Since The Suicide Squad drops this week, I decided to rank all of the past villains from the DCEU. So films like, Man of Steel, BvS, Suicide Squad (yes, including the squad themselves), Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman, Shazam, Birds of Prey, WW84, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League are all in this post. As for what guidelines I followed for this ranking, I looked at the emotional back story of the villain, their presence on the screen, and their overall plot.
Side Note: Sadly, two characters were left out from this list. Deathstroke, although looking totally badass, does not fight anyone or act as an antagonist in any film. And Common’s Tattoo Man basically was just there to die and did not count as a villain. Also, no Darkseid because he’s really only stood menacingly.
25. Steppenwolf (2017)
What a disappointment?
If I could just place Joss Whedon here, then I would, but Steppenwolf from Justice League will have to do.
His plot is as muddy as his CGI because of the terrible job Whedon did cutting up this film. He is barely memorable besides knowing that he was there and could have been literally replaced by any other villain.
There is only a slight reference to Apokalips and his presence in the film is bland.
This is why he is the worst villain in all of the DCEU.
It says something when Justice League’s villain, in my opinion, is worse than Slipknot.
Slipknot is a joke with very few lines. He basically just served as a character meant to die in the film.
That is really all that anyone can say about his “mind-blowing” performance.
Ugh, I hate Luddendorff. He was a little too on the nose when it comes to being a villain. Although, I like the cheesy laugh he had with Dr. Poison.
For someone who doesn’t know or see the twist coming at the end of Wonder Woman, I would assume that his character would just be annoying as he is just so blatantly evil for the sake of evil.
He is the biggest red herring in the DCEU and it doesn’t do him any favors.
However, he carries the presence of a ranking German officer. So, I guess that is a point.
Do you know what film this villain is from?
In case you can’t tell, it’s Suicide Squad and this is Incubus, the brother of Enchantress.
I feel like he is just so forgettable and his CGI was rushed and looks like a mess. However, I like the design that they were going for with these old god characters.
21. Victor Zsasz
I am not sure why Zsasz is so low on this list.
He does a perfectly good job being creepy and killing people. He embodies the character really well.
I just feel like he was more of a henchman than a true villain in the film.
I don’t see Zsasz posing a threat to any superhero in the DCEU.
I wanted to use her other character design above because I found the creepy witch aspect way more befitting of the character, but I had to talk about this change.
I don’t know why they made her look like this with the weird ritual dancing, but it is just plain cringe inducing.
The saving grace of Enchantress, in my opinion, is that she gives the members of the squad these really cool visions of things they desire.
It was a neat part of the film and easily makes her more interesting than Zsasz.
Ares suffers from the Superhero movie curse. A big CGI battle at the end of the film. We’ve all seen it before and this one along with his plot of “I LOVE WAR” makes him boring.
I love the casting and the plot twist at the end because of my hatred for Ludendorff. I even like the message of this being a battle between a brother and sister, war and peace.
I feel like the CGI fight just really brought him down for me as well as some of his lines are just a little too over the top.
I could go on with my issues with Ares, but I will continue with our ranking instead.
18. Killer Croc
Croc has one of the the best makeup designs in comic book films. Period. This guy literally looks like a crocodile!
He is cool, but you never forget his strength and that he’s a cannibal.
I guess I just really like Croc from Suicide Squad.
Maybe they could bring him back sometime.
This is another henchman character that most people probably don’t realize is a legit villain from DC Comics.
This guy is KGBeast and, in Batman v Superman, we see a more realistic portrayal of the character.
I love that he is working for Lex. I love his scummy vibe that a true villain has.
If he weren’t dead, I would have loved to see a future small cameo from the mercenary.
Believe it or not, I actually forgot to add Cheetah in this list when I originally made it.
I am not saying that she isn’t memorable, but I wish that we got to see more of her. I really liked her transformation into an apex predator and how she desired to be stronger.
There is something relatable to her and it makes her drastic change that much more sad at the end of the film.
If only we could see more Cheetah.
15. El Diablo
El Diablo really marks the start of the good villains on this list.
His sad and traumatic backstory was really heartbreaking to watch and you felt an instant connection to this guy. I feel bad for him when Waller yells at him in his cell. I feel happy for him when he finally has friends in his squad and lets his powers run free.
