DCEU: Every Movie Ranked According to Critic Reviews

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PopCorn Princess
Discover how critics rank each film in the DCEU, from the trailblazing "Man of Steel" to the most recent addition, "Blue Beetle." We delve into the highs and lows of the universe, showcasing what makes movies like "Wonder Woman" iconic and others a miss. Get ready for the ultimate guide to the DCEU, according to those who dissect movies for a living!
DCEU Every Movie Ranked According to Critics

Table of Contents

It’s been a wild, decade-long rollercoaster ride with the DC Extended Universe, commonly known as the DCEU. However, the end of the line appears to be drawing near, as a full-scale reboot of the franchise is looming on the horizon.

Spearheaded by James Gunn and Peter Safran, this reboot is all set to rejuvenate the world of capes and cowls.

But before we bid farewell to the current narrative tapestry and plunge into the next thrilling chapter, let’s take a trip down memory lane and assess the good, the bad, and the occasionally ugly of what has been presented on the big screen so far.

Love them or loathe them, there’s no denying that the DCEU’s range of films has been both groundbreaking and polarizing.

Warner Bros. has navigated this franchise through a tumultuous sea of ups and downs, peppered with flashes of brilliance and moments of missteps.

For the purpose of this retrospective, we’ve gathered a list of all the DCEU films that have been released to date and ranked them according to their scores on the ever-so-telling Rotten Tomatoes meter.

Now, there’s a little caveat we have to address. For the uninitiated, the DCEU has its own canon—a specific narrative lineage that includes only the officially sanctioned films.

That’s why you won’t see Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” here; although it garnered a cult following, it’s not part of the franchise’s “official” catalog. So, we’re focusing solely on the canonized entries in the DCEU for this roundup.

And there you have it—the stage is set for a cinematic stroll through a universe that has given us both iconic moments and instances we’d perhaps rather forget.

But for now, let’s celebrate what’s been a strikingly ambitious journey as we await what the future holds.

Suicide Squad (2016)

14th Place: Suicide Squad (2016)

Approval Rating: 26% (Average Score of 4.80)

Critical Consensus: “Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and injects a sense of humor that previous DCEU films sorely lacked, but these strengths don’t make up for the ultimate letdown brought on by a jumbled script, underdeveloped characters, and inconsistent direction.”

“Suicide Squad,” where to even begin? A movie so compelling in the promotional campaign that it got fans excited beyond measure, only to deliver a mixed bag that mostly tilted toward the negative.

Despite its less-than-stellar performance critically and its scrambled storytelling approach, it wasn’t a complete cinematic trainwreck.

Why? Because it introduced us to one of the DCEU’s most dazzling personalities—Margot Robbie’s electrifying take on Harley Quinn.

It felt like the filmmakers tried to mash too many elements into a single film, resulting in a somewhat chaotic blend. Perhaps they were going for edgy, but what they ended up with was closer to disjointed.

They gave us colorful characters and then sort of just left them there, dangling in a narrative that seemed more like a rollercoaster of missed opportunities than a cohesive story arc.

While the film had its high points—some snappy one-liners, visually arresting action scenes, and, of course, Robbie’s breakout role as Harley Quinn—it was bogged down by multiple weaknesses that made it hard to view it as a comprehensive success.

If nothing else, it taught us that even a stellar cast and a few great jokes couldn’t fully compensate for the absence of a solid plot and well-thought-out characters.

Still, for all its faults, “Suicide Squad” did manage to contribute something meaningful to the DCEU universe: it served as the launching pad for Harley Quinn, a character who has since become a household name and an emblem of the franchise’s potential for vibrancy and depth.

Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice (2016)

13th Place: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Approval Rating: 29% (Average Score of 5.00)

Critical Consensus: “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially potent story—and some of America’s most iconic heroes—in a murky whirlwind of visual effects-laden action.”

Ah, the sophomore outing in the DCEU—the much-hyped “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” This film promised a clash of titans, a cinematic spectacle that would finally pit the Dark Knight against the Man of Steel.

On paper, it sounded epic. Who wouldn’t want to see two of DC Comics’ most legendary figures go toe-to-toe in a grand showdown? But alas, the end result couldn’t quite match the lofty expectations that it had set.

The film suffered from what I’d call an ‘identity crisis,’ teetering between the seriousness of a Greek tragedy and the spectacle of a summer blockbuster.

