In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
by Chris Morris
My Essay on the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe
Part One of Four – Keeping it Positive!
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. have been slow to get to the starting gate but now have entered the race to see who is better at adapting their comic book universes. Marvel has quite the lead but DC/WB a while back released their (tentative) schedule for the next five years worth of super hero films. It all began with Man of Steel (released 6/14/13) and about fourteen months from now, we will see the follow up to that. Three years in between MoS and it’s follow up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – enjoy that break now because once the cameras roll on these movies, they are coming fast; there will be two DC/WB releases each year starting in 2016. Here are the release dates so far (of course, these are way subject to change):
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (3/25/16)
Suicide Squad (8/5/16)
Wonder Woman (6/23/17)
Justice League Part One (11/17/17)
The Flash (3/23/18)
Justice League Part Two (6/14/19)
Green Lantern (6/19/20)
Combine these with Marvel Studios’ releases of their Phase Three movies (wow, Marvel will be in Phase Three already), Sony’s Spiderman franchise continuing in some form (the series will shift focus to Aunt May, I hear is the latest gossip), Fox’s X-Men presumably getting younger and younger (X-Babies anyone?) as well as Fantastic Four’s sequels (presuming this year’s FF movie doesn’t bomb), plus any and every other comic book that HASN’T already been adapted into a film, that’s ALOT of capes and tights. Er, rubber. Er, latex. Whatever. But for now let’s focus on DC/WB.
Full disclosure: I have been a DC Comics fan all my life. Not so much Marvel. I’ve always respected Marvel and it’s characters, but the DC Universe was where my imagination soared. I’ve lived through the last part of the Silver Age of DC Comics and into the Bronze Age. As a cranky old fart of a comic book fan, don’t even mention the New 52 to me; not interested. Bring back Oracle, a stalky Amanda Waller and the BWAHAHA era of the Justice League if you ask me. So that’s where I’m coming from when I write this article.
Now let’s get to the meat of it all…this is Part One of Four. These are the gist of all four parts…Parts Two through Four will be released soon after…
1) What have DC/WB done right so far?
2) What have DC/WB done wrong so far?
3) How can they copy Marvel’s success while being unique at the same time?
4) What should they not be afraid to copy from Marvel?
Now let’s get to Part One…”Keeping it Positive!”
AKA “Will I Get Kicked off the Internet for this?” To be safe, mad sarcasm has been added just in case. I don’t want my Internet “Snark Card” taken away…
1) What have DC/WB done right so far?
-They’ve named the top ‘stars’ of DC Comics and they’ve included Wonder Woman, saying that getting her right is a priority (even though they haven’t technically green lit the WW movie yet, they are waiting on reading the six commissioned scripts and deciding which one is best, if they even get a good one back, as writing WW is just soooo hard <eye roll>…)
-They started the shared universe with Superman, the man who started it all, the entire super hero genre, back in 1938 (although that’s only because Green Lantern bombed so bad we’re supposed to forget it happened). It started with the big red “S” there and should here too…
-They have chosen a tone that they apparently are sticking with: somber, dark, gritty, no humour (unless you count unintentional humour). Now, this would be great if every DC/WB film ends up being “The Dark Knight”, but let’s get serious…even Christopher Nolan couldn’t keep the creative momentum going for “Dark Knight Rises”, which seemed like it was written over a long weekend…but they have chosen a theme and are keeping with it, so we have to give them credit for that…
-Visually spectacular battle scenes (although with as little dialogue as possible) with higher and higher stakes (1/3 of Metropolis was destroyed in Man of Steel and presumably thousands of people died).
– Those big battle scenes, if one is to believe the rumors, will have consequences. That’s one thing that’s always bothered me about those big scenes where buildings fall like dominos. Who cleans that stuff up? Who pays for it? And why don’t the people hate the superheroes for always messing up their city? Hopefully Batman v Superman will address this, again, as is rumoured.
– Speaking of consequences, DC/WB movies (at least in the past) have had consequences, something the Marvel movies lack. Bucky Barnes, Phil Coulson even Nick Fury have all come back to life after ‘dying.’ The attack on New York in The Avengers made it seem like no one died even with all those buildings falling and Hulk “Smashing.” And as mentioned before, it looks like more civilians died in MoS than all the Marvel movies combined. So if anything, future DC/WB movies will definitely have more at stake…they have to justify “Sad Batman” after all…
– Their “heroes” will live in a modern world and be very cynical, so we can ‘relate’ to them, as opposed to Marvel’s attitude of not taking themselves too seriously and making jokes and being heroes and junk. I’m serious about this. Part of me thinks this grim and gritty attitude coming out of these DC/WB movies are some kind of therapy for the filmmakers after all the crap they take on the internet. In today’s ‘real world’, if a man in a cape flew around saving cats out of trees, he’d have so many gifs and memes made about him in record time that if he had a Facebook account, he’d be just as conflicted as Henry Cavill’s Kal-El.
– DC/WB know they are late to the party and are bringing out their two big guns, Superman and Batman, in one movie, something they could have waited for and built to but are going for a Hail Mary to try to get the score a little closer. Putting Wonder Woman in the same movie, though, that’s another story…(see part #2)
– The casting of Jason Mamoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, and the signing The Rock for the Shazam franchise are all good signs. Mamoa and Miller are signs they aren’t necessarily slaves to the material and are willing to play with people’s expectations. Hiring Jesse Eisenberg to play Lex Luthor is definitely ‘outside the box’ thinking. This could also be bad…(see part #2)
– Man of Steel made more at the box office than Iron Man ($668 million vs. $585 million), the film Marvel Studios used to launch their shared universe.
– DC/WB ‘stole’ San Diego Comic Con 2013 by announcing Batman v Superman
– DC/WB arguably ‘stole’ San Diego Comic Con again in 2014 by having Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Godot come out and wave to the fans during a DC/WB panel. Maybe they can ‘steal’ 2015 San Diego Comic Con there will be…more? Not just footage from Batman v Superman but Suicide Squad as well?
– DC/WB’s marketing department has done great work when drumming up excitement for their films. Starting with the Nolan Batman films and after the “You are not alone” campaign leading into MoS, we can look forward to some cool gimmicks in 2016 leading to BvS. I’m sure even my cynical heart will grow a few sizes larger after they start laying trailers on us with Batman nailing a punch on Superman’s jaw, or maybe Wonder Woman and Superman fighting, or all three together fighting Doomsday (if the rumors are true). I’m sure it will all LOOK cool. I remember being very excited about MoS, until I actually watched it…so those DC/WB people definitely know how to market a film…
– the announcement of Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, was a great follow up move to Batman v Superman, especially if it leads to giving the DC/WB villains a place to shine. I am more excited about this than any other film on the schedule, even Justice League Part One and Two (probably because I anticipate being disappointed by those films). And then that will hopefully lead to a confrontation between SS and the Justice League down the line. And hopefully sooner that we’re going to get that Avengers vs. Thanos fight that’s been teased forever…
…so that’s it for the “Positive” stuff. There might be more I can think of and if so I could add them later. Please feel free to add your own in the comment section below or tell me personally on twitter @trilogycomesin3
Next time it’s Part Two “What have DC/WB done wrong so far?” I will definitely earn some extra Internet Snark points for this one…