Now that Blue Beetle has made its way into theatres across the world, there’s truly no better time than now to discuss some of the best DCEU films that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has had to offer throughout the years. Although the newest installment in the film is a part of the DCEU, it also features the character of, well, Blue Beetle, who will also be appearing in James Gunn’s brand new DCU.
I’ve been a fan of DCEU films since day one and love almost every one of the films that comprise it, so my opinions are probably super unpopular and they may be more than a little controversial. But the beauty about film is that it allows for conversations. Your favorites are probably not my favorites and vice versa. But, without further adieu, let’s get going on the best DCEU films. At least in my opinion.
(Spoiler Alert: Blue Beetle is not among my favorites in the franchise, but I did have quite a great amount of fun with it. I just happen to like a lot more of the films in the franchise more. For more, check out our Blue Beetle review.)
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)
Cathy Yan’s directorial prowess takes flight in Birds of Prey, delivering an electrifying and fresh take on the superhero genre. From the moment the movie opens with Harley Quinn’s irreverent narration, viewers are plunged into a chaotic, neon-drenched Gotham City that pulsates with energy. Yan masterfully weaves together the narratives of the titular anti-heroines, each with her distinct voice and backstory, resulting in a seamless ensemble piece. The film’s pacing is a triumph, effortlessly transitioning between kinetic action sequences and moments of poignant character development.
Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn with unparalleled gusto, embracing the character’s chaotic charm while also exposing her vulnerabilities. The supporting cast shines just as brightly, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead‘s Huntress exuding a brooding intensity and Jurnee Smollett’s Black Canary captivating audiences with her powerful vocals and fierce determination. Ewan McGregor‘s portrayal of the flamboyant yet menacing Black Mask is a revelation, a charismatic antagonist who effortlessly oscillates between charming and sadistic. The film’s exploration of female empowerment and camaraderie is its beating heart, transcending typical superhero fare to deliver a resonant message about solidarity and self-discovery.
Yan’s directorial flair is most evident in the film’s distinctive visual style. The action sequences are a marvel of choreography and creativity, as seen in the thrilling police station brawl set to an infectious pop soundtrack. The use of vibrant colors and unconventional camera angles adds an extra layer of visual excitement to every frame. The film’s non-linear narrative structure, while initially disorienting, gradually weaves a tapestry of interconnected stories that enrich one another. Overall, Birds of Prey is a triumphant celebration of female empowerment, offering a kaleidoscopic and emotionally resonant cinematic experience that stands out as a true gem in the superhero genre.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) Is One Of The Best DCEU Films
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an extraordinary cinematic achievement that brings a new level of depth and grandeur to the superhero genre. The film’s rich mythology, intricately woven narrative, and awe-inspiring visuals combine to create an unforgettable experience for audiences. The story’s historical prologue, set thousands of years in the past, sets the stage for a cosmic struggle that spans millennia. Darkseid’s failed conquest and subsequent quest for redemption are emblematic of the film’s themes of power, redemption, and unity.
The characters are given ample room to breathe and evolve, each with their own compelling arcs that contribute to the larger tapestry of the narrative. The meticulous pacing allows for meaningful character development, especially in the cases of Cyborg and Flash. These metahumans, once seen only through fleeting glimpses, emerge as fully fleshed-out individuals with motivations that resonate deeply. The resurrection of Superman is a monumental moment, capturing the emotional complexity of life, death, and rebirth. The climactic battle against Steppenwolf showcases the true potential of teamwork, beautifully choreographed and underscored by a sense of camaraderie that feels earned.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a triumph of storytelling, character development, and visual artistry.
Visually, Zack Snyder’s distinct directorial style shines through every frame. The film is a visual spectacle that seamlessly blends stunning CGI with practical effects, creating a world that feels both fantastical and grounded. The diverse landscapes, from the Amazonian stronghold to the submerged Atlantean city, are meticulously designed and serve as integral backdrops for the epic conflict. The Snyder Cut’s expanded runtime allows for deeper exploration of these locales, immersing the audience in the rich lore of the DC Universe, making it one of the best DCEU films.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a triumph of storytelling, character development, and visual artistry. It deftly weaves together the threads of its intricate narrative, giving each character their moment to shine while contributing to a grander whole. With its thematic depth and awe-inspiring visuals, this film raises the bar for superhero cinema. Snyder’s vision, fully realized, delivers a cinematic masterpiece that will stand the test of time and leave a lasting impact on the genre.