Director Zack Snyder, known for his dark and weighty take on comic book lore, seemed to apply a little too much gravitas to the mix. While aiming for depth and complexity, he ended up muddying the waters, so to speak, in a film that felt overburdened by its own ambition.

Then, there was the narrative juggling act. It wasn’t just a Batman and Superman story; it was a mishmash of multiple comic book arcs, each one vying for attention, like an ensemble cast where everyone thinks they’re the lead.

A little more focus could’ve done wonders; instead, we got a cramped storyline, almost as if it was trying to bite off more than it could chew.

Yet, for all its flaws, let’s not forget that the film introduced us to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, a portrayal that stood out like a beacon in a sea of ambiguity.

It also laid down some foundational pieces that subsequent films in the franchise could build upon, albeit with varying degrees of success.

So, while “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” might not have lived up to its potential, it wasn’t a complete disaster. It showed us the range of what the DCEU could be, for better or worse, while serving as a cautionary tale about the dangers of blending too many storylines and tones into one film.

Sometimes less is more; in this case, a more streamlined approach could have perhaps elevated the movie from a missed opportunity to a true classic.

Black Adam (2022)

12th Place: Black Adam (2022)

Approval Rating: 38% (Average Score of 5.10)

Critical Consensus: “Black Adam may hint at an exciting future for DC movies, but as a standalone experience, it’s a resounding disappointment.”

Touted as the “dawn of a new era,” “Black Adam” comes in swinging with all the pomp and circumstance you’d expect from a film starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Yes, The Rock’s charisma does its magic, infusing the film with moments that make you sit up and say, ‘Okay, this could be something special.’

However, when the credits roll, you’re left with the impression that the film raced through its storyline, barely doing justice to its eponymous hero or the iconic Justice Society it aimed to introduce.

Now, let’s delve a little deeper into that breakneck pacing, shall we? The movie has this frenetic energy like it’s trying to cram an entire comic book series into a two-hour runtime.

The result is a narrative sprint more than it jogs, often leaving character development in the dust. This speediness doesn’t just affect Black Adam; it also undermines the introduction of the Justice Society, an ensemble that truly deserved more screen time and a more nuanced introduction.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The film has its redeeming qualities, and one of them is undoubtedly Henry Cavill’s final appearance in the DCEU. It serves as a bittersweet farewell, a nod to a Superman portrayal that has sparked more than its fair share of debates over the years.

His participation gives the movie a sort of gravitas that it might have otherwise lacked. So, while we may have our critiques, we can appreciate the film for giving us one last chance to see Cavill don the red cape.

In sum, “Black Adam” flirts with greatness but falls short, like an athlete who stumbles in the final stretch of a race. It delivers flashes of what could be an exciting chapter in the DCEU but dilutes its potential with a rushed narrative and scant character development.

Though it holds promise for what could lie ahead for DC films, as a self-contained story, it leaves you wanting more—in both the good and not-so-good ways.

Justice League (2017)

11th Place: Justice League (2017)

Approval Rating: 39% (Average Score of 5.30)

Critical Consensus: “Justice League leaps ahead of various other DC films, but its lone connection isn’t enough to cleanse the ugly aesthetics, shallow characters, and chaotic action that continue to plague the franchise.”

Stepping into the ring with an air of grandiosity, “Justice League” was positioned as the crescendo of the DCEU. This magnum opus would finally get the ensemble superhero formula right.

Yet, it felt more like a cacophony than a symphony. The production process itself was like a Hollywood version of a roller coaster, replete with more twists and turns than you’d care to count.

Add glaring technical flaws to the mix, and it’s no wonder the film wasn’t the crowning glory everyone had been yearning for.

Here’s the thing—creating a cinematic masterpiece that not only keeps a steady hand on individual arcs but also ties them into a cohesive narrative is no small feat. “Justice League” tried to juggle too many storylines and dropped most of them.

As a result, the characters we’ve come to know and love (or at least are inquisitive about) became mere silhouettes of their comic book selves. The action scenes, which should have been awe-inspiring, felt more like a whirlwind tour through an over-caffeinated visual effects studio.

Let’s pause and consider the film’s aesthetics. Do you know how a painter has a palette of colors to set the mood for a masterpiece? Well, “Justice League” seemed to bypass the subtleties of that art form, opting for visuals that were often jarring rather than immersive.

The overall aesthetic didn’t do justice—pun intended—to the epic narrative attempting to unfold.

