Assemble! A Complete Guide to Watching the Avengers Movies in Order

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with its interconnected stories, larger-than-life heroes, and epic battles. At the center of this universe stands Earth's Mightiest Heroes - The Avengers.

But with over 20 films spanning multiple phases, diving into the MCU can feel daunting. If you're wondering where to start, fret no more! This guide will be your ultimate resource for watching the Avengers movies in order, including:

  • Chronological Order: Following the in-universe timeline of events.
  • Release Order: Experiencing the films as they were originally released in theaters.

We'll also delve into the individual films, introducing key characters, plot points, and how they connect to the larger Avengers narrative. So, suit up, true believers, as we embark on this epic journey!

Understanding the MCU Phases

The MCU is divided into distinct phases, each culminating in an Avengers movie that brings together various heroes for a major showdown. Here's a quick breakdown:

  • Phase 1 (2008-2012): Setting the Stage. This phase introduces core characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk.
  • Phase 2 (2013-2015): Expanding the Universe. New heroes like Black Widow and Guardians of the Galaxy join the fray.
  • Phase 3 (2016-2019): The Infinity Saga. This epic saga builds towards a universe-altering threat from Thanos and the Infinity Stones.
  • Phase 4 (2021-Present): The Multiverse Saga. The MCU explores the ramifications of time travel and alternate realities. (Note: No Avengers movie yet in Phase 4)

Avengers Movies in Chronological Order:

Phase 1:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Journey back to World War II as Steve Rogers transforms into the super soldier Captain America.
  2. Captain Marvel (2019): Set in the 1990s, Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel, encountering a younger Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.
  3. Iron Man (2008): Tony Stark becomes Iron Man after a life-altering accident, marking the official beginning of the MCU.
  4. Iron Man 2 (2010): Tony grapples with the consequences of his technology while facing a rival and forging alliances.
  5. The Incredible Hulk (2008): Bruce Banner struggles to control his Hulk persona while encountering a new threat. (Note: Edward Norton portrays Bruce Banner in this film, with Mark Ruffalo taking over in future appearances)
  6. Thor (2011): The arrogant Asgardian prince Thor is banished to Earth, where he learns humility and the true meaning of heroism.
  7. The Avengers (2012): Loki, Thor's adopted brother, threatens Earth, forcing the Avengers to assemble for the first time.

Phase 2:

  1. Iron Man 3 (2013): Tony Stark battles his inner demons and a mysterious villain known as the Mandarin.
  2. Thor: The Dark World (2013): Jane Foster becomes entangled in another Asgardian conflict as Thor faces a new enemy.
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): S.H.I.E.L.D. faces a hidden threat, forcing Captain America and Black Widow to team up.
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): A ragtag team of outlaws led by Peter Quill (Star-Lord) become unlikely heroes.

Phase 3:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): The Guardians face a powerful new being while unraveling secrets from Star-Lord's past.
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): Tony Stark's attempt to create a peacekeeping AI backfires, leading to a global threat.
  3. Ant-Man (2015): Scott Lang becomes Ant-Man, a thief turned hero who can shrink to the size of an ant.
  4. Captain America: Civil War (2016): The Avengers fracture over a government oversight bill, dividing them into opposing factions.
  5. Doctor Strange (2016): Dr. Stephen Strange becomes a powerful sorcerer, learning to defend Earth from mystical threats.
  6. Black Panther (2018): T'Challa returns home to Wakanda to take his rightful place as king, but he faces a challenger who threatens to expose Wakanda's secrets to the world.
  7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): After joining the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Spider-Man) tries to balance his high school life with his newfound superhero responsibilities.
  8. Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Thor finds himself in a cosmic gladiator match and must fight his way back to Asgard to stopRagnarok, a cataclysmic event that threatens to destroy his homeworld.
  9. Avengers: Infinity War (2018): The Avengers and their allies unite to battle the ultimate villain, Thanos, who seeks to collect all six Infinity Stones and reshape the universe with a snap of his fingers.

Phase 3 (continued):

  1. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne team up as Ant-Man and the Wasp to explore the Quantum Realm and face a new threat.
  2. Captain Marvel (post-credits scene): A post-credits scene in Captain Marvel bridges the gap between that film and Avengers: Infinity War.

Phase 3 Culmination:

  1. Avengers: Endgame (2019): Following the devastating events of Infinity War, the remaining Avengers must find a way to reverse Thanos' actions and bring back those lost.

Phase 4 (and beyond):

While there isn't a dedicated Avengers movie in Phase 4 yet, some films introduce new heroes and storylines that might tie into future Avengers films. These include:

  • Black Widow (2021): A prequel film exploring Natasha Romanoff's (Black Widow) past.
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021): Introduces Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist who must confront his past.
  • Eternals (2021): An ancient race of immortal beings called the Eternals emerge from the shadows to protect humanity from a dangerous threat.

