Film

Here’s The Correct Way To Binge All The DC Extended Universe Movies In Chronological Order

The next phase of the DCEU starts in 2020, so it's the perfect time to get up to date!

How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

It’s the home of some of our most iconic heroes — Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, just to name a few. Green Lantern? Whatever. It’s the DC Extended Universe, and it may be fairly small now, but it’s growing.

Now that extended universes are all the rage, it was no surprise that DC would attempt to replicate the success of Marvel and its Avengers franchise with its own host of costumed dickheads. They’ve had varied success, with some truly grand flops — but things are getting much, much better.

We should all be excited about the future of the DC Extended Universe.

And, it just so happens that if you want to binge every single film, the best way to do it is in chronological order. Here’s how to do it:


1. Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

Now, this is a great film.

Set during World War I, it follows the story of sheltered Amazon warrior Diana, as she travels into the chaotic world of men to kill Ares, god of war. It’s a wonderful blend of absolutely huge heroics, brilliant action, and larger than life characters. This is the sort of film you fist pump to.

Gal Gadot as the titular wonderful woman is perfect casting, and this film does a lot to make you believe in Chris Pine as a leading Chris.

It does, ultimately, get needlessly bombastic towards the end, but in the lead up, it’s probably the most fun and enjoyable film in the entire DC canon.

A perfect place to start your journey.


2. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Gal Gadot in the very 80s poster for Wonder Woman 1984 How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

Wonder Woman 1984 is set in, uh, 1984.

The film was slated to come out in November 2019, but was pushed back to 2020.

That’s almost all we know so far! Kristen Wiig is gonna be one of the villains, which is EXCESSIVELY cool. Looks like Chris Pine will somehow be back? I dunno!

There’s not even a trailer.

TBH, I’m more excited about this film than any other film in the DCEU.

Wonder Woman 1984

3. Man of Steel (2013)

Man Of Steel (2013) How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

A big ol’ Superman origin film.

It’s kinda a blend between Smallville and the famous Superman films from days of yore, with a lot of “what does it mean to be a hero” tortured moments. In it, the world is introduced to its first “famous” superhero, because apparently Wonder Woman is more subtle.

This is enjoyable! At least it doesn’t try to be too dark.  But it is an incredibly serious film, in the sense that it takes itself so seriously — which, in consequence, opens it up to being taken less seriously by its audience.


4. Suicide Squad (2016) 

How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

Yikes, what a mess of a film.

At least it’s trying to be a romp? After the capital S seriousness of Man of Steel, it is a relief to get to this terribly edited nonsense film. The plot… it makes no sense? But the action? It keeps happening.

But it is also an important part of the mythology of the DCEU — the government is freaked out by the arrival of a super god man, so they start stockpiling super-powered freaks to use, extending the ultimate analogy of superheroes as weapons.

I’ve watched this twice on a plane, if that gives you an indication of the film’s standard.


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

How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

The DC films have learned some weird lessons from the ultra-popular Batman movies that preceded it.

One of those lessons is the idea that darker and grittier stories are better, a particularly weird thing to see implemented upon Superman, traditionally the world’s most sunshiney invulnerable nerd. It sits weirdly in this film, making him tortured and dark and ultimately an allegory for weapons of mass destruction? Sure, go off.

Anyway, if you ever wanted Batman and Superman to fight, then you’re in luck! Eventually. This film is so long. But also, Wonder Woman is in it, and I love that for me.


6. Justice League (2017)

How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

Ah, Justice League. What a lurching, Frankenstein of a film.

It’s definitely better than Batman v Superman, but that’s because of a huge scramble of re-edits and new directors being brought in specifically to make this happen. As such, it’s almost like two, lacklustre films smooshed together, both with some good moments?

Honestly, it’s best to never even think of comparing this film with The Avengers, because it’s just like an un-sexy porn parody.

That said, it does serve as an overly long, introduction to the delightful character of Aquaman, who does manage to bring some joy to this film.


7. Aquaman (2018)

Aquaman How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

Yes!!!!! The most fun you’re gonna have in a goddamn DC Extended Universe film.

It happens directly after the events of Justice League, which help craft the pressures on the Aquaman.

This film is SO DUMB, and SO FUN, and Jason Momoa has exactly the right kind of big muscled fish boy energy that we need. His hot mum? That’s Nicole Kidman. Those crab people? That’s an army. That plot? It’s under the sea.

The action scenes pop, especially some of the cool water magic stuff. More of this!


8. Shazam! (2019)

Shazam How To Watch The DC Extended Universe In Chronological Order

If Aquaman is fun, then Shazam! is goddamn JOYFUL.

Imagine that, a joyful movie in the DCEU? Love it. It’s about a tiny child who gets all the power of a superhero, and it’s actually one of the best examinations of power and responsibility in the entire franchise. It’s fun, there’s some great gags, and the action is pretty compelling.

This film is pretty removed from the rest of the DCEU in context, providing a whole alternate realm of mystical wizards and whatnot — however there’s clear plans for a followup, and hopefully we’ll see him interact with the rest of the crew.

The DC Extended Universe continues in 2020, first with Birds of Prey and then Wonder Woman 1984.


Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.