It’s fair to say that the Marvel movies, specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases, have reached “cultural event” status. And there’s a strong case to be made that the MCU is a currently a pop culture juggernaut, the likes of which we haven’t since the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy hit theaters for the first time.
Now the MCU saga is continuing on TV, starting with ‘WandaVision’ and continuing with last years ‘Moon Knight,’ ‘Ms. Marvel,’ and ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,’ as well as the upcoming ‘Secret Invasion’ series.
Not to mention the new “Special Presentation” movies that Marvel has debuted on Disney+ including ‘Werewolf by Night’ and ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.’
It is a great time to watch the Marvel movies in order now and you can watch them all on Disney Plus in 4K format. You can even plan virtual Marvel movie nights with your friends using Disney+ GroupWatch feature.
Although this was the fifth movie in what’s now called the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it takes place in 1942. Aside from a few flashbacks in other movies, this story about Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) becoming Captain America during WWII is the earliest story in MCU arc.
“When patriots become heroes”
2 hr 4 minJul 22nd, 2011
Set in 1995, Captain Marvel’s story is the second chapter of the MCU epic. This timing gives us the chance to see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in his prime, not only showing where his inspiration for the Avengers comes from, but also giving context to Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) as a heavy hitter in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’
“Higher. Further. Faster.”
2 hr 4 minMar 8th, 2019
This movie gave us an easter egg that kicked off the very notion of a shared universe with other Marvel movies, but it wasn’t much more than wishful thinking at the time. With Marvel Comics’ most popular characters, Spider-Man and the X-Men tied up at Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox (respectively), Paramount Pictures had to make do with characters that, at the time, were second-tier at best.
But director Jon Favreau and the perfectly-cast Robert Downey Jr. pushed Iron Man into the big leagues. It’s a great film that sets the stage for a powerhouse series that will all but take over Hollywood in a few years.
Ed Norton takes over as Bruce Banner, Hulk’s alter ego, and we see the big guy go up against both the military and another gamma-powered monster, The Abomination (aka Emil Blonsky, played by Tim Roth.) The film wisely does away with making this an origin story – between the classic TV series, the previous non-MCU Hulk movie, and a montage during the opening credits, the filmmakers assume the audience knows what they’re getting into.
Lastly we know that this takes place *after* ‘Iron Man,’ because General Ross (William Hurt) meets a certain someone in a bar and compliments that someone’s “nice suits.”
“You’ll like him when he’s angry.”
1 hr 54 minJun 12th, 2008
Aside from Hulk’s story, the other major story in the MCU is still centered on Iron Man. In ‘Iron Man 2,’ we see Tony Stark wrestle with the aftermath of “I am Iron Man” announcement. That news has both inspired a competitive weapons designer to create a drone army, while also reigniting a feud between Stark and Ivan Vanko, (played by Mickey Rourke) who makes his own weaponized suit. Stark’s long-suffering pal Rhodey (now played by Don Cheadle) gets his own suit, donning the mantle of War Machine.
And Stark’s new assistant turns out to be a secret agent named Natasha Romanov (played by Scarlett Johansson). But there’s plenty of action to keep the story moving, and so it’s another fun, early chapter in the MCU.
“It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.”
2 hr 4 minMay 7th, 2010
After the events of ‘Iron Man 2,’ there’s a falling out between two gods of Asgard, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and his son Thor (Chris Hemsworth). The MCU gives us an idea that the Asgardians are long-lived, powerful and human-looking aliens and were only seen as gods by ancient Norsemen. But the Asgardians may have started believing in godhood themselves. Certainly Thor seems to, so much that Odin exiles him to Earth to learn some humility.
In the end, it works, and this movie sets up more characters and plot threads we’ll see later in the series; Loki (Tom Hiddleston) the trickster, up to no good, Doctor Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), an astrophysicist trying to help Thor get home, and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) a snarky doctoral student. And maybe most importantly, this movie introduces S.H.E.I.L.D. Agent Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), codename Hawkeye. We also check in with Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson after seeing him in both ‘Iron Man’ movies.
“Two worlds. One hero.”
1 hr 55 minMay 6th, 2011
Now that the important heroes have been introduced, it’s time to put them in that “team” idea that both Tony Stark and Nick Fury have been talking about. The first Avengers outing sees Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and the Hulk take on Loki and his alien army of Chitauri warriors. Bruce Banner is now being played by Mark Ruffalo here, and he and the rest of the cast seem to instantly have great chemistry together.
This rollicking adventure delivered what most Marvel fans were hoping for happen after all of the hints dropped in the earlier films. Naturally, the heroes prevail, in spite of a notable casualty, but there are definitely hints of a more dangerous plot behind Loki’s actions. And we also see that the “tesseract” (introduced in ‘Captain America’) gets taken to Asgard for safe keeping.
