How to watch the Marvel movies in order (release date and chronological)

Captain America: Civil War - part of our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Need to know how to watch the Marvel movies in order? You're in the right place. With Deadpool & Wolverine hitting cinemas in July (check out these exclusive images now), it's about time to start an MCU marathon to either refresh your memory or watch all of the movies and Disney Plus shows for the very first time from start to finish.

Below, you’ll find the complete guide on how to watch Marvel movies and shows in order. From Iron Man through to Echo, we’ve got the full release date order list for the MCU. Then, we head back to the beginning of the Marvel timeline with Captain America in the 1940s for a trip down memory lane as we revisit the Marvel movies in chronological order, including which year each MCU movie and show is set in.

If you have more questions, the answers are waiting for you here. There's also the latest on how to watch the Marvel movies in order on Disney Plus, whether Spider-Man, Daredevil, or X-Men are considered canon, and so much more.

For everything else coming soon, check out our full rundown on the upcoming Marvel movies. If you're seeking extra watch orders, check out our guides on how to watch the Star Wars movies in order, how to watch Demon Slayer in order, and how to watch The Walking Dead in order.

How to watch the Marvel movies in order – release order

Iron Man, the first entry in our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in release date order

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

First up, here's how to watch the Marvel movies and shows in release date order. This is the best order for MCU newcomers and those who want to keep things simple and straightforward. To make the release date order easier to read, we've divided the list into Phases, beginning with 2008's Iron Man.

Marvel Phase 1:

Marvel Phase 2:

Marvel Phase 3:

Marvel Phase 4:

Marvel Phase 5

Need more context? The MCU is split into Phases, with the end of a Phase typically indicating a natural end to a story arc. The beginning of a Phase, therefore, signals the introduction of new, important characters. 

Phases 1-3 are often referred to as the Infinity Saga, while Phases 4-5 form part of the new Multiverse Saga with Kang and the multiverse. Echo is the most recent entry in terms of release date order.

You might also notice the above MCU watch order list includes the Disney Plus shows, such as WandaVision, Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and so on. They're not movies, but the series are just as important to the overarching story being told in the MCU; everything canon-wise from 2008 to 2023 is on the list.

Netflix's Defenders Saga (Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders) are not considered part of the Phases but do fit into the Marvel timeline and are now back to being part of the MCU canon. Check out the chronological order below, as well as the Defenders Saga section further down, for more info.

If you want to check out the best deals for the Disney streaming service, head over to our Disney Plus bundles page.

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Watch on Disney Plus
As you've probably heard, Disney Plus houses the biggest collection of Marvel movies of any streaming service, and it's a super cheap way to watch without spending a small fortune on DVDs and Blu-rays. Prices start at $7.99 / £7.99 / AU$11.99 per month (or $109.99 / £79.90 / AU$119.99 per year).

What's next? Marvel has laid out plans for Marvel Phase 5 – which began in 2023 – and beyond. Out of the current list, Deadpool & Wolverine is the only one not explicitly tied to a Phase, though we're comfortable putting it alongside Blade for now as Fantastic Four is going to kick off Marvel's Phase 6. Well, that was the original plan, anyway...

Recent delays mean that The Thunderbolts and Fantastic Four have shifted around again, with one theory suggesting Reed Richards and company are going to mess up the chronological order further by coming from the Sixties.

For now though, here's a taste of the confirmed Marvel movies and shows coming out over the next few years; it's the perfect way for your future MCU binge watches!

Marvel Phase 5

  • Deadpool & Wolverine – July 26, 2024
  • Agatha All Along – September 18, 2024 (Disney Plus series)
  • Captain America: Brave New World – February 14, 2025
  • Thunderbolts – May 2, 2025

Marvel Phase 6

TBA (unreleased):

  • Armor Wars – TBA 
  • Black Panther 3 – TBA 
  • Daredevil: Born Again – March 2025 (Disney Plus series)
  • Ironheart – 2025 (Disney Plus series)
  • Marvel Zombies – TBA (Disney Plus series)
  • Nova – TBA
  • Shang-Chi 2 – TBA
  • Spider-Man: Freshman Year – TBA (Disney Plus series)
  • Spider-Man: Sophomore Year – TBA (Disney Plus series)
  • Wakanda/Okoye spin-off – TBA (Disney Plus series)
  • What If...? season 3 – TBA (Disney Plus series)
  • Wonder Man – TBA (Disney Plus series)

How to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order

how to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Here it is, the new and improved guide on how to watch the Marvel movies and shows in chronological order

We can thank Marvel itself for making things much clearer with the release of their 'Official Timeline' book as well as its own updated chronological order on the Marvel website. Both have eased many of our temporal-based headaches. 

