You Can't Save the DCEU Alone1 of 6
DC's modern film universe reaches its first peak with this week's Justice League theatrical debut.
With the DC Extended Universe now growing to five films, Newsarama thought it time to look at all the movies and how they stack up against each other. We're holding back on adding Justice League to the list just yet, to give it time with audiences before a final decision is made.
Some of the rankings are probably obvious - some not.
SUICIDE SQUAD2 of 6
Colorful but flawed, the third film of the DC Extended Universe, Suicide Squad suffered from strange editing choices, a disjointed structure, and a lack of overall vision seemingly stemming from too many cooks in the kitchen.
But couched in Suicide Squad’s narrative flaws are winning performances from Viola Davis, Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, and Jay Hernandez. Despite Suicide Sqaud’s commitment to style over substance, this core cast manages to find strong moments in a film that never quite leans enough into its own bad taste to weaponize it.
Read our full review of the film here.
MAN OF STEEL3 of 6
Man of Steel launched the DCEU with tepid reception, but director Zack Snyder's uncompromising vision of a Superman not beholden to the Earth in the same way as his comic book counterpart still sent minor shockwaves through superhero culture.
A lot of the reaction to Man of Steel stems from its controversial ending, in which Superman kills his enemy, General Zod. That, coupled with an untold level of destruction in Metropolis, and a harsher philosophical take on the idea of superheroes made for a dour proposition for many fans anxious for a Kryptonian adventure.
From all of this, Man of Steel set a tone and a pace for the DCEU that seemingly reached its apex in its follow up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before creative changes in the direction of Justice League, the third act in the saga, led to a much lighter, brighter canvas for DC's films.
Read our review of the film here.
BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE4 of 6
The biggest promise of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was bringing Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman onscreen together for the first time (the latter making her big screen debut - and becoming the film's breakout star). It certainly delivered on the spectacle of that premise, but in doing so, became perhaps the most polarizing superhero movie of its generation.
Batman v Superman never suffers from a lack of scope - it circles nearly the entire DC Universe in its epic running time, bringing in Lex Luthor, Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg, Doomsday, and even the Fourth World. But in its rush to establish an entire world, the film suffers from losing sight of its two leads, bolstering their conflict with paper thin motivation and inscrutable characterization.
As we said above, however, one thing Batman v Superman definitely got right is the power and majesty of seeing DC's "Trinity" united on the big screen, leaving many of the film's biggest critics still champing at the bit for the film's direct follow-up, Wonder Woman, and eager for Justice League to provide a fully-formed team-up for DC's top heroes.
Our review of the film is here.
WONDER WOMAN5 of 6
So far the first (and only) unqualified success of the DCEU, this year's Wonder Woman left many fans hoping that the joyous superhero adventure would pave the way for the next round of DC movies.
While we'll have to wait to see whether Justice League proves a worthy follow-up, the effect Wonder Woman has had on superhero movies (and culture in general) is undeniable. Anchored by a nearly impeccable cast, excellent visuals, and a simple but resonant story, Wonder Woman remains a great example of the heights the genre can reach.
Yes, Wonder Woman suffered from an underwhelming third act villain (how many superhero movies these days don't fall into this trap?), but even that is not nearly enough to diminish the power of seeing the first major headlining female superhero of the modern age represented in a way that stayed true not only to her storied history, but the promise of putting her onscreen.
And our review of the film is here.
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