From Femme Fatales to Newspaper Gals: Ranking the Women of the DCEU
DC is presenting us with a whole lot of heroines and vilenesses in the future; ranking the women of the DCEU.
Comic book movies don't have the best reputation for female representation. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently fourteen movies in and are yet to have a female-led film (until 2019's Captain Marvel, that is). Luckily, the late-blooming #DCEU is learning from their competitor's mistake. #ManofSteel and #BatmanvSuperman gave Lois Lane and Martha Kent significant roles, while also setting up Wonder Woman and her upcoming solo adventure.
#SuicideSquad introduced a whole host of iconic DC women (to varying degrees of success), and a female-centric spin-off in the form of GothamCity Sirens is in the works. Basically, you're going to be seeing a lot of DC heroines and vilenesses in the coming years.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, it's important to take a step back and look at the characters we've already been introduced to. So without further ado, here's my definitive ranking of the women of the DCEU!
- Played By: Cara Delevingne
- Appeared In: Suicide Squad
- Best Moment: June Moone's funky hand-switch to Enchantress
- Worst Moment: Everything else
Oh Enchantress, what a mess you were. In real life, fans wondered what a newcomer model-turned-actress was doing in a big-budget action movie. Then they were wondering why one member of the team was walking around looking like hair clogging a shower drain. And then they were wondering if she was even part of the team.
By the time the movie came out, all those concerns were tossed aside. Instead, audiences were left wondering why a practically-nude Cara Delevingne was dancing in front of a green screen like a poorly rendered Just Dance character for most of the movie. It's a shame too, because Enchantress was the movie's primary antagonist. Pitted against moderately interesting characters, Delevingne's big bad was embarrassingly two-dimensional. Also, are we really going to accept that she has to make out with a guy to make them her minion?
8. Mercy Graves
- Played By: Tao Okamoto
- Appeared In: Batman v Superman
- Best Moment: Confronting a sleuthing Bruce Wayne
- Worst Moment: Getting blown up in the Capitol explosion
Mercy Graves didn't do much of anything in Batman v Superman. Her first appearance is at the testimony of Kahina Ziri regarding the Nairomi incident. To no one's surprise, she was silent throughout the scene. And then the LexCorp scene. And then the delivery of General Zod's body. Her only line was asking a suspicious Bruce Wayne what he was up to. After that, it's the silent treatment again.
Right up until Lex instructs her to save him a seat at the Senate committee hearing, that is. I'm sure she made some noise when the wheelchair next to her blew up the entire building. Sure Enchantress had a bigger role, but Graves didn't partake in any puppet-dancing. That's a winner in my books.
- Played By: Karen Fukuhara
- Appeared In:Suicide Squad
- Best Moment: Unmasking herself to prove a point to Harley Quinn
- Worst Moment: Standing around like a mannequin while Rick Flag introduced her
Katana's the coolest looking member of Task Force X by a mile, so it's a shame her character didn't get as much to do. But while she didn't play a big role in the movie's plot, she looked great while kicking the asses of Enchantress' minions. Her slicing and dicing methods are almost as great as her backstory, in which she killed her brother-in-law for murdering her husband.
It really sucks that Rick Flag spoke for her a majority of the movie, but at least her action scenes made up for it. I think every movie needs a superpowered-sword-wielding ninja lady.
6. Harley Quinn
- Played By: Margot Robbie
- Appeared In: Suicide Squad
- Best Moment: One-on-one elevator fight
- Worst Moment: Stripping in the middle of the military complex
Harley Quinn was a pop culture hit even before Suicide Squad, but the movie's release just propelled her fame to new heights. Arguably the lead character in the movie, she gets a ton of screen time to cash in on her character's mainstream appeal.
This means that her character gets a meaty plot line: Breaking free from the grasp of Joker. In addition to her substantial role in the present, we got to see her in Harleen Quinzel flashbacks, chemical bath flashbacks, post-chemical bath flashbacks, and even post-Belle Reve flashbacks. So why does such an important character rank in the bottom half of the list?
It's because Harley — for all her craziness — doesn't have much of a personality. She slides around from "I'm crazy!" to "Where's my Puddin'?" without much of a personality in between. Yes her jokes are funny and her delivery is nothing short of brilliant, but her journey was almost non-existent.
A movie about breaking free from Joker (only to be reunited with him), and then breaking free of him again because of his "death." Until the end, that is, because that's when they're reunited. Again. Harley's is a non-journey, but I'm sure we'll see a deeper character arc in Gotham City Sirens. Hopefully with the help of a leafy friend.
5. Wonder Woman
- Played By: Gal Gadot
- Appeared In:Batman v Superman
- Best Moment: Kicking Doomsday's ass
- Worst Moment: Looking through Lex Luthor's hard-drive
This list initially started off with Wonder Woman in a much higher place. But when I started justifying their rankings, I realized something: Wonder Woman hasn't really done much yet. Her screen time in Batman v Superman totaled seven minutes. In those seven minutes, she attended two parties, opened some emails, and fought against a genetically altered alien monster.