Another Great DCEU Film Is The Suicide Squad (2021)
James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is a cinematic tour de force that expertly walks the tightrope between exhilarating chaos and unexpected emotional depth. The film introduces audiences to a captivating dual Task Force X narrative, immersing viewers in the whirlwind of espionage and covert missions. Amanda Waller’s recruitment of two separate squads, unbeknownst to each other, sets the stage for a rollercoaster of action and intrigue. The film’s layered storytelling keeps you on your toes, never revealing its hand too soon, and ultimately culminating in a thrilling showdown that will leave you breathless.
At the core of the film’s success lies its cast of misfit characters, each brought to life by exceptional performances. Idris Elba‘s portrayal of Bloodsport adds a complex layer to the antihero archetype, skillfully balancing his gritty exterior with moments of genuine vulnerability tied to his daughter’s fate. The chemistry between John Cena‘s Peacemaker and Sylvester Stallone‘s King Shark offers unexpected comedic relief, seamlessly woven into the fabric of the film. The surprise standout, however, is David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, whose tragic backstory and quirky abilities evoke both empathy and laughter. Margot Robbie’s return as Harley Quinn injects the film with her signature charm and unpredictability, while her subplot takes a satisfyingly unexpected twist.
The Suicide Squad is a remarkable cinematic achievement that surpasses expectations.
Gunn’s directorial prowess shines through in every frame, orchestrating a symphony of action, humor, and character development. The film’s visual style is a vibrant canvas that brings Corto Maltese to life, from the neon-soaked nightlife to the gritty battlefields. The meticulous attention to detail extends to the monstrous antagonist, Starro the Conqueror, a creature of both terror and sympathy. The climactic confrontation, as the squad battles the mind-controlling menace, is a spectacle to behold, perfectly blending high-stakes action with a sense of camaraderie forged through shared hardships.
The Suicide Squad is a remarkable cinematic achievement that surpasses expectations. James Gunn’s deft direction, coupled with a stellar ensemble cast, creates a film that seamlessly navigates between heart-pounding action and genuine emotional resonance. With its intricate plot, unforgettable characters, and masterful execution, this film stands as a testament to the potential of the superhero genre to surprise, entertain, and leave a lasting impact.
The Penultimate Entry Of The DCEU Films Is The Flash (2023)
The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti, delivers an exhilarating and thought-provoking dive into the complexities of time travel and its consequences. The film masterfully explores Barry Allen’s attempt to alter his past and rewrite his personal history. The story opens with a gripping encounter alongside Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince, which serves as a compelling catalyst for Barry’s journey. The emotional depth is palpable as Barry revisits his childhood home, prompting poignant memories and setting the stage for his time-altering endeavor. The film’s central theme of grappling with the repercussions of tampering with time is skillfully woven throughout, making for a captivating narrative foundation.
The intricacies of time travel are portrayed with stunning visual effects that blend seamlessly with the storyline. The moments when Barry navigates his altered timeline and meets his parents in a reality where Nora is alive are particularly breathtaking. The film’s pacing strikes a harmonious balance between high-octane action sequences and introspective character development. The introduction of Kara Zor-El, portrayed with grace by a talented cast member, adds an intriguing layer to the narrative, especially as her tragic backstory is revealed in a heart-wrenching twist.
Undoubtedly, one of the standout elements of this DCEU film is Michael Keaton‘s reprisal of his iconic Batman role. Keaton’s presence injects a nostalgic thrill that resonates deeply with fans of the franchise. His portrayal is a testament to his acting prowess, effortlessly capturing the essence of the Dark Knight while bringing new dimensions to the character. Keaton’s interactions with Barry Allen create a compelling dynamic that fuels the film’s climax.
…An exciting new chapter in the DC Extended Universe.
The Flash delves into the philosophical ramifications of altering time and confronts its characters with the irrevocable nature of certain events. As Barry comes to terms with his past and makes difficult choices, the film presents a profound exploration of identity, sacrifice, and acceptance. Muschietti’s direction, combined with a compelling screenplay and exceptional performances, culminates in a cinematic experience that both honors the source material and paves the way for an exciting new chapter in the DC Extended Universe.
Let me now what your favourite or best DCEU films are in the comments below.