Justice League comes out this weekend and everyone is excited to catch up with their favorite superheroes and see the payoff for what was set up in Batman v Superman last year. Or at least, they would be if they could remember what happened. We’re four years into the DC Extended Universe, and personally, all of the movies blend together as a jumble of superpowered fights. It’s important to refresh your memory before hopping into something with such backstory. But for a franchise with an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 50%, is there a way to get that backstory without wasting your time on uninteresting movies?
There haven't been that many DCEU films thus far, so as The Joker would say, "Here...We...Go."
Man of Steel (2013) d. Zack Snyder
Superman is introduced here, and Zack Snyder’s overly serious tone is introduced in full force. As with the other Snyder film in this series, the ideas in play here are interesting, but not told very well. Superman wants to blend in, but also compelled to be himself. If only Snyder knew how to communicate those emotions, this movie could be much better. The events of Man of Steel set up the next in the franchise quite a bit, but I’m not sure how important it’ll be for Justice League. If you really want to, this movie is a sensible addition to your marathon, but if you’re just trying to catch up quickly before the weekend leave it out.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) d. Zack Snyder
This one is the closest we come to required viewing. It’s literally the Dawn of the Justice League, introducing Batman and Wonder Woman to Superman, as well as featuring cameos by the rest of the team. The nation at this point is questioning whether having a superhero in their world is a good thing, and I imagine that idea could carry into Justice League. The action in this is really great at points so it really isn’t that difficult to watch.
Suicide Squad (2016) d. David Ayer
There’s almost no reason to watch this one. First of all, there are only a few characters that will carry over into Justice League, and those ones are basically cameos. Second, the movie is...rough. Bad characterizations, poorly structured, and a forgettable plot makes this whole thing extremely skippable.
Wonder Woman (2017) d. Patty Jenkins
This also seems unimportant to JL, but always worth watching. It’s freed from the idea that DCEU has to be dark and gloomy. After watching two Zack Snyder movies, this is a healthy breath of fresh air from rest of the testosterone-heavy franchise. Beyond that, it seems like there will be a decent amount of carry over into Justice League. Diana will obviously be in both, but so will a few of the Amazons. This movie is hands down the best of the franchise so far, and a nice picture into what a more capable director could have done with the properties.
So there we have it, our marathon list:
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
It’s a short one, but that might be for the best. If you have some spare time, you can add Man of Steel, or even some other DC Superhero movies. The Nolan Trilogy is always great, and the animated Justice League films are seriously great superhero stories.
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