You can't save the world alone.
With Black Adam's opening weekend in the books, it is time to round out the DCEU rankings with the heroes. DC has some of the most iconic characters in pop culture history, and the DCEU has done some interesting things with said characters. Some of them work. Some of them do not. So, that said, here is my ranking of all twenty-five DCEU heroes.
25. Cassandra Cain
I found Cassandra to be slightly amusing, but nothing really beyond that. She's extremely forgettable and I don't think the actress was quite good enough to make me enjoy this character. She's also highly overshadowed by pretty much every character in Birds of Prey, because they're all colorful and fun. She's just a kid that's essentially used as a plot device.
24. Helena Bertinelli / Huntress
The other bad character in Birds of Prey is Huntress. Mary Elizabeth Winstead's take on Helena Bertinelli is also used as a plot device. She doesn't fit in tonally or story-wise. It's easy to forget that her story is basically the main plot of the film because she's such a forgettable and drab character inside of the film. She's underdeveloped, not well acted, and just overall kind of lame.
Mera is a hard character to rank, because it's extremely difficult to talk about this character without separating her from her actress. But Mera is not a very good character. She gets Aquaman back to Atlantis and joins him on his adventure, but it doesn't really feel like she does much more than that. She's another forgettable hero, and I doubt she moves up, because I don't know if she has a future after all of the Amber Heard controversy.
22. Floyd Lawton / Deadshot
Suicide Squad is a dumpster fire of a film, and Deadshot is a piece of wood inside of that fire. A lot of people don't know or don't remember this, but Will Smith is the star of Suicide Squad. If you don't remember Will Smith in a leading role, that shows how terrible of a character he's playing. They may have had something with his daughter, but they don't really explore it enough to make Deadshot interesting.
21. Renee Montoya
Montoya is a strange character inside of this film. She's a member of the Birds of Prey, but she's a detective. She's not a superhero. It's like if Commissioner Gordon was an official member of the Justice League. It's weird. She's not exactly a terrible character, but she's such an outlier that it becomes a distraction. I also don't like Rosie Perez, so I'm a little more down on Montoya than I otherwise would be.
20. Dinah Lance / Black Canary
I don't mind Black Canary, but she feels like a toned-down version of what this character should be. They announced a spin-off film focused on her, and I was confused, because she barely gets enough to do in Birds of Prey. She's overshadowed by Ewan McGregor and Victor Zsasz. She just kind of stands there as a mole inside of Black Mask's mob operation. There's nothing memorable. They don't really do a great job with her powers. She could be better if they just gave her more of a personality and more of an arc (which I guess could be said about every other character ever).
19. Lois Lane
I really am not a huge fan of Amy Adams's Lois Lane. Margot Kidder is super energetic in Superman. Erica Durance is also incredibly energetic in Smallville. Amy Adams isn't an energetic actress, so she doesn't fit the character. Lois is meant to be a great foil to Clark Kent and his bumbling, quiet nature. This version of Lois is quiet. She's smart, but she's really, really quiet and doesn't have the energy that Lois should have, so I don't really like her that much.
18. Steve Trevor
Steve Trevor was a good character in Wonder Woman, but they destroyed him in Wonder Woman 1984. They choose this extremely stupid plotline where his conscious takes over the mind of a random guy's body, and that just made me feel so nasty about him. Diana sleeps with some random guy that has Steve Trevor's mind, and they are completely okay with the fact that they essentially steal this guy's body for a couple of days. Chris Pine is charming and likable, but this character is so problematic.
17. Maxine Hunkel / Cyclone
Cyclone was basically reduced to nothing in this movie. Hawkman and Doctor Fate literally tell her and Atom Smasher to stay behind in the jet until they need help. She doesn't really serve a purpose in this film. They have this weird romantic tension with Atom Smasher that's played for laughs, but it isn't really prominent enough for me to care. I'm so indifferent to her. She's just incredibly, incredibly forgettable.
