After an aborted start following Green Lantern‘s relative lack of success in 2011, Warner Bros. finally launched what is unofficially known as the DC Extended Universe (or DCEU if you’re nasty) series of films in 2013, starting with Man of Steel, which then led into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which introduced Batman and Wonder Woman (and gave hints towards some other heroes). That was quickly followed by Suicide Squad, which introduced us to a group of a supervillains who are forced to become superheroes. That same film also gave us our first look at the Flash. Finally, the most recent film in the series, Justice League, added Cyborg and Aquaman to the mix.
There have now been enough films in the DC Comics Extended Universe that we have enough superheroes to effectively rank them by how powerful they all are! Note that for the purpose of this list, we are counting the Suicide Squad as superheroes, but only costumed heroes are ranked here, so no Rick Flagg, no Lois Lane, no Alfred and no Steve Trevor. Sorry about that, but if you want to be taken seriously in this game, you gotta throw on some spandex and a cape. That’s just how it works!
Poor Slipknot. One of the very few sequences in Suicide Squad, which was adapted from the original John Ostrander run on Suicide Squad (introducing the concept of expendable supervillains working for the government) was the sequence where Captain Boomerang convinced Slipknot that Amanda Waller was bluffing when it came to the explosives that she and her team told the Squad had been placed inside each their heads. His argument was that this was just a deterrent to keep them from running away. Unfortunately, they were not bluffing, so Slipknot exploded while trying to escape.
Slipknot has always had a little bit of a hard time as a character, as he was part of the Rogues Gallery of Firestorm, a character who could fire nuclear fire blasts and transmute any material into any other material. Slipknot fought this man with ropes. Lots of ropes. It never went particularly well for poor Slipknot, so at least his adaptation was faithful, if nothing else!
14. CAPTAIN BOOMERANG
It seems only fair that the guy who convinced Slipknot that the government was bluffing with the explosives that were implanted in their bodies should be one spot ahead of poor, sweet Slipknot. Captain Boomerang is one of the most impressive characters on this list, in the sense that, clearly, he does not rank up with the most powerful heroes on the list — he literally fights people using boomerangs, after all. However, he has a certain je ne sais quoi about him, and a set of abilities that does give him some legitimate street cred… among the right people, anyway.
Boomerang is the ultimate survivor… even when he “dies.” No matter the situation, no matter how overmatched that he is, he always finds a way to get by. It’s like he was bitten by a radioactive cockroach at some point (that would explain his personality, too, to be frank).
Katana is a tough one to rank. While she is a highly trained martial artist, able to defeat people with just her fighting skills, the main thing that makes her standout is the sword that gives her her name sake. Her katana, dubbed Soultalker, is just that: a sword that can take and store within it your soul when it kills you.
Since it is populated by hundreds (if not thousands) of souls, it has magical abilities that make it a lot more powerful than a typical sword. However, the tricky thing is that since Katana is a relatively minor character in Suicide Squad, it is a bit difficult to see just how useful her sword can be in battle. Does it really give her any more of an edge than a non-magical sword? It’s debatable. Thus, she has a relatively low place on a list she nonetheless deserves to be on.
Really, it is mostly due to his prominence within the Suicide Squad film that Deadshot, a guy who pretty much just uses bullets, gets ranked ahead of a trained martial artist who has a magical sword. Because he is so heavily featured in Suicide Squad, we can see just how effective Deadshot can be with “just” bullets.
It is not just his awesome suit that had guns attached and allows him to continually fire his weapons that makes Deadshot stand out. In the film, he also seems to possess an almost metahuman ability to hit his targets. It is like he is Marvel’s Bullseye at times with the way that he can make bullets do unnatural things. That’s what we think gives him the slight edge over Katana — he can do all sorts of ricochets so that there will always be one bullet she won’t see coming.
11. HARLEY QUINN
This was not made explicitly clear within Suicide Squad, but it is implied that when Harley landed into the chemical bath in her flashback within the movie, that the chemicals worked the same way that they did in her introduced into the DC Comics Universe way back in 1999. There, like here, she was initially “just” the Joker’s girlfriend before being exposed to chemicals which changed her, giving her enhanced strength, speed and agility.
Within the film, it certainly appeared as though Harley was super-powered in her fight sequences, which we think would naturally rank her higher than someone like Deadshot, as her reflexes are quick enough that she likely can avoid his bullets, while being able to hit back with her trusty baseball bat.
10. KILLER CROC
For the most part, the members of the Suicide Squad are not much more than typical soldiers, power-wise. They’re just highly trained soldiers, the type of folks who could kill you with a boomerang, a rope or a katana better than they could kill you with a machine gun. A few members of the team, though, are truly what you would call “super-powered.”
Killer Croc is one of them. Besides having skin that makes him look like a human crocodile, Croc also has superhuman strength and the ability to swim very fast underwater (where he also has the ability to breathe). He is shown to have extremely durable skin, shaking off punches and even appearing to be bulletproof within the film. He also seems to survive a rather large explosion, so he definitely is the team’s powerhouse.
Probably the most difficult person to rank on this list is Batman, because, as he explained to the Flash in Justice League, his super power is that he is extremely rich. He is also very intelligent, so he can buy and design weapons that give him the ability to hang with people that he otherwise would have no chance against. This was made abundantly clear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, when he almost succeeds in killing Superman!
