All 11 Movies Featuring Superman in Order

all superman movies in order

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Superman is by far one of the most iconic characters in the superhero genre. He appeared in more than a thousand comic issues, numerous live-action series, animated projects, and different types of media. Then it doesn’t surprise us that Superman has also been adapted to the movies many times in the past, although surprisingly not as much as some other superheroes.

So far, Superman has been featured in 11 live-action movies, primarily in the main role, and today, we’re going to tell you how to watch them in proper order.

Editor’s Note: This watch order was updated on October 2023 and encompasses all movies featuring Superman released so far, including the upcoming movies that are going to be released as a part of the DCU.

All movies featuring Superman in release date order

Superman has been featured in several movie franchises over the years. Most notably, he was played by Christopher Reeve in 4 installments that are part of the same continuity. He was featured in a pretty huge role in the DCEU, although he technically only received one stand-alone movie. Let’s see the proper release order of all Superman movies:

  1. ‘Superman’ (1978)
  2. ‘Superman II’ (1981)
  3. ‘Superman III’ (1983)
  4. ‘Supergirl’ (1984)
  5. ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’ (1987)
  6. ‘Superman Returns’ (2006)
  7. ‘Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut’ (2006)
  8. ‘Man of Steel’ (2013)
  9. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016)
  10. ‘Justice League’ (2017)
  11. ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ (2021)

Are all movies featuring Superman connected? What’s the best way to watch them?

Not all Superman movies are connected; they’re not even a part of the same continuity. There are three separate Universe that Superman was a part of. You have Christopher Reeve’s Superman Films, which were released between 1978 and 1987. Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns (2006) was part of its own separate continuity but is still considered a sequel to Christopher Reeve films. However, it doesn’t continue the story directly from the earlier series. And lastly, you have the DCEU, where Henry Cavill took on the mantle of the Man of Steel. This was a shared universe featuring many popular DC characters, primarily the Justice League members.

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DCEU is soon a thing of the past, and another Superman movie titled ‘Superman: Legacy’ is in development as a part of the newly rebooted DCU, so a few years from now, we’re going to talk about one additional Superman continuity to take into account.

Considering everything, if you’re really into checking out all movies featuring Superman, it’s your best bet to watch them in release date order since the in-universe chronology matches that viewing order. Well, the exception is ‘The Richard Doner Cut’, which was released in 2006. We’re going to explain how the movie fits into the overall timeline below.

All movies featuring Superman in chronological order

As we’ve said before, not all movies featuring Superman are part of the same universe, and this is why our chronological watch order needs to take this into account.

1. Christopher Reeve’s Superman Films

Christopher Reeve

The first continuity is the one starring Christopher Reeves (and Brandon Ruth). This universe is also called the “Original Series’ and features seven movies with Superman. In six of those movies, he is in the lead role, while in ‘Supergirl’ the lead was the one and only Helen Slater. Here’s what the chronology looks like:

  1. ‘Superman’ (1978)
  2. ‘Superman II’ (1981)
  3. ‘Superman Returns’ (2006)
  4. ‘Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut’ (2006)
  5. ‘Superman III’ (1983)
  6. ‘Supergirl’ (1984)
  7. ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace’ (1987)

The in-universe chronology starts with ‘Superman’ released in 1978, which should be followed by either ‘Superman II’ or ‘The Richard Donner Cut.’ Why? Well, ‘The Richard Donner Cut’ is the sequel to the ‘Superman’ and re-edited version of ‘Superman II.’ It features a significant amount of discarded footage, alternate takes, and story elements not featured in the theatrical version, so if you’re having trouble deciding on which version to watch, I highly recommend the Dooner Cut.

‘Superman Returns’ released in 2006, is next in line because it is technically a sequel to the first two films while it ignored the events that transpired in the movies that were released before it. I guess it’s sort of a reboot of an entire universe, and you can either watch it third or last. It won’t make much difference to your overall understanding of the universe.

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‘Superman III’ continues where the second installment left off but in a much campier tone. ‘Supergirl’ doesn’t feature Superman in the main role, but the movie is part of the same series, and it’s set directly after the events of ‘Superman III.’ Then, we continue with the ‘Quest For Peace’ released in 1987, and this is unofficially the end of the series since no other movie will be released until 2006 when an entirely different Superman will take on the role.

2. DCEU movie featuring Superman

Henry Cavill superman

The second big universe where Superman was featured was DC Extended Universe, a really ambitious project that was supposed to emulate the MCU’s success; somewhere along the line, the direction was lost, and for the most part, it’s been a disaster (at least when it comes to the box office). In any case, within DCEU, Superman was featured in 3 movies (6 if you count Snyder’s Cut, ‘Black Adam’ post-credits scene, and a brief, easy-to-miss cameo in ‘Flash.’ Here’s what the chronology looks like:

  1. ‘Man of Steel’ (2013)
  2. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016)
  3. ‘Justice League’ (2017)
  4. ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ (2021)

The timeline starts with ‘Man of Steel,’ where Superman is introduced as a character, followed by ‘Batman v Superman.’ In the sequel, Luthor manipulates Batman into fighting Superman, and the two reconcile near the end of the movie, only for Superman to be killed and brought back to life in ‘Justice League’ released just a year later.

If you want to experience ‘Justice League’ the way it was intended, we recommend that you switch the original release with the ‘Snyder Cut.’ It was released on Max in 2021 and quickly achieved the status of the fourth-most-streamed film on the platform that year. It garnered widespread acclaim for surpassing the 2017 theatrical release, with critics praising Snyder’s direction, visual flair, dynamic action scenes, impressive performances, enhanced character development, captivating musical score, and a well-balanced mix of emotional depth and humor.

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Where to watch the above-mentioned movies?

All movies featuring Superman from the original series can be rented from Apple TV+ or Amazon Prime Video. All movies from the DCEU can be streamed on Max, as we all know by now, Max is the home to all content based on DC comics, and it’s your best bet to watch ‘Superman’ movies as well as other connected movies that are under the DCEU umbrella.

Will there be more movies featuring Superman?

At least two movies featuring Superman are planned under the newly rebooted DCU. ‘Superman: Legacy’ directed by James Gunn and starring David Corenswet as Clark Kent, is, so far, scheduled to be released in 2025. An additional project focusing on Supergirl titled ‘Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow’ will also feature Superman in a lesser role but so far, there is no information regarding who will play the lead or direct it.

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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