The DC Extended Universe has managed to hook in established directors, such as Zack Snyder, but also helped up and coming directors make their mark.
Warner Bros. has an eye for finding such talented people and it’s only natural that these people have made some other great movies, too. Below are ten great movies from DCEU directors.
1. End of Watch (David Ayer)
Although lead stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena prefer to lend their acting skills to Team Marvel, it’s director David Ayer who really brings this film together.
Gyllenhaal and Pena play two Los Angeles police officers and the film follows their day to day work, whilst showing their friendship.
The emotional moments are touching and the violence often shocking, but Ayer shows us a police thriller rarely seen before.
2. Monster (Patty Jenkins)
Patty Jenkins’ first feature drew critical acclaim.
Monster is a different kind of biopic – it tells the story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
Wuornos was a prostitute who murdered several of her clients over the space of two years, in the late 80s. She was eventually executed in 2002.
Charlize Theron plays the titular ‘monster’ and even won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Although it drew some criticism for humanizing Wuornos, famous film critic Roger Ebert claims Theron’s performance is ‘one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema’.
3. 300 (Zack Snyder)
300 is the perfect action movie. It’s brutal and bloody and often very over-the-top.
But it’s a lot of fun and includes a lot of famous pop culture moments.
Boasting an impressive new visual style and great action, it has all the hallmarks of a Zack Snyder film.
Other than the action, it’s also worth watching for Michael Fassbender and Lena Headey in some of their earlier roles. And it beats any of Snyder’s DC movies.
Also read: DC Live Action Films: Ranking The Top 10
4. Saw (James Wan)
You’ve probably seen Saw. And if you haven’t, you’ve definitely heard of it.
One of horror’s most successful franchises was helmed by Aquaman director, James Wan.
The concept of the film was based on a short that Wan and Leigh Whannell had made together. The first movie is still pretty low-concept but expands on the short significantly.
Cary Elwes and Whannell play two men who wake up trapped in a bathroom.
In the bathroom are a tonne of clues as to their captor and the purpose of their being there and, over the course of the film, the two men are forced to play the deadly Jigsaw Killer’s game.
5. Cloverfield (Matt Reeves)
Even though we have yet to see more than a glimpse of Matt Reeves’ adaptation of DC’s The Batman, we can still enjoy his previous work.
Reeves was in charge of launching the Cloverfield cinematic universe back in 2008.
Utilizing a found-footage style technique, Cloverfield follows a handful of people as they try to escape an alien invasion.
Although featuring a cast of mostly unknowns, Deadpool‘s TJ Miller is the guy who ends up filming the entire event with his handheld camera.
6. Super (James Gunn)
Before tackling The Suicide Squad for DC, James Gunn helped bring a different kind of superhero into the world.
Although it didn’t do particularly well at the box office, Super shows a lot of promise.
Rainn Wilson stars as Frank Darbo, who dons the identity of The Crimson Bolt, in order to rescue his wife from the hands of a drug dealer.
With Ellen Page’s ‘Boltie’ joining him as a sidekick, The Crimson Bolt starts a war even though he has no superpowers. It’s an ultra-violent film but dotted with moments of genuine hilarity.
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7. Unknown (Jaume Collet-Serra)
Jaume Collet-Serra (set to direct the Black Adam movie) and Liam Neeson have teamed up together on several action thrillers.
Unknown is probably one of the most well-known and was released back in 2011.
Neeson plays a professor who, after waking up from a short coma, learns that his identity has been stolen by another man, and not even his wife recognizes him.
His mission is to reclaim his identity, with a little help from Diane Kruger’s Gina.
8. Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan)
Before tackling Birds of Prey this year, Chinese director Cathy Yan had only released one other feature.
Dead Pigs is a dark comedy centering around a bunch of quirky characters, including a salon owner, a busboy, and an architect. Their lives collide when thousands of dead pigs being to float down the river towards Shanghai.
9. Fury (David Ayer)
David Ayer lands another film on this list. The 2014 war film focuses on tank crews, in a rather unique look at the Second World War.
Brad Pitt leads a team that includes Shia LaBeouf and Jon Bernthal, as his crew takes on Nazis during the final weeks of the European side of the war.
Although it’s not quite as emotionally knit as End of Watch, it features much more impactful action.
Ayer captures the grittiness of the war and isn’t afraid to show how it’s changed these soldiers. Even sometimes for the worse.
10. Various Horror Shorts (David F. Sandberg)
Although isolation hasn’t been as productive for some of us as much as we had hoped, Shazam! director, David F. Sandberg hasn’t been wasting any time.
Sandberg rose to attention by directing lots of shorts on YouTube. Most notably, his short Lights Out was adapted into a successful feature film.
Since the COVID outbreak, Sandberg has gone back to his roots and shot a few more horror shorts whilst stuck at home.
Both Shadowed and Not Alone in Here are available to watch on Sandberg’s YouTube channel. They star his wife, Lotta Losten, and his channel also features a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes videos, as well.
You can watch Sandberg’s shorts here: ponysmasher