As Marvel continues to push out films that draw audiences like flies, DC struggles to get as many bums in those same theater seats.
The constantly shifting direction of DC’s plans have made the viewing experience of DCEU movies rather complex, particularly when it comes to how each film fits in relation to the rest of the shared DCEU.
But one of the greater aspects of DCEU movies is that once you’re in the seat and ready for what unfolds, you’re sure to witness some of the best opening hooks of any superhero flick.
Here are some of the best DCEU opening scenes and sequences that successfully captured audiences right from the get-go.
7. Suicide Squad (2016)
Though the overall film ended up being quite the disaster, the opening sequence to 2016’s Suicide Squad—which involves the incarcerated villains being fed dinner in Belle Reve—is pure cinematic beauty.
As we meet the three starring members of the upcoming team, we’re introduced to their characters with a blend of fun visuals and music that supports the tone of the performances they’re striking.
In Will Smith’s Deadshot, we find a man pushed by the prison conditions to the point he’s willing to fight even if he knows he’ll lose. In Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, we have a psychologically damaged doctor who’s forced to endure the guards’ abuse.
And in Amanda Waller? Viola Davis imbues her with a lust for power and authority that permeates the screen with cold malice.
6. Man of Steel (2013)
Entirely set on the dying planet of Krypton, Man of Steel’s opening scene gives us Zack Snyder’s reimagined origin story of Superman, in which we see the last days of the doomed civilization.
The whole piece is a thrilling ride through the last hours of Krypton, depicting a world that had advanced beyond its capabilities of sustainability and to the brink of destruction.
While Jor-El steals the codex from Krypton’s core, General Zod attempts to mount an insurrection against the council because he believes that Krypton is due to fall because of their arrogance—a belief that leads him to kill Jor-El as he tries to recover the codex.
But Krypton falls anyway, and Lara Lor-Van watches, knowing that her child is safe. The scene and music reach a crescendo as an entire race is destroyed by the ravaging effects of hubris.
5. Shazam! (2019)
Shazam! felt like a new start for the DCEU, promising a new era of films that were more fun and didn’t take themselves too seriously.
The tone sat somewhere between gothic horror (with Dr. Sivana’s demons) and The Incredibles (with the overall story of Shazam’s discovery of his powers and the fun family dynamics).
We start the film with a young Dr. Sivana sitting in a car with his father and older brother, who are cruel to him for no apparent reason. Then, he’s summoned to the castle of Shazam by the ancient wizard to see if he’s worthy of holding the power.
Of course, Sivana’s mind wanders to the trapped evil in the castle, so Shazam banishes him forever—knowing he can’t hold the power for good—and leaves Sivana to accidentally cause a car accident in the aftermath of his return, crippling his father.
As an opening scene, it was bold and full of flair with a fun visual design that ultimately led into an enjoyable film.
4. Birds of Prey (2020)
Birds of Prey follows the adventures of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and how she finds herself going it alone after a bad breakup with The Joker, all of which is shown in the opening of the film.
In a dramatic change of pace from other DCEU movies, we watch as Harley is thrown out by her “Puddin” and left to fend for herself, while insisting that the breakup was a mutual decision.
Her anger is fun to watch as she’s forced to move into an awful new apartment and cultivate a new lifestyle for herself while dealing with her turmoil. Plus, she’s now considered fair game to her enemies because Joker no longer has an interest in keeping her alive.
3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
As we sat in theaters to—once again—witness the death of Batman’s parents in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, something felt more stylized here than in previous iterations of the iconic event.
Zack Snyder’s take on the death of the Wayne family was a dark look at the world built around the character’s legend from the comic books, and it felt ominous to the inner child watching on.
The funeral only pushed the bold mind of Zack Snyder further towards the audience as a young Bruce Wayne falls into a well, only to rise from it in a moment of abstract filmmaking. From there, we watch as an adult Bruce attempts to get his workers out of their building in Metropolis while Superman and General Zod fight.
This film’s opening sequence served up a bold narrative hook that sadly fell apart after that initial sequence, but it still showcases the power of Superman and the anger of those left behind.
2. The Suicide Squad (2021)
As we watch the team come together again—of course, at the demand of Amanda Waller—and head to Corto Maltese, we have no idea what James Gunn has in mind when that chopper takes off in The Suicide Squad.
As Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Weasel, and various other villains land on the beach, they’re there to invade and kill any enemy that comes before them. Unfortunately, the enemy is waiting for the squad to arrive and proceeds to slaughter them instead.
All within the opening five minutes, numerous team members are viciously taken off the board in a single firefight, which leads to Harley Quinn getting captured and Rick Flag being rescued by rebel forces.
From the outset, the picture highlights James Gunn’s fun in bringing a new tone to proceedings and commandingly showing the audience that anybody is fair game to be killed—apart from Harley, who’s protected by the higher-ups at DC, of course.
1. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
When Zack Snyder got his wish and was granted the opportunity to release his own full cut of Justice League, fans rejoiced! We knew that so much would be different when Snyder truly showed his hand.
The opening sequence showed why his vision for the picture is the one that Warner Brothers should’ve released all along (before they had a panic attack and hired Joss Whedon to do it instead).
When Superman battles Doomsday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he’s killed despite destroying the creature—who manages to let out an almighty scream of pain that awakens the dormant Mother Boxes, which have stayed hidden for thousands of years.
With the Mother Boxes awakened, now is the time for Steppenwolf to collect them. That leads to the battle on Themyscira, where Queen Hippolyta attempts to defend their box from Steppenwolf’s arrival.
Everything about it is epic in scope and scale, vindicating Snyder’s vision for the film that was cruelly treated by Warner Brothers’ executives.