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Updated! Your essential guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe


This August, the 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Ant-Man and The Wasp, was released in Cineworld, and the 21st, Captain Marvel arrives in March 2019. So, you may be feeling the need to brush up on your MCU history.

From Tony Stark's debut in Iron Man through to the franchise-changing events of Avengers: Infinity War, this is everything you need to know about every movie in the blockbusting superhero franchise.

1. Iron Man

We're venturing back to the birth of the MCU, and the debut of one Robert Downey Jr. as "genius-billionaire-philanthropist", Tony Stark.

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

2. The Incredible Hulk

Following hot on Iron Man's heels is Edward Norton's solo outing as conflicted rage monster scientist Bruce Banner.

3. Iron Man 2

Tony Stark's sophomore adventure is next, one that sees the big screen debut of Scarlett Johansson's kick-ass Black Widow.

4. Thor

The MCU expands its ranks as Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder makes an impact, alongside Tom Hiddleston as his sneaky step-brother Loki.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger

This is where it all began for the Avengers initiative, in a rousing World War II adventure that introduces us to super-soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).

6. Avengers Assemble

Our Marvel heroes get together for the first time in Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon's franchise debut and the culmination of phase one of the MCU.

7. Iron Man 3

Phase three begins with Tony Stark's third and final solo adventure (for now), which pits him against the villainous Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) as Shane Black directs. 

8. Thor: The Dark World

Asgard is under threat in Thor's second adventure, directed by Game of Thrones regular Alan Taylor.

9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noble Steve Rogers must adopt to the morally murky 21st century in this exciting follow-up, the first Marvel movie from Infinity War filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy

Before we saw the hilarious mash-up of the Guardians with the original Avengers ensemble in Infinity War, here's their infectiously groovy big screen debut.

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron

The embattled Avengers must go to war with villainous A.I. Ultron (James Spader) in Joss Whedon's final Marvel blockbuster.

12. Ant-Man

Phase three of the MCU culminates with a snazzy, witty mash-up between the superhero movie and the spy caper, as Paul Rudd's shrinking thief Scott Lang enters the picture.

13. Captain America: Civil War

Making previous Marvel battles look like playground scraps, the Russos' hugely ambitious, expansively realised epic hinges on the brewing tension between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.

14. Doctor Strange

It's time to enter the cosmic realm as Benedict Cumberbatch's magical Sorceror Supreme unlocks previously unseen dimensions of the Marvel universe.

15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It's time to crank up Awesome Mix. Vol 2 as Star Lord (Chris Pratt) and the gang face another blend of showstopping pop tunes, interstellar action and heartfelt family drama.

16. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spidey finally joined the MCU in 2017 and star Tom Holland's fledgling adventure was a joyously entertaining wonder.

17. Thor: Ragnarok

Hunt for the Wilderpeople director Taika Waititi gave us the most radical shake-up of the MCU in years, remoulding the portentous God of Thunder's adventures as a hilariously wacky out and out comedy.

18. Black Panther

T'Challa of Wakanda makes his sensational solo movie debut in Ryan Coogler's awe-inspiring epic, a mixture of social commentary, blistering action and some of the most intriguing character interplay in the MCU so far.

19. Avengers: Infinity War

The Russo brothers promised us a gargantuan feast with the fourth Avengers movie, and they haven't disappointed. Yet although the action is staggering, what really impresses are the dramatic stakes, with Josh Brolin's Thanos the deadliest villain to confront our heroes so far. Roll on Avengers 4 in 2019...

20. Ant-Man and The Wasp 

This summer, we welcomed shrinking superhero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) back onto our screens in another round of miniaturised adventure. Love interest Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) becomes titular superhero The Wasp, and the movie ties into the events of Avengers: Infinity War...

21. Captain Marvel (released 8th March 2019)

Are you ready for the person described as the most powerful superhero in the MCU so far? Oscar-winning Room star Brie Larson is Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, and this highly anticipated solo adventure is our introduction to the saviour our beleaguered Avengers so desperately need.

22. Avengers 4 (released 26th April 2019)

How will the world recover following the devastation of Infinity War? Returning directors the Russos say Avengers 4 is the finest work they've ever done within the MCU, so expect more than a few surprises as we move into the mysterious Phase Four.

23. Spider-Man: Far From Home (released 5th July 2019)

Following his triumphant MCU debut in 2017's Homecoming, it will soon be time to welcome Tom Holland's endearing Peter Parker/Spider-Man back to the big screen. His next solo adventure catapults the wall-crawler beyond the confines of New York (locations include cities such as London), as our hero fights Jake Gyllenhaal's villain Mysterio. But we're more curious as to how the events of this movie will tie into the devastating ending of Infinity War...

24. Black Panther 2 (release date TBC)

Marvel's Black Panther sequel is still in the early stages of development, but we do know that director Ryan Coogler is set to return. This is excellent news: he steered this year's Black Panther to enormous success, a direct result of terrific design, thought-provoking and topical themes and strong performances.

What's your favourite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know @Cineworld.