Who did it better? Answer is pretty simple.
94 million dollars. That’s what Justice League made its opening weekend at the domestic box-office. Avengers on the other hand made 208 million all the way back in 2008. It’s one of the most successful movies ever made, and highly regarded as one of the best CBM ever made. Fans alike are in an uproar over Justice League as word has been spreading about WB studios completely and utterly destroying Zack Snyder’s original cut and vision. So all in all, not a good weekend for WB and the DCEU. Now is it time for them to seriously consider hitting the panic button and rebooting all of this? Personally, I don’t think so, that would be a terrible move on their part because if you take fragments from Justice League and other DCEU you definitely have something there. Yes, it’s not as concrete as the MCU, but that is WB’s problem. It’s time for them to stop trying to “catch up” with Marvel and just do their own thing. That’s how we got into this whole mess in the first place…..
The Success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy
Remember back in 1997 when Batman & Robin was released and people said it ruined comic book movies (for the time being) it was a simpler time then, no shared universes, no big summer blockbusters, in 1997 comic book movies just weren’t all the rage they are today. Superman was still dormant after the successful run of the Christopher Reeves movies and Tim Burton’s Batman’s were the talk of the town in the early 90s. When Nolan decided it was time to bring back the Bat in 2005 with Batman Begins, people didn’t really know what to think. I included, but I was young and stupid back then and it wowed critics and audiences alike. The new grittier, darker, grounded take on the Caped Crusader really resonated with people and the start of a trilogy was born. At this time there were no big Superhero franchises really occurring other than the Spider-Man trilogy which fell flat towards the end, and the X-Men trilogy that met the same fate. People didn’t think too much of comic book movies during this time. Teasing us with the Joker at the end of Batman Begins well three years later we got him in what I regard as the greatest sequel ever made, The Dark Knight. It made over a billion dollars at the box-office and Heath Ledger even won an Oscar for his portrayal as the Clown Prince of Crime. This trilogy finally finished in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises which was another smash hit, these movies were met with the highest praise from fans and critics. So WB decided it was time to cash in on other DC Superheroes. They attached Zack Snyder to bring to life a Superman story in Man of Steel. They thought it would be reasonable to build their own universe and bring the same tone and themes from The Dark Knight trilogy and cast it upon these other DC heroes. Questions loomed whether Christian Bale would come back to play Batman for this universe and when he was out, they decided that Man of Steel would be their jumping-off point for the DCEU, and that’s where it all began…..
The Success of The MCU
“Tony Stark, I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers initiative…..” Are words that I and countless others will never forget. Those words were uttered back in 2008, a time when audiences weren’t too sure what a “post-credits scene” meant. We were unfamiliar with comic book universes, hell most of us were unfamiliar with Iron Man himself. But still, this started the MCU, and well the rest is as you know is history. Billions of dollars and 17 movies later the MCU is stronger than ever and is still going full steam ahead. In the first four years, they released five movies, all leading up to the highly anticipated Avengers. They had built a solid foundation for their shared cinematic universe, something we fans were not accustomed to. Meanwhile, over at DC, they were still going strong with the Batman Nolan trilogy, but they had ZERO plans of following suit and starting a cinematic universe for their heroes. The Nolan Batman trilogy ended the same year the Avengers came out, and once the Avengers dropped, people realized, that all their movie-going experience over the last 4 years had finally paid off! They got to see a real Superhero team-up movie, and not only that, it was quite the spectacle. At that moment, WB knew they needed to follow suit and even other Hollywood studios knew that a “shared universe” was the way of the future. This is where things get messy for DC and Warner Brothers. because well Marvel was already six movies deep, built this incredible vast shared universe, and well DC was at ground zero. Even today, as I’m writing this, the DCEU has only put out FIVE movies, and most of those movies have been met with mixed reactions. The biggest problem with DC is they kind of want to be like Marvel, well here’s the thing, don’t be. Do it your own way, you have so many incredible characters and stories to tell, that you don’t need to follow Marvel’s plan. Just put out great movies, with great directors and tell us those amazing stories we have been reading our entire lives. DC feels the need to play “catch up” well you can’t. When the Avengers came out, WB had no plans for a Justice League movie, that was not on anyone’s mind, no Batman was planned, no Green Lantern, and not even Wonder Woman. The only movie they had coming out of the DC pipeline was Man of Steel. That being said they were so far behind from the get-go that attempting to even do that was so nonsensical and studio heads should have known better. This leads me into my next segment.
