What a time to be a Marvel and DC comics fan. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker became the first R-rated film to earn one billion dollars and is now the most profitable comic book movie ever made. Make no mistake, if you’re an actor in Hollywood, then the name of the game is to obtain a role in a comic book film.
It was recently announced that Marvel Studios will be releasing four movies and 4-to-5 TV shows a year moving forward. While DC’s The Flash and Superman may be in limbo, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Batman are currently in full swing. Dwayne Johnson and WB have reached an agreement for Black Adam to hit theaters in 2021, while HBO Max has a Green Lantern Corp TV series in development.
Here are my top 10 power rankings of MCU and DCEU films. Since they have yet to be announced, I have not listed Joker 2, X-MEN, or Fantastic Four on this list. The X-MEN and Fantastic Four films are not expected to be released until at least the year 2023. I’m expecting a major announcement regarding the development of these films in 2020. This list will be updated on a month to month basis as news and new trailers are released for each film. Thanks for reading!
My Top 5 comic book films on the bubble
Black Adam (2021), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), Blade (unknown), Birds of Prey (2020), Spawn (unknown)
#10 Venom 2 – Previous Ranking – n/a
Despite the divisive ratings, I really enjoyed Venom. Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, will direct Venom 2 which starts filming this week. Anyone else find it humorous that Andy Serkis played pretty much the same character as the title character in this film? Reports indicate that Andy Serkis and Tom Hardy have been working together with the script. Andy Serkis and Tom Hardy is a very interesting duo to say the least.
Venom 2 begins and ends with Woody Harrelson’s role as Carnage. Fingers crossed that Venom 2 is a device to build up Maximum Carnage. Naomie Harris is being eyed to play the role of Shriek, the villain who will play opposite Tom Hardy. Naomie Harris was amazing in one of my all-time favorite films, 28 Days Later.
Why should you be excited? This one is rather simple for two reasons. 1) We’re finally going to see Carnage wreak havoc on the big screen. 2) Will Venom 2 find a way to tie in Peter Parker and Spider-Man? Will Tom Holland have a cameo in the sequel? Lastly, will Sony’s films be canon in the MCU? I’m excited for this film.
Release Date: October 2nd, 2020
#9 Black Widow – Previous Ranking – n/a
Wait a minute. Phase 4 of the MCU is beginning with Black Widow? A film set following the events of Captain America: Civil War? What the heck is Kevin Feige up to? Since we’re talking about comic book movies, it’s best to leave the heavy thinking at the door and turn off your brain. Back to being serious, Black Widow is finally getting her own movie. My response- What the heck took so long?
It was reported a few weeks ago that Robert Downey Jr. will be returning as Iron Man in Black Widow. Let’s be clear. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, there won’t be a dry eye in the theater when Tony and Natasha share the screen. It’s been almost a decade since Black Widow was introduced in Iron Man 2. Crazy. The trailer for Black Widow should be dropping within the next couple of weeks.
Why should you be excited? If done right, Taskmaster has serious potential as a villain. David Harbour from Stranger Things will have a major role as the Red Guardian, who is a Russian agent-Captain American wannabe. Expect David Harbour to play a huge role in Natasha’s upbringing and bring some emotional weight to the film.
Want another reason to be excited? Henry Jackman, who did the film score for Captain America: Winter Soldier, has signed on. The Winter Soldier film score is hands down my favorite in the MCU. If the action scenes in Black Widow are anything like those in Captain America: Winter Soldier, then we’re in for one heck of a movie.
Release Date: May 1st, 2020
#8 Aquaman 2 – Previous Ranking – n/a
I’m probably in the minority here, but Aquaman was one of the best comic book movies of all time. It felt like what was seen on the big screen was literally lifted straight out of the Aquaman comic books. Where will Aquaman 2 go now that Arthur is King of Atlantis?
Director James Wann, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta, Amber Heard’s Mera, and Patrick Wilson’s character Orm will return for the sequel. If there was one thing that Aquaman did correctly- there is a huge world for Aquaman to explore in the upcoming sequel. An Aquaman spinoff taking place prior to Aquaman on the Kingdom of the Trench is currently in development.
Why should you be excited? There are a multitude of directions the sequel could go. Those endless possibilities, along with James Wan’s return, is enough to have every DC fan psyched. Why not explore The Forgotten Kingdom in the Sahara? Aquaman 2 should play on its strengths, which means continuing to develop the world Aquaman built should be priority #1.
