The HoloFiles

All DC Extended Universe Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

By George Bate, Josh Bate, & Julie Catherine

With the release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the occasionally stellar and frequently misguided DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has come to an end. Before James Gunn reboots things with Superman: Legacy and the start of the new-look DCU (DC Universe), we thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect on the DCEU. Below are our rankings of all 16 DCEU movies from worst to best.

16. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

While having a sense of pulpy fun that most DC movies lacked, the Aquaman sequel sank rather than swam. Jason Momoa delivers an awkward performance as the titular character and a streamlined narrative is perplexingly made frustrating and convoluted, with James Wan’s dynamic directing style being the sole noteworthy element of the last DCEU installment.

15. Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Lightning did not strike twice with this sequel. Zachary Levi and Asher Angel play the same character in wildly different ways, with Levi bringing a chaotic energy to the character that unusually contrasts Angel’s more subdued and serious approach. While serviceable in the film film, Levi’s chirpy and fast-talking nature are more of an annoyance than anything resembling humorous this time around.

14. Black Adam

Dwayne Johnson boldly claimed that Black Adam would mark a shift in the power of the DCEU…and he was sadly mistaken. Black Adam fails to take liftoff in what is ultimately a mundane and convoluted film. Johnson is serviceable, if not predictable, in the lead role, and director Jaume Collet-Serra crafts a visually appealing, action-packed film. The additions of Hodge and Brosnan as Hawkeye and Doctor Fate are highlights in an otherwise predictable film that fails to resonate emotionally and does little to ever truly excite.

13. The Suicide Squad

Probably the most controversial positioning on this list goes to James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. While certainly more coherent than its predecessor, Gunn’s film proves to be unnecessarily vulgar and loud. The film drags and its sense of humor is all over the place, making the viewing experience an anarchic mess.

12. Wonder Woman 1984

A far cry from its predecessor is an understatement, to say the least. WW84 is bright, campy, and admittedly ambitious, although this movie does far more wrong than right. Gal Gadot continues to deliver awkward performances as the lead hero. The film’s reintegration of Chris Pine’s character is messy and absurd. And the movie is filled to the brim with moments of unintentional humor. That being said, Pedro Pascal is fantastic as Maxwell Lord.

11. Suicide Squad

David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was notoriously chopped and changed behind the scenes before its disappointing August 2016. What remains of the director’s vision is unclear, although there is still plenty to admire about this film. Will Smith plays off-type as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is iconic, and the chemistry between the stars is palpable.

10. Justice League

Another victim to studio intervention, Justice League is a mess of a motion picture. Despite that, if taken as a whole, the theatrical version of Justice League is a serviceable, early 2000s-esque superhero film.

9. Blue Beetle

Xolo Maridueña is magnificent as the lead in a family superhero outing full of humor and heart.

8. Aquaman

James Wan traded in the scares for superheroes in 2018’s Aquaman. Visually breathtaking and perpetually entertaining, Wan’s film excels enough to overlook issues with pacing and plotting.

7. Birds of Prey

Arguably the most underrated movie on this list, Birds of Prey is the best of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn outings. Director Cathy Yan crafts a unique film with a tone that fits the twisted lead character perfectly. Ewan McGregor is great as villain Roman Sionis, while the rest of the ensemble cast is more than capable of producing a good time.

6. The Flash

The Flash was a return to form for the DC franchise, expertly balancing the title hero’s emotional arc with the careful inclusion of the multiverse and time travel elements that seldom become too convoluted. Ezra Miller, whose dual roles means they appear in virtually every scene, excels and overcomes initial obnoxiousness to deliver a genuinely moving performance. Michael Keaton, meanwhile, is a scene-stealer, whose return as the Caped Crusader is handled with a true love for his iteration of the character. While the film’s array of shocking cameo appearances are jaw-dropping, inconsistent and messy visual effects detract from the film’s grandiosity, especially in a CGI-heavy third act. It’s taken a long time for The Flash to finally lead his own solo movie and the sheer enjoyment that comes from watching this multiverse-hopping and time traveling adventure means it was most certainly worth the wait.

5. Shazam!

A genuinely endearing and funny film, Shazam! is such a good time. The theme of found family runs strongly in the DCEU’s lightest and brightest outing.

4. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is an immense success in every regard. Patty Jenkins crafts a spectacular superhero epic that capitalizes on amazing chemistry between stars Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. The World War I-setting makes for a decidedly different comic book movie outing, and Hans Zimmer’s pumping musical score is one of the genre’s catchiest.

3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition

Although the theatrical cut of BvS is jumbled and convoluted, the Ultimate Edition has a lot to admire. An intelligent and subversive follow-up to Man of Steel, BvS: Ultimate Edition introduces one of the best on-screen Batmen with Ben Affleck and brings an intensity and darkness to the superhero genre.

2. Zack Snyder’s Justice League

More than just a director’s cut, Zack Snyder’s Justice League excels in virtually every department. Epic, dark, and grand, yet intimate, funny, and heartfelt, the 262 minute epic flies by in spectacular fashion. This fantastic sequel teases what could have been with the DCEU had Zack Snyder been given more trust from the studio.

1. Man of Steel

Emotional and epic are the operative words to describe the debut DCEU outing. Henry Cavill makes Superman his own character in constructing a performance different in nearly every regard from Christopher Reeve. Director Zack Snyder makes a Superman film with a tone more akin to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, and Hans Zimmer’s musical score is one of the best scores of all time. Man of Steel is continuously rewatchable, enjoyable from start to finish, and couldn’t have kicked off a dark comic book movie cinematic universe any better.

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The HoloFiles is a website and series of social media accounts, including Star Wars Holocron, Marvel Tesseract, DC Motherbox, Film Codex, and Horror Necronomicon. We love cinema and television, and aim to spread positivity across different fandoms. Come to us for news, reviews, interviews, trivia facts, quotes, behind the scenes photos, analytic features, and more!