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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.



  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman each get this in the pre-Justice League era.
  • Adaptational Wimp: 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. He's the one responsible, in-universe, for the Darker and Edgier tone of Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League. Even when it seemed his influence had dissipated, Birds of Prey proves that his influence still has an effect on the DCEU.
  • 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. Yet secret identities somehow still exist.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Humans Are Bastards: While there are some genuinely good humans, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have each questioned why they defend humanity at some point. Of course, when Ares' influence isn't hitting the DCEU (namely, in Aquaman and Shazam), this trope doesn't apply.
  • Lighter and Softer: From Aquaman onwards, the films take on a much more lighthearted tone with more overt humour. In-universe, this is explained by the fact that Ares' influence on the DCEU is fading. That being said, Birds of Prey brings back, to some extent, the Darker and Edgier tone.
  • 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).
  • Puny Earthlings: Barring Batman, regular humans suck in this 'verse compared even to the metahumans.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: The Green Lanterns fight against the forces of Apokolips here.
  • 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, Killer Croc and Diablo) show up to help Harley fight Black Mask.
  • Villain Has a Point: 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.
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