Back in 2008, who would have thought that Marvel’s experiment of launching a movie with a billionaire superhero, in the form of Iron Man, would have led to the creation of an entire Cinematic Universe? Fast forward to now, and Marvel has become a force to reckon with (pun unintended) with its superheroes being loved by kids and adults of all ages. Along with movies, the universe has also spawned into several collectibles, right from T shirts to action figures, keychains and more. But if you are looking for a lowdown on all the movies in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), then you have come to the right place. So just in case, you want to get up to speed with the storylines or might have missed out on a few, you could know what happened in those movies. And if you’re a die-hard fan of Marvel’s superheroes, then also we would suggest you read till the end, as we would be giving you the right way of watching the movies, instead of following their release schedules. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll be following the chronology of their release, along with highlighting the three phases these films have been divided into, with these three phases being collectively referred to as The Infinity Saga.
Iron Man (2008)
Played by Robert Downey Jr. in and as Iron Man, the movie set the stage for the larger Marvel universe without even making the audience realise it. The film shows how Iron Man was created when the protagonist Tony Stark is kidnapped by terrorists and kept in a Afghan cave. He creates a suit of armour for himself to fight and get out. Towards the end, he goes public about his identity, while the post credits show Nick Fury (played by Samuel L Jackson) pitching him the idea of the Avengers initiative.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
In his solo outing as Hulk, Edward Norton played as a scientist named Dr Bruce Banner. In the movie, he is on the run from the US Government because of a failed science experiment which subjects him to gamma radiations. Due to this, he turns into a monster every time he becomes angry. The movie shows how Banner is able to control Hulk better towards the end.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Following the success of the debut film, RDJ reprises his role as the Iron Man, where the threats are in his city. These villains are in the form of arms dealer Justin Hammer and Whiplash, the son of his father’s friend Anton Vanko. Oh, did we tell you that this was our first meet with Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow? In the film, she was shown as Tony Stark’s assistant.
After showing us three superheroes, it was time for Marvel to bring some god-like superhero to the equation. For that, it turned to Thor, who is from Asgard, but was banished to Earth by his father Odin. Chris Hemsworth played the role, and he must live in Earth without his superpowers, including the Mjolnir, his hammer. But when a war started brewing, he became worthy again to hold his hammer and help the people protect Earth.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
If you start watching the MCU films in a chronological order, then this would be the first movie as it started in 1942. Set in World War II, the movie shows how Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans), who was enrolled in the army, took the super-soldier serum to become a Captain America. The film also showed us evil Hydra organisation and its leader, Red Skull. Later, the film shows how Captain America crashes his plane in the Arctic, and gets frozen in the ice and remains there for 70 years.
The Avengers (2012)
This movie brought all the superheroes we meet on screen together – Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawk Eye – to fight the evil. Thor’s brother Loki managed to invade New York using aliens, Chitauri mothership and the power of Tesseract, yet the group of superheroes managed to avert the threat.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
This is last solo outing of Iron Man, and in this film, Tony Stark is haunted by the memories of the battle of New York, where he was nearly killed. The movie is set six months after that battle, and shows how he creates an army of Iron Man suits to always be prepared to fight against the bad guys. It also shows a disabled scientist Aldrich Killian, who kidnaps Pepper Pots.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
In the second movie, Thor returns to his home in Asgard. He has to fight the ancient Dark Elves led by Malekith, who were once defeated by his grandfather, and have come to get Aether. Aether is a powerful weapon, which is one of the Infinity Stones too.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
After The Avengers, Captain America starts working for SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, and Law-Enforcement Division). However, he finds that the government agency has some secrets of its own (as it is infiltrated by Hydra) and he starts questioning them. Meanwhile, his close friend Bucky Barnes, who was presumed dead, returns as an adversary named the Winter Soldier. In the film, we also get to meet The Falcon.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
In the phase 2, this was the first set of superheroes which we did not see before. Starring Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, he is asked to find the Infinity Stone which is hidden in an alien world. While he did find it, he finds that Ronan the Accuser is after it, and he tries to save it from him by forming a group of outcasts, which includes Groot – a talking tree, and Rocket – a talking raccoon, Gamora, Nebula and Drax.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Once again, the group of superheroes have to come together to face an existential threat. Interestingly, this time, the battle is because of a mistake by Iron Man and Hulk as they created an AI which uses the Mind Stone. Known as Ultron, he starts killing humans because that will ultimately protect the planet. Along with the superheroes we’ve already met, the movies introduce Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Vision.
