There are now 10 official DCEU (Extended Universe) movies out in the world, and despite having different directors and styles, they all work together to form a more or less continuous movieverse timeline. That’s good news for viewers who want to jump in — or fans who are planning a complete run of the movies from beginning to end.
We’re helping make DC binges and other events more fun by giving you a quick list of how to watch the DC movies in order, depending on your preference. Given the nature of the DC heroes and when certain movies were greenlit, chronological order is wildly different from the order in which the titles were released. We’re going to tackle chronological order first for those who care the most about the overall storyline — and then we’ll dive into the release order for those who want to mimic an in-the-theater experience through the years as closely as possible. Finally, we’ll give you a look at what’s coming from the DCEU, from The Batman and The Flash to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s upcoming DC debut in the Shazam! spinoff-sequel Black Adam.
When you have main characters that are essentially immortal, come from other planets, or have trouble remembering what day it is, then timelines can get a little tricky. This list is for those who prefer to watch things as they unfold from past to present, moving through time in a logical way (well, as logical as we can get it).
Note: We’ll let you decide if Justice League and the immensely long full-cut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League are the same movie or not. Hardcore fans will want to watch the re-made, uncut version (which feels more like a miniseries) after the original movie. If you want to save some time, you can choose one or the other, and if you want to save the most time, just watch the originally released film.
Storylines and personalities clash in this sequel that sees Batman (Ben Affleck) following a dark path that makes him wary of Superman’s (Cavill) power, while Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) plots to turn the world against Superman. These plans birth a monstrosity that can only be taken down when the two heroes stop fighting and help each other … but the victory costs the life of Superman. Dawn of Justice serves as a sequel to Superman’s story, along with the introduction of a DCEU Batman and eventually Wonder Woman (Gadot), who finally shows up in the “present day.”
Intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) puts together a team of expendable (and dangerous) criminals to battle an ancient magical threat. The team, including members like Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Deadshot (Will Smith), battle evil forces, face off against The Joker (Jared Leto), and get in lots of trouble. The threat is eventually sealed away, with only a few of the squad left alive. Based on the references to other events, this particular Suicide Squad is put together sometime after Dawn of Justice but before the gang gets together in Justice League.
This option is for viewers who prefer to watch the movies in the order that they hit theaters. For some, this feels like a more authentic experience and can help more clearly explain the difference in tone or style as the movies progress — as well as any small retcons that may otherwise be confusing. Here’s how to watch:
- Man of Steel (2013)
- Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Suicide Squad (2016)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
- Justice League (2017)
- Aquaman (2018)
- Shazam! (2019)
- Birds of Prey (2020)
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
- Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
- The Suicide Squad (2021)
Matt Reeve’s 2022 The Batman (Robert Pattinson) is out, but it’s not on our list. Not only is it a standalone story unconnected to DCEU events, but it’s just not part of the timeline or even the DCEU multiverse as a whole. Like Joker before it, The Batman exists all on its own, and you shouldn’t expect its characters to make appearances in other DC movies until its sequel. When The Flash is released (currently set for 2023), Ben Affleck will return to play his version of Batman. After that — who knows? But, as things stand, you shouldn’t expect Pattinson’s character to appear in any DCEU movies.
Our list works for the DC movies released so far — but true fans are probably wondering about future releases, too! Don’t worry; we’ll keep our list updated. But for now, it’s important to know that 2022 is going to be a big year for the DC movieverse. Here are the confirmed titles coming in the future months and years that will change our list (sadly, we’re not counting DC’s League of Super-Pets at this time).
- Black Adam (October 21, 2022)
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods (March 17, 2023)
- The Flash (June 23, 2023)
- Blue Beetle (August 28, 2023)
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 25, 2023)
- Wonder Woman 3 (TBA)
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