Don’t expect to see Patrick Wilson as the villain in the next film. All signs point to Siren being the next main villain in the sequel. With the budding romance between Mera and Arthur, it only makes sense to see Mera’s twin sister throw a wrench in their relationship and wreak havoc on the throne of Atlantis.
Release Date: December 16th, 2022
#7 Thor: Love and Thunder – Previous Ranking – n/a
Thor: Love and Thunder will have some awfully large shoes to fill after the incredible Thor: Ragnarok. Natalie Portman will return to the Thor series as the Mighty Thor, and we should expect to see Thor’s love life take center stage in the sequel. The two love birds broke off their relationship during Thor: Ragnarok.
If you know anything about The Mighty Thor’s plot, then this film has very good odds to be the most gut wrenching and emotional film of Phase 4 of the MCU. There are several questions that need answered in this one. What is Valkyrie up to now that she is King of Asgard? How will they re-introduce Natalie Portman’s character?
Why should you be excited? Thor: Love and Thunder will give us a new Thor to watch on the big screen: Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. But let’s be honest here: Taika Waititi recently confirmed that Korg and Thor will have significant screen time together. Korg is hands down one of the best side characters of the MCU, and that has me thrilled.
Another huge reason to be excited is the soundtrack. I absolutely loved the Thor: Ragnarok soundtrack. Mark Mothersbaugh brought a perfect balance of epic adventure meetings sweeping adventure in his film score for Thor: Ragnarok. I especially adored the additions of Led Zeppelin. Judging by the title, fingers crossed we get some hair metal classics. I’m personally hoping for “Rainbow in the Dark” by Dio.
Release Date: November 5th, 2021
#6 Untitled Spider-Man 3 – Previous Ranking – n/a
We can officially breath, Night Monkey fans! Spider-Man is staying with Kevin Feige, and all is right in the world. Am I right? We will officially see Spider-Man in at least one more solo film as well as another MCU film. Not only that, but the director and writers from Spider-Man: Far From Home will be returning. So many Peter tingles!
Kevin Feige said that the sequel will be a Spider-Man story never before seen on the big screen. All signs point to Kraven being the villain in the sequel. Well guess what? Kraven the Hunter has yet to hit the big screen. Let the hunt begin! Other fantastic choices for villains would be Dock Ock or Scorpion.
However, Kraven would be an excellent villain and deserves his opportunity on the big screen. There have been rumors about twisting Kraven’s roots from Russia to Wakanda. Shuri and Peter working together on some new Spidey tech sounds just about perfect to me.
Why should you be excited? I have three reasons. First, it’s very likely that we see Peter Parker wrapping up high school by the end of the film. Can we also please get an awkward MJ and Peter moment during prom? That absolutely needs to happen. The second reason is that we may finally see the beginnings of the Sinister Six on the big screen. We know that Vulture and Scorpion have already been established. It feels like Sony’s Sinister Six film has been in development for decades.
The last, and most fun, reason will be finding out how Sony and Disney figure out how to share these universes among their superheroes and villains. Will Spider-Man simply jump universe to universe on a film-by-film basis? Will there be any shared consequences from these films? This is definitely something to watch for.
Release Date: July 16th, 2021
#5 Black Panther 2 – Previous Ranking – n/a
Ryan Coogler will return to direct Black Panther 2. It will be moving from a February to May release, which makes one believe that the sequel will be even bigger than the first. Right up there with Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor, Black Panther was an incredible film in world building and culture.
After the snap, there are some major questions that linger within the MCU. Who ruled Wakanda for those five years post snap? Was it M’Baku? Does he willingly give back the throne to T’Challa after his return? I’m really hoping to see Shuri have a larger role and more screen time in the sequel. I’m also hoping Black Panther 2 ups the ante with more brutal and intense fighting scenes for our main character.
Why should you be excited? Kraven, Storm, or Namor are good bets to be the villain in Black Panther 2. If that isn’t enough, Chadwick Boseman stated in a recent interview about his desire for Denzel Washington to join the MCU. Do you envision Denzel as a villain or hero in Black Panther 2? There are already rumors going around that Denzel Washington is being targeted for Magneto. “(Alonzo from Training Day voice) Professor X got nothing on me!”
But what is the deal with Namor? We know mutants are going to be integrated into the MCU very soon. Namor could fit in perfectly here as an anti-hero and thus utilized in future Avengers films. Black Panther and Namor have a history together in the comics. Could we see the King of Wakanda take on the King of Atlantis in 2022?
