DCEU movies in order – DCEU timeline and chronological order

With Zack Snyder’s Justice League fully delivering on the film’s sadly muddled 2017 promise, and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad looking to bring an anarchic 1970s war movie vibe to the DC Extended Universe, there’s never been a better time to watch the DCEU movies in order.

Want to watch them in release order? We’ve got you. But for the fullest experience, why not watch them in chronological order according to the DCEU timeline? Now, there’s an idea...

Watch the DCEU movies in release date order

First things first, if you’re in the mood to watch the DCEU movies in release date order, no matter what
pretzel knots that performs on the franchise’s narrative timeline, here’s how you should cue up one very
epic film night:

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)


Watch the DCEU movies in timeline order

This is it. Set your way-back machines for 1918 and let’s get into the DC Extended Universe movies in chronological order, starting with the awesome Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman (2017)

Story

It’s 1918 and when US pilot Steve Trevor ditches his plane in the ocean he finds himself washed up on the shores of Themiscyra. The island is the home of the Amazons, immortal super women tasked by Zeus to protect mankind in antiquity, but isolated from the world of man for millennia.

When Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta, learns from Trevor about the ‘war to end all wars’ that’s engulfing the globe, she see the hand of Ares, God of War, in the chaos and commits to accompany Trevor into the war, armed with the Amazons’ God-Killer sword and an unshakeable belief in the potential of humanity to rise above its destructive instincts.

Best moment

Wonder Woman is awash with visually and emotionally satisfying moments, but our pick has to be the sequence in which Diana cuts through the paralysing madness of trench warfare, climbs up into No Man’s Land and advances on the German lines, inspiring the allied soldiers to follow her to victory. From the very first rifle round that Wonder Woman deflects with her Bracelets of Submission, to the jaw- dropping aerial shot of a barrage of tracer rounds splintering off her shield, it’s not only a spectacular scene, but a powerful and inspiring demonstration of Diana’s fearlessness.

Memorable quote

Now I know. Only love can save this world. So I stay. I fight, and I give... for the world I know can be. This is my mission, now. Forever.” – Wonder Woman being the superhero we all hope we deserve.

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Story

66 years after Diana Prince first left the sanctuary of Themiscyra and entered the world of man, she’s living a solitary life in Washington DC, working with artefacts at the Smithsonian Institution and mostly avoiding the excesses of the 1980s. But when a failing businessman, Maxwell ‘Max Lord’ Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) tricks Diana’s shy friend and colleague Barbara Minerva and steals a powerful wish-granting object known as the Dreamstone, all three fall under its sway.

With reality distorting in wonderful and worrying ways, not only does the Dreamstone threaten to rob Wonder Woman of her powers, and turn Minerva into a dangerous apex predator, but also plunge the globe into chaos as Max Lord offers humanity everything it desires, no matter the consequences.

Best moment

“I renounce my wish.” If you’re not bawling like a newborn when a battleworn and heartbroken Diana utters these words and re-engages with her destiny, you’re made of tougher stuff than us.

Memorable quote

"You're the only joy I've had or even asked for." – Diana Prince has missed Steve Trevor so very much.

Man of Steel (2013)

Story

The planet of Krypton is on the verge of collapse. Jor-El (Russell Crowe), Chief Advisor to the Krypton Supreme Council, infuses the DNA of his newborn son, Kal-El, with genetic information – capable of resurrecting the Kryptonian people in the future – and sends him in a ship to Earth for protection. Meanwhile, as chaos rips through Krypton, General Zod (Michael Shannon) attempts to seize control of the dying planet and the genetic codex, only to be captured and imprisoned in The Phantom Zone shortly before Krypton is destroyed.

Growing up on Earth as the adopted son of Kansan couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, Kal-El – now called Clark Kent – struggles to make sense of his developing Kryptonian superpowers, and to find his place in the world. That is until General Zod and his lieutenants escape the Phantom Zone and locate Kal-El. With Zod hungry to create a race of pure Krytponians – wiping out humanity in the process – Kal- El is forced to step up and become the hero he was always destined to become.

Best moment

There are more spectacular sequences in Man of Steel, but we love the moment where, wearing his iconic Superman costume for the first time, Clark learns how to fly. We’re so used to seeing Supes as the self-controlled and unflappable superhero, but here we see him thrilled and momentarily uncertain. It’s a scene that reminds us that this Kryptonian-by-birth is capable of being incredibly human as well.

Memorable quote

If you love these people so much, you can mourn for them!” – General Zod doesn’t get Kal-El’s affection for humanity.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Story

18 months after Superman made himself known to the human race and defeated General Zod in Metropolis, people are split about how to respond to this new protector. While some see him as a force for good – a living god on mankind’s side – others, including vigilante-billionaire-with-trust-issues Bruce Wayne (AKA Batman), fear that this Kryptonian metahuman is only a bad day away from becoming an existential threat to everyone.

With Clark Kent judgily investigating Batman’s 20-year campaign of brutal justice, and Wayne (Ben Affleck) embarking on a contingency plan to develop weapons capable of bringing Superman to heel should the need arise, the pair of superheroes find themselves on a collision course, manipulated along the way by a certain megalomaniacal businessman, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). And, wait, is that Diana Prince working away on the fringes with her own agenda?

