DC Movies in Order: How to Watch Chronologically or by Release Date
The DC Extended Universe of movies got off to a bit of a rougher start than , but the fact remains there is a timeline of events that occur throughout a series of DC Comics movies released over the past seven years. The first to hit theaters, of course, was Man of Steel – the Christopher Nolan-produced, Zack Snyder-directed gritty reboot of Superman that was intended to kick off an interconnected series of films. The idea was to build towards a two-part Justice League event, all spearheaded by Snyder, but due to a variety of factors this exact vision didn’t come to fruition.
Still, especially for a stretch of five movies or so, there is a chronological order to the DC movies. Events from one movie are referenced and built upon in others, creating some exciting crossovers and cameos.
So if you’re wondering how to watch the DC movies in order, we have you covered. Below we’ve put together a list of how to watch all the DC movies in chronological order, followed by how to watch them in order of release. For the purposes of this list, we’re only including movies that are part of the “DC Extended Universe” – meaning only films that were made to be expressly connected by events and characters. So that means Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and Tim Burton's Batman and the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern are not on this list, because the universe of those movies don't cross over with the universe of these Snyder-led movies.
So with that out of the way, let’s get to it. Here are the DC movies in order.
DC Movies in Chronological Order of Events
The events of pre-date the events of all the other DC movies by a wide margin. The film flashes way back to show the creation of the Amazon women warriors by Zeus, who all live on the secret island of Themyscira. The bulk of the story takes place in 1918, when US pilot Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) accidentally stumbles upon Themyscira while fighting in World War I. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) follows Steve to London, where she makes her mark on history by fighting alongside the Allied forces in World War I. The movie is bookended by “present day” scenes that take place sometime after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Wonder Woman 1984
Aside from a prologue set during Diana Prince's childhood, the sequel takes place largely in the year 1984. Don't hold your breath for many DCEU tie-ins, however, as the Patty Jenkins-directed sequel mostly stands on its own.
Man of Steel
Director Zack Snyder’s is the film that started it all, and largely takes place in present day (circa 2013) – although the film opens with a prologue that shows the destruction of Kal-El’s home planet Krypton, and we subsequently see scenes of Clark Kent as a child and teenager growing up in Kansas before we get to “present day” where he’s somewhere in his twenties – so about 20 years after the destruction of Krypton.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Timeline-wise, kind of runs the gamut. There are flashbacks to Bruce Wayne’s childhood in 1981 when his parents were killed, flashbacks to show the ending of Man of Steel from Bruce Wayne’s perspective, and there are flashforwards to a desolated Earth that’s been overrun by villain Darkseid (those ). But the bulk of the film’s story takes place about 18 months after the events of Man of Steel, with Ben Affleck’s Batman now extremely hardened and harboring a grudge against Superman.
The events of take place about a year after the events of Batman v Superman, as the death of Superman is referenced in the film and we even get a cameo of Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne meeting with Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) having now taken on a more leadership role among the superheroes. But there are also flashbacks to Batman tracking down Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) that take place before Man of Steel.
The bulk of takes place about two years after the events of Batman v Superman and one year after Suicide Squad, but we also get a big flashback sequence to thousands of years ago when the villainous Steppenwolf attempted to take over Earth and was foiled by an alliance between Amazons, Atlanteans, humans, and Olympian Gods.
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Although , the four-hour epic is a more complete, more compelling version of the theatrical cut of Justice League. It also fits into the timeline exactly the same.
The standalone movie takes place primarily several months after the events of Justice League, as we watch Jason Momoa’s titular hero protect his own kingdom. But there are flashbacks that show Aquaman’s origin story back in 1985.
Most of the standalone film takes place over Christmas in 2018, but the film opens with a flashback to 1974 to reveal the origin story of its villain Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
Birds of Prey
This standalone Harley Quinn movie takes place about four years after the events of Suicide Squad. In the wake of Batman v Superman and Justice League, the DCEU continued to get more disconnected, to the point that has only very few references to Harley Quinn’s actions in Suicide Squad.
The Suicide Squad
The James Gunn DC movie takes place an indeterminate amount of time after the events of the first Suicide Squad movie, and presumably after the events of Birds of Prey, but in truth the film is wholly unconcered with DC interconnectivity. What we do know is Harley Quinn has landed herself back in jail (hence her involvement in Task Force X's latest assignment), and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is an old hat at enacting these "Suicide Squad" missions.
DC Movies in Order of Release
And here are all the DC Extended Universe movies in order of when they were released.
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