How many Marvel movies are there? Watching every Marvel movie in order is the best way to experience the MCU. As the superhero cinematic universe continues to grow, those fans not committed enough to watch all 32 (and counting) films might try and convince you you only need to watch the Infinity Stone films or the best Marvel movies, but the purists know that nothing beats the chronological order.
Admittedly, now we’re way past the Infinity Saga with Marvel Studios showing no indication of slowing down, watching every Marvel movie in chronological order isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you can commit to the movie marathon or end all movie marathons, you’ll be rewarded by experiencing one of the richest and most powerful stories in cinematic history. And with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 out now, there’s no better time to start.
How many Marvel movies are there?
As of October 17, 2023, 32 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films had been released.
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Marvel Movies in Chronological Order of Events
Captain America: The First Avenger
Chronologically speaking, the film that is set the earliest in the Marvel timeline is Captain America: The First Avenger. The Steve Rogers origin story begins in the year 1940 with Steve (Evans) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) enlisting and ends in 1945 with Steve’s plane crashing and him being frozen for the next half-century.
Next up we have Captain Marvel, which is actually one of the most recent Marvel movies but whose events precede those of the main MCU timeline. Brie Larson’s pilot character crashes her plane in the year 1989 and is subsequently trained as a Kree before returning to Earth in 1995, which is the year in which most of Captain Marvel takes place.
The first Marvel movie released is third in chronological order, and believe it or not—according to Marvel’s own timeline—it actually takes place in the year 2010 and not 2008 when it was released.
The Incredible Hulk
The events of the Edward Norton Hulk movie take place shortly after the events of Iron Man.
Iron Man 2
The Iron Man sequel is set in the year 2011.
The events of Thor also take place in 2011, around the same time as the events in Iron Man 2, although there are flashback to events that go back centuries.
The team-up finally occurs in the year 2012.
Iron Man 3
The underrated Iron Man 3, which deals heavily with Tony Starks’ PTSD from the events of The Avengers, take place in the year 2012.
Thor: The Dark World
The forgettable sequel is set in the year 2013.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The big fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. is set a couple of years after the organization helped form The Avengers, set in 2014.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The events of Guardians of the Galaxy also take place in 2014, around the same time as The Winter Soldier.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Guardians sequel takes place a couple of months after the events of the first film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The second Avengers team-up film takes place in the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s dismantling, in the year 2015.
While the Avengers are fighting off ol’ Ultron, Scott Lang is busy becoming Ant-Man in 2015.
Captain America: Civil War
The Captain America sequel that’s also kinda-sorta an Avengers movie takes place in 2016, bringing additional characters into the fold to set the table for Infinity War and Endgame. But it also contains flashbacks that take place between The First Avenger and Iron Man, revealing the circumstances that surrounded the death of Tony Stark’s parents.
The Black Widow movie takes place in the immediate wake of the events of Captain America: Civil War and finds Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff on the run. It ends before the events of Avengers: Infinity War begin.
The first MCU Spider-Man movie takes place the fall after the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker struggling to become his own hero.
2016 is a busy year in the MCU, as it’s also when Black Panther takes place over in Wakanda.
Doctor Strange bridges the gap between 2016 and 2017, as Stephen Strange’s transformation into a superhero takes a bit of time.
Thor: Ragnarok takes place in 2017 shortly after the events of Doctor Strange, as we see Thor visit Doctor Strange on Earth to try and track down his father.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Despite being released after Avengers: Infinity War, the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp take place in 2018 right before Thanos arrives on Earth and the film ends with the infamous Thanos Snap. Although there are flashbacks to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) in the late 1980s.
Avengers: Infinity War
The events of Avengers: Infinity War take place over a very compressed time period—just 24-48 hours—in 2018.
The second have of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline begins shortly after the Thanos snap in 2018, but after Thor cuts Thanos’ head off, the film flashes forward and is set primarily in the year 2023—although it also sees the characters traveling back in time to events in the years 1970, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Spider-Man: Far From Home, takes place shortly after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Thor: Love and Thunder
The fourth entry of Thor seems to go somewhere in 2024, even though it was released after Multiverse of Madness. We can calculate this based on Jane and Thor’s breakup which is likely around late 2015 to 2016 before Thor left Earth. In Love and Thunder, Thor corrects Jane saying that they’ve been broken up for eight years, seven months, and six days. Jane only thinks it’s been 3 or 4 years but seeing as she disappeared after the blip, that loss in time makes sense.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
While Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings begins with a prologue that takes place hundreds of years in the past and also features extensive flashbacks to the year 1996, the bulk of the film takes place in the year 2023 not too long after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Although the Eternals have been around for over 7,000 years on planet earth, the main conflict of the movie is set sometime after Shang-Chi, around eight months after the events of Endgame.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Of course, as we enter into the multiverse (and because of COVID), the timelines are going to be a little wonky. Technically Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is supposed to be set before Spider-Man: No Way Home, but release dates have to be shifted around. No Way Home takes place in the latter half of 2024, and because of the snap, time in the MCU is no longer parallel to our own world.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
While it makes stray references to Spider-Man, it’s clear that this story was meant to take place before No Way Home, and while the official timeline might put this now shortly after No Way Home in Spring of 2025 – consider this one a gimme. Feel free to switch the order of this and Spider-Man around if you want to spend some time in the multiverse timeline where we got this movie first.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever begins with the death of T’Challa, which takes place in 2024. But the bulk of the story is set one year later, in 2025. It’s possible that there’s some overlap between the events of this movie and Doctor Strange 2, but there’s nothing specified, so it does seem like it happens after the events of that film. In any case, as the conclusion of Phase Six, it does make sense to watch this movie after all the other films in this particular phase.
Where to Watch the Marvel Movies Online
The following Marvel movies are all currently available to stream on Disney+:
- Iron Man
- The Incredible Hulk
- Iron Man 2
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Marvel’s The Avengers
- Iron Man 3
- Thor: The Dark World
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Doctor Strange
- Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Black Panther
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Captain Marvel
- Avengers: Endgame
- Black Widow
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
- Thor: Love and Thunder
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Not on Disney+
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (Starz)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (Starz)
Therese Lacson, Remus Noronha, and Michael Thomas also contributed to this article.
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