The DCEU has certainly had its share of criticism and part of this is down to the performances. But some actors managed to realize their roles.
Superheroes and comic book adaptations have never been more popular and the DC Extended Universe has helped bring many of DC’s most iconic characters to life. The DCEU has been a work in progress and did not achieve the immediate initial acclaim that has been spilled over the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the DCEU has been finding its base and some awesome projects have been released over time.
What is often one of the most crucial factors in the success of a movie or series is the casting behind these beloved characters. The DCEU has a very strong cast, but not all of them have been able to properly take advantage of their characters or source material.
10 Nailed: Henry Cavill is the true incarnation of the Man of Steel
Superman is a deceptively difficult superhero to pass on and one of the biggest obstacles surrounding him is his immense strength and the villains he can fight as a result. Some dispute whether the Henry Cavill material is the best representation of Superman and Clark Kent, but Cavill absolutely shines on paper and he is not the weak link. It perfectly conveys Superman’s love for humanity, his vulnerability, as well as his anger against those who do evil. Hopefully Cavill will have at least one more chance to show what he can do as the Man of Steel.
9 Fell Short: David Thewlis gets lost in the Ares theater
Villains are still extremely difficult territory for superhero movies and it’s an area the MCU still struggles with much of the time. It’s hard to come to a conclusion that it’s not just a giant superpower CG show that completely removes the personal element from this conflict. Patty jenkins Wonder Woman spends so much time with Diana and Steve that the villain, AresIt almost feels like an afterthought. David Thewlis is a very capable actor who fades behind prosthetics, makeup, and special effects. Ares, a formidable foe, finally feels disposable and like filler for a long movie.
8 Nailed: Zachary Levi harnesses the youthful wonder of Shazam’s heroics
Shazam! It’s a DCEU image that escaped the cracks for many audiences, but it’s one of the best movies in the cinematic universe and finds its voice and tone right away. There is an inherent level of foolishness in Billy Batson’s transformation into a burly adult-size superhero when he yells the word “Shazam!”, and in the wrong hands, the paper would be a mess.
Zachary Levi effortlessly sells how a transformed Billy feels like a big kid. There is a surprising amount of nuance to this hero and Levi never makes the audience question the absurdity of it all.
7 It fell short: Amber Heard’s Mera sinks instead of nothing compared to her co-star
Mera is a fundamental character in the Aquaman universe and it’s unfortunate that Amber Heard never becomes the former queen of Atlantis. Heard has his moments, but it never feels natural and his downfalls only stand out more in juxtaposition to Jason Momoa, who is sublime as Aquaman. Mera is not without its strong moments, but she still feels diminished and like she’s meant to be more of a visual attraction than a worthy warrior. While it’s likely not Heard’s fault, the fact that Mera has inconsistent accents in various DC Extended Universe projects only accentuates this character’s confusing acting.
6 Nailed: Ewan McGregor turns Black Mask into a crazy A-Lister
DC heroes and stories have been adapted into the movies for decades, and by this point, most of the bigger villains have been explored. Suddenly there’s a new utility for finding smaller DC villains who can connect properly when given the right level of attention. Birds of prey makes Roman Sionis, AKA Black Mask, the main antagonist. Ewan McGregor plays the role with ruthless glee, like a twisted rock star. It’s a powerful rendition of Black Mask that feels realistic and McGregor knows when to climb the capo and when to go crazy.
5 Fell Short: Russell Crowe gets away with his portrayal of Jor-El
By Zack Snyder Iron Man kicks off what has now become the DC Extended Universe and the original Superman movie is filled with strong performances from acclaimed actors like Michael Shannon and Kevin Costner. It’s the Kryptonian roles that really go bankrupt and there are people who just feel uncomfortable in this over-the-top space opera.
Russell Crowe is not misunderstood as Superman’s father, Jor-El, but he seems to fundamentally misunderstand his material. The result is a performance that is both forced and huge, but feels deprived of the right level of emotion that is necessary for this crucial figure in Clark’s life.
4 Diving: Gal Gadot exudes the energy and optimism of Diana Prince
Zack Snyder deserves credit for the cast he has put together for his Justice League. Not all of these decisions are unilaterally loved, but Gal Gadot’s interpretation of Wonder Woman it is a detail that connects with everyone. Wonder Woman has now had multiple movies to showcase her values, strength, and unique approach to protecting humanity. Even when the story is mediocre, Gadot never loses his way. Only simple dialogue scenes resonate due to the amount of energy from Gadot reflecting Diana’s ideals. She is able to effectively portray both Wonder Woman’s brutal nature and Diana’s softness.
3 Fell Short: Suicide Squad steals Cara Delevingne and Enchantress of any nuance
David Ayer’s Suicide squad It’s a troublesome movie for a number of reasons, some of which are beyond the director’s control. However, the movie’s half-booty villain is arguably the biggest problem, turning Cara Delevingne into a delusional victim that borders on parody. Enchantress is a major force to be reckoned with in the comics, but here is a lover planted with a gimmick that gets lost in tacky special effects. The role makes Delevingne a stereotype rather than a defiant look at the character.
two Diving: Few Performances Have As Much Fun As Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn
It has been interesting to see the DC Extended Universe change their plans and try to incorporate public opinion into their next list. This approach has allowed certain characters in otherwise problematic companies to get second chances. Suicide squad It’s a messy movie, but Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is by far the highlight of the movie. Robbie has only gotten better thanks to Birds of prey and it’s really exciting to see the actress lose herself in the role. She understands perfectly Harley’s chaotic energy and how not to sponsor the character.
1 It fell short: Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is too out of the box
Lex Luthor is one of the brightest and most intimidating villains to get out of DC and some outright movie giants have portrayed the character in the past, like Gene Hackman. Many questioned the unconventional cast of Jesse Eisenberg’s Snyder as Superman’s arch nemesis. Eisenberg’s manic, nervous demeanor feels completely out of place here and it just doesn’t work. The movies clearly want to show a gradual change in Luthor, both emotionally and physically, but instead, he feels empty and a wasted opportunity with the character. Cavill versus Eisenberg is not a pair that will immediately generate buzz.
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