The Emerald Specter is back in the driver’s seat for you all and I’ve decided to kick things off with a look at the impending DC Cinematic Universe, the one that will supposedly rival Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Without burying what I think in some obscure paragraph down below, I’d like to say that the DC Cinematic Universe will fail… now read why I think that.
Marvel had no plan, apparently, about starting a Cinematic Universe. They launched Iron Man as (what they would be planning as) a stand alone trilogy. There was just a plan to set another one of their characters towards the big screen and hopefully make themselves a little bit of money in the process. Well, guess what, someone got wise and threw in a stinger (coda?) at the end of the credits to tease out the Avengers. The buzz was so intense that they included a stinger (coda?) at the end of the Incredible Hulk and almost completely designed Iron Man 2 around the idea that Avengers was happening. Thus began the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Marvel’s cadre of super heroes has always been a little, for lack of a better description available to me right now, more realistic. No one NEEDS a cape. Underwear is solidly underneath the clothing. Very few heroes need a logo for marketing purposes. That’s not really fair to DC but if we’re just comparing surface details, that’s basically the way things boil down. Marvel’s heroes are more realistic.
My favorite super hero is Captain Marvel/Shazam. I’ll call him Shazam from this point on. He’s originally a Fawcett Comics creation but that company was purchased by DC, so even though I “grew up” reading mostly Marvel comics, I am solidly a huge fan of Shazam from DC. I love what the New 52 has done with Shazam and I’m really hoping to see more of that because if they’re going to leave Billy Batson perpetually 11, he might as well get a cool revamp like he has.
But what does this have to do with DC failing?
Man of Steel was the grand relaunch of Superman’s origin… again. Just like their other “big name,” Batman, we’ve seen Superman done to death. We didn’t need another origin of DC’s most famous super hero but since we got one, at least the origin was a fairly awesome one. Man of Steel received mixed reviews but I give the movie a solid 4 out of 5. This was DC’s first salvo in an attempt to build a DC Cinematic Universe (DCU), which they have begrudgingly gone ahead with.
I say begrudgingly because Warner Brothers, who owns DC, seems to have a hard time with the concept of doing anything with any character on the big screen that isn’t Superman or Batman. They have openly admitted that Wonder Woman would be too difficult (in the past) and after Green Lantern failed (they went in the wrong direction, cast the wrong lead, and went too CGI for this movie) they seemed to really want to crawl back in their holes and go with another Batman or Superman reboot. Really? That’s when Man of Steel hit.
This is being written after a great success with Guardians of the Galaxy, a second season of Agents of SHIELD (a show that had it’s own problems until Captain America: The Winter Soldier) started off strong, and DC having made a slew of movie release announcements. What have they announced? Well, that is why I am going to tell you… and it’s why I think they’ll fail.
In 2016 we’ll get Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (to be read as “Batman Five Superman Colon Dawn of Justice”), which is quite possibly the most ridiculous title for a movie I have yet to hear. Leave off the first three bits and just call the damn thing Dawn of Justice, for the love of all that’s holy. What’s this about? Well, I’m guessing that Batman is going to battle Superman, and we already know about a slew of cameos by other DC heroes to be named later in this list.
Also in 2016 we’ll get Suicide Squad. This will have little to no real success as there is no build up of these “villains,” they’ll be doing heroic things and most people won’t know what the issue about their villainy is, and as far as I understand it from the “buzz,” there isn’t anyone interested in seeing this movie. I’m not.
We move to 2017 for Wonder Woman and Justice League Part One. Only after Marvel released a fun movie including a talking raccoon and talking tree does DC say to themselves “well, maybe a film about a woman would work.” Wonder Woman should have been on the big screen a long time ago and the fact that she hasn’t only shows that old, white men not only run the country, but they also run Warner Brothers. And you split your Justice League into a Part One and Two? Playing this hand like this was a huge mistake and I can say that unless you have a solid single movie premise that gets resolved IN THAT MOVIE, you’ll fail with this one. How do I know it’ll fail? The Matrix, one of my favorite trilogies ever, has been given terrible reviews for leaving a second movie open and having a supposedly flimsy end to the third. If Justice League couldn’t survive as a single movie, you should have played those cards closer to your chest, DC.
We move to 2018 with the Flash and Aquaman. First, let me say that casting Jason Momoa as Aquaman was the single best piece of casting I’ve seen. Better than RDJ as Tony Stark. Better than Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. What I don’t like is that you’re all over the map with your “plan.” Either do the build up like Marvel and debut everybody before Justice League or do Justice League first and all the movies can be “prequels.” I’ll actually get to the Flash a little later, so I’m quiet right now.
How about 2019 with Shazam and Justice League Part Two? While I have been super excited for a Shazam movie, I’m really disappointed that I have to wait until 2019 to see it. And that is assuming that the production doesn’t get pushed back. Moving on.
We have 2020 giving us Cyborg and the Green Lantern reboot movies, ending the announcements of DCU. Unless GL is a new Hal Jordan (done much less Ryan Reynolds) or is John Stewart, I’m not interested in this movie. I have never been interested in Cyborg.
The DCU seems poised to fail.
As I made comments above, if you are using Man of Steel as the launching point, simply call the second movie Dawn of Justice to introduce a few of the other Justice Leaguers and conquer a foe just complicated enough to need multiple heroes. After that, jump right into Justice League (a stand alone film), followed by Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Shazam, Aquaman, and Cyborg movies telling their origins. THEN go for a second Justice League movie. DC/Warner Brothers seem to have no surface plan, even though to do what Marvel did, they need to have a detailed roadmap.
Now let me get to my Flash comments. Arrow on the CW is one of the most awesome shows on TV right now. They recently spun off the Flash as another show and if they would have used Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin as Green Arrow and the Flash in the movies, I’d have been more interested in what the DCU was doing. As it is, though, they are casting a separate Flash for the movies and are leaving Arrow and the Flash TV shows as separate universes. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb…
You have built up a history with Arrow over three seasons. The Flash is starting with a bang. Man of Steel gives you enough punch for a Superman to carry the Justice League movie WITHOUT needing Batman five Superman colon Dawn of Justice. Add in Green Arrow and Gustin’s Flash and you’re ready to obscurely explain where Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and Cyborg came from while fighting someone like Darkseid.
If the DCU doesn’t fail, I’ll be shocked. They aren’t surprising us with anything, they’ve got an erratic looking roadmap and have teased very little to get anyone excited. The Nolan trilogy had two good movies and a “meh” one, yet they toss that one in the trash to reboot for what? Yeah.
Time will tell, but my money is that Marvel will do much better than DC because DC makes some very odd decisions.