It’s not all dark clouds. While the original release left many yearning for more depth and less chaos, Zack Snyder’s version garnered a significantly warmer reception with a 72% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

That cut resonated more deeply with critics, who found it a more nuanced, albeit longer, take on the story. If nothing else, it stood as an example of what could have been achieved with a little more time and thoughtful storytelling.

In essence, “Justice League” made strides over its DCEU predecessors but still couldn’t shake off the underlying issues that have haunted the franchise.

Its moments of charm were fleeting, primarily overshadowed by the narrative and aesthetic imperfections that felt like a recurring motif in the DCEU tapestry.

Even though it aimed for the stars, it found itself tangled in its own narrative web, leaving us to ponder what could’ve been a genuinely legendary cinematic experience.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

10th Place: Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

Approval Rating: 49% (Average Score of 5.60)

Critical Consensus: “Less focused and satisfying than its predecessor, ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ still manages to hold on to some goofy charms from its source material to save the day.”

So, you’re back for the sequel, huh? Are we ready to dive into the electrically charged world of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,”? Well, be prepared for a little bit of a letdown.

While the first installment was practically a breath of fresh air—remember that infectious balance of humor and heart?—This sequel comes up a bit short.

First, we’ve got to talk about our leading man, Shazam. What happened to the wits, the clever one-liners, and the nuanced performance that made the character relatable in the first movie?

In this sequel, Shazam seems to have been shoved into the backseat as Zachary Levi takes center stage with his comedic mugging.

Don’t get me wrong—Levi is a delight to watch, but it’s a stark contrast to the dramatic prowess of Asher Angel in the original film. There’s a palpable imbalance; it’s like going from a symphony to a garage band.

You know how sequels have this demanding job of not just being as good as the original but often feeling the pressure to be even better? Well, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” seems to have buckled under that weight.

It’s not a bad film by any means, but it’s noticeably less satisfying. There’s a certain magic—pun fully intended—that’s missing. The story lacks that laser focus that keeps you glued to your seat, eagerly awaiting what will happen next.

And while we’re at it, let’s delve into that whole ‘goofy charms’ aspect mentioned in the critics’ Consensus. Sure, the film retains some goofball humor from the original—making you chuckle here and there—but is it enough to save the day?

Let’s just say it keeps the movie from tumbling into the abyss of forgotten sequels. It’s like catching a glimpse of a shooting star: exhilarating for a moment but quick to fade.

So, to sum it all up: “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” ends up feeling like a less ambitious younger sibling who could have been the valedictorian but chose to skate by.

It doesn’t lack entertainment value; it just isn’t as impactful or awe-inspiring as the first film. While the original captured our hearts and had us practically yelling “Shazam!” every chance we got, the sequel left us mouthing the word with a bit less enthusiasm.

Man of Steel (2013)

9th Place: Man of Steel (2013)

Approval Rating: 56% (Average Score of 6.20)

Critical Consensus: “While ‘Man of Steel’ dazzles with spectacular action and spectacle, it can’t fully escape veering into the territory of generic blockbusters.”

So, here we are, talking about the film that kicked it all off for the DC Extended Universe—the alpha, the origin point, the Big Bang of the DCEU, if you will.

“Man of Steel” is a film that, even years after its release, continues to generate some pretty heated debates. Some people would sell their firstborn to defend it, while others would rather watch paint dry than sit through it again.

First, let’s talk about the man of the hour—Superman, played by Henry Cavill. When we say “carried,” we mean this guy lifted the whole thing on his well-defined shoulders, much like you’d imagine Superman would hoist a crashing airplane out of the sky.

Cavill’s performance is weighty and layered, making you believe that a man could fly and have existential crises at 30,000 feet.

Now, onto the movie’s captain, Zack Snyder. The guy is a visual poet, no doubt about it. With “Man of Steel,” he took every opportunity to flex those aesthetic muscles, turning each frame into art.

Whether you’re a fan of his style or not, you can’t deny the sheer scope and grandeur he brings to the superhero world. Snyder makes it so that every punch feels like a seismic event, and every stare-down feels like the universe’s fate is at stake.

But here’s the rub: all that razzle-dazzle, while jaw-dropping, tends to drive the movie into the lane of typical, run-of-the-mill blockbusters. It’s almost like being served a gourmet meal only to find out the main course is chicken nuggets.