Release Date: May 6th, 2022
#4 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Previous Ranking – n/a
(First things first: make sure you check out WandaVision when it releases on Disney+ in 2021. It will reportedly have direct ties with the Doctor Strange sequel)
Sorry Batman, I have no shame in admitting that this film is my personal favorite out of this list. With Doctor Strange 2 heading into the multiverse, where does that leave Rachel McAdams or Chiwetel Ejiofor? Regardless, this film is going to be massive on the big screen and be one of Disney+’s first big tie-ins to the MCU. Filming for Doctor Strange 2 is set to begin in a couple of months.
Why should you be excited? This personally seems like a dream come true as the possibilities here are endless. The MCU and horror, my favorite genre of film, will be joining hands for the Doctor Strange sequel. Expect vampires, the undead, and Nightmare to be the main villains for the sequel. Keanu Reeves or David Tennant would be perfect choices to play Nightmare.
With Blade being announced, keep an eye out for a post-credit scene revealing either 1) Blade, 2) Dracula, or the film goes off script and delivers us 3) Namor. Namor and Doctor Strange were close friends in the comics, and this could be a way the MCU first introduces us to mutants. You should also expect to see Mordo and Dormammu making an alliance at the end of the sequel.
Release Date: May 7th, 2021
#3 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Sequel – Previous Ranking – n/a
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was hands down my favorite animated film when it was released. Heck, it was probably the best overall film of 2018. If you loved the film as much as I did, then I have good luck. An all-female spin-off film featuring Gwen Stacey is in development.
Speaking of Gwen Stacey, it is reported that the sequel will be a continuation on the original story, as well as the building romance between Miles and Gwen. We saw numerous Spider-Mans in the first film. Who can we expect in the sequel? Takuya Yamashiro, from the live-action Japanese Spider-Man TV series, has already been confirmed.
Why should you be excited? Quite simply, because Sony finally got it right. Box office failure after box office failure, Sony finally got pointed in the right direction with Into the Spider-Verse, which won an Academy Award. Also, Miles Morales’ character was a breath of fresh air. Expectations are through the roof for Into the Spider-Verse 2.
Release Date: April 8th, 2022
#2 Wonder Woman 1984 – Previous Ranking – n/a
(Before we get started, I need throw a little love to my guy Pedro Pascal, who will be playing Max Lord in Wonder Woman 1984. Pascal has been incredible so far in The Mandalorian. Amazing actor, even better casting)
Poor test screenings won’t derail my number two most anticipated comic book movie, Wonder Woman 1984. Don’t forget that Batman v Superman had significant positive buzz after screening reports. They don’t mean anything. I have significant trust in Patty Jenkins that the leaked plot is not accurate and full of bologna.
Other than a few photos, we really don’t know anything about what goes down in Wonder Woman 1984. The first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 will drop on December 8th at Comic-Con Experience in São Paulo, Brazil.
Why should you be excited? We’re finally going to see Cheetah on the big screen. Kristin Wiig as Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva has serious potential. Chris Pine as Steve Trevor will make his return as Diana Prince’s romantic interest. And Patty Jenkins is the best director in the DCEU. Period.
Release Date: June 5th, 2020
#1 The Batman – Previous Ranking – n/a
Batman has to be on the top spot in the inaugural power rankings. Matt Reeves, the director of Let Me In, Cloverfield, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, will helm and script The Batman, which comes out in 2021. The plot will involve a younger Batman taking on an established Penguin and all signs point to a plot revolving around The Long Halloween.
Why should you be excited? They don’t call Batman the world’s greatest detective for nothing. Matt Reeves is finally going to give DC comics fans a glimpse of Batman doing detective work, which instantly grants this film my number one spot in my rankings. The Penguin, Riddler, Harvey Dent, and Catwoman are all expected to take on Batman at some point.
What does it all mean? A mystery film featuring a decent chunk of Batman’s greatest gallery of rogue villains gives me the chills. While we shouldn’t expect a Justice League film any time soon, it will be very interesting to see how Warner Brothers plans to tie in The Batman within the DCEU.
Right now, everything points to The Batman being a standalone film. We currently do not know when The Batman will take place. As much as I’d love to see this film take place during the 1990s and potentially include a face-off between Pattinson and Phoenix, don’t get your hopes up.