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DC Extended Universe

The Live Action Adaptation of The DCU, the DC Extended Universe, or DCEU, is DC Comics' answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Plans for this universe were drawn up as early as Green Lantern but the decision was made to launch the universe via Man of Steel in 2013. The early universe was helmed by Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan before lukewarm reception to the early projects caused the rise of a rotating production team.


Tropes used in DC Extended Universe include:
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman each get this in the pre-Justice League era.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zig-zagged with Aquaman. He doesn't seem to be any physically stronger than his usual depictions, and he falls much more into the Unskilled but Strong category, but he is much more a self-taught Boisterous Bruiser who is a lot craftier and savvy than he normally is, having managed to build up a reputation as a oceanic hero on his own without a support team.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Kryptonite in Batman v. Superman. In the comics, it instantly crippled any Kryptonian. Here, it just Brings Them Down to Badass. It can still weaken them enough for someone to kill them but it's a far cry from the comics.
    • The Amazons can be killed by a WWI era bullet.
  • Age Lift: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are usually around the same age. Here, Wonder Woman is already thousands of years old and Batman is about a decade older than Superman.
  • All Myths Are True: As per tradition for DC Comics, Classical Mythology actually happened. Likewise, Shazam faces off against the Anthropomorphic Personifications of Christianity's Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Everyone accepts that a few Alien Invasions have happened. Atlantis? Don't be absurd.
  • Bigger Bad:
    • As always for DC, the long shadow of Darkseid looms over everything.
    • Ares. By turning against his fellow Greek Gods, he corrupted the hearts and minds of men, making Earth a Crapsack World.
  • Breakout Villain: Harley Quinn was originally introduced as just another member of the Suicide Squad in Suicide Squad. She eventually got her movie, and is coming back in the second Suicide Squad movie. 
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: With the exception of Superman, and even that's not used a lot, codenames are very rarely uttered.
    • In Barry Allen's case, it's quite justified as he hasn't even thought of a codename. He gets the idea to call himself "the Flash" when he meets his Earth-1 counterpart.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Atlantis and Themyscira.
  • Higher-Tech Species: As per tradition, the Kryptonians. Zod's tech outstrips even the New Gods.
  • Historical Domain Character: General Erich Ludendorff.
  • Hostile Terraforming:
    • Zod attacks Earth with a World Engine in Man of Steel, intending to turn the planet into New Krypton.
    • Steppenwolf's plot in Justice League.
  • Lighter and Softer: Generally one of the darker adaptations of DC Comics but from Aquaman onwards, the films take on a more lighthearted tone with more overt humour. The extent of it varies from film to film, but Aquaman is definitely when the laughs started becoming more noticeable.
  • Race Lift: Up until the DCEU, Arthur aka Aquaman had always been depicted as a Caucasian-looking blond. The DCEU Aquaman is played by Jason "Khal Drogo" Momoa, who's Polinesian from his dad's side and Irish-Native American from his mom's.
    • Aquaman's human dad Thomas is made Pacific-Islander and played by the New-Zealander actor Temuera Morrison, who's of Maori descent.
  • The Power of Family: The Central Theme of the franchise. Be it the values your family instilled in you (like Superman), healing family bonds (Aquaman), or finding your surrogate family and drawing strength from not being alone (Shazam's situation).
  • Public Domain Character: Ares and Queen Hippolyta. 
  • Puny Earthlings: Barring Batman, regular humans suck in this 'verse compared even to the metahumans.
  • Reconstruction: The films made Aquaman such a badass by taking every joke about his power and extrapolating the powers to their logical conclusion. Sure talking to marine life seems like a lame power but it gives you control over sharks, whales, and Kaiju-sized squids.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: The Green Lanterns fight against the forces of Apokolips here.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Fittingly enough given its roots, it's one to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the MCU is generally Lighter and Softer than its comic counterpart, featuring Adaptational Heroism for many characters, and opted for individual entries that slowly established the Shared Universe, the DCEU is generally Darker and Edgier, opting for Adaptational Jerkass, Adaptational Villainy and even Adaptational Angst Upgrade for many and having its Crisis Crossovers before most of the individual adventures of the heroes.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • Man of Steel ran into trouble retroactively justifying this. Batman, as shown in the sequel, was there but couldn't do anything to help, Flash was more than likely too scared to intervene, and Aquaman was living in a remote corner of Iceland at the time so he likely didn't even hear about it until it was over. Where Wonder Woman was has yet to be revealed.
    • Averted in Batman v Superman. Superman operates on a global scale. Metropolis is just where his apartment is. Clark Kent even goes to Gotham for some investigative journalism.
    • Despite the title, Justice League. The Green Lanterns defended Earth during the first invasion but their absence in the present day is never addressed.
    • He may have been an Aloof Ally to the League, but it's still somewhat odd that Aquaman doesn't call on the Leaguers to help fight against Orn's invasion, especially as he seems to want to show the Atlanteans that the surface world is just as good as their city. In fairness, it's not like the League can operate that effectively underwater.
    • Justified in Shazam. The movie has an Extremely Short Timespan and Billy spent most of it goofing off. He defeats Sivana a few hours after meeting him. Though he may have reached out and met Superman afterwards, there wasn't really a lot of time to contact him before the plot was wrapped up, plus he was going through some powerful emotional issues. Likewise, the short timespan might have prevented other heroes from hearing about the crisis and responding fast enough.
    • During Birds of Prey, none of her fellow Suicide Squad teammates (namely, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc) show up to help Harley fight Black Mask. It's even more confusing since Deadshot and Killer Croc are Gotham-based villains. And Batman himself never shows up to stop the Enemy Civil War.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Zig-zagged. It seems that the heroes don't want to kill people, and they feel guilt for it when they have to, but they're prepared to do it if comes to it.
  • Villain Movie: Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • As Ares said, he never forced humans to war with one another. He gave them ideas for weapons sure, but he never started the war. Even if he's an Unreliable Narrator about everything else, the fact that World War One continued, albeit not for very long, after his death, and that wars continued to be fought afterwards, including the Russian Civil War still being ongoing at the time of his demise, prove his point that Humans Are Bastards who like to fight. Diana even acknowledges this in the novelization noting that "The War to End All Wars" didn't quite live up to its title.
    • Orn. For all his megalomania and blatant insanity, he is right to say that the surface world is polluting the oceans and endangering Atlantis' survival.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: It's DC Comics.