So what do folks think of this franchise?
It doesn't follow the mainstream taste, but personally I loved Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I think BvS is one of the most remarkable films ever made, honestly. Both those films challenged assumptions. They followed the same project as Watchmen of asking the following: if superheroes actually existed in the real world that you an I inhabit, would that truly be a good thing? Is that something we would actually even want?
In traditonal superhero mythology (both comics and film) the automatic assumption is yes, of course. We would want for superheroes to be real. But in the real world it would not play out that way so clearly and cleanly. It would be as divisive an issue as BvS is as a film, actually,
And yes, of course there are fantastic elements to such a grounded and realistic approach that we would also have to willingly suspend disbelief for. But for example, with Superman being an extraterrestrial with godlike powers, that is something we can conceive of as existing in our real world without tremendous mental gymnastics. At least I believe most people can.
Suicide Squad might have been a lot better as originally conceived and filmed during principal photography. (With just one scene added at the end of the film I think it could even have been a great movie, if anyone is interested I will gladly explain.) This film suffered from studio intervention, as BvS did with the truncated theater release.
The debacle that was Justice League... I don't even now where to begin. But I do believe that we'll get the recently confirmed (by Zack Snyder himself) 3:34 Snyder cut eventually.
The films that are just safe, mainstream lighthearted fun, don't appeal to me as much. I liked Aquaman well enough for the visual spectacle and likability of Mamoa's burly take on the character. But as a story in itself Aquaman just didn't stick with me the way that MoS and BvS do. It was more like fast food empty calories versus a meal that stuck to my ribs and had a unique, memorable flavor profile.
Wonder Woman was very good but I think a bit overrated, honestly. Final battle was a bit of a disappointment. But overall it's well made and engaging.
I appreciate why Shazam was made. It's part of a 'big tent' strategy to make a wide variety of different styles within the 'Worlds of DC'. I am not Shazam's target audience to begin with, etc. But I really didn't enjoy it that much. Movies that 'wear the fact that it's a comic book movie on their sleeve', as I has seen Shazam accurately described, I don't really get into.
I'm looking forward to Joker and Birds of Prey because they're more clearly arthouse films, and that's the sort of thing I like best for this genre.
My personal ranking (just my own personal taste, not objectively):
1. BvS (UE)
4. Wonder Woman
5. Suicide Squad
7. Justice League (theater release)