The Internal Timeline of the MCU: From the First Avenger to Spider-Man 2
We wrote this article to tell you the best order to watch the MCU movies. We took as a basis for creating this list not the order of films released by date, but the MCU internal timeline – from the appearance of Captain America during World War II to the European adventures of Spider-Man dated 2023. We deliberately missed “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, “Agent Carter”, “The Runaways”, “Cloak and Dagger”, “Inhumans” and the “Defenders” mini-series as these TV shows are not associated with the MCU canonically. In addition, there are time jumps provided for in the plots of some films – we will ignore them so as not to make this timeline even more complicated than the plot of the “Dark” TV series.
1945 – Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Steve Rogers, a brave but slender young man, agreed to participate in Dr. Erskine’s experiment. After taking serum and radiation, the young man became a completely different person – in addition to developed muscles, Steve get super-strength and super-endurance – so, he was ready to set off on the European front to crush the Nazis. Although he lost his friend Bucky Barnes on the front lines, he still managed to defeat the villainous Red Skull. Suddenly, Captain America’s plane fell into the waters of the Arctic and was frozen. However, 66 years later, the First Avenger wakes up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. hospital.
1995 – Captain Marvel (2019)
Air Force captain Carol Danvers, while testing a new engine, falls into a terrible disaster and has since been listed as dead. Picked up by Kree, a militaristic alien race, Carol became a member of a scouting squad called Starforce. Due to a blackout, Carol does not remember who she is and how she got here. Once on Earth in the midst of a battle between the Kree and the Skrulls – their sworn enemies – she confronts Nick Fury, the head of the S.H.I.E.L.D. By combining their efforts, they will unravel Carol’s secret and awaken the incredible powers that were dormant in her.
2010 – Iron Man (2008)
Tony Stark, a millionaire and inventor, was captured by terrorists in the Middle East. Injured, Tony can die at any time as the pieces of shrapnel have lodged in Tony’s body and slowly move with the bloodstream to his heart. In addition, Stark must fulfill the terrorists’ demand to create new weapons for them. Being locked in a cave, the ingenious inventor not only creates an electromagnet that repels shrapnel from the heart, but also constructs an exoskeleton that helped him escape from captivity. Returning home, Stark scraps the weapons creation program, which leads to a conflict with Obadaya Stein, his partner. Their confrontation develops into a war of exoskeletons. Having learned about the man in the iron suit, the press gives him the nickname Iron Man.
2011 – Iron man 2 (2010)
The palladium-fueled reactor that drives the shrapnel away from Tony Stark’s heart is slowly killing the inventor. While Stark and Jarvis, his AI assistant, are trying to find a replacement for palladium, the arms race is escalating in the world. The head of Hammer Industries, Stark’s main adversary, forges an alliance with Ivan Vanko, a Russian inventor who has long been hostile to the Starks. Suddenly, lawyer Natalie Rushman, an employee of Stark Industries, comes to the aid of Iron Man. The girl turns out to be the Black Widow, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
2011 – The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Bruce Banner, a scientist in the past, became the victim of his own scientific experiment – irradiated with gamma rays, he discovered an entity named Hulk in himself. Every time Bruce is unable to control his emotions, he turns into a green giant, whose powers are proportional to anger. At the beginning of the story, Bruce is hiding in the Brazilian slums from the US Army, as his beloved – who is the daughter of Captain Ross – was harmed by the Hulk. Bruce tries not only to avoid contact with the military, but also to learn how to control the Hulk. However, Major Blonsky, his opponent who will eventually become a villain named Abomination, is already following in his footsteps.
2011 – Thor (2011)
The story will take us to the world of Asgard, created based on Scandinavian mythology. Almost ready to hand over the throne to his son Thor, the God Odin rules here. However, blinded by pride, the heir decides to attack the ice giants jotuns, the enemies of Asgard, but loses in the battle. Having saved his negligent son, the God Odin deprives him of his rights to the magic hammer Mjolnir and exiles him to Earth where the overthrown god falls into the company of astrophysicists. Meanwhile, as a result of the riot, Odin’s throne goes to Loki, his brother. Learning that he is one from the ice giants himself, Loki intends to kill Odin. Now, the arrogant Thor needs to earn Mjolnir again, return to Asgard and defeat Loki.
