The DC Extended Universe is a huge undertaking by DC Entertainment to make DC look just as big as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For Marvel, the results have been mixed to good, with recent films taking huge leaps towards box office victory such as Black Panther. For DC, things have been quite different. With the exception of Wonder Woman, most films have been mediocre or flopped. Luckily, DC has an extensive back catalogue of films to pull from. Old cartoon films, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Watchmen, and even V for Vendetta are all DC movies. Some aspects of movies and media have attachments to lesser and more complex parts of DC such as Etrigan or the original Batman TV series.
Through this list, we hope that you can achieve a greater understanding of the DC movie and media universe. Whether you’re the casual fan who wishes to understand greater aspects of the franchise, the specific superfan who knows a lot about some stuff (but maybe not others), or the hardcore, epic fan who knows every single aspect of DC and will most likely argue the finer points of this list, this is for you.
With all the victories and all the flops, the DC universe has an extensive library of both media and memes to pull from. Every subject can be meme-ified and touched upon in some vast or small way. We tried to leave no stone unturned in our extensive review of the DC universe. I hope you can find both the hilarity and the interest in the universe that DC has worked so hard to lay out for people such as yourselves.
Wonder Woman’s success became the best of the new DC Universe films. With an able bodied, spot on actress in the role of Wonder Woman, and a story combining ancient mythology with modern heroic twists, Wonder Woman has the film chops and bragging rights. Many people are looking at it among the smorgasbord of DC films currently out.
It’s holding the entire franchise together.
Failed movie after failed movie, the DC Universe is suffering. With the mediocre Man of Steel, the horribly written and uncompelling Ben Affleck in Batman vs. Superman, the poorly edited and fleshed out Suicide Squad, the unforgettably forgetful Green Lantern, and the imprecise Justice League, Wonder Woman brings a breath of fresh air. In a franchise that seemingly wants to destroy itself, we can’t help but see how Wonder Woman is doing it!
24 Lasso Of Truth For The Franchise
For a long time, people expected DC to move in the same direction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More heroes with interesting origin stories and intense coalition films such as Justice League. There was also a point in time where DC refused to make a Wonder Woman movie. They stated that a film where a woman was the center of attention would fail with their core audience. They were wrong.
Wonder Woman saw the greatest success out of any DC movie. It was lauded as a wonderful film put together in a positive way. It’s good to see DC moved beyond their faulty policy, which harmed them in the short term. Hardcore fans of the DC Universe were pleased to see the policy put to rest. Unfortunately it seems the writers and directors of Wonder Woman are not leading any other charge in the DC Universe.
23 You’ve Been Voted Onto The Island
Another character meant for Justice League fame was Green Arrow. Unlike the Green Lantern film, Arrow has seen greater success as a television series with a well-liked character. Considering Marvel has done nothing with their Hawkeye, fans who want to see a bow-wielding crusader can watch Arrow in order to fulfill their stealth archer dreams. Yet, no Justice League.
The TV vs. movie hero dichotomy is dominated by separation.
Looking at Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and others, they don’t involve themselves in the world of the Marvel films. Similarly, the Marvel films do not involve themselves in Marvel TV series. The same thing happens in the DC Universe. The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl are not involved in the films. And superfans are quite content with that. Film and TV are two very different mediums which have difficulty crossing over to.
22 Longing For Some Love
The current Justice League is composed of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman. This cavalcade of heroes isn’t the entire line-up from the cartoons though. Other members were left out of the batch of desired heroes as well. However, the reasons for doing so is extremely different. Green Lantern was considered a commercial flop.
Ryan Reynolds’ first foray into the superhero world was in the form of Green Lantern. However, the movie was panned by critics and hardcore fans alike for Ryan’s portrayal of the character. A comedic and witty actor placed into the role of a terribly CGI driven movie as a good cop makes for little sense. The failure of Green Lantern as a property and character mean that his chances of being in the Justice League are slim to none.
21 Real Origin Story
Daredevil is a Marvel storyline. Not a DC one. That’s clear as night and day (maybe not for Daredevil). We’ve had a lot of Batmans throughout the ages. We’ve had Val Kilmer (ugh!), George Clooney (eh!), Adam West (better), and Christian Bale.
Send out the bat signal for Christian Bale!
Who knew though that one day we’d be reaching for Ben Affleck to be our next Batman! Daredevil was lackluster. Most fans of today would be reaching back in time to realize that Ben was actually a hero before Batman. His most notable heroic role wasn’t really seen until Batman. So true fans might be wondering how he got here, and why he may have been the first choice. They’ll find an interesting backstory for this one, though!
