Every DC extended universe movie, ranked from worst to best

Every DC extended universe movie, ranked from worst to best
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Warning: There are some mild spoilers ahead.

  • Business Insider ranks the movies in Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe from worst to best. 

  • 2016's "Suicide Squad" is easily the worst. The first "Wonder Woman" remains the best.

15. "Suicide Squad" is not only the DCEU's worst installment, it's easily one of the worst superhero movies ever made. And that's a bummer.

suicide squad
Sorry puddin'. Will Smith and Harley Quinn couldn't save this film.Warner Bros.

Though Margot Robbie's take on Harley Quinn won over fans enough to see her in two more DC movies, there's not much else anyone loved about this movie.

The film was overstuffed with too many uninteresting characters, a comical CG mess of a villain, and Jared Leto's strange gangster, tattooed take on the Joker wasn't well-received.

Despite making over $746 million at the box office, "Suicide Squad" is in leagues with other superhero movie abominations including "Elektra," "Catwoman," and Fox's "Fantastic Four" reboot attempt.

You can read our review of "Suicide Squad" here.

14. "Justice League" has some fresh, eager faces, but they get lost in a lame story with a silly, forgettable CG-rendered villain.

justice league wonder woman aquaman
Sorry, Diana. There just isn't a lot that's wonderful about "Justice League."Warner Bros.

The first reviews for "Justice League" criticized the film for its lack of a villain worthy of the DC superheroes, awful CG, and a lame story.

While the film has a few stand-out performances from Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Gal Gadot's take on Wonder Woman, the group feels underutilized and rushed through a stuffed, generic story with a second-rate villain who isn't even a main baddie of the Justice League.

You can see how much influence "Avengers" director Joss Whedon had in trying to deliver a lighter, more fun tone to the film. However, it seems certain aspects of the movie — like the villain and main plot — were so set in stone when he joined the film that he had to work with the hand dealt.

Years later, when you see how the film treats its female characters compared to 2021's "Zack Snyder's Justice League," the 2017 film is almost unwatchable.

You can read Insider's review of "Justice League" here.

13. "Wonder Woman 1984" isn't better than the original, but it's still enjoyable because of its performances.

ww84 wonder woman steve trevor
Sparks fly between Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) once again in "WW84."Warner Bros.

"WW84" is an enjoyable, feel-good sequel — as long as you don't think about it too hard. It's the performances over the somewhat messy story which will keep you watching this slightly bloated superhero sequel.

Chris Pine and Gal Gadot's palpable reunion as star-crossed lovers three years after the original is the film's greatest strength. Fast-forwarding 66 years into 1984, it's delightful to watch a role reversal from the 2017 film as Steve Trevor (Pine) tries to get acclimated to fashion and technology in the future.

Gadot steals numerous scenes by just reacting with her eyes. Pedro Pascal pulls off playing one of DC's zanier villains. Kristen Wiig gives a great performance as a scientist who slowly devolves on screen into Wonder Woman's iconic nemesis.

Once you sit with the film for awhile you may start thinking about some of the film's many unanswered questions, including, whether or not the film teased and then dropped a romantic story plot between Barbara and Diana, and if Wonder Woman ever returned a stolen jet to the Smithsonian.

Though "WW84" is enjoyable at surface level, we can't rank it higher because of its numerous plot holes and a controversial consent debate between Diana and Steve.

You can read Insider's review of "Wonder Woman 1984" here.

12. The Rock's performance and a mid-credits scene are the best things about "Black Adam."

Dwayne Johnson in "Black Adam."
Dwayne Johnson may be the savior the DC universe needs, but "Black Adam" isn't course-correcting this franchise.Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is great in "Black Adam." He clearly understands the character and commands the screen every second he's on it.

That's why it's so disappointing that his 15-years-in-the-making antihero movie is subpar.

Other than the Rock's performance, the best thing about "Black Adam" is a must-see mid-credits scene, which shouldn't be the case.

The film's attempt to offer interesting commentary on the US interfering in foreign affairs via the Justice Society of America — a group that's a few steps up from the CW's "Legends of Tomorrow" gang — gets overshadowed by the film's many characters (of whom little are fleshed out) and CG action sequences to say anything of substance on the matter.

This standalone flick falls victim to the same fate as many DC movies before it. It delivers some interesting characters in a mediocre superhero film.

You can read our review here.

11. "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is messy and fun, but isn't better than the original.

