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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently made up of 25 films, the most recent of them being Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That’s a lot of Marvel movies to keep up with, whether you’re coming to the franchise for the first time or rewatching it. Add in the Disney+ shows and the movies on the horizon, and it’s enough to confuse any viewer. Watching the Marvel movies in chronological order can help when it comes to keeping up with the many events that occur during the Infinity Saga and beyond. Here’s how to go about it.

Should you watch the Marvel movies in release date or chronological order?

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in 'Black Widow.' She's wearing a white and black jumpsuit and pointing a gun down at someone below. This is the featured image for our piece about how to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order.
Scarlett Johansson in ‘Black Widow’ | Marvel Studios

There’s been much debate on whether viewers should watch the MCU in chronological order or release date order. The fanbase remains divided on which approach is “better” when it comes to tackling this expansive franchise. And really, both have their pros and cons.

Watching the MCU in order of release date allows newcomers and returning fans to experience the major events as they were intended to. That’s how most longtime Marvel fans saw things unfold — as they came out in theaters. And although the MCU does jump around in terms of timeline, starting with The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man and plowing through each Phase is undoubtedly satisfying.

Even still, watching the Marvel movies in chronological order makes for a less messy and confusing timeline. For those rewatching the films, it also presents an opportunity to catch things that may have been easy to miss in release order.

How to watch the MCU in chronological order

Of course, with 25 films and several television shows, putting the Marvel movies in chronological order can get messy — especially for first-timers. Fortunately, those wondering where to start don’t need to do the math themselves. Here’s the full list of MCU projects in order of when they take place:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. Captain Marvel
  3. Iron Man
  4. Iron Man 2
  5. The Incredible Hulk
  6. Thor
  7. The Avengers
  8. Iron Man 3
  9. Thor: The Dark World
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  13. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  14. Ant-Man
  15. Captain America: Civil War
  16. Black Widow
  17. Doctor Strange
  18. Black Panther
  19. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  20. Thor: Ragnarok
  21. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  22. Avengers: Infinity War
  23. Avengers: Endgame
  24. Loki
  25. WandaVision
  26. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  27. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  28. Spider-Man: Far From Home

Few Marvel films move to a drastically different place in the lineup when moving from release order to chronological. However, movies that take place in the past, like Captain Marvel and Captain America, get bumped to the front of the watchlist. The timeline also gets a bit confusing following Avengers: Endgame. With the newer shows and films addressing different parts of the post-Blip world, they don’t need to lead into one another quite so much.

Disney+ organizes the Marvel movies for you


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Whatever order you decide to watch the Marvel movies in, Disney+ keeps them organized to make it easier for newcomers and longtime fans. Not only does the streaming platform categorize them based on which Phase they fall into, but it gives subscribers the option to watch them chronologically.

Unfortunately, the Spider-Man movies aren’t available on Disney+, so fans will need to use the list above to work them in. Likewise, newer films like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings won’t arrive on the platform right away. Luckily, they usually provide some context clues as to when they take place. Fans will need those hints as the MCU expands more and more.