The DCEU may not have as many movies as the MCU, but that doesn’t stop it from having powerful characters who know very well what it means to be a hero.
Now that Zack Snyder’s Justice League has arrived we wanted to look back at the entire run of the DC Extended Universe thus far, from Man of Steel to Birds of Prey and the Snyder Cut itself. as we choose the best heroes of the franchise.
Here’s how we’ve made this ranking: The IGN staff voted for their favorite DCEU heroes, and the results have shaped this selection.
The criteria we considered when voting included character development, the performance of the actor/actress playing the role, the overall contribution to the narrative of the DCEU’s shared universe, diversity, and of course the factor of personal and subjective taste.
What if, we included Zack Snyder’s Justice League in the vote, despite the fact that these versions of the characters exist outside of the DCEU itself as it is not a canon version. They are still Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, etc. It is a multiverse!
Here is our pick of the 10 best DC heroes in the cinematic universe. Orphans, doctors, scientists, and spies, are the people you will always want on your side when you face the dark forces of evil.
Jor-El, a crossover Kryptonian scientist and a proud daddy to baby Kal-El, battled General Zod as his entire planet imploded around him. His heroic deeds saved his son’s life, giving humanity Superman in the process. But the destruction of Krypton did not mark the end of Jor-El, as he returned years later, in the form of a holographic AI, and helped an adult Kal-El become the hero who was fated to thwart Zod’s plot.
9. Steve Trevor
US Army spy Steve Trevor already had his hands full trying to uncover a plot by the Germans of World War I to unleash a deadly chemical weapon when he inadvertently discovered the hidden island of Themyscira.
Inspiring the Amazonian Princess Diana to help save the world from ruin and destruction, Steve not only became Wonder Woman’s first love but also her proof that humanity could contain absolute goodness.
Steve would make the ultimate sacrifice, saving thousands of lives in the process, and his death would leave such an impression on Diana that she would spend the next several decades saving people and fighting for justice.
Even when Steve came back to life briefly during the ’80s due to Dreamstone, he volunteered to die once more to stop the total destruction of society.
8. The Flash (Barry Allen)
With wry wit and a huge heart, sprinter Barry Allen is almost the “common man” of the Justice League, despite the fact that he can move faster than anyone else in the world.
As proof that superpowers don’t automatically make you a warrior, Barry struggled to figure out how to help his fellow League members in the battle against Steppenwolf (in the original Justice League version).
Fittingly, the fastest man in the world, who had dedicated his life to trying to get his wrongfully convicted father released from prison, would find the perfect role as a savior, capable of protecting others.
7. Aquaman (Arthur Curry)
The reluctant heir to the Atlantean throne, Arthur Curry, left behind the comfort of protecting the world’s vast oceans and joined the Justice League in an all-out war to save the entire planet when Steppenwolf and his army invaded in the name of Darkseid.
Surpassing his half-brother Orm and becoming the rightful ruler of Atlantis, Aquaman became one of the most powerful beings on Earth, now protecting both the land and the waters and the citizens of both kingdoms.
This incredible ocean gladiator took a while to overcome his resentment and doubts, but now the world is much safer.
6. Superman (Clark Kent / Kal-El)
Kal-El, who grew up on Earth as Clark Kent, never had it easy. An alien among us, he grappled with being the most powerful person on the planet and the overwhelming responsibility that comes with his abilities.
He went to war with a familiar face from his planet’s past, General Zod, causing massive casualties in the process and drawing the ire of Batman.
Superman died while fighting a huge human-Kryptonian monstrosity created by Lex Luthor. Bruce Wayne left the world without its strongest superhuman and quickly got to work recruiting other heroes to defend Earth from other invading alien hordes.
After a failed attempt to defeat Steppenwolf, Bruce realized that they needed to bring Superman back and used a Genesis Chamber to revive him.
Superman may never know what his true role is among humans, especially now that he has come back to life to protect them from interdimensional evils. Ultimately, however, Jor-El’s son will always do the right thing.
5. Cyborg (Victor Stone)
Victor Stone, a seriously injured college football star, was transformed into a mechanized man through the Mother Box when Silas Stone created the world’s first biomechanical organism.
Victor’s intense suffering during the process and the trauma of being isolated from society turned the would-be hero into a distrustful recluse. But when Earth was attacked by Darkseid’s forces, Victor accepted the challenge and joined his fellow metahumans in the great fight.
Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the larger role Ray Fisher lands as Cyborg. The full scope of her pain and trauma is explored here, leaving us alone with the thorn of not being able to see her story continue in the DCEU.
4. Shazam (Billy Batson)
Billy Batson, a foster boy who was granted the powers of six gods (and the body of a muscular adult) by the wizard Shazam, is the youngest member of the DCEU to exhibit otherworldly abilities.
And not only that, but Billy also got his foster brothers to join the party, giving everyone Shazam-style powers so that, as a family, they could take down Thaddeus Sivana’s cruel plans.
Going from an angry young man with utter disregard for authority to a disinterested defender of the innocent is a huge change for a boy Billy’s age, making his inner transformation just as dramatic and meaningful as the outer one.
At this stage, he is on his way to becoming one of the greatest heroes of all time. And – hey! – He is already a super friend of Superman.
3. Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel)
Harley Quinn, the deranged (ex) Joker’s girl, first got a taste of good work when she was “recruited” into the Suicide Squad and helped prevent the world from being swallowed up by the mystical witch Enchantress.
With nearly every villain in town in her sights as she lost the protection of the Clown Prince, Harley discovered a new weak point in her heart. This time it was for young Cassandra Cain. Teaming up with Huntress, Renée Montoya, and Black Canary, she found herself fighting in the name of justice again, completing a redemption arc that would make her one of the craziest and most animated characters in the franchise.
2. Batman (Bruce Wayne)
Bruce Wayne is the epitome of vigilante revenge. Punishing Gotham’s criminals for the murder of his parents, forever trying to rid his city of the scourge of evil and corruption, the Gotham Bat finds himself engulfed in Supermaterias following the defeat of General Zod and collateral damage in Metropolis.
Batman’s rage at the lives lost during the heat of the Kryptonian conflict, accentuated by malicious manipulation by Lex Luthor, pitted him against Superman. Realizing that he had been tricked into inadvertently robbing Earth of its best defender, Bruce took his responsibility for Gotham and applied it to the entire planet, using his resources and determination to scour the world in search of metahumans and give start to the Justice League.
1. Wonder Woman (Diana de Themyscira)
When Princess Diana left the isolated island of Themyscira to help push for peace during World War I, she was unprepared to experience and witness firsthand the hatred that can consume humanity and the cruelty that people can inflict on each other. Unable to understand why anyone would do wrong, Diana would run headlong into danger and become an Amazonian savior when the world needed her most.
Diana, almost as an outsider as Kal-El, has the ability to protect those in need and the desire to keep the world safe from harm, no matter where the threat comes from. She is the epitome of heroism in the DCEU, coming face to face with Ares for the soul of humanity and then, years later, convincing the entire world to act to prevent abject annihilation by Dreamstone. Wonder Woman is a mighty inspiration and a beacon of sincerity and righteousness in a world filled with ever-increasing danger. That’s why she’s our pick as the DCEU’s number one hero.
What are your favorites? Would you remove or add someone to the list? Leave your opinion in the comments.