5 Ways DCEU’s Darkseid Is The Best Comic Book Villain (& Why It Will Always Be MCU’s Thanos)

5 Ways DCEU’s Darkseid Is The Best Comic Book Villain (& Why It Will Always Be MCU’s Thanos)

The release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League has given the DC Extended Universe a potential villain for the future. While the movie sets up his role for later movies, it remains to be seen if Darkseid will show up again. What has been confirmed, though, is that Darkseid is the DCEU equivalent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thanos.

While Thanos remains one of the greatest comic book movie villains for his role as the main antagonist of the MCU. However, many believe that this status could be challenged due to the power Darkseid possesses. The ruler of Apokolips has certainly ticked the right boxes in several areas, making him a valid rival to Thanos. Still, there are equally strong arguments in favor of the Mad Titan for him to retain his position as the best villain.


Updated on June 21st, 2022 by George Chrysostomou: The debate rages on about these two titans of cinema. While the on-screen fate of the duo is yet to be revealed, Thanos has continued to appear in multiple MCU projects, while Darkseid’s conclusion hasn’t been reached. Regardless, the comparisons continue, considering the similarities of the monstrous villains. 


He’s A Better Representation Of Classic Comic Book Villainy

Zack Snyders Justice League Darkseid Posing

The portrayal of superhero movie villains has changed, with these characters now given a sympathetic arc or a backstory that indulges the viewer into their motives. However, DCEU’s Darkseid is a good throwback to the classic comic book villain, in that he’s in it only for power.

RELATED: The 10 Most Powerful Superman Villains

Watching his presence onscreen leaves no doubt that this is the antagonist of the story and that he’s as dastardly as they come. It’s characters like these that established the overall popularity of comic books, so Darkseid’s persona is one that takes viewers back to the classic era of comics.

Being A Perfect Contrast To The Protagonists

Zack Snyders Justice League Darkseid vs Green Lantern

MCU’s Thanos has a lot of qualities that are present in the heroes as well, with the similarities between him and Iron Man even brought up in the movies. However, this causes him to lose that mysterious aura about him.

DCEU’s Darkseid, on the other hand, is nothing like any of the Justice League. He’s also unlike his comic book version, as he has no room for humor, mercy, compassion, or even a warrior’s spirit. Darkseid is a total contrast to the heroes in every way, which makes him a sheer force since none of them can figure out how to intimidate or defy him.

He’s A Perfect Greater-Scope Villain

Justice League Trailer Teaser Reveals Darkseid & Homeworld featured

Despite Thanos’ placement as the overarching antagonist of the MCU for several years, his impact was still only felt when he fully arrived in Avengers: Infinity War. Darkseid is the kind of character whose presence looms over the series’ events, even if he isn’t there.

He’s the villain whom the audience remains wary of and expects to show up at any point with some kind of grand reveal. Even when he didn’t appear in the original Justice League release, the feeling that Darkseid was pulling the strings was present. Since the DCEU hasn’t set up any other big-time villains, Darkseid remains the character at the back of everyone’s minds.

Darkseid Carries The Fear Factor

Darkseid and Anti Life Symbol in Justice League Snyder Cut

All that was needed to confirm Darkseid’s status as a baddie was his villainous monologue when he spoke to Steppenwolf. The DCEU has also made him out to be a feared character, whose name always brings a sense of foreboding and doom with it.

Thanos failed to come across this way since he, not only failed in his missions in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, but the likes of Ronan and Gamora openly defied him to his face, taking away his intimidating quality. With Darkseid, there’s the feeling that he will obliterate anyone if they even so much as hint at challenging him.

Darkseid’s Lack Of Redemptive Qualities Bolster The Heroes’ Personas

Darkseid Speaking With Steppenwolf - Zack Snyder's Justice League

A successful villain is one who is able to keep the hero’s role intact and have their story arc take center stage. Darkseid is such an antagonist, as his status as the personification of everything that is bad and evil leads to the heroes appearing as the embodiment of all that is good.

RELATED: 10 Biggest Displays Of Power From MCU Villains

He doesn’t steal focus or sympathy from the audience while transferring these over to the protagonists. Due to this, Darkseid plays his part perfectly as he remains the character who deserves to be taken down and places the heroes as the ones who need to do it.

Darkseid Is Never Defeated On Screen

Zack Snyder's Justice League Darkseid scene pic

Darkseid’s narrative was never truly wrapped up. Zack Snyder’s Justice League wasn’t given its full conclusion and it looks as if it never will. While Darkseid’s minor forces were defeated, the beast himself has never been bested in battle. Even in the old times, it was only a momentary setback in a much larger plan.

Darkseid has conquered worlds again and again, whereas Thanos has actually been killed in the Multiverse many times over. It’s clear that Thanos can be defeated, whereas the key to Darkseid’s ultimate demise still remains a mystery, making him even more terrifying.