2012 – The Avengers (2012)
Miraculously escaping from Thor, Loki finds a new ally – an alien race called the Chitauri. Teaming up with Loki, they plan a large-scale invasion of Earth. The terms of their deal are simple: the Chitauri help Loki take over our world, and he in turn gives them an artifact called the Tesseract stored in the laboratory of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Having stolen the artifact, Loki opened a portal for the Chitauri in the heart of New York. Only by joining forces, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye can try to fight back foreign invaders. The Battle of New York begins…
2012 – Iron man 3 (2013)
Iron man 3 the movie tells the story of the confrontation between Tony Stark and Mandarin, the head of a powerful terrorist organization who is one of the main enemies of Iron Man from the comics. Still suffering from PTSD after the Chitauri invasion, Tony Stark learns about a series of terrorist attacks organized by Mandarin, and then himself becomes a victim of one of them. At the moment when the missiles destroyed the superhero’s mansion, the exoskeleton takes Tony to some backwoods. Although everyone believes that Iron Man is dead, Stark tries to fix his suit in order to return to duty. Tony must recover, overcome his own neuroses and defeat the Mandarin, who with his sinister plan poses a threat to thousands of innocent people.
2013 – Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Astrophysicist Jane Foster, beloved of Mighty Thor, gets into trouble – a dangerous substance called Aether enters her body. A desperate Thor took Jane to Asgard to try keeping her safe. However, Malekith, the sorcerer king of the Dark Elves, attacked the land of the gods at that moment. Having long wanted to destroy the Nine Realms by the power of Aether, he is very interested in obtaining this substance. Since Bor, Thor’s grandfather, disrupted the plans of Malekith, he has long dreamed of revenge on Asgard. A fierce struggle begins for the possession of Aether, which will turn out to be one of the Infinity Stones.
2014 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Already accustomed to the realities of the modern world, Steve Rogers feels great. Sam, a former paratrooper and one of Steve’s new friends, got a suit with wings and became Falcon, the new superhero. Fighting the terrorist organization Hydra during World War II, Steve Rogers realizes that this secret society still exists. Moreover, the Hydra agents infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. making it completely under their control. Events follow each other with incredible speed: Nick Fury disappears, Captain America learns about the terrible plans of Alexander Pierce, the real leader of Hydra in S.H.I.E.L.D. Now, only with the support of the Falcon, Steve Rogers will be able to defeat the multi-headed Hydra.
2014 – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
In its story, which takes place in deep space, Marvel shows a completely unfamiliar squad. By the will of fate, a very motley team gathered on the starship Milano – the man Peter Quill who calls himself Star-Lord, the green-skinned beauty Gamora, the bloodthirsty Drax the Destroyer obsessed with revenge for the death of his family, the humanoid tree Groot and the raccoon Rocket who is foul and obsessed with weapons. Unsurprisingly, this company gets into trouble very easily. Posted by supervillain Thanos, Ronan the Accuser from a militaristic alien race, chases space travelers to teach them a lesson and retrieve the Orb, an artifact stolen by Star-Lord on a distant planet.
2014 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
The team of superheroes that blockbuster fans love is back again. In this story, the Guardians of the Galaxy focus primarily on solving family problems. While Gamora meets her impulsive sister Nebula, Star-Lord not only learns about Yondu Udonta, who once kidnapped Peter and became his named dad, but also meets his real father. However, this unusual guy cannot have a normal father. Star-Lord has discovered that he is the son of Ego, a sentient planet that sometimes takes on a humanoid form. Meanwhile, the team faces new enemies – golden-skinned sovereigns led by Asha. In addition, Mantis, a very beautiful female empath with two antennas, joins the Guardians of the Galaxy team.
