (2015) and because Ant-Man himself has a role in Captain America: Civil War (2016) it is placed in between these two movies. That makes it likely the timeline is set by the end of 2015 or early 2016 at the latest.

  • MCU timeline period: 2015/2016
  • Original character by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Edgar Wright
  • Written by: Joe Cornish
  • Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll
  • Budget: $130 million
  • Box Office: $519.3 million

IMDB link

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies captain america civil war 2016 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Captain America: Civil War (2016) original movie poster

Determining this story’s timeframe is easy, because a shot of a newspaper in the beginning of the movie reveals the year 2016.

  • MCU timeline period: 2016
  • Original character by: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
  • Budget: $250 million
  • Box Office: $1.153 billion

IMDB link

Black Panther (2018)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies black panther 2018 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Black Panther (2018) original movie poster

There’s no specific mention of a timeline, but considering Black Panther (T’Challa) was introduced in Captain America: Civil War (2016), his father died at the end of that movie and there’s mention of T’Challa’s father’s death only weeks before, it’s only natural to watch Black Panther right after Civil War. This places the storyline in 2016.

  • MCU timeline period: 2016
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Ryan Coogler
  • Written by: Joe Robert Cole, Ryan Coogler
  • Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o
  • Budget: $200 million
  • Box Office: $1.347 billion

IMDB link

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies spider man homecoming 2017 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) original movie poster

There’s a time reference in this Marvel MCU movie that caused some stir, because of a continuity error, which was later admitted as being “highly incorrect” (quote at Screenrant.com). So we’ll ignore this reference. THe movie simply takes place only two months after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), so it’s safe to assume Spider-Man: Homecoming is set in 2016 as well.

  • MCU timeline period: 2016
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
  • Directed by: Jon Watts
  • Written by: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
  • Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.
  • Budget: $175 million
  • Box Office: $21.9 million

IMDB link

Black Widow (expected 2020)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies black widow 2020 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Black Widow (2020) original movie poster

There’s not much to watch, as Black Widow is yet to be released, but the premise of this story is set as a follow-up of the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), so once this movie is available to watch at home, make sure to watch it before after Civil War, but before Thor: Ragnarok.

  • MCU timeline period: 2016
  • Original characters by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Jon Watts
  • Written by: Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson
  • Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour
  • Budget: To be disclosed
  • Box Office: To be released, November 2020
Another list you might like:   List Of All Marvel Movies in order of release (Updated May 2020)

IMDB link

Doctor Strange (2016)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies doctor strange 2016 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Doctor Strange (2016) original movie poster

Another Marcel MCU movie without an actual time reference (although the Inifnity Time Stone is introduced), but it takes place at about the same time as Captain America: Civil War. You could watch it before Spider-Man: Homecoming or Black Panther for the same understanding of events. However, the post-credits scene, as most Marvel movies, gives a sneak peek of an upcoming movie, in this case Thor: Ragnarok, so it should be placed before those events.

  • MCU timeline period: 2016/2017
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
  • Directed by: Scott Derrickson
  • Written by: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson
  • Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams
  • Budget: $165 million
  • Box Office: $677.7 million

IMDB link

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies thor ragnarok 2017 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Thor: Ragnarok (2017) original movie poster

The story of Thor: Ragnarok is set two years after the events in Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron, placing it in 2017. It also lines up nicely with Avengers: Infinity War, but there’s still one movie to watch before that.

  • MCU timeline period: 2017
  • Original character by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Taika Waititi
  • Written by: Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
  • Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett
  • Budget: $180 million
  • Box Office: $854 million

IMDB link

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies ant man and the wasp 2018 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) original movie poster

There’s some debate over the placement in time of Ant-Man and the Wasp, but considering Ant-Man gets stuck in the Quantum Realm in this movie, it makes sense to place it before “The Snap” by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, so that places this movie in 2018.

  • MCU timeline period: 2018
  • Original characters by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber
  • Directed by: Peyton Reed
  • Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
  • Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña
  • Budget: $195 million
  • Box Office: $622 million

IMDB link

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies avengers infinity war 2018 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) original movie poster

It seems like everything in the MCU leads up to the events of Avengers: Infinity War. The infamous “Snap” by Thanos makes it quite an intense story, which is broken up into two movies and could easily be watched in sequence.

  • MCU timeline period: 2018
  • Original characters by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen, Jim Starlin, Larry Lieber, Steve Englehart, Don Heck
  • Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman
  • Budget: $400 million
  • Box Office: $2.048 billion

IMDB link

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies avengers endgame 2019 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Avengers: Endgame (2019) original movie poster

MCU movie Avengers: Endgame follows-up neatly with Infinity War, so we’ll place it in 2019

  • MCU timeline period: 2019
  • Original characters by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman
  • Budget: $356 million
  • Box Office: $2.798 billion

IMDB link

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

marvel movies in order - all marvel movies spider man far from home 2019 original movie poster - Marvel Movies in Order: MCU Chronological Watching Order
Marvel movie: Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) original movie poster

There’s no way to get around the fact that Peter Parker (Spider-Man) is grieving over the loss of his good friend Tony Stark (Iron Man) and all the other mess Infinity War and Endgame left behind.

  • MCU timeline period: 2019
  • Original characters by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Directed by: Jon Watts
  • Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
  • Starring: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Budget: $160 million
  • Box Office: $1.132 billion

IMDB link

Conclusion

That’s all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies you could watch at this point in time (apart from Black Widow in this list). We’ll add more information and update the Marvel movies order as more MCU Phase 4 movies are released.

Do you agree with this chronological watching order of Marvel MCU movies? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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