Avengers Movies in Release Order:

The release order offers a different perspective, allowing you to experience the films as audiences did in theaters. Here's the list:

Phase 1:

  1. Iron Man (2008): This film kicks off the MCU, introducing Tony Stark and his transformation into Iron Man.
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008): Edward Norton portrays Bruce Banner as he struggles with the Hulk persona. (Note: Mark Ruffalo takes over the role in future films)
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010): Tony Stark grapples with the fallout of his technology while facing new threats.
  4. Thor (2011): The arrogant Asgardian prince Thor gets banished to Earth, learning valuable lessons.
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Journey back to World War II and witness Steve Rogers' transformation into Captain America.
  6. The Avengers (2012): Loki's villainous plot forces the Avengers to assemble for the first time.

Phase 2:

  1. Iron Man 3 (2013): Tony Stark faces a personal crisis while battling a mysterious villain known as the Mandarin.
  2. Thor: The Dark World (2013): Jane Foster gets caught in another Asgardian conflict as Thor confronts a new enemy.
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): S.H.I.E.L.D. faces a hidden threat, forcing Captain America and Black Widow to team up.

Phase 2 (continued):

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): A ragtag team of outlaws led by Peter Quill (Star-Lord) become unlikely heroes in this spacefaring adventure.

Phase 3:

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): Tony Stark's attempt to create a peacekeeping AI backfires, leading to a global threat.
  2. Ant-Man (2015): Scott Lang becomes Ant-Man, a thief turned hero who can shrink to the size of an ant.
  3. Captain America: Civil War (2016): The Avengers fracture over a government oversight bill, fracturing them into opposing factions.

Phase 3 (continued):

  1. Doctor Strange (2016): Dr. Stephen Strange becomes a powerful sorcerer, learning to defend Earth from mystical threats.
  2. Black Panther (2018): T'Challa returns home to Wakanda to take his rightful place as king, but he faces a challenger who threatens to expose Wakanda's secrets.
  3. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): After joining the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Spider-Man) tries to balance his high school life with his newfound superhero responsibilities.
  4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Thor finds himself in a cosmic gladiator match and must fight his way back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, a cataclysmic event that threatens to destroy his homeworld.

Phase 3 Culmination:

  1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018): The Avengers and their allies unite to battle the ultimate villain, Thanos, who seeks to collect all six Infinity Stones and reshape the universe with a snap of his fingers.
  2. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne team up as Ant-Man and the Wasp to explore the Quantum Realm and face a new threat.
  3. Captain Marvel (2019): While not directly part of the main storyline, a post-credits scene in Captain Marvel bridges the gap between that film and Avengers: Infinity War.
  4. Avengers: Endgame (2019): Following the devastating events of Infinity War, the remaining Avengers must find a way to reverse Thanos' actions and bring back those lost.

Phase 4 (and beyond):

While there isn't a dedicated Avengers movie in Phase 4 yet, some films introduce new heroes and storylines that might tie into future Avengers films. These include:

  • Black Widow (2021): A prequel film exploring Natasha Romanoff's (Black Widow) past.
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021): Introduces Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist who must confront his past.
  • Eternals (2021): An ancient race of immortal beings called the Eternals emerge from the shadows to protect humanity

Release Order vs. Chronological Order: Which Should You Choose?

There's no right or wrong answer! Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

Release Order:

  • Pros: Experience the films as they were intended, with each movie building upon the previous one and culminating in major events like the first Avengers film.
  • Cons: There might be some references or plot points that go unexplained initially, as they are explained in films released later in the timeline.

Chronological Order:

  • Pros: Follows the in-universe timeline, providing a more cohesive narrative flow.
  • Cons: You might encounter spoilers for future films, and some references might land differently without having seen the films they originate from.

No matter which order you choose, you're in for an epic adventure!

This guide has equipped you with the knowledge to embark on your Avengers journey. Remember, the MCU is a vast universe with many interconnected stories. So, while the Avengers movies are a great starting point, feel free to explore other films that pique your interest. Happy watching!

Bonus Tips:

  • Pay attention to post-credits scenes! They often tease upcoming storylines or introduce new characters.
  • Do some research! There are tons of online resources that delve deeper into the MCU lore, characters, and easter eggs.
  • Most importantly, have fun! The MCU is a thrilling cinematic experience filled with humor, action, and heart.

Exploring the Broader MCU

The Avengers movies are just a part of the vast MCU. Here are some additional films that tie into the Avengers narrative or introduce important characters:

  • Iron Man (2008): Introduces Tony Stark and sets the stage for the entire MCU.
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008): Introduces Bruce Banner and the Hulk. (Note: Edward Norton portrays Bruce Banner in this film)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Introduces the Guardians of the Galaxy, a ragtag team of spacefaring heroes who play a vital role in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
  • Doctor Strange (2016): Introduces Doctor Strange, a powerful sorcerer who becomes a key player in the fight against Thanos.
  • Black Panther (2018): Introduces Black Panther and the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda.

Ready to Assemble?

With this guide, you have all the information you need to embark on your journey through the Avengers saga and the wider MCU. Whether you choose to follow the release order or the chronological order, you're in for an epic adventure filled with iconic heroes, thrilling battles, and a universe of interconnected stories. So, grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready to #Assemble!

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