There’s never been a better time to be a DC fan. But what if you’re a newcomer looking to get in on the action or are simply planning a DCEU rewatch? Our guide on how to watch the DC movies in order covers all bases and should go some way to helping you zoom through Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman’s finest adventures.
Below, we’ve broken the DC watch order down into two distinct parts. One – best suited for beginners and those looking to keep things straightforward ahead of Wonder Woman 1984 later this year – is in order of release. The other, for DC diehards, is a rough chronological order so you can go step-by-step on the journeys of some of the World’s Finest.
We’ll even dive into the ever-complicated issue of DC’s standalones (such as Joker) and whether they should be watched in a certain order, too. Join us as we rundown how to watch the DC movies in order.
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How to watch DC movies in order – release order
Best for: Newcomers to DC and those who want to catch up before Wonder Woman 1984
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 2021’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.
- Man of Steel (2013)
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Suicide Squad (2016)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
- Justice League (2017)
- Aquaman (2018)
- Shazam! (2019)
- Birds of Prey (2020)
DC movies yet to be released – in order
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
- Justice League Snyder Cut (2021)
- The Suicide Squad (2021)
- Black Adam (2021)
- The Flash (2022)
- Shazam 2 (2022)
- Aquaman 2 (2022)
How to watch DC movies in order – chronological order
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
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?
We’ll have to wait until 2021 (or DC’s FanDome event) to see how the Snyder Cut ties into the DCEU-at-large. For now, it’s best to err on the side of caution and place it firmly outside of DCEU canon until we know otherwise.
Then there’s the thorny issue of The Flash bringing back Michael Keaton’s Batman in 2022, potentially due to some multiverse shenanigans. We’ll cross that incredibly rickety bridge when we get there but, for the time being at least, things are fairly easy to follow in the DCEU.
DC standalone movies: is there a correct order?
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.