It seems that the DC super heroes’ deadliest enemy isn’t Darkseid, Lex Luthor or The Joker. It’s that darned public perception. For decades now, rival publisher Marvel has been seen as the “cool” imprint with its angsty, troubled characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men, while the DC heroes can’t seem to shake the image of smiling, friendly parts of Americana, still stuck in the 50s like Norman Rockwell paintings.
Last year, following the poor performance of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ Sony producer and screenwriter Michael DeLuca (‘The Social Network’, ‘Moneyball’, Captain Phillips’, and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’) penned an email in which he attempted to smooth the relationship between that studio and Marvel, who were riding high following the success of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (among others). In his communication, DeLuca fawned over Marvel’s guiding light, Kevin Feig, praising the mastermind and his overall plan to build their cinematic universe, saying “It’s a brilliant plan and could go on forever.”
DeLuca’s opinion of Warner Brothers was decidedly lower. While the comic book movies of Marvel, Sony and Fox are technically rivals, they all feature characters from Marvel Comics. And the old adage “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” seems to hold true. Sony and Marvel may not be able to fully utilize the same characters, but they have circled their wagons and have agreed to play nice, allowing Spider-Man to pop up in ‘Captain America: Civil War’.
Now, there’s just the matter of that pesky DC.
DeLuca didn’t seem impressed with Warner Brothers/DC’s plans at that point, dismissively summing them up by saying:
“They are using the new superman to intro the justice league and then hope to do one off movies after justice league, sort of the reverse of Marvel. They don’t have a Feige, they sort of have Nolan and Goyer and Zack Snyder. Plus the dc characters are corny and it remains to be seen how this all works out.”
Ironically, WB’s biggest problem so far has been decidedly un-corny. It’s that their movies are considered too dark! The Nolan ‘Dark Knight’ movies are not part of the building DCCU, but they clearly influenced the tone of ‘Man of Steel,’ from the over-the-top violence to the drab muted colors of Superman’s uniform. And the biggest outrage among many was he fact that Superman ended the threat of Zod by executing the villain with his bare hands.
DeLuca is clearly basing his assessment on long-running stereotypes that some carry due to some dated public representations of the DC heroes, like the campy Adam West ‘Batman’ series from the 60s and the simplistic ‘Super Friends’ cartoon that ran for a decade in the 70s-80s.
Poor Aquaman still bears the scars of his ‘Super Friends’ reputation, as a character’s whose only power was to “talk to fish.” Of course readers of the comics know that this is just one of many powers the Sea King possesses, but not everyone in the general public bothers to read the comics and are blissfully ignorant.
Maybe the movie producers are knowingly reacting to those dated ideas by going as dark as they can in the movies. Keep in mind, we’ve seen exactly ONE movie in DC’s unfurling film universe. Things are kicking into high gear with next summer’s ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.’
What do you think? Are DC’s characters too “corny” and dated? Or can they give Marvel and Sony a run for their money at the box office?
Source: Latino Review