How to stream all the Marvel movies
Has there been a better time to binge the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
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The Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008 with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Since then, it's grown into something far greater, involving dozens of iconic characters spanning more than 11 years of summer-blockbuster history—and that's just on the film side. With many of us confined to our homes, there's never been a better time to revisit the MCU. And if you're ready to binge your way through this impressive collection, our streaming guide has you covered.
The MCU was released in three “phases,” so we'll follow that template to loosely define the timeline. Some entries, like Captain Marvel, officially belong to a later phase but might make more chronological sense to be seen earlier; you’ll get the most out of your movie marathon when you can keep track of who’s where. The vast majority of these films can now be found on Disney+, but others—such as Spider-Man: Far from Home—have to be rented or streamed elsewhere.
Phase One: Avengers, Assemble
Phase One introduces viewers to the first iteration of the Avengers: Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. With the exception of The Incredible Hulk, you can stream all the Phase One Marvel movies on Disney+. Try not to get confused by recastings like Bruce Banner (from Ed Norton to Mark Ruffalo) and Colonel James Rhodes (from Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle).
Here’s a potential viewing order for the Phase One timeline, as well as where you can find them:
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Disney+
Captain America: The First Avenger kicks off the “Infinity Saga” with our first glimpse of the all-powerful Infinity Stones (more on those later), the hero who would go on to lead the Avengers, and a fun adventure set during World War II.
Captain Marvel (2019): Disney+
As mentioned, Captain Marvel technically falls in Phase Three, but chronologically can either be watched second, after The First Avenger, or much later—after you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War. Set in the '90s, it's another early glimpse of the Marvel universe pre-Avengers, and a fun introduction to one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU.
Iron Man (2008): Disney+
Iron Man was the first film in the MCU, but chronologically, it occurs in the mid-2000s, placing it almost square in the middle of Phase One. The film that started it all, it's still one of the best in the series, and also re-introduced Robert Downey Jr. as a bona fide superstar.
The Incredible Hulk (2008): Rent on Amazon
Edward Norton stars in The Incredible Hulk, which released just a month after Iron Man in theaters. It didn’t achieve the same success as the other Marvel movies, but it’s not one to skip if you’re looking to watch the entire MCU.
Iron Man 2 (2010): Disney+
Most of the Marvel sequels fall in later phases, but Iron Man 2 released before many other standalone Marvel titles, like Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. This film also marks the first appearance of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.
Thor (2011): Disney+
The first Thor movie introduces us to characters who will be influential during The Avengers, including Dr. Erik Selvig and Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye. It's the first time we get to meet Thor and venture off-planet, as we get to see his homeworld of Asgard.
The Avengers (2012): Disney+
Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk all lead into 2012’s explosive crossover, The Avengers, which was one of the most commercially successful superhero films of all time upon its release. This film rounds out Phase One and paves the way for all future MCU movies, including introducing the mad titan Thanos.
Phase Two: The MCU goes cosmic
Phase Two is where things start to get really interesting. Post-Avengers, audiences grew to expect characters showing up in each other’s respective movies; the universe started to feel bigger, yet somehow more cohesive. The events of The Avengers resound throughout most of these films, leading critics and viewers alike to start comparing the Marvel films to long-form television.
Iron Man 3 (2013): Disney+
Thor: The Dark World (2013): Disney+
Thor: The Dark World plays around with the ancient history of the universe, showing the dawn of time from an Asgardian, demigod point of view. It's not the most-loved film in the MCU, but it does serve as a solid bit of action that helps move the story forward.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Disney+
Unlike its predecessor, Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes place in modern-day. This film is widely regarded by Marvel fans as one of the best movies in the entire MCU—get ready for major change-ups that reverberate across the franchise.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Disney+
Speaking of major change-ups, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the real headliner of the Phase Two chronology. Blasting off into outer space and various otherworldly realms, the first Guardians film opens up the MCU’s storytelling possibilities like never before.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): Disney+
The sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is part of Phase Three, but you can view it immediately after Guardians of the Galaxy when watching at home. This sequel also mainly takes place off-world and further builds the realms beyond Earth.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): Disney+
The much-anticipated sequel to The Avengers wraps up Phase Two, bringing together our favorite heroes for a second time as they fight against an all-knowing A.I. Avengers: Age of Ultron also introduces us to more members of the Avengers, including Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver.