However, Superman had a unique weakness that Batman could exploit; otherwise, the films (especially Justice League) seem to make a point to highlight how human Batman was compared to the other heroes in the team. It seems as though this specific version of Batman is really not the “Bat-God” from the comics, who could take on all comers.
Realistically speaking, the Flash’s powers should rank him much higher on this list. Super speed is one of those powers that, if properly applied, is almost impossible to stop. That’s why you will see the Flash TV series always include forced errors by the Flash to explain why he somehow doesn’t stop the bad guy.
Similarly, then, the Flash in the Justice League movie is still so young and raw that he can’t seem to use his powers to their highest capabilities. He even explained to Batman that he generally just runs up and pushes people over. He is not yet a “warrior,” and thus has not used his powers to the highest levels as of yet. Given more time, he will likely be higher on the list.
You could argue that it is a stretch to consider Mera a superhero, as the only time that we see her was just in the context of her appearance as part of Atlantis (where she dropped a whole bunch of exposition about Aquaman’s back story), so you could say that she is just a normal Atlantean (to wit, the Amazons are all amazing, but we’re not counting them all as superheroes either).
However, in her brief battle against Steppenwolf where she tries to keep him from obtaining the Mother Box guarded by Atlantis, she shows off her superpower — the ability to transform water into a weapon by solidifying it, which she can use to make shields or blades. That makes her a very formidable foe.
6. EL DIABLO
El Diablo is a tricky one. For most of the Suicide Squad film, he is shown as a guy with the power to shoot fire out of his hands. That’s certainly helpful, and would rank him above most members of the Squad, but that’s not really all that impressive compared to, say, Mera, who has water powers and has the abilities of most Atlanteans.
However, we learn towards the end of the film that he has been holding back this whole time — the fire is just one aspect of his abilities. He also has the power to transform into a giant fire demon, who was able to hold his own against a powerful demon from another dimension. He actually dies within that fight (he holds Incubus down so that some explosives blow them both up), but it seems like his final form could have been one of the most powerful in this cinematic universe!
It is difficult to accurately rank Aquaman. Justice League spent so much time introducing a number of other characters that it is tough to necessarily say where he compares to some of the heroes on this list. However, for the most part, we can tell that he has superhuman strength, the ability to swim at super speed and an ability to communicate, in a fashion, with sea life.
The main distinction is that during the battle with Steppenwolf in Atlantis, Aquaman appears to be able to fight against Steppenwolf better than Mera, which suggests that Aquaman might have strength beyond the typical enhanced strength of an Atlantean. He also has a magical trident that he used at one point in the film to stop a whole flood of water from hitting the Justice League.
4. GREEN LANTERN
The original Green Lantern film is technically not within the DC Comics Extended Universe (although perhaps it will be later retconned into the same universe), so when we say “Green Lantern,” we don’t mean Hal Jordan, who is depicted here. We are using him as a placeholder because they have not yet released the image of Green Lantern from the Justice League film. In a very cool treat within the film (so obvious that we couldn’t realistically dub it an “Easter Egg”), there is a flashback to when Steppenwolf first tried to invade Earth.
He was defeated by a massive team-up between the Atlanteans, the Amazons, the Greek Gods and, yes, a Green Lantern from another planet! He looked like the same race as Salaak (the denizens of the planet Slyggia). He died during the battle, so it is a bit unclear as to how powerful he really is, as Hal Jordan seemed more capable in his solo film.
Cyborg has always been a powerful superhero, but generally speaking, he has often been a bit lower on the power scale compared to the other heroes within the Justice League. That was different in the Justice League film, however. Cyborg has always been powered by technology that made him into… well, a cyborg. He has always been high tech.
However, in the Justice League film, he is now specifically powered by Mother Box technology, which is significantly more powerful than typical Earth-based technology, which upped Cyborg’s power levels considerably. You can see this in his battles with Steppenwolf, where he held his own a lot better than most other Leaguers. Since his body is still mostly made out of technology, though, he is a bit more vulnerable than the other heroes ahead of him on the list.
2. WONDER WOMAN
In a breathtaking action sequence early in the film, Steppenwolf shows up on Themyscira to retrieve the Mother Box that had been left on Paradise Island to be guarded by the Amazons for over a thousand years. He then has a massive battle with the Amazons, as they try desperately to keep him from stealing the Mother Box (first by fighting him and then by trying to spirit the Mother Box away). They are ultimately defeated by Steppenwolf, but they hold up pretty well against him.
Wonder Woman, meanwhile, is just as strong and as awesome as those Amazons, only she is also the daughter of Zeus himself. So she is half-God and half-Amazon — that is one tremendously powerful package that made her the strongest hero in the film for most of the movie.
When Superman returns from the dead, he quickly establishes himself as the most powerful superhero in the movie, bar none. Heck, just the fact that they were able to bring him back to life speaks to how powerful he is. In fact, his return from the dead also served another purpose. Since he came back from the dead not all right in the head, he quickly fought against the rest of the League and handled them pretty easily.
There’s an awesome scene where the Flash is running around Superman at superspeed and he is shocked to see that Superman is easily tracking him, even at super speed! Superman then is able to handle Steppenwolf fairly easily, which is very impressive considering how well Steppenwolf did against everyone else in the League. The Man of Steel is clearly tops on this list (surprising, probably, nobody).
Who is your favorite DCEU superhero? Let us know in the comments section!
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