The Marvel movies timeline is lengthy and each movie dovetails into the next. But, if you’re not steeped in comic books or the entertainment industry, the Marvel movies timeline can be confusing. Where do you start your binge? Can you jump into the middle of a Marvel movie timeline and still keep up? And which movies are part of the Marvel canon? (Meaning, it fits into an overall storyline.)

Phases

The Marvel movies timeline is grouped into Phases. Phase 1 was about introducing the Avengers to audiences. Phase 2 was tying them all together by using the Infinity Stones and Thanos, a really bad guy. Phase 3 is about our favorite heroes being on the outs with each other, right when a big war is headed their way.

Here’s a Marvel movies timeline for newbies to help you make sense of this universe.

P.S. This timeline does not include old Sony or Twentieth Century Fox movies, like Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies, or X-Men movies, or Deadpool. Those movies are not part of Marvel’s cinematic phases, so they’re not included.

P.P.S. If you’re confused by this guide, skip to the bottom where we explain how to read it.

See also: DC Movies Timeline and Extended Universe

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1

Iron Man (2008)


 

Iron Man Mock 1

Do I need to see any movies before this one? No.

Which superheroes are in it? Iron Man

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. After the credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? No.

Synopsis: Billionaire industrialist and genius inventor Tony Stark is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.

Read our full review of Iron Man.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)


 

The Incredible Hulk

Do I need to see any movies before this one? No.

Which superheroes are in it? The Hulk

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? No.

Is there an Infinity Stone? No.

Synopsis: Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he turns into, whenever he loses his temper.

Read our full review of The Incredible Hulk.

Iron Man 2 (2010)


 

Tony Stark in a Race Car

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Iron Man

Which superheroes are in it? Iron Man, Iron Patriot / War Machine, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Phil Coulson

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. After credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? No.

Synopsis: The world is aware that billionaire inventor Tony Stark is the armored superhero Iron Man. Under pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military, Tony is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armor because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts and James “Rhodey” Rhodes at his side, Tony forges new alliances and confronts powerful new forces.

Read our full review of Iron Man 2.

Thor (2011)


 

Loki and Thor

Do I need to see any movies before this one? No, but seeing the Iron Man movies will help you fill in the blanks about S.H.I.E.L.D.

Which superheroes are in it? Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral, Sif, Phil Coulson, Nick Fury

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. After credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Yes. The Tesseract, which holds the blue Space Stone, is briefly glimpsed in the post-credits scene.

Synopsis: The epic adventure Thor spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.

Read our full review of Thor.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)


 

Captain America: The First Avenger

Do I need to see any movies before this one? No.

Which superheroes are in it? Captain America

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. After credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Yes. The blue Space Stone was inside the Tesseract that the Red Skull used.

Captain America: The First Avenger will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving.)

Read our full review of Captain America: The First Avenger.

 

Avengers (2012)


 

The Avengers Assemble

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • The Incredible Hulk (optional)

Which superheroes are in it? Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, The Hulk, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Loki, Maria Hill

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes, two of them. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Yes, two of them. The Space Stone was used to open the wormhole, and the yellow Mind Stone was embedded into Loki’s sceptor, which allowed him to control their minds.

The superhero team-up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel superheroes like Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Read our full review of Marvel’s The Avengers.

 

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2

With Avengers, the formula for Marvel movies was perfected (in no small part because of director Joss Whedon). The combination of action and small, character-centered moments would become the general formula for all Marvel movies from this point forward.

Iron Man 3 (2013)


 

Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) ©Marvel Studios 2013

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Avengers

Which superheroes are in it? Iron Man

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. After credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? No.

Synopsis: When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Read our full review of Iron Man 3.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)


 

Loki in Chains

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Thor
  • Avengers

Which superheroes are in it? Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral, Sif, The Collector

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes, two of them. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Yes. The Aether that the Dark Elf Malekith was after was actually the Reality Stone, which was able to warp dimensions.

In Thor: The Dark World, we meet the Dark Elves, a race who looks to take over all the realms, starting with Asgard. Thor is thrust into a leadership role, and even calls on Loki, who has been imprisoned for his shenanigans in The Avengers.

Read our full review of Thor: The Dark World.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)


 

Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) Ph: Zade Rosenthal © 2014 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Avengers

Which superheroes are in it? Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, The Winter Soldier, Agent 13

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Yes. In the post-credits scene, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was seen using the sceptor, which encased the Mind Stone.

Synopsis: In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America and Black Widow are working for SHIELD. But after they suffer a personal and professional setback, all hell breaks loose. Captain America and Black Widow end up on the run from SHIELD, recruiting veteran Sam Wilson to help them battle an unseen enemy.

Read our full review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.



Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)


 

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..L to R: Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)..Ph: Film Frame..?Marvel 2014

Do I need to see any movies before this one? No. It would help if you watched Avengers, just to get a taste of the villain, but it is by no means required.

Which superheroes are in it? Star-Lord (a.k.a. Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Nova Prime, Nebula, Yondu, Kraglin, The Collector

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? You betcha. In fact, Guardians of the Galaxy is all about an Infinity Stone called the Power Stone.

Synopsis: Brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits-Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand-with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. 

Read our full review of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Avengers: The Age of Ultron (2015)


 

Avengers Age of Ultron Poster

Avengers Age of Ultron Poster

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Which superheroes are in it? Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Vision, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Falcon, Heimdall

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Oh, yes. Remember that Mind Stone that was embedded in Loki’s scepter? It plays a very important role in this movie.

