I Watched: The DCEU (part 2)

Justice League – The first proper group movie where the heroes intentionally come together. It’s a fairly slow film where everything needs explaining and everyone needs to be recruited, this could have been improved with some origin films first. There are some decent action scenes though. The villain is a characterless dominator who’s just there to be a threat, his motivation is service to a more powerful character that isn’t introduced yet. Wonder Woman explains pretty much all the lore that matters at this point in one conversation and the idea is that once Superman is gone, other powers will come into play. It’s not a great or terrible film, it’s just uniting the characters and letting us know that Green Lantern and some other heroes will eventually join. It works as part of the series. A post credit scene does show Lex Luthor and Deathstroke discussing starting a league of their own.

Aquaman – This movie starts out pretty slow, establishing the story of Aquaman’s parents, Aquaman in his childhood and setting up Black Manta and Orm (Aquaman’s brother) as villains. As it progresses it picks up pace and the heroes become more important. Aquaman himself is a lumbering meat-head pretty much all the way through the film, an idiot who doesn’t really have much power other than being Dr Dolittle of the sea and having a bit of strength. His real character comes out when irritating his female ally, Mera. Mera is somehow better than Aquaman which is probably just a writing problem as she gets all the water power, the sweetness of being fascinated with the human world and even being the daughter of the one person who could have stopped Orm from rising. Black Manta is a waste of time, he’s a minor hurdle for the heroes but gets so much set up, he’s just there to set up a sequel and I wish they hadn’t bothered. Orm is doing a brotherly rivalry for kingship which they need to be careful with going forward because it could look like copying MCU’s Loki. There’s a decent battle at the end and it’s an average film overall.

Shazam – The DCEU’s most family friendly film yet, and it’s a Christmas movie. It starts with a scene of a sad little boy in a car who gets taken to another dimension where a wizard tests him and decides he’s not good enough, then we jump forward in time to another boy who the story focuses on. It was a confusing start but it explained the lore of wizard versus demons well enough and set up motivation for the villain. The rest of the movie is all about finding family where you’re comfortable, slowly learning to be a hero and obviously taking on the big bad whose powers come from the seven deadly sins. It may be DC but it never goes too dark, it is about kids after all, kids who’re sort of relatable to real children who like superheroes which makes them more believable. It’s a funny, heartwarming film where everyone is just trying to find their place, it probably won’t be the best of the DCEU but it’s one of the better ones so far.

Birds Of Prey – The film with the stupidly long name if written in full. A girl power movie covered in pink and sparkles that’s actually surprisingly good. It’s mostly about Harley Quinn, her life journey of what happened after she split with the Joker and what happened next. The narration by Harley as she tells her story is spot on, she’s quite charming and likeable as a character and for a while the order of the film is a bit messed up and weird but it works strangely well. The other female heroes get explained quite well but the focus is clearly Harley. Black Mask and Szasz are the villains but neither of them really stand out. It’s odd that neither Batman or Joker get a cameo with a new gangster rising in Gotham but that keeps it about the girls. And Black Mask’s death is so good. A surprisingly good, fun, silly film that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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