Look who finally decided to put on their big boy pants and sidle up to the bar. It’s about time. Ever since RDJ first put on a repulsor gauntlet, DC has been on the receiving end of an arc reactor-sized wedgie when it comes to their cinematic universe. And no, I will not call it the DCCU because that sounds too much like one of a thousand crime dramas clogging the airwaves right now.
Everyone and their Russian space dog has hopped on the Marvel bandwagon. You cannot read an entertainment article without finding some reference to Marvel’s cinematic universe. People are touting Marvel’s ingenuity and lauding the company’s executives for their brash risk taking and Nostradamus-like foresight. The creation and tying together of the movie, television, and streaming universes seems pure genius. Marvel simply can’t miss. Even when they do. I’m talking to you ‘Iron Man II.’ DC… not so much. This is painfully obvious in their recent forays to the big screen.
Sure, DC has Batman. That did well. Until it didn’t. But that was more a testament to the acting than the story telling. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ was practically steaming in its craptasticness. Story wise. Tom Hardy’s performance was stellar, as was Hathaway’s. Great actors can only do so much with a poor story. Hey, let’s watch Batman take a break for a while, come back, and then take another break for a while, then die and take another break for a while. But I digress.
Then there was the Superman debacle. I lay the blame in part on ‘The Dark Knight’ for this. That movie was so dark and edgy and successful that WB decided every movie they ever do from that day forward has to be dark and edgy. Hell, they even sent out memos and edicts and directives and commandments demanding that the fun be sucked out of all their content moving forward. No humor, no laughter, no entertainment. And it showed big time in Man of Steel. I can imagine that concept meeting. Hey, let’s take one of the most iconic heroes on the planet, the very pinnacle of righteousness and emo him out and fill him with angst. Oh, and have him endanger millions of people and level half a city. Oh, and have him snap some guy’s neck. Cause if there is one thing Superman needs, it’s more murder. Then we’ll have the Dark Knight be the moral compass of the new Justice League. Nobody will see that coming!
Which brings us to the big announcement. Warner Brothers and DC have decided to sh*t rather than get off the pot. If they learned anything from Marvel it’s that you need a team to do well at the box office. So let’s throw one together as quickly as possible. They co-opted the ‘Man of Steel’ sequel and are going to release ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ – still a Zack Snyder joint. And they are going to cram every single hero and villain who ever graced the pages of Detective Comics into it. Cause if ‘Spider-Man 3’ taught us anything, it’s that more is better!
Hot on the heels of ‘Batman v Superman: the trial of the century,’ we have David Ayer’s ‘Suicide Squad.’ Because you know, darkness and grit. I wasn’t excited about the Sinister Six movie and I’m not excited about this. I’m so done with the anti-hero angst. For the love of God, why can’t anyone focus on making a movie that wants to steal me away to a heightened reality where my imagination can soar while I cheer on a larger than life hero who despite incalculable odds always does the right thing?
2017 starts off with a movie that I am excited about. ‘Wonder Woman’ staring my Gal Gadot. Finally, we get a superhero movie with a woman as the lead. And it’s not just some made up superheroine *cough* Lucy *cough* but an actual, identifiable heroine with boundless potential. Though I fear they will turn this into a humorless, Amazonian war epic. Or worse, load it with other heroes because they are afraid a female lead can’t hold an audience.
Then we get ‘Justice League: Part One’ which can just as easily be titled ‘Man of Steel III’ or ‘Batman v Superman II.’ This is WB’s ‘Avengers’ and the expectations are high. My big fear, other than clutter, is that the humor will be missing and it will be one big world-leveling disaster porn epic. So far WB has done nothing to assuage that fear.
Enter ‘The Flash’ in 2018. All I can hope for is something akin to what is happening with ‘The Flash‘ television series. That has been a breath of fresh air to a genre that is broody 24/7. I love Arrow, but come on… lighten up. I can only take so much darkness. This rose needs sunlight to bloom. That’s actually what I liked about the ‘Green Lantern’ movie. It was fun. Sure, it completely missed the point by having Hal Jordan uncertain and terrified the whole movie, and was otherwise a slap in the face to the source material and fans, but it was fun.
Then we get everyone’s favorite punchline, Aquaman. I’m excited about this movie only because Jason ‘My Sun and Stars’ Mamoa is attached. Being that one guy who liked the ‘Conan’ reboot, I feel if anyone can make Aquaman interesting, it’s Jason Mamoa. Better still, I have almost no expectations for this movie, much like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,‘ so the chance of me being spectacularly surprised is high.
2019 gives us Shazam and Part Deux of Justice League. Shazam has The Rock. That excites me. Dwayne Johnson is not the greatest actor on the planet, but damned if he doesn’t captivate the Hell out of me. He’s a charismatic entertainer and I’d not only smell what he’s cooking, but I’d slap it on a plate and have it for my Death Row Last Supper. ‘Justice League Part Two’ will either be highly anticipated because they hit it out of the park with the first one or it will be a bigger let down than my first marriage. It should be the cornerstone of the DC cinematic universe, creating a platform for rich, substantive storytelling. Only time or Future Me will tell. And if Future Me is reading this in an archive somewhere… call me.
Rounding out the decade, WB gives us Cyborg and a new Green Lantern. Might be good. Might not. Definitely not anything I am marking my calendar for. Let those be pleasant surprises or dismal failures I never cared about anyway. Overall, 2020 looks to be the weakest year in the revealed Plan. But who knows, it is such a long way off and anything can happen.
So, in summation for the TL:DR crowd, I guess I am just happy WB and DC have a plan. It’s hard to get where you need to be without any direction. It looks like they finally have an idea of what they want to do. I’m just hoping it ends up being what I want to watch. Nobody knows what is going to happen but as fans we all hope for the best.