Even if you're a fan, you'd be forgiven for being somewhat confused by the current state of DC films.


After launching its rival to the Marvel Cinematic Universe a decade ago with the Man of Steel, the comics publisher is bringing an end to the DC Extended Universe with the recent release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

The plan is now for Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn to spearhead a new franchise under the simplified name The DC Universe, beginning with Superman: Legacy in 2025 which will introduce David Coronswet's new interpretation of the iconic hero from Krypton.

That said, there is still some confusion around the timeline, with Gunn insinuating that some characters including Jason Momoa's Aquaman and the recently introduced Blue Beetle could stick around – suggesting that while the DC Extended Universe is at its end, some of the faces we know from it could still have a part to play.

Things are muddied all the more by the existence of two completely separate strands based on some of DC's most iconic characters, with neither Matt Reeves's The Batman flicks nor Todd Phillips's Joker pictures considered to be part of either the DCEU or DC Universe.

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The DCEU chapter might now have been closed, but if you still want to watch any of the films from this somewhat turbulent 10-year period we have a handy guide below that outlines two methods of watching the movies in order – by release or chronologically.

Read on for everything you need to know.

How to watch DCEU movies and series in release order

The simplest method of watching the DC Extended Universe movies is by following the order they were released in cinemas. The story kicks off with the introduction of arguably the publisher's most iconic hero, Superman, in 2013's Man of Steel, followed by other comic book greats like Batman and Wonder Woman in later instalments...

1. Man of Steel (2013)

Henry Cavill as Superman
Warner Bros

Man of Steel retells Superman's iconic origin story for the first time in a generation, chronicling his arrival on Earth from the doomed planet Krypton and his adoption by a kind couple living in Kansas, as well as his first major test at the hands of the villainous General Zod. Henry Cavill (The Witcher), Michael Shannon (Knives Out), Russell Crowe (The Loudest Voice) and Amy Adams (Arrival) lead an all-star cast.

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

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

Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (WB)

This long-awaited sequel to Man of Steel expands the universe significantly, uniting the so-called DC Trinity and laying the groundwork for the formation of the Justice League. Following the events of Man of Steel, billionaire vigilante Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) has become convinced that Superman is a threat to the human race and strives to eliminate him. Jesse Eisenberg co-stars as arch-nemesis Lex Luthor, while Gal Gadot makes her debut as Diana Prince - also known as Wonder Woman.

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

3. Suicide Squad (2016)

suicide squad

Viola Davis takes on the role of cold and calculating strategist Amanda Waller, who assembles a team of despicable super criminals to send on suicide missions around the world. Will Smith (Bad Boys for Life) and Margot Robbie (Bombshell) shine brightest as sharpshooting assassin Deadshot and the Joker's insane associate Harley Quinn, leading the charge against Cara Delevingne's powerful Enchantress.

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

4. Wonder Woman (2017)

Warner Brothers, sky pics, TL

This prequel heads all the way back to World War I to tell Wonder Woman's epic origin story, which had previously been hinted at in Batman v Superman. The movie depicts Diana's childhood among her fellow Amazonians on the beautiful island of Themyscira, where US fighter pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) suddenly crash lands. They team up and head for the frontlines, as Wonder Woman seeks out her longtime rival Ares, the God of War.

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

5. Justice League (2017)

Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in Justice League (Warner Bros, HF)
Warner Bros

DC's premier team of super heroes unites! Justice League sees Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) team up to fight Steppenwolf, an extraterrestrial being who plans to launch a devastating assault on Earth.

Rent ot Buy on Prime Video

6. Aquaman (2018)

Jason Momoa in Aquaman (Warner Bros)

Set after the events of Justice League, Aquaman focuses on Jason Momoa's Atlantean hero, who must retrieve a legendary trident to stop his half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson), from unleashing a terrible attack on the surface world. Warrior princess Mera (Amber Heard) joins him on a globe-trotting adventure, with the vengeful Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) hot on their trail.