Delicious, but expected. The film grapples with heavy themes and visual splendor, but sometimes, these elements can overshadow the more nuanced storytelling elements we crave from our superhero epics.

The critics’ Consensus rings true here. All that marvelous action and eye-popping spectacle can’t entirely compensate for the moments where the film dips its toes in cliché-ridden waters.

Like a rollercoaster with incredible highs and underwhelming lows, “Man of Steel” leaves you exhilarated but also slightly unsatisfied, wondering what could’ve been if it had just veered off the beaten path a little.

So, where does this leave “Man of Steel” in the grand scheme of things? It’s a film that’s both loved and loathed almost equally. It was a visual feast that, at times, could’ve used a sprinkle more of narrative spice.

If the DCEU is a tapestry of interconnected stories, then “Man of Steel” is that intriguing corner that makes you lean in for a closer look but doesn’t fully satisfy your appetite for a more decadent tale.

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

8th Place: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Approval Rating: 58% (Average Score of 6.10)

Critical Consensus:” ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ grapples with the burdens of being a sequel, yet still delivers vibrant escapism to please fans of the franchise and its iconic lead character.”

You know how that saying goes, “The first cut is the deepest?” When it comes to “Wonder Woman 1984,” the franchise found itself in something of a sophomore slump, fighting against the inertia of its groundbreaking predecessor.

So, if you’re riding the high from the 2017 original, brace yourself: You’re in for a bumpy landing this time around.

Now, let’s talk about Gal Gadot. She steps back into the red boots of Diana of Themyscira, and—let’s face it—she owns the room. Or should I say, the entire decade?

Gadot lights up the screen as if Zeus himself gave her a divine electric charge. But even her radiant presence feels slightly dimmed by the chaos around her.

Onto the orchestrator of this ensemble, Patty Jenkins. She’s back in the director’s chair but doesn’t quite manage to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. She gave us an origin story in 2017 that felt like a breath of fresh air, teeming with heart, courage, and wit.

But in 1984, the film wavers, tangled in its own web of conflicting tones and disorganized plotting. It’s like when your favorite band releases that experimental second album; you appreciate the effort, but you’re not entirely sure they should’ve strayed from their roots.

Let’s not even get started on the disarrayed storyline—tripping over itself more often than not. It’s like an artist with too many colors on the palette; things feel less like a coherent vision and more like a kaleidoscopic mess.

A narrative tug-of-war, if you will, struggling between the necessity to introduce fresh elements and the temptation to stay loyal to what worked so well before.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie’s not a complete misfire. It’s vibrant, filled with the kind of escapism we all need occasionally. It still has plenty of allure for franchise fans and the irresistible Amazonian warrior at its center.

But if you were enamored by the first film’s effortlessly engaging charm, be prepared for something more akin to a complicated relationship status on social media—It’s tough.

In the final reckoning, where does “Wonder Woman 1984” fit into the grand tapestry of superhero cinema? It is a vivid yet somewhat messy chapter in a narrative that’s still very much loved.

Like that one friend who throws a chaotic but unforgettable party—full of thrills and spills—you find yourself wondering if they’ll get their act together the next time you RSVP.

The Flash (2023)

7th Place: The Flash (2023)

Approval Rating: 64% (Average Score of 6.30)

Critical Consensus: “‘The Flash’ serves up fun, nails the right speed, and places itself comfortably among the better DC films in recent years.”

Ah, “The Flash”—the cinematic experience with Warner Bros. amping up the expectations by dubbing it the “greatest superhero movie of all time.” Quite the statement, right?

Now, let’s be honest for a moment. While it might not be the pièce de résistance of the superhero genre, it’s still a spirited rollercoaster of a film that packs in its fair share of laughs and “wow” moments.

From the get-go, “The Flash” had a tall mountain to climb, what with the lofty, sky-high promises. But, you know what? It scrambles upwards, never fully reaching the peak but getting pretty darn close.

The film feels like a much-needed espresso shot in the DC universe, serving up brisk pacing and genuinely amusing scenes. It’s energetic and spry, like that kid in school who could never sit still, always bounding around with a seemingly endless supply of exuberance.

But—yes, there’s a ‘but’—it also finds itself mired in some, shall we say, perplexing creative choices. Some decisions during its development could be seen as head-scratchers.

For instance, the tone zigzags like a distracted teenager texting and driving—sometimes, it’s deep and soulful. Other times, it’s cheeky and irreverent.

