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All Marvel movies and series (UCM): how to watch them in order including Shang-Chi

Whether you're a newcomer to the franchise or a superhero veteran, here's how to plan your way through the vast library of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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How to watch the Marvel movies and not get lost in the order

In what order should you watch the Marvel movie franchise? This is a question that has plagued both long-time fans of the comic book series and new converts to the blockbuster films for years. Here’s our guide to the iconic movies…

How to watch the Marvel movies and not get lost in the order

There is no right or wrong way to watch the Marvel movies but setting out a vague plan may prevent you from getting lost in what is a vast and complex cinematic world. In general, the best way to enjoy them will depend on the type of viewer you are.

If you have never sat through any of the Marvel movies before, for example, you will probably want to tackle them in release order first. However established fans planning a great rewatch binge may want to mix things up and could work through them in the chronological order of each film’s respective time period.

The newcomer: How to watch the Marvel movies by release order

Marvel movies are split into 'Phases'. When a Phase comes to an end and another one begins you will see the introduction of important new characters, all of whom represent a natural end to a story arc and the beginning of a new one.

Below we go through Phases One to Three in release order. We also take a look ahead at the much-anticipated Phase Four, not all of which has yet been released and which has been subject to pandemic disruption.

Phase One:

1. Iron Man (2008)

2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

3. Iron Man 2 (2010)

4. Thor (2011)

5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

6. The Avengers (2012)

Phase Two:

7. Iron Man 3 (2013)

8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

12. Ant-Man (2015)

Phase Three:

13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

14. Doctor Strange (2016)

15. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

18. Black Panther (2017)

19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

21. Captain Marvel (2019)

22. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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

The majority of these films are available on Disney Plus, the place that contains the largest collection of Marvel movies of any streaming service. If you want to sign up, plans are available from $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

Phase Four (and beyond):

Black Widow (2020)

The Eternals – 5 November, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – 3 September, 2021

Spider-Man 3 – 17 December, 2021

Thor: Love and Thunder – 6 May, 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – 25 March, 2022

Black Panther 2 – 6 May, 2022

Captain Marvel 2 – 8 July, 2022

Ant-Man 3 (TBA)

Black Panther 2 (TBA)

Blade (TBA)

Captain Marvel 2 (TBA)

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (TBA)

Fantastic Four (TBA)

Untitled Mutants movie (TBA)

The Veteran: How to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order

For a film franchise based on various comic books, Marvel is often credited with paying close attention to the historic context of films. Accordingly, the studio has given each released movie a time period in which it is supposed to have taken place to give fans some extra information.

1. Captain America: The First Avenger (1942-1943)

2. Captain Marvel (1995)

3. Iron Man (2010)

4. Iron Man 2 (2011)

5. The Incredible Hulk (2011)

6. Thor (2011)

7. The Avengers (2012)

8. Iron Man 3 (2012)

9. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

11. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

12. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2014)

13. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

14. Ant-Man (2015)

15. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)

17. Doctor Strange (2016-2017)

18. Black Widow (2017)

19. Black Panther (2017)

20. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

21. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2017)

22. Avengers: Infinity War (2017)

23. Avengers: Endgame (2018-2023)

24. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2023)

The Maverick: ‘Spaghetti Order'

Marvel fans looking to mix up their viewing experience for their next rewatching session may want to bear in mind an interesting method to plot your way through the Marvel stories. Anyone who has watched even a single Marvel movie will likely have encountered the famous post-credit scenes, which refer to other titles in the Marvel library.

The ‘Spaghetti Order’ builds on this idea: if a post-credit scene alludes to another film, you then move onto that movie for your next watch. If you plan it correctly you can work your way through the entire Marvel back catalogue following this route.

So if you are looking to go a little more offbeat with your Marvel movie marathon, here is how to do it:

1. Iron Man (2008)

2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

3. Iron Man 2 (2010)

4. Thor (2011)

5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

6. The Avengers (2012)

7. Iron Man 3 (2013)

8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)

11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

12. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

13. Ant-Man (2015)

14. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

15. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

16. Black Panther (2018)

17. Doctor Strange (2016)

18. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

21. Captain Marvel (2019)

22. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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

What is the best order to watch the Marvel movies?

There is no right or wrong way, the choice is completely yours. But for a Marvel newcomer, viewing the films chronologically may be tricky because it will be difficult to remember the background of certain characters as they drift in and out of the storyline. Captain Marvel, for example, will be introduced in the second film in the list, and will not return for 40 hours of screen time.

The opposite might also happen, where the user spends too much time with other key characters. In the case of Tony Stark, his character arc may feel rushed if you watch Iron Man and Iron Man 2 back to back.

Which Marvel movies are on Disney Plus?

In recent years Disney Plus has become a major competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime and, as well as introducing various original series, has acquired the rights to a number of Marvel titles. It offers by far the best collection of Marvel films of any streaming service and is set to add to that library with more upcoming additions.

Marvel movies on Disney Plus:

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

Thor: Ragnarok

Black Panther

Avengers: Infinity War

Captain Marvel

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Avengers: Endgame

Marvel-lous highlights

Here is a selection of some highlighted Marvel movies and their main characters:

Iron Man (2008)

According to the official Marvel timeline, Iron Man takes place in 2010. It's all about genius-inventor-philanthropist 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. But Stark designs the first Iron Man suit...

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk follows Bruce Banner on the run from General Thunderbolt Ross and the US Military. Realising he cannot control or contain the Hulk, Ross decides to create his own version of the Hulk using another soldier, but he loses control. The Incredible Hulk stars Edward Norton, replaced by Mark Ruffalo in 2012.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America is the fifth Marvel Studios film. The events take place during World War II. We see the creation of the super-soldier portrayed by Chris Evans.

Thor (2011)

The God of lightning has been banished to Earth from Asgard by his father Odin thanks to the trickery of Loki. In order to earn his powers back and control his hammer, Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, must prove he is worthy.

Black Panther (2018)

After the UN bombing in Captain America: The Civil War, T’Challa must return to Wakanda and be named king but has to deal with the isolation that has helped protect the territory. He also faces a mistake from his father’s past in the form of Eric Killmonger, performed by Michael B Jordan.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

After years orchestrating things from to find the Infinity Stones, Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) decides to go get them himself, but in his way he finds the Avengers. Thanos’ reason for seeking the power of the stones is to wipe out half of all life in the universe.

Captain Marvel (2019)

In this movie the main character is Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson, who begins 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.