When you saw the first Iron Man movie in 2008, did you have any idea that twelve years later, you’d be elbow deep in an entire fandom? There were certainly many movies based on Marvel characters before the release of Iron Man. However, the Tony Stark-centric story was what set into motion the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. For those who haven’t kept track, as of Spider-Man: Far From Home, there have been 23 movies released into the MCU with many more movies (and Disney+ shows) set to release in the coming years. If you consider the average MCU movie is about two hours long, that means you’ve spent between 40 and 50 hours of your life with Marvel characters — Tony, Thor, Cap, and the rest of the Avengers.
Can you even remember the first Iron Man movie? With more than a decade-spanning the time between today and the movies’ release, details are probably a little foggy. Our suggestion is to have a binge or marathon — what else are you doing in quarantine? If you watch one movie a night, you can finish in three weeks. But, you’re a dad. That might be too much. How about two movies each on Friday and Saturday nights? You’ll be done in about five weeks. If that’s still a little more time than you have available each week, how about shooting for two movies a week? Two and a half months later, you’ll finish the entire viewing. Given Marvel’s super structured release schedule, you’ll most likely finish right on time to catch the next movie in theaters (remember movie theaters?).
Of course, MCU films weren’t exactly released in chronological order. If you want to watch them in the correct order of events and not based on the release dates (Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame) try using the list below. Oh, and a fun fact before you get started, according to the latest search data available, a thorough list of MCU movies in chronological order has a search volume of 17,000 per month! That means you’re not the only one out there not quite sure how to order these. Luckily, we have you covered on that front.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America takes place during WWII, making it easily identifiable as the first film.
While Captain Marvel is one of the newer releases, it actually takes place in 1995. That’s a whole 15 years before…
The movie that only technically started it all! This bugger takes place in 2010.
Iron Man 2
This sequel takes place almost immediately after the original.
The Incredible Hulk
While the exact year in which this film takes place isn’t made clear, we know it happens before the Avengers assemble. It also (seemingly) takes place before Thor.
This movie specifies that it takes place six months before Avengers.
The original Avengers film specifies that it takes place in 2012, some two years after the appearance of Iron Man.
Iron Man 3
“Six months later…”
Thor: Dark World
This is post-Avengers, but pre-Ultron. The next few films’ places on the timeline aren’t always made abundantly clear. Careful attention to details helps us place this one.
Captain America: Winter Soldier
This one is also pre-Ultron.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Despite Peter’s mixtape/the soundtrack, we know GotG happened in 2014.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Post-Guardians and seemingly pre-Ultron.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
We know this film is set in 2015
Ant-Man also takes place in 2015.
Captain America: Civil War
We spend more time with Cap, again, post-Ultron but before the Infinity War. For those doing math, that’s some 70 years in the future from when we first met Steve.
We meet the best Peter Parker directly after the Civil War but before Infinity War.
This one is said to take place in 2016.
We traveled to Wakanda in 2017. (Seems like only yesterday…)
This one is a bit sketchy, but we know it happens after the Age of Ultron and before Infinity War.
Avengers: Infinity War
It’s a bit ambiguous here, too. While some think Infinity War takes place in 2017, it’s worth acknowledging a reference to the “attack on New York” that happened “six years ago. That attack is a reference to the original Avengers which, as previously mentioned, took place in 2018.
Ant-Man and The Wasp
This is another film with slightly obscure timing, but many believe it fits well after Infinity War. Honestly, it’s Paul Rudd, everyone’s favorite, ageless, guy. We wouldn’t judge you if you just watched this between each and every other movie in the universe.
Endgame starts in 2017 but finishes in 2022, so that’s a pretty broad swath of time.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Indistinct timing, but we know it happens after Endgame.
What’s next for Marvel?
It seems like every day a new rumor starts about Marvel and its intentions. Recently, we’ve heard whispers of Brad Pitt coming to Marvel to star as Hyperion. We have also heard that Keanu Reeves has been tapped to star alongside Ryan Reynolds… potentially in a new Deadpool film.
Marvel also recently picked up the franchising rights to both the Alien and Predator series. While those creepy dudes probably won’t find their way into the “official” Marvel Cinematic Universe, they’re still going to be Marvel movies. Marvel hasn’t even tried to be secretive about what their future movie-making plans are. Several months ago, they unveiled a timeline for all their upcoming projects, including a Black Widow movie and several series to debut on Disney+. Things change, though. For instance, Black Panther II was also in the works. With the tragic loss of the iconic Chadwick Boseman, that puts the entire film in jeopardy. We certainly have no interest in seeing anyone other than Boseman as Black Panther. While the future isn’t as clear as it used to be, we’re sure whatever they’re cooking up will be perfect.
Famous Quotes From Marvel Movies
“No amount of money ever bought a second of time.” – Tony Stark, Avengers: Endgame
“Compromise where you can, but where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move. It is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, to look them in the eye and say, no, you move.” – Sharon Carter, Captain America: Civil War
“Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.” – Shuri, Black Panther
“I look around at us and you know what I see? Losers… I mean like, folks who have lost stuff. And you think life takes more than it gives, but not today. Today it’s giving us something. It is giving us a chance.” – Star-Lord, Guardians of the Galaxy
“It’s an imperfect world but it’s the only one we got” – Tony Stark, Iron Man
“Today we don’t fight for one life; we fight for all of them.” – Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War
“I would rather be a good man than a great king.” – Thor, Thor: The Dark World
“But a thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts. It’s a privilege to be among them.” – Vision, Avengers: Age of Ultron
“Faith is my sword. Truth is my shield. Knowledge is my armor.” – Stephen Strange, Doctor Strange
“I can do this all day.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America
“Well, I don’t judge people on their worst mistakes.” – Natasha Romanova/Black Widow, Avengers: Endgame
“But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” – T’Challa, Black Panther