2015 – Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Our heroes have no time to rest: after the story told in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. was destroyed, and in Sokovia, a distant Eastern European country, the last followers of Hydra lurk. Traveling to Sokovia, the Avengers confronted Mercury and the Scarlet Witch, super-powerful mutants. At the same time – secretly from his comrades-in-arms – Tony Stark decides to bring to life the project “Ultron”, an artificial intelligence, which – according to the idea of Iron Man – will ensure world peace. However, out of control, the non-human mind has its own idea of what an ideal world should be like. He also believes that people themselves are the main enemy of the Planet. Having received his body, Ultron began to embody his plans of destroying humanity into reality.
2015 – Ant-Man (2015)
While the Avengers are once again saving the Earth, Marvel presents us with a chamber and very cozy story about Scott Lang, who will soon join the superhero team. At the moment, Scott is an over-aged goof with a criminal past and a very unsettled life. Having lost his job once again, he loses the opportunity to see his own daughter due to the ban established by his ex-wife. Returned to a criminal life, Lang decides to commit theft on a tip from his accomplices. Having opened the safe, he found in it – instead of cash – a strange suit capable of reducing in size everyone who puts it on. Scott gets into trouble – however, Dr. Hank Pym, the owner of the house Scott got into, finds an unlucky thief and offers him cooperation. Now, Lang will have to put on a shrinking suit and enlist the help of very smart ants to get into the laboratory where the technology that Pym lost is located, steal and deliver it to Dr. Hank.
2016 – Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The renewed team of Avengers, with the addition of Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Vision and War Machine after the “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, continues to restore peace across the Earth. However, they fail to avoid internal conflicts.
The UN spokesman decided to remind the superheroes how many devastating events in which the Avengers took part have happened lately. As a result, the UN presents the “Sokovia Accords”, which involves the registration of all people who has superpowers.
As a stumbling block, the “Sokovia Accords” became the cause of contention in the Avengers team – Iron Man and Captain America reacted to it differently. Although Steve Rogers trusts no government anymore, Tony Stark is convinced that registering superheroes is a must. The discord between the comrades-in-arms is aggravated, and in the end, there was a large-scale battle at the Leipzig airport with new characters participating in it – Black Panther, the long-awaited Spider-Man, as well as previously appeared Winter Soldier.
2016 – Black Panther (2018)
After the Battle of Leipzig, T’Challa (Black Panther) returns to Africa, where his native Wakanda is. This country is special in that its inhabitants have chosen the path of isolation. A third-world country in relation to other powers, Wakanda is in reality a super-technological country, whose prosperity rests on the world’s only deposits of vibranium, the most valuable metal on Earth.
Back home, T’Challa enters into a dynastic war for the throne in which won N’Jadaka (Killmonger), T’Challa’s cousin. While T’Challa is listed for dead, Killmonger not only becomes the new king, but also gains the right to become the new Black Panther. In addition, he wants to sell Wakanda’s military technology around the world. Miraculously surviving, T’Challa will have to regain the throne and defeat the dangerous Killmonger.
2016 – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Returning to the MCU, Peter Parker appeared in front of the audience in the first solo-film. Bypassing the iconic story of a radioactive spider bite, the director immediately throws us into the thick of things. Surviving a difficult relationship with his mentor Tony Stark, Spider-Man throws himself headlong into the fight against crime in his native New York. Here Adrian Toomes, the new villain, collects the weapons of the Chitauri that attacked Earth in “The Avengers”. Toomes sells these artifacts that pose a security threat to the entire city. So, Peter Parker gets in the way of his first serious rival.
