When trying to decide the best DC Extended Universe film right now, the pickings are a bit thinner than what the Marvel Universe has to offer. In this way, DC is significantly behind in terms of content, having struggled, at times, to maintain a consistent throughline for their films. They haven’t quite found a sweet spot in terms of the story they want to tell from a top-down level. Some of that is changing with a bunch of movies and series currently in the works, but for the time being, we have what we have. Recently, SlashFilm polled their readers to find out the best DC Extended Universe film and the answers differ from what you might think, especially considering the reception to their latest offering.
The results of their poll show a spread-out opinion when it comes to the best DC Extended Universe film, but there was, in the end, a clear winner. Taking home 27% of the vote was Wonder Woman, the Gal Godot-led solo film for the character that covered her origin story. Technically, this was the fourth film in the DCEU and the first one with actual heart. Gadot was exceptional in the role of a displaced Amazonian warrior who finds herself in World War I era London before heading off behind enemy lines to find the true evil behind the brutal war. It took home a staggering $822 million at the box office and was overwhelmingly well-received by critics, sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Coming off the relative success of Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut, it would have made sense for that movie to have scored higher on the list. In comparison to the Joss Whedon-led version, fans and critics were rightfully more pleased with the extended story and if this had ended up the best DC Extended Universe film, I don’t think many would have batted an eye. But that movie actually finished third, behind Justice League which took home 15% of the vote. The only thing that makes any kind of sense with this is if folks got confused about what they were voting for, and thought the Snyder Cut was the Justice League. Almost nothing else about that explains it considering what a mess the Whedon version turned out to be.
Next up on the list of best DC Extended Universe films was Aquaman at four. Jason Momoa and Amber Heard are headed for a sequel next year with the film currently in production. That will be Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and could set the stage for more stories around Heard’s Queen Mera.
Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice and this past winter’s Wonder Woman 1984 were tied in the fifth spot, each flawed movies though for decidedly different reasons. The latter was entirely too dark, and took liberties around the Batman and Superman overlap that, at times, made very little sense. It was meant as a stage-setter that would become The Justice League, but it was mostly just a convoluted and odd story. Meanwhile, the Wonder Woman sequel struggled to find a footing after the success of the original with a comedic edge that ended up sidestepping a solid plot.
Rounding out the list for best DC Extended Universe film was the first one to hit the big screen, Man of Steel. The flick that was supposed to kickstart the DC Universe, but it ended up just tearing Earth apart and establishing Superman as a rather bland, yet powerful character. It’s worth noting that, for unexplained reasons Birds of Prey and Shazam! Were left off the list, though it’s hard to imagine either voting near the top in this survey.
In all, it’s been a sputtering run for DC, making picking the best DC Extended Universe film something of a grab bag of *meh* films. It’s clear that Wonder Woman, from a critical perspective, was the best of the bunch. What lies ahead for the DCEU remains to be seen. There are a ton of new projects coming down the pike in the coming years. Heck, a year from now we might be seeing Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam at the top of the list.