Things are starting to heat up in the DC Extended Universe.
Justice League is out, bringing back Batman and Wonder Woman and introducing new entrants into the DC cinematic canon like Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash.
It’s a new era for DC as they follow in Marvel Studios’ shared cinematic universe footsteps. DC, however, has a long-storied history at the movies even well before this shared extended universe.
With that in mind we’ve gathered here where you can find all DC superhero movies online. On this list you’ll find each “DCEU” movies but also old favorites like Richard Donner’s Superman and Tim Burton’s Batman.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. We can’t imagine many of you are Googling “where to find Jonah Hex online.” But it’s pretty close!
Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie is the first big budget, big hero superhero film of all time and its an excellent introduction to the genre. Christopher Reeve is the ideal Superman and Gene Hackman is the ideal Lex Luthor – and the movie just succeeds endlessly from there.
Superman II (1980)
If Superman was the first big-time superhero movie, Superman II is the first big-time superhero movie sequel. Superman II had an infamously troubled production and some of that shows onscreen. Still, it’s a fun film and excellent exercise if comic book world building. Here come the Kryptonians!
Superman III (1983)
Superman III is the first Superman film completely divorced form original director Richard Donner. Consequently things get a little weird. The film adopts a decidedly campy and comedic tone and even goes so far as to bring Richard Pryor aboard as a lead. He plays a computer genius named Gus Gorman who gets swept up in a strangely technical plot to defeat Superman. How you feel about Superman III depends on what you’re looking for out of your superhero films…and how attached you are to the world’s coffee supply.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Some critics and observers view Superman IV as one of the worst films ever made. Which is weird because any movie that features an evil alternate version of Superman named Nuclear Man can’t really be that bad. Whether Superman IV really is that bad is up to you. Give a shot and become a DC movie universe completist.
Tim Burton was an excellent choice to bring frequently gothic superhero Batman to the big screen in his first big budget outing. The dream-like, gothic nightmare angle of Tim Burton’s film may seem a bit dated now but it still remains a valid and interesting take on the character. Plus Jack Nicholson turns in what seemed to be the definitive take on The Joker. Or at least seemed to be definitive at the time thanks to another upcoming movie on the list.
Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Returns is just more. More Batman, more villains, more weirdness. Batman Returns is by almost any metric excessive. But it’s also fun. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as The Penguin help set the precedent for many scene-chewing villainous performances in comic book movies to come.
Batman Forever (1995)
After Tim Burton moved on from the Batman franchise, Warner Brothers brought in blockbuster expert Joel Schumacher to try his hand at Batman Forever. Schumacher’s version of Batman and Gotham City is somehow simultaneously more campy and less fun than both Burton’s Batman and even the ’60s Adam West Batman. Still Batman Forever is perfectly watchable as a colorful ’90s throwback with plenty of scenery chewing performances.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Warner Brothers’ original Batman franchsie follows in its cousin Superman franchise’s footsteps by producing a fourth film that’s just and out and out disaster. Somewhere along the line, Batman movies became excuses to find big name actors to portray members of Batman’s extensive rogue’s gallery. By the time Schumacher and WB got to “Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze” and “Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy” they should hae known something had gone horribly awry.
Batman Begins (2005)
You may have noticed the lengthy hiatus between DC hero movies on this list. After Batman Returns, it seemed like the superhero film had run its course. Sure, they were fun but we just didn’t have the technical capabilities to expand upon them. Enter Christopher Nolan. Nolan begins his “Dark Knight” Batman trilogy in fine fashion with the ultra realistic and gritty Batman Begins. Begins helped usher in a world where superhero movies could be taken more seriously.
Superman Returns (2006)
And that world where superhero movies could be taken more seriously immediately takes a step back in Superman Returns. Superman Returns is not a bad movie. It’s just a curiously-timed one. Batman Begins helped usher in the new normal of realistic superhero movies and then Bryan Singer essentially just ofers his own take on “Superman III” piggybacking on Richard Donner’s films from three decades ago. Still, Superman Returns remains a perfectly watchable and pleasant Superman film.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Christopher Nolan’s middle chapter of his Batman trilogy is by far is best and is frequently considered to be the best superhero movie of all-time, DC, Marvel, or otherwise. Nolan continues his realistic take on the character and then escalates the stakes by introudcing Heath Ledger’s nihilistic Joker and Aaron Eckhart’s corruptible Harvey Dent. This is a two and a half hour organized crime drama-turned morality tale disguised as a superhero film.
Watchmen is the kind of anti-hero superhero story. Under Zack Snyder’s direction, it loses some of those anti-hero shades of gray. Still, it’s a visually faithful adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic and helps to connect the Dark Knight era of the DC universe to the current DCEU era thematically.
Green Lantern (2011)
Green Lantern is not strictly speaking…good. That’s fine though as it remains watchable enough and more importantly a historical document of how DC tried to kickstar its cinematic universe the first time around. Let that be a lesson to everyone. When it’s time to begin a cinematic universe stick to the A-list characters. Unless Robert Downey Jr. is available to play literally anyone.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises caps off Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series in stylistic fashion. There are plenty of logical inconsistencies to be found as dozens of YouTube videos can helpfully point out. But it’s a fitting and conclusive end to the DC film universe’s best trilogy.
Man of Steel (2013)
Man of Steel is the reboot Superman deserved after the curiously pointless Superman Returns in 2006. Man of Steel isn’t perfect and does indeed feature as astonishing amount of destruction in its third act. Still, Henry Cavill is the absolute spiting image of Supes, himself, and knows what to do with the character. Man of Steel marks the official beginning of the DCEU. It’s not as strong or bold a debut as Marvel’s Iron Man, but it is a sound foundation to build upon.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s biggest sin is its impateince. The movie itself is entertaining enough but it’s hard to forgive just how quickly thsi all goes down. We just met Superman a few years ago and now he’s fighting a Batman we’ve never met? Ok. Batman v. Superman is undoubtedly a misstep though it’s still surreal and fascinating to see DC’s three most legendary characters all clash.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad is another promising DC project felled by poor execution. Or in this case – too much execution. This movie didn’t need to introduce another Joker. It didn’t need to feature half the characters it did. And it didn’t need to schedule countless reshoots and re-edits to better match it’s chaotic, day-glo trailer. Ok, maybe it did need that last parrt. If Suicide Squad had maintained a consistent style and plan from the beginning, things may have worked out better. As things stand, it’s just a bad movie but a good opportunity for DC fans to see some deepcut characters onscreen.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Wonder Woman represents the DCEU’s first total victory and DC comics’ first movie victory overall since The Dark Knight Rises. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is perfect and Patty Jenkins’ film knows exactly how to present an origin story that doesn’t feel tired or cliche.