Guide for Non-Fans: Making the Most of Marvel Studios Movies

In a screencap from the film Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man holds Captain America’s shield during his first appearance in his full costume in the MCU.

New to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and not exactly a die-hard fan? Don’t worry, we understand! The MCU, renowned for transforming the landscape of superhero films, has become a massive franchise with a vast array of movies and shows. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how anyone, even those unfamiliar with comics or Marvel lore, can thoroughly enjoy the MCU.

MCU Overview

The Marvel Cinematic Universe spans 32 feature-length films and over 12 live-action and animated shows, all interwoven into a rich narrative. With the advent of Disney+, accessing the entire MCU has become more convenient than ever. However, diving into such an expansive universe can be overwhelming, especially for those who aren’t avid comic book readers or Marvel enthusiasts.

Getting Started: Focus on the Movies

If you’re new to the MCU, the easiest and immersive way to enjoy it is by focusing on the movies. While the universe extends to Disney+ shows, watching the films alone offers an enjoyable experience without feeling overwhelmed. The MCU is divided into phases, starting with Phase One, progressing through Phase Two and Phase Three, and now extending into Phase Four.

Viewing Strategy

1. Stick to the Movies:

Despite the increasing number of films and shows, focusing solely on the movies streamlines the viewing process, making it more manageable for newcomers.

2. Stick to the Release Order:

Watching the movies in release order preserves the mystery and suspense, allowing viewers to connect the dots from one film to the next. It enhances the overall viewing experience.

3. Watch in Phase Sets:

Phase One (Examples):

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

Phase Two (Examples):

Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Ant-Man (2015)

Phase Three (Examples):

Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 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)

Phase Four (Examples):

Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Black Widow (2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • Eternals (2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

4. Phase Four and Beyond:

Phase Four introduces the Multiverse Saga, featuring new characters and intertwining with Disney+ shows. While the shows can be omitted, they enhance the overall experience. Notable Phase Four films include “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

5. Phase Five and Beyond:

The Marvels

Phase Five includes anticipated films like “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” Marvel’s plans extend to Phase Six, teasing films like “Deadpool 3,” “Fantastic Four,” and future Avengers sagas.

Spider-Man Series

The Spider-Man films, from the Sam Raimi trilogy to the MCU’s Tom Holland series, can be enjoyed as a standalone universe. While MCU characters make appearances, Spider-Man’s storyline remains distinct.

Disney+ Shows

For those interested in Disney+ shows:

  • WandaVision: Watch before “Multiverse of Madness.”
  • The Falcon and Winter Soldier: Watch before “Captain America: New World Order.”
  • Loki: Watch before “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantimania.”
  • What If…?: Watch before “Multiverse of Madness.”
  • Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk: Integrate with Phase Four and Five movies.


This guide, while not exhaustive, provides a flexible roadmap for MCU newcomers. Everyone’s journey into the Marvel Universe is unique, so feel free to customize your viewing experience. Happy watching!

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