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How to watch DC movies in order (release date and chronological)

Justice League Snyder Cut
(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

The DC watch order is suddenly a lot more complicated. And it wasn’t that easy to begin with. Unlike Marvel’s universe, the DCEU (to give it its unofficial title) is filled with inconsistencies, tricky chronological orders, and a slate of films that aren’t quite canon – including Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

But, if you’re eager to sit down and watch the whole story so far after binging the Snyder Cut, we’re here to untangle everything for you. Here are the DC movies both in release date order and chronological order. Whether you’re watching from start to finish for the first time or want to spice up your DCEU rewatch, there’s something here to make it all a little more straightforward. Plus, we dive more into how the Snyder Cut confuses matters and what to do when you arrive at the four-hour epic.

How to watch DC movies in order – release order

Superman

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

Best for: Newcomers to DC

While the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Bat-trilogy or Constantine don’t count as DCEU and should be treated as standalone, non-connected entities, mostly everything Man of Steel forwards is part of the same DC universe. But it’s still hard to pin down. Should you count Joker? What about 2022’s The Batman?

For simplicity’s sake, we’re sticking to everything that is definitely part of one larger universe or has crossover characters that bridge two or more movies, such as Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Here’s how to watch the DCEU in release order, discounting the movies that haven’t yet been released. 

As for the Snyder Cut, we'd recommend watching the 2017 Justice League for 'canon' purposes, but Zack Snyder's 2021 version at the end for a different take on some of your favorite characters.

DC movies yet to be released – in order

  • The Suicide Squad (2021)
  • Black Adam (2021)
  • The Flash (2022)
  • Shazam 2 (2022)
  • Aquaman 2 (2022)

Shazam aside, the already-released DC movies mentioned above can be watched right now on HBO Max. Wonder Woman 1984 will be back on the service on May 13.

How to watch DC movies in order – chronological order

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Best for: Those who are rewatching the DCEU; charting Wonder Woman’s journey

The chronological order of DC movies is mostly easy and pales in comparison to the near two-dozen on offer from Marvel’s side of things, even if the exact years are less clear-cut. 

Still, some (such as Aquaman and Shazam) are quite hard to pin down into the correct timeframe. Atlantis doesn’t exactly have underwater calendars in every scene.

Even if the years aren’t nailed down beyond Wonder Woman’s entries, there is an agreed-upon chronological order thanks to some Easter eggs (such as a “Superman is back!” poster in Shazam! and Harley Quinn’s Birds of Prey break-up with Joker) that keeps things relatively simple. It goes like this.

  • Wonder Woman’s “flashbacks” (1914-18)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (take a guess)
  • Man of Steel
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Wonder Woman’s “modern day” scenes
  • Suicide Squad
  • Birds of Prey
  • Justice League (theatrical)
  • Aquaman
  • Shazam!

If you want to get even more granular, you can queue up certain scenes to watch in chronological order – but it could get messy.

Some of Justice League, for example, clearly overlaps with Aquaman. Suicide Squad also features some pre-Man of Steel flashbacks to Bruce Wayne’s early crusading in Gotham. But, by and large, it helps to keep things streamlined and to use the list above, with only Wonder Woman’s “modern day” scenes being crucial to the chronological order of the DCEU in terms of plot.

How does the Snyder Cut affect the DC watch order?

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Honestly? As much as you want it to. For now, it's not considered canon, though DC introducing the concept of the multiverse into its movies may yet make it easy for Warner Bros. to slide it into 'official' status.

For many, Zack Snyder's Justice League is the culmination of a trilogy that started in Man of Steel and continued through Batman v Superman. The director then had plans for Justice League 2, as well as a third movie that would have seen Superman's son become the new Batman. It's unknown if they'll ever become a reality but, for now, we'd recommend watching Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Zack Snyder's Justice League in order. Joss Whedon's theatrical version still has its place in the grand tapestry of the DCEU; it all depends on how much of a Snyder stan you are.

DC standalone movies: is there a correct order?

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

One last thing to mop up: it may be tempting to try and stick Joker and The Batman into any sort of order but they operate in their own spheres and should be treated as such. Essentially, you can watch Joker and the upcoming The Batman in any order. They’re very much their own beasts and don’t connect to the DCEU in any way whatsoever.

If you're a comic book movie completionist then check out our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order.

Bradley Russell

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).