DC binge: Discover how to stream all the dazzling DCEU movies in order
The release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League marks a finale of sorts for the DCEU. According to WarnerMedia, Zack Snyder’s trilogy is finished – even though it ended with a bunch of cliffhangers – that means it’s time for DCEU fans to watch all movies leading up to the Snyder Cut in order.
Now, there’s two ways to do this: the boring “DCEU movies in order of release” way, and the fun “DCEU movies in chronological order” way. We’re going to give you both paths in this article, but we’ll focus on the chronological setup because, you know, we’re nerds.
Already off to a strong start, see? Watching the DCEU movies in chronological order allows you to kick things off with one of the most beloved films in the series. While Wonder Woman’s first feature is bookended by sequences set in present day (circa Dawn of Justice), the bulk of the movie is set in 1918, as Diana & Steve Trevor search for Ares in the middle of World War I.
Wonder Woman 1984
Welcome to the 80s, Diana Prince! The sequel to Wonder Woman proved to be a little more divisive than its predecessor, mainly because of how much it committed to the tone of an 80s movie. Still, WW84 provides an interesting look at what our favorite Amazon was doing with her time before joining the Justice League – namely pining for the deceased Steve Trevor and being great at her job in the Smithsonian.
Man of Steel
Oh, hi Superman. Part one in Zack Snyder’s unofficial DCEU trilogy introduces us to a new, darker Last Son of Krypton. This is a Superman deeply affected by having had to let his father die in order to keep his powers secret. The movie also introduces classic villain General Zod, who thinks he’s the baddest Kryptonian around . . . until the controversial climax of the movie proves him deadly wrong.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
You’ve met Wonder Woman. You’ve met Superman. Now it’s time to meet the final member of the DCEU’s holy trinity: the Dark Knight. Dawn of Justice uses the Batman versus Superman feud (orchestrated by Lex Luthor) to set things up for the Justice League to be born. We also witness the debut of Doomsday, a monstrous threat that manages to unite Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman against it.
Dawn of Justice ends with some pretty world-changing developments. As the citizens of the DCEU realize what a dangerous world they live in, Amanda Waller decides to create the Suicide Squad (while Batman seems to be working on creating the Justice League off-screen). This is our introduction to Margot Robbie’s iconic performance as Harley Quinn and, though decidedly less acclaimed, Jared Leto’s take on The Joker.
Justice League / Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Look, it’s up to you which one you want to watch. The story’s basically the same: Batman recruits Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and (eventually) Superman to create the Justice League and fight an otherworldly threat. But, obviously, the four-hour-long version fleshes out new characters like The Flash, Cyborg, and villain Steppenwolf a lot more. So it’s a choice between reading Don Quixote or reading its SparkNotes.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that the climax of Zack Snyder’s Justice League introduces several plot points that are unlikely to be followed-up on. That doesn’t make Aquaman any less of a movie, however, as it’s focused on giving us all the Arthur Curry we can handle and then some. The film also gives us our first in-depth tour of Atlantis and it’s a doozie.
While Shazam! certainly takes place in the DCEU, it’s the most standalone movie of the bunch so far. References to other DCEU properties are kept to a minimum (though there’s a delightful cameo at the end) as the film deals with Billy Batson’s journey to mastering his newfound superpowers while battling the evil Dr. Sivana.
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
The Harley Quinn spinoff everyone was clamoring for also gives us a brand new group of female vigilantes: Huntress, Black Canary, and disgruntled police officer Rene Montoya. The Birds of Prey come together to battle the creepy Black Mask and by the time they’re done, they look ready for a sequel. The title was later shortened to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey because . . . people can’t handle too many words in a row?
Okay, we promised, so here are the DCEU movies in order of release:
Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Wonder Woman (2017), Justice League (2017), Aquaman (2018), Shazam! (2019), Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020), Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021).
Enjoy your binge! All titles are available on HBO Max except for Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984, which are available to rent on most streaming platforms.