Marvel movies: How to watch all Avengers films in chronological order

24 April 2019, 16:31 | Updated: 8 August 2019, 12:09

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

A complete guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline with all 21 films in chronological order, leading up to Avengers: Endgame.

It's time. Avengers: Endgame is about to be released and the MCU as we know it will never be the same again. The final instalment of Phase 3 of Marvel's Cinematic Universe drops on April 26th but, before that, it's time to give yourself a complete refresher on the story so far - by watching every single Marvel film that's lead to Endgame.

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There's two orders in which you can watch all 21 Marvel films before the release of Avengers: Endgame on April 26th. You can either watch them in the order of release or you can watch them in chronological timeline order.

The order of release will see you start with 2008's Iron Man and work your way through to 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. If you want to experience the full chronological order? Well, that's a completely different list that actually starts with Captain America: The First Avenger.

Here's a guide to the chronological order you should watch all 21 Marvel films before seeing Avengers: Endgame.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Chronological film order
Marvel Cinematic Universe: Chronological film order. Picture: Marvel Studios

1) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Set in '40s during the Second World War. The film sets up the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) which we later know as S.H.I.E.L.D. and also gives us the history and earliest known location of the Tesseract (the Space stone) on Earth.

2) Captain Marvel (2019)

Set in 1995. The film introduced Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. It gives insight into how the Tesseract ended up back on earth and in Fury's possession. It introduces the Kree, who later appear in Guardians of the Galaxy. It also sets up the start of Fury's Avengers Initiative.

3) Iron Man (2008)

Set in 2010. Establishes Tony Stark as the figurehead of the MCU and eventual first recruit of the Avengers Initiative in a post-credits scene.

4) Iron Man 2 (2010)

Set in 2011. According to Marvel, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Thor all take place within the same week. Hulk can be seen in the background on a TV at the safe house at the end of Iron Man 2. Iron Man 2 also introduces Black Widow/Natasha Romanova ahead of Avengers.

5) The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Set in 2011. It might not feature Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, but it's still part of the MCU. Throw it in between Iron Man 2 and Thor for the full effect. This takes place at the same time as Iron Man 2 and Thor.

6) Thor (2011)

Set in 2011. Again, takes place at the same time as Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk. Introduces Thor and sets up the big finale of Phase one of the MCU. Hawkeye also makes his first appearance in Thor, ahead of Avengers.

7) Avengers (2012)

Set in 2012. The final movie of Phase 1 and introduces the Mind Stone.

Marvel's Avengers (2012)
Marvel's Avengers (2012). Picture: Marvel Studios

8) Iron Man 3 (2013)

Set six months after the events of Avengers. Tony deals with PTSD following his near death experiences in the Battle of New York.

9) Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Set in 2013. One year after Avengers and six months after Iron Man 3. The Dark World introduces the Aether, which is later explained to be the Reality Stone. It also introduces The Collector, who is later seen in Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity War.

10) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Set in 2014, one year after Thor: The Dark World and two years after Avengers. Steve Rogers joins forces with Black Widow and Falcon to stop Bucky Barnes, now known as The Winter Soldier. Post-credits scenes also introduce Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

11) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Starts in 1988 but is set 26 years later, taking place in 2014 - the same year as The Winter Soldier. Guardians Vol 1 introduces the Power stone and explains why the Infinity Stones are so important.

12) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Set three months after Vol 1 in 2014. The story has very little impact on the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron but continues to explain more plot points that are relevant to the film.

13) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Set in 2015. Features the first appearance of Thanos and hints at his plans. Also reveals more information about the Mind Stone, which ends up in the care of Vision. The film also introduces Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

14) Ant-Man (2015)

Set months after the events of Age of Ultron in 2015. Flashback scenes with Hank Pym takes place in the '80s pre-Captain Marvel and introduces the very important Quantum Realm.

Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War. Picture: Marvel Studios

15) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Set in 2016, one year after Age of Ultron. Introduces T'Challa ahead of Black Panther and Peter Parker ahead of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sets up the feud between Tony and Cap and sees the group split going into Infinity War.

16) Black Panther (2018)

Set in 2016. Takes place immediately after Civil War as T'Challa returns home following his father's death in Vienna. Introduces Wakanda and several new and important characters to the MCU, including Okoye, Nakia, M'Baku and Shuri.

17) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Set in 2016. Takes place a few months after the events of Civil War as we see Peter Parker coming off the high of joining the Avengers at the airport in Germany.

18) Doctor Strange (2016)

Set in 2016. The film takes place over a year, starting around the same time as Civil War and ends just after Spider-Man: Homecoming. Introduces the Time Stone also known as the Eye of Agamotto. Strange helps Thor locate his father, Odin in a post-credits scene, leading straight into Ragnarok.

19) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Set in 2017. Ragnarok takes place immediately after the end of Doctor Strange. The film sees the complete destruction of Asgard. Ragnarok's post-credit scene leads immediately into the opening scene of Infinity War, as we see Thanos arrive on his ship.

20) Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Set in 2018, exactly two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War (the length of Scott's house arrest sentence) and runs parallel with the timeline just before Thanos' snap. Contains important information about the Quantum Realm, which could be essential to understanding Endgame. The post-credit scene shows Hank Pym, Janet Van Dyne and Hope Pym all turning to dust as a result of Thanos.

21) Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Set in 2018, immediately after the events of Thor: Ragnarok. We won't know how soon Endgame picks up after the events of Infinity War but going off the Captain Marvel end credit scene, enough time has passed for the remaining Avengers to get back from Wakanda, locate Fury's pager and make it back to the Avengers facility.

Happy watching!