This fluctuating atmosphere turns what could be a straight-arrow narrative into something more akin to a curvy scenic route, with a couple of pit stops along the way.

Nevertheless, when the credits roll, and you sink back into your seat, munching on the last of your popcorn, you’re left feeling entertained but not profoundly moved.

In a nutshell, it’s the cinematic equivalent of a thrilling first date that’s fun and engaging yet lacks that special ‘je ne sais quoi’ to make you believe in soulmates. You had a good time, but you’re not precisely deleting your dating apps just yet.

So, what’s the verdict? “The Flash” isn’t the crowning jewel in the superhero film empire. Instead, think of it as a lively chapter in a long-running saga—fun, sometimes bordering on goofy but undeniably entertaining.

In other words, it won’t necessarily redefine the genre, but it won’t bore you to tears, either. And in a world crammed with caped crusaders and masked vigilantes, holding your interest for a couple of hours is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Aquaman (2018)

6th Place: Aquaman (2018)

Approval Rating: 66% (Average Score of 6.00)

Critical Consensus: “‘Aquaman’ swims through an exhilarating tide, treating us to a CGI-laden superhero spectacle that serves up action-packed moments with a generous helping of old-school fun.”

Let’s dive into “Aquaman,” shall we? Surfacing at a time when DC Comics was pretty much gasping for air—frantically waving its metaphorical arms for a hit—along comes this whirlpool of a movie.

Now, ‘whirlpool’ is the operative term here because this film doesn’t merely tread water; it dives deep, making quite a splash with its blend of action, humor, and, yes, drama too.

Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry is an undeniable gravitational force. I mean, could anyone else wield a trident with such finesse, making it look like the coolest accessory since shades were invented?

His take on the ocean’s leading man is not just a performance; it’s an embodiment, complete with Momoa’s signature roguish charm and the kind of brawn that gives the Justice League its street cred.

The actor taps into his reservoir of charisma, turning Arthur Curry into a character you’d want to have a beer with and maybe even trust to save your city from a water-based apocalypse.

Then there’s James Wan, the man behind the camera and in the director’s chair. He’s like that culinary genius who decides to throw in a dash of this and a sprinkle of that, and voila, you’ve got a dish that Instagram would kill for.

Wan concocts a visual smorgasbord, an almost psychedelic underwater escapade that makes you feel like you’re swimming alongside dolphins and duking it out with sea monsters. It’s as if Jules Verne met Pixar and decided to take a detour into the Marvel playbook just for kicks.

Let’s not turn a blind eye to the fact that we’re knee-deep in superhero movies these days. And in such an overcrowded marketplace, it’s not enough just to exist; you need to stand out. “Aquaman” does that by hearkening back to old-school fun—think Saturday morning cartoons meet late-night action thrillers.

You get the kind of ‘pew pew’ action and jaw-dropping spectacle that makes you momentarily forget you’re a grown-up with bills to pay.

So, where does this place, “Aquaman,” in the grand ocean of superhero flicks? Imagine a scale from ‘belly flop’ to ‘Olympic dive,’ this movie finds its sweet spot leaning closer to the latter.

It doesn’t redefine the genre or revolutionize storytelling. Still, it does give you your money’s worth, and you walk out of the theater thinking, “Now that’s a superhero movie with some real buoyancy.”

It’s fun, entertaining, and, most importantly, a rousing adventure that lets you escape to a realm where people communicate with fish, and a trident is the ultimate weapon. And, let’s be honest, who couldn’t use that kind of escape these days?

Blue Beetle (2023)

5th Place: Blue Beetle (2023)

Approval Rating: 77% (Average Score of 6.40)

Critical Consensus: “With Xolo Maridueña bringing an irresistibly magnetic touch to the title role, ‘Blue Beetle’ soars as a family-centered superhero flick, spiced with an effervescent blend of humor and heart.”

Swinging into the spotlight, here comes “Blue Beetle,” the latest spectacle in the ever-evolving tapestry that is the DC Extended Universe.

And you better believe it: this film didn’t just tip-toe into the top 5 of the franchise—it burst through the doors like it owned the joint. If there were a cinematic equivalent to spiking the football in the end zone, this movie would be it.

Xolo Maridueña doesn’t just play the Blue Beetle; he practically radiates charisma, drawing you into every scene as if he’s got his own gravitational field.