16. Al Rothstein / Atom Smasher
Right above Cyclone is Atom Smasher. The only reason he's higher is because he gets a few pretty funny moments, but he's just as forgettable as Cyclone. They have basically all of the same problems in that they're barely in any of this film, and the parts they are in are completely overshadowed by Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Black Adam. I guess Atom Smasher gets a few cool moments of action, which gives him a few advantages over Cyclone.
15. Robert DuBois / Bloodsport
Bloodsport feels like an upgraded Deadshot. He's better, for sure, but he still isn't great. They take the daughter route again, but they make it slightly more compelling and explore it a little bit more. Idris Elba does a great job in this role, but The Suicide Squad is full of colorful characters and Bloodsport is not one of them. He's a cool character that I do enjoy, but he's not one of the best in the DCEU.
14. Teth-Adam / Black Adam
Teth-Adam himself was a fun character. Is he great? No. I think they executed his origin story very strangely. I don't know why they'd reveal pieces of his origin throughout the film, and it makes you have trouble understanding his motivation for a good chunk of the story. Once you get past that, though, you see this heroic character that's willing to kill. He actually has good intentions, he's just violent. He's fun. And I hope they take him on a villainous path in the future instead of this heroic one.
13. Alfred Pennyworth
Jeremy Irons is actually one of the more fun Alfreds. I think he's much better than Andy Serkis. He gets a lot to do in both Batman v. Superman and Justice League. He's sarcastic. He's willing to talk down to Bruce. But he's still the loyal butler that they always portray him as. Irons just adds a little more pizzazz and spice to Alfred than I'm used to, but it really actually makes me like his iteration of the character more. He's not a huge character by any means, but he's a fun addition to the DCEU.
12. Billy Batson / Shazam!
Shazam is one of the most frustrating characters to place on this list, because I like a lot of the elements of his character. The idea of this superhero man-child that has to learn how to love his foster family while also balancing this great power is cool. Zachary Levi is tons of fun in the role. I just don't buy that Asher Angel's Billy Batson and Zachary Levi's Shazam are the same person, which really pulls me out of the character whenever he's on screen.
11. Carter Hall / Hawkman
Hawkman was a really, really fun addition to Black Adam. I thought Aldis Hodge did a great job of being this leader-like character for the JSA. His rivalry with Black Adam was awesome. I loved how he stood by this concept of good and evil in a situation where good and bad aren't as clear as you might think. There wasn't a ton of backstory here, so I would be totally game for a Hawkman solo movie where we explore this character some more.
10. Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman
I have never really been a huge fan of Henry Cavill's Superman, but parts of the character have grown on me over the years. I have a certain view of how Superman should be portrayed on screen, and he's not it, but I've started to accept that and be okay with it. I appreciate that he has to learn to accept his destiny and isn't just a hopeful, pure-hearted hero right out of the gate. I think that's a cool direction to take him. I HATE Jonathan Kent's death. The whole thing where he is forced to hide his powers is really dumb. And I feel like Batman v. Superman didn't really show him as the Superman that he became at the end of Man of Steel, so that's frustrating, because he's dead. Justice League brings him back in spectacular fashion and shot him up on this list. I am still very glad that Cavill is back as the Man of Tomorrow, because I think there's potential with a Man of Steel 2 or any future installments involving him.
9. Bruce Wayne / Batman
This is another one that is taking me time to get around to. I love the inspiration that Zack Snyder takes from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. I love the idea of a grittier, older Batman. But I don't care how vicious Batman is. He does not kill. He just doesn't. Because as soon as he starts killing random henchmen, you ask the question "Why is the Joker still alive?". Once I get past that, I do like how he becomes a hero again through Superman's death and Steppenwolf's arrival on Earth. He's a good character that I have a lot of frustrations with.
