Every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, ranked by runtime

the avengers

As the most successful movie franchise of all time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has built an impressive string of interconnected films over the last decade and a half. In projector rooms terms, that means a lot of film reels on shelves (or bytes on the disk drive). As the franchise has grown, so has its fanbase and anticipation for each release. The announcement of an MCU movie’s runtime is an event of its own. It’s a pragmatic consideration, of course — a long runtime gives an audience pause for thought at the soft drink stand as it demands a lot of their audience, but it also works the other way. 

It wasn’t the title of Doctor Strange’s second headline movie in the MCU that sent some fans into a multiverse of madness, but its runtime. At a mere 126 minutes, they wondered if they were going to get enough of the Sorcerer Supreme? Coming from the director of Spider-Man 2, it’s safe to say that Sam Raimi knows what he’s doing. But it also leaves a question open as the MCU continues to stack up.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the 28th feature film in the MCU, part of the fourth phase of a universe that had the foresight to divide itself into chapters.

Even though the Infinity Stone Saga ended in the MCU’s Phase Three, the connectivity of Marvel Movies has continued and even deepened. It’s asking for a marathon viewing session, but with a total runtime counted in days, that’s a challenge. 

Here is how every MCU movie compares on duration, ranked by their phase and the whole sequence. It’s essential reading if you’re planning to catch up before Doctor Strange takes us places we’ve never been before. Spoilers: You’ll need to book a fair amount of time off.

The MCU by phase

Phase One by runtime

iron man
Image via Marvel Studios
  • The Incredible Hulk (June 2008) —1 hour 52 minutes
  • Thor (May 2011) — 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Iron Man 2 (May 2010) — 2 hours 4 minutes
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (July 2011) — 2 hours 4 minutes
  • Iron Man (May 2008) — 2 hours 6 minutes
  • The Avengers (May 2012) — 2 hours 23 minutes

Total runtime: 12 hours 24 minutes (744 minutes)

Average runtime: 2 hours 4 minutes

Phase Two by runtime

Image via Marvel Studios

Phase Two didn’t deviate too much from the structure of Phase One, including runtimes. It was heavy on sequels, but it kept its origin stories short when introducing new characters. 

  • Thor: The Dark World (November 2013) — 1 hour 52 minutes
  • Ant-Man (July 2015) — 1 hour 57 minutes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (August 2014) — 2 hours 2 minutes
  • Iron Man 3 (May 2013) — 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 2014) — 2 hours 16 minutes
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 2015) —  2 hours 21 minutes

Total runtime: 12 hours 38 minutes (758 minutes)

Average runtime: 2 hours 6 minutes

Phase Three runtime

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Image via Marvel Studios

Now, this is a phase you will need to book a whole day to run through. Phase Three was a vast undertaking released over four years, and it’s still daunting. It’s bigger than the first two phases combined and set records for duration and box office hauls. Unsurprisingly, the conclusion of the Infinity Stone Saga saw the MCU break the three-hour barrier for the first time.

  • Doctor Strange (November 2016) —  1 hour 55 minutes
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp (July 2018) — 1 hour 58 minutes
  • Captain Marvel (March 2019) — 2 hours 4 minutes
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2019) — 2 hours 9 minutes
  • Thor: Ragnarok (November 2017) — 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 2017) — 2 hours 13 minutes
  • Black Panther (February 2018) — 2 hours 14 minutes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 2017) — 2 hours 17 minutes
  • Captain America: Civil War (May 2016) — 2 hours 27 minute
  • Avengers: Infinity War (April 2018) — 2 hours 29 minutes
  • Avengers: Endgame (April 2019) — 3 hours 1 minute

Total runtime: 1 day and 57 minutes (1,497 minutes)

Average runtime: 2 hours 16 minutes

Phase Four by runtime (so far)

Image via Marvel Studios

Phase Four has seen a necessary reset, but there are still plenty of characters involved from previous phases and the suggestion that Marvel is set to experiment more than ever. Phase Four is the first to run parallel with a fully integrated serial universe on Disney-Plus. The movies now have to compete with longer-form stories focussing on established and new characters, which can only increase the attention paid to the movies’ runtimes. 

Until Doctor Strange’s release, it looked like Phase Four would set a record for average duration. Fans can rest assured that so far, this is the first Phase not to feature a movie under two hours. Despite Doctor Strange’s latest adventure does buck the trend a bit with its duration, Phase Four is still on for the longest average run time of any MCU chapter.

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 2022) — 2 hours 6 minutes
  • Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings (September 2021) — 2 hours 12 minutes
  • Black Widow (July 2021) — 2 hours 14 minutes
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 2021) —  2 hours 28 minutes
  • Eternals (November 2021) — 2 hours 36 minutes

Total runtime: 11 hours 36 minutes (696 minutes)

Average runtime: 2 hours 19 minutes

The complete ranking

Image via Marvel Studios

Here’s how the complete MCU stacks up — from Hulk to Thanos. Of course, these aren’t movies you can sneak out of early. The MCU is famous for its mid- and post-credit sequences. Who’d take the chance to leave before the credits end?

  • The Incredible Hulk — 1 hour 52 minutes (0 credit scenes — although there was a pre-credit sequence)
  • Thor: The Dark World — 1 hour 52 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Thor — 1 hour 55 minutes (1 post-credit scene)
  • Doctor Strange — 1 hour 55 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Ant-Man — 1 hour 57 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp — 1 hour 58 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy — 2 hours 2 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Iron Man 2 — 2 hours 4 minutes (1 post-credit scene)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger — 2 hours 4 minutes (1 post-credit scene)
  • Captain Marvel — 2 hours 4 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Iron Man — 2 hours 6 minutes (1 post-credit scene)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — 2 hours 6 minutes (post-credit scenes TBC)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home — 2 hours 9 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Iron Man 3 — 2 hours 10 minutes (1 post-credit scene)
  • Thor: Ragnarok — 2 hours 10 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings — 2 hours 12 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming — 2 hours 13 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Black Panther — 2 hours 14 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Black Widow — 2 hours 14 minutes (1 credit scene)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier — 2 hours 16 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — 2 hours 17 minutes (5 credit scenes)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — 2 hours 21 minutes (1 post-credit scene)
  • The Avengers — 2 hours 23 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Captain America: Civil War — 2 hours 27 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home — 2 hours 28 minutes (1 credit scene)
  • Avengers: Infinity War — 2 hours 29 minutes (1 post-credit scene)
  • Eternals — 2 hours 36 minutes (2 credit scenes)
  • Avengers: Endgame — 3 hours 1 minute (0 post-credit scenes)

Total runtime: 2 days, 13 hours, and 35 minutes (3,695 minutes)

Average runtime: 2 hours 12 minutes

Number of credit scenes: 44
That puts Doctor Strange’s latest movie in the mid-table, although it remains to be seen what difference six minutes would make in the Multiverse of Madness.