The DC Extended Universe had a less-than-stellar start when compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, it is now a timeline of events that spans several years of DC Comics movies:
Fortunately, if you’re curious about how to watch the DC movies in order, we’ve got you covered. We;ve listed DC’s movies chronologically and then in release order.
We only list related movies via events and characters, making sure they are part of the “DC Extended Universe.” This list does not include The Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan, Batman by Tim Burton, or Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds, since their worlds do not overlap with the DC Extended Universe.
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Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to get going. Here are the DC movies in order:
DC Movies in Chronological Order of Events
Wonder Woman, HBO Max
The first of this DC Movies In Order list is Wonder Woman. This movie begins with Zeus creating the Amazon warriors, all of whom live on the magical island of Themyscira, where they are protected and invisible to the world:
While fighting in World War I, US pilot Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) found Themyscira by chance in 1918, meeting up with Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), who then goes on to help in the World War. “Present-day” scenes from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice serve as the movie’s “bookends.”
Wonder Woman 1984, HBO Max
The events of the sequel Wonder Woman 1984 take place almost entirely in 1984, except for a prologue during Diana Prince’s (Wonder Woman) childhood.
Man of Steel, HBO Max
Regarding superhero movies, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is where things began. The movie opens with the destruction of Krypton, which is followed by scenes of Clark Kent (Superman) as a child and a teenager growing up in Kansas before we arrive at the “present day,” where the protagonist is somewhere between his twenties.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, HBO Max
The chronology of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is haphazard. There are flashbacks to Bruce Wayne’s childhood in 1981 when his parents were killed and flash-forwards to a barren Earth ruled by the villain Darkseid in the conclusion of Man of Steel, which Bruce Wayne sees from his perspective (the “Knightmare” sequences). Ben Affleck’s Batman is hardened and resentful of Superman by the end of the story, which takes place 18 months after the events of Man of Steel.
Suicide Squad, HBO Max
Because the death of Superman is mentioned in the movie, we know Suicide Squad takes place around a year after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. We even get a cameo from Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne meeting with Amanda Waller. She has now assumed a more significant leadership role among the super-powered group. It is revealed that previous to the events of Man of Steel, Batman pursued the Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).
Justice League, HBO Max
One of the most discussed movies on this DC Movies In Order list is Justice League. It was released two years after Batman v Superman and a year after Suicide Squad, it features a flashback to a time thousands of years ago when the monstrous Steppenwolf sought to rule Earth but was thwarted by an alliance of Amazons, Atlanteans, humans, and Olympian Gods. Justice League continues on from that plot, combining heroes from earlier and future movies.
Even though it is not part of the official canon, the four-hour epic version of Justice League, titled the Zach Snyder cut, is superior to the movie’s theatrical cut. So, if you have the option, when the Snyder cut (it makes more sense).
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Aquaman, HBO Max
Aquaman was released in 2018 and was directed by James Man, starring Jason Momoa. It pits Aquaman against his half-brother King Orm, who wants to destroy the surface world. In terms of action movies, if you are looking for a Marvel-esque experience, this is the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movie for you.
Shazam!, HBO Max
In Shazam!, most of the action takes place during the holiday season of 2018. However, director David F. Sandberg begins the movie with a flashback to the year 1974 to introduce Thaddeus Sivana, the movie’s main antagonist (Mark Strong).
Birds of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn, HBO Max
Birds of Prey takes place four years after the events of Suicide Squad. It stars a colorful array of characters, specifically Harley Quinn, who after splitting up with the Joker, is threatened by the Gotham City crime lord. What follows is an action-packed flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously – and is easily one of the better flicks on this DC Movies In Order list.
The Suicide Squad, HBO Max
Directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad is a follow-up to the first Suicide Squad, despite having no #2 in its title. Once again, Viola Davis’ character, Amanda Waller forces Task Force X, aka the suicide squad into action. The movie has some excellent moments and a bevy of interesting characters, including Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).
DC Movies In Order Of Release
- Man of Steel (June 14, 2013) – HBO Max
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25, 2016) – HBO Max
- Suicide Squad (August 5, 2016) – HBO Max
- Wonder Woman (June 2, 2017) – HBO Max
- Justice League (November 17, 2017) – HBO Max
- Aquaman (December 21, 2018) – HBO Max
- Shazam! (April 5, 2019) – HBO Max
- Birds of Prey (February 7, 2020) – HBO Max
- Wonder Woman 1984 (December 25, 2020) – HBO Max
- Zack Snyder’s Justice League (March 18, 2021) – HBO Max
- The Suicide Squad (August 6, 2021) – HBO Max
The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson is not part of the DCEU.