Better yet, this chronological list will make you see the MCU in a different light. We're going to start with Captain America: The First Avenger in the 1940s and work our way up to the MCU present day in 2026. That now includes Netflix's Marvel shows and Marvel's One Shots for the full picture.

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (1943-1945)
  • One Shot: Agent Carter (1946)
  • Captain Marvel (1995)
  • Iron Man (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2010)
  • One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (2010)
  • Thor (2010)
  • One Shot: The Consultant (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • One Shot: Item 47 (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • One Shot: All Hail the King (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2014)
  • I Am Groot seasons 1-2 (2014)
  • Daredevil season 1 (2014)
  • Jessica Jones season 1 (2015)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Daredevil season 2 (2015)
  • Luke Cage season 1 (2015)
  • Iron Fist season 1 (2016)
  • Marvel's Defenders (2016)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Black Widow (2016)
  • Black Panther (2016)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)
  • The Punisher season 1 (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016-17)
  • Jessica Jones season 2 (2017) 
  • Luke Cage season 2 (2017) 
  • Iron Fist season 2 (2017) 
  • Daredevil season 3 (2017) 
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • The Punisher season 2 (2017) 
  • Jessica Jones season 3 (2017)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2018-2023)
  • Loki (outside of our conception of time, but around here!)
  • Loki season 2 (also outside of our conception of time!) 
  • What If...? (multiverse)
  • WandaVision (2023)
  • Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings (2024)
  • Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2024)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2024)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2024)
  • Eternals (2024)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2024)
  • Hawkeye (Christmas 2024)
  • Moon Knight (2025)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2025)
  • Echo (2025)
  • She-Hulk (2025)
  • Ms. Marvel (2025)
  • The Marvels (2025)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2025)
  • Werewolf By Night (2025)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2025)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2026)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (2026)
  • Secret Invasion (2026)

As you can imagine, this chronological order a little less straightforward than the above release date list. But we now have official confirmation of where most of the MCU stands. 

We've now reached 2025 and 2026. She-Hulk, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania seemingly all taking place in that not-so-far-flung future year. Secret Invasion and Guardians 3, more or less, come after in 2026 but that isn't part of the official timeline book so we're going on the Disney Plus order here. The most recent release is Echo, which takes place five months after Hawkeye.

Marvel has also revealed the exact months or rough windows of when things happened in the MCU but, honestly, that doesn't specifically matter if you're just planning to sit down and consume them without doing what amounts to homework. All you need to know is everything is now officially correct above if you want to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order.

We should warn you, however: Marvel doesn't always take the best care with its chronological order. As such, our own timeline takes into account Marvel's official order on Disney Plus, its new book, and some calculated guesswork. Some things might not make sense in terms of canon or don't have exact details to pin down their years. Our advice? Try not to think too hard about it. 

But, wait, there's more! Just before you dive into our guide into how to watch the MCU in chronological order there's some housekeeping and notes to take in: The I Am Groot short 'First Steps' takes place before Guardians 2, while the rest of the shorts happen after that sequel. For now, we've put Secret Invasion as the latest project in chronological order as we're trusting Marvel Studios on that one. Thanks to its dabbling in the multiverse and timelines respectively, What If...? and Loki take up arbitrary slots on the list, but Loki comes after Endgame with how the timelines have branched off.

How to watch the Marvel movies in order on Disney Plus

marvel movies order on Disney Plus

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

If you're like us, you might have assumed watching the Marvel movies and shows in order on Disney Plus would be easy. Not quite.

The vast majority of the Marvel movies are available on Disney Plus, but not everything. Currently, only Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Incredible Hulk are not available to stream on Disney Plus in the US. Even so, Disney Plus is by far the easiest way to watch the MCU in order. Let's dive into 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
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming 
  • 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
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • WandaVision
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  • Loki
  • Black Widow
  • What If...?
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Eternals
  • Hawkeye
  • Moon Knight
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Ms. Marvel
  • She-Hulk
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Werewolf By Night
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
  • Secret Invasion
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 3 
  • Loki season 2
  • Echo
  • The Marvels

Some things to note: You will also not find The Incredible Hulk on Disney Plus. This is because the rights to Hulk belong to Universal. As a bonus, both The Amazing Spider-Man movies are available in the US.

