James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad will hit theatres this weekend, and it is one of the most highly anticipated DC films in ages. There are nine films in the DCEU so far, or ten depending on how you count the versions of Justice League, and here is where you can rent, buy, or stream each one.
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Man of Steel (2013)
The film that started a universe and defined the aesthetic of the universe for several films after. Man of Steel is a pretty good movie, even if it kind of misses the point of Superman.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
This movie has its staunch defenders, but let me be clear about something: I don’t think it’s very good. I don’t really think that I ever want to watch it again, but I will say that if you have an option to see the extended edition, that is a better choice. Not a lot better, but better.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Another one that, despite having Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis (among others!), this movie manages to be a mess and a slog from beginning to end. If you really want to watch it, here’s where you can do that, but I recommend watching YouTuber Dan Olson’s excellent breakdown of the film, The Art of Editing and Suicide Squad instead.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Here is the DCEU’s first legitimately good film. It’s true that the third act is overly CGI’d, but the themes of love and faith pay off so beautifully that it doesn’t matter. Plus, the whole No Man’s Land sequence (and liberation of Veldt) is one of the best action sequences in a superhero film to date.
Justice League (2017)
This movie is not good. It’s a visual mess, it’s the separate vision of two directors duct-taped together, and the bad guy looks like a villain from an early 2000s video game. Still, part of me kind of likes it because, if nothing else, it got Superman right, even if you can’t see past his CGI’s upper lip.
Aquaman has its critics, but I am not one of them. This movie is bright, colourful, and fun while at the same time very clearly being a James Wan film. Jason Momoa is great, the action sequences (the big second act one in particular) are excellent, and they cast Julie Andrews as the voice of an enormous sea monster. What’s not to like?
Shazam might be the best film in the entire DCEU. The performances are fun, the monsters are scary, and the theme of the family you choose pays off beautifully in the end. What more do I even need to say?
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)
Another excellent entry in the franchise, and I don’t know why more people don’t acknowledge it as such. The cast is excellent from top to bottom (particularly Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Ewan McGregor as the villainous Roman Sionis), and the action is fun and inventive. This movie is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, but in a good way, not the Joker way.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
Somewhere down the line, there will be a tell-all about the production of Wonder Woman 84, and we’re going to hear all about what exactly happened with this movie. It is, in a word, a mess. Despite the cast, despite the creative team, the film feels like it has been hacked to pieces with more than one subplot that doesn’t really make sense and an ethical dilemma that the film fails to investigate even slightly. Still, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine have amazing chemistry, and I could watch them flirt for hours; and while their characters don’t really work, both Kristin Wiig and Pedro Pascal are always fun to watch. The end result is fine. It’s fine, which is a little disappointing, given how good the first one was.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
I am of two minds about this movie. First, I think it really is an improvement on the theatrical release. It is far more coherent and consistent, and you can see how and why they were originally going to make two movies out of it. On the other, that it exists at all is due to a years-long campaign by some of the most toxic “fans” on the internet, and I feel like that’s a dangerous precedent.
It is better, though. I don’t know why it was so important to Zack Snyder’s vision that it be in 4:3 aspect ratio instead of 16:9, and I wish it were just a little more colourful, but it is better than the theatrical version.
The Suicide Squad (2021)
The Suicide Squad is in theatres this Friday, August 6th and will be available on HBO Max in the US for a full month starting the same day. If the pattern holds, it will also be a premium rental here in Canada.
Is it any good? We don’t know yet, but the early buzz is very much so yes. Look for coverage this week, both written and on the podcast!
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