In just four movies, DC Films has already introduced countless characters in its shared universe. We’ve met several iconic superheroes and villains, while some supporting characters have also had their chances to shine. The world will continue to expand with this fall’s Justice League, along with the other films to come.
As we get ready for Justice League, we wanted to look back at the past DC movies and rank our ten favorite characters so far. Some are heroes, some are villains, and some are support.
#10: Lois Lane
Introduced in Man of Steel, Amy Adams’ Lois Lane played a key role in Clark Kent’s journey to becoming Superman. She uncovered his heroic actions before the public did, and she helps Kal-El remain connected to his humanity. This progressed into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Clark committed to Lois as “my world” and sacrificed himself. Lois returns in Justice League, where she’s still dealing with the ramifications of Superman’s death.
One thing that has frustrated me with past Lois Lanes was how the character never figured out that Clark is Superman. And yet she’s one of the greatest journalists? However, in DC Films’ universe, Lois is an effective journalist who knows Clark’s secret from the beginning. Additionally, she remained heavily involved in the movies’ plots (she is the key, after all), while her relationship with Clark is wonderful.
#9: Perry White
Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White is the boss at Daily Planet, constantly clashing with Lois Lane and eventually Clark Kent over what stories to publish. While his roles in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman weren’t that huge, Perry is one of Superman’s big supporting characters, and watching him is always engaging.
And man, is Perry funny. Considering the darker tones of the two aforementioned films, it’s nice to see Perry lightening the mood with one-liners and dry sense of humor. “Crime wave in Gotham. Other breaking news: Water, wet.” Need I say more? It’s just a shame that Perry won’t be in Justice League, but fingers cross we’ll see him in another Superman movie.
#8: Alfred Pennyworth
Jeremy Irons is the latest in a long line of actors to play Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s trusted butler and ally. In Batman v Superman, Alfred remains the voice of reason, pleading with Bruce to end his quest to kill Superman. Also, Alfred serves as tech support, creating some of Bruce’s gadgets and being the “guy in the chair.” He will do the same in Justice League, as he assists Bruce in his mission to unite the League.
Like Perry, Alfred helped lighten the mood in Batman v Superman with his consistently humorous scenes. Whether it’s banter with Bruce or talking to himself, Alfred had a very engaging presence in the movie. His relationship with Bruce was also on point. I can’t wait to see Alfred return in Justice League.
#7: General Zod
So far, DC Films has been hit-and-miss with its main villains. However, easily one of the best villains (if not the best) is Michael Shannon’s General Zod in Man of Steel. The general of Krypton’s army, Zod was sentenced to the Phantom Zone for his acts of treason. He eventually found his way to Earth, where he fought Superman for the planet’s survival. Superman snapped Zod’s neck, ending the villain’s conquest.
Throughout the film, Shannon held an engaging presence, effectively portraying Zod’s rage and heart for his people. It was also nice to see Superman fight a villain as formidable as Zod. While Zod’s corpse was later turned into Doomsday, it’s disappointing that we probably won’t see the character again anytime soon, if ever.
#6: Amanda Waller
Suicide Squad had a lot of issues, but its cast was not one of them. One of the highlights was Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, the founder of Task Force X. In the aftermath of Superman’s death, Waller is given the greenlight in her proposal to form a team of supervillains and use them in the event of a global threat. The Suicide Squad successfully defeated Enchantress in Midway City, but Waller now has to deal with the clean-up, for which she turns to Bruce Wayne for help.
While Waller’s motivation for the Squad was flimsy (can Harley Quinn and Boomerang really take on the next Superman), the character herself was otherwise perfect. Davis’ performance was spot-on, stealing every scene she’s in. She was classic Waller through and through. Hopefully, we’ll see plenty more of her in future movies.
The other biggest highlight from Suicide Squad was Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot. Played by Will Smith, the hitman earns a reputation for his marksmanship skills. Eventually, Lawton is taken out by Batman and imprisoned in Belle Reve, where he is recruited into the Suicide Squad. There, Lawton leads the group to victory. He returns to prison, but is still able to reconnect with his daughter Zoe.
Lawton had one of the best character arcs in Suicide Squad, struggling to maintain his relationship with his daughter and his lethal career simultaneously. Plus, it’s Will freakin’ Smith. Of course he’s going to be one of the DC Universe’s highlights. Hopefully, Deadshot will be a big part of future films.
#4: Steve Trevor
Chris Pine has been fancast into comic book roles for years, and he finally joined the genre as Wonder Woman‘s Steve Trevor. After crash landing on Themyscira, Trevor meets Diana Prince and the Amazons. Trevor and Diana later travel back to London, marking Diana’s introduction to the world of man. Along the way, the two developed a heartfelt relationship. Trevor ultimately sacrificed himself during the film’s climatic battle.
Pine brought such warmth, humor and wit to the Trevor character. His chemistry with Diana was beautiful; in fact, I’d argue that their relationship is the best in the whole genre. There was just a genuineness to it all. Despite rumors of Trevor’s return in Wonder Woman 2, I don’t want them to undo his death. Trevor’s sacrifice spoke volumes about his character. “I can save today, you can save the world.”
Henry Cavill’s Superman was the hero who started this universe. Man of Steel established Kal-El’s origin, chronicling the discovery of his parentage and deciding what his purpose in this world is. Kal accepts his destiny, saving the world from General Zod. Kal continued his mission in Batman v Superman, but not without some doubts. Those doubts were put to rest when he sacrificed himself in the climatic battle with Doomsday. And now, we wait for his grand resurrection in Justice League.
While some fans weren’t happy with this Superman’s characterization, I was heavily invested into his character arc. I found Cavill’s Superman to be more relatable, complex, and just more human. In fact, I’d say this version of Supes made me a bigger fan of the character overall. I cannot wait for his epic return in Justice League.
We’ve seen Batman portrayed countless times on film, but none of them are quite like Ben Affleck’s take. Debuting in Batman v Superman, we meet Bruce Wayne at his lowest point. He’s burned out from 20 years of crime fighting, he lost Robin, and now he’s paranoid over Superman’s power. He obsessively pursues a way to kill the Man of Steel, bringing his morality into question. However, by the film’s end, Bruce saw who Superman really was. And, inspired by his sacrifice, the Dark Knight heads out to form the Justice League.
I was invested in the idea of an older Batman on film. Affleck’s performance was superb, bringing multiple layers to the character. While some fans were turned off by Bruce killing people, it worked within the context of this particular story. Simply put, deconstructing Batman as a hero and building him back up is a fascinating character arc. I can’t wait to see his story continue.
#1: Wonder Woman
The Trinity is now complete. Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince made her scene-stealing debut in Batman v Superman, but we really got to know the character in Wonder Woman. During World War I, Diana heads out into man’s world in order to defeat Ares, the God of War. Diana succeeds, but at the cost of Steve Trevor’s death. Fast forward a century, and we see Diana return to the world of heroics, working with Batman and Superman to defeat Doomsday. She will also work with Batman to unite the Justice League.
While some of this universe’s other heroes have worked within morally gray areas, Wonder Woman did not. She does good just for the sake of being good. She is passionate and full of life when it comes to protecting mankind. Gadot’s performance adds so much warmth and compassion to the character. Simply put, Wonder Woman is the hero we all need right now, and the one we should aspire to be.
Who is your favorite character from the DC Films Universe?
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