How to Watch the DC Movies in Order

How to Watch DC Movies in Order

It’s the holiday season.

Binge-watching is now a staple of any family gathering. But seeing as you’ve probably burned through every series or documentary, you might at a loss for what to watch next. So to the true comic book fan, we say this: dedicate this holiday season to watching the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movies in order.

With ten films from the DCU available now, and a handful more arriving in the next few years, you’ll need a trusty guide to navigate the order of viewing.

So, if you’re looking to double-down on, we’ve put together lists of what order to watch DC movies, both chronologically and by release date.

Pro Tip: the DCU library is available for rent on Prime Video (for which there is a free 30-day trial), as well as HBO Max. If you already have HBO Max, add the app to your Amazon TV or Firestick.

DC Movies in Chronological Order

Albeit not as clean and coherent as its Marvel counterpart, there is a chronological order to the DC movies. The careful viewer will notice events referenced across films, cameos, crossovers and a few Easter eggs.

So, for the maximum experience, here are the DC movies list in order to watch:

  1. Wonder Woman (2017)

  2. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

  3. Man of Steel (2013)

  4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

  5. Suicide Squad (2016)

  6. Justice League (2021)

  7. Aquaman (2018)

  8. Shazam! (2019)

  9. Birds of Prey (2020)

  10. The Suicide Squad (2021)

For more on the chronological order of the DCEU films, continue reading.

1. Wonder Woman

  • Release Date: June 2, 2017

  • Easter Egg:

  • How to Watch “Wonder Woman”: Prime Video, HBO Max

The first Wonder Woman entry precedes the timelines of the other DCU films by a longshot. The earliest scenes trace the creation of the Amazonian warrior women by the god Zeus on the island of Themyscira, making this a shoe-in for first DCU film to watch.

Beyond that, the bulk of the film follows Diana through post-WWI 1918, still decades earlier than even the 2020 sequel.

2. Wonder Woman 1984

  • Release Date: December 25, 2020

  • Easter Egg: The opening scene’s Amazon Games – in addition to providing Diana’s origins – reference Wonder Woman’s comic debut in 1941.

  • How to Watch “Wonder Woman 1984”: Prime Video, HBO Max

The opening scene’s ancient Amazon games notwithstanding, Wonder Woman 1984 takes place entirely in – you guessed it – 1984. Despite one or two Easter Eggs, WW1984 functions largely as a standalone film, operating outside the otherwise integrated DCEU.

Recommended reading: Wonder Woman: 1984 #1 by Steve Pugh

3. Man of Steel

  • Release Date: June 14, 2013

  • Easter Egg: General Zod destroys a Wayne Enterprises satellite.

  • How to Watch “Man of Steel”: Prime Video, HBO Max

The first film to officially kickstart the DCU, but the 3rd in chronological order, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel occupies ‘present day’ (2013, going by release date). Although there is one flashback – the annihilation of Krypton – this film fits neatly into the post-Wonder Woman, pre-Dawn of Justice chronology.

Recommended reading: Superman and the Authority by Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, et al.

4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

  • Release Date: March 25, 2016

  • Easter Egg: In one scene, Batman drives by “Nicholson Trading Co.” — an homage to Jack Nicholson, who played Joker in Batman (1989).

  • How to Watch “Batman v Superman”: Prime Video, HBO Max

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is hard one to peg, but #4 seems most appropriate. The timeline jumps back as early as 1981, capture the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents; and flashes forward as far as the dystopian, post-civilization Earth (read: “Knightmare”).

Outside of those narrative diversions, the core of this film takes place a year and half post-Man of Steel events.

Recommended reading: Knightmare #1 by Rob Liefeld and Robert Loren Fleming

5. Suicide Squad

  • Release Date: August 5, 2016

  • Easter Egg:

  • How to Watch “Suicide Squad”: Prime Video, HBO Max

While arguably one of the weaker films in the DCU, the first Suicide Squad nonetheless connects Batman v Superman – with a reference to the death of Superman – to the events of the subsequent DCU films.

6. Justice League/Zack Snyder’s Justice League

  • Release Date: March 18, 2021

  • Easter Egg: After the credits roll, Lex Luthor and Deathstroke discuss the Justice League and quip “Shouldn’t we create a League of our own?” — a node to the Injustice League.

  • How to Watch “Justice League”: Prime Video, HBO Max

Ancient Steppenwolf flashbacks aside, Justice League occupies the DC universe era of two years after Batman vs Superman, and about one year after the first Suicide Squad film.

7. Aquaman

  • Release Date: December 21, 2018

  • Easter Egg: The character of Fisherman King marks one of Djimon Hounsou’s three superhero roles in 2018 (alongside Shazam! and Captain Marvel)

  • How to Watch “Aquaman”: Prime Video, HBO Max

Like WW1984, Aquaman is part of the DCEU only in name, and could more or less be viewed as a standalone film. But, timeline-wise, this tracks Arther Curry a few months after the conclusion of Justice League.

Recommended reading: Aquaman 80th Anniversary by Dan WAtters

8. Shazam!

  • Release Date: April 5, 2019

  • Easter Egg: Director David F. Sandberg confirmed the allusive “smiley” faces on the social worker’s desk are in fact a nod to the Watchmen.

  • How to Watch “Shazam!”: Prime Video, HBO Max

There’s not a lot of concrete evidence to go on, but we can deduce that Shazam! takes place shortly after Justice League (a newspaper in Freddy’s bedroom bears the headline ‘Superman is Back’) and sometime after Aquaman (per a post-credits sequence joke).

The Shazam! film may feel a bit of a standalone film in the DCU universe, especially if you miss the surprising number of easter eggs and DC references.

Recommended reading: Shazam!: The World’s Mightiest Mortal Vol. 1

9. Birds of Prey

  • Release Date: February 7, 2020

  • Easter Egg: Harley’s names her beloved hyena “Bruce,” after “that hunky Wayne guy.”

  • How to Watch “Birds of Prey”: Prime Video, HBO Max

The 2020 Birds Of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is relatively time-agnostic. There aren’t really any indicators of order with relation to the rest of the DCU, but it should be viewed after Suicide Squad and before The Suicide Squad.

Recommended reading: Birds of Prey: Fighters by Trade by Gail Simone, Joe Bennet & Jack Jadson

10: The Suicide Squad

  • Release Date: August 5, 2021

  • Easter Egg: In the film’s opening, the doctor who inserts the bomb into Savant’s head is played by writer John Ostrander, who created the Suicide Squad comic books.

  • How to Watch “The Suicide Squad”: Prime Video, HBO Max

An immeasurable improvement upon its Ayer predecessor, The Suicide Squad is the latest DCU film in chronology and by release date. Very little knowledge of the DC universe is required for reviewing, but like most films, it does have a handful of in-jokes and references.

Recommended reading: Suicide Squad Trial by Fire by John Ostrander

Upcoming DCU Films

  • Black Adam (Jul 2022)

  • The Flash (Nov 2022)

  • Aquaman 2: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Dec 2022)

  • Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods (Jun 2023)

DC Movies in Order of Release

Below, you can find all DC movies in order of release date. Note: with several more DCU films arriving in the next two years, we will update this list accordingly. 

DCU Film Release Date
Man of Steel June 14, 2013
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice March 25, 2016
Suicide Squad August 5, 2016
Wonder Woman June 2, 2017
Justice League November 17, 2017
Aquaman December 21, 2018
Shazam! April 5, 2019
Birds of Prey February 7, 2020
Wonder Woman 1984 December 25, 2020
Zack Snyder’s Justice League March 18, 2021
The Suicide Squad August 6, 2021