And no, Batman isn’t #1.
The DCEU is now six years old and growing. What began with Man of Steel has swelled to include team-up movies like Suicide Squad and Justice League and solo movies like Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam!
With so many superhero heavy-hitters battling for your attention on the big screen, one of the biggest questions for fans is which DCEU hero is the strongest. So as we ponder the implications of Shazam!’s bizarre post-credits scene and the film’s other surprises, it’s time to rank every major DCEU hero based on their power level.
A few caveats first. We’re ranking each hero by both their powers and how well they use them. Do they win fights on their own terms or rely on other Justice Leaguers to bail them out of trouble? Have they fully mastered their abilities, or is there something holding them back from achieving their full potential? And we’re keeping this list to just the major heroes. (Also be sure to check out our list of the strongest MCU Avengers!)
Note: This list is based on the DCEU versions of these characters only.
Honorable Mention: The Suicide Squad
We’re reluctant to include the members of the Suicide Squad on this list since it’s tough to classify them as actual heroes (more like loosely reformed anti-heroes), but the team does deserve a shout-out. The members of the Suicide Squad run the gamut in terms of powers and abilities. You’ve got the odd D-Lister like Slipknot, whose only purpose is to be cannon fodder. Some, like Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, don’t necessarily have superhuman powers but are still very deadly opponents.
Then you have a character like Killer Croc, whose enhanced strength and durable hide are impressive, but still haven’t helped him defeat Batman.
On the far other end of the spectrum, there’s Enchantress. Along with her brother Incubus, this spell-caster may well be the most powerful character yet introduced in the DCEU. But again, few would argue June Moone’s other half is a hero given that she nearly destroyed Chicago.
7: The Flash
Barry Allen is known as the Fastest Man Alive. By tapping into the Speed Force, he can run at supersonic speeds, defeating criminals in the blink of an eye. In the right circumstances, Flash can run so fast he breaches the fabric of reality and travels through time.
Despite all this, Flash is only so much help in an actual fight. Justice League made it clear that he has little fighting experience and tends to push unaware criminals rather than employ his fists. This version of Barry is still a rookie in many ways, without the true mastery of his powers seen from the Arrowverse version of Barry.
Justice League also showed us that at his current power level, Barry isn’t much faster than Superman. Not only that, he doesn’t have Superman’s strength, invulnerability, heat vision or other powers to bolster that speed. Flash’s speed is great for protecting civilians, but its uses are more limited in the heat of battle.
Once, Vic Stone was just an up-and-coming football star. But after a near-fatal explosion and a bonding experience with an Apokoliptian Mother Box, Vic has evolved into an advanced cybernetic life-form.
In terms of pure offensive potential, Cyborg lags behind his fellow Justice Leaguers. He has enhanced strength and the ability to reshape his body and form weapons, but he’s not going to be winning an arm-wrestling match with Superman anytime soon. Cyborg is more a critical supporting player. He can hack pretty much any device or network in existence, making him the ultimate form of tech support.
Batman is the odd man out in the DCEU’s current Justice League roster. He’s the only one who has no superhuman powers. Granted, he is one of the best martial artists in the world and loves his CrossFit workouts. But as we saw in Justice League, Bruce Wayne’s age is starting to catch up with him. While he can still make mincemeat out of a room full of criminals, he might be a little sore afterward.
However, Batman does have a seemingly limitless supply of money, which counts for a whole lot. Batman has all manner of advanced gadgets and computer tech to aid him in his war on crime. He’s also a master of strategy and planning ahead. Given enough preparation, he’s proven himself capable of going toe-to-toe with Superman. But at some point, all the preparation in the world is no substitute for good, old-fashioned super-strength.
Shazam is one of the more well-rounded DCEU heroes we’ve seen so far. He has massive strength, flight, invulnerability and can generate lightning bolts. He may not be quite as strong or versatile as Superman, but he’s close enough that the average crook on the street isn’t going to notice a difference.
Shazam’s main weakness is that, like Flash, he’s still pretty new at the superhero game. He’s still coming to terms with his new powers and figuring out his full potential. Being a teenager in an adult’s body, Shazam has a tendency to become overconfident, hence why he had such trouble taking on the more experienced and motivated Doctor Sivana.
Where once he was the butt of many a superhero joke, these days Aquaman is one of the most awe-inspiring heroes in the DCEU. His human/Atlantean hybrid physiology allows him to breathe underwater and travel to the deepest depths of the ocean, which has the added benefit of granting him almost Superman-level strength. He can also telepathically command marine life. That power only comes in handy when he’s near the water, but fortunately, the planet’s surface is two-thirds ocean.
The DCEU version of Aquaman has one major advantage over the classic comic book incarnation, as the movies have given no indication he becomes weakened when he spends too much time away from the water. If anything, Aquaman has only become stronger since his DCEU debut, as he now wields the mystical trident and armor of King Atlan.
2: Wonder Woman
The Amazons are a strong, fearsome band of warriors, but Princess Diana is a cut above the rest. Her divine origins give her strength and immortality. She also has the benefit of being raised by some of the finest soldiers in history. Short of Batman, there’s no better fighter in the Justice League. And even Bruce Wayne’s money can’t buy enchanted artifacts like Diana’s golden lasso and bullet-deflecting gauntlets.
Justice League made it clear that even Wonder Woman isn’t strong enough to take on Superman in a one-on-one fight. Still, she held her own better than any other team member. And had she actually been trying to kill the Man of Steel rather than save him, who’s to say how that fight might have gone?
In any incarnation of the DC Universe, Superman is the standard by which all other heroes are judged. He’s the best of them, both in innate goodness and pure power levels. The DCEU version is no exception.
These movies have established Superman as a being of almost limitless strength. He’s strong enough to battle even New Gods like Steppenwolf. If he isn’t being blasted with Kryptonite radiation or exposed to the atmosphere of his home planet, he’s basically unstoppable. His heat vision alone is enough to slice skyscrapers in half.
Superman might have been vulnerable early on when he battled General Zod’s army while still getting used to his own body’s potential. But now that he’s been an active superhero for a while, the only thing holding back Superman is Clark Kent. We saw that much in Justice League, when Superman nearly annihilated the entire team before seeing Lois finally brought him back to his senses.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.