Starting in 2008 with Marvel’s release of Iron Man the Marvel Cinematic Universe has blossomed, with many movies and television shows following. Currently spanning four phases, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, can be daunting to new fans who are trying to get into the franchise. With that being said, there isn’t one way to enjoy the franchise. Technically, anyone can watch anything in any order. Will it make sense? Maybe not, but there isn’t a definite way to enjoy the MCU.
With that being said, for new fans of the MCU, there are typically two ways to enjoy the content; either by watching the movies and shows by release date or in chronological order within the series. In this article, I’ll cover my opinion on these two methods of experiencing the MCU.
To start, I’m going to talk about the chronological order first. As a new time fan, if you enjoy understanding the story from a chronological point of view, then this method of watching the MCU is the way to go. While watching it in chronological order, you’ll be able to enjoy the story in a logical manner. The story will flow from one event to the next seamlessly. Since the movies are almost always standalone movies, except for a few exceptions, like the Avengers movies, there isn’t too much overlap on characters or topics.
The main downside of watching in this order are the post credit scenes, which is a staple in the MCU. Since the post credit scenes mainly teased the next movie to be released, there is a good chance that the release order doesn’t match the chronological order. As a result, you could be watching a teaser for a movie you already watched. If post credit scenes isn’t something that interests you, then you can disregard this point altogether.
Honestly, that’s about it when it comes to watching it chronologically. You get to experience the events that occur in the MCU, with the cause of effect of each subsequent action. You do miss out on post credit scenes, but that’s not too much extra content.
On the other hand, you could watch the movies in release order. For those familiar with the website and our YouTube channel, you’ll know that we have videos up over our thoughts on the first three phases of the MCU. If you’re curious about those videos, click here. In order to do that video, I had to watch all the MCU up to that point, which I did by release order. In my opinion, this is the way to enjoy the MCU. Not only does it give a great perspective on the evolution of the MCU throughout the years, but there also seems to be a natural flow from one movie to another. When watching the movies in this order, small references or foreshadowing to other movies are more easily seen.
The only downside in this method is that the timeline will be all messed up. Jumping from one time to another can be a lot. For some people, this could be confusing, and it’ll have to be something you are aware of. Other than that, not much else can be said for downsides.
With all that being said, I believe the best way to enjoy the MCU is by watching it in release order first. With this method of experiencing the MCU, you not only get to watch the series evolve and the effects improve as time went on, but the post credit scenes will actually make sense. Now, how much do the post credit scenes matter? To me, it is an integral part of the MCU experience. Through the MCU, the popularity of post credit scenes skyrocketed. Now, it’s a staple for any MCU movie to have a post credit scene. When I first experienced the MCU, this was the method my friends introduced me to, and after experiencing everything, I think this is the best way to experience the MCU for the first time.
All in all, the way you watch the MCU is flexible. If you want to get the most out of the movies, then watching them either chronologically or in release order is the way to go. Skipping around won’t let you enjoy the intricacies of the content. By that same token, I think the best way to enjoy the MCU is to first watch the movies in release order. After completing that, I think if you ever want to rewatch the movies, then you should do it chronologically.