How to watch the Marvel movies in order – completely free

With Disney+ available for free and the MCU timeline of movies available, there's never been a better time to watch

How to watch the Marvel movies in order MCU timeline
(Image credit: Disney)

Want to know how to watch the Marvel movies in order? We're here to help with our complete MCU timeline guide for anyone hoping to get into the action. There's a lot of Marvel movies to go through, but with the right guidance you can get the best viewing experience from start to finish – and you can do it absolutely free. How do you watch the Marvel movies in order completely free you ask? Read on to find out how to experience the entire Marvel movie saga without spending a dime.

Disney+, quite possibly the best streaming service available right now, offers a 7-day free trial that gives you full access to Disney's entire catalogue of content. This means you'll have access to all of the Disney classics, recent Disney films and almost all of the MCU titles completely free for a full week!

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How to watch the Marvel movies in order

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is massive, spanning 10+ years of movies and one-shots. Putting all these together isn't easy since many of the MCU movies were released out of order. While you can watch these movies in any order and still enjoy the experience, just like STAR WARS if they're watched in the corrected order the experience only gets better.

Travel back to 2008 with me, where the first official MCU movie Iron Man started it all. The official first release of the MCU timeline, Iron Man is actually set in the year 2010. Not much of a problem there until you make it to Captain America: The First Avenger and suddenly you are transported back to World War II – almost 70 years before the events of Iron Man.

If you're not good at following timelines this becomes a confusing universe to follow, as time jumps happen practically every movie. While there are a handful of Marvel movies that released in the correct chronological order, most MCU titles in some way or another time jump into the past or future to setup a premise for the entire Infinity War storyline.

Thankfully, the entire MCU franchise is pretty easy to follow even if they aren't watched in chronological order. So if you're someone who just enjoys kicking back to a good old fashioned summer blockbuster, throw in any Marvel movie and you'll be having fun in no time.

If you're like us, though, and want to make sure you're watching this series in the proper order than you're in luck. We've provided the complete list of Marvel's MCU movies and the MCU timeline's correct order to watch them in below.

How to watch the MCU in chronological order

Marvel's MCU timeline officially kicks off with Captain America: The First Avenger and goes from there. With an additional 50+ titles to watch (aside from just the movies) many fans may not take into consideration the additional one-shot short stories, TV shows and Netflix series that take place following Captain America's kick off to the largest movie universe to date.

For the fans who truly want the best viewing experience, we've listed the entire MCU content catalog and the correct MCU timeline in chronological order below. We've indicated when each movie or show takes place as well as identified TV shows and Netflix series separate from the MCU movies in bold.

The MCU timeline in order

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (set in the 1940s during WWII)
  • One Shot: Agent Carter (set in 1944)
  • Marvel's Agent Carter season 1 (set in 1946)
  • Marvel's Agent Carter season 2 (set in 1947)
  • Captain Marvel (set in 1995)
  • Iron Man (set in 2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010, immediately follows events in Iron Man)
  • Thor (set around 2010 with Phil Coulson leaving in Iron Man 2 to head to New Mexico)
  • The Incredible Hulk (set around 2010, with the Hulk's rampage noted in Iron Man 2)
  • One Shot: The Consultant (set in 2011)
  • One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (set in 2011)
  • The Avengers (set in 2012)
  • One Shot: Item 47 (set in 2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (set in 2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (set in 2013)
  • Captain America: Winter Soldier (set in 2014)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 1 (set in 2013)
  • Daredevil season 1 (set in 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (set in 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (set in 2014, a few months after Guardians)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 2, episodes 1-19 (2015)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (set in in 2015)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 2, episodes 20-22 (2015)
  • Ant-Man (set in 2015)
  • Jessica Jones season 1 (set in 2015)
  • Daredevil season 2 (set in 2015)
  • Luke Cage season 1 (2015)
  • Agents of Shield season 3 episodes 1-19 (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (set in 2016)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 3, episodes 20-22 (2016)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 4, episodes 1-8 (2016)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Slingshot (2016)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 4, episodes 9-22 (2016)
  • Iron Fist season 1 (set in 2016)
  • The Defenders (set in 2016)
  • Black Panther (set in 2016 in the aftermath of the events of Civil War)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (set in 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (takes place in 2016, after Spider-Man and Black Panther's events play out)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 5, episodes 1-19 set in (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (set in 2017)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (post-credit scene ties into IW, and moves further into the future than, TR timeline-wise)
  • Black Widow (set before the snap - won't hit cinemas until May, 2020)
  • Jessica Jones season 2 (set in 2017)
  • Inhumans season 1 (set in 2017)
  • Luke Cage season 2 (set in 2017)
  • Iron Fist season 2 (set in 2017)
  • Daredevil season 3 (set in 2017)
  • The Punisher season 2 (set in 2017)
  • Jessica Jones season 3 (set in 2017)
  • Runaways season 1 and 2 (set in 2017)
  • Cloak and Dagger season 1 and 2 (set in 2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (set place in 2018)
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D season 5, episodes 19-22 (set in 2018)
  • Iron Fist season 2 (set in 2018)
  • Avengers: Endgame (set in 2018 - 2023, with a lot of time-hopping)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (set in 2023)

How to watch the MCU in release order

For those who just want to experience the Marvel movies on their own time, you can check out the entire theatrical release schedule and phases of the MCU below. This way provides a more natural viewing experience as you watch each actor age and grow more naturally, but there will be some confusing areas that could require some backtracking or fill-in-the-blanks so to speak.

Marvel initially released the entire Infinity War saga in what's now known as "phases". As of now, there are four phases in total with the fourth phase kicking off this November with the highly anticipated spin-off Black Widow. The other three phases, also known as the Infinity War saga, have all been listed for the correct theatrical release viewing experience:

The MCU timeline in release order

MCU Phase One

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

MCU Phase 2

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)

MCU Phase 3

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

MCU Phase 4

  • Black Widow (November 6, 2020)
  • The Eternals (February 12, 2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (May 7, 20201)
  • Spider-Man 3 (November 5, 2021)
  • Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March, 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (February 11, 2022)

Marvel movies on Disney+ now

While there are still a few titles missing from Disney+, the streaming service is adding them over the coming months. The good news is that the core MCU experience is all there for viewing, so you can catch up on the complete Infinity War saga while we all wait for Disney to add the missing movies.

As of today, Disney+ has the following MCU timeline movies available or streaming:

  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Iron Man 3
  • Thor
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • The Avengers
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Black Panther
  • Doctor Strange
  • Ant-Man
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp
  • Captain Marvel

And there you have it, the complete guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order both in the theatrical release order and chronological order. It's one heck of a good time and is one of the coolest movie watching experiences in some time.

The entire collection adds up to over 25+ hours of movies and content to catch up on, so while it is possible to binge watch the entire MCU in one go we'd recommend spreading it out over the first week. Sign up for the Disney+ free trial and you can watch them all completely free for seven days, so take your time to truly enjoy some of the coolest CGI and action scenes in movie history.