Ranking The 9 Movies In Warner Bros.' DC Films Universe From MAN OF STEEL To BIRDS OF PREY

Ranking The 9 Movies In Warner Bros.' DC Films Universe From MAN OF STEEL To BIRDS OF PREY

With Birds of Prey in theaters, we're taking look back over the 7 year history of Warner Bros.' divisive DC Films Universe and ranking the 9 installments (yes, we're counting Joker) from worst to best...

Now that Birds of Prey (and the Fanatbulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) is in theaters, we thought we'd look back over the 7-year history of Warner Bros.' DC Films Universe (or whatever you want to call it) and rank all 9 installments from worst to best.

Yes, we're counting Joker! Todd Philips' movie is not officially recognized as being part of this shared universe, but until it's confirmed that there will be no connections to future films in any way, it earns a spot here.

The studio's attempt to establish a shared movie world in the same vein as The MCU began with Man of Steel, and never really took flight from there. Most feel that things turned a corner with Wonder Woman, however, and many fans seem to be a lot more positive about the future of the DCEU. Of course, there are also some who believe things were better when Zack Snyder was in the picture!

This is just my personal ranking, and, like a lot of the movies themselves, it's sure to be divisive. Have a read through and let us know what you think, and please share your own lists in the comments.

Simply click on the next button below!

Aquaman

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You probably weren't expecting to see this at the bottom of the list! I'm completely aware that I'm in the minority here, but James Wan's hokey farce of an Aquaman movie did nothing for me at all.

Arthur Curry's first solo film almost falls over itself in an attempt to change the perception that the DCEU was too "dark and depressing." Wan's movie is bright, colorful (garish, really), and tries to inject a sense of fun and old-fashioned adventure into pretty much every scene. Unfortunately, it forgets to include little things like compelling characters and an engaging story along the way.

The script is perfunctory, the performances range from passable to outright egregious (seriously, where did they find the kid that played teenage Arthur?), and almost every line of dialogue is either exposition, an eye-rolling cliche or some brotastic, juvenile one-liner.

I did laugh several times during this movie, but it definitely wasn't at any of the "jokes."

On the plus side, Aquaman does feature some stunning visuals and brilliantly creative creature designs, all of which come together for a pretty damn bonkers finale - though by that stage I was on my second watch check.

Suicide Squad

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I actually enjoyed David Ayer's Suicide Squad to an extent, but considering the movie we got was nowhere near as good as its awesome trailers promised, it has to be considered a major disappointment.

The film begins well enough, but as it goes on it just gets messier and messier until it pretty much loses all sense of cohesiveness. Add baffling character choices, bizarre need drops, and a pair of laughable villains to the mix and it's not hard to see why so many fans and critics dismissed it entirely.

And yet, Suicide Squad does have its moments. Some individual scenes work very well (Batman's face-off with Deadshot, for example) and the cast is mostly on form, with Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Viola Davis, in particular, putting in great performances.

Not a complete washout, but man this should have been so much more.

Justice League

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Like a lot of its fellow DCEU entries, I believe Justice League gets a bit of a bad rap and is a far more entertaining movie than many give it credit for. That said, there's no denying that the first big-screen team-up of DC's best and brightest should have been a lot better.

What went wrong? It's probably quicker to list off what didn't, but it's clear that Zack Snyder being replaced by Joss Whedon had a major impact on the finished product. Would it have been a better movie if one or the other had been able to direct the whole thing? We'll probably never know (the "Snyder Cut" is possible, but unlikely), but it certainly would have been a more tonally consistent one.

As it stands, Justice League is loud, brash, campy, exciting, funny, and... kind of a mess. Most of the characters are well served, though, and there is fun to be had - it's just a shame this wasn't the cinematic event DC fans were hoping for.

Shazam!

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Shazam! was envisioned as a more family-friendly DC movie with the focus placed on heart over grit, and in that respect, David F. Sandberg delivered. It's endearing, funny and engaging (at least until it overstays its welcome), but it's also overlong, a little too twee, and ultimately just not particularly memorable.

That said, it's never less than entertaining thanks to a terrific cast, a genuinely warm and funny script (take note, Aquaman) and some exciting, if slightly iffy CGI-heavy, action sequences.

At the end of the day, Kids seemed to love Shazam!, and that's really all that matters.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

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It really wouldn't be accurate to call the reviews for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice mixed, because the majority of critics hated the movie with a passion.

