The essential DC movies to watch before The Flash

Ezra Miller in The Flash
(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

The Flash is zooming onto our screens very soon, which means it's time to start preparing for a multiversal adventure. Naturally, that means there are some other movies to check out before you head to the theater. 

We've got the must-watch DC movies below to help you get ready for The Flash. They cover Barry Allen, General Zod, and Michael Keaton's Batman, so you'll be up to speed (no pun intended) for the new blockbuster in no time. 

Plus, our guide is completely spoiler free, so you can get a head start without fearing those pesky plot details. So, for all you need to know, look to the below. 

Justice League

Justice League

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

Ezra Miller's Flash is first introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but all you really need to watch to get the lowdown on Barry Allen is Justice League. To be clear, that's the theatrical version, not Zack Snyder's Justice League, since the Snyder Cut is not actually canon. 

Justice League introduces Barry properly – the scene with his dad is important to understanding Barry's drive to save his mother's life in The Flash – and sees the Scarlet Speedster working with Ben Affleck's Batman; their friendship is another crucial part of the new DC movie. You'll also see Barry go up against the villainous Steppenwolf and meet Superman in a quest to save the world. 

Man of Steel

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel

(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

In The Flash, Barry accidentally travels to a different timeline, one where superheroes do not exist. He's also managed to arrive right when Michael Shannon's General Zod makes contact with Earth. Zod is the key antagonist of Man of Steel, which sees the Kryptonian general and Henry Cavill's Superman go head to head in a massive battle that almost destroys Metropolis. 

If you want a refresher on Zod's plans for Earth and what happened when he clashed with Supes, Man of Steel is a must-watch. It'll also make clear why Barry and Bruce Wayne so desperately need the help of Sasha Calle's Supergirl in The Flash – Zod is one formidable foe.  

Batman and Batman Returns

Michael Keaton as Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

Michael Keaton's Batman is a key part of The Flash, which means getting familiar with his tenure as the Caped Crusader is essential. Keaton starred in both Batman and Batman Returns – Batman sees him go up against Jack Nicholson's Joker, while Batman Returns features Danny DeVito's Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman. 

While Keaton's Batman in The Flash is much older than the one of the Tim Burton movies (and he's retired, too), it won't hurt to recap his earlier adventures to better understand this version of the Dark Knight. 

That's all you need to know before The Flash! For even more, check out our guide on how to watch the DC movies in order.

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.