By Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 08, 2021
WandaVision may be over, but never fear! The next show in the Disney+ Marvel series premieres on March 19. Like WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier features two of the more minor characters in the Marvel Universe and takes place after the events of the most recent Marvel movie, 2019's Avengers: Endgame.
In fact, Marvel has four movies and five TV shows slated for 2021 alone! And if you're anything like us, you may have found yourself a little lost when it came to the convoluted complicated Marvel history, so we've created a bit of a cheat sheet you can use to fill in the gaps. Here, listed in chronological watch order, are all of the Marvel feature films, as well as some associated reading materials.
If you watched the Marvel movies in the order they were released, you probably know that the stories jump around in time, introducing different characters along the way. Here we've listed the movies in the order they should be watched if you want to follow a chronological timeline. Obviously watching all of these would represent a massive commitment, but this list might be enough to help you make sense of things and decide which movies would be the most informative and entertaining for your purposes. Beware: There are some spoilers.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America may be the fifth Marvel Studios film, but the events of the movie take place long before any of the others—during WWII. In it, we see the creation of the super-soldier, Captain America (Chris Evans). We also meet Captain America's longtime friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), aka The Winter Soldier.
Supplemental Reading: Golden Age Captain America
Captain Marvel (2019)
One of the newest Marvel films, this movie takes place in 1995 and introduces Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson. For WandaVision fans, you can also get a glimpse of a young Monica Rambeau, the daughter of Carol Danvers's best friend, Maria and a key player in WandaVision.
Supplemental Reading: Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More
Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man's odyssey begins in 2010 when genius inventor Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., creates his first Iron Man suit after being taken hostage by a terrorist organization.
Supplemental Reading: Heroes Reborn: Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The events of this movie and Thor both take place around the same time as Iron Man in 2010. In this film, starring Edward Norton, Bruce Banner is on the run from General Thunderbolt and the US Military. In 2012, Mark Ruffalo replaced Norton as the big green man.
Supplemental Reading: The Incredible Hulk: Who Will Judge the Hulk?
Banished from Asgard to Earth by his father Odin, Thor, played by dreamy Chris Hemsworth, is trying to prove he's worthy of earning his powers back. Luckily he meets a nice scientist (Natalie Portman) who wants to help him.
Supplemental Reading: Thor by J. Michael Straczynski
The Avengers (2012)
With all the main heroes introduced, this movie brings them all together for the first time to fight the daunting forces of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the Tesseract, and an alien horde invading NYC.
Supplemental Reading: The New Avengers
Iron Man 3 (2013)
The third and final standalone Iron Man film takes place six months after the Avengers battle the alien takeover of NYC as Tony Stark struggles with PTSD about how close he came to death.
Supplemental Reading: Iron Man: Extremis
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Thor returns victorious to his home planet Asgard after the Loki-led invasion of NYC. But he must quickly return to fighting mode with the return of the ancient Dark Elves seeking a powerful weapon called the Aether.
Supplemental Reading: Thor: Vol. 2
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Since the big battle in NYC, Captain America has been working for Shield, a special government agency, but he begins to question the motives of the shadowy organization. In the meantime, his best friend Bucky Barnes returns from the dead and assumes the mantle of the Winter Soldier, an adversary. This film also Introduces The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie.
Supplemental Reading: Captain America: Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
Peter Quill, aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt), is a rogue scavenger who stumbles across an Infinity Stone amidst the ruins of an alien planet. Rising to the occasion, he assembles a ragtag group of outsiders to prevent the misuse of the powerful weapon. Part two finds the rapscallion space cowboy falling in love with the green-skinned Gamora and confronting the mysteries of his own past.
Supplemental Reading: Guardians of the Galaxy: Road to Nowhere
The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The Avengers must reunite to confront Ultron, an AI created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. This movie introduces Wanda (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany), as well as Wanda's twin brother Pietro, aka Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor Johnson).
Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a cat burglar who gets recruited by scientist and inventor Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to don the mighty (yet mini) Ant-Man suit in order to battle Pym's former prodigy who has co opted the technology for evil purposes.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
This Captain America vehicle features almost every other Avenger, including two new additions: Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and Tom Holland's Spider-Man. In this episode the Avengers take sides against each other as Captain America makes a controversial power play to save his friend Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, who may be responsible for bombing the UN.
Supplemental Reading: Civil War
Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)
The agile, web-slinging superhero (Tom Holland) faces off with Michael Keaton's Vulture, a black market weapons dealer. Only recently recovered from the big NYC battle, Peter Parker is also dealing with the everyday drama of high school.
Supplemental Reading: Ultimate Spider-Man
Doctor Strange (2016)
After a devastating accident destroys his hands, arrogant, imperious surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) goes in search of a cure. The ancient magic he discovers leaves him with unforeseen powers.
Black Panther (2018)
T'Challa, aka Black Panther, returns home to be named king of Wakanda following the UN bombing in Civil War. But once there, he must contend with the policy of isolation that has protected his vibranium-rich nation. He must also do battle with magnificent villain Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Supplemental Reading: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
The Lightning God is grieving the death of his father and the destruction of his hammer by his estranged sister, Hella (Cate Blanchett!). After being pitted against the Hulk in gladiator style battles, the two team up with Loki, and Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie to take on the evil Hella.
Supplemental Reading: Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok Prelude
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Scott Lang/Ant-Man has been placed on house arrest after siding with Captain America in the Civil War. He's been estranged from Dr. Pym and Pym's daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), but he agrees to help them try to retrieve Hope's mother from the Quantum Realm.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
After years of working from behind the scenes to try and gather all the Infinity Stones, Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) decides to go and get them himself. His goal is to wipe out half of all life in the universe (for environmental reasons, obviously). The Avengers attempt to work together in an effort to stop him, but divisions persist from Civil War. This is the movie that establishes Wanda and Vision as a couple.
Supplemental Reading: Marvel-Verse: Wanda & Vision
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
After Thanos is successful in snapping away half of all life, he leaves the universe in chaos. A sliver of a chance emerges for things to be set right, but Captain America and Tony Stark must make peace and reunite the Avengers if they are going to be successful this time.
Supplemental Reading: The Infinity Gauntlet
Spiderman: Far From Home (2019)
This movie actually takes place five years after Infinity War (at the same time as the events of the WandaVision series). In this movie, all of those who were snapped by Thanos return to life five years later, including Peter Parker. On a field trip to Europe, he's surprised by the appearance of Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Whew! What a project this has been. Hopefully it will be as helpful for you has it has been for us.