With the release of WW84 I thought that it was a good time to rank all the DCEU films from worst to best. Only the films set in the main DCEU will be included so that means Joker will not be on the list. Disclaimer: These rankings are just my opinion and it’s ok if you disagree.
9. Justice League (Theatrical Cut)
Beginning our list at the very bottom is Justice League (The theatrical version). I hope to remake this list in a few months with Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Then I won’t have to talk about this film ever again. But for now, here we go. This film is horrible. It’s a disgrace to not just the actors but to the characters themselves. The special effects are terrible, the writing is poor, and it just comes out as a jumbled mess. It’s a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie, and it only gets worse when you know the behind the scenes story. The product on the screen is bad, but what really makes this film rank so low is how disrespectful and awful it is to the original director: Zack Snyder. After having to endure one of the worst tragedies possible, the studio decided to destroy his vision, and even worse, taint his legacy by leaving his name on a film he had almost nothing to do with. This film will always be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Joseph’s rating: 1/10
8. Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad is up next. From a purely on screen perspective this film is quite possibly the worst DC film of all time (Yes, that includes Green Lantern). Studio interference seems to have played a big part in this film, just as it did with Justice League. I have no doubt Ayers’ version of the film would be better, but the film we got was a mess. Poorly edited, and with very little story, the film just fails on so many levels. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot are really the only bright spots. Half the characters are underdeveloped, the story is kind of all over the place, and the film just doesn’t work. This film is just quite simply, really bad.
Joseph’s rating: 3/10
7. Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey
Now we move to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, or Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, or whatever the hell WB wants us to call it now. I often describe this film as the most average superhero movie I have ever seen. The film isn’t bad at all, but it isn’t really good either. Every time I have watched it I have really just been left feeling Meh, to put it simply. Margot Robbie’s performance is a noticeable step down from Suicide Squad, and the film makes some really odd choices, but to be fair sometimes those choices work. For example: the fight choreography is unique and a lot of fun. The actual Birds of Prey: Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress and Jurnee Smollett’s Black Canary are both amazing, but severely underutilized. The film is a Harley Quinn movie with a Birds of Prey mask, and that’s unfortunate. A Gotham City Sirens movie would have been the better choice if the studio wanted a Harley centered team. The story had a lot of potential, one only needs to look to the Harley Quinn animated series to see it done better, but they didn’t execute nearly as well as they could have. This film really just feels like a missed opportunity.
Joseph’s rating: 5/10
Let me just start by saying I love SHAZAM! It’s a super fun movie and does a good job of being different from the other DC movies. It does however fail to be anything more than a fun popcorn flick, but that’s ok. Some films are just meant to be a fun time, and that’s clearly the case with SHAZAM! The acting is poor at times, and the actors playing Billy (Asher Angel) and Shazam (Zachary Levi) feel like two completely different people, but overall the film is very enjoyable. One of the highlights of the film is Mark Strong’s performance as Sivana. He is truly on a different level then the rest of the actors in the film. The plot of the film is really rather basic, but it works. The story with Billy’s mother adds a bit of tragedy and pulls on the heartstrings just enough to give the film a little depth, without compromising it’s fun tone. I thoroughly enjoy this and re-watch it whenever I just want a fun film.
Joseph’s rating: 6/10
5. Wonder Woman 1984
I did a full review of WW84 here, but let me give a brief summary. The film is really good and it’s a lot of fun. It feels a lot like SHAZAM!, except with much better acting. The final act is a bit weak, but overall the film hits all the right notes. I really can’t praise the acting of the film enough, as that is what really elevates the film. The setting is also really interesting, and despite a few bad scenes the effects mostly look really good. The ending is very weak and holds the film back quite a bit, but other than that there is very little to complain about in this film. Patty Jenkins really understands Wonder Woman, and that is as evident in this film as it was in the original. This is a film I will surely be re-watching frequently.
Joseph’s rating: 6.5/10
4. Man of Steel
Man of Steel was the beginning of the DCEU and so it’s fitting it’s the first truly great film on this list. Man of Steel is an amazing origin story for Superman. It truly brings the character into the twenty-first century. The film can be very dark at times, but it still holds onto that feeling of hope you want with Superman. Henry Cavill was the perfect casting choice, and you can truly feel how much Zack Snyder loves the character. Man of Steel doesn’t shy away from putting it’s hero in really tough situations and letting him undergo failures. This is a Superman who isn’t perfect, but rather ironically, human. Many people criticize the destruction in the final battle, but I see that as a fitting and important moment for this brand new Superman. This was his first fight ever and he was still getting used to being a hero. Seeing the hero effortlessly win his very first time out isn’t interesting, seeing him struggle and fail in many ways adds complexity and depth to the film. This film will truly define Superman for this generation and that is incredible.
Joseph’s rating: 7.5/10
3. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is an outstanding film and one of my personal favorite movies. The acting, the cinematography, the setting, and the story are all almost perfect. I really struggled with deciding between this film and the #2 film. I gave them both 8/10’s and love them both. In the end it was Wonder Woman’s lackluster final act that gave the other film the nod, but that takes nothing away from Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot embodies everything great about Wonder Woman and truly shines in the film. The setting of World War I is very interesting and provides for a great film. Up until the final act this film is perfection. It’s deep, interesting and fun all at the same time. And not even the mediocre ending can ruin that. It’s truly the film the character deserved after being on the shelf for so long.
Joseph’s rating: 8/10
Aquaman comes in at number 2. The film is amazing from start to end. Jason Momoa brings new life to a character that was looked down upon for decades and James Wan does a great job of keeping this film tethered to the larger DCEU while still finding its own tone. Aquaman is a perfect example of what a fun film should look like in the DCEU. It strikes a great balance between fun and serious. The story is great, as is the action. Beyond that the special effects are insanely impressive. Atlantis looks amazing and the final battle is truly a beauty. The costume design is also incredible. Mera, Aquaman, Black Manta, and Ocean Master all have costumes that manage to be comic book accurate, while also looking awesome in live action. Aquaman stands out as the best DC origin film yet.
Joseph’s rating: 8/10
1. Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition)
And here comes the controversial #1 pick, Yes, I love Batman Vs Superman. And if you haven’t seen the Ultimate Edition I strongly urge you to try it out. It fixes many of the story and pace issues from the theatrical release. I truly consider Batman Vs Superman: Ultimate Edition to be the greatest Superhero film of all time. I really do not understand the hate this film has gotten over the years. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s different. It truly has a story to tell and delivers on that story. Visually the film is beautiful, and both the acting and writing are superb. I think even the critics of this film can agree Zack Snyder nailed the casting of the DC Trinity. Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot are all near perfect representations of the comic book characters. Seeing the Trinity in live action for the first time did not disappoint. To address the most common criticism of the film, Batman killing; Batman kills in every live action adaptation. That’s just a fact. Bale killed, Keaton killed, even Adam West killed. But what BvS does differently from the other Batman films, is that Batman killing directly ties in with the story. Snyder brings us a broken down Batman who has crossed the line and needs to be redeemed. That’s a compelling story and a fresh take on the character. Batman vs Superman is not a popcorn flick, it’s a film that requires you to pay attention and really makes you think. It’s a film that gets better with every re-watch, as you discover new plot points and easter eggs.
Joseph’s rating: 9.5/10
Did you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments. I look forward to bringing you all a revised list with the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.