Ant-Man (2015): Disney+
Paul Rudd joins the MCU in Ant-Man, a light-hearted entry to the franchise that lays the groundwork for Quantum physics and the Quantum realm, both of which grow in importance over the years.
Phase Three: Thanos is coming
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was never really the same after Guardians of the Galaxy (look at Captain Marvel or 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, and you’ll see what we mean). Phase Three mixes quiet, intimate character moments with colossal spectacle, introducing fresh characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU, and culminating in the explosive double feature of Infinity War and Endgame.
After the MCU teased the importance of the Infinity Stones for years in films like The First Avenger and Guardians of the Galaxy, Phase Three brings their prophecy to fruition. It's certainly a kind of ending for the MCU, but “part of the journey is the end,” as Tony Stark says. “That’s the hero gig.”
Captain America: Civil War (2016): Disney+
Captain America: Civil War deals with the fallout from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Captain American and Iron Man find themselves divided on an important issue, which tears its way through the entire Avengers crew. They start Phase Three divided, but this entry introduces us further to important new players in the MCU, including Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and Tom Holland's Spider-Man.
Doctor Strange (2016): Disney+
Doctor Strange is a wonderfully—well ... strange addition to the MCU. This film introduces us to the mystic side of the universe, allowing us to learn about time-travel, wizardry, and magical forces that influence the world.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): Rent on Amazon Prime
Produced in a joint venture between Disney and Sony, you won’t find Spider-Man flicks on Disney+, so you’ll probably want to rent them. This movie may star Spider-Man, but it could also be renamed Iron Man 4 based on how important a role Tony Stark plays as a mentor to young Peter Parker.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Disney+
Tonally, Thor: Ragnarok is a striking change-up from earlier Thor movies in the franchise, thanks to the comedic tendencies of new director Taika Waititi. The change obviously worked, as this film is one of the highest reviewed films in the MCU, and was a smash at the box office, too. Thor: Ragnarok stars Thor, Loki, the Hulk, and newcomer Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a foursome who have to work together in order to save Asgard.
Black Panther (2018): Disney+
Black Panther was another smash hit, delving deeply into the world of Wakanda and introducing us to the otherwordly substance, Vibranium. The film establishes the importance of Wakanda and cements Black Panther’s place as one of the most beloved Avengers.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018): Netflix
Avengers: Infinity War will be added to Disney+ on June 25, but it’s still streaming on Netflix at time of publication. This film finally brings together all the Avengers we know and love, from the Guardians to Thor and Black Panther. It also reunites Captain America and Iron Man as the heroes face the ultimate threat to the universe, Thanos.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): Netflix
You could watch Ant-Man and the Wasp before Infinity War, but the end credits scene ruins a pretty important part of the movie. This film brings Ant-Man back into the fold, further exploring the Quantum Realm and setting up the events of Endgame. It is currently available on Netflix, but is scheduled to hit Disney+ on July 29.
Avengers: Endgame (2019): Disney+
Phases One, Two, and Three come to a final culmination in Avengers: Endgame. Following the events of Infinity War, the heroes are left picking up the pieces of their former world and using solutions from previous films to make it all right again.
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019): Starz
The most recent entry to the MCU is Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is currently streaming on Starz (so you can watch if you subscribe on Hulu or Amazon). This entry dips its toe into the waters of the multiverse, but leaves a lot to explore in Phase Four.
What’s next for Marvel movies?
Starting (hopefully) later this year, Marvel will begin Phase Four of the MCU with a standalone Black Widow movie and a full slate of live-action Disney+ series, including The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (coming fall 2020). Black Widow is currently expected to hit theaters on November 6 after being pushed back due to the corona pandemic.
Phase Four is also expected to include Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022.
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