The Reaction To The DCEU Movies So Far
The year is 2013, Nolan’s TDK trilogy is no longer with us, and DC is using Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel as the launching point for the new DC world. I remember at the time, I wasn’t the biggest Superman fan, I really didn’t know a whole lot about the character except for what I had read in some comics. The trailers started pouring in and I was hooked instantly. I was intrigued with the new outlook and take on the classic character. Don’t get me wrong, Superman is a very difficult character to bring to life on the big screen. He’s essentially unstoppable so anyone you pin against him, is no match, his powers are unlimited. Henry Cahill was tapped to play the Man of Steel and he looked like he was literally ripped from the comic books. The rest of the cast was incredible with Michael Shannon, Amy Adams Diane Lane, and Kevin Costner. They were trying a new take, and it wasn’t met with the best reactions. They went with the TDK template, and they changed his mythos and overall character and it was met with some serious backlash. They wanted to ground his character as philosophy and Snyder certainly had a vision for him. Man of Steel just kind of fell short of expectations and more importantly didn’t do what Iron Man did all the way back in 2008, which was beginning a “shared universe.” Personally, I loved Man of Steel, from the cinematography to Hans Simmer’s epic score, I fell in love with this Superman, just it wasn’t the start to the new DC universe WB wanted. After the slow start with Man of Steel, WB decided to kick things into high gear and announced Batman v. Superman and everyone lost their goddamn minds. I remember it was at Comic-Con and they gave the Batman speech to Superman at the end of The Dark Knight Returns, and I thought to myself, “if they pull this thing off in live-action, it will be the greatest thing ever made.” Shortly after, they pinned Ben Affleck to play the Caped Crusader, and the internet was very torn. From the get-go, I have always believed Affleck would kill it as Batman, and he has honestly been the best thing in the DCEU so far. Later they grabbed Gal Gadot to play Wonder Woman, and no one was on board with that decision. Only being in a few Fast and Furious movies, people didn’t know if she had the acting chops to play this role. That’s all in the past now, because Gal was born to play the warrior princess. Everything behind Batman v Superman, from the trailers, the ads, posters, seemed like this was going to be a home run. Then it was released………..
Shortly after the release of Batman v Superman fans were divided, critics were firmly set in place and executives over at WB were dumbfounded about their situation. They just released a movie with both Batman and Superman and even Wonder Woman, and boy it was not met with a positive reaction. I think this was the start of the downfall for the DCEU. Now we had another DCEU movie coming out in 2016, Suicide Squad, which was put together with duck tape and glue. Script was written in 6 weeks, and this movie ended up being a complete and utter disaster. The trailers for this movie were incredible, I couldn’t wait and I haven’t watched Suicide Squad since opening night. The biggest takeaway was obviously reintroducing The Joker, making Jared Leto a soccer hooligan. Stick to what you know, don’t drastically change this iconic character, especially after what Heath Ledger did in TDK. Leto was just okay, there wasn’t enough of him, and now his future in the DCEU is up in the air. Harley Quinn was the best part of the movie, Margot Robbie was born to play her, and I really hope she comes back because I think in a better movie, under better direction, she could probably give a Ledger-type performance in a future DCEU movie. So 3 movies in a row for WB and the DCEU and three strikes. You’re out right? Well, thank the lord for Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman, because they were up next. We waited almost a year for the next DCEU movie to hit theatres and it was worth the wait. Wonder Woman, the most successful film of the year (so far), 92 percent of Rotten Tomatoes, the highest prior to that was 55% for Man of Steel. People thought this could be the turnaround WB needed, Wonder Woman felt fresh, felt like Patty Jenkins had passion behind this project, that it wasn’t rushed and it was just a simple origin story movie. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered. The DCEU was saved! Or so we thought. Well then the marketing campaign started for Justice League and well we all know how this turned out. I already wrote a ton of Justice League, I’ll say this, it’s a bummer what happened to Zack’s movie, that isn’t right, I hope we see his cut of the movie because it does sound amazing.
What I think WB Needs To Do Going Forward
Batfleck is out, it sucks, but I have come to terms with it. The worst part is, I think Matt Reeves is going to make a special Batman solo movie and only Ben Affleck should star in it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe he will stick this thing out for one last movie, his solo movie, and if that day comes and he’s in the Matt Reeves solo Batman movie. MY GOD.
Warner Brothers. here’s the thing. STOP, stop trying to be like Marvel. Stop trying to play catch up, just go out at your own pace. Stop trying to force these things on us. Great stories take time to tell, just like in the comics. The best comic writers didn’t pile so much shit into each issue, they took their time and flushed great stories out over many issues. It’s time to shift focus not on team-ups but solo movies. We have Aquaman coming out next December. Let James Wan do his thing with this movie. Don’t mettle, don’t interfere, you don’t bring on a brilliant filmmaker like Wan and then make him follow a strict guideline. Maybe sprinkle in a cameo of some sort. Cyborg? Here’s my thing with Cyborg, he was great, I wanted to see more. Does he need his own solo movie? No! But he can be the League member who pops up in everyone else’s solo flicks. Ray Fisher is the least famous cast member and probably the least expensive, so use that to your advantage. Cyborg is the jack of all trades, he can do so much, so why not have him come help everyone out. That makes so much sense to me. If he sticks with fans and the audiences after a few cameos then yes, green light that solo movie. Find directors and people that are super passionate about these characters and want to tell their stories, that want to bring these characters to life in a grand fashion. You have one year to figure all this out because you are back at square one. There are so many great stories out there about these characters, more stories than you could imagine, pick one and adapt it, it’s not rocket science. Personally base most of these solo movies of the New 52 comic book run. Don’t make a Joker origin story movie, we don’t need that. We don’t need a Suicide Squad 2, or Batgirl film. Stick to the basics, stick to the basics, stick to the basics. Also, call in the big guns, and I mean Dwayne Johnson. Get that man in the Shazam movie, make him badass, and make him a big part of Justice League 2. He doesn’t need a solo movie. Black Adam and Shazam are like peas and carrots, they belong together. The Rock saves franchise, use him while you can and before he bails. I would rather wait a little longer and get great stories, incredible movies, and successful ones, than have WB rush all of this out and make the DCEU as forgettable as it’s slowly becoming. DC fans deserve much better than what has transpired thus far, I know and I think deep down WB knows it.
Check ya later.