Yes, Jimmy Olsen was in the DCEU. But since knowing this is dependent on whether you’ve seen the extended director’s cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or just the theatrical one belies what a bizarrely random choice it was to make Jimmy, Superman‘s Pal, be the guy who took a bullet to the face in the movie’s first 1o minutes. He’s the cameraman who turns out to be a CIA agent tagging along with Lois Lane in a fictional African nation. Which means screenwriters Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder went out of their way to include the Olsen kid all so they could blow his brains out inside of a Metropolis minute. It’s so fascinatingly pointless a creative endeavor that it almost seems clever. Almost.

Unlike Superman’s best friend, we got to spend plenty of time with his greatest nemesis in Batman v Superman. And at least on paper, it seemed like a welcome reimagining of the character. At last Lex would be the brilliant and evil CEO making the world a worse place instead of just a buffoon. Well, Jesse Eisenberg’s Luthor is an evil CEO and (allegedly) brilliant, but he’s still a buffoon. He was obviously cast because Eisenberg was so disturbing in The Social Network, but Snyder and Terrio nonetheless guided the performance closer toward the realm of camp than anything Gene Hackman ever did. Frankly, Eisenberg’s Lex would be as much at home in Joel Schumacher’s Gotham City as he is Snyder’s.

When Hippolyta appeared in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, she was magnificent. By providing a convincing regal air, Connie Nielsen brought more than an implicit Gladiator connection to the part. Unfortunately, Nielsen’s last scene in the movie is Hippolyta bidding farewell to her daughter, Wonder Woman, and acting like she’ll never see the child again… and then she didn’t? The scene obviously sets up the two being reunited at some point down the road, and the audience is left to wonder what Hippolyta would make of who Diana became in the world of man–one might even ponder if the Queen of the Amazons and her retinue might be convinced to return to that world–but we’ll never know, because other than flashback cameos in a few other flicks, we never really saw Hippolyta again.

It might not be fair to say King Shark was totally wasted. The man-eating, walking, talking anthropomorphic great white shark was, after all, pretty great in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Voiced by Sylvester Stallone as essentially a sadder, more violent version of O.G. Groot thanks to Gunn’s writing and direction, King Shark was comic relief, but the really funny kind that seemed destined to be expanded upon. Alas, Gunn himself has confirmed there are no plans for further Suicide Squad movies, so it would seem we only got a nibble of the King’s greatness.

It turns out Zack Snyder was right. Between the two versions of Justice League, the better one features Jack Kirby’s seething space dictator sitting in a chair, dictating his plans, and scowling ominously. It ain’t much, but it’s better than only watching his middle management underling fight the League. Still, the film conceptually suffers from what made the similar Thanos also pretty ineffective before Infinity War: He’s the bad guy waiting in the wings for a sequel. One that, in Darkseid’s case, never came about.

Granted, this is the same dynamic between Darth Vader and the Emperor in the original Star Wars trilogy, but even in those flicks, George Lucas never felt bothered to emphasize the menace of the Emperor until two-thirds through the trilogy. He knew he needed to make Vader such a great villain that audiences would be eager to see who ruled over even him. By contrast, Darkseid is a guy who sits in a chair for four hours and then sets up a sequel by… standing up.

 With the DC Extended Universe seemingly in its last days, we look back at what might’ve been.  Read More