How does the MCU timeline work? With Doctor Strange 2 now here, and the multiverse well and truly ripped open, the minefield of the many Marvel Cinematic Universe movies can be a tricky journey to follow.
We will soon be 28 movies deep into the comic book movie world of Marvel, so where do you start? If you have some spare time on your hands, you might want to get yourself up to speed with what has happened to the various characters involved, and when exactly it happened in the MCU timeline.
Lucky for you, dear readers, we have compiled a list of all of the Marvel movies in chronological viewing order, from Captain America: The First Avenger, to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So, sit back, clear your diary for a few weeks, and immerse yourself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
How to watch the MCU timeline in chronological order:
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Captain Marvel
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- The Incredible Hulk
- Avengers Assemble
- Iron Man 3
- Thor: The Dark World
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War
- Black Widow
- Black Panther
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Doctor Strange
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Avengers: Endgame
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Set in the early 1940s, at the peak of World War II, Captain America (Chris Evans) is the very first superhero and is tasked with stopping Hydra boss, Red Skull, from harnessing the powers of the Tesseract.
Captain Marvel (2019)
A big jump here, all the way to 1995, where Carol Danvers is exposed to the energy of the Tesseract, giving her the superhuman abilities that make her Captain Marvel. Although Captain America came first, Captain Marvel is technically the first Avenger recruited by Nick Fury.
Iron Man (2008)
Where the MCU all started, in terms of release dates. Wealthy industrialist and tech entrepreneur, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), finds himself held hostage in Afghanistan in 2009. Fueled by his experiences, he creates a uniquely weaponised suit and faces off against Iron Monger in 2010.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Following on immediately from the first movie, Iron Man 2 introduces us to Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff, as well as the bad guys Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) and Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell). We hope we get to see those dance moves again some day, Mr. Hammer.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Marvel don’t like to talk about this one too much. For a start, Edward Norton is playing Bruce Banner, before he was recast, with Mark Ruffalo taking the role. There’s some debate about whether this movie belongs in the MCU timeline at all, but the presence of Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) definitely suggests there is some continuity.
Kenneth Branagh’s Thor uses the perfect blend of the Marvel universe and Scandinavian legend, as we get our first glimpse at the god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth).
Avengers Assemble (2012)
In 2012, the gang comes together for the first time, and gives us that iconic team up shot. All the Avengers join forces to take on Loki and foil his plans for global domination.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Nominated for a Best Visual Effects Academy Award, Iron Man 3 gave us Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian as the villain of the piece, as Tony Stark deals with the fallout of the incident in New York.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Alternating between Asgard and Earth, Thor returns in order to prevent the world from being plunged into darkness.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Cap teams up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as he struggles to adjust to life beyond World War II. Together, they face off the mysterious Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie gives us gloriously kitschy visuals, a cracking soundtrack and, of course, the loveable Groot.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
Our favourite heroic misfits are back, and the next chapter in their story continues directly from the first movie. This time they are facing off against Star Lord’s father, the appropriately named Ego (Kurt Russell).
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
A well-intentioned peace keeping programme goes horribly wrong in 2015, leaving the Avengers to battle against the nefarious Ultron (James Spader), who enlists the help of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Scott Lang, aka the titular Ant-Man, is introduced into the MCU timeline. Played by Paul Rudd, he is given a suit that allows him to shrink to the size of… you guessed it, an ant.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Team Cap or Team Iron Man – make your choice. This movie boasts an incredible selection of Avengers talent, including our first glimpse of Black Panther and Spider-Man.
Black Widow (2021)
We finally get to learn a little more about Black Widow, her past, and her impressive skillset in this Cate Shortland movie (which probably should have been released about ten years earlier).
Black Panther (2018)
Heir to the hidden kingdom of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) must face off against
Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in order to protect his country after the death of his father in Captain America: Civil War.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
This fun, light-hearted entry into the MCU timeline really allows Tom Holland to flourish as the high-schooler Peter Parker and his Spidey alter-ego.
Doctor Strange (2016)
We get to know Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his becloaked alter ego as he learns to harness his newly acquired powers.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
This deliciously trippy Thor sequel sees the god of thunder team up with the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) in order to return to Asgard.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Ant Man teams up with the Wasp (Evangeline Lily) in order to uncover secrets from his past. The post-credit scene for this movie leads directly into the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Thanos’ infamous snap.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
All the gang are back together in a positively bumper cast. This time, they are battling to prevent Thanos (Josh Brolin) from getting his hands on the infinity stones and wiping out half the population.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
The world is in ruins after that finger snap at the end of Infinity War. Can the remaining Avengers prevent Thanos from becoming even more powerful or he is just… inevitable?
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
This origin story technically kick-starts the new phase of the MCU timeline. Master of Kung-Fu, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), is drawn into the mysterious Ten Rings organisation.
Another Marvel ensemble piece from Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao. Eternals focuses on a
group of immortal beings who have shaped life on Earth to date.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Spidey finds himself relatively alone after the events of Endgame. Can he cut it as a superhero? Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the villain, Mysterio.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Picking up exactly where Far From Home left off, No Way Home gives viewers the first taste of life inside a Marvel multiverse, as Peter Parker enlists the help of Doctor Strange to make people forget who he is.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Following on from the titular Doctor’s meddling with the multiverse in Peter Parker’s most recent adventure, Doctor Strange 2 sees the MCU blown wide open, with various new timelines, characters, and mysteries teased for the future.
Whew! That’s quite the journey! We hope you enjoyed diving into the MCU timeline with us.