Ant-Man introduces us to yet another superhero, who is played by Paul Rudd. He is is recruited by a scientist Hank Pym, who developed Pym Particle, to steal the Ant-Man suit to save it from getting weaponised. Pym’s prodigy has recreated the tech, and hence Paul Rudd takes the Ant-Man suit to battle him.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Interestingly, this movie tells us that it is not only in Avengers when we’ll see superheroes in one frame. In fact, in the movie, there is no battle with the villain. Instead, the fight is between the two group of superheroes as Captain America wants to save his friend Buckey Barnes who bombed the UN Session under the effect of Hydra, while Iron Man and his team wants to kill him. The movie also introduces two new superheroes: Spiderman and Black Panther.
Doctor Strange (2016)
You might have lost the count of superheroes by now, but Marvel has such a big cannon of superheroes in its vast universe that it manages to continually surprise us. This movie also introduces us to the concept of magic. In the movie, Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is a surgeon meets a fatal accident that makes his hand unusable. The movie shows his journey of finding the ways to get cured and start using his hands again, which takes him to Nepal and shows him the ancient magic. He also learns how to use Time Stone (also called the Eye of Agamotto), which he uses to kill Dormammu.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
The sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy shows Peter Quill confronting his past when he meets a living planet, Ego. He gets to know that Ego is his father. However, he wants to expand his consciousness to other planets, and hence tries to get help of Quill. After realising this, Quill kills his father with the help of his team.
Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)
Spiderman has made quite a few outings on theatre, but this is the first time, it is part of the MCU. Played by Tom Holland, the movie quickly shows the origins of Spiderman, and how he has to face off his crush’s father, Vulture, a black-market weapons dealer.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
While the movie is titled Thor, it also has Hulk, and both are in the Sakaar, where they have to go against each other to get out alive because of the Grandmaster’s rules. Thor finds him in the planet because long-lost sister Hella, also called the Goddess of death, who is out because of their father’s death. Thor and Hulk team up with Loki and Valyrie to not only get out of the place but go on to defeat Hella as well.
Black Panther (2018)
The movie shows the events after the UN bombing which kills king T’Chaka. His T’challa returns to his home, Wakanda and is named the King. He also has to take a call of whether to keep Wakanda, a tech-forward country, isolated from the world along with fighting against Eric Killmonger who stakes a claim at the throne.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
After pulling strings from the behind, audience gets to meet Thanos who’s been trying to get his hand on six Infinity Stones. But now, he is restless, and he starts collecting them himself. The movie shows the Mad Titan going to various places, right from the Asgardian spaceship to Vormir to collect all the six stones (Reality Stone, Soul Stone, Time Stone, Mind Stone, Power Stone, Space Stone). The movie ends by showing Thanos snapping his fingers to kill half the population.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
In the second movie, Ant-Man is shown in the house arrest. He then is shown to help Hank Pym and his daughter, Hope, once again by going to the Quantum Realm to get Mrs Janet Pym out who has been lost in the subatomic place for years. They also use Janet’s energy to save Ava, who is in the unstable ghost state.
Captain Marvel (2019)
Captain Marvel might have been released towards the end of MCU’s phase 3, it is actually set back in 1995. The movie stars Brie Larson, who’s Carol Denvers and has fallen to Earth to hunt for shape-shifting aliens called Skrull. It also shows that she is trying to remember her past, which makes her realise that Skrull are not the bad people, but rather Kree, who made her believe that she was a part of them too.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
The culmination of it all… 11 years after the Iron Man, this movie brings all the elements together to show how our superheroes manage to save the day, once again. While the Mad Titan has been successful in killing half the population on Earth with his snap, this movie is set five years after that, and shows how superheroes use time travel to defeat him. The movie also shows the death of Black Widow and Iron Man, while Captain America has given up his mantle by reuniting with Peggy Carter.
Spiderman: Far From Home (2019)
In a way, Spiderman is a sign of new beginnings, but it is also a great way to bookend the Marvel’s phase 3, along with suggesting what kind of threats our superheroes will face after this. The movie shows how people grapple with their lives as they return after five years. Peter Parker goes to Europe on a school trip with his classmates, and there, he fights enemies called Elementals, which are created by Mysterio, who is shown as a friend in the beginning.
Do not be disappointed that there are only 23 Marvel movies… because there is more to come from the studio’s stables. If you are eager to know about them, then let us know in the comments below and we will tell you all about them. Till then, if you have already watched these movies, we would suggest you watch them in a chronological order, as mentioned below:
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Captain Marvel (2019)
- Iron Man (2008)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Thor (2011)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2014)
- The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Black Panther (2018)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Avengers: Endgame
- Spiderman: Far From Home (2019)