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How to Watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)

The Avengers was the first film my partner and I saw togetherIt was the Can View Drive-in in Fonthill, Ontario. Little did we know, we had just entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was jam-packed with action and comedy; it was a great film for a first date. Recently, we had a chance to see the newest Avengers film Avengers: Infinity War (click here for my review) and loved every minute of it.

But here’s the thing, we have a boatload of kids so we haven’t had a chance to keep up with the MCU so parts of the film made sense to others didn’t seem to fit for us. What were we to do? It seemed the only logical thing to do was watch the whole of the MCU—including films, TV programs, and one-shots. But how?  Do we watch it in release order or chronological order? After a fruitful discussion over steak and shrimp we decided MCU chronological order would be best.

MCU chronological order would take a little bit more work. Release order is simple, but we wanted to watch the whole story unfold as it happened and not be jumping back and forth. So, I did what everybody does when they need to learn something: I jumped on the internet and used [redacted unless they pay me] to see what people thought was the best order in which to watch the MCU.

Based on the information I gleaned from various sites and my own personal fount of knowledge, here’s the MCU in chronological order*:

(Please Note: BOLD—feature films  ITALICS—TV Programs  One-shots—noted in parentheses)  

Phase One

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. Agent Carter (seasons 1 and 2)
  3. Agent Carter (One-shot Iron Man 3 DVD)
  4. Iron Man
  5. Iron Man 2
  6. The Incredible Hulk*
  7. The Consultant (One-shot Thor DVD)
  8. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (One-shot Captain America: The First Avenger DVD)
  9. Thor
  10. The Avengers
  11. Item 47 (One-shot The Avengers DVD)

Phase Two

  1. Iron Man 3
  2. All Hail the King (One-shot Thor: The Dark World DVD)
  3. Agents of SHIELD (season 1, episodes 1-7)
  4. Thor: The Dark World
  5. Agents of SHIELD (season 1, episodes 8-16)
  6. Captain America: The Winter Solider
  7. Agents of SHIELD (season 1, episodes 17-22)
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
  10. Daredevil (season 1)
  11. Agents of SHIELD (season 2, episodes 1-10)
  12. Jessica Jones (season 1)
  13. Agents of SHIELD (season 2, episodes 11-19)
  14. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  15. Agents of SHIELD (season 2, episodes 20-22)
  16. Daredevil (season 2, episodes 1-4)
  17. Luke Cage (season 1, episodes 1-4)
  18. Daredevil (season 2, episodes 5-11)
  19. Luke Cage (season 1, episodes 5-8)
  20. Daredevil (season 2, episodes 12-13)
  21. Luke Cage (season 1, episodes 9-13)
  22. Ant-Man
  23. Agents of SHIELD (season 3, episodes 1-10)

Phase Three

  1. Agents of SHIELD (season 3, episodes 11-19)
  2. Iron Fist (season 1)
  3. Captain America: Civil War
  4. Agents of SHIELD (season 3, episodes 20-22)
  5. The Defenders (season 1)
  6. Agents of SHIELD (season 4, episodes 1-6
  7. Doctor Strange
  8. Thor: Ragnarok
  9. Agents of SHIELD (season 4, episodes 7-8)
  10. Agents of SHIELD: Slingshot (season 1, episodes 1-6)
  11. Agents of SHIELD (season 4, episodes 9-22)
  12. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  13. Black Panther
  14. Inhumans (season 1)
  15. The Punisher (season 1)
  16. Runaways (season 1)
  17. Agents of SHIELD (season 5, episodes 1-10)
  18. Jessica Jones (season 2)
  19. Agents of SHIELD (season 5, episodes 11-19)***
  20. Avengers: Infinity War




* This list is subject to change as more productions are released. 

** There is some debate among fans and critics whether this film belongs in the MCU; it’s included in our list simply because events (particularly the Harlem incident) of the film are referenced in other MCU films and one-shots.

*** Since it’s debut in September 2013, Agents of SHIELD is another cause for debate because of its sometimes tenuous ties to the films and other properties of the MCU. It is included here for the simple reason that the list would seem incomplete without it.

There you have it Nation; MCU chronological order. What do you think of the list? Would make any revisions? Let us know by leaving a comment or using our contact form at the bottom of the page.


Tell Bradley he’s inept or a genius here.

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