It’s more difficult than ever to figure out how to watch Marvel movies in order in 2021 — you’ve now got 25 movies and a handful of TV episodes to include into your Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) marathon, with more to come before 2021. Fortunately, we’re here to assist you in navigating this ever-expanding superhero realm.
First, decide whether you want to view the Marvel movies in chronological or release sequence. Whichever list you follow, both now finish with Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, the 25th Marvel film, which is now in theaters – and will be available on Disney Plus beginning November 12.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to watch the Marvel movies in both order, as well as the three canonical MCU programs on Disney Plus. We’ll break out the MCU timeline as it now stands, so all you have to do is enjoy watching them.
After a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020, Marvel movies are back in action in 2021. With the release of Black Widow and Shang-Chi, as well as Marvel’s The Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home before the end of the year, Phase 4 is officially in full gear… er, well, it was.
Recently, Marvel announced a major delay affecting a number of Phase 4 movies: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will now be released in early May instead of March; Thor: Love and Thunder will now be released in July instead of May; and Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever will be released in November instead of July. Marvel and Ant-Man 3 will also be delayed.
So, how will you pass the time while you wait by binge-watching all of these superhero movies? The chronological sequence of Marvel movies begins with Captain America facing the Red Skull, although the MCU release order begins with Tony Stark became Iron Man in the 2008 film. Whichever option you choose, you’re in for an entertaining adventure through some of the best superhero films ever filmed.
Let’s start with a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline from 2021, which now contains Black Widow and Shang-Chi, as well as the Legend of the Ten Rings! This describes how to watch the 25 Marvel movies in chronological order, beginning with Captain America’s origins in WWII and finishing with the debut of Simu Liu as Shang-Chi in the most recent Marvel film.
If you’re a continuity fan, you’ll want to see the Marvel movies in chronological order — it allows you to experience the events as they unfolded. We’ve also placed the MCU series in sequence below so you can see how they fit in with the movies. The following is the chronological viewing order of Marvel films as of 2021:
- The First Avenger (Captain America: The First Avenger) (during WWII)
- Captain Marvel (1995)
- The Incredible Hulk (2010)
- The sequel to Iron Man (takes place after Iron Man)
- Hulk, the Incredible Hulk (time unspecified, pre-Avengers)
- Thor’s (6 months before Avengers)
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe (2012)
- Iron Man 3 (6 months after The Avengers)
- Thor and the Dark World (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
- Winter Soldier (Captain America) (post-Avengers, pre-Ultron)
- The Guardians of the Galaxy (sometime in 2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a sequel to the film Guardians of the Galaxy (after Guardians)
- Age of Ultron (2015)
- The Ant-Man (2015)
- Civil War, Captain America (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
- The Black Widow (takes place right after Civil War)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (post-Civil War, pre-Infinity War)
- Strange Doctor (2016)
- The Panther in Black (2017)
- Ragnarok (Thor: Ragnarok) (post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War)
- Infinity War (Avengers: Infinity War) (2017)
- The Wasp and Ant-Man (ambiguous, but fits nicely between IW and Endgame)
- Endgame (Avengers) (starts in 2017, finishes in 2022)
- Far From Home (Spider-Man) (eight months post-Endgame)
- The Legend of the Ten Rings and Shang-Chi (set in the present day of the MCU)
Some of the timing is uncertain – for example, Black Widow, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange all take place around the same period, but they’re spread out across different lengths of time, making arranging them difficult. Black Widow, on the other hand, officially takes place entirely within the events of Captain America: Civil War, so it comes first. Meanwhile, Shang-Chi filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton has stated that his film takes place in the “current day” of the MCU, making it the most recent in the timeline as it stands.
Let’s start with the Marvel series. WandaVision occurs within a few weeks after Endgame. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place six months after Endgame, meaning both shows occur before Spider-Man: Far From Home. Meanwhile, Loki takes place after the events of The Avengers, but in a different timeline — we recommend watching it after Avengers: Endgame.
- The Winter Soldier and the Falcon