Since Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel debuted again in 2013, Warner Bros.’ imaginative and prescient for a DC model of Marvel’s densely inter-connected, massively worthwhile MCU has been… haphazard to say the least. However now James Gunn and Peter Safran have been employed to shepherd a completely (properly, principally) new DC cinematic universe, they usually promise they have a plan—a plan that may inform one interconnected story via a number of films and TV sequence, set in vastly totally different instances, and advised over years. However… does this new DC Universe want such a plan?
For these followers who’ve been ready for somebody to be put in control of live-action DC leisure that has some type of cohesive imaginative and prescient, I don’t wish to knock Gunn’s plan, which at present includes a Superman film, a Batman movie starring Bruce Wayne’s organic son Damian as Robin, a Swamp Factor film, a Inexperienced Lantern present, and extra. Do I personally have any thought how the hell Gunn may have any type of steady narrative thread with a franchise that may chronologically start with a historical past of Marvel Girl’s house island of Themiscyra, but someway get kicked off in the actual world by a Forties-set, Frankenstein-led cartoon known as Creature Commandos? I completely don’t. However simply because I can’t fathom it doesn’t imply Gunn can’t.
Right here’s what I’ll say, nonetheless: tright here has been one factor that has persistently labored for DC superhero films over the previous a number of many years, and one factor alone: not connecting them. DC’s stand-alone films, or mini-franchises like Christopher Nolan’s Darkish Knight trilogy, have finished a lot, a lot better than Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon’s try to redo the MCU with the Justice League. In the event you try the lifetime home gross of DC’s top 10 movies, just one tried to mix superheroes to start out constructing a universe: 2016’s Batman v Superman, and that was #7 on the listing, making lower than The Darkish Knight, The Darkish Knight Rises, the solo Aquaman and Marvel Girl films, Joker, and most lately The Batman. Hell, the 1989 Batman film made greater than Justice League, and that’s with out adjusting for inflation.
The issue with this confirmed observe file of solo movies is that it doesn’t invite/entice/require viewers to look at the subsequent film within the overarching narrative to maintain following the story like Marvel Studios does. It implies that even when Warner Bros. had gotten its act collectively and was capable of launch 4 DC films a yr, like Marvel has, audiences would be capable to decide and select which of them they wished to see. Which, actually, sounds fantastic to me. However after all, to WB executives, it’s a horrendous screech of cash being left on the desk.
Or so that they consider, at the very least. What I think they haven’t reckoned with is the concept that mass audiences can solely help one superhero cinematic universe at a time. Trade folks speak about superhero film fatigue increasingly more, but the MCU appears decided to push it to absolutely the restrict with its relentless barrage of releases. However the distinction between the MCU and the DCU is that audiences are already hooked on the previous. They’ve invested money and time into following the story that’s the MCU for a decade and a half. Whereas there are absolutely some individuals who need twice the quantity of densely plotted superhero films of their lives, there are absolutely many who don’t.
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Which is to say, I think Warner Bros. might end up leaving more money on the table by not giving audiences an alternative to the MCU—a universe of superhero films that viewers can dip into and out of any point without fear of missing something. This likely means these DC movies won’t reach the box office heights of Marvel’s Avengers films, but again, neither did Batman v Superman or Justice League.
What’s weird is that it feels like Gunn’s initial line-up for his DCU practically begs to be stand-alone projects. How do you start an organic, connected DC cinematic universe where Batman has already moved on to his fourth Robin? Or effectively debut the Authority, a pastiche of the Justice League in general and Batman and Superman in specific, when the Justice League doesn’t exist yet? If these movies weren’t connected, this would all be fine. If these movies aren’t set in some kind of chronological order, that would free them up to be whatever Gunn et al. want them to be—except for whatever he’s thought up to bind them all together.
It’s not a problem with the projects themselves! I love Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin run, as well as All-Star Superman. I’m incredibly excited at the idea of getting to see both stories inspire Brave and the Bold and Superman: Legacy films. I liked The Authority back in the day, and a Game of Thrones-meets-Greek mythology Paradise Lost could be very cool. Honestly, the only DC project that leaves me completely cold is the Waller TV series; despite being played by the amazing Viola Davis, Amanda Waller hasn’t traditionally had enough depth of character in any incarnation to lead a solo series.
I’m not saying a Waller show can’t be done, or that it can’t be done well. The same is certainly true of figuring out a narrative that somehow fits in this widely eclectic, disparate group of films and movies. It’s just that certain DC movies have had success before, and it’s when Warner Bros. stopped trying to emulate the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What if it ends up they were accidentally onto something?
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