Synopsis: By the spring of 2015, it had been a year since we laid eyes on any of the Avengers. When we catch up with them in Avengers: Age of Ultron, they’re hunting down Loki’s sceptor, which takes them to a made-up country called Sokovia. After they retrieve it and take it to Stark Tower, Tony and Bruce start tinkering with it, hoping to create artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, they succeed, in the form of Ultron. Ultron begins a systematic take-down of the Avengers, all while sticking to his secret agenda. In the end, the world suffers a catastrophe, but one that isn’t as big as it would have been, if it weren’t for the Avengers.

Read our full review of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Ant-Man (2015)


 

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Do I need to see any movies before this one? No, but you would understand more of the dialog if you watched Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Which superheroes are in it? Ant-Man, Falcon

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? No.

Synopsis: Ant-Man introduces us to Scott Lang, a small-time thief who tries to go straight for his daughter. Just when it seems like his old life is sucking him back in, scientist Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man calls on him to do a job. The job turns out to be a test, which Lang passes with flying colors. Pym takes Lang under his wing, training him to be Ant-Man. Pym’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne, helps her dad train Lang, as well. (She will have an important role to play in future Ant-Man movies.) Darren Cross, at Pym Industries, wants to sell the Ant-Man technology  to the wrong people, and it’s up to Lang, Pym and Van Dyne to stop him.

Read our full review of Ant-Man.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3

Captain America: Civil War (2016)


 

Captain America and Iron Man in 'Captain America: Civil War'

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron

It would help if you watched Ant-Man, but it’s not a requirement.

Which superheroes are in it? All of them, except Thor and The Hulk, with the addition of Spider-Man.

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Yes. The Mind Stone.

Synopsis: In Captain America: Civil War, a fight in Laos goes wrong and civilians end up dead. Meanwhile, Tony Stark feels guilty over the disaster in Sakovia. He consents to sign the Accords, an agreement between over one hundred countries that would put the Avengers under the control of the government. Captain America chafes at the idea of taking orders from a government who might not have the people’s best interests in mind. A terrorist attack that’s been allegedly orchestrated by the Winter Soldier sets superhero against superhero. Eventually, dark secrets come to light that set the Avengers even further apart.

Read our full review of Captain America: Civil War.

Doctor Strange (Nov. 4, 2016)


 

Doctor Strange Teaser Photo

Do I need to see any movies before this one? No. It would help if you saw the previous Avengers movies, just to give you some context when the characters talk about what happened in New York. But there’s nothing that happens within Doctor Strange that’s confusing if you didn’t see the previous movies.

Which superheroes are in it? Doctor Strange

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? Yes. The green Time Stone.

Synopsis: A disgraced former surgeon named Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) becomes a powerful sorcerer under the tutelage of a mystic known as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star in this entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Read our full review of Doctor Strange.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017)


 

Peter Quill and Ego the Living Planet

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2..L to R: Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Ego (Kurt Russell)..Ph: Chuck Zlotnick..©Marvel Studios 2017

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

Which superheroes are in it? Star-Lord (a.k.a. Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Nova Prime, Nebula, Yondu, Kraglin, Ego, Mantis

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? No.

Synopsis: In Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Star-Lord and his eclectic crew have formed a mercenary team. While on a mission, Rocket steals batteries from an alien race, which makes their ruler rather angry. On their way out of the galaxy, they run into a mysterious man who claims to be Peter’s father. The whole crew gets in on the action and the result is a fast-paced story full of special effects and after-school-special moments.

Read my full review of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, 2017)


 

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

Do I need to see any movies before this one? Yes.

  • Avengers
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Captain America: Civil War

Which superheroes are in it? Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America (sort of)

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Yes. During and after credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? No.

Syonpsis: Spider-Man: Homecoming picks up right after Captain America: Civil War. In fact, the fight between Team Iron Man and Team Cap’ is referred to several times. Peter Parker struggles with his place in the world, as a superhero and as a teenager. It’s not an origin movie, so Marvel assumes audiences don’t need a lesson on how Peter acquired his powers. However, it’s still a story about becoming a superhero.

Read my full review of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

To Be Released

These are Marvel movies that have not premiered yet. In the fall of 2015, Marvel laid out their plan for upcoming movies starring the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as stand-alone heroes, which is why the dates reach so far into the future.

Thor: Ragnarok (Nov 3, 2017)

Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 (May 4, 2018)

Black Panther (Feb 16, 2018)

Captain Marvel (Mar 8, 2019)

Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 (May 3, 2019)

How to Read Media Medusa’s Marvel Movies Guide

Phase what? Marvel movies were rolled out in three phases. Think of the phases as acts, as in Act I, Act II and Act III. They categorized them as they went, using big plot points to decide which phase in which to include a movie. For instance, Phase 2 kicked off after aaaaallllll the Avengers came together.

Title (Date) Simply the title of the movie and the date it was released.

Star Rating Our opinion of the movie, out of five stars.

Text Some background information, a synopsis and a short review of each movie.

Do I need to see… We let you know which Marvel movies to see before the one in question. You might not need to see any Marvel movies before some of them.

Which superheroes… Lists which superheroes or recurring characters are in the movie.

Is there a mid- or post-credits scene? Should you stick around for the credits? Find out whether there is another scene during or after the credits.

Is there an Infinity Stone? In the Marvel universe there are six Infinity Stones that the evil Thanos is trying to acquire. The Infinity Stones are the element that will eventually tie all the movies together.

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See the whole Marvel Movie Timeline for the MCU