Geoff Johns Is Probably Not Kevin Feige

geoffjohnsWhen news broke that Geoff Johns would be the new creative force behind the DC Cinematic Universe people were happy. People are still happy. I’m just not sure they will remain happy. Johns is a good sign for critics of the so-called Snyder-verse primarily because he is in stark contrast from Director Zack Snyder. While Snyder has built a reputation on dark overtones and humorless narrative, Johns is currently bringing renewed optimism to comics with DC’s ‘Rebirth’ event. The public seems to want such a rebirth on the big screen and this is why I’m worried.

Johns current Rebirth is his second such-named retcon for comic characters like Green Lantern and Flash. I have a good sense of how the story goes and it is supremely comic-booky. Years of actions and motivations are dismissed with demonic possession. A decade of story is erased and returned altered because of magic so out of left field that it’s literally from another universe. DC comics readers have been sufficiently broken and retrained to not give a crap about continuity. The thing is, this isn’t comics anymore. Most of the people going to see ‘Justice League’ aren’t regular readers and wouldn’t accept Johnsian stories in their soap operas. Everything needs to make sense. Not comic book sense, sense sense. I’m not suggesting that Johns has plans on rebooting the DC Cinematic Universe. He almost certainly will not, but any sudden departure from how the characters behave will likewise be criticized as unearned character development. I don’t envy Geoff John’s position, nor do I don’t expect great things, at least not immediately. He was a co-producer on Green Lantern after all.

DC’s Confusing Character Continuity

If you are reading this article, you probably already understand that the Flash in the movies isn’t the Flash on TV. People who read superhero movie news is a self selecting group. Average movie-goer has a lot of questions. “Did they recast the Flash?” “Does the movie Flash have the same history at the TV Flash?” “Was this Batman the same as the Christian Bale Batman?” “Is Ryan Reynolds in Justice League?” “Is Green Lantern (2011) in continuity?” Actually, average movie-goer probably wouldn’t think to use the word “continuity.” Audiences have come a long way since the first ‘Iron Man’, but DC is a whole ‘nother ball game. I’m bracing myself for fielding a lot of family inquires and I doubt they’ll be satisfied with the answers.


Marvel Now Has The Musical Edge

This might seem technical for anyone who can’t name a film composer beyond John Williams, but I can’t undersell it. A movie’s score is the emotional hook for most scenes and Marvel has been lackluster in this area. The only soundtrack that comes to mind is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ repurposed mixtape. DC movies have traditionally had much more recognizable themes courtesy of a handful of very talented composers; most notably Hans Zimmer who worked on The Dark Knight Trilogy, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.’ Unfortunately, that era is at an end, with Zimmer no longer composing superhero films.

On the other hand, Marvel is about to up their musical game. Academy Award winner and J.J. Abrams and Pixar favorite, Michael Giacchino, is scoring ‘Doctor Strange’. It’s fitting that Giacchino’s entrance into the MCU is through a magical character. His style has always been more mystical in feel going back to his days working on ‘Lost’. I suspect that ‘Doctor Strange’ will be a success and won’t be the last Marvel Studios film he scores. If he can fit them into his already hectic schedule, that is.

Following The Momentum

The last and most obvious reason to not expect DC to overtake Marvel in theaters is based on their current momentum. Warner Bros. has simply been going the wrong direction for most fans and critics. It’s hard enough to course correct any franchise, but when everything is connected, as is the case in these theatrical universes, it’s nearly impossible. The MCU is cashing in on a decade of buildup. 2008’s ‘Iron Man’ was tagged with a post credit scene that opened the world up to the Avenger’s. 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ set-up Thanos as the universe’s driving antagonistic force. Throughout it all, the keys to a climax not yet realized have been dropped in the form of Infinity Stones. The MCU may eventually falter, but the amazing this is, it hasn’t yet peaked. I just can’t see any way Warner Bros. or DC Entertainment can generate enough hype to overcome the anticipation of that much build-up.

But I’ve been wrong before. [citation needed.]