The Marvel Cinematic Universe began May 2nd 2008 with the release of Iron Man. Since then, Marvel has dominated the box office and changed the way we view superhero movies forever. If you’ve ever wanted to get into Marvel and have felt intimidated, fear not. Here’s a guide to help you out.

Let’s start with the Infinity Saga, shall we?

Infinity Saga

This saga began with Iron Man and tells the story of the start of the Avengers, as well as the individual stories of their key players. When it comes to Marvel, Infinity Saga or otherwise, the movies appear in a very specific order that connects them together. For example; Iron Man 3 is not the direct sequel to Iron Man 2. If you watched the Iron Man trilogy in order, you might find yourself missing some major context.

For the Infinity Saga, Marvel released them in phases.

Phase One

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)

The point of Phase One was to introduce us to the main characters that we would be following for the rest of the saga, it was also building up to the first assembling of the Avengers.

In this phase, we got to know Tony Stark as Iron Man, Bruce Banner as the Hulk (although its worth noting that the actor for Bruce Banner changed between the solo movie and the rest of the saga), Steve Rogers as Captain America, Natasha Romanoff as Black Widow, and Clint Barton as Hawkeye. These are the main Avengers throughout the rest of the saga.

Phase One is filled with origin stories and all of the information needed to understand what occurs in the very first team up.

Phase Two

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
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Phase Two allowed us to understand the heroes that we were watching better, it also introduced new characters and gave us new origin stories.

Iron Man 3 allowed us as the audience to see Tony Stark begin to heal from trauma and demonstrate that he is more than just his Iron Man suit. Captain America: The Winter Soldier saw Steve gradually move on from his past, letting go of the life he thought he’d have and embracing his new one. Similarly, in Thor: The Dark World, we saw Thor begin to accept the fact that he doesn’t want to be king, that he would rather stay on Earth with those he cares for.

We also get introduced to new and important characters like Sam Wilson as Falcon, Wanda Maximoff as The Scarlet Witch (although she doesn’t actually adopt this name until much later in the MCU), the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Scott Lang as Ant-Man.

Phase Three

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

The final phase of the Infinity Saga is Phase Three, ending with Spider-Man: Far From Home. This saga sets up for a lot of things that are answered/solved in Avengers: Endgame, the final Infinity Saga Avengers.

Without spoiling anything; this phase deals with betrayal, big villains, introduction of new characters, and saying goodbye to beloved characters.

Now, it’s highly rumored that the Infinity Saga was meant to be the end of the MCU as we know it. However, shortly after the end of the saga, once Marvel thought that we grieved enough and were ready to move on; the Multiverse Saga was born.

The Multiverse Saga

This saga dives deep into the concept of the multiverse, something that was only briefly discussed in the Infinity Saga. While the first saga dealt with relatively (heavily relatively) easy to solve problems, the issues arising in the on-going Multiverse Saga are a bit more complicated.

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You’ll also notice that this saga features TV shows as well.

There have always been Marvel TV shows (Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, and the Defenders Saga that was originally on Netflix, just to name a few) that mentioned the events of the MCU. However, these shows are a part of the MCU in a way that has never been before.

Let’s jump right in.

Phase Four

  • WandaVision (2021) – Disney+ Series
  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (2021) – Disney+ Series
  • Loki – Season One (2021) – Disney+ Series
  • Black Widow (2021)
  • What If…? – Season One (2021) – Disney+ Series
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings (2021)
  • Eternals (2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
  • Hawkeye (2021) – Disney+ Series
  • Moon Knight – Season One (2022) – Disney+ Series
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
  • Ms. Marvel – Season One (2022) – Disney+ Series
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
  • I Am Groot – Season One (2022) – Disney+ Series
  • She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – Season One (2022) – Disney+ Series
  • Werewolf by Night (2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
  • The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)

Phase Four is vast. Much larger than any other MCU phase and Marvel has be critiqued for this before. This phase is kind of all over the place, but most of it is a blast.

You’ll notice that instead of it being “Phase One” of the new saga, it’s Phase Four. This is because even though it’s a new saga, the Infinity Saga laid the groundwork for the story being told, it’s not separate. It actually picks right up after the events of Endgame. To properly enjoy the MCU, watching the move, phases, and saga in order is paramount for understanding and full enjoyment.

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There are many different genres in this phase and many different origin stories as well.

Some of these projects are incredible, the acting and cinematography being greater than anything that Marvel has ever put out.

MCU Phase Five

(L-R): Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Kathryn Newton as Cassandra “Cassie” Lang in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)
  • Secret Invasion – Season One (2023) – Disney+ Series
  • Loki – Season Two – Disney+ Series
  • I Am Groot – Season Two (2023) – Disney+ Series
  • The Marvels (2023)
  • What If…? – Season Two (2023) – Disney+ Series
  • Echo – Season One (2024) – Disney+ Series
  • X-Men 97′ – Season One (2024) – Disney+ Series

Phase Five is still ongoing with many projects that haven’t released yet. Deadpool & Wolverine (releasing July 26th 2024) will also be a part of Phase Five, for example.

Where to Watch?

These movies and TV shows are all available to watch on Disney+ (with the exception of Spider-Man: No Way Home due to certain Sony/Disney licensing issues) and Disney+ makes it easy to watch in order.

A little tip, however, is to not watch in timeline order. Disney+ has the MCU movies listed by saga and by timeline, if it’s your first time indulging in the MCU, timeline order is not the way to go. Just use our guide to ensure you’re watching in the correct order.

What’s your favorite Marvel movie? What are your thoughts on the Multiverse Saga?

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