I know that this listing overlaps a bit with my current ongoing countdown of greatest superhero movies of all time, but with the release of Justice League, I figured it would be a good time to see where we stand with the DC Extended Universe.
I think DC tried to kickstart the DCEU in 2011 with Green Lantern, which was supposed to be their Iron Man. However, the official kick start of the DCEU is with Man of Steel in 2013. Since then we have accumulated a total of 5 films in this shared universe.
They are ranked here below.
5. Suicide Squad
This was a bold choice for this franchise. And the risk almost pays off. The premise is unlike anything in the mainstream of super hero movies. You had charismatic performances by Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Heck, even the perennially unwatchable Jai Courtney was amazingly fun to watch. But the movie suffers from three things:
a. a Joker performance that, while not terrible, suffers in comparison to Nicholson and Ledger
b. a incredibly uncompelling villain
c. a moral black hole in the middle of the movie from which the film never recovers.
This series could still come back, so I will be there for the sequel.
4. Wonder Woman
As super hero origin stories, this is one that was done right. While it has familiar story beats to other films that have come before it, it feels epic and iconic. I have seen so many comic book movies, but the No Man's Land scene might be one of my favorites of all time. Wonder Woman is a fantastic hero whose strength and femininity, courage and innocence, are all wrapped together to make a great movie.
3. Justice League
I will give my full review on this later. But this film is the one that most mimics Marvel movies in tone and style. This isn't a negative, but it also isn't necessarily a positive since I tend to like the DCEU over the MCU. And this film suffers from another very uninteresting villain. But the pure joy of watching my childhood super friends come together for the first time on screen... pure magic.
2. Man of Steel
There are so many moments in this movie that still give me chills. People knock on the movie for Superman not being the pillar of optimism and hope that he normally is. But that was one of the things I loved about the movie. Superman has to rise above the cynicism of the age that he was also raised in. He is called to be more, to rise above. And he does. Even though he stumbles, he rises.
1. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
My love for this movie only grows and grows. Zack Snyder fully committed to make a movie that used these iconic characters to explore deeper questions about life while still being focused on that iconography. The movie, to my mind, is unappreciated genius. I would have loved to have seen the full Snyder vision realized in Justice League, but I can still go back and watch the amazing second film in his DCEU trilogy and lose myself in it.