Which Marvel movie should I watch first?

Marvel Films: (Chronological) List and Order

The Marvel Compass from 2008 to 2019 - so you can keep track of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

>> Also interesting: Which Marvel films will be released in 2019?

Variant 1: List of Marvel films by cinema release

The beginning of 2008 was a risk: At the time, “Iron Man” was more of a hero from Marvel's second row. And actor Robert Downey Jr. was anything but at the peak of his career at the time. But the success of the first "Iron Man" film turned the lights of the MCU to green.

The plan was as simple as it was ingenious: seemingly independent films were linked by an overarching storyline. And above all: the heroes were only gradually introduced and made known in order to then let them go together on the cinema audience.

After five solo films on four heroes, the first mega-event came in 2012: the premiere of the hero troupe called "Avengers". The preparation through the solo films paid off. "Marvel’s The Avengers" has been in the world's top 5 most successful films of all time for years.





After the Avengers had established themselves at the box office, Marvel took the next big risk with "Guardians of the Galaxy" in phase two. The Guardians were virtually unknown in the mainstream and the film seemed detached from the Avengers films. The group around Chris Pratt was convincing even without obvious Avengers help. >> Also interesting: "Guardians 3": Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga as lovers again?

Found with "Ant-Man" Phase two their end. Phase three started immediately afterwards. For legal reasons, "Spider-Man" was not allowed to play in the MCU for a long time (we are waiting for the "X-Men" until today). That changed with "Civil War": The agreement between Disney and Sony was a milestone, since then Spidey has been allowed to swing through the MCU. Another new one: "Ant-Man" had to do with an Avenger when it first appeared, but the film showed above all that Marvel wants to and can expand the MCU.

“Black Panther” also appeared for the first time in “Civil War”. That did not prevent him from breaking almost all Marvel records with his first solo film, which is why a new hero sat on the Marvel throne in time for "Infinity War", against whom the mega-event had to compete. But "Infinity War" is more than just another Avengers film. The storyline about the "Infinity Stones" ran for ten years towards this great climax:

After "Infinity War" left mostly non-comic readers in shock, a closing scene announced the next important heroine: Captain Marvel is so strong that she could turn the whole MCU upside down. But also "Ant-Man and the Wasp" contained information that is crucial for "Avengers: Endgame".


++++ Update: Marvel boss Kevin Feige has announced these films and series for the 4th phase of the MCU. ++++

After "Spider-Man: Far From Home", the fourth phase of the MCU is finally heralded. This will run for two years and include both movies and series on Disney's own streaming service Disney +. So if you want to stay up to date, you have to take out a subscription. However, it is not yet known when Disney + will come to Germany. This is the official starting list, but according to Marvel boss Kevin Feige, changes are reserved:

  • The Eternals (US theatrical release November 6, 2020)
  • Black Widow (German theatrical release November 5, 2020)
  • The Falcon & the Winter Soldier * (US launch of the series in Fall 2020 on Disney +)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the ten Rings (US theatrical release February 12, 2021)
  • WandaVision * (US launch of the series in spring 2021 on Disney +)
  • Loki * (US launch of the series in Spring 2021 on Disney +)
  • Doctor Strange in the Mulitverse of Madness (US theatrical release May 7, 2021)
  • (What If ... ?: US start of the series in the summer of 2021 Disney +; This animated series tells alternative realities in the Marvel universe.)
  • Hawkeye * (US launch of the series in Fall 2021 on Disney +)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (US theatrical release November 5, 2021)


At the Comic-Con in San Diego, Kevin Feige also gave a brief outlook on MCU projects that are even further in the future. These include:
  • Blade (Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will star here)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Director James Gunn is currently writing the script)
  • The Fantastic Four
  • An unnamed mutant adventure: the chances are good that the X-Men will join the MCU.

Variant 2: chronological list of Marvel films

Recognize every cross-reference and dare to try to understand the entire story with all the details? This is especially interesting for die-hard Marvel fans - they shouldMarvel Movies by Telling Timelook and not by year of production:
  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  2. Iron man (2008)
  3. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  4. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  5. Thor (2011)
  6. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  8. Thor - The Dark Kingdom (2013)
  9. The Return of the First Avenger (2014)
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  12. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  13. Ant-Man (2015)
  14. The First Avenger: Civil War (2016)
  15. Black Widow (2020)
  16. Black Panther (2018)
  17. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  18. Doctor Strange (2016)
  19. Thor: Decision Day (2017)
  20. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  21. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  22. (Captain Marvel) (2019)
  23. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  24. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
  25. Black Widow (2020)
  26. The Eternals (2020)
  27. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the ten Rings (2021)
  28. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021)
  29. Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)

The exception to the rule: "Captain Marvel"

"Captain Marvel" is a special case in the chronology of the MCU films: The film takes place in 1995 and is therefore before the events in "Iron Man", but after the main story in "Captain America: The First Avenger".

True Marvel fans also know that they always have to keep an eye on the credits scene (s). Warning, SPOILER! Directly the first credits scene of "Captain Marvel" creates a direct connection to "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame". Thus, these and the other supporting films cannot be disregarded and should have been watched beforehand.