20 Breathing New Life
You ever seen Daredevil? How about Green Lantern? Yep, go ahead and watch them. We’ll wait... done? Okay; here’s the good news. Both actors go on to do better in different roles. Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern (DC Universe) becomes Deadpool (Marvel Universe). Ben Affleck’s Daredevil (Marvel) becomes Batman (DC).
DC fans will know if the trade off was worth it though. They lost a terrible Green Lantern (yay!) and gained a superhero for an opposing universe (boo!). They lost a terrible Daredevil (yay!) and they placed him right on our front doorstep (boo!). And they had a chance at redemption, but only one of them really made it beyond success. Why does Marvel get to have all the fun? Why can’t we have a gritty, but also interesting action hero?
19 I Don't Want To Live On This Planet Anymore
Watchmen has had on and off fame in the media industry. While the film’s theatrical release was viewed as mediocre and off base, the Director’s Cut and the comics were both viewed in wide eyed anticipation (for the Director’s Cut, all 6 hours of anticipation). One of the most popular character’s within the film is Dr. Manhattan.
Dr. Manhattan evolved through the Manhattan project.
He became many things and struggled in many aspects of his life until he became so powerful that he simply didn’t need to care anymore. He was able to leave whatever life he had and deal with any existential reality he had in his own way. To outsiders, he’s just another cool superhero. To the major fans, he’s a conflicted entity that simply doesn’t want to be a hero. He’s the perfect anti-hero.
18 We Are Anonymous! We Are... Wait, What?
Only a hardcore DC fan will get this. They’ll know the origin of the V for Vendetta mask, and also know that V for Vendetta is a DC comic. The film itself spawned an avalanche of legitimate and knock-off protests as well as the basis of a group known as Anonymous. These people would show up to protests all wearing the Guy Fawkes mask (the one V uses in V for Vendetta), just like in the film. However, one thing is off: Guy Fawkes hated democracy.
Guy Fawkes is based off of a radical, violent Catholic revolutionary that wanted to blow up the British parliament and help establish the Vatican is the rightful rulers of the United Kingdom. He went so far as to buy the bombs and weapons, only to be caught before he could enact his plan.
17 Giving The Shirt Off My Back
We all know the argument. Why is that female soldier only wearing a skirt and a corset with thigh-high stockings? And we get it! Wonder Woman is clearly under-dressed for the role of warrior and fighter. Some will defend that with ease of movement and needing to be agile. Some will say her superpowers. But this never extends to the men!
DC fans will know that for a long time the struggles of who should wear what always come into the picture.
Luckily some of the films fix the male costumes, with Batman wearing a full suit of armor, and The Flash wearing a suit that protects him from his speedy movement. But Superman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg need no such things. So our wonderful Wonder Woman has helped us envision a fairer team.
16 Sharing A Smile
Two live action Batman films. Two Jokers. Heath Ledger and Jared Leto face off against each other for who wore it better! Heath Ledger is part of what made The Dark Knight great. His portrayal of The Joker is realistic. He deprived himself of sleep and altered his state of mind in any way he could. He was and is considered the best depiction of The Joker ever.
Then there’s Jared Leto’s Joker.
Jared Leto is known for his ‘method’ acting, where he acts like the character he is going to portray. He freaked out his cast mates with crazy acts, sending rats and pigs to them, or doing very much planned out events, such as swinging adult-orientated toys around the crew. His Joker was... forced and like many of the fans who applauded Heath’s Joker, the same fans hissed at Jared’s.
15 Cat Fight!
Catwoman has seen multiple lives over many years. Arguably, the best Catwoman is the one donned by Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns. At the time, the film itself was viewed as too dark for many audiences, and when the film’s director was asked to come back for another film (possibly a standalone Catwoman film), he declined. News of a Catwoman standalone film suddenly came about in the early 2000s. Our favorite Catwoman almost had a sequel!
And we were given Halle Berry instead. Our beloved Catwoman, the one considered the best out of all DC films and TV series, was given a film that did worse than the terrible Batman and Robin film. The story was diluted with ancient mythology and pop feminism without any of the darker aspects of our favorite character. Catwoman as a serious villain was laughed off the film scene.
14 Olympian Lookalikes
You most likely remember Saturday mornings as a young kid in the late 90s, early 00s. You’d wake up, eat some Fruit Loops, and then watch your favorite DC cartoons until late into the middle of the day! Those were the times. Another cartoon may have made an appearance as well: The Wild Thornberrys. You’d be surprised to hear that one of our favorite DC villains is also almost in the show as well!
He looks like Nigel Thornberry!