And let’s chew the fat on this film’s unique selling point: humor meshed with deep, heartfelt sentiment. It’s not just a couple of one-liners thrown in between epic fight sequences. No siree.

This is more like the emotional rollercoaster you never knew you signed up for, where you’re laughing your socks off one moment and dabbing your eyes with a tissue the next.

Imagine a family reunion where your grandma’s wisdom balances your crazy uncle’s pranks—that’s the emotional range you’re in for.

But something else puts “Blue Beetle” on a pedestal: a culturally rich tapestry in a superhero costume. This isn’t a mere nod to diversity for the sake of checking a box.

It’s a narrative that dives deep into cultural identity, giving it layers and textures that resonate with anyone who’s ever felt torn between worlds. Think of it as a superhero saga with the nuance of an indie film.

And can we talk about the family-centric storyline for a second? This isn’t just about saving the universe from the next big baddie; it’s about navigating the labyrinth that is family life, with all its twists, turns, and occasional dead-ends.

It’s a refreshing change of pace that adds emotional heft to the film, a dash of relatability that might just make you think about calling your own family after the credits roll.

In recent years, the DC Universe could have used an espresso shot of fresh vibes, and boy, does “Blue Beetle” deliver. Think of it as the unexpected yet utterly delightful palate cleanser at a multi-course meal you’ve been attending for years.

It shakes off the formulaic dust and introduces new flavors that make you think, “Oh yeah, this is why I love superhero movies.”

So, if you’re keen on experiencing a superhero story that seamlessly combines action, emotion, culture, and a whole lot of character, clear your schedule.

“Blue Beetle” is not just another superhero movie; it’s a nuanced, richly textured narrative that offers a multi-layered feast for the senses—and the soul.

Birds of Prey (2020)

4th Place: Birds of Prey (2020)

Approval Rating: 78% (Average Score of 6.80)

Critical Consensus: “With a fresh angle, some kick-butt new sidekicks, and loads of frenzied action, ‘Birds of Prey’ nails the colorful, anarchic spirit embodied by Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.”

Now, let’s delve into this gem, shall we? “Birds of Prey” is like that electric guitar riff you didn’t see coming in the middle of a song—it disrupts, excites, and leaves an impression.

And yes, we’ve got to talk about that cyclone of energy, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. She doesn’t just occupy this role; she imbues it with zany charisma like catnip for your senses.

But let’s address the elephant in the room. The film initially faced a tidal wave of disdain from a particular audience corner. No surprise there.

Anytime a movie tries to push boundaries or challenge the status quo, it’s bound to get a few naysayers riled up. Still, “Birds of Prey” danced through that rain of criticism and emerged, mascara unsmudged, as a standout installment in the DC Extended Universe.

What sets it apart? How about its pulse-pounding, pedal-to-the-metal energy that rarely lets up? This isn’t your traditional superhero movie; it’s a high-octane joyride through a kaleidoscope of chaos and color.

Imagine an amusement park where every ride is the roller coaster, and they’ve all been set to “ludicrous speed”—that’s the level of frenetic action we’re talking about here.

This movie also did something we often yearn for but rarely see: it captured the sheer anarchic spirit usually confined to the comic book pages and made it sing on the big screen.

Do you know how a Harley Quinn comic feels like the punk rock of superhero literature? “Birds of Prey” perfectly replicates that aesthetic, capturing an edginess missing from many superhero peers.

And, oh boy, let’s not forget those leading ladies. They’re not just sidekicks or love interests; these women are the main event. They bring a fresh energy that goes well beyond the damsel-in-distress archetype we’ve been spoon-fed for years.

It’s not just about saving the day; it’s about shattering glass ceilings—and maybe a few faces—along the way.

So, why is this movie considered one of the crown jewels of the DC Universe? Simple. It feels like a live concert after a long season of elevator music. It’s the effervescent cocktail you didn’t know you needed but now can’t stop sipping.

By the time the credits roll, you’re not just entertained; you’re invigorated, exhilarated, and possibly exhausted. Look no further if you’re in the mood for a superhero film that plays by its own rulebook. “Birds of Prey” is a masterclass in controlled chaos and unapologetic flair.

Shazam! (2019)

3rd Place: Shazam! (2019)

Approval Rating: 90% (Average Score of 7.30)

Critical Consensus: “A smooth blend of humor and drama, ‘Shazam!’ is a superhero film that never forgets the real power of the genre: the exhilarating fulfillment of wishes.”

