They say there are four things you should never, ever, talk about at the dinner table under any circumstances. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a McDonald’s for a late night snack with your buddies or sitting at the table with your grandparents — these four topics of conversation are so polarizing that they should be avoided at all costs: politics, religion, money… and the DCEU.
Dividing critics and fans alike ever since Kal-El snapped General Zod’s neck in Man Of Steel, the DCEU has seen both penthouse highs such as Wonder Woman and flood zone basement lows with the punk rock throw-up of a movie that was Suicide Squad.
Five movies into what should be a cash cow of a cinematic universe, Warner Bros. has produced just one critical (Wonder Woman) to go alongside three average movies (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League) and one outright stinker in Suicide Squad.
Yet, despite all the decent movies and relatively uninspiring profits, Warner Bros. has actually been able to do one thing sort of consistently right: the characters. Sure, Jared Leto may have disgraced the legendary Joker’s before him with his abomination of a portrayal, but other than him mostly every major character in the DCEU has been a success.
So, with that in mind, here is Every DCEU Character Ranked From Weakest To Strongest.
For all the cinematic, thematic, and storytelling misfires that Warner Bros. have had over the course of the DCEU, one of the things they have gotten right along the way has been their casting choices, and bringing in Jeremy Irons to play a more “game” and grizzled Alfred Pennyworth was one of those many intelligent casting choices.
Portraying an Alfred that’s more “hands on” than he’s ever been before (in live action film), Irons version of Alfred is also the most helpful of all the Alfred’s, as he not only plays the “man in the chair” role for Bruce, but is able to repair Batman’s broken equipment as well.
Though different from Michael Caine’s approach as Bruce’s loyal butler, Irons DCEU version of Alfred is the change-of-pace that an otherwise relatively consistent character needed. With that said, it’s hard to see where Alfred would be in terms of physical strength.
14. The Joker
Putting the Joker — arguably the most iconic DC character ever created — this low on the list was not an easy decision, but it was the right one, because if we’re all being honest with ourselves, Jared Leto’s portrayal was outright atrocious.
A walking cringe-worthy moment, Leto’s Joker was doomed from the moment he was revealed to the world in the now infamous image. The punk-rock/gangster look, the corny tattoos, and the metal teeth were all massive misfires from the creative team at Warner Bros. This was all before Leto’s out-of-tune portrayal came to life on the big screen.
Not only did the Joker suffer from a lack of screentime but also a lack of understanding, as Leto’s Joker was almost the anthesis of what the Clown Prince of Crime should be: stripped down, animalistic, and certainly not concerned with material items such as fashion and jewlery.
13. Rick Flag
As the audience’s avatar into the world of Suicide Squad, Rick Flag, portrayed by the relatively underrated Joel Kinnaman, was originally supposed to be played by Tom Hardy, who eventually dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
Tasked with leading the Suicide Squad into battle by the dubious Amanda Waller, Rick Flag was largely a cookie-cutter military character lacking any real depth other than his love for Cara Delevigne’s June Moon and eventual respect for Will Smith’s Floyd Lawton.
While Kinnaman was by no means bad as Rick Flag, it’s pretty obvious that the role would have received a significant boost with a force and presence as strong as Tom Hardy, one of the world’s best working actors today. Though not even Tom Hardy could save Suicide Squad, he would have at least made it better.
12. Lex Luthor
Arguably the worst part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (and weirdly– thanks in large part to a drastically toned down version- – maybe the best part of Justice League), Jessie Eisenberg’s overly-camp portrayal of Lex Luther was a direct contradiction to the tone of the entire movie.
While Synder was clearly trying to go for a grittier and grounded view of a world dealing with the threat of Superman, Eisenberg’s Luthor was sticking Jolly Rancher’s into other men’s mouths.
One can’t help but wonder how much the film would have benefited had Warner Bros. chose to go a more traditional route by casting someone like Bryan Cranston in the role of Luthor. In a film where it’s villain was it’s the weakest link, the removal of Eisenberg (or rather, his version of Luthor) would have made the movie far stronger.
11. Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn checked off all the boxes: decently evil yet oddly endearing and wildly dangerous. Robbie’s Quinn seemed as though she was ripped directly from the pages of the comic books.
One part comic-relief, one part damsel in distress, and all parts awesome, Harley Quinn is one of the few redeeming qualities of the DCEU. In fact, the DCEU’s version of Quinn was so well-received that she’s set to appear in not one, not two, but three upcoming (for now) DCEU project: Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens, and an untitled Harley Quinn and the Joker spinoff.
While Suicide Squad was largely a mess, it did deliver us two of the most memorable characters in the DCEU, one of which being Will Smith’s interpretation of Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot.
Yes, having Will Smith– one of the most charismatic actors in the world– play Floyd Lawton certainly helped the cause, but even without Smith, Floyd Lawton/Deadshot was a well-written, sympathetic, kick-butt character that the audience was able to root for from the get-go.
It also helped that his actions scenes were among the best in the movie, as the sequence where Deadshot is mowing down the mindless zombie minions with his handguns was probably the coolest part of Suicide Squad.
9. Amanda Waller
Amanda Waller was a great character, which is both a testament to the talent of Viola Davis — the Academy, Emmy, and Tony-Award winning actress who portrays Davis– as well as an indictment on the DCEU as a whole.
The evil government mind behind the creation of the Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller is — due to her combination of manipulation and sheer will — one of the DCEU’s most intimidating characters.
