Updated with Peacemaker and Black Adam.
The DCEU has released its final film of the year with Black Adam. That means it is time to update a few DCEU rankings as well as release a few new ones. This universe isn't necessarily known for its villains. There are a few good ones here and there, but a lot of them have a lot of problems. However, some of the best DCEU villains are really, really cool and memorable. That said, here is my ranking of all twenty-seven DCEU villains.
*I did not include Black Adam himself on this list. I think he only counts as a hero.
27. June Moone / Enchantress
Bland. Boring. Generic. That's going to be the recurring theme in the beginning of this ranking. Enchantress fits into all of those categories. There's not a single memorable thing about this character. She's cursed and all of the sudden she turns into this dull, CGI creature that is...gonna destroy the world? Maybe? I don't really remember. She's a mess like the rest of her movie.
26. Lex Luthor
The other theme you will see is the horrible versions of classic characters. Lex Luthor is the second best comic book villain of all time. The smartest mind becomes the archenemy of the strongest body. Lex is smart and calculating. He has a certain amount of charm to him while being egregiously evil. Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is this Mickey Mouse-doofus parody of the character that I absolutely despise. He's still smart, but his mannerisms and quirks are so horrible and so insulting to the character that I hate him. Also, his plan in Batman v. Superman makes no sense. I hate this version and I hope we never see him again.
25. The Joker
Lex Luthor is the second best DCEU villain of all time. The Joker is the best. And Jared Leto's Joker is the worst (and only bad) version of the Clown Prince of Crime that we've ever gotten. A tattooed drug lord? No. That's not the Joker. Leto tries to take inspiration from Heath Ledger's iconic performance in The Dark Knight, but it falls flat. I enjoy his scene in Justice League. It makes me not despise this character as much as I once did. But I still hate him.
24. Eek Stack Ik Ik
Peacemaker is great because of its central characters and comedy, but not so much the main story. Eek Stack Ik Ik (I'm just calling him the Butterfly) is the main story. He's an alien parasite from another world that has come to take over the humans and make them better. He has some interesting motivations for his character, but I just find the whole Butterfly story to be the worst part of Peacemaker, and I really didn't enjoy this character.
Doomsday is the worst of both worlds: an iconic character that's turned into a dull, generic CGI movie monster. This is the character that KILLED Superman. And, in BVS, he's a giant gray monster created by Lex Luthor to...I don't even know why Luthor creates Doomsday. Anyways, he looks lame. He only appears as a boss battle in the end. And the fight with him isn't even that cool. The death of Superman should be this big moment, but since Doomsday sucks, it's not.
22. Ishmael Gregor / Sabbac
The villain of Black Adam is...generic and forgettable. They may have had an interesting idea behind this character, but they choose to focus way more on our heroes than they do on our villain. He's extremely underdeveloped and essentially just serves as a big boss battle in the finale. He looks cool, but besides that, there's nothing interesting about Sabbac.
Wanna know what Faora is? Generic. Bland. Boring. She's the most generic movie sidekick, like, ever. She actually delivers some cool lines. But I didn't like her in Superman II, and I like her even less in Man of Steel. Zod is such a good villain that it makes her seem petty and lacking in intimidation factor. She doesn't really feel like a threat to Superman, even if she destroys a few buildings. I don't like her. I never have.
20. Gaius Grieves / The Thinker
I don't understand what they were doing with the Thinker in The Suicide Squad. They have a whole complicated plot that ties him and Starro together, but I still don't really understand what it was. I don't know what his plan was. And, just as his plan comes to fruition, he gets killed. He isn't very interesting or memorable. He barely has any screentime. I might've forgotten he was in this movie had I not known who his character was from The Flash TV show.
19. The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man
Ah. Generic. Bland. Boring. The seven monsters that motivate Doctor Sivana to do evil end up being the true antagonists of Shazam!, so you'd think they'd be cooler. Nope! They are, like Doomsday, boring CGI monsters that just do evil for the sake of doing evil. I don't really get what their purpose is. I have almost nothing to say about them, which just goes to show you how generic and forgettable they are.
