We’re less than two month away from the release of Justice League, and with that in mind it seems like the perfect time to reflect on the DC Extended Universe so far. Getting off to a solid, albeit questionable start, the shared universe hasn’t had the best of luck so far, with some questionable creative decisions. Despite this causing some dispute between fans, we finally got something to rave about in Wonder Woman, with the Princess of Themyscira bringing hope to this universe. Whether this will rub off on the upcoming team-up movie or not is still to be seen, but either way there is still plenty of reason to be optimistic about this cinematic world.
Back when Man of Steel arrived in cinemas, there was no such thing as the DCEU. The goal then was simply to bring credibility back to Superman in the same way that Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy did for Batman. What we got from this was a polarising movie, that I personally couldn’t get enough of. Though some of the creative decisions of director Zack Snyder justifiably left fans upset, the narrative as a whole gave us an emotional origin story for Kal-El, with the darker overtone bringing a sense of realism to the product.
Fast forward three years and we got the arrival of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with the hype surrounding this film being insurmountable. Not only was this the first cinematic meeting of these two iconic heroes, but it also was the official launching pad of the DCEU. Despite there being a lot to love about this flick, it is hard to overlook the jarring problems in its storytelling. Having an uneven tempo, as well as some questionable character developments, the project ultimately tried to do too much, with the quality dropping as a result of this.
Later that year saw the release of Suicide Squad, with the David Ayer directed movie seeing a team of supervillains band together to save the world. Despite having a lighter tone than BvS, using it’s characters better, the thin plot was more than a little underwhelming. Having next to no substance, the narrative failed to keep me gripped, with the movie wasting it’s side talent. The main cast do, however, give us wonderful performances, with the comical tone and explosive action helping to save this from complete disaster.
Earlier this year we finally got our first DCEU film since Man of Steel that we can be proud off, in Wonder Woman. Giving us a stylish origin for the Princess of Themyscira, this solo outing for Diana Prince more than hit all the right notes. Granted it has some missteps regarding its villains, but the creative team more than made up for this with some unique twists along the way. The talent of our cast and stunning action sequences also make this a movie worth watching over and over again, with the cinematography and musical score also being sensational.
But what does all this mean heading into Justice League? Having gone through some re-shoots since Joss Whedon took over directing from Zack Snyder, it is hard to predict what kind of movie we’ll get. Ultimately I’m hoping for something that is almost as dark as BvS, whilst retaining the character warmth of Wonder Woman. I’m also hopeful that Steppenwolf shapes up to be a memorable villain, even if I’m a tad sceptical about his addition.
As for what the future holds for the DCEU after this, it is rather unpredictable. Though we know the likes of Aquaman, Wonder Woman 2 and The Flash are in the works (just to name a few), Warner Bros. willingness to take an Elseworlds like approach to certain projects makes it hard to get overly invested in this universe. Granted this could ultimately prove a good thing for both the studio and fans, but at the end of the day it is hard not to be sceptical about such uncertainty.