You feel his guilt and he makes some of the best speeches in the film.
This is a good villain, or anti-hero depending on your view.
14. Captain Boomerang
Right in the middle.
This is a role that Jai Courtney embodies. He is perfect for the sleazy crook. I need to see more of him. We need him to fight the Flash again. He is just a perfect Captain Boomerang.
However, he is also constantly plotting. I love that he convinces Slipknot to run for it almost like he wanted to see if the bombs were real. This is an intelligence that I would love to see more from the character.
Here’s hoping that they don’t kill him off in The Suicide Squad.
We will riot!
13. Dr. Sivana
Even though he is low on this list, I feel like Sivana was casted and acted wonderfully. He made for a perfect antagonist to Billy Batson. He was the boy that was denied magic as a kid.
Mark Strong brings the supervillain aura that we all know he has and also a sad backstory.
Seriously, the start of Shazam is dark and sad. That car accident hits my heartstrings every time.
12. Dr. Poison
I doubt most people would put Dr. Poison up here or on their lists.
However, there was something so captivating and elegant to Elena Anya’s performance.
She is creepy and her outlook of the world is disturbing. She makes for a true villain. But, unlike Ludendorff, her character rises through the ranks because she is more than evil. She is developing science at all costs.
And her conversation with Chris Pine is a highlight in the film for me.
Sadly, Will Smith did not make it into the top ten this time!
However, he nailed it with Deadshot. His own take of the character brings out the father side of the character. There is a focus on his daughter and you know that throughout the film he is doing anything for his kid. You root for it. You want him to shoot at Batman!
He is also hilarious, as you would expect with Will Smith on the screen. He has this comedy that works best with his acting style that everyone loves to laugh at.
Woah! I bet you didn’t see this one coming. Before I talk about Faora, I want to mention that now that we are in the top ten to expect more reasoning for the character’s placement.
Faora was a character that could have easily just been an average goon. However, the film and actress’s performance make her a second villain with Zod.
We see her strength much more throughout the film. She tears up Smallville and kills those soldiers. She crashes Lois’ escape pod. She almost stops the the plane at the end.
All of that destruction along with a performance that focuses on the character’s warrior side. She has a love of combat, like it is an art, and displays it with her badass fighting style.
The reason why Faora isn’t higher on this list is because she is only the second villain in the film. A backup goon. However, I believe that her presence and sense of honor deserves to be recognized by fans. She is a great villain.
9. Black Manta
Now, why is Black Manta even higher than that?
Because he has more of a character. We see his introduction at the beginning of the film alongside the audience’s reintroduction to Mamoa’s Aquaman. Black Manta is born at the beginning of the film with his father’s death.
And what will haunt this character and Aquaman for years to come? The fact that Arthur turned his back on Manta’s father.
That opening scene, even though you know they are both villains, is very touching. There is something about preserving legacy and continuing the cause that makes Black Manta very dangerous.
On top of that. He has an incredible suit, which we will see upgrade and improve. I love that we get to see Manta’s hate rise along with his desire to get stronger to defeat Arthur.
The best villains are the ones that we make and Black Manta is an awesome villain.
Put the pitchforks down!
The public opinion is finally starting to sway about Leto’s Joker after the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
We finally got to see the version of the character that Leto and fans wanted. An anarchistic character that could do anything and say anything at any moment. He has a level of insanity that is both haunting and irresistible.
Much like other Jokers we finally got to see the character through Leto and we can’t look away. He embodies the character so well here that he could have been number one on the list.
Sadly, there are some issues. Ayer’s character design is still a little too radical for most fans, myself included. The face tattoo’s are too much. And we just didn’t get enough of him. If only there was a version of the film that focused on the Joker as a main antagonist…
7. Maxwell Lord
Maxwell Lord is an interesting villain. Pedro Pascal does a great job playing the retro industrialist, but its his relationship with his son that makes him really fascinating. I like that he is seemingly doing everything for his son. Heck, you kind of root for him because of all the crappy things that happen to Max.
I also like the redemption that Wonder Woman brings out in Maxwell Lord. In a way, she saves him at the end and reminds him that he needs to be a good father first.
The world of wishes is such a cool idea and having a genie-like villain to the movie was amazing.