Best moment

It has to be the Senate hearing scene, which sees Superman turning up to give evidence before a committee that’s wrestling with his existence and the devastation he and General Zod caused during their battle through Metropolis. We won’t spoil the OMG moment but it hinges on Holly Hunter’s fantastic performance as Senator June Finch, a mason jar of urine, and a horrible, dawning realisation…

Memorable quote

Tell me, do you bleed? You will.” – Actual human with zero superpowers, Batman, is not afraid of Superman. Not one bit.

Suicide Squad (2016)

Story

One year after the apparent death of Superman, and intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has a fantastic plan to tackle any future metahuman threats that may pop up: injecting nanite bombs into supervillains’ necks and asking them nicely to team up on suicide missions for the US government. Sounds legit, so Waller, her subordinate, Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and his bodyguard Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana (Karen Fukuhara) ‘recruit’ Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Floyd Lawson/Deadshot (Will Smith), Waylon Jones/Killer Croc (Adewele Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Chato Santana/El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Christopher Weiss/Slipknot (Adam Beach) and George Harkness/Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney).

Their first mission as Task Force X? To take down a demonic witch called Enchantress (Cara Delevigne) who’s busily turning the residents of Midway City into unholy abominations. That’s a big ask even for a team of superheroes. But, can any of the Suicide Squad be trusted to do the right thing? Are Waller and Flag being on the level with their new recruits? And what’s Harely Quinn’s beloved Mr J up to in the background?

Best moment

The Suicide Squad’s first battle against Enchantress’s foot soldiers is a blast, revealing the various team members’ strengths and peculiarities through the medium of monster-blatting hyper violence. For example, Deadshot is mightily impressive and focused, Harley Quinn is delightfully breezy and unhinged, Killer Croc is just ferocious, and Captain Boomerang? Well, he only gets into the fight when his beloved stuffed unicorn, Pinky, gets threatened.

Memorable quote

I’m known to be quite vexing. I’m just forewarning you.” – Nobody can say Harley Quinn didn’t warn Rick Flagg.

Justice League (2017)

Story

It’s now two years since the Earth lost Superman. Unknown to us mortals, his death activated the Mother Boxes – three artefacts split up and hidden across the globe thousands of years ago after supervillain Steppenwolf used their immense power to try and conquer the planet.

With the Mother Boxes discoverable once more, the Steppenwolf returns to Earth to retrieve them, reunite them into The Unity, and finish the job. Alerted to this resurgent threat by her mother, Queen Hippolyta, Diana Prince reaches out to Bruce Wayne and together they set out to recruit other metahumans to help in the fight. Atlantean outcast Arthur Curry (AKA Aquaman) agrees to do his bit. Wayne also enlists the help of lightning-fast superhero The Flash/Barry Allen, while Wonder Woman endeavours to get Victor Stone/Cyborg on board. But, as Steppenwolf grows in strength it seems as though even this team of powerful supers will struggle to subdue him. With time running out, the team embraces a seemingly impossible solution to help them turn the tide.

Best moment

We don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone who’s not yet seen the original Justice League (or have been saving themselves for Zack Snyder’s 2021 definitive cut), but the scene in which the members of the Justice League ‘recruit’ their final member is surprisingly and brilliantly tense. If you find yourself holding your breath until its resolution you won’t be alone.

 

Memorable quote

So let me get this straight. You do it dressed like a bat. An actual bat?” – Arthur Curry/Aquaman doesn’t get Bruce Wayne’s whole Dark Knight vibe.

Shazam! (2019)

Story

Residing in a magical temple in another dimension, the ancient (and sole remaining) wizard Shazam has spent years hunting for a new champion with a pure heart upon whom he can bestow his incredible superpowers. His choice – an incredulous 14-year-old foster child called Billy Batson (Asher Angel) – discovers that by uttering ‘Shazam!’ he can transform into the spandex-clad, adult superhero.

Which seems like a whole lot of fun. That is, until Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), a previous and unworthy pick to be Shazam, learns how to unleash the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world, absorbing their power and forcing Billy to grow up and take responsibility for his newfound abilities.

Best moment

What would you do as a kid if you suddenly developed superpowers? You’d get your best mate – fellow foster brother Freddy Freeman in Billy’s case – to video a bunch of ridiculous tests to see just how many powers you actually have, and then post them to social media, right? This sequence isn’t just hilarious – it’s believably dumb and heartwarming as well.

Memorable quote

Superpowers? Dude, I don’t even know how to pee in this thing!” – Billy Batson has no idea how this superpower thing works yet.

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Story

It’s four years after the Suicide Squad defeated Enchantress and when Harley Quinn gets dumped by her psychotic boyfriend, Joker, she bounces back in style, not only crossing the path of ruthless crime lord Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), but finding a bunch of empowered new gal pals in the shape of GCPD detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Dinah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). Cue a post-break-up adventure full of crossbow vengeance, stolen diamonds, glitter-belching fun guns, exploding chemical plants and a pet hyena called Bruce Wayne.

Best moment

Birds of Prey’s famous hair-tie scene is a surprisingly authentic moment of female friendship but we have to give our vote for Harley Quinn’s hilariously non-lethal invasion of the Gotham City Police Department building. Quinn kicking ass with the help of a bean-bag shotgun filled with glitter and multicoloured smoke rounds is a feelgood visual treat.

Memorable quote

Psychologically speaking, vengeance rarely brings the catharsis we hope for.” – Harley Quinn’s doctorate in psychology is showing.


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