Sunday, March 19, 2023

Rankings: the DC Extended Universe [Updated 3/19/23]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do nearly enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the thirteen released DC Extended Universe films as determined by every African-American staff member at LTC.

13. Suicide Squad 3.8/10 Suicide Squad and Fantastic Four (2015) share the dubious distinction as the only modern superhero films that I have not watched a second time. Suicide Squad wins the award for the Best Trailer-Worst Movie combo. I've rarely cared so little for characters or a story. In case you forgot: 1) civilians became putties from Power Rangers; 2) the mission/B villain was Waller; 3) the actual villains were a temporary team member and weird guy you forgot; 4) someone important died immediately; 5) only the marquee names mattered--Robbie, Smith, Leto, Davis--the other 18,000 cast members became background; 6) except for Diablo who could have been cool, if the filmmakers knew anything about storytelling or character development. This movie sucked.

12. Birds of Prey 5.3/10 The world's first big budget woman-powered 80s-action movie got released in 2020. And it would have been cool if they leaned into the ridiculous cheesiness of this thing. But if felt like they took themselves seriously. They also apparently live in the same world, universe, DCEU as Superman, Batman, Shazam . . . . It doesn't feel like these movies, characters, and actors could share an egg sandwich, much less a planet. I don't know how DC Films can look at Marvel Studios stuff and keep cranking out crap. 

11. Shazam! 5.4/10 Arya Stark is super cute in this, and perfect in the role. But whycome a really mature 14-year-old would magic into a 30-year-old with the mind of a 10-year-old? For all of the color, and humor, and action, it's kind of obvious and snooze-festy. Maybe Disney should make DC movies.

Photo: DC/Warner. Bros
10. Wonder Woman 1984 5.4/10 It's always a bad sign when the audience only gets excited for the mid-credits scene. At the end of the film a dude stood in the front of the theatre, turned around, looked at all of us, shrugged, then spread his arms like a dying Christ, but clearly communicating: "well they tried." Patty Jenkins seemed so confident all year; I believed in her. Even ignoring the . . . conceit? of the whole film, everything happens . . . because the film needs or wants it to happen. It's a mess. DC sucks at live-action movies.

9. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice 5.5/10
 The longer cut is better. Basically, they attempted to make an intelligent, dark, and gritty film. They failed. You never attempt to do a thing. You're intelligent or you're not. You can't feign intelligence, you'll look like a fool, i.e. this film.

8. Aquaman 5.9/10 It was fun, but lacked heart and soul. They got so much right--BLACK MANTA, Ocean Master, the visuals and use of tech/science and magic. And after all of that, I could've had a V8.

7. Black Adam 5.9/10 In no universe could the People's Eyebrow do this character justice. But this was unique. It was entertaining. They may have gotten the power levels right. And that obvious end-credit cameo was as good as they get.

6. The Suicide Squad 6/10 The MCU had sex with a made-for-TV-movie, and nine months later I saw The Suicide Squad. This is much, much, better than that awful first attempt.  But if you want to see the real Suicide Squad, the real Task Force X, watch the fourth episode of the second season of Justice League Unlimited OR Batman: Assault on Arkham, OR Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay.

5. Wonder Woman 6.5/10 PERFECTION right through the complete obliteration of that long-held German line. Beyond that, the film fizzles. Steve Trevors' motley crew didn't humor, scare, endear, or anything. And Steve dulled much of Diana's shine. Aries did not impress, in appearance, performance, or overall villainy. Wonder Woman, and all of Themyscira, saved what was otherwise a mediocre film.

4. Justice League 6.9/10 I don't get the hate. I somewhat loved this film. Like Thor 2: The Dark World, my only complaint is that it's too short. There's too much to get done in such a small amount of time. But considering the limitations provided, they got EVERYTHING right. EVERYTHING. (maybe I didn't like blaxploitation Aquaman, but everything else) UPDATE: after seeing this four times, I am looking forward to The Snyder Cut.

3. Shazam: Fury of the Gods 7.5/10 I know. I don't get it either. This was supposed to be awful. It was supposed to be the end of the worst chapter in film history. But somehow, it's a really, really good start. How could anyone possibly make a family of children with Superman's powers interesting? They did it. I don't what to say. This movie was supposed to be awful. But I enjoyed almost every second of it. Even if you hate it, trust me, they could not have done better with these characters in these two worlds. And again, here, the end credit scenes really matter. 

2. Man of Steel 8/10 Here's the deal, you want your Superman to be a corny-ass Boy Scout. I guess I have to respect that. But I think I like the DCEU Superman because he relays that a person that isn't perfect, that makes mistakes, that gets angry, that looks a little rough, can still be a hero. This is me as Superman. It's every minority, most women, people with disabilities, people with criminal records, people who made a mistake--we still have value. We too can still save the world.

1. Zack Snyder's Justice League 8.7/10 TL; DR, the Movie. Almost Avenger's-level excellence. Snyder proved his point. All of his trademark annoying touches are there. But he's a damn good storyteller and filmmaker. This movie is by far the best of the DCEU. This story needs to continue. Thank you.


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