If you’re unfamiliar with the DCEU, it’s a movie franchise in which a bunch of different DC superheroes have their own stories in an interconnected cinematic universe. It’s similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For example, characters from their own solo films will meet up for a more significant film like Justice League. It’s also important to note that I’m a big fan of DC comics, but I’m also a huge skeptic of DC movies, because most of them range from mediocre to atrocious.
With that stated, here’s the ranking:
10. Justice League (2017): This is one of the “atrocious” DC movies that I mentioned previously. This film is such a jumbled mess. Joss Whedon of “The Avengers” fame reshot and reedited a significant amount of scenes in this film for the worse. Batman was made into a comic relief character, Cyborg was sidelined, the Flash was made really annoying, and Superman had a CGI lip to hide the fact that Henry Cavill (who played the iconic hero) had a mustache during reshoots. The villain Steppenwolf is one of the most generic villains in cinema history, the movie is rushed, the pacing is way too fast, and every single joke, without exception, is cringe-inducing. This is an awful, awful movie that’s in the Top 10 Worst Superhero Films of All Time for me. I’m ashamed to say that I saw this in the theater.
9. Suicide Squad: Yeah, this one’s an abomination too. Like “Justice League” (2017), this DC film is a jumbled mess of a movie that was clearly manipulated and altered in editing. The villain was laughable, the overuse of pop songs was beyond irritating, the CGI was terrible, and all the characters except for Deadshot and Harley Quinn were either cartoon characters or cardboard cutouts. The worst part of this film, of course, was Jared Leto’s “Joker.” For some reason, Leto and director David Ayer thought it would be a good idea to give Joker a grill on his teeth, a laugh that sounds like an asthma attack, and a thousand tattoos all over his body (including the now infamous “damaged” tattoo on his forehead). “Suicide Squad” is a disgusting film on a visual, technical, and thematic level.
8. Wonder Woman 1984: This is probably the most disappointing DC movie on this list considering how good its predecessor is. The problem with “Wonder Woman 1984” is its TERRIBLE script. Not a single plot point makes sense and the ultimate villain of the movie is a wishing rock that looks like something you can buy at Party City for $5.99. The movie was also way too long; 40 minutes could have been cut out of the film and it wouldn’t make a difference in the garbage story. The CGI is so bad that it makes the fake lip in “Justice League” (2017) look good. There are about 4 fights scenes in the 2h 35min long movie, each of which range from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. This is one of the worst sequels of all time in terms of the drop in quality, and everyone involved in the movie (except for Gal Gadot, who was still perfect as Wonder Woman) should be utterly ashamed.
7. Shazam!: I know people love this movie, but I don’t. In fact, I would go as far to say that it’s almost bad. Similar to “Big,” the premise is that a kid named Billy Batson gets superpowers and can turn into an adult but keeps his child brain. However, the child actor (who was obnoxious by the way) played kid Billy as brooding while Zachary Levi, who played adult Billy, portrayed him as immature and goofy. These clashing traits caused the character to be extremely uneven. Additionally, there was an awful subplot where Billy tried to find his mother because she left him in an amusement park when he was little and… who cares? The fights were boring, the comedy was hit-or-miss, and the ending, without giving away any spoilers, made Billy insignificant in his on movie. Still, Zachary Levi was very likeable in the role and the movie wasn’t insufferable like previous movies on this list.
6. Birds of Prey: I’ll start with the positives: the action is enthralling. They got the “John Wick” stunt team to choreograph the fights in this film, and they turned out great. I also really liked the Huntress character and the use of colors. Besides those aspects, this movie was pretty bad. The film was a mess, as the timeline of the story is jumbled and none of the characters (with the exception of Harley Quinn) had much depth. The movie’s biggest problem, however, was its blatant political agenda. I HATE when politics (no matter if they’re left or right leaning) are shoved down our throats in movies. I want to escape the real world when I watch movies, not think about it constantly. In this film’s case, it portrayed every single man as either stupid or evil and every single woman as a victim of men. The movie went out of its way to show how men are backstabbing pigs in order to empower the female characters when that was completely unnecessary and offensive.
5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: I know people love to blindly hate on this movie, but I just can’t. This is the BEST live-action portrayal of Batman (although not perfect). Ben Affleck gave the best live-action performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman so far in my opinion. I like that Affleck’s Batman was based on Frank Miller’s Batman from the comics, who loves his job and is never really himself until he puts on the costume. Also, I appreciated that Batman actually wanted to fight crime & save lives in this film, unlike the Nolan films where he wanted to quit so he could date someone else’s fiancée. That said, the rest of the movie wasn’t nearly as good as the Batman elements. Superman was too dark and unheroic, Lex Luthor was a joke of a villain, and the plot was convoluted and senseless. If the Batman plot points were extended into a full movie and all the other elements were taken out of the film, it would be great, but unfortunately this movie was a disjointed mess.
4. Aquaman: This film thankfully knows it’s about a joke of a character, so it embraces the silliness; no one wants to see a gritty, serious movie about a merman. However, the film gets way too dumb at times. That’s all I have to say… it’s an Aquaman movie. It’s “meh.”
3. Man of Steel: This is two thirds of an interesting superhero drama and one third of a visual nightmare. The first two acts were a new, more realistic take on the Superman character that worked pretty well for me. I also really loved the villain: General Zod, played by Michael Shannon. He was very menacing and he had interesting motives which the viewers could understand; Zod wasn’t just some generic bad guy. He was causing all this destruction to preserve his race, most of whom tragically died on Krypton. That’s interesting to me. The problem with “Man of Steel” is that the movie loses its mind during the third act when 45 minutes’ worth of loud, obnoxious, CGI-heavy, gross, seizure-inducing, and migraine-inducing “action” occurs. In this movie about a character known for saving cats out of trees, he throws another superpowered being through buildings, causing them to FALL ON TOP OF PEOPLE & CRUSH THEM, DESTROYING A CITY IN THE PROCESS. It’s one of the worst endings to a blockbuster that I’ve ever seen.
2. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021): It took 8 films to get here, but this is the first good movie on this list. Anyway, this was the original cut of “Justice League” directed by Zack Snyder before Joss Whedon was hired for reshoots and destroyed it. In this version, all of the characters (except maybe for Aquaman, but who cares) were well fleshed-out and all had their heroic moments on screen. There were a few plot elements that didn’t make much sense and some of the music choices were out of place, but this was a very good DC film. Read my in-depth review for the movie here.
1. Wonder Woman: This is a fantastic comic book film and one of the best superhero origin movies ever made. “Wonder Woman” had to overcome so much hatred for DC movies at the time before its release due to the bad reception to previous DCEU movies, but it surprised everyone, including myself. The action was awesome, the music was catchy, and Gal Gadot gave a true star-making performance as the title character. The film does get a little slow at parts and it gets CGI heavy during the end battle (although not nearly as bad as the ending of “Man of Steel”), but it’s overall a wonderful action/fantasy film. Cheesy pun intended.
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