The DCEU was officially started back in 2013 with the release of Man Of Steel and has been growing ever since. Unfortunately, the cinematic universe has had extremely mixed reactions to almost all of their movies, especially towards the beginning. However, it seems DC is finally on the right track with fans, critics, and box office. Now that their most recent entry, Birds of Prey, has officially hit theaters, here is Kernel’s ranking of all 8 DCEU movies.
8. Justice League
Just like the making of this movie, Justice League is just an overall mess. It reeks of a film that has had studio tampering and two different directors, which it did. The story is so simple and predictable that it hurts, not to mention that pieces of the story are outright missing in order to have a shorter runtime. The tone of this movie is all over the place and the CGI oftentimes is overused and just bad. Now there are parts of the movie that do work, however, it just doesn’t work as one movie. Characters like Wonder Woman and Batman are fundamentally changed for cheap jokes that just aren’t funny. Maybe someday we will get to see Zack Snyder’s original cut of the film, but as of now, this is the worst movie in the DCEU.
7. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Now just to be clear, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a much better movie than Justice League. This movie isn’t even really bad, it’s just not good either. From simply a filmmaking standpoint, it is a masterfully made movie. However, from a story standpoint, it just comes off as boring. Now there are a large number of fans that stand by this movie and absolutely love it, and while this movie is certainly respectable, it’s not the most enjoyable. There are a number of amazing ideas presented in this movie, but most of them end up falling flat. The death of superman was rushed, the future set-ups were just confusing, and the big fight is a little underwhelming. Superman and Lex Luthor are also out of character, and not in a good way. However, this movie does give us one of the best depictions of Batman we’ve ever seen, and Ben Affleck should certainly be proud of that.
6. Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad is definitely not a perfect movie, however, it still ends up being a very fun guilty-pleasure. This movie is jammed packed with amazing actors, that for the most part, give really good performances. Amanda Waller and Harley Quinn kill it in this movie, and Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Rick Flag are also pretty solid. The movie is pretty fast-paced and includes some pretty entertaining action sequences. While the plot of this movie is pretty awful, the team dynamic works well enough that it is still very watchable. There are also a number of fun cameos and easter eggs that keep this movie interesting. Even though Jared Leto’s Joker and Cara Delevinge’s Enchantress are not great, Harley and Waller balance the movie out.
5. Man of Steel
The very first entry into the DCEU was certainly a solid one. This movie is also rather controversial, with some people thinking it’s boring and mediocre, and others thinking it’s one of the best superhero movies ever made. We fall right in the middle, we don’t think it’s one of the best superhero movies, but it’s definitely a good one. This movie portrays a darker version of Superman, however also a more realistic one, and that’s what makes it so interesting. If Superman really did exist on Earth, this is probably how it would go down. The story of this movie is very well thought out as it follows Clark on his journey to becoming the hero we all know and love. This movie also contains a number of great action scenes and just sequences in general. The downside to this movie is the characters lack personality, and the end is a bit too much. But overall, it’s a very solid movie.
This is where the list goes from just good to amazing, as Shazam! is an amazing movie. While this may be the smallest movie in terms of scale, it’s the biggest movie in terms of heart. The whole cast knocks it out of the park, especially Zachary Levi as the lead character. Mark Stong also proves he can, in fact, play an awesome DC villain, as his villain is one of the best parts of the movie. This movie feels like it’s a throwback to 80s and 90s style movies, such as Big, The Goonies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Groundhog Day, and more. It is tons of fun and filled with charm, but it also packs a strong emotional punch. This movie also strikes the perfect balance of a family movie, it’s not too adult, but it’s not childish either. And with the movie’s strong message about family, it feels like an instant classic.
Aquaman is an epic adventure from start to finish. A lot was riding on this movie, however, it succeeded widely. This movie is the only movie on this list in the billion-dollar club, which was a game-changer for the DCEU. Jason Momoa knocks it out of the park and despite her problems, Amber Heard also does a great job. Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II round out this amazing cast. The movie is absolutely massive in terms of scale and showcases revolutionary VFX. Director James Wan creates an amazing world to explore and a fun adventure to follow. The action in this film is also top-notch and truly epic. This film has shades of movies such as Indian Jones, Fast & Furious, Pirates of the Caribbean, however, because it’s a combination, it ends up being its own thing.
2. Birds of Prey
While Aquaman is a fantastic movie, what gives Birds of Prey the edge is just how unique it is. There is nothing like the adventure Harley takes the audience on in this movie. The world showcased in this movie is vibrant, crazy, and just a ton of fun to mess around in. It was really fresh to see a movie that’s not necessarily about saving the world but has a much smaller threat. It allows the story to be more personal and take some time to have fun. The actors in this movie truly shine, not just Margot Robbie, but the whole cast. As with a number of movies on this list, it does have spectacular action, but it’s also different than the other movies. And while this movie does have some very serious moments, it’s just a super fun and memorable time.
1. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is not only of the best DC superhero movies but one of the best superhero movies period. Gal Gadot was born to play this role as she commands the screen. Chris Pine also excels as Steve Trevor rounding out a truly powerful duo. This movie and Diana inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves. The message of this movie, helping people no matter what the cost, is timeless and universal. Not only is Diana a great character, but she symbolizes hope and fighting the good fight. Patty Jenkins brings this WWI action film to life brilliantly, immersing the audience in the time period. This film is full of action and epic sequences. Plus the No Mans Land scene is one of the best in all of cinema. Even though this is the first mainstream female-led superhero movie, it is not a “chick flick”. This is a movie everyone can enjoy and celebrate.