When I say the name Robert Downey Jr. what pops into your mind? Iron Man? Perhaps Sherlock Holmes? Either one would be flattering to Mr. Downey, I’m sure. Now, when I say the name Ben Affleck, what pops into your mind? Be honest. “Gigli” perhaps? Jennifer Lopez? If I add the word superhero, most likely the deplorable “Daredevil” comes to mind.
This little mind game is at the crux of the American film industry. Studios don’t spend millions of dollars on marketing for the tax breaks. Movie stars don’t hire publicists as part of a community service mandate handed down by the courts. And lord knows Hollywood doesn’t put the children of plastic surgeons through college because they feel parachuting a bag of rice to starving African children is “just so ’90s.” They do it because they know what you think dictates how much they make.
So now that the stage is set, one can only imagine that the big boys over at DC and Warner Bros. might be sweating in their little blue tights at this point. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, affectionally known as the MCU, has blasted out of the gates with a slew of financial, critical and fan appreciated live action films of their well known comic book characters. Even some of their not so well known characters have made a huge dent in the superhero film arena. I had never even heard of the “Guardians Of The Galaxy” until the film came out. And now I can’t wait for part two to be released.
Conversely, I know Batman and Superman all too well. My neck still hurts from SMDH for the two-plus hours as I watched BvS. So, with that being said. Lights! Camera! Action!
Here are 15 reasons why the DC cinematic universe is DOOMED!
15. It Should Have Been Called The “Dusk Of Justice”
This one probably hurts the most. The folks at DC pretty much stood by for most of the past decade as Marvel began their march to dominance, starting with the first Iron Man movie. Yes, Christopher Nolan was forging his legacy with his Batman trilogy around this time. But that was building his brand and the brand of the Dark Knight. It really wasn’t doing much for DC. He was making dramas that just happened to have a comic book superhero in them. Marvel was intentionally making “superhero movies.” A totally different thing.
So when DC said “hey screw this, we have to make our move,” the result was Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Not only did it make almost $200 million less than Captain America: Civil War when it came out, but Rotten Tomatoes, the de facto movie authority, gave Dawn Of Justice a rating of 27%. Fans were not pleased. And I can tell you from my own experience it was just dumb. Like 80s television dumb. ESPECIALLY Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther . . . uuugghhh. Sorry, I almost threw up on my keyboard just now.
14. Man Of (Tempered) Steel
Preceding Dawn Of Justice was Man Of Steel, the latest in the nauseating “reboot” trend Hollywood is going through. As mentioned before, the Dark Knight trilogy, in particular The Dark Night movie itself was breaking new ground in the superhero genre. So DC decided that if one pissed off DC character worked, why not have all of their characters need anger management counseling? So here comes Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel himself.
His jaw looked pretty steely as he sulked his way through the movie. “I’m here to help.” “You won’t let me help.” “Waahh, waaahh, wahhhh.” Oh and by the way, I have no other choice but to kill about 3,000-10,000 people as I fight this maniac Zod. But to be fair, I’ll make sure there is a wholesome American family with a perfect view of me snapping Zod’s neck with my bare hands. Not quite the formula the kids were looking for, DC.
13. Let’s Try This Again, Daredevil
Yes, I know Daredevil is a Marvel character. And the Daredevil movie was one of Marvel’s early blunders. So why am I bringing it up? Please refer to paragraph one of this article. The horror show that was that movie was due in large part to the horrible performance by Ben (I just switched costumes) Affleck. You can just “Netflix and chill” if you want to see a riveting rendition of a live action Daredevil vehicle.
Affleck’s Daredevil came in a long line a bad performances and project choices by the actor. He has regained some dignity with his directing prowess, but fans will never forget his acting transgressions. NEVER FORGET!
And now DC is asking him to lead a virtual band of unknowns into battle with Marvel and their merry men. They’re merry because they wipe their butts with $1,000 bills. Again, even if Affleck doesn’t consistently stink up the place, he will always be fighting an up hill battle and so will the whole DC universe.
12. Green Lantern Was Not Very Bright
The old saying goes, “you won’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” In the case of DC, they would probably choose selective amnesia on both fronts thanks to submissions like 2011’s Green Lantern. Give them credit for taking a risk. That risk would be straying from a conventional superhero costume that one would wear and going with a completely CGI suit. The guys in the boardroom were probably high-fiving over this one at the champagne cooler (they’re too rich to drink water).
Needless to say, not only was that idea a bust, but it tanked any idea of a sequel. And there are always ideas for a sequel. More damming than that however was when the movie’s star, Ryan Reynolds, told Yahoo Movies in an interview that his main issue with the film was the script. THE SCRIPT! The nucleus of a movie. That one they got wrong. It’s a mistake they have made since, and it’s reasonable to assume they will make it again.
