Introduction: The Rise of the DCEU
Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe was quite obviously thrown together haphazardly with the intent to make as much money as possible from the fans. With Zack Snyder originally at the helm, it was not the best that DC and Warner Brothers could offer fans. With each instalment of the franchise, with the exception of Wonder Woman, fans and critics alike were not impressed with the outing of DC’s heroes and anti-heroes. But here we are, less than a fortnight away from Justice League. The road to this movie was long and sometimes riddled with plot-holes and fan-outrage. But everything has been leading to this and we all know it.
The Road to Justice League
Man of Steel
Man of Steel was the first installment of the DCEU. It was the origin story of Superman, also known as Kal-El or Clark Kent. Shown in non-sequential order (which is one of the reasons I suspect that people had a big issue with it), we saw the destruction of Krypton for the hundredth time, Clark being raised by the kindly Kent couple in Kansas, and then his journey of self-discovery. Just as he figured out what he was meant to be, his birth father’s old enemies, General Zod and his minions struck, causing devastation on a massive scale. With the arrival of Superman and General Zod, the Earth of the DCEU was introduced to aliens, or otherworldly beings. They were also introduced to their cities becoming battlefields for practical gods.
The events of Man of Steel directed lead into the events of the next instalment, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
While Man of Steel was not exactly hated completely, having many good parts, just as many bad parts, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a hot mess. This is where you noticed DC and WB really trying to cash in on the box office success that the MCU has since Iron Man. Man of Steel set up the fear and worry over Superman and other powered beings well.
(It was also a Batman origin story).
But the overall convoluted plot to get Batman and Superman to fight each other was quite irritating. This extremely long and arduous movie threw a lot of information at you–from the various cameos of future Justice League members; to hints about Darkseid and Apokolips as a threat, not to mention various untold story lines of the Trinity. How did Lex Luthor even manage this whole thing, outsmarting Batman and Superman, who’s no dummy himself? The heroes were handed idiot balls at the beginning of the movie and held them close until the final battle against Doomsday.
At the end of this movie, someone evil is coming and Bats and Wonder Woman are going to set up a team and protect the world to honour Superman.
In a post-Superman’s death world, the governments are practically falling over themselves to figure out what to do if someone like Zod shows up again and lo and behold, they have no Superman and as far as their concerned Wonder Woman is a myth and Batman is too much of alone wolf. Amanda Waller, of course, had a brilliant (not) idea to recruit the baddies with powers and obvious psychiatric problems as her personal Task Force X.
It went as well as you think, meaning that with the success of the raunicher and rated R Deadpool, Suicide Squad was butchered beyond belief and was generally a terrible movie. Overall, I would argue that Suicide Squad was unnecessary to the DCEU narrative as a whole. In all honesty, it should have been done well after Justice League.
Wonder Woman was the best DCEU movie to date. Notwithstanding the obvious similarities to the MCU’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Diana’s origin story was lovely and just well-done for the most part. Diana’s Godkiller status will probably come into play later, as Darkseid is a New God. However, the room where Wonder Woman’s equipment was stored on Themyscria housed other objects. In the trailers, the Amazons are somehow involved with one of the Mother Boxes, perhaps they were guarding one?
All members of DC’s Trinity were finally established, just in time for Justice League. It also doesn’t hurt that Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is a huge draw for a lot of people to see it.
Justice League is Coming
I’m not going to sugar-coat it but Justice League is probably going to be terrible. The number of reshoots and script rewrites reported over the summer set off alarm bells in the fan community. Sydner did everything, but then Joss Whedon came in just to do the post-production while Sydner deal with family issues. But then he took over and began tearing the movie apart. A product of two-directors my behind. Yes, Whedon directed Avengers, but also its first sequel (Age of Ultron) and tends to write the same character over and over again.
But everything in the past four movies lead to Justice League, for better or worse.
The Future of the DCEU
The success or failure of Justice League will probably either breath new life into the DCEU or kill it horribly. DC and WB already have plans to make movies not set in their DCEU, meaning standalone movies and Elseworld stories. Only viewing the final product will give any indication where the road will lead.