When it comes to cinematic superhero experiences, Marvel has been the king over its chief rival, DC. However, the latter is looking to change its fortunes with the release of The Batman coming soon to theaters.
Looking to expand on the dark world created in Christopher Nolan’s iconic Dark Knight Trilogy, The Batman will find the caped crusader hunting down The Riddler in a dark and gritty film that has Rated-R written all over it. To get you ready for The Dark Knight makes his return to the big screen, here are seven DCEU films you should revisit before flocking to see Batman in all his dark glory.
Birds of Prey
Before you know what ruined the movie experience for everybody, Birds of Prey was supposed to be a blockbuster at the box office for DC in 2020.
With Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn now in the lead role, Birds of Prey found Quinn forming a team to stop the crime lord Roman Sionis and save Cassandra Cain. Robbie is backed by an all-star cast including Rosie Perez, Ewen McGregor, and Mary Elizabeth Winsted plays as Huntress. Birds of Prey is centered in the Batman universe, which should get you in the mood to see the Dark Knight return this year.
Man of Steel
Seeing the massive success Marvel was having with its superhero universe, DC looked to copy that same roadmap to box office success.
The DCEU was launched in 2013 with Man of Steel, which found Henry Cavil stepping into the role of Superman. Man of Steel was a big hit for the DCEU, which pointed the way to the film universe being on par with the MCU. It’s worth re-watching again to see the film’s great action sequencing and darker tone of Superman's story.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Like most of DCEU’s films, the original release of Justice League received mixed reviews, with critics puzzled by the film’s darker tone than that of the MCU’s films (though DC’s superheroes have, as a whole, a gritter tone than Marvel). This is why, to get ready for The Batman, one should revisit Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which added more scenes that put the story together than the theatrical cut.
The Zack Snyder cut proved to be a more interesting film than the theatrical version, and if one plans to re-watch Justice League, the Snyder cut is the one to go with.
After appearing in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, it was only a matter of time before Wonder Woman got her film. It came in 2017, which follows Wonder Woman trying to put a stop to World War 1. Wonder Woman is one of the rare DCEU films to get a positive response from critics and has a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wonder Woman’s financial and critical success is ironic, as the sequel to the film, Wonder Woman 1984, was a mess of a film and was released at the worst time for films, 2020.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bring this film up, and you’ll get a mixed response. Some fans loved it, others were underwhelmed by not going far enough on the premise of Batman and Superman going toe-to-toe to see which one is the greatest DC superhero.
Regardless, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a hit when it was released, and introduced the audience to Wonder Woman, who would get her movie a year later. To get a feel for the universe that Batman resides in the DCEU, this is a film one needs to see. Just don’t let anyone’s opinion cloud the final judgment.
A somber entry into the DCEU, Joker is essential to see just how dark the Batman world has become. In a show-stopping role, Joaquin Phoenix plays Authur Fleck, a down-on-his-luck man who becomes the Joker.
This film, which made over a billion dollars at the box office, was a stark departure from any comic book movie produced as it left the action behind, and instead, focused on the mental decline of a man into one of the comic’s most iconic villains. Sad, terrifying, and hard to watch at times, before you see The Batman, you must watch Joker.
OK, it was a natural course for Aquaman to get his film, but there was still reserved caution about this hero, which gets its powers from the oceans, and how it would mesh in with the rest of the DCEU.
The worry was, in a lot of ways, not warranted, as Aquaman proved to be a better movie than folks thought it would be. It garnered over a billion dollars at the box office and solidified Aquaman as an essential part of the Justice League. While Aquaman may not be nearly as dark as the Batman universe, this is still an essential watch to get one pumped up for the latest entry into the DC Films library.
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