To be fair, Zack Snyder's follow up to Man of Steel does have a lot of problems. It's messy, disjointed, over-long by a good 20 minutes or so, and - most crucially for purists - offers radically different takes on the iconic DC heroes of its title. But despite all of this, I believe BVS is quite a bit better than its reputation would suggest.

I'm not one of these Snyder die-hards that thinks it's some kind of misunderstood masterpiece, but I do believe many critics - and fans - chose to focus on what the movie did wrong while completely disregarding everything it did right.

The first big-screen meeting of DC's Trinity was definitely not the cinematic event it could (or should) have been, and that "Martha" scene is probably destined to be ridiculed and misunderstood in equal measure for many years to come, but give it another watch some cold, rainy night and you might be surprised by how well it holds up.

Wonder Woman

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For many, Wonder Woman will take the top spot here, and that's completely understandable. Not only was it the first solo big screen outing for one of the most popular superheroes in history, but it was also the first female-led comic book movie from any major studio since Elektra back in 2005. Oh yes, there was also the small matter of a lot of people pinning their hopes on Patty Jenkins' film to be the one that "saved" The DCEU.

While I wasn't necessarily of the opinion that The DCEU needed saving, there's no denying that Jenkins knocked it out of the park.

If you were of the belief that WB desperately needed to inject a bit more heart into The DCEU, then Wonder Woman must have been a breath of fresh air. It's funny, engaging and action-packed, with a strong emotional core and a star-making turn from Gal Gadot. It does have some problems (the third act flounders a little and lays on the cheese), but overall, Jenkins' old-school adventure served as a terrific setup for Diana's cinematic future.

Birds of Prey

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Birds of Prey better than Wonder Woman? There wasn't much in it, but Cathy Yan's bonkers girl-gang flick is simply more my cup of tea. The movie is currently struggling at the box office despite highly positive reviews, and that's a real shame because BOP is an absolute blast.

If you've seen the trailers, you'll have a pretty good idea how things play out. The film isn't really concerned with clever twists or major surprises and the plot is very straightforward, even a little cliched. That's not to say things ever get boring (one thing this movie definitely is not, is boring) or that there's no creativity on display, and the cornucopia of colorful characters are more than enough to keep us engaged.

Sure, it's a little uneven and maybe not quite as subversive as it'd like to be, but, for my money, The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is still the most purely entertaining movie on this list.

Man of Steel

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Just like many will scoff at Aquaman placing so low, Man of Steel coming in second (first if you don't count Joker as a DCEU film) is bound to be a controversial choice. But, I honestly believe Zack Snyder's Superman reboot remains one of the most underrated and underappreciated comic book movies of all time.

Highly divisive upon its release and panned by many critics, Snyder's take on the iconic DC hero was widely criticized for being too "grimdark," but look beyond the visual aesthetics and more somber tone (when compared to the Richard Donner movies, at least) and the brighter themes most closely associated with the character do shine through.

The movie also features some incredible action sequences, a career-best performance from Henry Cavill in the lead, and a stunning score from Hans Zimmer.

There are some problems, but, for the most part, Snyder succeeded in rebooting Superman for the modern era, and laid the groundwork for Warner Bros.' shared DC movie universe. Granted, things didn't quite work out moving forward - but Man of Steel was a stellar start.

Joker

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Joker isn't technically considered part of the DC Films Universe because of its standalone nature, but until Warner Bros. officially confirms that it won't tie into its wider universe in any way, it earns a spot in this list. If you disagree that's no prolem... simply count Man of Steel as #1!

All of the hullabaloo surrounding Joker in the buildup to its release proved to be totally unfounded, but the movie still remains a controversial and highly divisive film. While I certainly understand some of the criticism that has been leveled at it, I believe Todd Philips' Joker is a stunning achievement overall and the best DC Comics adaptation WB has produced in the modern era. 

It is not an easy watch, there's no doubt about that. If you're looking for some comic book movie escapism this is not the movie for you. It's violent, disturbing, and pretty much unrelentingly bleak. But it's also a stunningly shot, haunting character piece with a mesmerizing score from Hildur Gudnadottir and a truly outstanding central performance.

It definitely won't be for everyone and one could argue that Phillips does revel in nihilism to some extent, but at the end of the day this is an R-rated origin story for one of the most deranged, murderous villains in fiction, and the film reflects that. It may not make you feel good, but it will make you feel something, and sometimes that's enough.
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