The DCEU began on a truly grandiose note in 2013 when Man of Steel hit theaters. While that particular film developed a somewhat negative (and somewhat unearned) reputation among moviegoers, we cannot deny the fact that it has had a major impact the direction of DC's current film slate. Henry Cavill's Superman has taken a major backseat since Man of Steel hit theaters, but the character will soon have another moment in the sun, as we've just learned that Warner Bros. has a Man of Steel sequel in active development.
As excited as we are for Man of Steel 2, we still know very little about where it could actually go. If the last three DCEU films are any indication, we can likely expect Kal-El to face off against a truly major bad guy, but there's simply so many to choose from. With that in mind, we have assembled a list of the six Superman villains that we think the Man of Steel should go toe-to-toe with in his upcoming sequel. Some have brains, some have brawn and some have both. Now let's get started with a villain who was actually rumored for Batman V Superman...
One of Superman's most iconic villains, John Corben, a.k.a Metallo, is a former con man who finds himself transformed into a villainous cyborg possessing a heart made of pure kryptonite after a tragic accident. He is hands down one of Superman's most well-known and beloved foes, but he has never officially managed to make his way to the silver screen. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice reportedly even featured a brief cameo from Metallo's creator, Emmet Vale, and the introduction of Kryptonite has us wondering if the metallic criminal could possibly show up to present a distinct physical challenge to the iconic hero in the upcoming sequel. While he likely wouldn't represent the primary antagonist of Man of Steel 2, he would make a damn good secondary threat.
A legendary enemy of Superman, Bizarro arguably gained the most mainstream attention he has ever received from "The Bizarro Jerry" episode of Seinfeld. We think it's time that movie audiences got proper look at what he's capable of. A failed clone and "mirror image" of the last son of Krypton, Bizarro is a dumb, hulking inversion of Superman's abilities and what he stands for. Many of his depictions portray him in a tragic light, as he essentially looks through the world through the eyes of a child because of his diminished intelligence. Due to his opposite nature, he often tries to act like a hero, but ends up doing something villainous instead. The DCEU hasn't done much to show us Superman's compassionate side just yet, and we think Bizarro represents the prefect villain to draw that out of him.
In recent yearsm Brainiac has become more of a Justice League villain, but his Kryptonian origins still make him fundamentally an enemy of Superman. An ancient artificial intelligence from Superman's home world, Brainiac is often depicted as the smartest being in the known universe, who also happens to possess physical attributes such as telekinesis and super strength. He can easily go head-to-head with the Man of Steel, and he presents such a major threat that the Justice League has even teamed up with Darkseid to take him down. The DCEU may be building towards a battle with Apokolips, but Brainiac represents an entirely new level of devastation.
If Man of Steel 2 wants to set the overarching threat apart from General Zod and the Kryptonian invasion from the first film, then few villains could epitomize that idea more than Winslow Shott a.k.a Toyman. An average (albeit unstable) man, Shott presents a far more intellectual challenge than the average Superman villain, and (as his name would suggest) he has become known for his use of weapons themed after children's toys. He wouldn't cause destruction on a massive scale, but he could still present a major challenge to Kal-El. Out of all the Superman villains present on this list, he's hands down the creepiest, and he would perfectly fit within the post-Suicide Squad tone and style of the DCEU.
Few heroes exist who are truly more powerful than Superman in the DC mythos, but that doesn't really help when facing off against a villain who literally feeds off of power. Parasite has existed for quite some time in Superman lore, and he presents an interesting threat because he can absorb the power, energy and even memories of the Man of Steel. He's a fascinating villain not only because he's wholly unique to Superman's corner of the DC universe, but he also has a tragic origin centering upon a family that he can no longer touch due to his abilities. After the lackluster villains of Suicide Squad, someone like Parasite is exactly what the DCEU desperately needs.
If DC wants to show the world that it isn't messing around with its comic book source material, then there's no better option for a Man of Steel 2 villain than Mister Mxyzptlk. A longtime foe of the last son of Krypton, Mister Mxyzptlk is a mischievous imp from the Fifth Dimension who constantly appears in Superman's life to cause trouble. He can bend reality in any way he sees fit, and the only way to truly defeat him is to get him to say his name backwards. There has quite literally never been a villain like Mister Mxyzptlk in a live-action superhero movie, and we think that's a perfect reason to finally adapt him. Beyond that, Mister Mxyzptlk could set up the Emperor Joker storyline, which is something we never thought we would ever have a chance to see on the silver screen.