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

7. Shazam! (2019)

Zachary Levi as Billy Batson in Shazam! (Warner Bros)
Warner Bros

A lighter chapter in the DC Extended Universe, Shazam sees orphaned teen Billy Batson (Asher Angel) granted incredible powers by an ancient wizard, who entrusts him to be the champion needed to save mankind from an imminent threat. He and his foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) have a great time getting to grips with the new abilities, which transform Billy into an older, stronger alter ego portrayed by Zachary Levi (Chuck). But it isn't long before they come face-to-face with unhinged power-hungry scientist Dr Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong)...

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

8. Birds of Prey (2020)

Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Margot Robbie, Ella Jay Basco and Jurnee Smollett-Bell in Birds of prey (WB)

A follow-up of sorts to 2016's Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey follows Harley Quinn after she liberates herself from the Joker's grasp and sets off on a new path in life. When she is targeted by the psychopathic crime boss Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), she forms an alliance with fellow Gotham City badasses Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and no-nonsense cop Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

9. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984
Twiter/ Warner Bros

Gal Gadot reprised her role as Diana Prince for this sequel film Wonder Woman 1984, which follows the superheroine in the 1980s as she is unexpectedly reunited with dead lover Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and comes up against two foes in the form of Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). Warner Bros released the film during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic on HBO Max in the US and in cinemas and later on digital in the UK. The film was the most-watched straight-to-streaming film of 2020 but received mixed critical reviews and was a box office flop due to the pandemic. However, a sequel and spin-off are in development.

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

10. The Suicide Squad (2021)

The Suicide Squad

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn brought his comic book movie sensibilities to DC in this sequel and soft-reboot of Suicide Squad, which follows the team of villains/anti-heroes on a new mission for the ruthless Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). In addition to the return of characters such as Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), we also met new characters such as Peacemaker (John Cena) and Bloodsport (Idris Elba). Released in cinemas and on HBO Max in the US, The Suicide Squad was a box office failure amid the Covid-19 pandemic but was critically acclaimed, spawning the HBO Max series spin-off Peacemaker.

Rent or Buy on Prime Video

11. Peacemaker (2022)

John Cena in DC's Peacemaker

A spin-off HBO Max series following The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker follows the eponymous anti-hero after he recovers from his injuries and joins the enigmatic A.R.G.U.S. black ops squad dubbed "Project Butterfly". Peacemaker sets off to fight this threat with the aid of his A.R.G.U.S. colleagues and faces down a powerful threat taking unpredictable forms. The series has already been renewed for a second season on HBO Max, but the first has not been shown in the UK.

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)


After a lengthy and vigorous fan campaign, Warner Bros enabled Zack Snyder to return to Justice League to work on his own cut of the film after previously having to leave the production and being replaced by Joss Whedon. While it is not strictly canon now, the longer cut of Justice League expands on subplots of the previous instalments and offers new insights into characters such as Cyborg and The Flash. It does, however, set up a sequel that - at the moment - does not look set to be made.

Rent or Buy now on Prime Video

Black Adam (2022)

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam
Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam in Black Adam. DC Films

A passion project long in the making for Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Black Adam saw the former wrestler turned blockbuster star take on the role of the titular former slave – who was bestowed with the powers of Egyptian Gods some 5,000 years earlier and is finally freed from a guardhouse to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world. Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan and Noah Centineo were among those to star alongside Johnson.

Buy now on Prime Video

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

Zachary Levi in Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Zachary Levi in Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Warner Bros Pictures

Four years after the original, Asher Angel and Zachary Levi reprised their roles as Billy Batson/Shazam in this follow-up – which was rather less well received by critics than the first film. This time round, Billy and his brightly costumed compatriots had to face off against vengeful Greek Godesses Hespera, Kalypso and Anthea – aka, the Daughters of Atlas – who arrive on Earth in search of stolen magic. The villains are brought to the screen by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler.