Wonder Woman is not only a great film, but it has great actors in it. Chris Pine and Gal Gadot play off of each other so well. However, the unlikely Ares villain is played by British actor David Thewlis. Taking a look at the side by side comparison, true fans of the Saturday morning cartoon hour, where many of your favorite shows were seen, will notice the similarity themselves.
13 Trade Sonar Device For Plot Device
Chances are if you’re a true fan of Batman you’ve seen The Dark Knight Trilogy. You’d also have watched them multiple times and followed the storylines to perfection. You’d know that Lucius Fox and Batman used the sonar device to track down and capture criminals. But Lucius refuses to use it after the middle film, saying it’s too dangerous. Have they met Cambridge Analytica?
Strangely, Batman wants to almost keep it around, but Lucius convinces him not to. Of course, when they need to find a single Bane in the entire city of Gotham, the tech for this wonderful piece of machinery is gone! The bad guys almost get away and hundreds of people are hurt in order to make sure that people have the freedom to have bad things happen to them.
12 Happy New Year!
So this year, DC was supposed to have two films come out; The Flash and Aquaman (chances are they’re both origin stories). However, The Flash had a bunch of staff changes and it seems like it’s being pushed back. Aquaman has been pushed back twice and it looks like it’s coming out in December 23rd of this year.
That’s a lot of time without a DC film!
Almost a year, in fact. So let’s say it does get pushed back at least 9 days, then we’d have not a single DC movie this year! But as a true fan you’d know that DC always has games, books, comics, and other forms of media waiting for you! Some new comics coming out are Eternity Girl, The Immortal Men, and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Get those orders in, you hardcore fans!
11 The Force Is Strong With This One
The Joker has always been a complex character. Never simplistic, Batman’s main villain in many stories (especially The Dark Knight) is an individual who truly represents the chaotic evil side of the spectrum. Maniacal laughter, sly grin, and caked on make-up make his in-depth history that only a true fan would know. The Joker was voiced by Mark Hamill.
Although you may know him as Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars franchise films, Mark Hamill for many years did the voice work for the Joker on cartoons. He became the most well-known Joker, and is considered the best cartoon version, opposite of Heath Ledger’s Joker live action film version of him in The Dark Knight. Although the Joker would eventually have a different take on the horizon come Suicide Squad.
10 Such Is Life
Batman’s origin story is fairly well known. Hence what makes this meme so schadenfreude. Batman’s parents passed away when he was a child. The criminal who did it was eventually caught and placed in Arkham Asylum. But it changed Bruce forever. He grew up with considerable wealth and a butler for a father figure.
But he’s not the only hero to have this story.
Other candidates for the “passed away parents” list are Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Supergirl, and even Robin. Yes; the guy calling out Batman’s parents is also in a similar situation. You’d think they’d know each other more than presented! Most fans only know of Batman’s origins, but the true fans now more than that and now you do too! Strange origin for a superhero, when used time and again.
9 Catchy Singalong
Now with something a little light: the original theme song for Batman! It was originally on what sounds like a guitar or piano, but when said out loud, the words “nananana” come to mind instead. Following those with a loud crowd of voices saying, “BATMAN!” and you’ve got the original Batman theme song! Sing it to your parents and see what they say!
Most Batman fans know the song, but many don’t know that it comes from the original Batman TV series from the 1960s. Adam West, the actor who played Batman, also acted in DC shows such as The New Adventures of Batman (1977), The New Adventures of Superman (1995), Shazam! (1976), and Marvel’s Zorro (1990). Even after Batman, this hero was drudging on!
8 Ice Ice Baby
Batman and Robin was the worst DC movie of all time. 10% Rotten Tomatoes score, cheesy lines, and a desire to make it more ‘family friendly’ really put The Dark Knight into a bind. What made it worse? Cheesy line from Mr. Freeze.
They butchered such a well-loved villain!
Mr. Freeze’s wife passed away, and he froze her in order to eventually come up with the power to save her life. In Batman and Robin, Mr. Freeze is an Austrian gang-leader who wields a freeze gun in attempts to end the Batman. The line in the picture is a legit line. Not made up. Literally subtitled from the film itself. He’s doing this while trying to hurt people... why? All true fans know that this movie and this perception of a villain is a dud!
7 Surfing Dolphins... You Heard Me!
The Aquaman we know today is played by Jason Momoa, who usually displays a warrior bravado in every show or film he acts in. In Justice League we are presented with a man who lives on a Slavic/Eastern European coastline where a dreary, poverty-stricken population lives. It’s a picturesque post-Communist meltdown of an area! He drinks and speaks a Slavic language, and has little care for outsiders. This Aquaman is nothing like the original!
