A Brief Guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

About a month ago, I posted this article on my friend Matt Hendricks’s website “Other People’s Movies. It’s a great website that promotes movies that don’t get the attention they deserve. I highly recommend it to all film buffs.

Hello, friends. If you find yourself at home with nothing to do for weeks on end, I have developed a linear map to lead you through the beautiful landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU, for short). What follows is a relatively exhaustive list of the movies and TV shows in the MCU, and I have arranged them in the order I consider to be most aesthetically fluid, with what I consider a balanced narrative thread.

In February, I started this project in eager anticipation of Black Widow, the next movie in the MCU and the first of the much-anticipated “Phase Four” set of Marvel releases. Originally set for a May release, Black Widow has recently been delayed until November 6, 2020 due to the social distancing necessary to combat COVID-19. Also, later this year, Disney+ will debut “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “WandaVision”. Admittedly, I am chomping at the bit for the next globules of Marvel content, but like many GenX-ers, I have learned how to be patient with my entertainment.

After a cursory glance at the list I compiled below, the reader will see in outline the entirety of the MCU that I was able to stream over the past nine weeks. The sixty-plus titles represent many hundred-thousand hours of labor and billions of dollars of expenditures and investment. The result is the largest shared cinematic universe ever assembled for our viewing pleasure.

In the list below, I have not included any incomplete works (such as TV pilots), vignettes, or one-shots that cannot be streamed online. Also, I have not included any of the Marvel Comics tie-ins. However, Wikipedia’s “Marvel Cinematic Universe” webpage has what I presume to be an all-inclusive list of the canon graphic novel comic tie-ins. It is likely that reading the designated comic books would add more narrative structure to the reader’s cinematic experience. If the reader wonders why I broke up some seasons, the reader should discover that events in the movies affect what happens in the TV shows, especially in the first three seasons of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

It will not be a short journey, so pack accordingly.

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) @
  2. Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter (2013, short film) @
  3. “Agent Carter” Season 1 (2015) @
  4. “Agent Carter” Season 2 (2016) @
  5. Captain Marvel (2019) @#
  6. Iron Man (2008) @
  7. Iron Man 2 (2010) @
  8. The Incredible Hulk (2008) $
  9. The Consultant (2011, short film) @
  10. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (2011, short film) %
  11. Thor (2011) @
  12. The Avengers (2012) @
  13. Iron Man 3 (2013) @
  14. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 1, Ep.1–7 (2013) &
  15. Thor: The Dark World (2013) @
  16. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 1, Ep.8–16 (2013) &
  17. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) @
  18. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 1, Ep.17–22 (2013) &
  19. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) @
  20. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 2, Ep.1–19 (2014) &
  21. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2014) @
  22. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) @
  23. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 2, Ep.20–22 (2014) &
  24. “Daredevil” Season 1 (2015) &
  25. “WHIH Newsfront” Season 1 (2015, digital shorts) %
  26. Ant-Man (2015) @
  27. “Jessica Jones” Season 1 (2015) &
  28. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 3, Ep.1–10 (2015) &
  29. “Daredevil” Season 2 (2016) &
  30. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 3, Ep.11–19 (2015) &
  31. “WHIH Newsfront” Season 2 (2016, digital shorts) %
  32. Captain America: Civil War (2016) @
  33. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 3, Ep.20–22 (2015) &
  34. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) $
  35. “Luke Cage” Season 1 (2016) &
  36. “Iron Fist” Season 1 (2017) &
  37. Doctor Strange (2016) @
  38. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot” (2016, miniseries) %
  39. Black Panther (2018) @
  40. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 4 (2016) &
  41. “The Defenders” (2017, miniseries) &
  42. “The Inhumans” Season 1 (2017) @
  43. “The Punisher” Season 1 (2017) &
  44. “Jessica Jones” Season 2 (2018) &
  45. “Luke Cage” Season 2 (2018) &
  46. “The Runaways” Season 1 (2017) @/*
  47. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) @
  48. “Cloak and Dagger” Season 1 (2018) *
  49. “The Runaways” Season 2 (2018) @/*
  50. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 5 (2017) &
  51. Black Widow (2020) +
  52. “Daredevil” Season 3 (2018) &
  53. “Jessica Jones” Season 3 (2018) &
  54. “Iron Fist” Season 2 (2018) &
  55. “The Punisher” Season 2 (2019) &
  56. “Cloak and Dagger” Season 2 (2019) *
  57. “The Runaways” Season 3 (2019) @/*
  58. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 6 (2019) &
  59. Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) @
  60. Captain Marvel (2019) @/#
  61. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) &/@
  62. Avengers: Endgame (2019) @
  63. Spiderman: Far from Home (2019) $

Notes: @ = Available for streaming on Disney+. (All three seasons of Runaways is on both Disney+ and Hulu.) Some of the Marvel One-Shot short films are available for streaming on Disney+, under the Extras tab of Iron Man 3 (for the Agent Carter short film) and the Extras tab of Thor (for The Consultant). $ = Available for streaming on Amazon, purchase might be necessary. & = Available for streaming on Netflix. (Avengers: Infinity War will leave Netflix for Disney+ on June 25, 2020; Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 29, 2020.) % =  Available for streaming on YouTube (and if it’s on YouTube, other websites and wikis are probably hosting the short videos, too). * = Available for streaming on Hulu. +Black Widow has not yet been released, but it will occupy this space in my official viewing schedule.

I hope everyone reading this is able to stay safe and healthy in their homes. Try not to get frustrated, and if you do, clap your hands, count to ten, and give a powerful exhalation with Stan Lee’s favorite catchphrase, “Excelsior!” If that doesn’t work, splash some CBD oil in the beverage of your choice and go back to bed. The Marvel Cinematic Universe will be waiting for your streaming pleasure when you’re ready. Peace, brothers and sisters.

Published by Rosliw Tor Raekül

Happily married vegan, Leftist editor/reader/writer, practicing Buddhism 24yrs. My laugh’s famously infectious. I’ll review anything, books, bourbon, music, &c.

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