Every DCEU Movie Ranked From Worst to Best
Joker has been a point of discussion in many circles. At this point, saying it’s a highly debated topic is a bit of an understatement. But there’s one thing that we can’t argue: it’s a major, major hit. The newly anointed highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time just keeps steamrolling ahead, marking a new high financially for DC and Warner Bros. as they continue to iron out their vision of their (connected?) universe of films.
Still, the DCEU now has a colorful, all-over-the-place library of films. Here are our rankings of every DC Extended Universe movie put to screen thus far:
#8: Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad‘s production schedule had a ton of studio interference, and the final product clearly shows that.
Suicide Squad had the tough job of introducing many new characters that have never been seen on screen in live-action such as Deadshot and Harley Quinn. While those two characters add a lot of fun to the mix, most of the other characters are hollow cardboard cutouts or racial stereotypes.
The story is another issue altogether as it hardly works as a cohesive unit most likely due to the extensive reshoots on the film. With horrendous editing and no sense of vision, one could make the argument that this is the worst blockbuster of the 2010s.
Honestly, Suicide Squad acts more like a music video for a subpar New Metal band than an actual movie.
*To read the site’s full review of Suicide Squad, please click here.
#7: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Considered by many to be their most anticipated film of all-time before its release, Batman V Superman was vastly underwhelming. Although the film also incurred studio interference, the vision behind the film was also a bit flawed.
The film’s run time is bloated to about two and half hours, and approximately an hour and a half of that time is spent discussing arbitrary traits of gods that you learn in your freshman-year philosophy class from a disillusioned professor that still believes he’s on the verge of writing the next great American novel.
At least Ben Affleck was pretty awesome as Batman. The warehouse scene is the best piece of Batman action that has been on the big screen, and it’ll probably stay that way for a while.
*To read the site’s full review of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, please click here.
#6: Justice League (2017)
We all know the story behind Justice League by now. Radically restructured after negative backlash to BvS, Justice League feels exactly like what it is: a Zack Snyder movie repurposed as a Joss Whedon joint. The characters look odd as they CGI-move around a digitally brightened CGI backdrop to fight a CGI villain with a CGI MacGuffin. (Seriously, the amount of obvious CGI immediately dates the movie to around 2008.) All the initial bite of Snyder’s vision — though probably misguided — is lost for some hit-or-miss quip work by Whedon. Justice League is a facsimile of a Marvel movie in that way.
Still, Justice League removed all of the baggage and pretentiousness from the previous DC Extended Universe films. It moves at an overly brisk pace that feels like a breath of fresh air. (A dark tone is perfectly fine, but when it’s continuously punishing with nothing behind it, it becomes a problem.)
He has a jello mouth as a result of a CGI removal of his mustache that he was preparing for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, but Henry Cavill as Superman is nothing short of perfect in the time he gets. The same goes for the rest of the embodiments of these fun characters. I left the theater hoping that this crew of actors gets to stick around for a few more films.
*To read the site’s full review of Justice League, please click here.
#5: Aquaman (2018)
Aquaman feels closer to an 80’s cartoon in how it strives to become the ultimate popcorn flick. James Wan is going absolutely nuts with the visuals in this film; it’s easily the most visually interesting DCEU film to date with its uses of bright, flashy colors and eye-popping settings. Like every other Wan film, the camera zooms and zips through, across, and into the action without ever feeling obnoxious or tiring. Aquaman easily contains the best group of action set pieces in the DCEU library so far.
What holds Aquaman back from becoming an overwhelming sensation from a critical perspective is its inability to break away from the typical superhero storytelling formula. It’s scared to take chances and be bold on a thematic level, to move beyond what so many other superhero films have done and create something different. All character elements are tired and uninspired.
When a movie has multiple Pitbull covers of a Toto song, something went wrong.
*To read the site’s full review of Aquaman, please click here.
#4: Joker (2019)
In many ways, Joker is vastly different from the other DC movies, stripping away a lot of the obvious comic book elements from its story for a grounded story about an outsider that becomes increasingly volatile. At the center of it all is Joaquin Phoenix, who is throwing caution to the side and flaunting his gangly frame any chance he gets. He is certainly not the problem with this movie; he’s doing the best he can, although it does pale in comparison to some of the other damaged figures he’s played throughout the years.
But he is elevating very substandard material that wags its finger at many pieces of society — the rich, crime, and our treatment of those with mental illnesses — without making much of a statement about any of them. It makes Joker a pretty empty film, even if it seems to have a lot of ideas on its mind. In borrowing from movies like The King of Comedy, Taxi Driver, and Network without doing much that is wholly original, Joker feels entirely derivative of better movies from previous decades. Outstanding production design and a mesmerizing score can’t solve those problems.
*To read the site’s full review of Joker, please click here.
#3: Man of Steel (2013)
Zack Snyder’s first film in the DC Extended Universe was very divisive among fans. Looking to update the Superman character from the beloved, yet somewhat campy Christopher Reeve version of Superman, Henry Cavill’s version shocked many with its grit and darkness. Many people didn’t care for the overblown ending in which General Zod and Superman demolished Metropolis, either.
However, there’s a lot to like about this film, most notably Michael Shannon’s General Zod. One of the best comic book movie villains of recent memory, you understand him and why he does what he does. Plus, Shannon has that evil stare down pat. (He’s been known to stare into people’s souls from time to time.)
As soon as that beautiful Hans Zimmer score begins, a lot of the film’s issues dissolve away and you open up to the film’s scope and epic feel, even if a lot of its thematic elements are misplaced.
*To read the site’s full review of Man of Steel, please click here.
#2: Shazam! (2019)
Shazam! is one of the more corny and goofy superhero movies to come around since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. And when you think about it, those two movies have a lot in common, especially with each having a director that was mostly known for horror injecting plenty of wackiness and horrific vibes into these blockbusters. All of this is brought together in Shazam! for a third act that is perfectly silly and frightful while emphasizing over-the-top wish fulfillment.
I could watch Zachary Levi act like a fourteen-year-old for weeks straight; he has a wonderful boyish charm that is truly the heartbeat of the movie. It even comes into play during the action as he consistently looks to run away from the evil Dr. Sivana. He’s a kid through and through, and I’m still smiling from his performance.
Although the movie doesn’t fully earn its emphasis on family and togetherness, Shazam! is breezy, fun, and completely separate from the darker times of the DCEU.
*To read the site’s full review of Shazam!, please click here.
#1: Wonder Woman (2017)
This period piece does what the previous DC Extended Universe films failed to do by telling a cohesive story without an ounce of cynicism. Wonder Women is full of heart and emotion to the point where you can’t help but admire its feats.
Although the action is merely serviceable, the best moments of Wonder Woman come from the interactions between characters, especially Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. These two are magnetic as the leads of the film, showing solid chemistry in every single moment of the film. Even when the film dips into CGI action schlock from Hell with fire and darkness covering the screen in its tiring third act, there’s always that human connection to help you stay invested.
Women-led superhero films have come a long way since Supergirl in 1984.
*To read the site’s full review of Wonder Woman, please click here.
Thank you for reading! How would you rank the DC Extended Universe films? Comment down below!
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