On top of that, The Defenders saga (Daredevil seasons 1-3, Jessica Jones seasons 1-3, Luke Cage seasons 1-2, Iron Fist, and Marvel's Defenders) are now on Disney Plus, but are separate from the list to avoid any confusion over the 'main' MCU movies and shows. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 are also now available on Disney Plus after their cinema releases in 2023. The Marvels followed suit in February 2024.

Non-MCU Marvel movies and shows: is Spider-Man in the MCU?

Alfred Molina in Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony)

The simple answer is only Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home are in the MCU. Spider-Man-centric properties such as Venom or the upcoming Kraven are part of Sony's Spider-Man universe and should be treated as a separate entity, even if there is some occasional crossover.

Now we're getting to the confusing bit: the multiverse. Thanks to Spider-Man: No Way Home, we have had various Spider-Man villains from through the multiverse in the MCU. To fully understand everyone's motives and intentions in No Way Home, you need to have watched a fair few older Spider-Man movies. 

These take place on three alternate timelines: one where Tobey Maguire is Spider-Man, another where Andrew Garfield is Spidey, and a third where Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock becomes the villain Venom. For a full deep dive into watching these movies, then check out our guide to how to watch the Spider-Man movies in order.

Long story, short, however - Tom Holland's Spider-Man currently exists in the MCU, with the other Sony Spider-Man movies existing (broadly speaking) in the multiverse. Don't expect them to appear again into the main Marvel universe anytime soon, though.

You might also be wondering about Across the Spider-Verse. Technically, that also exists as part of the wider multiverse (indeed, No Way Home was referenced in the Spider-Verse sequel), but doesn't have to be watched in any order other than within the framework of its own trilogy. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has just been added to Disney Plus, too, for those looking to jump into one of Peter Parker's most tragic cinematic adventures.

Are Netflix's Marvel shows and X-Men canon?

Daredevil

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Netflix)

Then there's The Defenders Saga, which were once considered part of the MCU, but also sort of not. They start very much linked to the movies, and then gradually lose all connection – thanks mainly to originally being Netflix products. 

Now, though, they are all on Disney Plus and, yes, the Marvel Netflix shows are canon. If you want to tackle Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and The Punisher, then you're going to want to know the watch order. Luckily, we have exactly the piece you're after: how to watch The Defenders Saga in order. The list is also below:

Daredevil's story, which started in She-Hulk and will continue in Born Again, loosely picks up where the Netflix series left off. Daredevil also appears briefly in Echo, as does Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin. 

X-Men, meanwhile, exist completely outside of the MCU as part of (formerly) Fox's X-Men cinematic universe. But that could be about to change with Hugh Jackman's arrival as Wolverine in Deadpool 3 - as well as if the events of The Marvels post-credits scene head where we think they're heading.

Rumors suggest that the threequel could revolve around the Merc with a Mouth killing off the Fox universe. That will (confusingly) make those X-Men movies canon in the MCU, before removing them entirely. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, you can watch them separately with our guide on how to watch the X-Men movies in order

The latest Marvel Studios production, X-Men '97, is a continuation of the '90s X-Men: The Animated Series and isn't part of the wider MCU story (for now) but could be considered canon as part of the multiverse.

If you're short on time (and interest) everything here is technically skippable if you're only focusing on the MCU, though we'd certainly recommend the earlier Spider-Man films and the Spider-Verse movies for both greater understanding of the multiverse and a deeper appreciation of No Way Home.

That's how to watch the Marvel movies in order. So, what are you waiting for? 

Need more? Here are the best movies on Disney Plus and the best shows on Disney Plus. Then catch up on how to watch some of the year's biggest hits with our guide to One-Punch Man season 3, Demon Slayer season 4, and Jujutsu Kaisen season 3.

If you haven't got Disney Plus, then here are the latest Disney Plus sign-up deals around the world. Now that the Disney Plus free trial is no more, it's the best way of getting maximum value for money.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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