Orm and Aquaman in "Aquaman 2."
The chemistry between Patrick Wilson and Jason Momoa works in "Aquaman 2."Courtesy Warner Bros./DC Comics

Marketed as a sequel where Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was seeking revenge on Aquaman and his family, viewers instead received a movie about the dangers of climate change with a cursed king possessing Manta to overheat the planet.

Momoa, once again, effortlessly embodies the role of Aquaman to deliver a fun, endearing story of reconnecting with his estranged brother Orm (a standout Patrick Wilson), but at the expense of sidelining all of its female characters.

Amber Heard's Mera gets a handful of wooden dialogue and Nicole Kidman seems to appear solely to fulfill contractual obligations in a few moments of screentime. Additionally, Willem Dafoe's character from the first movie is oddly killed off-screen.

As the final installment in WB's disjointed DCEU, "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" is an odd way to go out. Whether intentional or not, the sequel contains a lot of meme fodder and it doesn't attempt to close up its larger world-building. It just comes to a grinding halt.

The final scene of the movie, a meaningless throwaway gag in which Orm delightfully savors a cockroach, feels like a statement about the last few poorly received installments in the DC film universe.

10. "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" was supposed to be a huge all-out brawl between the Caped Crusader and Man of Steel, but it turned into a two-and-a-half hour slog and the Wonder Woman show.

batman v superman wb
Yes, Batman, you should be bowing your head in shame.Warner Bros

When the addition of Wonder Woman outshines two of the most popular superheroes known to man in their own movie, you have a problem.

The trailers promised a battle of the ages between the two titans, but gave audiences a mere tease of a savory smackdown. It didn't help that their quarrel was resolved by the realization that the heroes' moms share the same name. (I wish I was joking.)

Affleck's take on an older Caped Crusader affected by PTSD delivered a raw, realistic interpretation of the Gotham Knight. But Affleck and Gadot's performances couldn't save the film from its silly third act with another overly-processed CG villain.

For what it's worth, the extended version of "BvS" is far superior to the theatrical release.

From our review:

"It's difficult to not feel like a lot of 'Batman v Superman' is an exhaustive — and expensive — effort from DC and Warner Bros. to catch up to Disney and Marvel's well-oiled cinematic universe.

While all the parts click by the film's end, it's a journey getting there. 'BvS' is a busy film with a lot of players involved in one overarching story while making sure there's enough setup for future films. Sometimes the pacing feels rushed. When a villain is finally added into the mix, the film is nearly over."

You can read the full review here.

9. "Shazam: Fury of the Gods" is much better than expected, even if it's not better than the original.

Shazam and his superhero friends
The Shazamily in "Shazam: Fury of the Gods."Warner Bros.

2023's "Shazam" sequel is shockingly good, thoughtfully exploring the consequences of the hero's actions at the end of the first film and impostor syndome.

Infused with the childlike joy that made the first film so enjoyable, "Shazam: Fury of the Gods" explores the complexities of what it means to be a hero and how everyone can be worthy if given the chance. In short, it isn't a superpower that makes us powerful.

Shazam's decision to snap a magic staff at the end of the first film, which bestowed him and his foster brothers and sisters (aka the Shazamily) with the powers of the gods, directly influenced the villains in this film (Gods played by Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu).

While the duo initially comes across as random villains out to steal Shazam and his family's superpowers, the crucial context behind their revenge makes it easier to empathize with the sisters.

Still, the stuffed sequel fails to flesh out Billy Baxter's foster superhero family. By the film's end, you barely learn anything new about the majority of them. The sequel also loses a few points for containing an incredibly distracting use of product placement. Much of the film feels like a Skittles ad with the brand's trademark phrase uttered more than once.

You can read our review here.

8. "Shazam" is unquestionably funny with a charming Zachary Levi and a surprise ending. Other than that, the film is just OK.

shazam zachary levi
Zachary Levi is the best part of "Shazam!"Warner Bros.

"Shazam!" may not be a Batman or Superman movie, but boy is it filled with product placement for both heroes — from backpacks, to T-shirts, to an actual Batarang. When you can't go an entire DC movie without reminding fans that your other heroes are still out there somewhere, maybe you should make sure you have a few good movies with those characters first.

That's why it's a bit wild that "Shazam!" is a pretty decent movie. It's far from the best superhero movie. The first half hour is a bit of a boorish slug. It picks up when Levi finally enters the picture. But honestly, this movie is just a superhero version of the movie "Big."

For some reason, the DCEU continues down the path of terrible-looking CG villains in this movie with seven ghastly ghouls that take you out of the film a little. A surprise with several more superheroes showing up near the film's end makes up for some of the film's less inspired moments.

