It's been quite the journey for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since debuting with Iron Man in 2008, Marvel has released 21 movies, 20 of which are available to purchase for home viewing, with Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home all on the way. Here's the best place to find each movie in the MCU, so you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own home.
- The beginning: Iron Man
- Hulk smash: The Incredible Hulk
- I am Iron Man: Iron Man 2
- God of Thunder: Thor
- A true hero: Captain America: The First Avenger
- Avengers assemble: Marvel's The Avengers
- Hero reborn: Iron Man 3
- Family drama: Thor: The Dark World
- Raising the bar: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- New kids on the block: Guardians of the Galaxy
- No strings attached: Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Small but mighty: Ant-Man
Iron Man kicked this whole thing off, and I don't think anyone expected to be as good as it was. When Tony Stark is captured and held captive by terrorists, the billionaire must use his intelligence to build a groundbreaking suit of armor to escape.
People often forget that The Incredible Hulk is technically part of the MCU. The film featured Ed Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk, in a film that focused on the tragic origin or the green monster, as he goes on the run from the US government.
Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. returned for the sequel to Iron Man, as Tony Stark contends with his newfound fame as a hero. Unfortunately, his new identity attracts a vengeful villain.
Thor features the debut of the God of Thunder, as he is cast out of Asgard by his father to live a normal life among humans. In addition to introducing Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Marvel also debuted Tom Hiddleston's terrific portrayal of Loki.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel introduces Steve Rogers, who has the spirit and bravery to be a hero but not the physicality. Things change when he volunteers for an experimental procedure that turns him into a super-soldier named Captain America.
When a wormhole opens over New York City, the Avengers must come together to thwart the attacks of Loki, who wants to subjugate humans. The Avengers is seen as a defining moment for the MCU and really cemented the franchise as a juggernaut in the world of comic book movies.
Iron Man 3 doesn't get the credit it deserves. It takes a fascinating dive into Tony Stark's psyche and shows that even he is vulnerable. It also features one of the best sequences in all of the MCU and a mysterious villain known as the Mandarin.
Another film that doesn't get enough credit. The Dark World further expands the lore of Asgard while introducing a key Infinity Stone. The film also explores the complicated relationship between Thor and Loki, as the two finally come together to take down Malekith—but Loki has one final trick up his sleeve.
The Winter Soldier was a turning point for the MCU. The film was not just a good comic book movie, but a good movie period. It introduced the mysterious assassin known as Winter Soldier and saw Captain America and Black Widow team up to stop him from killing more people.
James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy took the MCU into the cosmos and explored the comedic side of the franchise. The film sees a ragtag group of criminals come together in an effort to stop a madman from acquiring an Infinity Stone and wreaking havoc on the universe.
Avengers: Age of Ultron assembled the heroes once again as they fight to stop a maniacal robot from purging the Earth of humans. Although Age of Ultron wasn't a major critical success, it introduced plot points that would become important down the road.
After the events of Age of Ultron, Ant-Man was much smaller in scale, but no less important, because it provided our first look into the Quantum Realm. It also features an unlikely hero in Scott Lang as he teams up with Dr. Hank Pym to stop an evil plan put into motion by Darren Cross.
The Avengers become divided over the Sokovia Accords, which leads to an epic battle in Berlin and ultimately a draw-dropping conclusion that tears our heroes apart. Civil War saw the debut of two important characters: Spider-Man and Black Panther, who would later go on to star in their own solo movies.
Doctor Strange explores the more mystical side of Marvel comics, as Stephen Strange is taught the mystic arts by the Ancient One. After learning the mystic arts, Doctor Strange must use what he has learned to stop a sorcerer named Kaecilius from destroying Earth.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 picks up where the first movie left off as the Guardians face off against new enemies. Their bond is truly tested when Peter Quill learns who is father is. Meanwhile, the truth behind Quill and Yondu's relationship is revealed.
Spider-Man: Homecoming marked the solo debut of Tom Holland's much younger Spider-Man — and it didn't rehash his origin. Instead, it told a relatable tale about a young high school kid struggling to balance his life as a teenager and a superhero.
Thor was previously portrayed as dramatic and serious. Thor: Ragnarok tapped into the character's comedic side with the help of director Taika Waititi, as Thor learns he as an evil sister while attempting to prevent Ragnarok.
Black Panther changed the tide for inclusivity, with a primarily black cast and a fascinating exploration of different cultures. The movie features the best soundtrack in the MCU and also the (second) best villain in Erik Killmonger, as the character challenges T'Challa's reign as king of Wakanda.
After building toward the arrival of Thanos, Avengers: Infinity War painted a tragic portrait of the Mad Titan. On his quest to collect the Infinity Stones, we learn about his motivations and why he's so hellbent on becoming all powerful. Can the Avengers stop him?
Ant-Man and the Wasp's arrival was much needed after Avengers: Infinity War, bringing humor and fun back to the MCU. Simultaneously, the movie further explores the Quantum Realm, as Ant-Man, Wasp, and Hank Pym attempt to save Janet van Dyne after she disappeared decades earlier.
In Captain Marvel, Air Force pilot Carol Danvers receives extraordinary abilities when she's involved in a terrible accident. Because of her newfound gifts, she soon finds herself at the center of an alien war and must use those abilities to end the war once and for all.
Over 20 spectacular movies
The MCU has been an incredible ride up until this point, with some magnificent highs and terrible lows. Looking back, it's amazing to think how Marvel's Iron Man was the starting point of a franchise that is now incredibly popular across the globe. Where will the MCU take us over the next ten years? We're not sure yet, but there's no better way to celebrate its success than by checking out the first Iron Man.
Since all of these movies are connected, it's important to start from the beginning. But, if you insist on skipping around, you have to see Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther, because they're two movies that really prove that Marvel can make good movies—not just good comic book movies.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an achievement unlike any other in the world of cinema. For a look toward what's next in the MCU, check out our roundup of all the news and important information about Spider-Man: Far From Home.
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