Top 10 Villains From the DCEU, Ranked

Roman Sionis (played by Ewan McGregor) holding up his arm and exposing his black glove while wearing glasses and a blue suede coat inside a dark room in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

As the saying goes, a movie is only as good as its villain. Luckily, the DC Extended Universe does not fall short in that department. With earth-shattering success in many of its releases, the DCEU has concocted some of the best on-screen villains to date, receiving praise from both comic fans and moviegoers alike. With modern twists on classic foes, they have been able to reimagine these characters in a completely new light while still paying homage to their printed origins. 

Top 10 Movie Villains, Ranked

2020 is already suiting up to be another year of heroes and villains with upcoming titles like Wonder Woman 1984 and Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which are both set to bring us some brand-new baddies. To get ready for another year of DC, we are taking a look at our top 10 favorite DCEU villains that we love to hate. 

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice-Doomsday

Though the portrayal of Doomsday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of the most widely debated DCEU villains of all time, we added him to our list purely for this beast’s shear strength! Because he is able to take hits from Superman, Wonder Woman, and even a nuclear missile with little damage, we can’t argue that Doomsday is one of the toughest on-screen villains we’ve seen so far. In fact, in the entire history of DC movies, Doomsday has dealt the most destruction to DC heroes.


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Justice League (2017)

Justice League-Steppenwolf
Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) in Justice League (2017)

Speaking of raw power, Steppenwolf was historically known throughout DC comics to have won countless battles against the Amazons, Atlanteans, and the Green Lanterns, and his strength wasn’t downplayed in Justice League, able to hold his own against Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Batman, Cyborg, and even Superman. Known as the “Destroyer of Worlds,” Steppenwolf was a villain that didn’t have much of a motive outside of simply wanting to, well, destroy the world. 

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Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman-Elena Anaya
Dr. Maru/Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya) in Wonder Woman (2017)

Doctor Isabel Maru, known amongst those who have heard of her monstrous work as Doctor Poison, specializes in the development of chemical weaponry for the Germans. As the secondary villain in Wonder Woman behind David Thewlis’ Ares, Maru remains more behind the scenes, building her diabolical weapons that will ultimately be the driving problem for our title character. It is this shroud of mystery that Doctor Poison has around her that makes her stand out amongst the other villains—not to mention the unsettling face mask she wears. 

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Aquaman (2018)

Aquaman-Black Manta
Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in Aquaman (2018)

Though he may not be the primary villain in 2018’s Aquaman, we were certainly glad to get a big-screen look at Aquaman’s infamous archrival, Black Manta. Decked out with experimental Atlantean technology, Manta has designed a powerful battle suit that was made specifically for fighting Aquaman. There’s really just nothing better than a good arch nemesis, and actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does a fantastic job at playing opposite Jason Momoa, even stealing most of the scenes he appears in.

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Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman-David Thewlis
Sir Patrick/Ares (David Thewlis) in Wonder Woman (2017)

As the primary villain in Wonder Woman, Ares proved time and time again to be a worthy adversary in many regards. As the legendary God of War, Ares main focus was to coerce people into battle, namely his responsibility for bringing forward the World War. In the final fight against Wonder Woman, he seemed to have the upper hand, testing both her physical and mental strength. Despite his defeat, David Thewlis perfectly took on playing the dual roles of the God of War and his mild-mannered alter ego, Sir Patrick Morgan.

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Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel-Antje Traue
Faora-Ul (Antje Traue) in Man of Steel (2013)

As General Zod’s right-hand woman, Faora-Ul is a powerful, fearless, unfeeling Kryptonian war criminal. When she arrives on Earth to bring forward a “terraformation apocalypse,” she is able to take on a lot of Superman’s same abilities, making her an even bigger threat than she was on Krypton. With her newfound strength, she is able to wreak havoc on the world—mainly Clark’s hometown of Smallville. Being a threat to Superman is no small feat, so as one of the only beings to ever stand in his way, Faora-Ul has earned her place towards the top of our list. 

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Aquaman (2018)

Aquaman-Patrick Wilson
King Orm (Patrick Wilson) in Aquaman (2018)

As former king of Atlantis and half-brother to Aquaman, Orm Marius is a skilled warrior who has a profound hatred for the surface world due to their pollution of the seas and his resentment for his mother having left her people to live there. In his conquest to lay waste to humanity and any Atlanteans who stand in his way, Orm proves to be a master of combat, going undefeated in battle using his father’s trident until the final stand off against Aquaman and the legendary Trident of King Atlan. 


Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel-Michael Shannon
General Zod (Michael Shannon) in Man of Steel (2013)

In 2013’s Man of Steel, Michael Shannon delivered us the very first DCEU supervillain as General Zod of Krypton. As Superman’s most well-known nemesis, Zod will stop at nothing to take him down, even if it means wiping out the entire human race. Shannon, who is already known for adding a disturbing and sinister twist to each of the characters he takes on, perfectly captures the insanity of General Zod, who is hellbent on fulfilling his mission and destroying Kal-El. 

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Shazam! (2019)

Shazam-Mark Strong
Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong) in Shazam! (2019)

In 2019 we got to see a DCEU villain (as well as the entire movie) in a completely different light when DC shed the darker tones seen in their previous movies and took a lighter, more comical approach in Shazam! As Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, Mark Strong plays the mad scientist weirdo without making the character ever feel too hacky—which is a pretty fine line to walk—and still manages to nail the sinister-cool approach. Overall, he was a close second for our favorite DCEU villain. 


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice-Jesse Eisenberg
Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong) in Shazam! (2019)

Coming in at number one on our list is Jesse Eisenberg’s take on Superman’s classic archnemesis, Lex Luthor. What makes this adaptation of Luthor so interesting is how the movie focuses in-depth on the character’s disturbed psychological motivations and his deep-seated hatred for Superman. Through his sinister plans of manipulation, he is even able to corrupt Batman into doing his bidding to bring down the Man of Steel. As far as origins and character developments go, we were drawn in by the obsessed, often cartoonish, and utterly untethered Lex Luthor and hold him as our favorite villain from the DCEU! 



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