She served as mysterious eye candy at both parties and looked dopily intrigued as she looked at footage of her future teammates. The battle with Doomsday was thrilling, but that's the most Diana has done to make a name for herself in this universe. Until Wonder Woman, that is. But until that comes out, we only have her seven minutes in BvS to go off of.
4. Senator June Finch
- Played By: Holly Hunter
- Appeared In:Batman v Superman
- Best Moment: Her response to "Must there be a Superman?"
- Worst Moment: Touching a jar of Lex Luthor's urine — and then getting blown up
I'll admit I didn't initially like Senator Finch. She came off as a self-serving bureaucrat with no relevance to the movie's plot other than to slow Superman down and aid Lex Luthor. I was pleasantly surprised when she blocked Lex's Kryptonite shipment, because it showed that she was one of the few characters in the movie that saw through Lex's thinly-veiled charade.
She wasn't in support of the all-powerful Superman, but she also wasn't working with the deceitful Lex. She was an independent party, which was a rare characteristic to find in the movie. Of course, her independence is blown to bits (literally) with the detonation of the wheelchair bomb. Up until that point, however, she was a well fleshed out character that blurred the line between helpful and problematic.
3. Lois Lane
- Played By: Amy Adams
- Appeared In: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman
- Best Moment: Holding her own against Lex Luthor in a sky-high verbal confrontation
- Worst Moment: Almost drowning for absolutely no reason
Lois Lane has been through the wringer in her two appearances. In Man of Steel, she successfully tracks down Clark Kent after an encounter in the Canadian Arctic. Once her mysterious life-saving friend puts on his costume and becomes Superman, she is taken hostage by enemy aliens. Luckily, she makes it out of the film alive (unlike General Zod).
Batman v Superman finds her in a relationship with Clark, but the simplicity of their relationship is also short-lived. She's taken hostage by a warlord (only to be saved by Superman), thrown off a building by Lex Luthor (only to be saved by Superman), and almost drowns trying to retrieve the Kryptonite spear that she threw in the water a few minutes prior (only to be saved by — you guessed it —Superman).
Additionally, she's the only reason Batman didn't kill Superman. That victory was also short-lived, as he ends up dying in his next fight. It's a lot for Lois to handle in addition to her own writing career, but she manages. It's also why she managed to snag the third spot on this list.
2. Amanda Waller
- Played By: Viola Davis
- Appeared In: Suicide Squad
- Best Moment: Having Task Force X save her (and then killing her subordinates to cover her tracks)
- Worst Moment: Getting kidnapped by Enchantress' minions
Amanda Waller, also known simply as "The Wall" doesn't take shit from anyone in the comics. If you're in her way, she'll step on you to get to her destination. If she's in your way, you better find a way around her. Waller's no-nonsense attitude was translated perfectly from the page to the screen thanks to Oscar-nominee Viola Davis' performance.
Like her comic-book incarnation, Davis' Waller was ruthless and manipulative. She assembled a team of criminals, shifted the blame for said team, and then had them save her. If they failed to comply, she would blow their heads off. She murdered her subordinates to clean up her tracks, and even threatened to kill the Task Force X members if they didn't return to their prison cells (after they saved her and defeated the naked witch lady).
So why does someone so terrible rank so high on this list? Well, it's because Waller is a force to be reckoned with. She doesn't just deal with her problems, she makes sure she never has to deal with them again (usually with a bullet or two). In short, Waller is everything a villain should be.
1. Martha Kent
- Played By: Diane Lane
- Appeared In:Man of Steel, Batman v Superman
- Best Moment: Her advice for Clark in Man of Steel
- Worst Moment: N/A
Poor Martha Kent doesn't deserve the shit life keeps throwing at her. She was content just living on her farm with her husband Jonathan. Her kind heart allowed her to take in and raise an alien orphan. For those of you who've seen Man of Steel, you know that wasn't easy. Little Clark had panic attacks and sensory issues on top of his loner status. We all thought her life would get better when he grew up, but that was just the beginning of her problems.
Her husband sacrificed himself in a tornado and her son went soul-searching for months at a time across the world. He returned with the intention of becoming a hero, but his biological father's enemies popped up on Earth. Said enemies then choked and threw Martha on the ground. After the big fight with Zod, Clark announced his intentions to move to the now-ruined Metropolis. Martha could finally rest easy, with her super-powered son living in a city far away from her humble farm.
That is, until Batman v Superman. Now her beloved son is having an identity crisis and is unsure why the world hates him (it's really not much of a mystery). Playing the kind maternal figure, she advises Clark to follow his own heart and not listen to everyone else's opinion (sage advice). She thought her role was done there, but lo and behold her son's rich, eccentric enemy has her kidnapped and tied up in a factory.
Though she survives, who knows the psychological toll a kidnapping and attempted murder-by-fire has on a person. And the icing on the cake? That same night, her son gets nuked in space and then sacrifices himself to kill an alien monster (even though his 5,000 year old princess friend could've done it). At the end of the movie, she's all alone in the world.
If that's not enough to convince you that Martha is the strongest woman in the DC Extended Universe, then I don't know what will. Maybe having a heart would allow you to see it too.