The original Aquaman was a blond, flappy half-human, half-fish who was known for having laughable, out of place powers, and riding a plethora of strange creatures. He had telepathy, could breathe underwater, and could control sea creatures. He rode flying fish, surfed dolphins, and saddled a giant seahorse. Although hardcore fans scoff at the original, many do not find the current one an accurate replacement of the character. They are nothing like each other.
6 Guess Who?
In Wonder Women we got to see the mysterious Lasso of Truth (or more secretly known as Lasso of Hestia). Other than being used on Chris Pine and Jason Momoa, the comics detail a more interesting meeting of the Lasso between three specific characters; Batman, Superman, and of course Wonder Woman.
In an informal introduction between the three, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman all touch the Lasso and are compelled to speak the truth about their names. Wonder Woman doesn’t desire lying, so she states her full name: “Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Queen Hippolyta”. Superman states: “Clark Kent. Kal-El” while in full Superman uniform. Batman states: “Batman”. The implication being that Batman is just that, he’s Batman. Simply put, Batman is a complex character that places his identity as Bruce on a different level. Thereby he is telling the truth.
5 Looking Forward
Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, and Shazam! These are all fairly big hard hitters in the Justice League cartoons. In comics and TV shows they have fairly big roles in both old and new ages of comics. And although Shazam! is officially getting a film, the other two might still be in the running for a film themselves. Obviously all would be amazing! But the image challenges you to pick only one.
Difficult choice for any DC superfan!
So who should it be? Shazam, or Captain Marvel as he’s formally called, who can teleport, casts spells, and has super speed and strength? Or Black Canary, who’s scream can injure or end and is well-versed in all forms of combat? Or Martian Manhunter, who has plenty of superpowers such as flight, matter manipulation, healing, and super intelligence?
4 Fire And Brimstone
Etrigan is a more unknown hero to the newer fans, but older fans will know whom exactly I’m speaking of! This legit demon from the underworld in the DC Extended Universe has appeared in two of the cartoon films over the past years. He is known for being fearless in fights, and projecting fire from his mouth. He is also DC’s truest anti-hero!
For example, Etrigan has no problem stealing a horse for his own benefit, and then being in trouble with the law, he decides to ride that one out a bit, using the police officer as his new horse. He plays fast and loose with the rules and ain’t afraid to show off some rebelliousness! Now, if only DC would include him in the latest slew of films!
Batman and Superman are brawling yet again, but this time it’s different; the Joker gets involved. The Joker convinces Superman that Lois Lane (Superman’s love) is an evil villain, and Superman ends up ending her. When he realizes what he’s done, he comes in and destroys the Joker instantly.
What did they expect of Superman?
It’s a tough end to such an evil villain. Of course, Batman is utterly shocked. Superman almost never goes all the way. Batman doesn’t end anyone. Batman’s purpose is to capture the Joker and take him back to Arkham Asylum (look how well that turned out). So Superman steps in and takes the Joker down a notch... or many notches. This leads into the game Injustice, where Superman makes a dictatorship out of Earth with no crime.
2 Asylum Or Playpen
Arkham Asylum is home to all the Batman villains. The Joker, Mr. Freeze, Two Face, Riddler, Poison Ivy, etc. are all prisoners in the Gotham jail. So when a meme comes up displaying them all as kids in a daycare of sorts, one might think it’s simply a cool picture. However, it has deeper meaning. A true fan would understand the connection: Batman’s villains usually all want something from Gotham, Batman, or the world. They all have complex personalities and singular drives, much like children.
As the perfect display of children, they all want to escape the Asylu...errr...daycare. In the end, they might succeed or fail, but they usually end up back there anyway because of a higher power (or parent) needs to keep them in line.
1 Houdini, Bruce, And Batman Walk Into An Establishment
At the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Batman is seen taking a nuclear device on his ship out to sea. The nuclear bomb goes off in the middle of the ocean outside of Gotham City. It is assumed Batman is gone. However, in the next scene, we see Bruce Wayne with ‘Catwoman’ at a café somewhere in Greece or Spain. We then see Robin enter the batcave and take over the mansion. Here’s the thing: Batman and Bruce Wayne disappear at the same time.
Can’t the population of Gotham put two and two together?
Obviously when your city’s hero perishes in a nuclear bomb, and Bruce Wayne is suddenly nowhere to be seen, anyone could assume that both highly visible characters are either related or exactly the same. Hardcore DC fans were appalled by the lack of viable story-telling ending that appeared in this section.