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

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

Wondering how to watch the DC movies in order? There's not exactly an easy answer to that question. The so-called DCEU is a complicated beast to understand, with Warner Bros. Discovery seemingly changing its strategy at a whim. After all, this is the studio that decided to cancel Batgirl after the whole movie was filmed.

Below, we untangle just how to watch the DC movies in order, starting with release order, and then drilling down into chronological. We also look at the recent DC movies that are not part of the main DCEU canon (marking them accordingly) and at movies that are adjacent to the main timeline. There's a lot to get into. Whether you just want to see the full adventures of the Man of Steel, or have found a new love for Batman after Robert Pattinson's turn as the character, you're in 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 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 (opens in new tab)

DC movies yet to be released – in order

  • Black Adam – October 21, 2022
  • Shazam: Fury of the Gods – December 21, 2022
  • Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom – March 17, 2023
  • The Flash – June 23, 2023
  • Blue Beetle – August 18, 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

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, though the fact the multiverse exists in DC movies may mean that the events of Snyder's Justice League take place, just in a parallel universe to the main timeline.

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

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.

Is The Batman 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 DCEU 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.

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

Bradley Russell
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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