"Justice League" hits theaters Friday, and for the first time ever, we’re going to see DC's version of the Avengers together. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg hope to make the worth it. And to help pass the time until the movie comes out, here are nine films that are essential viewing before you see this blockbuster.
'Superman: The Movie' (1978)
For years, the 1978 original was the defining version of the character. It’s a little dated now, but it has lost none of it’s heart and charm. Fun fact: Bruce Jenner auditioned for the role and John Wayne’s son, Patrick, was originally cast in the role but dropped out when his father got sick.
'The Dark Knight' (2008)
Like anyone ever needs an excuse to rewatch this modern classic. #WhySoSerious.
'Wonder Woman' (2009)
Wonder Woman's underrated 2009 animated film is loosely based on George Perez’s reboot of the character. Here, we get a different, yet complimentary take on Diana’s meeting with Steve Trevor, her defiance of her mother when she helps him and goes to Man’s World, and her battle with Ares. Wonder Woman is voiced by a crazy-good Keri Russell, and Steve is played by fan-favorite Nathan Fillion.
'Man of Steel' (2013)
"Man of Steel" kicked off the new DCU, or DCEU, whatever you wanna call it. The film is a darker look at the origins of Superman, thanks to executive producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder. For better or worse, this impressive but flawed blockbuster took DC's big screen heroes down the problematic path audiences have been watching on screen.
'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' (2016)
This "Man of Steel" follow-up is a knee-jerk reaction to Marvel's success with team-up film "The Avengers." Ben Affleck's Batman is arguably (read: definitely) the best thing about this pitch-black, murder-filled misfire that gives fans only nine minutes of that which they've waited years to see -- Batman fighting Superman. Fans were split in their reactions to the film, but whatever side you fall on, "BvS" is must-see for fans.
'Justice League: The New Frontier' (2008)
This animated hit, based on the popular comic, is set shortly after the Korean War where we meet Hal Jordan, Barry Allen Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman. Though it’s not as epic as the live-action film appears to be, watching it is key to get a sense of how these heroes work together.
'Justice League: War' (2014)
This 2014 animated film is a largely entertaining adaptation of “Justice League: Origin” by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, the first story in the 2011 DC relaunch. It deals with the formation of the Justice League (though this version has Green Lantern and Shazam instead of Aquaman) and their struggle to stop Darkseid from invading Earth. Lots of kick-punching ensues.
'Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox' (2011)
The Flash's potential solo movie, currently referred to as "Flashpoint," could forever change things in the DCEU. Expect the live-action film to follow some of the plot of this animated effort, based on the comic crossover by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert. The timeline gets reset, and The Flash and Batman's lives are forever altered by this action-packed film.
'Wonder Woman' (2017)
After 75 years, Wonder Woman has her own solo film. It's about damned time. This summer blockbuster is a natural segue into the events taking place in "JL." Thankfully, this comic book movie is endlessly rewatchable.