If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), you may be wondering just how many canonical Marvel movies there are. With so many films released over the past decade, it can be tough to keep track of which ones are considered part of the official MCU continuity. In this article, we’ll break down the list of canonical Marvel movies and provide some background information on each one.
What is a Canonical Marvel Movie?
Before we dive into the list, let’s define what we mean by a “canonical” Marvel movie. In this context, “canonical” refers to movies that are considered part of the official continuity of the MCU. These films take place within the same universe and timeline, with events in one film having an impact on others.
The List of Canonical Marvel Movies
Here is the complete list of canonical Marvel movies in chronological order:
- Iron Man (2008)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- The Avengers (2012)
- 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)
- 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)*
A Closer Look at Each Movie
Let’s take a closer look at each movie on the list and what makes it a canonical Marvel film.
Released in 2008, Iron Man introduced audiences to Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. The film follows Stark’s transformation from a wealthy playboy to a superhero after he is kidnapped and forced to build a weapon.
The Incredible Hulk
Also released in 2008, The Incredible Hulk stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, who transforms into the giant green Hulk when he becomes angry. The film is based on the popular comic book character of the same name.
Iron Man 2
The sequel to Iron Man, released in 2010, sees Stark battling a new enemy while also dealing with his own personal struggles. The film introduces Scarlett Johansson’s character Black Widow.
Released in 2011, Thor follows the story of the Norse god of thunder who is banished to Earth after disobeying his father. The film stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as his villainous brother Loki.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Also released in 2011, Captain America: The First Avenger tells the origin story of Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, who becomes the superhero Captain America during World War II.
In 2012, Marvel brought together all of its superheroes for The Avengers. Directed by Joss Whedon, the film sees Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye team up to save the world from an alien invasion.
Iron Man 3
Released in 2013, Iron Man 3 sees Tony Stark face off against a new enemy known as The Mandarin. The film also explores Stark’s struggles with anxiety and PTSD following the events of The Avengers.
Thor: The Dark World
The sequel to Thor was released in 2013 and sees Thor teaming up with his treacherous brother Loki to stop an ancient evil from destroying the universe.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Released in 2014, Captain America: The Winter Soldier follows Steve Rogers as he teams up with Black Widow and newcomer Falcon to take down a shadowy organization known as Hydra.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Also released in 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy introduces audiences to a new group of heroes – Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot – who team up to save the galaxy from a powerful villain.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
In 2015, The Avengers returned for Age of Ultron. The film sees the team battling against a rogue artificial intelligence known as Ultron.
Also released in 2015, Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, a former thief who becomes the superhero Ant-Man after stealing a suit that gives him the ability to shrink and communicate with ants.
Captain America: Civil War
Released in 2016, Captain America: Civil War pits Captain America against Iron Man in a battle over government oversight of superheroes. The film also introduces Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU.
Also released in 2016, Doctor Strange tells the origin story of Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who becomes a powerful sorcerer after a car accident ends his career as a surgeon.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy was released in 2017 and sees the team discovering more about Star-Lord’s mysterious past while also battling against new foes.
Released in 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming introduces audiences to Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man as he navigates high school while also battling against villainous businessman Adrian Toomes (aka Vulture).
Also released in 2017, Thor: Ragnarok sees Thor teaming up with Hulk and newcomer Valkyrie to stop his evil sister Hela from destroying Asgard.
Released in 2018, Black Panther tells the story of T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, who becomes the king of Wakanda and must defend his kingdom against a new challenger.
Avengers: Infinity War
In 2018, The Avengers returned for their biggest battle yet in Infinity War. The film sees the team facing off against the powerful villain Thanos in an epic battle for the fate of the universe.
Ant-Man and The Wasp
Released in 2018, Ant-Man and The Wasp sees Scott Lang teaming up with Hope van Dyne (aka The Wasp) to rescue her mother from the quantum realm.
Released in 2019, Captain Marvel introduces Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, a powerful superhero who must confront her mysterious past and help save Earth from an alien invasion.
The epic conclusion to over a decade of MCU films, Avengers: Endgame sees our heroes facing off against Thanos once again as they try to undo the damage caused by his snap. The film also provides closure for many beloved characters and sets up the future of the MCU.
Spider-Man: Far From Home*
*Spider-Man: Far From Home takes place after the events of Endgame and features Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man navigating life after Tony Stark’s death while also dealing with new threats from Mysterio.
So there you have it – all of the canonical Marvel movies that make up the official continuity of the MCU. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual viewer, these films provide hours of entertainment and make up one of the most ambitious cinematic universes ever created.