Well, well, well. Ares. Say it with me now! Generic. Boring. Bland. Dull. Whatever the words are that I've been using. The writers of Wonder Woman kind of wrote themselves into a corner by making Ares a third act twist. They pretend that General Ludendorff is Ares, but he's clearly not, so you know a reveal is coming. When they reveal that it's actually David Thewlis, you get the worst part of Wonder Woman: the big CGI boss fight finale where Ares delivers epic exposition and Diana punches him in the face. Bad. Boring. Lame.
DeSaad was cool. He's not a very prominent character in Zack Snyder's Justice League. He's Darkseid's right hand man, so we get a few scenes of him acting threatening towards Steppenwolf until Darkseid himself actually shows up. DeSaad isn't super prominent. He's somewhat memorable, but a bad voice actor and Darkseid himself overshadow the positives of this character.
16. General Erich Ludendorff
I actually like General Ludendorff as the villain for Wonder Woman. He's a much more prominent villain than Ares, so I enjoy most of the film when he is the main antagonist. He's sort of the DCEU's Red Skull without superpowers. He's a high-ranking German officer that knows what he's up against, and he acts as a somewhat worthy foe to Wonder Woman. I don't think he's a great villain, but I think he's better than Ares.
15. Starro the Conqueror
Starro is a really disappointing villain, because there were some really great ideas put in here. A giant starfish isn't exactly the model for a compelling villain, but they actually have some lines of dialogue that imply he's more sympathetic than you'd think. However, those ideas aren't ever really explored, and we just get a big kaiju boss battle at the end of The Suicide Squad. I'm okay with that, though. It's a fun boss battle.
14. Isabel Maru / Dr. Poison
I've always thought that Doctor Poison is a cool villain. She's memorably creepy and always makes me feel extremely uncomfortable whenever she's on screen. Once again, she doesn't really have any big character moments, but her mask and her obsessive nature make her pretty scary. She's too small of a character for me to put her higher, but I dig Doctor Poison.
13. Uxas / Darkseid
The main antagonist of the DCEU has only made one appearance so far, and it's a pretty small appearance. However, Darkseid makes the most of his limited amount of screentime in Zack Snyder's Justice League. The fear that he injects into Steppenwolf lets you know how intimidating of a villain he is. I really hope they choose to use him again, because he's just a super cool character that could potentially out-Thanos Thanos himself.
12. Barbara Minerva / Cheetah
Cheetah is a good character. Wonder Woman 1984 chooses to focus more on its villain than it does on Wonder Woman, so, while that doesn't serve the movie very well, it serves Cheetah well. We see this slow progression of meek Barbara Minerva as she is gobbled up by the Dreamstone and becomes this animal that eventually fights Wonder Woman. While I like everything leading up to her transformation...the Cheetah herself is actually horrific. The fight scene with Cheetah at the end is one of the worst in the DCEU, and it knocks her character back a significant amount.
11. Auggie Smith / White Dragon
White Dragon is the WORST. He's a white supremacist Nazi homophobic...all the bad, racist things you can be. What makes his character great is his dynamic with Peacemaker. Peacemaker strives to prove himself to his dad, but White Dragon is just this horrible, horrible guy that doesn't care about his son at all. They write his character in an interesting way, because you want to like him for Peacemaker's sake, but you just can't, because he's an absolutely awful human being. Very, very good character.
10. Steppenwolf (2021)
To be clear, I do not count Steppenwolf from 2017's Justice League as relevant. The 2021 version of Steppenwolf is wildly improved: his look, his motivation, his dialogue...everything. Is he still a little bit of a generic space conqueror? Yes. But they give him more motivation for his generic space conquering. He wants to prove himself to Darkseid. He's a humble servant to Darkseid that has failed him in the past and wants to go out and win back his trust. It makes for an understandable character that you're still rooting against. And his improvement is one of the things that makes Zack Snyder's Justice League lightyears better than Josstice League.