6. Black Mask
Anyone that is triggered by this placement needs to go and watch Birds of Prey. Seriously, it is so underrated.
Ewan McGregor playing Roman Sionis is awesome. His eccentricity makes him pop out of the screen. He commands that film whenever he is on. Plus, his toxic masculinity makes him the perfect villain for this film of strong women. I love how he tries to control everything, including his facial features by wearing the Black Mask. He feels entitled to everything and everyone. He is a villain without redemption, but that’s what makes him work.
You want to see him stopped and you want to see how his crazy mind works.
As for his plot, it ties into his character’s motivation of control. At first I didn’t care about the diamond in the film, but it works so well in describing what Sionis wants most. Total control.
I wish I placed him higher on this list now, but this placement makes sense to me.
5. Lex Luthor
I change my mind. This is the one that will trigger everyone.
However, I have to say that Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor has grown on me. This is most likely from his small reintroduction in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
He is clearly smart. Hell, I would argue that he outsmarted the audience when BvS came out. His plan was so bold. Use Batman to kill Superman and you see him do the same strategy throughout the film. He uses Wally to blow up the Capital Building. He uses KGBeast to kill off the terrorists and blame Superman. He uses a lot of people in that film to get what he wants.
He is always plotting something and that is why Lex is such a good villain in the world of DC. You know that he is always constructing some plan or has some scheme going on that you have to be wary for. He even learned about Steppenwolf first before any other human being.
My only issue with Lex was when he went a little crazy, but even that was just a plot to keep him out of prison and to place him an easily escaped asylum.
Damn, Lex is smart!
4. Harley Quinn
Who doesn’t love Harley?
Margot Robbie has been able to channel the character perfectly and its why she is so high on this list. She doesn’t have some grand scheme and instead usually comes out on top because of her luck. Which fits the character.
Also, she has a presence on screen that you can’t ignore. She has that fun and chaotic Harleyness that every movie goer can’t resist.
Although I could see some argue whether or not Harley should be on this list. She is still a villain. I mean she has broken how many people’s legs at this rate?
3. Steppenwolf (2021)
Steppenwolf being at number three really says something.
It shows just how great of a villain Justice League had and then was replaced by a goat dude.
Steppenwolf is powerful and so strong in Justice League. He takes on so many Amazons and Atlanteans and shows us how powerful one of Darkseid’s disciples is.
However, you also feel bad for this warrior that has been conquering many worlds for the great darkness. He just wants to go home and feel redeemed after betraying Darkseid once.
There is a sense of honor, similar to Faora’s character that he carries and I love it. This isn’t a warrior though. He is a general and a leader that has destroyed many worlds.
He is one of the DCEU’s best villains and it is such a shame we didn’t get to see him until this year.
2. Ocean Master
Patrick Wilson killed it. King Orm was a great choice as the main Antagonist for Aquaman.
He is honorable and noble. He makes you question whether or not Jason Mamoa could lead the Kingdom of Atlantis.
I love how much this villain schemes and I think that people are really sleeping on Orm’s intelligence. This guy was almost the Ocean Master, the ruler of all seven kingdoms!
He commands the screen just like his armies and makes for one of the best villains in the DCEU. The only reason he isn’t number one is because he is going up against an immovable object.
1. Warner Brothers
Just kidding, but not really.
I knew from the moment that I started this list that Zod was going to be number one. Zod isn’t just one of my favorite villains, but he is also the one I feel gets forgotten about.
We talk about Batman’s rogues gallery all the time, but Zod beats them all for me.
Michael Shannon goes above and beyond commanding the screen. He controls it and makes you wonder if a farm boy from Kansas could really stand up against an alien general that has been fighting advanced wars for years!
And although you never once root for Zod, you understand his sad sense of duty. He was not naturally born and was made like most Kryptonians with a purpose. His was to protect Krypton. In his mind, he is protecting and saving Krypton by destroying Earth and beginning a new world.
He feels powerful, like a true alien would compared to us and it makes for a great conflict in the film. Zod is the perfect counter to Superman.
His placement here at the top of this list is not saying that DC has not made a better villain since. In this list, I have written about all the others and defended why they are great. Yet, Zod is masterful. He is a villain that will go beyond the DCEU.
So, this was my list. What do you think? What does your top five look like?
What did you think? Who is your favorite DCEU Villain?