Without question, the fact that Amanda Waller isn’t scared in the slightest about superheroes and supervillains alike speaks volumes about her powerful character. She is incredible and demands respect.
8. The Flash
Introduced for the first time in Justice League, Ezra Miller’s portrayal of Barry Allen and the Flash provided a much-needed comic relief that more or less delivered every time.
As the “young guy” of the group, the Flash was also responsible for most of the best action sequences in Justice League, such as his Hypertime battle with Superman or the now famous shot of him passing Wonder Woman her sword.
Ezra Miller’s Flash is going to be a catalyst for the DCEU going forward, as rumors suggest that Warner Bros. is planning on using the Flash’s first solo film, Flashpoint, to soft reboot the entire universe as a whole.
Justice League merely provided an introduction into the Flash’s real power, so it’s hard to know how he’ll stand up in the long-run, but we’re hopeful that he’ll prove to be one of the DCEU’s most powerful characters.
Of all the superhero castings that we’ve seen over the last 15 years, Warner Bros. decision to cast Jason Momoa as Aquaman, aka Arthur Curry, may have been the shrewdest. As a long-running joke amongst comic book fans (he can talk to fish), the idea of an Aquaman movie had never seemed like a plausible plan until Momoa
Momoa, who looks like a real-life superhero, absolutely nailed his portrayal of the reluctant hero that was Aquaman in Justice League. Furthermore, Aquaman’s underwater action scenes were among the strongest sequences in the film, so the idea of an entire film based on that type of combat is an enticing prospect.
Cyborg’s inclusion on this list is based more on his future potential and less on his first appearance. This is because, while Cyborg, the human formerly known as Victor Stone, was not on screen for much of Justice Leage, when he was on screen, he was decent enough to illicit a positive response from the audience.
Sure, the CGI could definitely still use some work, but Ray Fisher, the largely unknown actor portraying Victor Stone, was able to bring to gravity to the role by his ability to get the audience to sympathize with Victor Stone’s reservations about being “alive” in his current state.
Cyborg also had one of the best character arcs in Justice League (not that that’s saying much), coming almost full circle by the end of the movie, while also making a key contribution to saving the planet from Steppenwolf. He also had a lot of untapped potential, as he was only beginning to discover what his body was capable of.
Jor-El is actually one of the first characters introduced to in the DC Extended Universe, and coincidentally, also one of the strongest.
Played by the always excellent Russell Crowe, Jor-El is, of course, one of Superman’s two fathers along with Johnathan Kent. While Jor-El meets his ultimate demise at the hand’s of General Zod in the Man Of Steel’s first 15 minutes, his presence is felt throughout the entirety of the movie, as his conscious is uploaded to the Kryptonian ship that shuttled Superman to Earth.
This entry comes with a caveat, because while Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman and Bruce Wayne was excellent in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it was every bit as bad in Justice League. Largely described as “checked out,” Affleck’s performance suffered a major step back the second time around.
That said, one thing Zack Snyder has consistently nailed with his Batman interpretation is Batman’s action scenes — throwing Batarangs, using his grappling gun, hand-to-hand combat, etc — were all the strongest to ever be put on film. Talk to any Batman fan, and they’ll tell you that the Warehouse scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is the single greatest piece of Batman cinema in existence.
3. General Zod
Seeing where the DCEU has now ended up (muddled and directionless), Man Of Steel has actually become more appreciated as the years have gone by. Now easily the second best movie in the DCEU, Man Of Steel is only of Zack Synder’s three films that weren’t a complete mess, and much of that can be attributed to one of the universe’s only strong villains — General Zod.
General Zod, who kills Superman’s father Jor-El in the film’s first act, possess all the same powers as Superman, making him a truly even threat. Combined with the usual tour-de-force performance one has come to expect from Michael Shannon, and you have what ultimately amounts to the best “big bad” the DC Extended Universe has had thus far.
2. Wonder Woman
Was there ever a doubt? Not only is Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman the best character in the DCEU, but she’s also one of the greatest comic book hero portrayals of all-time.
Yes, Wonder Woman was an excellently crafted film (and by far the best movie in the DCEU) but the true reason for the movie’s success is the undeniable charisma and star power that Gal Gadot brought to the role. A movie star turn if there ever was, Gadot definitively silenced the early critics with a Diana Prince performance that oozed charisma and charm.
Following the success and praise of both Gadot and Wonder Woman, Warner Bros. smartly shifted the marketing of Justice League to focus on Gadot’s Diana Prince. While Wonder Woman wasn’t enough to save Justice League’s abysmal box office take, we can guarantee you this: even if Warner Bros does ultimately decide to scrape the DCEU as presently constructed, Gadot’s Wonder Woman won’t be going anywhere– especially with her undeniable strength.
Henry Cavill’s Superman — the focal point of the DC Extended Universe — is a divisive character if there ever was one.
While some critics consider Cavill’s performance to be uninspiring and bland, many fans believe that Cavill has, thus far, been one of the stronger points of the DCEU, particularly in Man Of Steel.
Grappling with the weight of being a god amongst humans, Cavill is able to successfully portray a lost, lonely, “fish-out-of-water” soul who ultimately just wants to do the right thing.
Furthermore, for all of the tonal faults in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the DCEU as a whole, Superman’s death at the end of BvS was one of the more emotionally impactful moments that the universe has had to offer thus far.
Additionally, now that we know that Superman can keep up with the Flash when it comes to speed, it makes his character all the more intimidating and powerful.
What do you think? Who is the strongest character in the DCEU? Let us know in the comments!
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