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Watch the DC Comics Movies in Order

3/9/2023 • 5 min read

(Updated 01/04/2024)

While some movie franchises have confusing timelines that weave in and out of release order and might even disregard some movies (we're looking at you, HALLOWEEN!) there's good news for those who want to watch the DC Comics movies in order. The release order is really the best way to go. Watch the DC movies in the order in which they were released and you get the maximum impact from character introductions and plot twists.

Here's the ideal DC movie viewing order.

DC Movies in Release Order

Man of Steel (2013)

This is the starting point. Zack Snyder's singular version of Superman sets the tone for everything else that follows over the next decade, even when the DC movies veer far from this opening chapter.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Superman and Batman are the cornerstones of DC Comics, but even so it was a surprise to see the second chapter of the DCEU go straight to a years-in-the-making battle between the titans — and even more surprising to see Superman put in the ground, at least temporarily.

Suicide Squad (2016)

With no Superman, the world turned to a different set of peacemakers. Maybe that word should be in quotes as the anti-heroes in this funny, violent team-up aren't very interested in peace. But everyone was interested in Harley Quinn after this movie opened, and that helped shape DC's future.

Wonder Woman (2017)

The best argument for watching the DC movies in release order rather than chronological story order. If you watch chronologically, then the two solo Wonder Woman movies fall well before everything else. The character benefits from a little bit of buildup thanks to BATMAN V SUPERMAN.

Justice League (2017)

We're not going to weigh in on which version of JUSTICE LEAGUE you watch — the theatrical or the Snyder Cut — but the title occupies the same space regardless. Obviously you can watch both, but despite the vast differences between the two versions both fulfill the same story purpose within the greater DCEU. (If we have to pick one, we're going with the Snyder Cut.)

Aquaman (2018)

About halfway through the DCEU things pivot to mostly solo movies. While there are two team films, they don't follow a long build-up in the way that Marvel's Avengers movies tend to. Regardless, AQUAMAN is one of the best DC movies — it gives Jason Momoa room to flex and director James Wan gets to play on a massive scale.

Shazam! (2019)

With the first two movies out of the gate, the DCEU earned the reputation for embracing a darker outlook than rival Marvel. SHAZAM! is a different story — it's a relatively sunny and light-hearted look at young superheroes, even when the movie's young hero has to deal with huge issues.

Birds of Prey (2020)

This Harley Quinn-focused movie ties up a few loose ends from SUICIDE SQUAD and explores the DCEU version of Gotham City in a way that no other movie in the series gets to do.

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

This movie is as close as the DCEU gets to a standalone story, as the events of WW84 do not dramatically tie into the larger story. It's just a fun Wonder Woman movie, and that's more than enough.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

This is where it becomes apparent that Amanda Waller might be the glue that holds the second half of the DCEU story cycle together. And while there is some reason to wonder what the DC movie landscape will look like as James Gunn and Peter Safran's movies come out, we know that Viola Davis will continue to play Waller — so a full reboot isn't on the horizon.

Black Adam (2022)

While Black Adam is fundamentally related to Shazam, this is mostly a solo movie that details Black Adam's history while setting up his standing in the modern world. There is a post-credit, scene, however, to tie the movie and character to the larger DCEU — but whether we'll see that play out in the new DCEU or not is uncertain.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Like the original movie, this SHAZAM! sequel is more or less a standalone tale, though it is part of the larger DCEU. Diana Prince makes a cameo, and characters from THE SUICIDE SQUAD and the "Peacemaker" series show up as well. Diana's appearance helps place this on the DCEU timeline.

The Flash

Barry Allen's accidental mucking about with his own timeline results in a rewrite of the DCEU hero lineup and a near destruction of the multiverse. By the end of the movie there's a slightly different Batman in Barry's original timeline, and he looks pretty familiar… but not to Barry.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

The final movie in the Zack Snyder DCEU era is, like BLACK ADAM and the SHAZAM! sequel, more or less a standalone story. Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck both filmed cameos as Bruce Wayne but neither ended up in the film, leaving Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry to close out the DCEU on his own.

The Appendix

Two of these movies aren't in the main DCEU continuity but do have ties to it, as THE FLASH builds a bridge to the Tim Burton Batman movies starring Michael Keaton. (In fact, THE FLASH establishes a multiverse in which most of the other major movies based on DC Comics are present. At least one movie that was never made — the Nicolas Cage Superman — is also there.) Three aren't connected at all… though one might be tied to the future of DC movies.

Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992)

Tim Burton's two Batman movies starring Michael Keaton were never part of the DCEU, but they are now, kind of. Keaton returned as Batman in THE FLASH, which ties these movies into the larger storyline. And, yes, George Clooney appears as Bruce Wayne at the end of THE FLASH, so technically BATMAN & ROBIN is connected to the DCEU as well.

Joker (2019) and The Batman (2022)

Both JOKER and THE BATMAN are set aside from the mainstay DCEU, but they're both great movies. We don't want to leave them out just because they don't play directly into the larger story. Both movies will be followed by sequels in the next couple years, and in both cases those sequels will be explicitly labeled as "Elseworlds" stories, to make clear that they are not part of the larger DC story.

Blue Beetle

Despite being released between other DCEU movies, BLUE BEETLE is not really part of that continuity. There are no ties to other DCEU films. In fact, new DC movies creative boss James Gunn has said that the movie is connected to his own developing slate of DC movies, and that the character is likely to appear in future films.

Watch the DCEU Movies in Chronological Order

We don't actually recommend this viewing order, because it takes away some of the effect of the first Wonder Woman movie. But if you do want to watch in chronological story order, here's the way to go:

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman 1984
Man of Steel
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Suicide Squad
Justice League
Birds of Prey
The Suicide Squad
Black Adam
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
The Flash
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom


Read about all the upcoming DC Comics movies!


All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

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