11. This Wonder Woman Makes You Wonder
Now that the past “boob” moves of DC have been established, let’s look at their current missteps. It’s fair to say that after Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman is the next most famous and therefore important super hero DC has on the docket. So what does DC do? They cast Gal Gadot to play one of the most important heroines in all of comic book history. She’s young and she’s pretty. Surely that’s all you need to bring the female demographic into this epic digital war being waged?
For those of you who don’t know, and that would probably be most of you, Gadot is an Israeli actress and model. Let’s be real, she is a model who has taken up acting. Sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? Do any of these names ring a bell? Cindy Crawford. Kate Upton. Christie Brinkley. Elle Macpherson. Denise Richards. All of these models became failed actresses. I could go on and on, but I’m afraid my laptop may attempt a murder/suicide if I continue down this path. At least most of these “actresses” were never handed over the reigns of such an important project, at such a critical time.
Let’s not forget, part of the reason that the Marvel movies work so well is because they have cast very good actors who can go from comedic moments to dramatic, emotional displays seamlessly. Gadot may one day be able pull that off, but check her filmography. It ain’t happened yet.
10. It Will Be Directly Patty Jenkins’ Fault
. . . AND, when Gadot can’t pull it off they will be looking right at Patty Jenkins. You may have heard this one before . . . who is Patty Jenkins? Patty Jenkins is the director of the new Wonder Woman movie. Let’s be clear, she will not sink this movie because she is a female director. Her gender has absolutely nothing to do with it. But let’s also be clear, she is not going to make this movie spectacular, because she is a woman. Why? Because gender has NOTHING to do with this. Kudos to DC Films and Warner Bros. for giving a female director such an amazing opportunity. It was just the wrong move.
Would you like to know the name of the last movie Jenkins directed? It was called Five. Do you know why? It was because it was actually 5 vignettes and she directed just one of them. And it was for the Lifetime channel? Before that she just directed short films and television. To this woman you say “here, take this $100 million and make the most iconic amazon in history a blockbuster.” Sure, no pressure.
9. Good Luck Making Aquaman Super
What’s worse, poor casting for the best female superhero or poor casting for the worst male superhero? It’s a question that will be answered shortly by DC Films. Stranger things have happened, but making Aquaman cool will be an eclipse-like achievement.
Historically, Aquaman has been the joke of the entire superhero genre. Not because he is the lamest superhero (although he is one flush away from a sewer dweller), but because he is the lamest superhero at the forefront of DC comics.
Aquaman has been lampooned by everyone from Robot Chicken to Family Guy to Mad TV and everyone with a funny bone in between. Sure, if you happen to own a Long John Silver’s or an Arthur Treacher’s, Aquaman might be the most amazing superhero ever. But to most of the highly functioning movie goers out there, this will be a stretch to pull off.
8. They May As Well Have Gotten Jason From Friday The 13th
This goes back to the point about Gal Gadot playing Wonder Woman. The Marvel movies work because they cast good actors in their high profile roles. Sharing screen time with four or five other actors is one thing. Carrying an entire movie is another. Much like Gadot, that is what they are asking Jason Momoa to do when he takes on the titular character in the Aquaman movie.
Outside of being the husband of former Cosby kid Lisa Bonet, Momoa’s biggest claim to fame is the 10 episodes in which he portrayed Game Of Thrones’ Khal Drogo. We all loved him in that role, but it was because we love that show. The last time Momoa was asked to portray a legendary character on screen was in 2011 when he played Conan The Barbarian. Result? The film crashed and burned bringing in only half of its budget. That is what’s called a flop, ladies and gentlemen. Have you noticed that in all of the Justice League trailers Mamoa never says anything? He just looks all grumpy like he bet his house on the Golden State Warriors repeating as champions. You need to ask yourself why. DC sure should have.
7. Hope They Don’t Take “Suicide Squad” Literally
After the super hyped and OK reception of Dawn Of Justice, DC execs started sweating more than Patrick Ewing in a Turkish bath house. They turned our attention to the comic book cult stars, the Suicide Squad. And this time they enlisted same “A” players. Mr. Summer Blockbuster himself, Will Smith as Deadshot. Oscar winner and sorta weirdo Jared Leto as The Joker. And up and coming Hollywood hottie, Margot Robie as fan favorite Harley Quinn. And it STILL got a lower rating than DOJ from Rotten Tomatoes. This went right in line with the general reception of the film.
Again, the reported flaws were with the thinly written characters, a muddled plot and choppy directing. Do you see a pattern forming here, folks? No matter who’s in front or behind the camera, it seems to be the wrong personnel. That means the bosses at the top continue to choose the wrong people and that’s a HUGE problem. It could simply be incompetence or because they are rushing to get their product out to compete with Marvel, but they are making hasty and incorrect decisions. It’s not looking good for DC.