“Some assembly required.”
2 hr 23 minMay 4th, 2012
Set seven months after the events of ‘The Avengers,’ this movie finds Tony Stark suffering from PTSD caused by the battle with the Chitauri and his near-death experience. A classic comic villain, The Mandarin, is introduced as the leader of a terrorist organization responsible for bomb attacks. Aside from War Machine (now using the moniker ‘Iron Patriot,’ you won’t see much of any other heroes here; this story is mostly focused on Iron Man.
“Unleash the power behind the armor.”
2 hr 10 minMay 3rd, 2013
At the end of ‘The Avengers,’ we see Loki in shackles and taken to Asgard by Thor. After an opening scene depicting the beginning of a fued between Odin and the Dark Elves, we see Loki on trial for his crimes. Meanwhile, unstable portals have opened on Earth, ultimately leading the the Dark Elves’ vengeful return.
Thor enlists Loki to defeat the elves and their leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), and their battle takes place across multiple worlds. Though this story is mainly about Thor, it previews some of the future chapters of the story. In a mid-credits scene we see Asgardians Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) take a second Infinity Stone to a being known as The Collector (Benicio Del Toro). We’ll see both that stone and The Collector again.
“Delve into the darkness”
1 hr 52 minNov 8th, 2013
If you’d been wondering what Hydra had been doing since their defeat in WWII, Captain America’s second solo outing answers that question. Taking some inspiration from 70s-era conspiracy thrillers, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ finds Captain America teaming up with Black Widow to track down an elusive and nigh-unstoppable assassin known as The Winter Soldier.
This movie introduces The Falcon, aka Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who becomes an ally to Captain America while Cap discovers the roots of a Hydra conspiracy that has poisoned both S.H.E.I.L.D. and the US government. Cap also discovers that his best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) didn’t die in WWII, but was brainwashed by Hydra to be a perfect assassin – The Winter Soldier. As the credits roll, we see a German Hydra scientist running experiments on a brother and sister; all three of them will show up again in the future.
“In heroes we trust.”
2 hr 16 minApr 4th, 2014
Comic collectors will know that the ‘Guardians if the Galaxy’ wasn’t one of Marvel’s top-selling titles, but director James Gunn took these lesser-known characters into the big leagues with this film. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), aka Star-Lord, steals a mysterious orb leading to both a price on his head and a battle to save the galaxy. Zamora (Zoe Saldana) is also on the hunt for the orb, and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are looking to collect the bounty on Quill’s head.
After all four of them go to prison for the chaos they caused when they all ran into each other, they enlist another inmate, Drax (Dave Bautista), to help them escape. This motley crew reluctantly agrees to work together to get that orb, which is another Infinity Stone, back into safe hands. We also discover that Zamora’s father is Thanos (Josh Brolin), a villainous being that will turn out the be the Big Bad of later Avengers movies.
“All heroes start somewhere.”
2 hr 1 minAug 1st, 2014
Since the Guardians’ adventures don’t have much of an effect on Earth (yet), you can pick up the next chapter of their story immediately. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ finds the crew making a mess of their latest job, which leads to predictably hilarious and action-packed battles early in the movie.
This story really focuses on family relationships; Quill is pulled between his real father, Ego aka The Living Planet (Kurt Russell) and the pirate that raised him, Yondu aka Mary Poppins (Michael Rooker). And Gamora makes peace with her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). The now-expected credits scenes hint at what we might see in future Guardians movies, but nothing that’s really driving towards the Infinity War saga.
2 hr 17 minMay 5th, 2017
The second Avengers adventure kicks off with the team raiding a Hydra facility to bring down Hydra scientist Baron Strucker. They meet two of Strucker’s test subjects, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Elizabeth Olsen), who ultimately escape, but Tony Stark confiscates Loki’s magical scepter.
The gem in the scepter turns out to be yet another Infinity Stone, which Stark and Bruce Banner use to enhance their Ultron project. Designed to protect the world, the now-sentient Ultron decides that humanity is the biggest threat to the planet, so he builds himself a body and starts working on a global extermination plan.
“A New Age Has Come.”
2 hr 21 minMay 1st, 2015
After the epic events of ‘Age of Ultron,’ we get a somewhat smaller story – that of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an ex-con working on going straight. He’s also working on being a decent dad to his daughter, even though his ex-wife has custody of her. But it’s tough for Scott to leave theiving behind, which leads him to stealing from inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas).
Turns out Pym used to work for the government under the moniker ‘Ant-Man,’ using his hi-tech suit that allowed him to shrink down to the size of (you guessed it) an ant. Lang and Pym team up to stop Pym’s technology from being used for evil, and Lang becomes the new Ant-Man.
