We’re not gonna sugarcoat this: Justice League wasn’t great. The worst opening grosses for a DC Extended Universe movie to date, crappy reviews, and a B+ Cinemascore (although that’s an improvement from Batman v Superman’s B); it all adds up to a major disappointment for Warner Bros. and DC fans hoping that their franchise was on an upswing after the exciting and inspiring Wonder Woman. Nope; no such luck.

But let’s look on the bright side. Justice League might not have delivered in total, but it had glimmers here and there that could make you hopeful about the future. Rather than dwell on the negative stuff (like, say, its CGI villain who looks like he was spliced into the movie before the computers finished rendering his effects) let’s accentuate the positive. Because more DCEU movies are coming no matter what. We might as well find things to be optimistic about. Here’s five solid reasons:

1. Aquaman! (YEAYUHH!)

There just wasn’t enough time in an under-two-hour movie to fully service all six members of the League, particularly since three of them hadn’t gotten their own showcase films yet. But even in limited scenes, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman made a big impression. Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon’s conception of Aquaman as a charmingly loutish warrior has very little basis in any of the comic-book versions of the character; Momoa made it work anyway. Even if his backstory, origin, and relationship to Mera were all murky in Justice League, there should be plenty of time in Aquaman’s solo film to soak in the details. Plus James Wan is directing it and he is a better filmmaker than Snyder or Whedon. So it could be great. My man! — Matt Singer

2. Patty Jenkins will be back for Wonder Woman 2

Warner Bros.

You don’t need Cyborg’s super computer brain to tell you that Wonder Woman is the best DCEU movie to date — by far. Patty Jenkins delivered a superhero origin story that felt like a breath of fresh Amazonian air in a cinematic landscape populated with comic book movies directed by men. Not only did she show us the value of the female gaze, she gave Gal Gadot’s Diana a worthy hero’s journey filled with love and loss. Although hindered somewhat by the usual third-act villain problems that plague many superhero films, Wonder Woman had plenty of smart, sharp moments that more than made up for it — all of which is to say: Hell yes we are 100 percent on board with a Wonder Woman sequel. She’s pretty much the only perfect character in the DCEU, and as her solo movie proved, if anyone can save a bunch of dumb dudes, it’s Diana of Themyscira. — Britt Hayes

3. Ben Affleck may not show up for The Batman - but Matt Reeves will

Warner Bros.

After insisting the Batman was the “coolest job in the universe,” and he wasn’t leaving the DCEU at Comic-Con, Ben Affleck used to the Justice League press tour to reveal he was looking for a “graceful and cool way to segue out” of his cape and cowl. (Affleck sounds like a guy who’s been playing the Dark Knight for 15 years; it’s barely been 15 months!) In any event, good riddance. I wasn’t opposed to Affleck taking the role, but he’s brought very little to the role; based on the far-off souldead look in his eye in a lot of Justice League, he may have been thinking about his graceful and cool segue out long before the junket. That’s why I welcome a new Batman (and if the Jake Gyllenhaal rumor is true, I welcome that too) and a new Batman Director: Matt Reeves whose Planet of the Apes movies are some of the smartest blockbusters of recent years. If anyone can deliver a Batman movie that’s dark and intense without being overly grim or depressing, it’s him. — MS

4. We love Ezra Miller’s Flash

Warner Bros.

Ezra Miller is a human charisma machine. You can cast him as just about anyone in almost any movie and you’re guaranteed to have a great time. With intense dramatic chops, angular and androgynous looks, and stellar comedic timing, his quippy (and zippy!) take on Barry Allen was one of the highlights of Justice League — along with Momoa, he transformed a somewhat-serious superhero ensemble into an occasionally funny film. Although the Flash’s solo movie is still in limbo after losing a couple of directors (including Dope’s Rick Famuyiwa), what Warner Bros. has on deck so far is promising. And by “what” I actually mean “who”: Miller, of course, and the great Billy Crudup, whose Papa Allen showed up briefly in Justice League. — BH

5. Two words: The Rock


The DC Extended Universe may look down, but it hasn’t even unleashed its secret weapon yet: Dwayne Johnson, who will co-star in the upcoming Shazam movie as Black Adam, the super-powered antagonist of the title character. Johnson once proclaimed himself “Franchise Viagra” and rightfully so; he has revitalized several troubled series by joining their casts midstream. Not all of his attempted sequel resuscitations have been successful (G.I. Joe: Retaliation retaliated against the audience by never getting another sequel) but he has a surprisingly good track record at this sort of thing. His burly, eyebrow-raising presence could be just the shot in the arm this cinematic universe needs. — MS

Gallery - The Best and Worst Comic-Book Post-Credits Scenes: