So first of all yes the title is total click bait, so thanks for clicking! It is no secret that the DC Extended Universe has been critically panned for its first three films, in particular the disastrous critic response to Batman Vs. Superman : Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad was overwhelming. It seemed that professional critics and online self-appointed critics didn’t enjoy the films and couldn’t stand seeing a company doing a comic book film that wasn’t an exact replica of its rival Marvel who have enjoyed a slew of success both critically and commercially with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) Instead of a light and bright films with as many one line zingers as you can fit into as many scenes as possible, DC comics employed Zak Snyder to bring a darker tone and make their heroes fit into the real world and pose the question “How would the world actually react if Superman was real?”
It all started with Man Of Steel, starring Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as General Zod. The film grossed worldwide $668 million and has a 55% Rotten Tomatoes score claiming “mixed or average reviews” Some of the biggest complaints of the film is that Superman was too dark, the “Snyder vision” as some critics were calling it was dark and gritty with over the top video game action scenes that are too hard to watch.
The film took in a total of $666 million worldwide and successfully launched the DCEU (DC Extended Universe). After divisive reviews the studio powered forward with the announcement of Ben Affleck as Batman which helmed the term Battfleck. Following this was the semi-sequel to MOS titled Batman Vs Superman : Dawn Of Justice. From the 5 second reveal clip at Comic-Con to the full trailer and movie release started turning the DCEU as the movie divided both and and critics with a crushing score of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and generally had a thumbs down from critics. Fans either loved the direction or hated it with some of the most intense comments and banter I have ever read on Reddit, Facebook posts and message boards. The film was still a financial success taking in over $800 million at the box office and then releasing an Ultimate Edition with an extra 30 minutes of footage fleshing some of the scenes further.
Just when DC thought they could maybe catch a break, Suicide Squad was released later on in the year focusing on a team of super villains coming together to save the world. The film was a colossal critical nightmare with the story, acting, characters and directing. While it did make $700 million at the box office, an extended edition was also released on blu-ray and dvd. One good thing to come out of the film was the performance of Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie was near perfect casting and cemented her place in the future of the DCEU. Suprisingly the film won two Oscars for make up and music.
Things were not looking bright for the future of the DCEU and with filming of Justice League and Aquaman films naering completion it was clear that some changes needed to happen. Geoff Johns was brought in as a producer and to also become the Kevin Feige of the DCEU tasked with the job to bring light and hope to the future of the series. As Justice League filming was nearing completion a tragedy struck director Zak Snyder’s family and he had to step down from continuing his work on the film. To everyone’s surprise famed director of The Avengers, Joss Whedon came on board to finish the film and helmed some reshoots. He also decided to replace Junkie XL as the soundtrack producer and brought in friend Danny Elfman to completely redo the score and soundtrack.
While all of these events led to look like crazy behind the scenes drama which would normally result in a mess of a film. Everyone involved in this film keeps pushing a lighter tone, more jokes, more humour, more fun. I personally enjoyed the dark and real world tone of the DC films, my main concern that DC may be trying to apply the Marvel formula to this universe and may now see a major shift in tone and if it goes down the route of the Marvel zinger jokey films, personally I am going to be very disappointed.
Rather than continue with their vision and allow for the story and events to unfold the way they were originally intended, I am concerned that the studio wants the money and will do anything they can to replicate the success that Marvel has had, to the detriment of these characters and the story.
If you haven’t seen Batman Vs Superman please stop reading now, it is no surprise that Superman probably won’t stay dead. After seeing various media press interviews with Henry Cavill very present and the jokes about him being back, I think they could have just left him our, or have a trailer that showed that he was present. Rumours and instagram photos of a black Superman suit and doubts about his allegiance when he does come back have me concerned that he will not be the Superman we know and love and have been begging for in the DCEU. This is the third film with Superman in it and we need/deserve a hopeful and positive one.
Wonder Woman was released in 2017 and was an amazing success. The film took in $821 million worldwide and was certified fresh and a resounding success for the DCEU. Noticeably since this films release the Justice League promotion and photos have put Wonder Woman front and centre of the posters and press junket tours. This is a positive change and I think that moving Diana as a central piece of the JL is a good move.
We don’t have long now to wait to see the final result of the film, I am concerned that instead of a thrilling addition to the DCEU we may be left with a tonal shift that is a direct copy of a Marvel comic book movie and while this has worked for them, I fear it will definitely not fit in the DCEU.
Check back for my review of Justice League tomorrow to find out how it all went and let us know your thoughts or concerns about Justice League in the comments below.
Article by Alaisdair Leith