Say what you will about whatever the DC Comics and WB Pictures lovechild is called these days–DC Films, DCEU, Worlds of DC–but following Shazam and its $155 million opening weekend globally…
Things are like The Jeffersons for Toby Emmerich, Walter Hamada, and team… “Movin’ on Up!”
As the entire gang of misfit leaders finally have a trend in the positive direction to discuss and share with the world, cinephiles are beginning to gain a little bit of faith back in the beleaguered franchise.
Following the Voldemort-version of the culmination DC movie that will not be named, James Wan shocked the world (and saved DC in the process) with a billion-dollar cash grab in Aquaman. Now, we have David Sandberg’s version of a supercharged dysfunctional family.
And, it’s great. So, the nerds of the Nebuchadnezzar got to talking about the big seven films–the modern versions of CBMs. So, set aside your feelings about Tim Burton, Richard Donner, and Christopher Nolan. Those guys weren’t invited to this party. How do the competitive movies rank for DC? Let’s talk about why.
Here are the DC Extended Universe films. In order…
7. Suicide Squad
This is the misnomer of DC’s and WB’s existence. Financially, this was a huge success. Anytime a movie earns close to $750 million at the box office, critics are hailing a success. But this was Suicide Squad.
David Ayer meant well, bringing us the counterpart to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in that we had a modicum of notoriety and a ton of potential, only not so much. The link with Batman and that broke-ass pimp with pawn shop jewelry and T-Pain’s grill named Joker? Yeah, overwhelming success was expected but its antithesis was delivered. And until James Gunn brings us the Ambien and makes us forget this version happened, nightmares will continue.
6. Justice League
The trailer had all the feels — started with a Supes sighting, visions of each hero, and even a Darkseid Easter Egg. Are you kidding? Who wasn’t hyped about this. Only, that’s not what we got (seems like a trend with WB). The worst kind of tragedy struck the storyteller and we all know what happened to the rest.
People were so butt-hurt over the Frankenstein monster that hit the big screen, clamoring for the Snyder Cut has reached epic proportions. (Now that it has been confirmed-ish, those cries for “justice” aren’t going anywhere.) This story could have been better. The fans deserved better. And we all know WB thought it would be better. The final thought? Better would have been something else.
5. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Easily, one of the most controversial CBMs ever. This movie forced a conflict where most never knew one was necessary. The face-off between two titans in DC’s extended universe was a polarizing vision, but possibly, one we needed to see, one that humanized both heroes beyond measure. The reason for the movie is all in the title, “Dawn of Justice.”
This was supposed to be the beginning of a new universe, one to compete and last. We all know it didn’t do either of those. Everything has changed since the promises of this movie. Even the post-credits scene rings hollow now. Nonetheless, it’s a film that attempts to lead us down on a dark and dreary path to meet two men. Behind all the power, strength, and courage, was two guys with mommy issues. And half of us loved it. Just half.
4. Wonder Woman
Patty Jenkins directed a revelation of origin movies with the genesis of Wonder Woman. Diana was a real person in this movie. Granted, she was a princess of the Amazons, but we learn how she embraced who she truly was. Every story has a journey and hers took us for a ride.
Sure, the final act was a CGI mud bath with a very forgetful villain, but her connection to Steve became a connection for anyone watching it. Many people felt what Jenkins was doing with this movie, and make no mistake, she was doing a lot. Girl power was a thing among nerds everywhere and this was the movie that did first, and still today, best.
Many believed this movie would ironically be the life preserver to save the drowning DC Comics / Warner Bros. partnership. It did in volumes. DC gained more than a hero with this movie; it finally had a future. At least two origins will come from this. Probably as many sequels. We’re even getting a James Wan-led comic horror movie with The Trench.
This billion-dollar movie was a majestic portrayal of a world under water and how that world found its champion. DC and WB had much banking on this movie. The direction of James Wan gave the production house new hope that it can make movies we can all get involved in, movies we all enjoy, and movies that don’t have to be forced. And thank God for that, as it preserved every story of DC’s future from here.
2. Man of Steel
We knew Zack Snyder was a storyteller, first; a director, second. That was proven with Watchmen and 300. But his vision of Krypton’s last son cemented that thought, which is probably why people can’t let go of a “cut” from his last undertaking for DC. We have seen numerous iterations of Kal-El but Henry Cavill made him remarkably tangible.
Along with the soul-stirring piano keys and drum beats from Hans Zimmer, this movie was almost reverent in its direction. He came from a world of strife only to come to another one just like it. Then, there was Zod, perfectly portrayed by Michael Shannon. Most importantly, we saw Kal-El is human after all, when he snaps Zod’s neck. The film was artistic and powerful working to show us all Earth is worth saving.
Only out a week and look at DC’s newest and best movie given the rock-star treatment. It was refreshing to see a DC movie take a lighthearted approach to storytelling, a simple touch to CBM directing, and clearly getting back to the basics. CBMs are supposed to be a moment in real life caught up in fantasy. What a better way to do that than through the eyes of a child?
We all have something inside of us, something bigger than us. Our journey is to discover what it is. Doctor Sivana and Billy Batson had different ways to get to the same path. So did Black Adam, but we’ll hear about him later. Many of complained about schmaltzy CGI in the film, but it was almost purposeful — a movie about a kid becoming a superhero isn’t going to be perfect. But this movie was close enough.