This movie is kind of like finding an extra fry at the bottom of your fast-food bag—an unexpected delight that brings a smile to your face.

Regarding the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), “Shazam!” stands as a beacon of unabashed joy, bursting at the seams with moments that light up your eyes and warm your heart.

Let’s lay down some context first. We know the sequel didn’t quite live up to the hype. Hey, nobody’s perfect. But that shouldn’t cast a shadow over how revolutionary the original was for the superhero genre. This is no brooding, cosmic-level saga with the universe’s fate hanging in the balance.

This movie takes you back to the core of why superhero stories exist in the first place: to make you feel like a kid waking up on a snow day—absolutely ecstatic.

And speaking of kids, how about that Shazam Family? The film’s true magic (pun intended) comes alive in the family dynamics, not just between the heroic siblings but also in the surrogate family they find.

The Shazam Family is a radiant embodiment of inclusion and diversity, letting the audience in on the inside joke that heroism isn’t limited to those with Greek god-like physiques or jawlines that could cut glass. It’s a call to action for every teen who’s ever looked in the mirror and said, “What if?”

And oh man, we can’t overlook Mark Strong’s Doctor Sivana. He’s not just another villain with a convoluted plan and a chip on his shoulder. He’s a nemesis who poses a genuine, visceral threat to our titular hero.

Strong doesn’t just chew scenery; he gives it a Michelin-star-quality, five-course meal treatment. He’s the ideal counterbalance to Zachary Levi’s exuberant Shazam, offering audiences a villainous masterclass that helps elevate the movie experience.

So why does “Shazam!” hold such a distinguished position in the DCEU lineup? It takes all the action-packed stunts, visual flair, and narrative complexity we’ve come to expect from modern superhero flicks and then seasons it with something more—a genuine, effervescent, almost nostalgic humanity.

It’s like mixing the exciting first sip of a carbonated soda with the lasting comfort of a homemade meal. The result not only tickles your taste buds but also nourishes your soul.

You’re not merely entertained when the credits roll on “Shazam!”. You’re left with a feeling of exhilaration like you’ve just ridden the perfect wave or nailed a flawless performance in a talent show.

It doesn’t just aim for spectacle; it achieves a form of narrative alchemy that turns celluloid into pure, cinematic gold. It’s not just a film; it’s an experience—a reminder that sometimes, all you need to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary is to utter a magical word.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

2nd Place: The Suicide Squad (2021)

Approval Rating: 90% (Average Score of 7.50)

Critical Consensus: “Infused with the singular vision of director and writer James Gunn, ‘The Suicide Squad’ delivers a wildly entertaining and frenetic second coming that does justice to the source material’s violent and anarchic spirit.”

So, let’s get into “The Suicide Squad,” shall we? If you think this movie is a straight-up sequel, you’d be a bit off the mark. Think of it more as a remix, a reimagining, or, as the cool kids might say, a glow-up.

Yeah, it brings back some of the characters from the first film, but James Gunn gives them a fresh lick of paint and new motivations and propels them into scenarios you never saw coming. It’s like your favorite band doing an acoustic set: same songs but a whole different vibe.

What sets this movie apart? Well, for starters, it goes full throttle on the complexity of morality. We’re not just talking about a gaggle of misfit antiheroes sent on a deadly mission.

Oh no, this story dives headlong into a narrative that’s as politically charged as it is explosively entertaining. It’s the kind of movie where you find yourself questioning the very labels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ that society likes to slap on people.

By the time you’re halfway through your bucket of popcorn, you’ll realize the lines between heroes and villains are as blurred as your vision after spinning around too fast on an office chair.

Let’s talk about James Gunn’s role in all this. Man, he didn’t just direct this movie; he imbued it with a reckless abandon that captures what it means to be a genuinely uninhibited filmmaker.

Remember, this is the guy who made you fall in love with a raccoon and a talking tree in another universe; here, he takes a gaggle of misfits and elevates them into something close to, dare we say it, Shakespearean tragedy — but like, with more explosions and hilariously twisted one-liners.

Revisiting the characters from the first film is like bumping into old high school friends and finding out they’ve actually become interesting adults.

We get to see familiar faces reimagined, not just as pawns in a deadly game, but as complex characters with emotional layers that make you want to see them survive, thrive, and maybe even save the day.

You can almost hear the redemption arcs screaming in the background as they break from their chains and defy societal expectations.

