WARNING: The following contains obnoxious opinions, strong language and/or potential SPOILERS!
I’ll be the first to admit, I dump on DC movies a lot, like A LOT. You’ll never be able to convince me that Superman killing Zod was ok, or that making Man of Steel all dark and brooding was a good idea. You’ll especially never convince me that BvS isn’t a gargantuan pile of trash, director’s cut or not. Amongst these movies I despise are insane announcements for future projects. Some connect to the other films, and some are just random, doing their own thing. It makes no sense, its confusing and NOBODY WANTS A SUICIDE SQUAD 2!!! The announcement that HBO Max is actually putting out the Snyder Cut should’ve put me in a tailspin of rage and quick-witted insults. However, in just a couple years, the chaos has yielded some genuine treasures in the world of DC, some of which will surprise you. It’s enough that I now look at this Snyder Cut with a cautious optimism. So now, in the name of fairness and for you all to tell me “Told you so”, we are gonna look at some of the various DC releases of just the last 3 years;
The Lego Batman Movie (2017) - This movie is hysterical. Hot on the heels of the supremely successful and amazing feature The Lego Movie, WB decided to give the arguably funniest character in the film his own spinoff, and it delivered. Blowing the Batman mantle completely out of proportion, Will Arnett’s one-of-a-kind Bruce Wayne carries his spinoff to hilarious and inventively emotional levels. Not unlike the last Lego film, it's packed to the gills with cameos from both DC and various other WB properties. Seeing Batman and his team chased by Daleks (Dr. Who monsters for all you uncultured swine) was not something I ever expected to see on film. At the end of the day, it’s humor hits all age groups, it's crammed with pop culture references and carries a strong message about family that will have coming back to it more often than not.
Wonder Woman (2017) - All of a sudden, DC jumps from horrible to excellent. Where was this on Man of Steel? BvS? ANYWHERE? It has a well-written competent story, it has actors capable of showing emotion, it has a realistic color scheme that doesn't only show the multiple colors of mold. This movie was on another level. I occasionally run into criticisms, and I can’t understand them. If you can watch the “No Man’s Land” scene and feel nothing from that, you must be out of your mind. You got an epic main character, very fun side characters and some great villains here that all work in tandem to give you an excellent experience. The action sequences are electrifying and plentiful. To this day, it remains the best movie DC has made since the start of the DCEU. I remember seeing it theaters and being both happy to see DC make something this good, but also mad at what was now the obvious lack of effort on their previous projects.
Justice League (2017) - This movie is shit. That’s it, that's the review. WB should be embarrassed by this film. We will never truly know who is at fault here. Coulda been Snyder, coulda been Whedon, coulda been the studio or maybe some combination of those. Regardless, what we got here is bad. I’m not judging the people who like it, but if you try to tell me it's good, I will make fun of you. The story is a thrown-together mash of pace-less nonsense. The villain has no development whatsoever and looks like a walking cartoon. Aquaman is legit useless except for his quips, as only about 6 minutes of the film take place around water. Cyborg’s character must be on the cutting room floor, because he is hollow and disinteresting. Wonder Woman is used fairly well but despicably sexualized in many of her scenes and the studio should feel shame for that. Superman is only in the final third, and you can tell they are really trying to get him back to his roots and have some semblance of inspiration to his character, but it kinda falls short. Batman’s only real role seems to be to recruit everyone together, and he becomes pretty obscure after that. He also has access to some of the most bizarre vehicles I’ve ever seen including a spaceship and a robot-crab thing. The Flash attempts to bring some humor to the mix, and is the only character that was used well. The only scene worth mentioning is Superman’s resurrection, where he goes crazy and fights the rest of the League. It was genuinely exciting and gone in the blink of an eye. Despite all of my sincere hatred of this film, I’m willing to see this Snyder Cut that's on its way. I’m genuinely curious as to whether or not this dumpster fire is in any way salvageable.
Aquaman (2018) - Ok yeah, you got me here. This movie is pretty good. It was certainly enough to clarify that my issues with Aquaman are not a Jason Mamoa problem, but a Justice League problem. Mamoa brings his A game here, with all the humor and charisma required to make an Aquaman interesting...no offense. We are also finally dazzled by Atlantis and its vibrant colors and designs. They don’t slouch on the action sequences either. The final battle in this movie truly stands out in a film industry cluttered with generic, emotionless CGI wars. Ok yes, it is a giant CGI battle too, but it's underwater, we never get cool underwater stuff, and features a set piece that is sure to impress you. Again though, they found themselves compelled to keep the main character away from water for a decent chunk of the film. C'mon guys, it's in the name of the character. Gimme an entire Aquaman movie that takes place completely in the sea. Nobody is asking to see Jason Momoa play Uncharted. Are they? My point is there were alarming similarities to that game when he wasn’t in the water where he belonged. Regardless, this movie is solid. They put the work in and it paid off. Good job WB.