If The Rock's villainous Black Adam was in this movie, it would have been 10 times better. At the end of the day, "Shazam" is hilarious, but it wasn't a DC film anyone was asking to see.

You can read Insider's review of "Shazam" here.

7. "The Flash" works when it's a Batman movie. Michael Keaton's the best thing about the long-awaited film.

Michael Keaton as Batman in The Flash
Michael Keaton makes The Flash watchable.Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics

"The Flash" is very good when it's a Batman movie and mediocre when it's about Barry Allen (Ezra Miller).

Somehow, a movie that revolves around preventing the death of Barry's mom fails to explore who killed her in the first place. It's also strange that the film revisits a villain from a 10-year-old divisive film ("Man of Steel") instead of focusing on a Flash baddie given WB's stance on refusing to continue the Snyderverse era of DC.

Despite an MVP performance from Michael Keaton and the enjoyable addition of Sasha Calle as Supergirl, it's tough to rank this film higher due to some truly wonky CGI and a cringeworthy scene near the film's start in which Ezra Miller's hero places a baby in a closed microwave to save its life before offering mental health advice to a screaming nurse.

Given the actor's legal troubles, it's bizarre this sequence and dialogue made the final cut.

The only thing more bizarre is the number of critics who oversold the film as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made months ahead of release without ever seeing the film's full ending.

You can read Insider's review here.

6. "Aquaman" has some visually dazzling scenes and Jason Momoa reimagines what it means to be the King of the Seven Seas.

aquaman mera
Jason Momoa embodies a new, likable vision for Aquaman.Warner Bros.

"Aquaman" has so much going on that it easily feels like several movies in one. I don't necessarily believe "Aquaman" is better than "Shazam," but visually, it has some much better shots, including the electric one of Jason Momoa and Amber Heard diving into the Trench-infested waters with only the light of a red flare to guide them out of harm's way. (Click here to see what I'm talking about.)

Momoa is not only convincing as Aquaman, but he also helped redefine the DC hero that became the punchline of every joke because of his original take on the character. Even if all of his jokes didn't land in the film, it was easy to see Momoa had a blast as the King of the Seven Seas.

From Insider's review:

"Director James Wan brings a fresh eye to the DC universe with some great and intense visual moments on screen, Jason Momoa is an excellent Aquaman, and the underwater sea world of Atlantis looks like something out of "Avatar." But there are some things that feel too cartoonish, some jokes don't quite land, and the film continues to make some mistakes of past Warner Bros.' DC entries.

For better or worse, the film is parts "Splash," "The Lion King," "National Treasure," and an original Wan horror flick."

You can read the full review here.

5. "Birds of Prey" is a lot of fun and is hopefully the first of more superhero movies centered around women.

birds of prey
Margot Robbie continues to show us why her Harley Quinn was the best thing to come from 2016's "Suicide Squad."Claudette Barius/Warner Bros

Harley Quinn is the role Margot Robbie was born to play. She effortlessly brings the quirky and fun spirit of the Joker's former sidekick to life from the comic pages.

DC has always had a leg up on developing its female characters on screen. While highlighting Harley, the film introduces at least two new characters fans will want to see more of in the future. Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Huntress and Jurnee Smollett-Bell's Black Canary can stand alongside the likes of DC's Catwoman or Poison Ivy.

On the villain front, Ewan McGregor gives us one of DC's best villains with the eccentric and despicable mobster Roman Sionis.

The film loses some points because of some unorthodox storytelling. The first hour is told out of order from Harley's perspective, making the movie a little tough to follow the first time around. You may not be clear on what the film is about until all of the pieces come together.

Upon a second viewing, the movie holds up even more, even if we don't get an explanation for some plot holes, like where all of Gotham's other villains are hiding.

Overall, "BoP" serves as an uplifting message for young women to take charge of their lives if they're not happy with the cards they were dealt. It gets some bonus points because it's a film made for women by women because of the attention to detail. (Yes, I'm talking about the hair tie moment.)

You can read Insider's review of "Birds of Prey" here.

4. James Gunn delivers one of the smartest comic-book movies you'll ever watch, even though you may not grasp that until a second viewing.

Rick Flag, King Shark, Bloodsport, and Peacemaker in "The Suicide Squad."
Gunn makes you fall in love with each character in his "The Suicide Squad" before pulling the rug out from under you.Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics

Did we need another "Suicide Squad" movie? Absolutely not. But this is such a bloody, damn good time.

Gunn delivers a political thriller with a big statement about the real villains of the world wrapped in a superhero movie. While fans receive gruesome deaths (some of which will shock you) and no holds barred action, the film also unexpectedly has a lot of heart.

