For better or worse, DC's cinematic Extended Universe continues to roll on. DC's rushed attempt to catch up to Marvel's box office success has resulted in extreme highs and lows, producing everything from great origin stories (Wonder Woman, Man of Steel) to fun action-comedies (Aquaman) to one of the worst comic book films ever made (do we really have to say it?).
Now that Shazam! has hit theaters and seems to be steering the DC movie universe in a positive direction, we've taken a look at every DCEU film and ranked them from worst to best.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not only the worst DCEU film by a wide margin; it's also high in the running for the worst film of all time. This overstuffed, grandiose mess pits a vengeful Batman against an aloof Superman thanks to an extremely convoluted evil plan, courtesy of an erratic Lex Luthor. With nauseating cinematography, stilted dialogue and a final act so silly that not even the ham-fisted inclusion of Wonder Woman could save it, Batman v Superman is a new nadir for both of its title characters. You can tell that a good idea, and a talented cast and crew, lay somewhere underneath all of the nonsense, but that's not enough to save the movie. — Marshall Honorof
Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad wasn't a total miss; its comedic tone was a nice chaser after the dour Batman v Superman, and it had a pair of fun, charismatic leads in Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn and Will Smith's Deadshot. But everything else about this misfit team-up film was dull and forgettable. Most of its fight scenes were boring CGI-fests that were too dark to even make out, and its messy plot and lame villains are among the weakest in the DCEU. Jared Leto's Joker was polarizing at best, but even if you liked him, you got only about 10 minutes of screen time with the character. Thank goodness James Gunn is taking the reins on a mostly rebooted sequel. — Mike Andronico
Justice League (2017)
Justice League was meant to be DC's The Avengers, but it lacked the thoughtful, multiyear buildup that preceded Marvel's big ensemble piece — and it showed. As is tradition with most DCEU films, we get a boring and forgettable villain in Steppenwolf, whose legions of Parademons set the stage for a bunch of messy-looking CGI battles as the big bad tries to conquer Earth. On the bright side, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck's Batman have decent chemistry, and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and the Flash (Ezra Miller) make strong debuts by injecting some much-needed lightheartedness into this universe. By the time Henry Cavill's Superman enters the picture, we get a solid final battle with some legitimately cool team-up moments. Justice League is far from a great superhero film, but it's entertaining enough to justify a lazy Sunday afternoon watch. — Mike Andronico
Aquaman is like if Thor and Black Panther had a baby but then immediately abandoned it in the DCEU. That's not to say that Aquaman was bad, but it wasn't very good either. The film didn't take the proper time to make the audience care about what was going on. Despite my mixed feelings, I put Aquaman above the "shameful three" because it has a ton of visually stunning moments. Those come from its digital effects and the smooth camerawork on some entertaining fight scenes. It does enough to entertain you without making you cringe. And it's OK to see a film based solely on a wet Jason Momoa, as many people around the office have put it. — Rami Tabari
If early reviews are any indication, the latest DCEU film is one of the best yet. David Sandberg's superhero comedy is being heralded as one of the most purely fun and comic-booky DC films yet, telling the story of 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who suddenly gains the ability to transform into a superpowered adult (Zachary Levi). Levi has gotten big praise for his portrayal of a child trapped in an adult's body, bringing genuine innocence, goofiness and sweetness to a role that could have easily been done wrong. Factor in a plethora of comic book nods and a genuine reverence for the film's backdrop of Philadelphia, and Shazam! looks like the lighthearted shot in the arm that the DCEU has sorely needed. — Mike Andronico
Man of Steel (2013)
It's easy to forget that the current DCEU started off with Man of Steel, especially because it wasn't exactly being billed as the beginning of a big cinematic universe. And as a stand-alone Superman film, Man of Steel — featuring a strong performance from Cavill as Superman — is pretty solid. Sure, it could have used more color, and some of the slower parts of the film could have been cut down, but the story was at least interesting and the fight scenes were incredibly entertaining. And when you think about Man of Steel in the context of the other DCEU films, it's easily one of the better ones, mostly because it's not as cringey. — Rami Tabari
Wonder Woman (2017)
Wonder Woman is a superhero origin movie done right. Princess Diana of Themyscira (Gadot) is an Amazon warrior who has lived her entire life isolated from the world of mortals. But when World War I fighter pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) washes up on shore, it becomes clear that Diana's noninterference has permitted a great deal of suffering in the outside world. Taking up the mantle of Wonder Woman, Diana vows to pursue Ares, the god of war, and force him to give up his hold on humanity. With two instantly likable leads, a plethora of exciting action sequences, a sensible narrative and a bold finale, Wonder Woman is easily the best film to come out of the DCEU so far. It shows what the franchise is capable of when it's firing on all cylinders. — Marshall Honorof