Read our guide to watching every Marvel film, short and episode in correct chronological order
written by adam mathew published by brodie fogg design by dean pham
10 years, 24 movies, 10 TV shows, 5 short films...
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has come a long, long way since our very first post-credits scene where Nick Fury approached Tony Stark about something called the “Avengers Initiative”.
Ten years on and the MCU has spun an intricate web of characters, relationships and otherworldly threats that extends far beyond Stark’s little tiff with Obadiah Stane.
A new era of heroes has been ushered in.
So as we march to war, kicking off the first part of our epic Avengers conclusion, we’ve taken a look back at the movies and TV shows that got us here.
We’ve organised every MCU film, TV season, episode and Marvel One-Shot short film in correct chronological order. We’ve also included exactly where you can stream or purchase each one in case you’re willing to take on the Infinity binge.
We’ve done our due diligence and ordered everything as per the time it was set but there are a few points of contention: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 and 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. We’ve placed the first Guardians after Civil War and the second immediately after it based on comments from director James Gunn himself. We’ve also ignored Marvel’s slip which placed Homecoming 8 years after the Battle of New York (2012), implying Homecoming was set in 2020, before Infinity War. There are also cases where single movies go span an indeterminate space in time but we’ve tried our best to cover off all bases.
The first slate of Marvel movies started with a stumble – an Incredible Hulk that wouldn’t spawn a sequel and would eventually recast its lead. However, every movie after went from strength to strength, introducing our Avengers (and some memorable villains) one-by-one, ending with the climactic Battle of New York.
TOTAL BOX OFFICE
TIME TO INVEST
1 Day, 1 Hour and 36 Mins
phase 1 trivia
Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, was almost an Avenger.
The Wasp (now played by Evangeline Lilly) almost made the team for the original MCU Avengers. However, Black Widow's introduction in Iron Man 2 allowed her to show up in Avengers without too much backstory, so Wasp was swatted out.
Iron Man 2
Too many characters? Nay, more.
At the end of Iron Man 2, we get a glimpse of a map with various "points of interest". One pinpoints Wakanda, foreshadowing T'Challa's arrival seven years later. The other pinpoints the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – the sub-domain of Namor and the Atlantean people. Just simple fan baiting? We'll sea…
The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Leader?
During Ed Norton’s run as Banner, Dr Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson) cops a smidge of the Hulk’s blood in his eye. We begin to see his cranium throb and mutate, subtly implying the birth of a staple Marvel villain: Leader. Unfortunately, The Incredible Hulk never got a sequel and fans never got to see Leader fully mutated.
The fallout from the Chitauri invasion breeds international fear that opens the gates to new threats from outside and within: HYDRA infiltrates S.H.I.E.L.D., the Aether awakens an ancient Asgard foe and Stark’s fear of failure breeds a new kind of villain. Luckily, the Guardians of the Galaxy join the fray and brighten things up.
TOTAL BOX OFFICE
4 days, 3 hour, 3 mins
TIME TO INVEST
5 Days, 2 Hour and 10 Mins
phase 2 trivia
Guardians of the Galaxy
Line, please: I… am Groot
While you may think Groot’s vast vocabulary of “Groot”, “I am Groot” and “I am Groot” speaks for itself, Vin Diesel actually knows exactly what our forest friend is trying to express. Vin Diesel (who does voice and motion capture for the garden-variety Guardian) gets a special script with Groot’s lines translated so he knows exactly how to express the character’s otherwise limited communication method. James Gunn has also broken our hearts with the revelation that Groot calls Rocket Racoon “Dad”.
Think you recognise that barbarous baritone in Dormammu’s death sentence for Stephen Strange? Lou Ferrigno, perhaps? Vin Diesel? No, Dormammu’s lines were actually performed by Benedict Cumberbatch himself. Let’s not forget, he did voice Smaug in The Hobbit trilogy. It’s the MCU equivalent of rehearsing in the mirror. Tony Todd (who voices Zoom on The CW’s Flash) originally auditioned for the role but never made the cut.
Captain America: Winter Soldier
By the time we see Steve Rogers in Winter Soldier, he’s been so busy he hasn’t had a chance to get up to speed on important historical and pop-culture references. Always a boy scout, Cap notes down important bands, foods and movies to catch up on such as Nirvana, Star Wars and Thai food in a “blink and you’ll miss it” scene. Depending on the region you’re watching in, his areas of research differ slightly. The Australian version has one of the more hilarious localisations with AC/DC, Space Travel (?), Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and Tim Tams added to his list.
events 36 - 55
After Ultron’s attack on Sokovia, public opinion and government interference split our family of Earth’s finest down the middle. Meanwhile, the second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy gives us a closer look at Thanos’s family drama and the world is treated to Tom Holland’s chirpy Peter Parker and Ryan Coogler’s wonderful Wakanda. Fragile alliances and family drama must be overcome before going toe-to-toe with the Mad Titan himself.
TOTAL BOX OFFICE
4 days, 18 hrs, 9 mins
TIME TO INVEST
Avengers: Infinity War
The Avengers and their allies must defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. Bigger problem for everybody: Marvel went all George R. R. Martin during the scriptwriting process. You guessed it – House (Tony) Stark is about to get downsized.
1 Week, 2 Days, 19 Hours and 36mins
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