Gunn's greatest gift is his ability to make you fall in love with the most obscure characters, who you really have no business caring about in the first place, that it's tough to pick one or two stand-outs in a large cast.

David Dastmalchian's Polka-Dot Man, John Cena's hilarious Peacemaker, and Sylvester Stallone's King Shark are all stand-outs along with a tiny rat with a backpack named Sebastian.

Not only is "TSS" the strangest comic-book movie you'll ever watch, it's also one of the smartest.

You can read our review here.

3. "Zack Snyder's Justice League" is the movie fans deserved to get years ago.

justice league snyder cut trailer
The heroes are united in Zack Snyder's original vision in his "Snyder cut."HBOMax/DC

Is the Snyder Cut an exercise in excess? Sure. There are a few scenes, including one with the Amazons and another with women singing, that could be cut by a few minutes. But that doesn't really matter. Snyder most likely thought this could be his final opportunity to deliver any story with these characters in the DC Universe so he took his time to deliver almost everything fans have waited to see for years.

A new villain adds a more compelling narrative to the film instead of some third-rate sidekick villain who simply wants to conquer the Earth. The creep factor on 2017's old superhero Steppenwolf has been dialed down, and now you almost feel bad for this new version who clearly just wants some attention from the boss he worships.

Cringeworthy dialogue, Henry Cavill's mustache-gate, and the Russian family from the original are all gone. Diverse heroes have been reinstated and most of the 2017 film's crimes against its female characters have been nixed or altered.

Snyder's long-fabled vision for the "Justice League" is a superior film to the theatrical cut in every sense of the word. It's a shame we'll likely never get sequels.

You can read our review here.

2. "Man of Steel" isn't perfect, but it's a good coming-of-age story about a man trying to come to grips with being different.

man of steel kevin costner
I will defend "Man of Steel" until my dying day to all the naysayers.Warner Bros.

Fans and critics alike were quick to tear "Man of Steel" down for Cavill's portrayal of Clark Kent/Superman. Countless early reviews used the word "brooding" to describe the movie. The giant controversial action scene aside, anyone believing it was a depressing, dark film was missing the point of what Snyder was trying to do.

This movie wasn't delivering us a full-fledged Superman. Instead, it was giving us a Clark Kent who was learning how to be Superman and accept the fact that it was OK he was different from everyone else.

From our review in 2013:

"Being an alien among humans is scary and director Zack Snyder drives this point home showing the world through a young Kent's eyes.

We know Superman has X-ray vision, super strength, heat vision, and supersonic hearing and that all sounds cool.

In reality, it's not.

According to Snyder, Superman doesn't see skeletons when seeing others. He sees people's muscular systems. That's terrifying. The simplest sounds — the opening of a door, getting out of a chair, and placing a coffee pot down are deafening ...

Is Henry Cavill the cheeriest Man of Steel? At the start of the film, no. But when your adopted parents are telling you to hide the special attribute that makes you unique, and you can't answer back to the bullies who constantly refer to you as a freak — who could blame him? ...A fitting alternate title for the film would be 'Superman Begins.'"

You can read Insider's full "Man of Steel" review here.

1. "Wonder Woman" was the best movie in the DCEU.

wonder woman
The best scene in "Wonder Woman."Warner Bros.

So you're not a fan of the third act where Wonder Woman's taking out the bad guy. Who cares? The rest of the film more than makes up for it.

One of the movie's best scenes occurs about an hour into "Wonder Woman." Actress Gal Gadot debuts the superhero costume as she steps out of the trenches and slowly makes her way across a war-torn stretch of land during World War I called "No Man's Land," an area no one has been able to cross in over a year.

Bullets ricochet off her bracelets and she moves faster across the barren wasteland until she clears the other side of danger. It's a scene of many which brought mothers, daughters, and women to tears while seeing the film in theaters.

In our 2017 review of "Wonder Woman," we called it one of the best superhero movies ever made:

"Not only does 'Wonder Woman' power through the potential pitfalls of the modern-day superhero movie — weak plot, boring villain, lackluster third act — but it also shows once and for all that a female-focused superhero movie can be as strong, heroic, thrilling, and funny as the guys' (and, I predict, as profitable)."

Chris Pine is also a scene-stealer — and funny! (Who knew?)

But the best thing "Wonder Woman" may have done was kill off the hero's love interest. It's something Marvel movies haven't had the guts to do. Plus, Diana Prince doesn't need romance as a story crutch. She's awesome on her own.

Read the original article on Insider