After the events of ‘Age of Ultron,’ the major powers of the world put forth the Sokovia Accords, under which all super-powered individuals need to disclose their true identities and agree that governments can regulate their powers. The Avengers have differing opinions on this, leading to some serious arguments between our heroes. This all comes to head when T’Chaka, king of Wakanda, is assassinated, and it looks a whole lot like Bucky Barnes is responsible.
‘Civil War’ introduces Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, heir to the throne of Wakanda, who is also Black Panther, that country’s super-powered protector. Captain America is trying to protect Bucky and prove his innocence, Iron Man while the Avengers to agree to the accords and arrest Bucky. The rest of the Avengers reluctantly pick sides, leading to a physical confrontation that brings in Spider-Man (on Iron Man’s side) and Ant-Man (on Cap’s side). In the end, the original team is dissolved, and although some new heroes join The Avengers, a chapter has definitely come to a close.
“United we stand. Divided we fall.”
2 hr 27 minMay 6th, 2016
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
“Her world. Her secrets. Her legacy.”
2 hr 14 minJul 9th, 2021
The MCU’s Spider-Man made his debut in ‘Civil War,’ but now we get a story that really focuses on the “friendly neighborhood” version of the hero. This movie wisely side-steps the webhead’s origin story, instead focusing on how Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has to juggle his teen life and crime-fighting. Tony Stark is here as Pete’s mentor, reminding us that there’s still a larger world outside of Queens, but Tony keeps Peter mostly grounded.
“Homework can wait. The city can’t.”
2 hr 13 minJul 7th, 2017
In the wake of his father’s death, T’Challa is set to take the Wakandan throne to lead and (as Black Panther) protect the nation. Although he secures the throne in ritual combat, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), the son of an exiled, royal Wakandan, arrives and claims the right to challange T’Challa.
Like ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ this chapter of the MCU saga is a mostly self-contained story. The film mostly focuses on T’Challa and his fight for his country, but what we learn about Wakanda here will be important in later chapters.
Here we get Doctor Strange’s origin story, where we learn how he took up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, took on an interdimensional conquerer, and took responsibility for guarding the Time Stone, another one of the Infinity Stones that Thanos (a galactic conquerer) is looking for. Up until this point in the MCU, magic was almost entirely the domain of Thor and the Asgardians, since Wanda Maximoff’s powers hadn’t really been all that defined (and wouldn’t be, until later episodes of ‘WandaVision’).
Now we see more magic in play with the release of this film, and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), now one of the more powerful heroes in the MCU, will play a key part in the upcoming Avengers movies.
“The impossibilities are endless.”
1 hr 55 minNov 4th, 2016
A lot of fans came out of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ wondering “Where were Thor and the Hulk?” ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ gives us the answer – after the battle of Sokovia in ‘Age of Ultron,’ the thunder god searches for his missing father in Asgard, but finds Loki instead. The brothers finally find Odin, but more importantly, find the sister that they never knew they had, Hela (Cate Blanchett).
The boys get sidetracked to Sakaar, where Thor is forced to become a gladiator and has to take on the reigning champion, none other than the Hulk (a friend from work!) There’s a lot going on here, including the fall of Asgard, Loki’s redemption (mostly), and Thor’s vow to protect the people of Asgard and find them a new home. With Hulk and Thor on their way back to earth, the stage is set for the climactic chapters of the Infinity Saga.
“No Hammer. No Problem.”
2 hr 11 minNov 3rd, 2017
This is another movie where the events in the film happen prior to the events in the preceding MCU film. Scott Lang is under house arrest after skipping off to Europe to participate in the ‘Civil War’ showdown, but he’s been keeping busy by (among other things) teaching himself close-up magic.
After getting a message from Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), trapped in the quantum realm, Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne work with Scott to get her back, while also dealing with a molecularly-unstable foe. A mid-credits scene shows characters caught up in the aftermath of events shown ‘Avengers: Infinity Way’ so most of this story takes place concurrently (if not before) most of that preceding film.
The epic showdown starts here. Picking up from the end of ‘Ragnarok,’ Thanos captures Thor, beats up the Hulk(!) and kills Loki(!!). Heimdall sends Hulk to Earth, where Banner warns Doctor Strange, Wong, and Iron Man that an attack is coming. Thanos’ henchmen fight some of our heroes in New York over the Time Stone while other henchmen head to Edinburgh, to take the Mind Stone out of Vision’s head. Niether attempt is successful, with Stark, Strange and Parker heading to space to defeat Thanos, and most of the remaining Avengers heading to Wakanda to remove the Mind Stone from Vision so that they can destroy it.
In the meantime, Thor, Groot, and Rocket work on finding a new weapon powerful enough to defeat the increasingly powerful Thanos. We don’t need to go into too much detail here, but suffice to say that half of everyone in the MCU won’t make it to the end credits of this one.
“An entire universe. Once and for all.”
