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

So, you want to watch the DC movies in order. The Batman is here and you’re understandably keen for a trip to Gotham, via Metropolis and Atlantis. But, with DC’s varying visions, it can be tricky to pin down the release order, chronological order, and what is and isn’t connected to the DC Extended Universe.

So, we’re here to help! Below, you’ll find the DC movies in release order, including drilling down into what you can ignore if you’re intent on doing a DCEU-only marathon. Plus, there’s a more complex chronological order for those looking to spice up their DC rewatch from Man of Steel onwards. 

Finally, there’s a cursory glance over to Joker and 2022’s The Batman. We dissect their place in the grand tapestry of DC stories and why they are definitively standalone stories that can be watched separately from the mainline DC series. 

How to watch DC movies in order – release order

Superman

(Image credit: DC/Warner Bros.)

Best for: Newcomers to DC

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 Extended Universe (DCEU). But it’s still hard to pin down. Should you count Joker? What about 2022’s The Batman?

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’d recommend watching the 2017 Justice League for ‘canon’ purposes, but Zack Snyder’s 2021 version at the end for a different take on some of your favorite characters.

DC movies yet to be released – in order

  • DC League of Super-Pets (May 20, 2022)
  • Black Adam (July 29, 2022)
  • The Flash (November 4, 2022)
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 16, 2022)
  • Batgirl (TBC 2022)
  • Shazam: Fury of the Gods (June 2, 2023)
  • Blue Beetle (August 18, 2023)

The already-released DC movies mentioned above can be watched right now on HBO Max (opens in new tab)

How to watch DC movies in order – chronological order

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

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 25+ on offer from Marvel’s side of things, even if the exact years are less clear-cut. 

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’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
  • 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?

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Honestly? As much as you want it to. For now, it’s not considered canon, though DC introducing the concept of the multiverse into its movies may yet make it easy for Warner Bros. to slide it into ‘official’ status.

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. It’s unknown if they’ll ever become a reality but, for now, we’d recommend watching Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League in order. Joss Whedon’s theatrical version still has its place in the grand tapestry of the DCEU; it all depends on how much of a Snyder stan you are.

DC standalone movies: is The Batman connected to the DCEU?

The Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

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 Batman in any order and at any time. They’re very much their own beasts and don’t connect to the DCEU in any way whatsoever.

The Batman director Matt Reeves has admitted as such, telling Esquire (opens in new tab) that his movie “shouldn’t have to carry the weight of connecting the characters from all those other movies. I didn’t want them in there.”

If you’re a comic book movie completionist then check out our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order.

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