And let’s not forget the political undertones that make you sit up a bit straighter in your cushy theater seat. The film doesn’t shy away from jabbing at governmental manipulation, the machinations of war, and the uncomfortable reality that those in power can be far more villainous than the so-called “villains” they condemn.

It’s a sly wink and a nod that elevates the story from mindless action to a reflective commentary that sticks with you long after the final credits roll.

So what does “The Suicide Squad” ultimately achieve? It combines irreverent humor, complex characters, heart-thumping action, and a dash of political intrigue to create a cinematic cocktail that’s as potent as it is refreshing.

It’s the kind of movie experience that doesn’t just scratch the surface; it digs deep, challenging you to think, feel, and question, all while making you laugh so hard your sides hurt.

It’s a roller coaster, a think-piece, and a belly laugh all rolled into one mind-bending package. And that, my friends, is why it’s sitting pretty at number two on the list.

Wonder Woman (2017)

1st Place: Wonder Woman (2017)

Approval Rating: 93% (Average Score of 7.70)

Critical Consensus: “Thrilling, heartfelt, and buoyed by Gal Gadot’s charismatic performance, ‘Wonder Woman’ hits the mark in a truly spectacular fashion.”

So, let’s gab about “Wonder Woman,” shall we? When this gem hit the theaters, it didn’t just make waves; it generated tsunamis in a cinematic landscape parched for authentic portrayals of female superheroes.

This movie broke the mold, taking Diana of Themyscira from a supporting role in the comic book world’s ensemble cast and thrusting her front and center, in all her Amazonian glory.

But let’s set the scene first. “Wonder Woman” parachuted into the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) right after the less-than-stellar performances of “Batman vs. Superman” and “Suicide Squad.”

Those films were like your first pancake — the one you toss because it’s never quite right. Then along came Diana, skillet in hand, flipping a perfect pancake with everyone from critics to casual fans gobbling it up.

The critics weren’t kidding with that 93% approval rating. This movie is genuinely thrilling — not just your run-of-the-mill popcorn flick. It’s like an adrenaline shot but without the pesky side effects.

Think about it. How often do you see a superhero movie that, you know, moves you? Gal Gadot didn’t just play Wonder Woman; she became Wonder Woman. Her performance brought such a vibrant charisma to the screen you could feel it radiating, permeating the air around you.

But its nuanced storytelling makes “Wonder Woman” such a game-changer. Diana’s journey isn’t just a punch-by-punch showdown with villains; it’s a full-blown, well-crafted origin story that builds her character layer by intricate layer.

This isn’t a coming-of-age story; it’s a becoming-of-a-heroine story. And that’s a narrative that didn’t just punctuate the DCEU; it changed the whole conversation about what superhero films could be, especially those featuring fierce, formidable women.

The ripple effects of this film were far-reaching, setting the stage for a new era of female-led superhero movies. In this era, women don’t just make cameo appearances or exist to further the male storyline.

Diana is nobody’s sidekick. She’s the hero, the main event, the one making the choices and changing the world. Finally, the superheroes got the cinematic spotlight they deserved, and the torchbearer was none other than Wonder Woman herself.

What’s even more captivating? This isn’t just a story about a hero; it’s a story about an icon. From the opening sequences in Themyscira to the battle-ravaged streets of World War I Europe, the film takes its time, allowing you to really get to know Diana.

You see her courage, empathy, and flaws all converging to make her relatable, believable, and downright inspirational.

So, summing it all up, “Wonder Woman” is not just a movie; it’s a cultural milestone. It’s like that unforgettable summer when you discovered who you really are or that seminal song defining a generation.

This film took the genre’s tropes and stood them on their head, delivering great entertainment and a powerful message that resonated long after the screen went dark. And if that’s not worth the top spot, I don’t know what is.

author avatar
Pop Corn Princess
Hey there, I'm Princess. I’m an annual comic con attendee, Star Wars-loving, and collector freak. My mission is simple: To bring cool geeky news and content and share my passion with the rest of the world. (... I secretly wish to save the world as a superheroine...)

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Picture of Pop Corn Princess

Pop Corn Princess

Hey there, I'm Princess. I’m an annual comic con attendee, Star Wars-loving, and collector freak. My mission is simple: To bring cool geeky news and content and share my passion with the rest of the world. (... I secretly wish to save the world as a superheroine...)