DC have some great superheroes. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg. Others. It also has a whole heap of great villains. Most of them are Batman’s rogues gallery, but there are other great ones too. They’ve even released some great movies too! ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy is fantastic, the first two ‘Superman‘ movies weren’t too bad, ‘Watchmen‘ is great and a couple of the early ‘Batman‘ movies have some bright spots. But then they’ve also had a lot of flops like some of the other ‘Batman‘ movies, some of the other ‘Superman‘ movies, ‘Green Lantern‘ and a few other spin-offs which shouldn’t even be given the time of day. But not content with just releasing good movies, the bosses over at DC and Warner Bros. wanted their own Marvel Cinematic Universe. A shared DC film universe of some of the greatest heroes ever created! Well, they didn’t decide on that just yet…
‘Man of Steel‘ was the Superman movie we had been waiting for. Great special effects and Superman actually fighting and punching people properly! Great! It’s a good movie. It has some problems sure, but I think it’s pretty great. It did reasonably well critically and commercially, so the producers had an idea. What if this was the start of their own film universe? Hmm, what a great idea! Marvel had done it. They had released 5 films in 4 years leading up to a big crossover in ‘The Avengers‘. Surely DC could do the same with the Justice League!
But why wait years and build your universe from the ground up? Why not just jump straight in and force everything into the second film? Plan for the future and skip through the present. And that’s what they did. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ is a very busy, quite messy movie. It’s not particularly good. It introduces Batman and Wonder Woman and has convoluted cameos from Cyborg, the Flash and Aquaman. It was a bad way to create a shared universe. Everything seems rushed and placed in to look cool and tease future events and stories.
Speaking of things just looking cool, that seems to be the main thing director Zack Snyder looks for when making a movie. Look, I like him, he’s a good director. But as a writer he isn’t. Everything is just thrown in to look cool and make a great looking trailer. Which shouldn’t be how a movie is made and doesn’t bode well for the future of a shared universe. The foundations it will be built on are shaky and that means what comes next might not hold up.
After people generally hated ‘Batman v Superman‘, DC gave Ben Affleck more power as an executive producer and brought in DC Comics pro Geoff Johns to oversee the continuation of this universe. This was a good sign! Finally someone will be steering the DC ship! Hopefully in the future it will have more direction and more purpose. It might be less dark in tone and colour and be more hopeful and funnier. Good things looked set to come.
Sadly, already in production was ‘Suicide Squad‘. Why on earth the third film in your shared universe would be one focusing on some B-grade villains is beyond me. Most likely it was an effort to try to capitalise on the success of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘, chucking together some dysfunctional characters who crack wise and save the world. It didn’t work. Suicide Squad is a pretty bad movie. Not fun, poor characters and a terrible plot. It’s a shame really, but not an altogether surprising one.
That brings us to the present. ‘Wonder Woman‘ is out in a couple of months and looks really good from the trailers, despite some people behind the scenes supposedly rubbishing it. ‘Justice League‘ is also out later this year, finally bringing the heroes together. I say finally, but really we’ve only had to wait a year since it was teased in ‘Batman v Superman‘. No long game set up like Marvel here! Justice League also looks really good. Funny and with good action. There is a slight worry that the trailers are made purely just to look cool and get the audience back on side and may actually be hiding a not so amazing film behind it, but I have faith! We also have ‘Aquaman‘ coming next year directed by the talented James Wan. Something which sounds very exciting.
Then there’s a couple of problem movies. ‘The Flash‘, a movie featuring my favourite superhero, was scheduled for early next year. That’s not happening… A treatment was written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, very talented guys. Seth Grahame-Smith was hired to write and direct. And then he left. And then Rick Famuyiwa was hired to direct. And then he left. And now the project is on hold as apparently a page one rewrite was ordered. What is going on here?! Why does nobody seem to see eye to eye with the studio on this one? Surely the studio can’t be that controlling right?
And then there’s ‘The Batman‘. Now, this one doesn’t sound like as much of a problem as it’s being made out to be, but something is clearly going on. Ben Affleck was slated to write and direct. There were so many stories about the state of the script. First it was terrible, then they were happy with it, now it’s getting a page on rewrite, now they’re super happy with it. Then Ben Affleck decided not to direct and everyone lost their minds. But now Matt Reeves is set to direct and that’s good news. There’s no release date, but Deathstroke was set to be the main villain which sounds great. Assuming it doesn’t get a page on rewrite that is…
There’s a few films scheduled for the future still too though. ‘Shazam‘ is set for 2019 and 2020 will see ‘Cyborg‘ and ‘Green Lantern Corps‘ hit the big screen. They sound exciting enough. Plus there are a ton of films in development. ‘Suicide Squad 2‘ and ‘Gotham City Sirens‘ are confirmed to be in production as well as a ‘Nightwing‘ movie and a ‘Batgirl‘ movie. ‘Man of Steel 2‘ is said to be coming eventually as well as ‘Dark Universe‘ and ‘Lobo‘ films. There are also some surprising spin-offs such as ‘Deadshot‘ and ‘Black Adam‘ in the works, which I’m not too sure about myself if I’m honest. Not to mention various other sequels for ‘Justice League‘ and most likely the other heroes involved. The future looks busy!
Look, I hope these are all great. I think at least some of them might be. With someone overseeing the creation of the DC Extended Universe now and with them clearly aware of the negative criticism directed towards them hopefully future films will be better. They should be at least anyway. They just need to be a bit less dark, a bit more hopeful and a splash of colour here and there couldn’t hurt. The films can still be dark. I think DC is inherently darker than Marvel anyway. But at least throw a joke or two in there. I want to be entertained! Not miserable. Hopefully the films get better. I’m sure they will. The worry is that the audience might begin to lose hope in this franchise if they continue their current downward spiral. Bring some more hope and optimism to the DCEU and it shall fill the audience with more hope and optimism!