(Photo by Warner Bros/ Everett Collection)
DCEU Ranked: DC Movies and Series By Tomatometer
After a long-running Superman series with Christopher Reeve in the iconic tights and cape (and one more with Brandon Routh), and compelling takes on Batman on both sides of the millennium, Warner Bros. put the reset on their DC Comics movies and created the DC Extended Universe. The first in this new constellation of comic book cinema was 2013’s Man of Steel, which took audiences back through the beefy boy from Krypton’s origins and his blossoming into the protector of mankind. The super-serious tone and dismissal of some of Superman’s key characteristics put off some, but this new take was bold enough to keep modern cynical audiences intrigued.
Inevitably, comparisons were incessant to the rival Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially as director Zack Snyder doubled down on the dourness with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this day and age, fans on the internet expect an all-access pass on the production of their favorite properties, including leaks, rumors, and sneaky on-set photos. The publicly aired dirty laundry of the troubled Suicide Squad shoot colored audience perception of the film before it even released. It also wasn’t very good.
Wonder Woman, with its fleet touch and storytelling pizzazz, would become the first beacon of light for the DCEU, and its first Certified Fresh hit. Justice League followed that year, cramming huge characters into a truncated runtime (not to mention tonally inconsistent reshoots by Joss Whedon, and Henry Cavill’s phantom mustache), leading to rallying cries online of a fabled “Snyder Cut” of the movie.
It’d be more than a year later for the next DCEU entry: 2018’s Aquaman. Directed by James Wan, if the film wasn’t exactly drowning in critical praise, it at last was enough to keep the audiences worldwide satisfied and optimistic for the future. That paid off with Shazam!, a superhero comedy in the more classic vein, one that doesn’t bend over backwards to connect with the larger DC Universe. It worked there and with Birds of Prey, featuring. Wonder Woman 1984 didn’t quite continue the streak, The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker have become among the franchise’s best-reviewed. See where how they all play out as we rank all DC Extended Universe movies! —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: John Cena's still in solid form in Peacemaker, leading a bloody good time that gives writer-director James Gunn full permission to let his freak flag fly.
Adjusted Score: 129254%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 115488%
Critics Consensus: An effortlessly entertaining blend of humor and heart, Shazam! is a superhero movie that never forgets the genre's real power: joyous wish fulfillment.
We all have a superhero inside of us -- it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 109329%
Critics Consensus: Enlivened by writer-director James Gunn's singularly skewed vision, The Suicide Squad marks a funny, fast-paced rebound that plays to the source material's violent, anarchic strengths.
Welcome to hell--a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst... [More]
Adjusted Score: 109875%
Critics Consensus: With a fresh perspective, some new friends, and loads of fast-paced action, Birds of Prey captures the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87586%
Critics Consensus: Zack Snyder's Justice League lives up to its title with a sprawling cut that expands to fit the director's vision -- and should satisfy the fans who willed it into existence.
In ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE, determined to ensure Superman's (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90731%
Critics Consensus: Aquaman swims with its entertainingly ludicrous tide, offering up CGI superhero spectacle that delivers energetic action with an emphasis on good old-fashioned fun.
Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90483%
Critics Consensus: Wonder Woman 1984 struggles with sequel overload, but still offers enough vibrant escapism to satisfy fans of the franchise and its classic central character.
Diana Prince lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s -- an era of excess driven by the pursuit... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70739%
Critics Consensus: Man of Steel's exhilarating action and spectacle can't fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.
With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife seek to preserve their race... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70793%
Critics Consensus: Justice League leaps over a number of DC movies, but its single bound isn't enough to shed the murky aesthetic, thin characters, and chaotic action that continue to dog the franchise.
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56773%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 51632%
Critics Consensus: Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.
Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret... [More]