2 hr 29 minApr 27th, 2018
Picking up not long after the end of ‘Infinity War’ the remaining Avengers, Guardians, and Captain Marvel track down Thanos, but find out that they can’t undo his actions when Thanos tells them he destroyed the Infinity Stones. In a rage, Thor kills him. Five years later, we see our heroes (and the rest of the world) trying to cope with the loss of literally half the people on the planet. It’s not going great. Enter Scott Lang, who has been trapped in the quantum realm for the last five years.
But since it’s only been a couple of hours for Lang, he and the Avengers realize time travel is possible, which means they can pull a “time heist” to borrow the Infinity Stones from the past, and use them to undo Thanos’ snap. The heist works, but when the Thanos in the past discovers the plot, he attacks the Avengers compound, and that leads to the biggest battle we’ve seen in the MCU. Our side wins, but not without great sacrifices, sacrifices that will drive plots of subsequent movies and TV series.
“Avenge the fallen.”
3 hr 1 minApr 26th, 2019
Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.
“You can’t outrun your destiny.”
2 hr 12 minSep 3rd, 2021
The first movie after ‘Endgame’ gives us our first look at life after “The Blip.” Nick Fury and Maria Hill have recruited Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a super-powered individual that just might be able to fill Iron Man’s shoes. Peter Parker and half of his classmates are still in high school, and this movie finds them on a field trip to Europe. In spite of dodging his calls, Fury tracks down Parker to recruit him for a new team, but Peter isn’t interested. But Beck isn’t all that he seems, and Spider-Man fights to protect the world from Beck’s plans.
“It’s time to step up.”
2 hr 9 minJul 2nd, 2019
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a super-hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
The Eternals are a team of ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. When an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows, they are forced to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.
“In the beginning…”
2 hr 36 minNov 5th, 2021
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.
“Enter a new dimension of Strange.”
2 hr 6 minMay 6th, 2022
After his retirement is interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods, Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi), and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who now wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor. Together they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.
On a dark and somber night, a secret cabal of monster hunters emerge from the shadows and gather at the foreboding Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader. In a strange and macabre memorial to the leader’s life, the attendees are thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic—a hunt that will ultimately bring them face to face with a dangerous monster.
“There’s no escaping the night.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.
On a mission to make Christmas unforgettable for Quill (Chris Pratt), the Guardians head to Earth in search of the perfect present.
“The perfect present is a galaxy away.”
45 minNov 25th, 2022
Super-Hero partners Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), along with with Hope’s parents Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), find themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible and pits them against Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).
“Witness the beginning of a new dynasty.”
Showtimes & Tickets
Super-Hero partners Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne, along with with Hope’s parents Janet van Dyne and Hank Pym, and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang, find themselves exploring… Read the Plot
Check out our post where we also ranked all of the Marvel movies from worst to best.
Obviously, we’re now getting more Marvel stories in a few series on Disney+.
- ‘WandaVision’ finds Wanda Maximoff and Vision living in sitcom-style idyllic existence in the town of Westview, New Jersey. But there’s much more than meets the eye here, and we finally learn how Wanda has (or hasn’t) been handling her grief over Vision’s death.
- ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ has Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes working together to foil an international plot that may have its roots in The Blip.
- ‘Loki’ takes place after ‘Endgame,’ and introduces us to the Time Variance Authority and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Kang the Conqueror, a role he will play in the upcoming ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.’
- ‘Hawkeye’ focused on Clint Barton as he trains his protegee Kate Bishop to take over the Hawkeye mantle.
- ‘Moon Knight’ introduces Marc Spencer as Marvel’s new hero, who is drawn into a deadly mystery involving Egyptian gods with his multiple alters, such as Steven Grant.
- ‘Ms. Marvel’ is about Kamala Khan, Jersey City’s own teen superhero. Khan’s hero handle is inspired by Captain Marvel, and the character will next appear in the upcoming ‘The Marvels.’
- ‘She-Hulk’ which features Jennifer Walters, who is a lawyer and Bruce Banner’s cousin.
Upcoming Marvel Movies
It’s no secret that there are more MCU films coming our way, but there’s a good chance that the in-universe timeline will match the order in which the films are released. We’re listing the films according to their projected release dates here, and we’ll add them into the list above as their place in the timeline becomes apparent.
“Once more with feeling.”
Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that,… Read the Plot
“Higher. Further. Faster. Together.”
Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan trade places with each other every time they use their powers and must team up to fix their problem. Read the Plot
A world without Avengers doesn’t mean there’s not a group of superheroes. There is a group and they’re called the Thunderbolts. Read the Plot
An upcoming Phase 6 Marvel Cinematic Universe film and part of The Multiverse Saga. Will involve the Marvel Villain Kang. Read the Plot
An upcoming Phase 6 Marvel Cinematic Universe film that will conclude the Multiverse Saga. Read the Plot