Marvel Cinematic Universe: your essential guide to the series in order

From Tony Stark's debut in Iron Man through to the franchise-changing events of Avengers: Endgame and beyond, this is everything you need to know about every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).



1. Iron Man

It's the birth of the MCU and the debut of one Robert Downey Jr. as "genius-billionaire-philanthropist", Tony Stark.

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

2. The Incredible Hulk

Following hot on Iron Man's heels is Edward Norton's solo outing as conflicted rage monster scientist Bruce Banner.

Bruce Banner transforms into Hulk in The Incredible Hulk

3. Iron Man 2

Tony Stark's sophomore adventure is next, one that sees the big-screen debut of Scarlett Johansson's kick-ass Black Widow.

Tony Stark and War Machine in Iron Man 2

4. Thor

The MCU expands its ranks as Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder makes an impact, alongside Tom Hiddleston as his sneaky step-brother Loki.

God of Thunder Thor and his stepbrother Loki in Thor

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

This is where it all began for the Avengers initiative, in a rousing World War II adventure that introduces us to super-soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).

Captain America leads the Howlin' Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger

6. Avengers Assemble

Our Marvel heroes get together for the first time in Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon's franchise debut and the culmination of phase one of the MCU.

Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America lead the Avengers in Avengers Assemble



7. Iron Man 3

Phase three begins with Tony Stark's third and final solo adventure (for now), which pits him against the villainous Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) as Shane Black directs. 

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man in Iron Man 3

8. Thor: The Dark World

Asgard is under threat in Thor's second adventure, directed by Game of Thrones regular Alan Taylor.

Chris Hemsworth as Norse God Thor in Thor: The Dark World

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noble Steve Rogers must adopt to the morally murky 21st century in this exciting follow-up, the first Marvel movie from filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo.

Chris Evans as Captain America and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

10. Guardians of the Galaxy

Director James Gunn brings us the Guardians' infectiously groovy big-screen debut, which showcased a star-making role for Chris Pratt.

Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy as Star Lord

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron

The embattled Avengers must go to war with villainous A.I. Ultron (James Spader) in Joss Whedon's final Marvel blockbuster.

Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron

12. Ant-Man

Phase Three of the MCU culminates with a snazzy, witty mash-up between the superhero movie and the spy caper, as Paul Rudd's shrinking thief Scott Lang enters the picture.

Paul Rudd plays shrinking superhero Scott Lang in Ant-Man



13. Captain America: Civil War

Making previous Marvel battles look like playground scraps, the Russos' hugely ambitious, expansively realised epic hinges on the brewing tension between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.

Chris Evans as Captain America confronts Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War

14. Doctor Strange

It's time to enter the cosmic realm as Benedict Cumberbatch's magical Sorceror Supreme unlocks previously unseen dimensions of the Marvel universe.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Marvel superhero Steven Strange in Doctor Strange

15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It's time to crank up Awesome Mix. Vol 2 as Star Lord (Chris Pratt) and the gang face another blend of showstopping pop tunes, interstellar action and heartfelt family drama.

Star Lord, Drax, Gamora, Nebula and Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spidey finally joined the MCU in 2017 and star Tom Holland's fledgling adventure was a joyously entertaining wonder.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming

17. Thor: Ragnarok

Hunt for the Wilderpeople director Taika Waititi gave us the most radical shake-up of the MCU in years, reshaping the portentous God of Thunder's adventures as a hilariously wacky out and out comedy.

Cate Blanchett is evil god Hela in Thor threequel Thor: Ragnarok

18. Black Panther

T'Challa of Wakanda (the late Chadwick Boseman) makes his sensational solo movie debut in Ryan Coogler's awe-inspiring epic, a mixture of social commentary, blistering action and some of the most intriguing character interplay in the MCU so far.

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa confronts Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in Black Panther

19. Avengers: Infinity War

The Russo brothers promised us a gargantuan feast with the fourth Avengers movie, and they haven't disappointed. Yet although the action is staggering, what really impresses is the dramatic stakes, with Josh Brolin's Thanos the deadliest villain to confront our heroes so far. 

Josh Brolin as Thanos wields the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Infinity War

20. Ant-Man and The Wasp 

We welcomed shrinking superhero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) back onto our screens in another round of miniaturised adventure. Love interest Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) becomes titular superhero The Wasp, and the movie ties into the events of Avengers: Infinity War...

Paul Rudd as Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp in Ant-Man and The Wasp

21. Captain Marvel

The Oscar-winning star of Room, Brie Larson, is Captain Marvel who struggles to recall her past life as human Air Force pilot Carol Danvers.

Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel in the Captain Marvel movie

22. Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Infinity War left us wondering how the world, and the Avengers, would ever recover from Thanos' devastation. We got the timey wimey answer in this sweepingly emotional culmination of the 'Infinity Saga', which also capped off 11 years of the MCU.

Captain America and Black Widow lead the army of Wakanda

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home 

Following his triumphant MCU debut in 2017's Homecoming, Tom Holland's second solo adventure catapults wall-crawler Spider-Man beyond the confines of New York. There's also the presence of Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio whose presence ultimately spells trouble for Spidey.

Tom Holland as Peter Parke aka Spider-Man


24. Black Widow

Scarlett Johanson's tenacious Natasha Romanoff finally gets her chance in the spotlight, in a movie that occupies the gap between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

25. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings (3rd September 2021)

Prepare for the first MCU movie fronted by an Asian cast, as Simu Liu's titular martial arts master must confront his father, who happens to be notorious crimelord The Mandarin (Tony Leung).

26. Eternals (5th November 2021)

Oscar-winning Nomadland director Chloé Zhao helms this celestial and wondrous-looking MCU adventure, which focuses on a group of ancient beings living incognito on Earth. Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Barry Keoghan and Kit Harington fill out the excellent cast.

27. Spider-Man: No Way Home (17th December 2021)

Tom Holland's third, and purportedly final, solo MCU adventure picks up the dramatic threads of Far From Home. Jon Watts directs, and the supporting cast rounds up some much-loved faces including Zendaya and Jacob Batalon. Plus, there are intriguing-sounding appearances from non-MCU characters Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), last seen in 2004's Spider-Man 2, and Electro (Jamie Foxx), last seen in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Do we sense a multiverse forming in front of our eyes?

28. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (25th March 2022)

Speaking of multiverses, it'll soon be time to get reacquainted with the master of the mystic arts, Stephen Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch joins forces with director Sam Raimi, who makes his first superhero movie since 2007's Spider-Man 3. Given Raimi's horror background (Evil Dead et al), can we expect the first truly creepy MCU movie?

29. Thor: Love and Thunder (6th May 2022)

Taika Waititi's surreal touch was much-welcomed on Thor: Ragnarok, so we can surely expect that same endorphin rush of zaniness for Thor: Love and Thunder. Chris Hemsworth's Thor hands the Asgardian baton over to Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), while ex-Batman Christian Bale makes his Marvel debut as the villainous Gorr the God Butcher.


30. Black Panther 2 (8th July 2022)

Marvel's Black Panther sequel is still in the early stages of development, but we do know that director Ryan Coogler is set to return. This is excellent news: he steered this year's Black Panther to enormous success, a direct result of terrific design, thought-provoking and topical themes and strong performances.

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa aka Black Panther


31. Captain Marvel 2 (11th November 2022)

Brie Larson returns as the all-powerful Marvel hero in this sequel, directed by Candyman's Nia DaCosta.

What's your favourite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know @Cineworld.