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

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

Figuring out how to watch the DC movies in order can be particularly difficult, especially with the new DCU Chapter One: Gods and Monsters on the horizon, which is set to upend the DC universe as we know it. This year has already seen the release of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and then there's still the likes of The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman 2 on the way, with sequels to The Batman and Joker coming further down the line. 

There's also the issue of what is and isn't canon, which can make figuring out how to watch the DC movies in order particularly tricky. But that's where we come in. We've got all you need to know to figure out the right watch order, beginning with Man of Steel and going all the way up to Shazam! 2. There's also the non-DCU films below, too, like Zack Snyder's Justice League. So, if you're looking to catch up before The Flash, you've come to the right place.

How to watch DC movies in order – release order

Best for: Newcomers to DC

While the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Bat-trilogy and Constantine don’t count as DCEU and should be treated as standalone entities, almost everything from Man of Steel onwards is part of the same DC Extended Universe (DCEU). However, there are some oddities.

For simplicity’s sake, we’re sticking to everything released under the DC banner, though Joker and The Batman are completely standalone stories in their own universe away from the DCEU (more on that below). Here’s how to watch DC movies in release order, discounting the movies that haven’t yet been released. 

As for the Snyder Cut, we recommend watching the 2017 Justice League for 'canon' purposes, but Zack Snyder's 2021 version for a different and more definitive take on some of your favorite characters – plus, it's a superior movie (only it's four hours long...). Best of all, the already-released DC movies mentioned below can (for the most part) be watched right now on HBO Max

DC movies yet to be released – in order

  • The Flash – June 23, 2023
  • Blue Beetle – August 18, 2023
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – December 25, 2023

How to watch DC movies in order – chronological order

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Best for: Those who are rewatching the DCEU.

The chronological order of DC movies is mostly easy and pales in comparison to the monstrous Marvel timeline. Still, some (such as Aquaman, Shazam!, and Birds of Prey) 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 (main story) (1914-18)
  • Wonder Woman 1984
  • Man of Steel
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Wonder Woman (modern-day scenes)
  • Suicide Squad
  • Justice League (theatrical)
  • Aquaman
  • Shazam!
  • Birds of Prey
  • The Suicide Squad
  • Black Adam
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods

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?

Justice is Gray

(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC/HBO Max)

For now, Zack Snyder's Justice League is not considered canon. For many fans, however, 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

Those movies will likely not come to pass, but you can still enjoy Snyder's trilogy: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Are The Batman and Joker connected to the DCEU?

The Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

When it comes to Robert Pattinson's The Batman and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, there's no correct watch order (at least, not until the sequels and spin-offs come out). The two movies are also not connected in any way – in fact, The Batman introduces its own version of the Clown Prince of Crime.

Both The Batman and Joker can be watched at your own leisure and do not need to be part of your DCU watch. However, if you really want to get every DC movie under your belt, there's no harm watching these amid your release order watch through, but don't expect Phoenix to pop up and fight the Justice League anytime ever. Both movies fall under the Elseworlds banner of the new DCU. 

You've watched the DC movies in order, now how about knowing how to watch the Marvel movies in order?

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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