Shazam (2019) - The amount of mocking I did for this announcement was limitless…...right up to the announcement of Zachary Levi in the titular role, at which point I shut right up. The first trailer enforced what I already knew. Levi was made for this role. This movie hit every button. It was absolutely hilarious and there was some decent meta humor that had me dying. The characters and their relationships are all done so perfectly. The villain has just enough of that DC darkness about him that he and his team of monsters make for very entertaining evil. The story has a surprising amount of wholesomeness to it as well. The family and friendship dynamics pull on those heartstrings and make you love Billy’s entire family. Fact of the matter is, this movie is excellent. I want a sequel and I want a Black Adam movie and I want Shazam and Superman to team up and fight stuff!
Swamp Thing: Season 1 (2019) - HOLY CRAP where did this come from?! I remember when DC was launching their streaming service and seeing the list of originals they were making and just laughing at it. I can say honestly, I was wrong about Swamp Thing. It's so dark and twisted and super freaky. Felt like that pure DC energy that the movies constantly fail to harness in the right way. Season 1 looks great but GO FIGURE, the week the first episode was released, DC announces the season order is shortened to 10 episodes and the show is cancelled…..seriously? To add to the confusion, they still won’t say why. Our only hope now is this news of season 1 being brought to CW and MAYBE if enough hype is generated, we will get a season 2 and beyond. I just hope they get themselves straight, because Swamp Thing is some of their best work.
Joker (2019) - Just gonna say up front; This movie is insanely overrated. Some people are ok with a classic character getting a total overhaul to their backstory and making up plot-points that never happened because it looks good on film, but I’m not one of them. The DC elements are so lazily pasted in that the movie could still completely exist without them. Also at some point, Hollywood clearly decided that ambiguous plot points are some form of sophistication. Was he even the real Joker? Did he inspire the real Joker? What was real and what was in his mind? Did any of it really happen? These are the questions you will have, and none of them will be answered! THANKS INCEPTION! THANK YOU FOR THIS! LOOK WHAT YOU’VE INSPIRED HERE! Obviously, Joaquin Phoenix did a spectacular job with his acting, so much so that he won an Oscar, and none of my complaints are on him. To be clear, this is not a bad film, but it is a bad DC film.
The DC shows on CW (The whole time) - This in itself is rocky terrain these days, but I’m marking it green because of what I got to see from them in the last 3 years. I saw a phenomenal final season of Arrow, which appears to be setting up Green Lantern stuff! I saw an epic and hilarious crossover where Arrow and Flash switched lives. All of the heroes had to team up to fight an invading alternate earth made up of Nazi’s, including dopplegangers of themselves! I got not 1 but 2 Superman fights! As in 2 Supermans from alternate earths fighting each other, TWICE! I got Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it was so insane that Ezra Miller’s Flash showed up! BRANDON ROUTH RETURNED AS SUPERMAN!!! It was so much fun. I was smiling from ear to ear. Regardless of how you feel about CW’s DC Universe, they know how to have a good time. What started as just Arrow has grown to a point where universes collide and where Forbes says that the “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover event was better than the Justice League movie...Yes, that really happened…
As you can see, a lot more good than bad these days. I didn’t even count all the fantastic DC animated movies that have been coming out, featuring all sorts of surprising celebrity voice talent (Nathan Fillion is Green Lantern). DC and WB are clearly trying to course-correct and the effort is starting to show. They also just announced this week that they are having a virtual convention event coming this August FOR FREE! It has multiple sections organized like a theme park including movies, shows, video games and stuff for kids! Early speculation says that DC has a boatload of new announcements and reveals and that this will serve as a soft reboot to their various multimedia properties. As hateful as I sound when I talk about some of these movies, I do really like DC and I want them to find success and I REALLY WANT THEM TO MAKE GREEN LANTERN MOVIES FOR GOD’S SAKE WB!!! THE BAD MOVIE WAS AGES AGO! TRY AGAIN ALREADY!!! I will absolutely be digitally attending DC FanDome and I think you should too. Assuming I’m working by then, I’ll try and revisit this topic afterwards with the hopes of discussing DC’s new features as their future continues to rise out of the shadows.
I feel like I’m missing something…...hm what was it………...OH RIGHT! I’m sure you noticed I didn’t mention “Birds of Prey (and the Over-the-top Obnoxious, Stupid Subtitle bla bla bla Harley Quinn)” and I don’t plan to mention it until I can have it surgically removed from my memory. Let’s all agree to just pretend it's not real...See, I’m still me ;)