6. Jared Leto Didn’t Even Like It, No Joke
One of the titillating attributes of the modern superhero movie is that there is always a little nugget of surprise, usually in the way of a cameo waiting for the comic book fan/moviegoer. In Suicide Squad however, what was supposed to be a meaty role turned into a cameo. That would be by Jared Leto’s Joker. Leto’s performance of Batman’s arch rival became one of the most highly anticipated moments in all of superhero movie history. This of course was because of the legendary portrayal of the character by the late Heath Ledger. Everyone was waiting to see what Leto would do with the role. According to Leto himself, we’re all still waiting.
In an interview Leto did with gamer site IGN, most of his hard work ended up on the cutting room floor. He was barely in the film compared to all the hype created around his look and off-screen shenanigans. The question here of course is, was he edited from the movie because his performance just wasn’t good enough to make the cut? If so, then DC has yet another issue on their hands. Do they move forward with Leto as the Joker with what we can assume would have been more appearances in the upcoming Batman movie(s) and risk him sinking those ships? Or do they go back to the drawing board with another actor, casting an even darker shadow of incompetence on the part of the film makers? Decisions, decisions.
5. …And Shazam, You Hire The Rock
One of the future projects under development for DC is the live action Shazam movie. Known and respected DC character, check. Well known action star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hired, check. Action star to play title role, cheeee…..BZZZZZZ. Check please!
Now, if you know anything about Hollywood, you know that anything can happen between now and 2019 when the movie is slated to be released. The problem here is numbers 15 through 6. Betwixt those numbers is mounting evidence that more than likely something bad will happen to this movie between now and 2019. Something that the powers that be will believe is a good thing, which is the scary part.
As of right now Johnson has been cast to play the villain and arch enemy of Shazam. A character called Black Adam. Sure, it sounds like a politically correct version of a character from Huck Finn, but it’s an actual comic book character. The thing is, the Rock doesn’t have a good history with playing villains (see the horrible Scorpion King). Being a “heel” in the WWE is not the same as making people enjoy hating you on the big screen.
4. If There Is Any Justice In The World
The next big hope for DC comes with their next team-up movie, The Justice League. There are high hopes for this film coupled with great anticipation. Here is the thing. Snyder has directed the first two highly anticipated DC vehicles already mentioned in this article, Man Of Steel and BVS. Now he is taking on the Justice League. Here is the worst part. One of the writers of that dumb BVS movie wrote the entire Justice League movie. Doesn’t quite dampen my Hanes, if you know what I mean.
Now, it will pull in dollars of course because, if nothing else, people will want to actually see the aforementioned Aquaman on screen, plus the Flash and Cyborg. The thing is, it’s not about the first or second week’s gross receipts. It’s about building a great franchise and more importantly giving competition to an already great franchise. That is where DC’s hopes are dwindling.
3. Simply Marvelous
To come full circle with this picture for you, it’s time to hop over to the other side of the net and see what DC is up against. Since 2008 Marvel has released 13 films as part of their Marvel Cinematic Universe. The cost of those 13 films was just over $2 billion. The box office alone for those films generated just over $10 billion. $10,000,000, that’s NFL money. Don’t expect Captain America to sit during the national anthem though.
That is an average of five times its cost in profit. That means they put out consistent, quality films. More importantly, they have an eye, a feeling for plugging the right people into the right positions in order to sustain the quality we have all come to enjoy. They turned a little known comic book and a TV sidekick into a valuable commodity and highly anticipated sequel. That of course would be Chris Pratt as Starlord, leader of the Guardians Of The Galaxy. When you turn Andy Dwyer into an action hunk, dammit you know what you’re doing.
2. DC Is About To Be Phased Out
Yes, there is even more bad news for DC. Captain America: Civil War was just the beginning of MCU’s Phase 3. They still have to get to Phase 4! Here are some of the movies that will be coming out in the near future as part of their Phase 3 lineup. Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange and a two-part Avengers Infinity Wars. My God, make it stop.
Almost every single one of those movies will have millions of fans craving their releases. And because of the Marvel track record, you can be sure that the only competition they will have is the track record of their fellow MCU movies or their previous incarnations if they are sequels.
Just to add insult to injury, there is a mouth watering submission in the movies slated in Phase 4, The X-Men.
1. Time Is Running Out On DC
To say that DC is behind the eight-ball in this battle is quite obvious. A new enemy of DC has been brought to light, and nobody beats this guy. Father time. Award winning director Steven Spielberg was asked recently about his take on the superhero genre. While he had positive things to say in general, one comment he made caused a stir. Spielberg said that eventually, superhero movies will go the way of the western movies. Ooooooooooowwwwwwwww.
At one time westerns were all the rage. Everyone made a western. It was the hot genre at one time just like superhero movies are today. Famed comic book writer Mark Millar not only agreed with Spielberg, but said he believes superhero movies have about five good years left in them. That’s five years before DC’s movies start doing even worse than they are right now. Five years to beat every MCU movie that comes out starting this year. Five years before all those fingers being crossed for a runaway hit start being crossed to just break even. That’s a lot of catching up to do in a short span of time. DC might end up standing for “Don’t Cash” (that check).