The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has had its major ups and downs since the release of “Man of Steel” nearly a decade ago. Since then, there have been some exciting and refreshing films, but also a lot of similar issues that have plagued them. With “Black Adam” released recently, here is a ranking of all the major film releases in the DCEU.
12. Suicide Squad (2016)
2016’s “Suicide Squad” had enormous hype leading up to it, but ended up being a mishmash of director David Ayer’s original vision and what the studio executives wanted. The editing is horrendous, there are too many songs and the plot is the most generic superhero idea they could have thought of. Nothing worked besides Margot Robbie’s performance, which would be utilized better in future installments.
11. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
This film just did not work. The main plot device of the movie is such a tired and overused message. The return of Chris Pine is silly, and Pedro Pascal is ultimately wasted. It is such a shame one of the few big superhero movies during COVID-19 is such a step down from its predecessor.
10. Black Adam (2022)
“Black Adam” is a product poured out of a test tube from scientists aiming to put together every superhero cliche into one film. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a couple of fun action scenes, but it can’t redeem this terrible movie.
9. Justice League (2017)
Seeing anyone’s vision get taken away is sad but especially when it’s Joss Whedon taking over and cutting out important character moments in favor of stupidly comedic situations and unnecessary plot threads. One of the coolest superhero teams in comics is reduced to a soulless and uninspired train wreck.
8. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Some elements and themes of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” actually work. Dealing with the aftermath of “Man of Steel” and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was fun to watch, contrary to popular opinion. This film puts too much in the pot, however, and the subpar writing makes it difficult to get invested.
7. Man of Steel (2013)
Henry Cavill and Michael Shannon are absolutely phenomenal, but “Man of Steel” feels very tiring to watch. It attempts to jump around time and provide a dark tone but the film works at its best when Cavill plays superman as charming, not brooding. The action is mind-numbing and way too destructive. This movie could have been way better but settles in the mediocre category of superhero flicks.
6. Shazam! (2019)
This Zachary Levi-led superhero movie has a lot to like about it. Levi is endlessly charismatic playing the titular character in a heartwarming story about being a foster kid. The film excels when it focuses on the foster kids and their struggles but its downfalls are glaring. Drawn out action scenes and an awful villain drag “Shazam!” down to decent instead of great.
5. Wonder Woman (2017)
Gal Gadot made history as DC’s first female-led superhero movie and thankfully it carries lots of good qualities. It’s a fun World War I period piece with a beautiful romance between Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman. Similarly to “Shazam!” the action scenes are either abysmal or lacking in any unique style and the villain is forgettable. Despite these flaws, it is awesome to see such a cool comic book character get their origin put on the big screen.
4. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
Seeing Zack Snyder’s version restored and released in a four-hour epic is nothing short of exciting as a supporter of original filmmaking. There are good and bad to how long it is since Snyder indulges in all of his quirks, such as slow motion, but then characters like Cyborg have so much more depth with his added screen time. It is ultimately a mixed bag but showcases originality a lot of the other DCEU movies don’t have.
3. Birds of Prey (2020)
“Birds of Prey” brings back Margot Robbie in a much more successful fashion due to her complete directorial style and solid writing. The rest of the cast does a good job as well as Ewan McGregor as Black Mask in a rare instance for DCEU movies where the villain is exciting to watch. The movie’s plot can be confusing and there is no emotional pull like some of the other entries, but it is a great time overall.
2. Aquaman (2018)
“Aquaman” works really well for embracing its cheesiness and showing off how awesome James Wan is as a director. Is it weird that a handful of scenes have jump scares? A little, but it doesn’t matter when Jason Mamoa is killing it. The action scenes are entertaining and the film wears its heart on its sleeve.
1. The Suicide Squad (2021)
James Gunn bringing his talents to the DCEU was the best decision they could have made. Gunn brings his crazy humor and antics to the “Suicide Squad” characters and achieves a beautiful feat of endearing them to the audience in original ways. The blood and gore add a wild element that should push DC to make more R-rated superhero movies. The cast is awesome, the action is thrilling and hopefully Gunn works on another DC project very soon.