2017 – Doctor Strange (2016)
In the new film, Marvel has added real magic to its cinematic universe. Stephen Strange, an arrogant doctor, after a terrible car accident loses the opportunity to be a surgeon – tremors of the limbs do not give him a chance to perform even the simplest operation. In the end, Stephen finds a very unusual solution – he goes to Asia where he becomes a student of the Ancient One, unusual creature. Having mastered the art of magic, Strange decides to stop Kaecilius, a sorcerer who wants to open the door to our world for Dormammu, a magician from another dimension capable of manipulating reality and time.
2017 – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Thunder God Thor also are no sitting idly by – he will have an unpleasant reunion with his family. First, Loki’s brother, who has survived once again, penetrates Asgard. A little later, they meet with Hela, the goddess of death and their sister, whose existence they did not even suspect. After destroying Mjolnir and sending Thor to another realm, she captures Asgard.
When woke up, Thor found himself on Sakaar, a planet inhabited by creatures with a manic love for gladiatorial combat. Undoubtedly, the Thunder God will soon enter the arena drenched in blood. He will meet new and old friends, with whom he will return to Asgard to free him from the tyrannical power of Hela.
2018 – Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)
With the release of the “Ant-Man” sequel, a new female superhero has been added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Dressed in a special striped suit, she is now paired with Scott Lang, and also can shrink and fly. A new task is facing the nano-team – to get into the quantum world in order to rescue Janet van Dyne, Hope’s mother, who disappeared there thirty years ago. However, the masked woman, unable to stabilize her quantum state, becomes their enemy disrupting their plans.
2018 – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Titan Thanos, the MCU mega-villain who only appeared briefly in previous films, now demonstrates his purple face. His plan is closer to completion than ever before – it’s time to collect all six Infinity Stones. Though they are scattered throughout the Universe, Thanos has an army of minions to find them all. The split in the ranks of the Avengers plays in favour of Thanos plans – no one can repel the lieutenants of the mega-villain, whom he sends for artifacts. The superheroes have no choice but to forget the previous quarrels and try to stop the mega-villain who wants to significantly thin out the population of the Universe.
2023 – Avengers: Endgame (2018)
A global crossover that this world has never seen before. Remaining in the flesh, the Avengers – suffering from guilt, depression and frustration – for five years have been looking for a way to return fifty percent of living beings who disappeared at the click of Thanos. Suddenly, Scott Lang (Ant-Man), the smallest member of the Avengers team, comes to the rescue.
Seizing this chance, the remaining Avengers challenge Thanos once again. However, not all superheroes will be able to survive in this battle.
2023 – Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Returning from oblivion, Peter Parker decides to be an ordinary teenager and goes on a European trip with classmates. However, how can everything be calm where Spider-Man is?
Meanwhile, the planet is being attacked by giant Elementals, each of which embodies its own element. The Water Elemental appears in Venice exactly when Peter Parker arrives there on a tour. Since the young man cannot remain indifferent, Spider-Man appears to the world. Once again wearing a superhero suite, Parker will have to fight an unexpected villainous character.
So, this is what the internal timeline of all twenty-three MCU movies for 2020 looks like.
“Black Widow”, the 24th film about the independent adventures of the agent S.H.I.E.L.D. Natasha Romanoff, will premiere in May 2021. As it became known – according to the plot – after an internecine battle at the Leipzig airport, the Widow decides to deal with the ghosts of the past. This film should be placed between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Black Panther” in this timeline.
In the fifth phase of the MCU, along with “Black Widow”, five more films will be released. There is no doubt that the events of “Spider-Man 3”, “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “Doctor Strange 2” will take place after the Infinity War. However, it is not yet known what position “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Eternals” films will occupy in MCU internal timeline.
So, enjoy watching good movies – and don’t take comics to heart!
Меня зовут Игорь. Я из тех, кто постоянно выискивает себе новые увлечения. Начинал с зоологии и чтения в детстве и докатился до путешествий, кино и истории искусства. Не могу жить без новых книг, новых телешоу и новых стран. Свято верю в науку, доброту и то, что впечатлениями надо делиться. Учу языки, планирую поездки разного километража и пишу про кино и сериалы.