9. Doctor Thaddeus Sivana
Thaddeus Sivana is another somewhat sympathetic character that you just root against. As a child, he was neglected by everyone: his father, his brother, and, eventually, the wizard Shazam. All of this neglect led to him trying to take control over his own life, only for him to be manipulated by the Seven Deadly Sins. There's a bit more depth that we probably should've gotten with him, but he's still a solid, solid villain.
8. Victor Zsasz
Zsasz is just a creep. He's not a major character in Birds of Prey, but he's a great little addition to the film. He has this polite psychopath vibe to him that makes you SO uncomfortable. I don't know the actor's name, but he does a wonderful job of being such a nice guy while also being such an insane, horrible psycho. He's always there, pushing Black Mask to do the wrong thing. He's a great spice character that adds just the right touch to Birds of Prey.
7. Amanda Waller
Amanda Waller. The manipulative mistress herself. Waller is behind a bunch of schemes in the DCEU. She creates both versions of the Suicide Squad. She tries to carry out a secret mission in Peacemaker. And she sends the JSA to neutralize Black Adam. She is such a narcissistic, calculating character that isn't necessarily evil, but just purely selfish. Everything she does is motivated by self-interest. That makes for a pretty interesting character that is also quite smart and quite intimidating.
6. David Kane / Black Manta
Black Manta is a great secondary villain for Aquaman. He starts off as a mercenary that is killing people, but he's doing it because his dad is also doing it. When Aquaman disrupts their mission, Black Manta's dad ends up dying. Aquaman could've saved his dad, but he didn't, so Black Manta has this huge grudge against Aquaman that will definitely carry over into Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. He's a super cool character, and I cannot wait to see more of him.
5. General Zod
I hate Man of Steel. But Zod is a pretty awesome villain. He is the definition of terrifying. Michael Shannon plays him as a totally insane military man that is so power-hungry and so egotistical that nothing will stand in his way. He has a very political way of thinking, so he lets no distractions in and just takes what he wants. He stands as a great threat for Superman to face in his first solo outing. Rumors are he's going to re-appear in The Flash, and, although I have no clue how that'll turn out, I'm excited.
4. Christopher Smith / Peacemaker
I know this is weird to have Peacemaker on my villains ranking. He's also on my heroes ranking, because he's both a hero and a villain. He's presented in The Suicide Squad as a goofy, over-the-top antagonist that will stop at nothing for "peace". He was kind of dumb. They take that stupidity and craft an extremely compelling and tragic character out of him in Peacemaker, and he immediately shot up to one of the best characters in the DCEU. You understand why he is the way he is, and it is absolutely heart-breaking.
3. Maxwell Lord
The one thing that has aged just fine about Wonder Woman 1984 is Max Lord. Pedro Pascal's crazy villain is driven to madness by the Dreamstone, just like Cheetah, but instead of wanting to be cool, Lord wants power. And you understand why he wants power. He has a son that he wants to be able to provide for, so it gives him compelling motives, but you also see him go way too far on this quest for power. I LOVED Pedro Pascal's performance. Some may think it was over the top. I didn't. I think he is a fantastic character.
2. Orm Marius / Ocean Master
Ocean Master is one of the most nuanced and complex characters in the DCEU, because you totally get where he's coming from. He's a tyrannical ruler, but he deserves the throne. He's worked his whole life to get it, and Aquaman comes in and tries to swipe it from him. His half-brother who has isolated himself from Atlantis comes in and tries to challenge him for the throne, so, naturally, Ocean Master fights back. He almost feels like an anti-hero by the end as you see him collapse in Atlannna's arms. I cannot wait to see where they take his character in Aquaman 2.
1. Roman Sionis / Black Mask
After much thought, Black Mask has taken over the number one spot on this list. He is an amazing villain that absolutely steals the show every time he's on screen in Birds of Prey. Ewan McGregor gives what I think to be his best performance ever as this totally crazy mob boss that thinks he's entitled to everything. He's so funny while also being so crazy and intimidating. The way that he's able to switch from a fun, hilarious charmer to a terrifying villain is so awesome. I love this character. He makes a campaign for my favorite in the DCEU, so of course, he comes in at number one.