dc slate

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
by Chris Morris

My Essay on the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe
Part Three of Four – How can they copy Marvel’s success while being unique at the same time?

These are my opinions, my humble opinions in fact, on the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe. In Part One I tried keeping it positive, Part Two I got nasty, Part Three I get constructive, yeah that’s it, constructive…

This series of four articles will be broken down like this…

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?

and now Part 3 (you can visit Part One, right here and also, Part Two, right here!)

3) How can they copy Marvel’s success while being unique at the same time?

– WB can hire movie stars. Marvel makes their movies on the cheap and low ball their stars, at first. Robert Downey Jr is now making $50 million per Marvel movie he makes (or more perhaps), but he didn’t make that for the first Iron Man. Terrence Howard was the highest name on the payroll for that movie and see what that got him? Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt were all un-proven stars when hired by Marvel. WB can load up on star power. Hiring Russell Crowe to play Jor-El, The Rock to play Black Adam, for instance. Jared Leto is The Joker. It was too bad they couldn’t have closed the deal to get Oprah Winfrey to play Amanda Waller, cause that would have been cool (although Viola Davis, in reality, is a way better choice). Matthew McConaughey, Denzel Washington, Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Karl Urban, Ryan Gosling, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm, Idris Elba…I mean, I still can’t believe they got Will Smith to play Deadshot of all people…why not Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise?

Amanda_Waller_600– have super heroes in each other films. Marvel seems to be coming along with this way of thinking, with Iron Man set to co-star in Captain America: Civil War. But think about it, when Thor was ripping up London in Thor 2, didn’t you wonder why Iron Man didn’t show up? When Cap, Falcon and Black Widow where fighting Hydra at the end of Winter Solider, where was the Hulk? Now imagine a Flash movie where the entire first 30 minutes is dedicated to a Flash vs. Superman race, with Green Lantern there using his ring to construct a green Hot Wheels-like race track, and then along comes some bad guys and the three of them have to take them down. Or Batman going to Oa and meeting the Green Lantern Corps. Or Themyscira is under attack and Aquaman leads a calvary of Atlantean forces to help sway the tide of battle, so to speak. How about a live action version of “For the Man Who has Everything…”? Maybe that would take away the specialness of the team up Justice League movie, but I doubt it. Every movie has to have something in it that makes you go “Wow”, which will be increasingly hard to do after all these Avengers/X-Men/Spiderman/Nolan-Batman movies and rather than just adding more explosions, bring to life classic comic book team ups, a DC comics staple…which leads to…

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– have specific team up movies. DC/WB is about to release a Batman-Superman team up movie. While it’s a bit early in the run, I do like that concept. Why not a Green Lantern/Flash team up movie? They could play off each other, talk about being superheroes, having secret identities, team up to fight the bad guy(s), establish their own friendship away from the team. Why not have a Wonder Woman/Aquaman team up movie? Especially if, unlike Marvel, DC/WB don’t seem to have the confidence that a WW or an Aquaman movie are sure home runs, then split the difference and have them team up in one movie, double the star power and, again, it’s different from Marvel. Back in the day people would by World’s Finest or Action Comics (team-up comics) specifically because that way they would get more heroes for their dime. Maybe people would be more likely to spend ten dollars for a movie ticket with two superheroes in it rather than just one…

– serialize the films. Now this will seem similar to what Marvel is doing, but if you think about it, each Marvel film is it’s own film, but with a scene tacked onto the end of the credits that leads to the next film. Sure, it helped when, going to see The Avengers, you had already seen Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, but what if you had just seen Iron Man, Cap and Thor? Or you saw Thor THEN Iron Man, then Cap. Would that be so terrible? Having the DC/WB movies serialized will make movies more like TV and will make each movie that much more important, leading to the Justice League team up movie. Maybe, once the Suicide Squad is introduced, each movie after that has the hero fighting the Squad, a different Squad each time but lead by Amanda Waller and Rick Flag each time until finally the Justice League movie is the JL vs. The Squad once and for all. That might not be the best example but you know what I mean, right?

Suicide_Squad_0024

– have women and minorities play major roles. As much as I love The Avengers, I watched it the other day and couldn’t help but think “Wow, that’s a lot of white dudes.” Sure Nick Fury was in charge, and Black Widow and Maria Hill played important roles, and there is Rhodey and Falcon in the background, but other than Captain Marvel (who we assume will be played by a woman, has Marvel even confirmed this?) and Black Panther, upcoming Marvel releases are Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, more Thor and Cap…all white dudes. DC/WB has Wonder Woman and admittedly after that there is a drop off.

And if they want to keep Superman and Batman special, that means no Supergirl or Batgirl or Batwoman movies. Female members of the JL include Zatanna, Hawkgirl/woman, Black Canary, Huntress, Power Girl, Vixen, Fire & Ice…wouldn’t Star Girl (and STRIPE) make a great movie, aimed at teenaged girls?

Stars_&_STRIPE

 

How about a romantic epic film with Hawkgirl/woman as the main character as she is chased by Hawkman who says they have been reincarnated as lovers many times over centuries, and she finds that hard to believe? But that would be the romantic SUB-PLOT, whereas the A-Plot would be Shayera investigating Thanagarian spies on Earth and kicking ass (or something like that).

They’ve included Cyborg in the overall plan, next step would be to include the John Stewart Green Lantern and forget about Ryan Reynolds’ Hal Jordan completely. Oracle and her wheelchair were discarded in the New 52 but still plays a large part in the Batman: Arkham video game series so she has more mainstream appeal now potentially then she did the entire time she was in the Birds of Prey comics. The Rock is half-black, half-Samoan. Jason Mamoa is Hawaiian. Ezra Miller has come out as, in his own words “queer.” DC/WB has already launched Arrow and Flash with very strong, racially diverse casts backing up their white dude leading men, along with some very strong women as well, and even a few LGBT characters. The DC/WB movie execs should watch them and learn. Speaking of that…

– learn from their strongest areas (comics, animation, TV). The best “brought to life” Batman/Superman/Justice League stories have all been part of the animated Bruce Timm-verse. Has Zack Snyder seen the Justice League Unlimited TV show? Or watched the Wonder Woman animated movie? David S. Goyer is for sure aware of DC’s TV properties, as he’s tried to get his own projects made, but does he watch Arrow, or Flash, who are arguably producing some of the best TV out there these days? The new Batman: Arkahm Assault movie that starred the Suicide Squad (it was more a Deadshot/Harley Quinn/Amanda Waller/Joker movie than it was a Batman movie) could be translated into live action seamlessly. The brand new Justice League: Throne of Atlantis features a great Aquaman origin story. Zack Snyder knows about Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, we know that for sure, but does he ‘get it”? Why not bring in Bruce Timm to be the DC/WB version of Kevin Feige? Now that might just be too good an idea to come true…sigh!

That’s all I can think of, for now. Anything I missed? If so add it in the comments section…

Next time it’s Part Four: What should they not be afraid to copy from Marvel?

Follow Chris Morris on twitter, here!