Buy now on Prime Video

The Flash (2023)

Ezra Miller as Barry Allen in The Flash
Ezra Miller as Barry Allen in The Flash. Warner Bros Pictures / DC Comics

This much-delayed solo offering for the titular superhero speedster (Ezra Miller) is perhaps most notable for seeing Michael Keaton reprise his iconic role as Batman, after Barry Allen accidentally ends up in a parallel universe when he attempts to alter the timeline to save his family.

While the film proved bitterly divisive with critics, hardcore DC fans had plenty to enjoy, thanks to a number of other big name cameos alongside Keaton's substantial role.

Rent or Buy now on Prime Video

Blue Beetle (2023)

The cast of Blue Beetle standing up and gathered round a table
The cast of Blue Beetle. WB

Billed as the first Latino-led superhero film, Blue Beetle introduced a reluctant new hero to the DCEU in the shape of college graduate Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) who acquires new powers when an ancient relic he's been asked to look after chooses him as its new host.

With some help from his eccentric family, he must use the powers to face off against Susan Sarandon's powerful businesswoman Victoria Kord, who is desperate to use the relic to build a new weapon.

Rent or Buy now on Prime Video

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)

Jason Momoa plays Arthur Curry _ Aquaman
Jason Momoa plays Arthur Curry/Aquaman WB

The final film in the DCEU before James Gunn's reboot sees Jason Momoa reprise his role as Arthur Curry, as he reunites with his brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) and prepares to once again face off against the same villain as last time – Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's Black Manta.

Now showing in cinemas

How to watch DC movies and series in chronological order

The order is only slightly different for those wanting to watch the films in chronological order i.e. according to the events of each film. With the exception of short scenes at the beginning and the end, Wonder Woman is set in 1918 during the First World War, placing it much earlier than every other film in the DC Extended Universe.

  • Wonder Woman (1918)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (1984)
  • Man of Steel (2013)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2013-2015)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Justice League or Zack Snyder's Justice League (2017)
  • Aquaman (2018)
  • Shazam! (2019)
  • Birds of Prey (2020)
  • The Suicide Squad (2021)
  • Peacemaker (2022)
  • Black Adam (2022)
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)
  • The Flash (2023)
  • Blue Beetle (2023)
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)

Batman v Superman was first released in March 2016, but its story is set slightly earlier than that. The opening scene is set during the climactic events of 2013's Man of Steel, but it then jumps forward about 18 months placing it somewhere in 2015.

Suicide Squad jumps forward another year and references the devastating aftermath of Batman v Superman's dramatic final battle.

Aquaman and Shazam both feature flashback scenes, but for the vast majority are set in the present day, so there's no real need to uproot them from their place later in the pack.

Wonder Woman 1984 is actually set in 1984 so follows her first film but is set before most of the others.

Of course, Zack Snyder's Justice League exists outside of the timeline so should be treated as its own beast despite being set at the same time as the theatrical cut of Justice League.

Where can I watch DC movies?

Unfortunately, there's no single streaming service where you can find every movie in the DC Extended Universe included with a subscription (well, not in the UK at least) – but most of the films are available to rent and buy on Prime Video and similar platforms.

Fans in the US can now enjoy all of the DC content from Warner Bros. through their streaming service HBO Max.

Where do The Batman and Joker fit in with the other DC movies?

The Riddler, Batman, Penguin and Catwoman on poster for The Batman
The Riddler, Batman, Penguin and Catwoman on the poster for The Batman Warner Bros

Matt Reeves's film The Batman – which starred Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader – arrived in cinemas in 2022 but to confuse matters is completely separate from the other DC films, instead starting a new timeline that will be built on with various planned sequels and spin-offs.

Meanwhile the same is true of Todd Phillips's Joker film starring Oscar-winning Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a sequel to which will arrive in UK cinemas next year.

Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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