If you still avidly keep up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might be aware of its 24th movie marking the rounds right about now. If you stopped keeping track after Endgame, you probably don’t care. But now that Disney is flirting with serialized shows to go with their giant series of movies, it’s… a whole thing if you haven’t already been sucked in. Everything’s got phases, and Disney bought the X-Men but they’re not part of the MCU, which really just makes you want to slam your head into a wall. “But wait,” you might say, “Disney has a streaming service so you can just watch them all at once!” No you can’t, so on top of trying to figure out what order all this stuff goes in, you also have to figure out where to watch it (sometimes). So how do you even watch the MCU anymore?
Stuff in Order of Release
- Iron Man (2008)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Disney wants you to forget when Edward Norton was Bruce Banner, though. That’s why he’s Mark Ruffalo now.
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Black Panther (2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
- Captain Marvel (2019)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Phase 4 (The Current One)
- WandaVision (2021)
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
- Loki (2021)
- Black Widow (2021)
Stuff that Disney doesn’t have
Remember that whole kerfuffle when Disney started their own streaming service with Endgame on it, but somehow didn’t have Infinity War because that was still on Netflix? Blegh.
Anyway, while Disney did get Infinity War, they don’t have everything from the MCU on their own platform. But hey, it took Thanos like 20 movies to get around to even looking for the infinity stones, and Disney really is the Thanos of multimedia.
The list of things Disney doesn’t have is actually quite short. It’s just The Incredible Hulk, and both Spider-Man films. Disney doesn’t have The Incredible Hulk because Universal has that movie. But, considering they kind of want you to forget about The Incredible Hulk anyway, especially since Edward Norton’s Hulk was quietly recast with Mark Ruffalo, chances of them getting The Incredible Hulk seem slim.
Spider-Man is a different story. Both Homecoming and Far From Home have been points of contention between Disney and Sony–since Sony owns Spider-Man and owns the rights to any Spider-Man movie as long as they make Spider-Man films periodically. They let Disney use the character in the MCU (and by let, we mean Disney threw them truckloads of money), but still retain the rights to solo films. You can watch both of these films through Sony’s streaming service, or Netflix next year.
Some movies in the MCU don’t fit in with their order of release, like Captain America: The First Avenger taking place before any of the other films. Generally, the intended viewing has still been order of release–since these movies (and now TV shows) are generally aware that viewers have seen the previous entries.
You will be fine just watching them in order of release.
Except for Black Widow. Maybe. It takes place right after Civil War and isn’t really concerned with subsequent films. Which is… a choice considering many of the MCU’s more consequential events happen after Civil War.
It’s also a little funky because Black Widow was supposed to come out around The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but Disney really wanted the film to release in theatres. This is a long-winded way of saying that if you’re watching Loki and are confused by a movie coming out in the middle of the show, don’t worry about it.
Do worry about how it costs $30 to watch Black Widow on top of a monthly subscription if you’re not going to a theatre.
See if you know other comic stuff related to Marvel here.