For all the faults of the DC Extended Universe (their answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe) since it began in 2013, there have been plenty moments of real movie magic across the franchise.
We’re talking about moments that stand out to the audience, moments that’ll be remembered by the children who watched these DC superhero movies—who one day might be making movies of their own.
Many of the filmmakers who have made movies within the DCEU have had their own bold ideas of where the story should go, what it should look like, and how it should feel for watchers.
Here are some of the best DCEU movie scenes and moments that have happened over the years, comprising the most extraordinary sequences within the DC Extended Universe.
10. Harley Is Immobilized (Birds of Prey)
Birds of Prey was a whimsical adventure through the backstreets of Gotham City as we follow Harley Quinn’s breakup with The Joker and her subsequent attempts to avoid being killed for previous slights.
During the finale, she’s immobilized by Zsasz and left to watch as he tells her what he’ll do to her while killing her. Fortunately, Zsasz gets killed by Huntress seconds later—and when he flops next to Harley on the sofa, she begins stabbing him while mostly still unable to move.
It’s a funny and thrilling sequence, as well as the perfect representation of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.
9. Billy Becomes Shazam (Shazam!)
The look on Billy Batson’s face when The Wizard gives him the power of Shazam is every teenager in that moment: scared, unsure of his surroundings, and completely freaked out.
The moment he becomes Shazam isn’t filled with towering music or a sense of destiny—he’s just a boy saying a name while holding a staff, who then becomes endowed with great power.
The sequence, rounded out by comedic dialogue, is full of fun acting by Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, and Djimon Hounsou.
8. Joker on the Helicopter (Suicide Squad)
Jared Leto’s Joker was butchered by poor studio decisions and strangely scripted dialogue; however, when he mounts a rescue to get his Harley back, it’s a sequence that’s the pure essence of The Joker.
As he cackles away with machine gun in hand, all while a mini-gun shreds the rooftop to bits, it feels very much like a Joker moment. Even his dialogue in that second is perfect, as he tells the bomb maker to “pick up the pace” in deactivating Harley’s implant.
7. Barry Saves Iris (Zack Snyder’s Justice League)
Although the scene is similar to the Quicksilver sequences from Fox’s X-Men movies, the charm of Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen makes this scene such a wonderful moment.
As he tries to get a job at a pet store, Iris West is caught in a horrific car accident outside, which causes Barry to tap into the speed force and save Iris while her car flips.
The whole scene is set to the song “Song to the Siren” and is the beginning of a long story for Barry and Iris, and that’s what makes the scene feel like a moment of destiny.
6. The Justice League vs. Steppenwolf (Zack Snyder’s Justice League)
More than just the League putting Steppenwolf to the sword as Darkseid watches on, this whole sequence is a wonderfully crafted affair. As Barry finds the rest of the team dead from the synchronization of the Mother Boxes, he has to reverse the flow of time to save the world.
In doing so, Barry joins his teammates in slaughtering Steppenwolf, leaving Wonder Woman to deliver the final blow and remove Steppenwolf’s head from his body.
The look of the Justice League united against a common enemy is everything Whedon’s Cut lacked.
5. The Trench (Aquaman)
Jason Momoa’s solo outing as Aquaman was a joy to behold. We witnessed Arthur Curry battle across the oceans to stop Orm from becoming Ocean Master.
When Arthur and Mera know that they must go to The Kingdom of the Trench, they take a boat and head toward it. As night falls, they get attacked by the deformed creatures that live there and have to battle their way down to the depths.
The whole scene is magnificent and the visuals stunningly showcase the underwater hell. The Trench sequence is one of the DCEU’s most absorbing moments—and one of its scariest.
4. Joker and Batman at the End of the World (Zack Snyder’s Justice League)
This one isn’t a fight, nor a moment of fury. It’s a conversation between The Batman and The Joker—a scene that was part of the reshoots by Zack Snyder when he delivered his cut of The Justice League.
In it, we see Ben Affleck and Jared Leto discussing the deaths of Robin and Harley Quinn. The scene is tense, thrilling, and one of the best head-to-head sequences the hero-and-villain pair have ever shared.
Watching Batman tell his greatest foe that he will kill him, right at the moment when he needs him the most, is sumptuous. And the moment that The Joker decides to laugh off Batman’s recounting of Harley’s death in his arms? Just as good.
3. The Warehouse Fight (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)
If Batman existed in real-life, he would fight the way Christian Bale’s iteration of the character does in Christopher Nolan’s movies… but he would wish he could fight like Affleck did in the warehouse.
The scene sees the rescue of Martha Kent—who was held captive by Lex Luthor—by Batman after he fights Superman. It shows Batman’s moves at his greatest as he dismantles multiple well-armed men, all without any remorse, as brutally as he can.
No other scene has ever caught the tone of Batman’s bone-snapping as well as this scene did.
2. Harley Breaks Out (The Suicide Squad)
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is the princess of the DCEU. She’s the most interesting character and the one whom audiences can’t get enough of. So when she gets captured in The Suicide Squad, her escape had to be something special.
In a style that feels influenced by the John Wick movies, Harley feigns being unconscious before snapping the neck of her guard and whimsically slaughtering her way out of the palace.
It comes to a grand end when Harley hugs Rick Flag for coming to save her, telling him that “she could go back inside and let them rescue her” because she’s so touched by their friendship.
1. Over the Trenches (Wonder Woman)
This was the defining moment when Diana Prince decides to show her true power, and it portrayed to young women everywhere that Wonder Woman truly is one of the greatest heroes of all time.
As Diana and Steve argue about going around the trenches, Diana simply removes her coat and goes over the top into No Man’s Land. The ferocious WW1 battlefield is no match for her abilities, as she smashes the German front-line and inspires the men to follow her into war.
It was the DCEU’s crowning moment. It showed a real setting being torn apart by the power of Wonder Woman as she worked her way through the line and into town, ridding it of German forces.
There are few moments in superhero cinema better than this, with Gal Gadot’s performance the highlight of the sequence.