8. Cleo Cazo / Ratcatcher 2
To be honest, I think there's a big gap in quality between Bat-fleck and Ratcatcher 2. I found Ratcatcher 2 to be the heart of The Suicide Squad. She is this seemingly goofy character that just brings a hopefulness and wonder to the rest of the squad and allows them to be heroes and operate as a team. There are some awesome moments with her character, whether it's her backstory or her relationship with Bloodsport or her summoning the rats in the finale. She's a great character that brings The Suicide Squad to a whole new level for me.
7. Kent Nelson / Doctor Fate
I absolutely adored everything that they did with Doctor Fate in Black Adam. The key to this character was subtlety. They don't flesh out a backstory, but they allude to a bunch of things that have happened in the past with him. It makes you feel like you've known this character forever, and it gets you fully invested in him. He's compelling. Pierce Brosnan was an awesome choice to portray him. His power set is cool. He's one of the highlights of Black Adam.
6. Arthur Curry / Aquaman
As I am writing this, I feel uncomfortable putting Aquaman at number six, because I love this character. I cannot believe he's not in the top five. Keep in mind that these next six are all very, very close together. Aquaman is one part Simba, one part T'Challa, and one part something new all together. Jason Momoa's infectious charm just makes him so likable and such a fun screen presence. Throw on top this epic hero's journey that he has in his solo film and you've got a really, really great character.
5. Christopher Smith / Peacemaker
How do you make a goofy, unlikable extremist idiot compelling? I don't know, but James Gunn sure does. Peacemaker is introduced as a villain. He's horrible in The Suicide Squad. You hate him by the end of that film. And then James Gunn gives you a peek behind the curtain, and you suddenly understand the tragedy of this character and why he is the way that he is. He has this horrible father that he wants to live up to, but can't, so he's looking for people to accept him, and he finds those people in this task force that he teams up with. This allows him to leave his father's shadow and become a good guy. It's a jaw-dropping character arc, and I cannot wait for season two of his show.
4. Barry Allen / The Flash
If just Zack Snyder's Justice League didn't happen, Flash would be in the bottom five. But everything about this character is fantastic in that film. Instead of being the butt end of jokes, Barry is given more of a relationship with his father. You feel for him. You understand why he needs this team and needs to become the Flash. All of this leads to one of the best moments in the DCEU as he literally runs fast enough to rewind time and save the world, despite being injured and barely able to fight. He's fantastic, and I really hope this momentum carries into his solo movie. I also hope they recast Ezra Miller. Because Ezra Miller is a horrible person.
3. Harley Quinn
She may not have character arcs and a deep, sympathetic backstory, but Harley Quinn is probably the most fun character in the DCEU. Margot Robbie clearly loves this role, and she crafts a crazy, crazy heroine that is part hero, part villain, and part...nuts? She has three very different roles between the two Suicide Squad movies and Birds of Prey, but her personality is just so much fun that she steals the spotlight in every one of her appearances. She's like the wild card of the DCEU. Just put her in a movie. She works.
2. Victor Stone / Cyborg
Once again, if Zack Snyder's Justice League doesn't exist, then Cyborg is pretty close to the bottom. He is easily the best character in that movie. There's no question about it. They give him a powerful, powerful backstory as you see this horrific car crash that basically kills him. His father rebuilds him as this robot and he becomes this machine that is detached from humanity, but he slowly regains that connection through joining the Justice League and finding his place. They also give his power set some deep, awesome exploration that becomes a vital piece of the finale. I love this character, and I hope to God that we see him again.
1. Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman represents everything good about the DCEU. She's likable. She's funny. She's totally badass. She balances the light and the dark. They nail everything with this character. In Wonder Woman, we see her enter the world of man with this hopefulness that Superman should have. She's a fish out of water, but in a different way than we're used to. She's inspired by Steve's act of sacrifice to continue to be a hero, and she carries that through Wonder Woman 1984 where she has to learn to give up the things she loves for the better of mankind. This all culminates in Justice League, where she lives up to her destiny and helps save Earth alongside Batman, Superman, Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman. She's the best. What else is there to say?