Darkseid Creates A Post-Apocalyptic Reality

While countless speculation has been aired online concerning Jared Leto’s iteration of the Joker there’s no denying that the world that Darkseid left behind was so bleak that the Clown Prince of Crime seemed like a saint. Darkseid turned Earth, in one version of reality, into a post-apocalyptic hellscape.

It’s the ultimate victory, with DC’s heroes and villains scattered and seemingly unable to put up a good defense. Everything they’ve fought for has been lost and that’s down to the sheer power of Darkseid and the genius of his master plan. Could Thanos achieve such a world-ending event? Would he want to?


Thanos Has A Connection With Each Main Protagonist

The heroes of the MCU certainly couldn’t catch a break against Thanos as the Titan always found a way to inflict several tragedies on each of them – even if he hadn’t even met them.

Due to this, there was a personal connection between the characters that brought that edge to their antagonism and made the viewer want to see the heroes take down the villain. In Darkseid’s case, the only character he has a connection with is Superman. All the others just see him as a stronger-than-usual baddie.

Thanos Is A More Layered Character

Avengers Endgame Thanos Death

As far as character quality is concerned, Thanos has Darkseid easily beat. In the MCU, he’s been portrayed as a complex person, someone who has his own list of regrets and a code of honor that he doesn’t want to go against.

RELATED: Darkseid’s 10 Most Evil Acts, Ranked

Due to this, Thanos is more engaging to follow since it’s a character arc playing out when he’s onscreen. He doesn’t have any one-dimensional traits and has a purpose behind the actions he’s committed. Thanos exemplifies the belief that nobody sees themselves as the villain of their story.

Thanos’ Battle Scenes Represent His Character

Captain Marvel Fighting Thanos in Avengers Endgame

None of Thanos’ fight scenes came across as boring or by-the-numbers. Instead, they confirm his personality and state of mind. Thanos was shown choosing between ruthless tactics and more sympathetic ones, with a different level of fight choreography taking place (based on the hero he was facing).

Granted, Darkseid was seen in a handful of fight scenes but he didn’t come across as anything unique. He was also handily beaten by Ares, only to dominate Aquaman in the Knightmare future. Thanos didn’t have any inconsistency in his fight skills, as he combined these with his quickness of wit by beating characters stronger than him using strategy.

Thanos’ Mixture Of Wisdom And Irrationality

The thing about Thanos is that it’s not clear exactly where he falls between being a crazed or a well-intentioned extremist. On many occasions, he’s come across as a wise man with his ability to read situations and even offer advice that is right on all fronts.

And yet, he’s also insane since his plan involves killing off people in trillions, making it fascinating to understand how his mind works. Had he been in the series longer, perhaps his characterization could be expanded upon. However, the overall presentation of him being dual in nature allows Thanos to hold on to the viewer’s interest.

His Accomplished Feats Are Too Great

Infinity War Comic Con Trailer Thanos Throws Moon

All things considered, the threat of a comic book villain can only be confirmed based on the havoc they have wreaked. While Thanos may have had some sympathetic characterization, he’s also pulled off the feat of killing dozens of superheroes and trillions of people.

RELATED: 10 Characters Who Helped The Most In The Fight Against Thanos In Avengers Endgame

Even his in-battle feats are incredible, with accomplishments like defeating Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor at once, flinging debris of a moon, and being able to handle the Infinity Stones. Darkseid hasn’t come close to any of these feats, and at present, Thanos definitely trumps him in this area.

Assembles The Avengers’ Might

Scarlet Witch posing in front of the portals and Asgardians in Avengers Endgame

The threat of Darkseid might have assembled gods and Green Lanterns but in the modern day, it took far fewer to push against his attack. In fact, the Justice League was a small collection of heroes, many of which had not fully realized their fullest potential.

In comparison, Thanos had the Earth’s mightiest heroes in their full force, facing him down. From sorcerers like Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange to Gods like Thor, there was a whole army from across the universe that had to stand up to the threat of the Mad Titan. That’s an impressive display of strength that signifies the power of the foe.

Long-Term Consequences

Flag Smasher in Falcon and Winter Soldier

The consequences of Darkseid’s initial invasion in the DCEU will be forgotten. Without any other movies covering it and Steppenwolf added to the long list of foes that the Justice League has defeated, his attack is almost meaningless. Thanos on the other hand has shaped the MCU forever.

From those who were displaced for five years to those who survived through the events and felt that the Earth was genuinely better off with a reduced population, the political, emotional, and logistical impact of Thanos’ snap has continued to plague the Marvel Universe on screen. That’s true influence.

NEXT: 10 Things Only Justice League Comic Fans Know About Darkseid

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About The Author

Saim Cheeda
(1533 Articles Published)

Saim Cheeda is an entertainment writer covering all of Film, TV, Gaming and Books. He’s been a writer for Valnet since 2017, contributing 500+ articles for The Gamer, The Things, Game Rant, Comic Book Resources and Screen Rant. Apart from freelance writing, Saim is a lifestyle blogger, co-owning the blog 3 States Apart.


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