Every DCEU Villain's Most Disturbing Moment, Ranked By Pure Evil

List Rules
Vote up the moments when DC villains took their ruthlessness to the next level.

The DC Extended Universe has found its footing after a see-saw beginning to the franchise. The earlier movies are now also seen in a positive light in retrospect, and all the villains' actions make sense in the grand scheme of things. Antagonists have always been a specialty of DC Comics, and the movie universe has seen them commit various crimes that prove they are the most ruthless. At times, the villains have been petty, vengeful, destructive, unempathetic, manipulative, and downright cruel.

It's worth checking out the many ways the villains have established their menacing streak in order to appreciate the quality of the DCEU's overall storytelling. 


  • 1
    132 VOTES

    Lex Luthor Mercilessly Torments Superman's Mother To Force Him Into Taking A Life

    Lex Luthor Mercilessly Torments Superman's Mother To Force Him Into Taking A Life
    Photo: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Lex Luthor hates God because he never listened to his prayers to save him from the mistreatment he suffered at the hands of his father as a child. Superman's existence offends Lex because he interprets his powers to be godly in nature, so he decides to discredit Superman.  He's also aware that Superman doesn't kill as a rule, so his plan involves forcing the latter to eliminate Batman to prove Superman isn't all good.

    Lex reaches the lowest point he can in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when he kidnaps Superman's mother, Martha, and holds her hostage. Lex has Martha severely harmed to take pictures of her and emotionally ruins Superman. He tosses the pictures in Superman's face just to have a laugh at his suffering, and claims that Martha will burn because he sees Superman as a demon - the mother of a demon is a witch, so Lex believes she deserves such a horrible end. 

    Superman is left with the choice to either break his no-kill rule and terminate Batman in order to save his mother or let her perish in a violent way.

  • 2
    110 VOTES

    Darkseid Incinerates Lois Lane And Manipulates Superman Into Thinking They Are Allies

    Darkseid Incinerates Lois Lane And Manipulates Superman Into Thinking They Are Allies
    Photo: Zack Snyder's Justice League / Warner Bros. Pictures

    In the bad future during Zack Snyder's Justice League, Darkseid becomes the ruler of Earth after Superman assists him. He's able to do so by incinerating Lois Lane; he convinces Superman that Batman is responsible for Lois's demise. Darkseid attains the Anti-Life Equation that empowers him to control minds, with Superman as his main target.

    Darkseid is thousands of years old and has powers that are arguably even greater than Superman's, which means his plan of terminating Lois is something he didn't really need to do. Darkseid mainly finds pleasure in the idea of turning Superman into his herald, and Lois is specifically incinerated in Batman's lair so that Superman blames his friend.

    Darkseid is even seen with a smirk of satisfaction before he places a hand on the grieving Superman because his plan has worked out as he wanted.

  • 3
    84 VOTES

    Amanda Waller Brutally Sacrifices Task Force X Team A Just To Distract The Corto Maltese Government

    Amanda Waller Brutally Sacrifices Task Force X Team A Just To Distract The Corto Maltese Government
    Photo: The Suicide Squad / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Suicide Squad opens with Task Force X on the Corto Maltese shores, where they are completely obliterated. The team - except Harley Quinn and Rick Flag - are slain in brutal ways that leave most of them mutilated by the end of the failed attempt to infiltrate the country.

    Amanda Waller is shown flashing a sadistic smirk when she sees the carnage on her monitor, as it turns out it was her plan all along. The group that was slaughtered was Team A, and their purpose was to be eliminated by the government so that Team B could enter the country from a different route undetected.

    Waller doesn't care about the fact that these were human lives she so mercilessly led to be terminated, and even allows her aides in the control room to celebrate. Her aides had bets on who would win or perish, and everyone present sees it as a game instead of the horrible tragedy it actually is. 

  • 4
    95 VOTES

    The Joker Brainwashes Harley Quinn To Assist In The Killing Of Robin, Then Abandons Her

    The Joker Brainwashes Harley Quinn To Assist In The Killing Of Robin, Then Abandons Her
    Photo: Suicide Squad / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Harley Quinn and the Joker are presented as a criminal romantic couple in Suicide Squad, but the Joker's actions reveal that he basically uses her. The Joker first corrupts the young and impressionable Dr. Harleen Quinzel in Arkham Asylum, then electrocutes her to the point where she's effectively brainwashed into becoming wildly obsessed with him.

    His most evil moment arrives after the Joker convinces Harley to assist in the elimination of the teenage Robin - he takes Harley on a joyride across Gotham City but actually plans to dump her to be caught by Batman so he can escape. Harley and Joker's car crashes into the river during Batman's pursuit and, rather than save the person he's brainwashed into becoming his lover, he abandons her to drown.

    Harley only survives because Batman chooses to resuscitate her; the Joker had escaped by this point. Harley then spends a long time in prison for Joker's misdeeds - he leaves her there with the knowledge that Harley will never rat him out. 

  • 5
    70 VOTES

    Zod Attempts To Incinerate A Family To Antagonize Superman

    Zod Attempts To Incinerate A Family To Antagonize Superman
    Photo: Man of Steel / Warner Bros. Pictures

    In Man of Steel, Zod is unable to merge Earth into Krypton; his forces are also sucked into the Phantom Zone to leave him and Superman as the only Kryptonians. Zod decides to take his anger out on Superman by terminating every person he can on Earth, which leads to the climactic battle.

    Superman ends up overpowering Zod, but the latter sees a final chance to antagonize his enemy when he spots a family nearby. Zod unleashes his heat vision on the family because he knows Superman can't stop him from doing so.

    Superman even begs Zod not to go through with it and tearfully sees the father and mother embracing their children for what they think are their final moments. Zod simply replies that he will "never" stop, which prompts Superman to break Zod's neck. 

    Zod had nothing to gain at that point, but attempted to incinerate the family as a final slap in Superman's face.

  • 6
    64 VOTES

    Peacemaker Stabs Rick Flag Through The Heart Because He's Too Cowardly To Face Consequences For The US Government's Actions

    Peacemaker Stabs Rick Flag Through The Heart Because He's Too Cowardly To Face Consequences For The US Government's Actions
    Photo: The Suicide Squad / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Peacemaker is revealed to be a villain within the team's ranks in the climax of The Suicide Squad. He admits he's Amanda Waller's inside man who has been tasked with ensuring the data against the US government is destroyed in Corto Maltese's Jotunheim prison. Peacemaker learns that the government willingly participated in the torture of the alien Starro and caused hundreds of deaths over the years when the humans involved in the experiments were slain.

    Peacemaker admits that the US government is at fault but is too cowardly to deal with the consequences the country will face if Rick Flag releases the information, as the latter intends. Flag and Peacemaker then end up in a fight for the flash drive that contains the data, and Peacemaker eventually stabs Flag in the heart to end their scuffle.

    Flag calls Peacemaker a joke for choosing the name he has for himself, which the latter can't argue against. He then tries to assassinate Ratcatcher 2, who has no involvement in the situation other than the fact that she witnessed Peacemaker's killing of Flag. 

    Peacemaker doesn't show any mercy to Ratcatcher 2's pleas, and would have finished her off if Bloodsport didn't arrive to shoot him instead.