Ranking the DC Cinematic Universe Films

Updated on November 27, 2017
Ross Tanenbaum profile image

Ross is a student at the University of Maryland. He is planning on majoring in Film Studies and English.

Where Does Each Film Stand Within Their Shared Universe?


After seeing Disney have so much success with their shared Marvel superhero universe, it made sense that Warner Bros. would want to start one of their own for their DC superheroes. However, the DC universe has been a rocky road so far. There has been a lot of controversy over whether the films were good or not. Some people loved these movies, while others straight up hated these films. Here is a list where I rank the DC universe films from worst to best.

5. Suicide Squad (2016)


This movie is a hot mess. How could DC go so wrong with this? The trailers made this movie look so great, and it was bitterly disappointing. The main good thing about this movie is the actual team. The highlights are definitely Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Will Smith. They are both perfect. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is also pretty intimidating. The main problem with this movie is the actual mission. The villain in this movie is one of the worst villains I've ever seen in a superhero movie. Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) is very bland and she is doing this weird hula dance throughout most of the movie, which just makes her look stupid. The villain for the film should have been Jared Leto's Joker, who by the way, is barely in the damn movie. Every time he is in the movie, it feels so forced into the narrative that it just kills the momentum. Also, the first like 40 minutes is just a giant music video where a new song plays every 5 minutes and it just gets annoying. Suicide Squad 2 is in development and DC needs to find a way to clean up this mess.

4. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)


This is probably the most divisive film in the DC cinematic universe. Some people love this movie and will defend it to the ends of the Earth, while some people hate this movie with a passion. I stand somewhere in the middle with this movie. While I do think that there is a lot to like in this movie, there are a lot of problems. The biggest mistake of this movie is that it is trying to be way too much. It's trying to be Man of Steel 2, an introduction to Batman, a fight between Batman and Superman and the early formations of Justice League. Also, the portrayal of Lex Luthor is not good. Jesse Eisenberg is a great actor but he does not fit this role. Luthor is supposed to be a very smooth and suave businessman. Eisenberg plays him like a cartoon nut job who is way too energetic. Also, his plan makes no sense at all. This movie is also just not a lot of fun. The colors are very dim and Superman is just moping the entire movie. Henry Cavill looks and sounds like Superman but he has no fun with the role. I do think Ben Affleck is great as Batman/Bruce Wayne. He does a good job with the role. The movie also introduces Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman who is awesome. The action scenes are pretty well done. The best scene is probably when Batman takes down an entire gang inside of a warehouse. There is a three hour Ultimate Edition which is a bit better than the theatrical cut. The theatrical cut deleted a ton of scenes that explained important plot points and still the movie is 2 1/2 hours. Zack Snyder provides great visuals and action scenes, but he has no idea how to tell a clear story throughout.

3. Man of Steel (2013)


Man of Steel is a somewhat underrated movie. I think it does a great job at giving a new look at Superman and redefining him for the modern era. I really liked how we were able to see Krypton and explore the planet during its final moments. Henry Cavill is good at making his character have a lot of charisma and power, however, he takes the role a little bit too seriously. He's an alien who has almost every single superpower. He should be somewhat light and confident, but he seems to be depressed for most of the movie. I also liked seeing Superman's relationship with both of his fathers. It's interesting to see how each one has conflicting ways of dealing with Superman and how this affects Superman's morality. I also thought Michael Shannon was good as General Zod. He is pretty intimidating and his determination to bring back Krypton makes him an enjoyable villain. I think Zack Snyder does a good job at directing the action in this movie. While it is a bit redundant to see Superman and Zod punch each other through a bunch of buildings, it looks really cool and is made very epic by a fantastic score from Hans Zimmer. What I enjoy the least about Man of Steel is how the movie conveys its ideology and symbolism. The symbolism in this movie is overbearing and mashes on your head like a hammer. Each character repeats some ideology that they have so many times with dialogue that just becomes very repetitive and uninteresting. However, Man of Steel is still an entertaining film that provides an adrenaline rush, despite its boring atmosphere and redundant philosophies.

2. Justice League (2017)


Finally, a DC movie that knows how to have fun. While I don't think this is the best DC cinematic universe movie, it is definitely the most fun. The entire team in this movie is great. The highlights are probably Ezra Miller as The Flash and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Miller is really funny in this movie and the scenes where he slows time down by running are really cool. Gadot continued to show why she is great as Wonder Woman. Affleck as Bruce Wayne/ Batman is also great again. Newcomers, Jason Mamoa as Aqauman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg are also great. The team has great chemistry with one another and make me want to see more of them together. What prevents this movie from being the best is the pacing. This movie seems really rushed. It is way too short and the pacing goes by really quickly. I never had time to savor what I just watched because the film just kept on going non-stop. However, it does add a lot of energy to the movie. I also did not like the villain. Steppenwolf is about as basic as a supervillain can be. He wants to destroy the world for some reason which makes him evil. There is also way too much CGI in this movie. A lot of the movie looks fake because I'm being overexposed too the CGI which makes the CGI more noticeable. Justice League, however, shows that DC may be headed in the right direction by making a much more light-hearted film compared to the others.

1. Wonder Woman (2017)


While Justice League is a bit more fun, Wonder Woman is definitely the best movie overall. It not only provides a lot of great action, but it slows things down in order to provide some great character moments. There are some scenes involving Chris Pine and Gal Gadot that make me invested in their relationship and their mission. Pine does a great job in this movie, but Gadot is the main star and she owns the role of Wonder Woman. The film also features some good humor that makes the characters seem more authentic. Patty Jenkins did a great job of making Wonder Woman a certified badass through the action. She also recreated the world of Themyscira really well. The land of Amazon warrior women is a cool and beautiful looking location. This film is fantastic in the first 2/3, but doesn't finish as strong. The villain at the end is boring. He is bland and has an extremely unoriginal plan for a supervillain. However, the movie saves itself by focusing on the heroes and their story. Wonder Woman has set a new standard for what DC should be able to do with their characters. Hopefully, the DC cinematic universe will continue to be as good or better than this movie.


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